5 Warning Signs of a Manipulative Friend

No friendship is perfect. It’s unavoidable to encounter challenges in any relationship, even with the friends whom we feel closest to. Yet in the long run, our best friends should be the people we can trust and feel comfortable with.

When we share history with someone, we tend to overlook things they do that don’t feel right. This feeling of unease settles in us and we continue to ignore it because we’re convinced that our friendship can endure anything. We make excuses for toxic friends, telling ourselves that things will get better. Do they though? In the case of toxic friendships, we are led to believe that someone who is manipulating us is truly on our side. There is a point where you must admit that someone is not as genuine as you once thought they were, and decide how to salvage your friendship or if it is worth saving at all.

It is bittersweet to admit that you must let go of someone, but it is important to know that a manipulative friend isn’t what they pretend to be. Friendships with toxic people are one sided, and staying in these relationships becomes detrimental to your own mental health. If you feel that someone is repeatedly making you feel anxious, exhausted, or stressed, it’s vital to take a closer look at the situation and identify the signs that you may be in a toxic friendship. Some of these may appear to be clear signs, but are often masked underneath lies that manipulators tell. These behaviors may be subtle at first, but persist over time and take a toll on your own happiness.

Before reading, remember that manipulators are experts at hiding these behaviors behind lies. Sometimes, they may even place the blame on you.

1. They Are Overly Controlling or Protective

For many of us, friends are some of the first people we go to for advice. Whether we need someone to talk to about a new career move, a change taking place, or our personal relationships, we can always trust a close friend to be honest with us. However, toxic friends tend to cross the line between caring and controlling. Initially we may perceive this controlling behavior as them being invested in the friendship.

But over time, they will become too controlling and demanding when it comes to your personal life. It is common for a toxic friend to become too involved with your personal life. You may notice them trying to get passwords for your accounts. You might also notice that they need to know details about everyone you talk to. While it is completely normal for a friend to give welcomed, honest advice, it is never healthy for a them to overstep boundaries. A genuine friend will gladly help you make decisions, but will never forcefully make those choices for you. They will allow you to be an independent person, without making you feel poorly about it.

2. They Take Advantage of Your Generosity

A toxic friend will often trick you into providing for them. For money, food, clothes, or any other items that they may ask for.

Toxic friends will make you feel guilty for not giving in to their pleas. They will commonly make an excuses such as “I promise, this will be the last time I ask.” Or say something convincing alone the lines of, “But you’re my friend. Friends are supposed to help each other.” Another typical response is for them to turn the tables on you. If you deny their requests, they could respond with “But I would do this for you”, as another tactic to make you feel empathy for them. It goes without saying- someone who takes advantage of your kindness or generosity is not a true friend.

While stuck in a toxic friendship of my own, I remember my friend constantly scolding me when I did not help them pay for their food. They did not have a job at the time, and knew that I had been working and saving up my money for a long time. So whenever they asked me for some help and I declined their request, they would remind me that I had more saved and that I had a consistent flow on money. Over time I began to believe them, and it took a long time for me to realize that they were make me feel guilty the whole time. While I am always glad to help out a friend, I had to remind myself that it is not my responsibility to provide everything for them.

3. They Disappear When You Need Help For Once

As mentioned previously, these manipulators always seem to be around when they need something from others. They will suddenly start conversations with you or compliment you to lead you to believe they care. But the instant you need a small favor or emotional support in return, they vanish.

You try reaching out to them, but are met with no response. This happens too often to be a coincidence. These friends will continue to bombard you with details about their life asking for support, but lack any empathy when you need a helping hand. They might apologize, but it’s always very insincere. Friendships aren’t about what you get in return. But when a friendship becomes completely one-sided, it’s important to acknowledge that you may be the only one putting in effort.

4. They are Competitive- And They Don’t Like to See You Succeed 

A toxic friend will become bitter if they see you doing well and constantly try to one-up your achievements. They may go about this in subtle ways. Many times it begins with small remarks. They may be lighthearted jokes at first, until their remarks become more and more serious. For example, they might try to downplay your achievements, while constantly drawing attention to their own. When you share something that you are proud of they may ignore your messages, or compare it to one of their own, making you feel like what you did was not an accomplishment.

Toxic friends don’t want to see you doing well, especially if it makes them feel insecure about themselves.

5. You’re Always the One at Fault

You find yourself falling into arguments with this kind of person more often than notThey aren’t playful arguments, nor are they civil discussions about your differences., either. A toxic person always seems to place the blame on you, even for things that are simply out of your control. These people are not capable of admitting then they are at fault for their own mistakes, and as a result they will continuously blame others for their unhappiness.

So, what can you do if you are in a toxic relationship?

The people we share our lives with affect us much more than we think. If someone consistently brings negativity into your life, it’s time to ask yourself the question: should I let go of this friendship?

It’s never easy to exit a friendship, especially when you have created so many memories with someone. However, it’s necessary to draw the line when a friendship begins to hinder your well being. If you sense that a friendship is beginning to cause you more stress than relief you may need to take some time to think about the situation.

