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Toxic friends - have you got/had one?

(76 Posts)
atosilis Sun 18-Sep-11 00:25:08

I had one, I could write a book and give lectures but would like to hear other experiences

NormanTheForeman Sun 18-Sep-11 00:30:42

I did have one friend once, I'm not sure whether she was actualy toxic, but she was certainly a "taker" rather than a "giver" if that makes sense. She was happy to spend time with me, but only if she had nothing better lined up, and would expect me to do lots of things for her.

ThatsNotMyBabyBelly Sun 18-Sep-11 00:32:15

Yes I had one.

The worst thing is if asked she would say I was the bad friend I think. But I wasn't, I just got tired of her shit.

We were good friends provided I was prepared to put her first, cater to her whims, support her regardless of my own problems etc. But she treated me terribly. It took me a long time to even notice, which sounds odd, but I had just got so used to it.

I got together with DH and that was when she started to get really nasty so I backed off. Still see her occasionally, she hasn't changed but has some other mugs doing the "supporting" now.

You might find more of an audience if this was in Relationships though?

bethelbeth Sun 18-Sep-11 01:48:27

I had one for many years.
So many things happened, constant let downs, bitchiness, never being supportive, being a emotional leech, sleeping with my friends etc etc

Until it dawned on me on her 21st birthday that noone else had shown up because she was so awful.

She then proceeded to take the piss out of me because her Aunt said that I looked like a lesbian. So I left- went out on a night out with other friends.

Never heard from her again. Although from what I have gleaned she now has a full beard and moustache and her only friend has teeth which are rotting out of her head.

I have only one thing to say, and it is HA!

RufusTFirefly Sun 18-Sep-11 09:36:23

I had one as a teen. The whole thing was weird but I was too young and naive to see it. For a start, she was sixteen and I thirteen - and a very young thirteen at that (no bosoms and no interest in boys); she had left school and was working. I met her at the riding school where I worked for riding at the weekend. She made a dead set for me, bombarding me with attention and paying for me to accompany her on hacks. What the hell did a sixteen year old want with a kid like me as her best friend? I was very flattered at the time but now I think she was a case of arrested development.

Looking back, I can see she was playing games with me. If we met some new people and I expressed liking for them, she'd say "Oh, don't go getting friendly with them - they told me they hate your guts." Then I would cry because it didn't occur to me that she was lying and that her agenda was to be my only friend. I would back off the new people. This happened time and time again.

Then she told me a long and strange saga of an affair she was having with a married man at work - it was like the Archers with mucky bits. A couple of years later she told me she'd made the whole thing up! What did she get out of pouring filth into the ears of a young girl?

There's a lot more, but I'll end with the glasses incident. She steered me towards some horrendously ugly new glasses, real goggles which I was then stuck with for two years, and she sat back and watched me being rejected by boys and gloated at being "the pretty one".

From my current perspective I'd say she was a dangerous girl and although I've got bipolar I'd regard myself as the acme of sanity compared to her!

Cutelittlecatlover Sun 18-Sep-11 10:32:39

I had one for a few years, she constantly used to put me down, tell me people were saying nasty things about me and spread rumours about me amongst other things. I could go on and on about the horrible things she did to me, it makes me angry to think about how I just took it.

BupcakesandCunting Sun 18-Sep-11 11:02:35

Yes. Got shot of them quite successfully. I had a few, I think. It's taken me until the ripe old age of 31 to weed out the wheat from the chaffe and now I have four close friends and several peripheral friends, all of whom I love dearly and would do anything for. I'm happy with that. smile

spudinvasion Sun 18-Sep-11 11:02:38

I had one when I was in my twenties. She was vibrant, bubbly, everybody loved her. We used to do am dram together and she was always the lead. I was the quiet, plain friend who trailed around behind her.

I was dating my now DH when she met a lovely guy. They bought a house, got engaged, planned a big white wedding (I was a bridesmaid). The night beofre the wedding she told me she didn't really love him, just wanted the wedding, marriage, house, not to have to work. I tried to talk her out of it unsuccessfully and unsurprisingly about a year later, she left him. She gave him no clues and he was devastated.

She tried to ban me from seeing him, she wanted to go out every night trying to insist I went too. It was a horibble time for me as DH and I had just got engaged and bought a house and were saving like loons for our own wedding which she also tried to talk me out of. If I did go out with her she would hook up with some bloke and abandon me to go off with him.

Her DH was a good friend by then and slowly slowly I ended up seeing him more than her which she resented me for and started gossip that we were actualy having an affair. This was quite damaging as although my DH knew the truth and trusted me completely, a lot of our mutual friends believed her and she even made them belive that was why she had left him. In one particularly nasty exchange she said the whole thing was my fault because I hadn't talked her out of it when she told me she didn't love him. That was it for me and we have never spoken since. Oh and she used to flirt outrageously with my DH!!!

