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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 02:13 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

This could potentially be triggering for self harm or eating disorders. I'm not sure. Also, it's really long.

Background: My friend has anorexia, depression, and a self harm addiction. I am recovering from depression and self harm.

Several weeks ago, I realized that she's been holding back my recovery. She doesn't want to get better, and basically wants someone to wallow with. She always says she wants me to recover, but her actions tell a different story. She would always tell me things about her disordered behaviors, like telling me when she cut, or how few calories she ate that day, or her weight loss. I would have been fine with her telling me if she needed help with a problem, or if she had the intent to recover, but she didn't. She just wanted to let me know how sick she is.

I realized how triggering this was, and I talked to her about it. She agreed to change what she shares with me. She got the bit about not telling me weight figures/calorie numbers/etc., but not the whole idea behind it.

We were arguing more and more, and I kept getting more hurt by her. It frustrates me that she's welcoming her eating disorder in, and saying it's an illness, so there's absolutely nothing she can do about it. As I recover, I'm believing more and more that no matter how far you fall, you always have some small choices you can make to set yourself in the right direction. I told her this, and she took it completely personally AND misinterpreted it. She flipped out on me and said I thought it was her fault for getting sick, which is completely false.

We had another argument, and she flung attacks at me while I tried to keep my cool and explain myself. I may have lashed out a couple of times, but I mostly kept what I was saying about my own feelings, rather than blaming her. I told her that I still love her, but I hate her ED, and I can't be in a situation that triggers me. I told her we need to take a break from her friendship.

Since then, she's been even more bitchy and abusive towards me. She posts insulting things all over tumblr, and blames me for her misery, suicidal feelings, and her cutting. It is never acceptable to blame someone else for your self harm. I'm really sorry she's hurting so much, but cutting is her decision, not mine.

I ignored both of her blogs on tumblr, and changed my url so she couldn't find me, but evidently that didn't work. I assumed she couldn't see my blog, so I made a brief post about my feelings. Basically, I said that I couldn't take all this blame, and that I needed to take care of myself and get out of this toxic friendship. I really thought she wouldn't be able to see it.

But she did and posted more crap on tumblr. First, she said she cut, then she posted a triggering picture of the word "toxic" written in blood on her floor. Then, I made a post saying that I wanted to be able to blog honestly about my feelings and that if that hurt her, she should unfollow. She sent me a very long, very emotionally abusive/manipulative text, to which I replied that we're on a break from our friendship and I'd appreciate if she didn't text me.

It sucks because I never wanted to hurt her, but I needed to get out of the triggering situation. Plus, I realized that by listening to her anorexic behaviors and not doing anything about it, I was enabling her. I want to cut off contact with her so we can both sort out our feelings, but the blocking system on tumblr is crap. Also, dance starts up again in July and I'll be forced to see her then. I just don't know what to do.

Last edited by ElsatheDepressionSlayer; June 28th 2013 at 07:58 PM.
   
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Re: Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 02:42 AM

hey Elsa,
I can see how hard this is for you, and how toxic this friendship is, but I also think you're handling it maturely. I think because it's triggering to you, you have the right to step away from a friendship. She's bringing you down and you've made your point but she won't listen. I'd also reinforce the idea that cutting and other destructive behavior is HER choice, not yours which is why it can't be your fault. Also, you've only been caring despite her triggering behaviors towards you and manipulative since you told her it bothered you. Stay strong, and keep taking care of yourself.
   
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Re: Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 02:43 AM

*forgot to add, encourage her to seek professional help.
   
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Re: Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 02:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryffindor94 View Post
*forgot to add, encourage her to seek professional help.
She's already seeing a therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and therapy group. Yet she's still choosing not to recover.
Also, thanks for your supportive reply.
   
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Re: Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 01:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppy-Sized Elephant View Post
She's already seeing a therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and therapy group. Yet she's still choosing not to recover.
Also, thanks for your supportive reply.
wow, I really don't know what to say. It's her choice to want the recovery or not. And she does have the support and resources she needs. I know how scary it can be to recover, so I see why she might feel like resisting, but that's no excuse to her behavior towards you.
   
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Re: Toxic friendship - June 28th 2013, 06:48 PM

The problem is that she is only going to get help if she's ready for help. A part of her might know she wants/needs it, but she just might not be ready to put the effort in. I know that can seem ridiculous when you see someone you love and care about behaving in a harmful and self-destructive way and you can't figure out why they'd *want* to be like that, but usually they don't *want* it, there's just so many factors that'd hold the person back. It's very possible that seeing you get better and seeing you stand up for yourself and asking her to not let her unhealthy behaviour negatively impact you has sent her on a bit of a spree where she's not lashing out at you because she might resent you for getting better when she can't yet. I'm not necessarily correct, but if her mind set isn't the healthiest that seems like a good possibility in my opinion. It's not logical, it's not fair, but it's the kind of thing that happens. All you can really do is ignore her behaviour and block her if possible, contact tumblr and have them do something if need be.

In July when dance starts you'll have to deal with that when it comes. If she starts lashing out then her know that you want to be her friend but her current behaviour is unfair to you and needs to stop and tell her she needs to leave you alone if she's not going to be nice or, at the very least, civil. Tell her your sorry she's hurting but that it's not fair for her to treat you the way she has, and that your sorry for any ways you have negatively impacted the situation. In all honestly, it sounds like you've done fairly well with handling it, but things like your post about her being toxic would be negative by anyones standards, she would probably be upset that you were airing your issues with her for everyone to read, even though she's done no better she probably thinks you should be held to a higher standard since you're supposedly trying to recover and in this case she's very clearly thinking a lot about herself, so she probably thinks nothing of publicly trashing you but finds it unacceptable for people to be doing similar to her, especially if what you said was a little to close to the mark in her mind (as opposed to her comments that seem to be of the malicious, mean and blown out of proportion variation). Yes, you have a right to say what you want and I wouldn't want to be the person who tells you to stamp on something that helps you recover, but from now on I think you might want to consider a more private avenue such as journalling in a notebook when wanting to discuss stuff like that. I know it's not your fault that she's following you around the internet and disrespecting your wish for her to leave you alone, but it is what it is and the internet isn't the most private of all places. It might help the situation is all. At dance if she confronts you just keep cool and calm, don't make accusations, don't discuss it more then you have to and, if you must, have a word with the dance teacher if she's insisting on having some kind of dramatic front about it.




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