It may be wise to confront the friend about the issue and have an honest conversation before jumping to any conclusions. But if this person continues to repeat the same toxic behaviors, you may need to take time away from them or end the friendship entirely.

At the end of the day it is key that we surround ourselves with positive, supportive friends. Friendships are about sharing life with the people who lift you up, not those who drag you down. If it becomes clear that someone is toxic to you, do not let them convince you other wise. Sometimes we must break ties with someone before the relationship takes more energy than it is worth. There’s no reason to feel guilty for taking time off from the things that cause our unhappiness.

Why You Should Open Up About Your Mental Health

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If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, bi-polar or other mood disorders it’s important that you know one thing: it’s much more common than you think. I know how just scary it is to go through this thinking that you are alone, and especially how overwhelming it can become when you feel as though no one will quite understand. I’m here to tell you that there are people out there who understand, and opening up about it to a close friend or family member can be life changing in many ways. Here’s why.

Communication Is Key

Telling your loved one’s what you are going through is vital if you wish for people to understand you and the reasoning behind your actions.

As someone who has dealt with this first hand, I know what it is like to let anxieties damage relationships with family and friends. Many of us tend to isolate ourselves from those we care about, convincing ourselves that they don’t want to be around us before we give them a chance. When a close friend of mine sensed that something was up, I decided that I should open up about my own anxiety before I let it get in the way of an important friendship. I explained that I’ve always dealt with anxiety and that lately it had reached a high.

Doing this allowed them to understand that I wasn’t pushing them away because I didn’t care about them- that it was actually the opposite. They understood that they hadn’t done anything wrong. That sometimes I might feel distant.

Telling someone you know you can trust means they know when to reach out to you when you need it the most. They’ll understand that sometimes you want their support even when you deny it. They’ll also grow to know when you need your space and that you have limitations that they should not push.

Sometimes We Need To Let It All Out

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before I finally gathered the courage to tell a close friend what I had been going through I kept everything balled up inside. Every single anxiety inducing thought and worry was suppressed, leaving me feeling utterly hopeless. The longer I waited to tell someone the more built up. And for the longest time I had convinced myself that I shouldn’t trouble anyone with my worries. I thought that it wasn’t fair to burden others with my problems, that I could just push those negative thoughts and feelings and that it would be all right.

Keeping everything inside isn’t healthy, or will whatever you are dealing with will go away.

Something I learned from opening up about my problems is that talking about them might not fix it, but it may help bring some clarity  and release pent up feelings.

This is always up to you- some of us find it easier to resolve things on our own while others find comfort in seeking advice and sharing.

But what if they look at me differently?

I could lie and say that I am 100% comfortable discussing my experience with mental health and that writing this is easy. But I’m not going to because that is simply not the truth.

My biggest fear before telling those close to me was that they we treat me differently and see me as fragile or weak. Recently I discussed this with a close friend and I discovered something different. They told me that after I told them they were shocked that I was able to function so well. In fact, they said they felt proud knowing that I continued to put myself out there despite the fears holding me back. I was surprised by what my friends told me after I said this. They didn’t think that I was “weak” or “just paranoid” as I thought they would. They understood that my anxiety and depression didn’t define me. I was the same person I always had been- they just knew more about me.

What if you don’t feel ready, or you feel that your family/friends won’t be supportive?

In this situation the best thing you can do is encourage them to do a little research on mental illness- it is amazing how much someone’s perspective can change once they gain more knowledge on the topic. It’s absolutely okay if you want more time, just know that it’s never too late to reach out.

If all else fails and you still feel that they aren’t supportive, know that there is always someone out there who is. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted adult or to the many resources you can find online.

Don’t let your anxiety or depression convince you that you are not worthy of love and support. If there is anything you take from this let it be that you are always worth it and your health should remain your priority. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. It’s up to you how you fight your battle and those who you wish to bring with you.

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“Ashes”

Ashes

the small town she grew up in

became engulfed in dancing flames

memories burnt to ashes

among forgotten names

her heart begged her to run

but something told her to stay

light broke through the dust filled clouds

revealing just who to blame

she spent her life burning bridges

wasting away her worry filled days

and now with nowhere else to go

she had to live with her mistakes.

b.b.

 

For those who regularly read my posts, I have been writing for a year now and want to share some. I enjoy poetry a lot and hope that my words can reach out to others. Background on this poem: I wrote it in a time where my anxiety was at a high and I found a lot of comfort in pouring my words on to paper. Of all of the poetry I have written this one resonates with me because I found a way to create a story using imagery.

Yes, I Have Changed

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You told me that I changed; that you could no longer recognize who I am. You said that with disappointment traced in your voice. I, on the other hand, took it as a compliment.

Looking back at who I was just months ago, I can see how far I have come. We often look at how we change over the years but seem to forgot that we are constantly changing. Each and every day we experience new things, encounter new obstacles, and grow, even if we do not see these small changes at first. And as you grow and change for the better, you may begin to outgrow old habits and old people. Eventually, we reach a point where old relationships and friendships are tested.

I realized that this is the main reason why I am no longer in touch with some people. When I look at my past, I know that I am not nearly as confident or independent as I am now. Although there are still times where I am unsure of myself, I have grown enough to know my own worth and that it is not determined by others. I used to thrive off of approval and recognition, and in this stage of my life was where I met some of my closest friends.

