Updated: Apr 2
"Never take a person's dignity, it is worth everything to them and probably nothing to you" We as humans are very ill equipped to recognise, Identify and respond to abusive friendships. There exists no definite way to begin, maintain or end an abusive friendship. There is so much focus that rests on romantic relationships which turn abusive or violent but little or none towards platonic friendships, unfortunately. This gross misuse of power against friends does occur more often than imagined and in similar ways as in other relationships. In my experience some of the most appalling, scary and vicious abuse cases I have come across have happened between friends. Quite often than not, the survivor does not realise, for very late in the friendship that what is happening to her/him is actually abuse, as he or she has never thought of friendships being toxic and hurting. When you begin to sense that someone you thought of as a friend, no longer and never really had your best interests in mind, it is pertinent that you pull the plug without any guilt as it is not an act of selfishness but will stem from self love which is much needed at that time. We have all grown up with this belief that all friendships are healthy and fun, but that always is not the case. This abuse between friends can be very devastating, emotionally draining and extremely damaging both physically, physiologically and mentally. Abuse between friends is mostly insidious and Machiavellian, leaving the person broken and shaky for a long time. Most often, it is assumed that if there is no physical violence involved then it does not qualify as abuse, but nothing can be more misleading than this assumption. The negative effects of abusive friendships are many and major. SIGNS TO NOTICE FOR AN ABUSIVE FRIEND # They want to own you and start treating you like their property, become abnormally possessive and controlling. # Spending time with them becomes emotionally and physically exhausting. Such friends are impossible to please, they are very judgemental, critical of your every move, your choices, thoughts and habits. A common trait they regularly manifest is that they will castigate you for almost everything. They love to snoop around your things and do not respect your privacy and need for boundaries. It is like walking on eggshells when around them as they will call you names, hurl accusations at you and will threaten and give orders. # They will not value you as a person and deny you any personal space as I have mentioned earlier also. They invariably behave obnoxious, arrogant and entitled most of the time. They are very caustic with their remarks and statements and cleverly mock and ridicule you all the way and manage to diminish and beat a person's self esteem to such an extent that the impacts of this are seen in the long term too. # One begins to feel hostage and under this friend's control. The feeling of defeat is profound and the victim feels less empowered to break free and surface from the abuse. # They continuously gas light you into believing that you are a Bad friend if you do not give into their demands. There is an uneven dynamic in the relationship which is absolutely toxic. # They are passive aggressive. # Their approach to abuse is very subtle ..blaming you for everything that goes wrong. ..belittling your accomplishments and achievements. ..glorifying themselves while making you look stupid and incompetent. ..they make exploitative and outrightly abusive statements. .. They talk behind your back and also about you to others in your presence, invariably in the garb of humour. ..Constantly emphasize about your so called incapabilities, will keep reminding how privileged your life has been and how their's has been a struggle. How they have it had very rough and you have been presented with things on a platter so you have no right to complain etc... # Your achievements and possessions make them bitter and angry which makes them lash at you in some form or the other. # You continuously feel choked and suffocated and live under constant fear. # If you show your displeasure or voice your concerns they run you further down by complaining about your lack of humour and your being too sensitive and touchy. # You are forced to shoulder their responsibility and everything in this friendship is non negotiable. # They ostracise you at their will and come back the next minute claiming to be family. # You are left exhausted, scared, tired and anxious. # They hurl clever abuses at the way you have been parented. # You live on the edge and worry constantly.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGES - Depression - Sleep Disorders - Indigestion ( psychosomatic ) - Eating Disorders - Fear of Abandonment - Poor self Esteem - Trust Deficit - Inability to take Compliments -A state of Emotional Vaccum. WHAT CAN ONE DO Yes!! It is difficult to end relationships but it is much needed before it causes further damage. Seek emotional help at the earliest and a safe place to embark on that journey is through family. Taking help of a counsellor, a mental health professional will immediately help shift focus and assist in breaking this vicious cycle of abuse. Regular sessions over the next few months do a lot of repairing and healing. End this friendship immediately, walk away, cut off all contacts, no need for any dialogue or conversation as you do not owe any to anyone. Least of all to this so called friend. Here it is important to understand that you are doing this out of self love and respect for your own self so without any hesitancy pull the plug. "Don't ever let your life be blighted by any abuse at all" Dr. ( Hon ) Deepti Kathpalia Psychologist, Therapist , Counsellor.