There’s nothing more disappointing than initially realizing that you’re in a toxic friendship. It’s like breaking open the floodgates to every pent-up emotion that you’ve been suppressing throughout the duration of the relationship. You may be angry at your friend for the way that they treated you. You may be disappointed in yourself for putting up with this mistreatment for so long. Above all else, you may feel utterly confused. How did this even happen in the first place? How did you not see the signs sooner?
If you like to overanalyze every aspect of your life like I do, then you’re probably nodding your head in agreement right now. I, myself, have been involved with someone that ultimately did not treat me with respect, and the moment I realized this felt like being punched in the gut. I began to recount all of the memories I shared with this person, and because hindsight is always 20/20, I started to put myself down for not confronting this person sooner. Each experience I remembered was like a tally mark on my self-imagined Toxic Friend Checklist, and it left me feeling very uneasy to say the least.
The most important lesson to take away from a toxic relationship is that the the way they’ve treated you—whether it be constantly putting you down, dismissing your opinions, or even taking advantage of your kindness—is not personal. Does it mean that this behavior is acceptable? Absolutely not! But it has reassured me to realize that while these attacks may seem like they’re a skillfully aimed blow at your self-esteem, they’re actually anything but personal. In fact, the usual case is that the toxic friend is acting out of insecurity, and sometimes, they may not even realize that they’re consciously hurting you.
So once you’ve realized all of this, you’ve probably reached a turning point. You’ve either confronted your friend about the way their behavior makes you feel, or you’ve just let the friendship naturally fizzle out. Either way, once this person is a safe distance away, it may become a very introspective time for you while you sort out your emotions. You may think back to the beginning of the friendship and wonder why you even got yourself involved with this person in the first place. You may wonder why you attracted such a negative person into your life and why you’re only now realizing that you were mistreated by them.
This, my friends, is where the Law of Attraction, or LOA, comes into play.
Simply stated, the LOA explains that what we think about and believe in, we attract, whether we do this consciously or subconsciously. So, with that being said, every relationship that we attract into our lives is a direct reflection of what we think about and believe in. The LOA is very beneficial when you try to put things into perspective because it allows you to realize that every choice you make, every relationship you have, and every situation that comes into fruition is a two-way street. Sometimes, it’s hard to come to terms with, but the LOA shows us that we have full responsibility over these events that take place in our lives. When I think back to my own toxic friendship, it’s disheartening to realize that this person was a direct conduit of my own thoughts at the time, but it also gives me a logical explantation as to why they became a part of my life.
The reason that you may have attracted a negative friendship into your life is because, subconsciously, you were willing to settle for that kind of mistreatment. In retrospect, I was very insecure and self-depricating at the time that I attracted my toxic friendship, so it makes logical sense that this friend came into my life back then. By constantly focusing on my insecurities and thinking that I needed this friendship to make myself complete, I was sending out these negative messages to the universe, and in return came my toxic friendship!
While this realization may bring about feelings of regret and resentment—don’t fear. If you’ve gotten to the point of realizing that you need to get yourself out of a toxic friendship, that’s actually a great sign. If you’re able to see that you may have not been in the best place mentally at the time that your friendship began, but are mentally strong enough now to realize you deserve better treatment, then it shows that you’ve made some serious self improvement!
The way I like to view relationships, either platonic or romantic, is with this analogy. Imagine that you are this incredible ice cream cone. You probably think I’m insane right now, but just hear me out. Everyone likes ice cream, right? If you were to hand someone an ice cream cone, they would be absolutely content. But then, picture this—you add sprinkles on top of the ice cream cone, and that makes it even better. It’s more delicious and exciting than it was before. But do you don’t necessarily need the sprinkles to enjoy the ice cream, because they’re just a bonus.
The point of my long-winded ice cream analogy is that, like the sprinkles, relationships are only supposed to add enjoyment to our lives. They are here primarily to bring us the joy, love, support, excitement, and adventure into our lives that we may have not been exposed to beforehand. Relationships are not designed to become a part of who we are, and we don’t have to think of ourselves as “incomplete” without them. We are not lost causes, and we don’t need a superhero to swoop down and save us from ourselves. Because we are already enough as we are in this very moment. We are already like that delicious ice cream cone; completely self-sufficient, fully functional, and absolutely dazzling on our own.
Adopting that kind of mindset into your life can take a lot of work, and I’m not saying that it will be completely easy journey from complete insecurity to absolute self-sufficiency. Even those who are completely confident in themselves have their moments of self-doubt, and that’s ok. But once you begin to fully accept yourself—your unique quirks, talents, and personality—exactly as you are, then it will open up the doors for others to do exactly the same. You’ll see that positive, fulfilling, and respectful people will start to trickle into your life, and these people won’t be toxic. You’ll enjoy the company of these people because you’ve learned how to enjoy your own company first. Your mind may occasionally wander to those toxic friends of the past, but this time, you’ll forgive their actions and hope that they, too, can learn to accept themselves the way that you do now.