These friends seemed to know that, and took advantage. I was blinded by my love for these friends, so much that I could not see the effect they had on me. I changed because of them- for the worse- and lost touch with what was important to me. Although as time passed while I surrounded myself with toxic people, I had to learn where to draw the line. For a long time, I chose to be around people who were simply not interested in bettering themselves or the world around them.  As I grew out of old habits, they were not pleased with me. They did not like who I was becoming, mainly because it did not fit their ‘criteria’. I began to wonder, why did they not support me? Why did I need their approval? They did not like to see that I was changing.

I grew out of that mentality as I began to focus on myself and my goals, which included being independent. I knew that I could never do so  and from then on I could see the negative impact that those friendships had on me. I can not blame them, but I had to accept that we just did not share the same values. In some ways I grew to be more mature than these old friends and slowly we grew apart. In my time away from toxic relationships, I built better ones where we support each other. These relationships have promoted me to grow and have taught my that the only approval I need is from myself.

Don’t fear change; embrace it. Take each and every experience, every person, and each obstacle as a lesson. You will find yourself flourishing once you finally give yourself the chance to grow.

 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Stop comparing your success to others. If you are proud of yourself and what you have accomplished, then you are doing just fine.

Growing up in an age where everyone’s lives can be posted online with the click of a button, it is difficult to resist comparing ourselves to others. We are constantly reminded of what other people are up to and there seems to be this secret contest of who will become the best. We see young models, celebrities, and other images of success every time go online- this leaves us with a constant feeling of resent when we look back at our own lives, and realize that maybe we can be doing more with ourselves.

What we must not forget is that, some people do have the luxury of being born into wealth, or with more opportunities and resources than others. On the other hand, some people work their way towards wealth, fame, or whatever it may be, and we find ourselves wishing we were at the same level of progress as them. But we can not get caught in the toxic mindset of comparing ourselves to others. we should always remind ourselves that reaching our goals, however big or small they may be, is a journey. Some of the best things take time, and if that means you will encounter a few setbacks along the way, face them with confidence. Face any bumps in the road with your head held high, knowing you will find a way to overcome them.

It is also important to remember that it is okay to have different goals as others! Some people dream of becoming surgeons, or lawyers, or even an actor- some of us dream of a simple lifestyle. It does not matter which path you choose, as long as it leaves you feeling fulfilled and content with your life. It is time that we stop measuring our success and accomplishments with one another. We should all read a point in our lives when we realize that we are enough. The value of our achievements is not determined by what others believe is right- it is determined by what we want for ourselves, and the strength it took for us to get there.

For those of you who have struggled to make it, I hope you know that you are strong. If you have been working hard to better yourself and reach your goals, be proud of yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

What Makes Us Who We Are.

We all reach times in our lives where we are tested for our breaking points. It can be when we are thirty or when we are as young as thirteen, but for me, that was at a very young age and it changed my perspective on life forever.

When I was exposed to violence at such a young age I felt like part of my childhood was ripped from my hands and I could not take it back. I recalled the years I spent growing up and how early I was forced to adapt to the world around me.

Often times I would take pity on myself, wondering why others could live such simple lives. I wished that I had the same things that they had, because I thought that maybe if I had grown up in a better environment that I would have better opportunities.

It took time for me to realize that I was looking at my life from the wrong perspective. I spent so long dwelling on what I did not have that I failed to see what was right in front of me. That the experiences I had starting from a young age pushed me, revealing qualities of me that I would never have discovered if it were not for that push.

I have grown enough to know that where I grew up, the people in my life, and what I have experienced are what makes me who I am. Everything that has happened and everyone who I have allowed into my life have shaped me in ways I can not begin to explain. I may resent the challenges that I faced growing up but I can take pride in who I have become. They have led me on a path of discovering my own strengths and weaknesses, where I am meant to be.

We are not defined by our past failures, nor the challenges we may face in life. Although we are forever defined by the choices we make to overcome them. That is what makes us who we are.

Letting Go

“Sometimes, I catch myself smiling at the mere thought of you. More and more I can see myself changing and it’s all for the better. That’s what good people do. They heal you.”

Before I knew my worth, I was drawn to toxic friends. I would cling on to old friendships for the glorified memories rather than the truth. I was afraid to let go because if I did, where would I turn to? I thought that maybe it was better to stay safe. Only the the truth is that these people were toxic to me. They were unhappy with themselves and so they chose to inflict the same feelings upon me; they would take advantage of me for my kindness and manipulate my emotions.In time where I did not know that I deserved better,  I chose people who did not choose me.

I urge you to be courageous and let go of these toxic, manipulative relationships. It is one of the hardest things for you to let go of people you have known for so long. We tend to look back at the few good times, but we can’t forget the times when they were not there for us. Letting go of unhealthy relationships a step we all must take if we ever wish to rise above.

Let go. Choosing to surround myself with positive people was the best choice I have ever made. I can now say that I have friends who are always there, support me, and want nothing but the best for me. You deserve it, too.