When friendships become toxic

I recently cut ties with my closest friend and I really just want to talk both about why I did it and about friendships that put a strain on your mental health and why it’s sometimes necessary to end them. Before I start, this is not a slander post, nor is it written out of any kind of anger. I still have a lot of love for this girl but unfortunately our friendship got to a negative point, at least on my side, and I just felt it needed to end for both our sakes.

I actually hadn’t known this girl for very long, we were friends for maybe a couple of years, but I have really never been as close to someone in my life the way I was with her. We were both pretty depressed and in shitty situations when we first met, and I think we found comfort in each other. As time went on, our situations got better and it was a really beautiful thing to witness, to watch ourselves try to climb out of the depressive holes that we had been trapped in. I got out, and I am still working on staying out, but as time went on she slowly started to sink back in.

I don’t know what it was but I feel like that’s the point where our friendship started to deteriorate. I was hell-bent on never feeling what I had felt for so long after I had finally seen what it was like when you reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Having her around me gave me constant flashbacks. This was in no way her fault. I stuck around because she was still my friend and I wanted to help her and I thought that since I had suffered from depression myself I at least had some experience. But I am not a professional, and I started to realize I also didn’t have the emotional strength and capacity to help her in the way that she needed to be helped. But I thought I was the only person that could help her, who was the only one who knew the whole story and I thought that she was alone and had no one and that she needed me.

And then I realized that I was thinking too highly of myself. What on earth made me believe that I was the only person who could help her? Why did I think I was so special? Depression isn’t something that you just snap out of; it’s something that you heal out of. You can’t force people to heal themselves or speed it up for your own comfort and convenience.

The only thing I regret is how our friendship ended. Not because of how either of us conducted ourselves but because she thinks it was over a singular, insignificant thing; and that wasn’t the case at all. It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Before I ended it, I asked myself “am I doing this because I’m angry or because I’m genuinely done?” I have a long history of doing things out of anger and then regretting them after. So I thought about it long and hard. I told myself I would wait until the next time she contacted me and then I would make up my mind. Thankfully, she gave me a couple of days. I spent that time asking myself over and over again if there was any chance I was really going to end up regretting this. She was one of the only people I have ever let get that close, and such a short space of time too, I didn’t want to end up in that place where I sever ties, regret it, and then not be able to come back out of embarrassment. In the end I came to the conclusion that it was time to let go.

The anger has faded since, I haven’t missed her, and I don’t think I will. I do however still think she’s a wonderful, kind, intelligent, soft-hearted person and I wish her the best and all of the success in the world. And I mean that.

Some friends are only meant for certain phases in your life and sometimes you just start going in different directions or you’re in different phases in your life at different times and no longer connect the way you used to; that’s what happened to us.

I no longer identified with her and found comfort in her company the way I did before. Our friendship was no longer a source of joy, comfort, and solidarity for me, it had start to feel like a chore and it made me resent her because I didn’t want to feel that way about our friendship and I didn’t want to resent her either. Our friendship had become both emotionally draining and triggering. And none of that is on her, it’s on me. I am not mentally or emotionally equipped to deal with a relationship like that. But I’m glad I acknowledged that when I did because it allowed me to cut the cord before it turned ugly. It needed to end when it did, and I feel like I was doing us a favor; because both of us deserved better.

I’m entering a new chapter in my life, probably the biggest one so far, and I don’t want or need anyone – friend or otherwise – because I want my sole focus to be on me. I guess I’m finally entering my selfish twenties; I’m completely unapologetic about it. In fact, I’m glad. It’s time to take care of myself, I don’t want to, nor do I have to the time to take care of anyone else. And to be quite honest, I don’t think I could even if I wanted to.

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