However, I did stay frinds with the DH and still am but best of all, he met a really lovely new girlfriend and she is now, and has been for 10 years my absolute best friend. We had our DCs around the same time, she is my DSs god mother and she is everything you would want in a friend.

Acekicker Sun 18-Sep-11 11:19:49

Yep - she's referred to as 'the bridesmaid I fired 2 weeks before my wedding' grin. I can now spot the signs and steer well clear...

Before anyone shouts 'Bridezilla', some context... I was very unconcerned about 'detail' at my wedding (things like flowers, napkin colours were sorted out by whoever was providing them ringing me and me saying things like 'umm yeah, red's nice...', my wedding cake was iced to the very specific instructions of 'nothing too fancy, perhaps a couple of butterflies or something...' etc...

ToxicExBridesmaid (and this was the final straw after many irritations too tedious to go into) however had the nerve to ring me up two weeks before the wedding and complain that along with all 7 offers I'd made to drive her to a dress fitting (we had to have the dresses custom made to fit her, original plan had been to hire them) being inconvenient and too demanding, she'd just found out we'd invited an ex-boyfriend of hers from university and this was not fair to her.

We'd ALL been at college together and this guy was big mates with my husband as well as a pretty good friend to me. Given that my soon-to-be-in-laws were in the midst of a divorce after 30odd years of marriage and they were managing to be perfectly civil and polite and falling over themselves to make sure it wasn't awkward, this was the last straw. I suggested that if being a bridesmaid was so much hassle then she needn't bother, and while she was at not-bothering she could save herself the effort of coming to the wedding as well as no way on earth were we uninviting someone because she'd happened to spend 18 months shagging them on and off.

In a final delightful twist, she got straight on the phone to my parents (WTF?!) to complain and my awesome dad answered and after she'd told him he simply said 'to be honest TEB, you've been nothing but a pain in the arse over this wedding, I'm only surprised it took Acekicker this long to realise and do what I'd have done 6 months ago' grin

Curiousmama Sun 18-Sep-11 11:23:18

Acekicker grin Fab story, well done your dad.

WhiteTrash Sun 18-Sep-11 12:11:03

Nice ending Spudinvasion grin

OberonTheHopeful Sun 18-Sep-11 12:48:10

The worst for me was also the most recent, just last year.

I'd just lost my dad, left my relationship and moved to a new city (posted about this before so won't repeat here). Said 'friend' was the only person I knew here and moving to the locality I'm in was her idea. It's often said that when you move somewhere new knowing just one person can be enough to get you settled in. Unfortunately for me not this one.

Despite knowing my situation and what I'd left she went out of her way to take advantage of me materially (really don't want to go into detail). She lied about so many things, and when each was discovered she would just shrug it off and tell more. Despite being a bit broke myself I did my best to help her when she said she had no income. This was also a lie, she'd been working. I only wanted to be a good friend and have someone to talk to from time to time. I think I did my best, I phoned and emailed her when she was having a tough time such as problems with friends (ha!), her Ex, a bad job interview etc. and always offered to make time to meet. For a long time she was the only person I knew here and looking back she was clearly very aware of this.

She was the first person I came clean to about my last relationship. What a mistake that was. Many will say that the loneliness is one of the worst things. Well she never came near. Despite living only a two or three minute walk away she was always too busy, despite only working part-time (and sometimes not for days or even weeks at a stretch) and her ds being in school. Many times I changed my arrangements, took time off work to meet for a coffee and she would send me a text a few minutes before to cancel. Sometimes she didn't even let me know and I would just be left waiting.

Of the tiny number of people I've told (friends and professionals) she is the only one who tried to persuade me to go back to my abusive XP (this on the only occasion she came to see me, several months after I moved). I don't think this is because she thought it would be best for me but because she just couldn't be bothered.

The 'friend' moved to a different part of the city at the end of last year and we didn't stay in contact. This was her choice, she sent me a text saying she didn't 'get anything out of it'. In fact she almost always tried to communicate by text and email, despite being so near by. My therapist has described it as 'cowardly'.

I still feel very exposed about the personal things I've told her. I was at a real low point (I've previously described last year as the worst of my life so far) and certainly somewhat all over the place emotionally. Most of all I can't believe I was just so stupid to be so taken in.

carabos Sun 18-Sep-11 13:08:50

One toxic friend? I've had too many to count! One set out to destroy my DH business and make us homeless (succeeded to an extent), another set out to cause me to lose my job (succeeded)- these two were friends with each other and both had used me to their own advantage massively. Both have also caused huge problems for some of their other "friends" - one guy was victim of a sustained campaign to make it known that he was in prison for child sex offences (working abroad at the time), caused another to be sacked from her job and another to end up in therapy again because of a campaign to make her out to be a criminal because she was involved in an accident which was proved not to be her fault. We live in a small town and these two are well known for their toxicity and narc tendencies. It is terrifying how easily intelligent people can get suckered in. I feel for all of us who have been victims.

