I have to give this an airing, I want to talk about Toxic Friends, where to start because they’re friends you tend to ignore some of their uglier traits, well more so you just get used to them and tune them out when necessary.
There was one particular I shall now call an acquaintance, who came to visit when things were pretty bad for me, and she came she believed with the best intententions to “cheer me up”.
To set the scene I’m homeless taking refuge in another friends spare room, refuge more like festering, imagine walking into a room the curtains are drawn me lying on the bed unwashed, I’d been wearing the same clothes for days the room was hellish and smelled of stale cigarettes and unwashed clothes and there I was in all my glory, defeated, whipped, demoralised, unworthy, feeling sorry for myself barely able to get a coherent thought together.
My acquaintance breezes in like were meeting for lunch plops down on the end of the bed as asks sotto voice”how are you” I can’t even formulate a reply and just sit and stare, now thinking about I just wonder what was going through her mind, obviously she could see all was not well in fact a fucking train wreck.
So she lights cigarettes for both of us and begins to talk about her problems, remember I’ve yet to utter a single word, and she talks and talks and talks for what seems like years her words floating over me evaporating into the stale air, I couldn’t even hear her above the noise in my head just those lips moving only stopping to blow out cigarette smoke.
In the midst of her oration the one thing jumps out at me, she stated that like me she was depressed but unlike me she was trying to get on with things.
And that I really must try harder as there are many people worse off than me.
I had several more visits like this until my guardian angel who gave me a roof told her not to come back as I was ill, I remember standing behind the door quaking listening and all she could say was that she had problems too and we couldn’t all lie in bed wallowing.
Fast forward I can’t even remember most of what she said but she’s been the same for the last twenty or so years that I’ve known her, her emotional intelligence is zero, and not a shred of human empathy resides in her selfish body.
Don’t get me wrong I’m aware that we all have problems and when you’re in that bubble you don’t really have the inclination to think about others, depressions as most of you know is a whole other beast that consumes you body and soul 24\7.
When dealing with the emotionally defunct it’s like standing naked in front of them and they behave like nothing is amiss save their own issues, with others its lack of understanding, or even embarrassment, but with the toxic nothing will stop them being center stage.
To say she brought me down even further is an understatement, from her patronising greeting “how are we today”? never-ending mind crushing battering of my character and look at her, this martyr of “getting on” with things makes want to scream or at the very least throttle her, to her was a failure and now getting my just deserts.
I know it’s a mean thought, but she really did seem to relish my fall as it were, out of the two career wise I’d always been more successful, however she had her opportunities but of course it’s everyone elses fault why things didn’t work out.
As emerged from the fog and began a new assessment of my life I realise with her I’ve been listening to the same thing for years and years, the record got stuck and she beat that drum and then me metaphorically especially when I was powerless to do anything about it.
That’s the other aspect it’s like they sense when you’re at your lowest ebb and come in for the kill and this time she hit the mother lode, for me now I’m glad I got to really see who was even through that haze, because when recovery came so did a new resolve to rid my life of who was toxic and I’m much lighter for it.
However there were many who supported who I have yet to repay for the small and large kindnesses offered to me, and which I learned to accept and will forever be in their debt.