Left a Toxic Friend Group

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Unbroken
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:33 pm

Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by Unbroken » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:35 am

Over the past year, I started transitioning away from a group of friends I was somewhat close with for about 7-8 years. I know it's normal for many folks to transition to new friends ever 7 years, but it has been a bit difficult for me. It feels like I stepped away from my family of origin again. The beauty of experiencing that, though, is I know I will be better off without people who are unkind and manipulative in my life. It's especially difficult as my daughter are friends with a lot of these folks kids, but I feel it is for the best. One family I am fearing has sexual abuse issues (the father has done things that get my flags up).

Another family became super defensive after I asked that if we do further playdates at a parents' house that parents from both families attend. Their child (who is younger) inappropriately touched my daughter. The mother (who I thought was a dear friend) responded by going into a rage. The irony is she told me a family member of hers had assaulted her for years, and her parents tried to cover it up. I wasn't trying to make her feel bad (her child is young), but protect my own child.

A third member of the group pretends to want to facilitate peace, but she is passive-aggressive and has regularly bullied people by making under-the-table remarks that make fun of them in front of groups.

The final straw was a new member who joined the group, and kept trying to pull me into her schemes—unreasonable things that would have damaged my marriage, my relationship with my kid, and my budget. When I broke things off with her, she went to other people who were friends and got them to take her under their wing. I know it's a matter of time before she hurts them, but I don't feel comfortable gossiping—especially when a number of these people did things that were hurtful.

Anyhow, I know this is just a life experience and we will be better off in the long run, but I'm having a bit of a tough time trusting people—especially groups of people. I took my child to a social gathering that was wonderful (it ended with other kids giving her a group hug, and the parents were so welcoming and kind), but I'm a little anxious to go back. I know no one is perfect. I'm not expecting that. I just want to be able to set boundaries with people. I know I'm getting better at it (I cut things off with the "last straw" lady off pretty quickly when she revealed herself), but I'd like to avoid those situations to begin with.

I feel I could learn more to recognize trouble and shut it down sooner.

What do you do to protect yourself in social situations? Is there any good books you'd recommend?
Last edited by Harmony on Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited trigger indicator from MT to NT due to no triggering language or content

earthhorse
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Posts: 1842
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:12 pm

Re: Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by earthhorse » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:23 pm

Hi Unbroken,

So hard breaking away from social groups! It brings all kinds of costs with it also emotionally, physically, mentally. Seems like a time when you need extra self care.

Good on you for choosing healthy relationships and believing in them! You deserve this!

Cheers,
EH
"One kind word can warm three winter months"

mitsu
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Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:26 pm

Re: Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by mitsu » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:15 am

one way im practicing safer behaviors in social situations is

re-developing intuition by trying to tune in while present around others

because even if im having a time where i can't separate what im experiencing from inside from past/tapestry trauma, from what im experiencing in the social situation in the present, i know i have a feeling some where in there. for me to take the steps i need to, in order to figure out what is trauma and what is the present situation, i need to take the very first step of just tuning in to how i feel.

because that has been numbed from me, i let myself make my relationship with myself become the first relationship i have and allow myself to not be social at all if that's best. i dont demand anything of myself, i just begin and begin and begin again at asking myself ; "do i want to be here?" "how do i feel..." "what do i want to do".
Last edited by Jonesy on Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT, as no triggering content

Harbor
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:52 am

Re: Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by Harbor » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:36 am

Sometimes the cost of toxic relationships is greater than the cost of being lonely. Okay, pretty much always.
"'Safe Harbor' is a state of mind... it's the place - in reality or metaphor - to which one goes in times of trouble or worry. It can be a friendship, marriage, church, garden, beach, poem, prayer, or song." -Luanne Rice

earthhorse
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Posts: 1842
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:12 pm

Re: Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by earthhorse » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:43 pm

wow @mitsu!

That is a great approach!

Yes being alone is always preferable to being around toxic people.

Still cheering you on unbroken.

EH
"One kind word can warm three winter months"

there
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Posts: 6488
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:41 am

Re: Left a Toxic Friend Group

Post by there » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:41 pm

unbroken,
I left an unhealthy friendship last year. It was very lonely at first. I grieved, but I know leaving was for the best.
I think that's what love is--acting in the best interest of someone, in this instance--me.
I am increasingly careful about what I take in from others in general, and remind myself that they are responsible for what they think and say, and how they act. Their unkindness is ultimately about them.
I didn't have a choice about being abused as a child. I do now.
I am more alone in some ways than I would like to be, but I'm also not being filled with hurt, reaction, resentment, lowered self-worth. I have more clarity and calm. And it's my responsibility to myself to optimize my mental and spiritual health.
I'm my reality, not somebody else's low opinion.

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