Frizzbonce Sun 18-Sep-11 13:38:05

There are so many sad stories on here. RufusTFirefly yes you are eminently sane to have come out of that relationship intact.

Mine was more subtle. We've known each other for years and I really admired her. I think she genuinely liked me but also quite liked looking down on me a bit/feeling a bit sorry for me. I was a very anxious and immature child whereas she was a very academic, bright and popular girl with a great talent. I remember her saying: 'I haven't done any revision!' for her o levels while I'd studied my arse off. The thing is, she probably hadn't. She coasted through school and left early to go to Art college. Meanwhile I got my A levels and went to college but was still very flaky and dippy.

Having a friend whose life isn't going as well as yours can be very heartening. There were so many snide little remarks and she had laser like recall of all my stupid mistakes and immature behaviour. Then she married this man to escape from a creative career that she didn't want any more, telling me and her other friends that her life was so much more 'meaningful' now.

We stayed in touch and gradually I got my shit together - getting two degrees and building a career in a creative field. At some point I realised that if I wanted anything to happen I was going to have to do it myself. Neither did I want to turn into my dad - who at 75 spends his days feeling superior about 'bad' grammar and shouting at the television. But as the years went by and her husband decided he was going to become some sort of 'healer', she managed to get in a little remark about qualifications being 'a bit of a waste.' Why didn't I say anything? Because she was great 80% of the time and I couldn't quite believe it when she did say something spiteful. It would always be prefaced with a mirthless little laugh as well. I had a child and fell into dire PND. A few years later she was still in her Cath Kidson paradise and smilingly said to me: 'I admire you now. You went through a phase of feeling so sorry for yourself!' Again, at the time I was dumbstruck, but a bit like a shit sandwich - a compliment sandwiched with criticism - I didn't think she really meant it. Not really.

Then a few years ago my marriage fell apart. I won't go into details except to say that I left and spent months in turmoil. She was very angry with me for leaving because she needed to justify her decision to stay. She wanted me to be punished for leaving and worst of all - being happier as a result. I don't quite know what's happened to her life. Her husband's healing business didn't take off so she works full time and seems to do everything round the house - it's like she's coasted along all her life and now everything has come to a fullstop. And in the meantime, her friends, the ones with more 'shallow' aspirations for success have gone out and got it, AND had kids and managed to bring them up into reasonable people.

Sometimes it's not until someone has gone from your life that you realise - the little snide remarks, the put downs, the muted 'great' when you try to share your triumphs left you with a slightly sour taste. I remember one of the last times we shared a good laugh was when I was telling her about a huge argument I'd had with an in-law and she positively shivered with delight: 'Oh great I LOVE stories like this!' she said. Now I know we all like a bitchy gossip sometimes - I'm as bad - but it was the relish - the utter pleasure she took in someone else's emotional turmoil. Someone to feel sorry for - someone to compare her life to - someone to look down on.

Not me. Not anymore.

SarahStratton Sun 18-Sep-11 14:15:51

Loads, suffice to say I don't 'do' friends any more. I have people I'll say hello to but that's it really. Thankfully I have a lovely family.

OberonTheHopeful Sun 18-Sep-11 14:16:21

It is terrifying how easily intelligent people can get suckered in.

I have been wondering about that as well. I suppose some people are just very skilful in their manipulations. In the case of the person I described in my previous post I haven often wondered what it is about me that allowed her to give herself permission to behave in the way that she did. I don't suppose I'll ever know, but nearly a year later it still hurts.

There are some awful stories on this thread. My best wishes to everyone smile.

spookshowangellovesit Sun 18-Sep-11 14:22:09

there was the one i had since school who use to make constant digs and drop mr every time she had a bf. my favourites of hers were after i ordered a burger to a table of people " lets ask the waiter when he gets here who he thinks its for, hahahahahahhahah" everyone at the table stared at her in horror, she then felt then then felt the need to say in her defence that she just didnt like when people moaned about their weight and then ate bad food.
and then there was the last time i saw her, when she said " its not fair that people like you can just lie on your backs and get pregnant and i have to try so hard, i would be such a better mother than you ever would" such a good person in my life.
then there was the one that like others on here had no friends but me, all my other friends couldn't stand her but i stood up for her and put up with the crap
because i she could be lovely at times, but after going through my separation and not hearing from her i received a long email from her ( not the first in our friendship) basically telling what a bad friend i was. how hurt she was by my separation. how she thought i was wrong for leaving my alcoholic husband etc, i was lucky to have him bla bla bla.
but she was my friend and loved me and was here for me.
happily i decided i didnt need to be there for either of those people any more and can hopefully now spot the crazies.

atosilis Sun 18-Sep-11 14:23:33

^"I have often wondered what it is about me that allowed her to give herself permission to behave in the way that she did. I don't suppose I'll ever know, but nearly a year later it still hurts"."

