22 November 2013


How many times have you sworn that you will eliminate toxic relationships from your life?  Every New Year's Eve I make that same goal and I always fail miserably.  You know at some point you realize that you have changed - dramatically - and nothing brings it quite home like a friend from the past or even your present.

About 9 years ago I had a horrible experience at the workplace, not my current position.  It took me 2 years to get out from that place but I managed it and I slowly (very slowly) rebuilt my self-worth, my work ethic, and my trust in male leadership.  Thankfully there were plenty of examples all around me of good leadership - both female and male.  That job made me feel like a failure and it took me a long time to find myself again.  During that time I also made friends and they were all different.  However, one friendship stood out because it seemed to feed on all of the negativity I was going through at the time.  That friendship, if I can call it that, has followed me for better and worse.  This person listened to all the bad mouthing I could do and joined in, I naively thought that this person was on my side - turns out they were on their own side.  We've all had those friends, people we meet whose complaints are mirror images of our own, especially during those really tough times.  A few years back I realized I no longer felt that way and that I had moved on but this person was still stuck there.  Now I feel shamed into agreeing with them at times but I just can't do that anymore.  The time I spent in that dark place was really bad, I don't want to go back to that and I most definitely don't want to let that anger and hurt back into my heart.  The only person who was ever miserable from those thoughts was me, no one else.  I have found that once you have these type of people in your life, it is difficult to extricate yourself from hate, hurt, blame, shame, and anger that is brought into your life, that you've allowed to be brought into your life.  It's not the other person's fault, it was my own because in my anger and pain I accepted more of the same from someone else.

How does this bring shame?  Well, they tend to want you to continue this same behaviour and remind you of how they were there for you during those times.  Some would say these are their bad times and you should be there for them but is it bad times or is this person hanging onto the bad times?  It's been 9 years since the bad times for me, pretty much the same amount of time for them, so has the bad continued or has it passed and they just haven't noticed?  When I can't agree anymore I feel ashamed because I feel like a bad friend but I don't think friends should cause feelings of shame.  Recently while reading an article by Brene Brown, it felt like a justification of what I have been feeling regarding this friendship.  Her name links to the article, it was liberating.  I don't need to stop being a friend, all I need to do is stop being negative and if that person follows so be it, but I think that if they don't they will probably leave me behind because I am no longer enabling their own feelings of anger, shame, hate, and pain.  All I have to do is not share in that, also say that I am no longer going to do that, not that I won't listen to legitimate worries and problems but I will no longer dwell on anger and pain when you can't change the past.  It's not that I don't have those type of thoughts about myself anymore but I'm learning to handle them and know that it doesn't last forever.

I am trying to let go, knowing that if those thoughts come, those same thoughts will also go the way they came.  I am trying to learn gratitude.  I am trying to let myself feel, be vulnerable, and to accept that bad things happen.  Bad times happen, still have to live through them, and at the end I still have to come out on the other side of those bad times.  Am I wrong?  Do I feel like I am abandoning them?   I am not wrong, I don't think so.  I am not abandoning them either, I'm just not willing to keep going back to the pain of the past or create more pain for myself or anyone else.  


  1. Sad you had to endure this for so long. Is ashame they want you to relive the painful past. Imagine how much better it would be if they would let life move on. You aren't wrong. You have to regardless if they do or not. Hopefully you will inspire them.

  2. You're doing the right thing and true friends will see this. Friends change as we/they grow...