Toxic People ~ when people really aren't your friends...
As I move towards my future and the new person/life that awaits me, I have been looking back at all the people who have taken a walk with me in life this far. I have been truly blessed to of had at any given time many People I called "friends". Having very little family here in Canada (parents and 2 siblings) some friendships developed into Extended Family. While others took on the various forms that friendships do ~ school friends; professional friends; social friends; etc.
It's interesting to note the social friends were the ones too quickly exit, after my accident - after all we no longer had much in common I was bedridden while they were out travelling, networking, having a great time. Over time the professional friends started to recede, especially when it became apparent that I would not be returning to my career. School friends, well they drift in and out and always ready to relive the "good old days" stories; it provides an escape from their current lives as well.
The Extended Family Friends ~ are the smallest group, but the ones that have remained constant. They have been the ones who don't take it personally when I go through dark times and need to retreat from the world. They understand just because I need time (its about me healing, not them or anything they have done or not done) and are there when I'm ready to rejoin the world, with open arms. I can't begin to tell you how grateful and appreciative I am of this small group.
The Misery Lover
This type cares more about my bad news than my good news days. These people rally when a crisis hits and some how are even able to turn small incidents into bigger challenges, at times. This friend is consoling whenever things are on a forty-five, – my weight gain from Meds or lack of interest in food (thus turning to , often junk food) or feel lost, questioning my choices post accident, or am suffering bouts of dark days–when the situation improves, she distances herself. If I've been able to retreat during these times, this type of friend will punish me for not letting her play a role in the misery, often when I'm returning back to the land of the living, she is all of a sudden unavailable.
Although there should be an assumption of confidentiality and trust between friends, this type can't help herself. When I say, "This is just between us," she nods her head but unfortunately that promise will last only as long as it takes her to get to her phone or e-mail. What this friend doesn't realize is often the people she has shared personal things regarding me - like themselves can't keep their promise and through the proverbial "grape vine" it makes it's way back. I'm slowly learning who I can trust and be completely open with.
The Up One
This type starts out with good intentions (or so they make it seem), compassion for what I am going through, understanding, encouraging and supportive. Then without warning they become someone who when I open up about the rough day I'm having or the difficult time I'm entering ~ instead of the friend they have been - all of a sudden its about how "bad" things are with them. The conversation becomes almost like a competition of who has it worse. I want to remain the Glass is Half Full in my life, so I will let this friend win. After all I only died, lost my self and life - while they have bigger things like what to cook for dinner, or social activity they are hoping to get an invitation for and lets not forget the friend they have at work, who is always trying to up them one.
The Debbie Downer
This type seems to always find the negative part of everything, whether it's my life or hers and will spend the whole conversation about how unhappy she is, and when offered GOOD solutions ... responds with " but you don't understand" ( like my life in peaches and roses). Often this friend is a really good person with a great heart and one I really would like to have in my life, unfortunately the place I am in my own life - makes this friend extremely emotionally and energy draining.
The above are Toxic People and we all have them in our lives, its how much we allow these people into our lives that will determine the impact they have on us and our everyday lives. After all they could be just going through a rough patch themselves and hide their fears and lack of confidence in the Negative/Toxic.
Have you found that you have been able to keep such a person(s) in your life, and over time they have become a Positive friend?
Next time (part two) ~ When Good Friends Happen!