That is so true. The thing that I can't let go is, how did I give TF permission to behave in the way she did too?

gigglepin Sun 18-Sep-11 14:43:06

Yes, me too.
Friends from 14 till we were mid 30's. She moved away and it was like a weight had been lifted.
Thinking back, she must have had narcasitic personality or somesuch to have behaved the way she did for so long.

She literally ended up with no one, her dp left her, she only really had me as a friend who she used and abused unashamadly.

I have never met any one like her, she was a one off and completely convinced that she was a victim, extra special and very lovely and that every one in the world should adore and bow to her every whim. Her walls were adorned with photos of herself in various money to her name, so she told me...but had money to have professional pictures taken of herself. Its a miracle her children survived beyond toddlerdome as she jsut didnt seem to notice they were there. They both suffered accidents due to non supervision and her being busy doing her makeup or something for herself.

I would get telephone calls at my work from her demandng i take her shopping as she had no bread for her toast...i was AT WORK, and she would slam the phone down on me when i told her this. (I had a car, she didnt)
She had me doing all sorts for her over the years. compeletely crazy.

Good riddance in the end.

Nagoo Sun 18-Sep-11 14:45:50

I don't think you give people permission to behave in a certain way.

We all make mistakes, say something thoughtless, forget to prioritise our friends. We aren't perfect.

It's walking along a beam, and it's only when the person goes too far that it 'tips' and we realise that we have let them behave terribly. It's a tiny little step between being an ordinary relationship that cuts both ways, and a completely toxic, one-sided and damaging 'friendship'

FigsAndWine Sun 18-Sep-11 14:46:11

I am just shock at these stories. How on earth do people get away with behaving like this? confused

TheBride Sun 18-Sep-11 15:02:56

I had one at junior school (I was vair advanced grin)

When she emigrated to Australia, my mum cried with relief

TheBride Sun 18-Sep-11 15:05:35

Sorry if that sounded flippant btw. It has actually had lasting results. I am very suspicious of anyone who is the slightest bit jealous, possessive or controlling, so maybe in a way she did me a favour as my "toxic" radar was tuned at a young age.

PumpkinBones Sun 18-Sep-11 15:17:45

I have had two, one of them I managed to drop very quickly, the other is still in my life but I have been firmer about setting boundaries and saying no. The former I met when she moved nearby - a couple of years younger than me, with a child a similar age to my DS1 and trying for another, I did think she was a little bit annoying, but put this down to being younger, bit naive, etc - but I have realised, as have many other people, that she is extremely manipulative, needy and demanding, and is always the "victim" in any situation - the final straw for me was when we walked home from nursery together one day, I stopped to chat to a friend and she went on - she saw my DH going into our flat, and apparently she said when she told him I'd stayed behind he completely freaked out, was really angry with me, started ranting about where I was - and she told other neighbours this too. My DH is the most laid back person in the world, and I knew she was lying - but this incident made me realise that she was a toxic friend, and could potentially be a real troublemaker.

The other toxic friend I have known for many years and I have accepted she will probably always be in my life, but I no longer let her emotionally blackmail me - she is an extremely selfish and demanding person, and I am not the only person who now keeps their distance from her as a result.

Frizzbonce Sun 18-Sep-11 15:20:53

Agreed Nagoo with your: "I don't think you give people permission to behave in a certain way."

Many of us met our 'toxic friend' when we were either very young and unformed, or going through a vulnerable phase. In either case when you're at school and have a friend who swings between being nice and humiliating you - you don't have the emotional maturity to really 'see' it even though you know it feels bad. And we all know there's nothing worse than being some Nellie No Mates at school. It takes exceptional confidence to say to someone: 'You are a shit friend who makes me feel bad and I'd rather be on my own.'

Also, I think that we can get put into boxes by our friends. Not always in a toxic way but 'she's the funny one' oh and 'she's the ambitious one.' And sometimes we get out of our boxes. We are no longer the 'fat' one or the one who 'thinks she's a writer/actress/musician' (said with rolled eyes) I was 'the flaky one' and then suddenly I wasn't. Female friends alas, can be very threatened when you jump out of your nice, comfortable box. Even worse if you don't just have a big swoop of luck, you just get there by dint of hard work.

We all have busy lives and sometimes neglect our friends. But fundamentally a true friend should make you feel good about yourself. I don't mean that they shouldn't tell you the truth either. But you can do it without setting out to make them feel small, or humiliated or foolish. We all know when we're being judged or patronised.

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