Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

What Do I Do About a Toxic Friend?

A few weeks ago, a Beyond Blue reader asked me what to do regarding a toxic friendship. She wrote:


I’m in the process of dealing with a toxic friend. She is broken, in a different sort of way. We no longer have anything in common except for the past. Her relationship is highly destructive for me…I do not know how to handle it. She’s narcissistic and very much a user. Help!

I brought up the question on a discussion thread on Group Beyond Blue. And here’s what folks had to say:


Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing….move on…sometimes people need to be alone to figure out what is wrong in their life. I know sitting with myself taught me how to fix me…I gave my friend books and told her about meetings and it only made her mad.. so I just don’t call. And when she calls I listen…I don’t give advice…so she can listen to herself…..sometimes that’s all they need….My friend is still lost….I’ve done all I can…–Hpower1

In my experience, once I have an idea of what another person is dealing (or not dealing) with, I can separate the “real person” from the “sick person”. It gives me a way to stay sane in working with that person, knowing that the behavior that is bothersome or offensive isn’t truly coming from that person, but from their illness.


In the words of a Gospel song, the other person may need us to “look beyond their fault and see their need”. Not necessarily the expressed need, but the true need. It can be hard to look past what they’re *saying* is their need to the deeper stuff that’s going on. –Weeble75

I read the thread with great interest, because, as many of you know, this is a topic I struggle with and have discussed on Beyond Blue.


A few months back I let go of an important friendship in my life because I realized that our bond was rooted in my woundedness. That is, my intense connection with her wasn’t about intimacy or respect or fellowship as much as it was an opportunity for me to enact the role of the wounded child.

After much grief and suffering … and after six cycles of an unmistakable dysfunctional pattern, I finally distinguished the destructive dance of pursuit and withdrawal that was going on in our relationship.

I would reach out to her with (what I regarded as) an act of kindness … like sending a meaningful gift with a heartfelt card of encouragement. I wouldn’t hear anything in response, which hurt my feelings, So, feeling rejected, I would start to withdraw, at which point she would start to pursue me again.


I finally put the childhood piece of the puzzle together – duh! – when my sister an I were talking about the details of my parents’ dysfunctional marriage and bitter divorce.

“Did you know that for two years before Dad officially left Mom, he would leave for two weeks at a time, and she’d have no idea where he was?” my sister explained to me recently over the phone. I sort of half-consciously knew this. I remember my mom always waiting for my dad to come back.

So somewhere in there I learned that when someone leaves you or rejects you or abandons you, you keep on asking and pleading for them to return.

In this unhealthy friendship of mine, I began to recognize the childhood crap all over again … wanting so badly my friend’s attention … because I couldn’t be whole or complete without it. By pursuing her and practically forcing her to take notice of me, I was trying to heal the wounded child in me that feels so rejected. My “acts of kindness” weren’t, in fact, so generous. They were done in manipulation, to provoke a response. And when I didn’t receive the right response, I walked away angry, hurt, and bitter.


That’s not an unconditional friendship.

That’s manipulation.

That’s a girl very much wanting to heal the wounds of her childhood.

Maybe one day I will be able to be friends with this person. If our friendship can be life-giving, not life-draining. But lots of healing needs to happen before that is possible, before I know myself as fully loved, as spiritual author Henri Nouwen explains:

When you know yourself as fully loved, you will be able to give according to the other’s capacity to receive, and you will be able to receive according to the other’s capacity to give. You will be grateful for what is given to you without clinging to it, and joyful for what you can give without bragging about it. You will be a free person, free to love.


Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue! And click here to follow Therese on Twitter. And click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Chris Edgar

    Thanks for this — I think your story illustrates how important it is for us to look at our own roles in creating the “toxic relationships” we’re in. It’s easy for us to label another person as “toxic” but that denies our own responsibility for how we relate with them — how we agree to be “used” by them, how we withhold our anger at them, and so on.

  • Nancy

    Thank you,Therese~I’m the one who originally wrote about the toxic friend problem. I haven’t had any contact with her since then…today is her birthday, do I send a greeting or not? I don’t know what the healthy thing to do is in this situation. Should I just let it pass?

  • undefined

    Nancy, If it were me, I would let her birthday pass. You have, in essence, “broken up” with her. Consider her as an ex-boyfriend…do you send birthday greetings to all of them? Probably not, you might remember them fondly or not, but then move on about your day. If you two are meant to be friends, eventually you will be again. But for now I would take a break from the relationship.

  • in the same boat

    I have been in this situation also. I have a friend I had some classes with in college. She read into the friendship more than I did. She became as my husband called her my stalker. I finally had to confront her and tell her the friendship is over. I still get emails from her occasionally and she has trashed me to several joint friends. Those that know me know the person I am and that she is.
    I would not acknowledge her birthday or existance for that matter. Some friendships need to end and don’t always end well.

  • Nancy

    Thanks for your responses…I was leaning towards that way. It’s just not a “natural” thing for me to do. But then again, I have many natural UNHEALTHY things I need to stop doing!!! Slowly, with the help of my doctor, I’m coming to terms with myself! Can anyone really be “whole”?

  • gin73

    I think sometimes these issues are no deeper than that people have different views on friendship and intimacy. I think people from close knit families have less of a need for close friendships and people who come from distant families feel the need for more intimacy in thier friendships. I don’t think that makes either party sick or “toxic”.

  • Your Name

    I think sometimes these issues are no deeper than that people have different views on friendship and intimacy. I think people from close knit families have less of a need for close friendships and people who come from distant families feel the need for more intimacy in thier friendships. I don’t think that makes either party sick or “toxic”.

  • Your Name

    How wonderful that you figured out “what motivated you” to deal with your friend. Abuse comes in many forms- from different people or places. My definition of abuse “anything that hurts us or makes us compromise ourselves and core values” We would never drink poison- so, I think removing toxic people from our lives is as simple as making a healthy choice “to live”. We all deserve loving relationships and to be cared for. Good luck to you. :)

  • Judy

    I don’t really believe we need to put labels on it like toxic people. I look at it as, my life is a journey and at certain points in my life people enter as well as people leave. It took me many years to get to this theory. I used to believe that when people left my life that there was something about me that was wrong,but that is just a lie I told myself. I also know that not everyone in this world is going to like me, and there are things I do that turn people off and that is okay. Just wanted to share my two cents worth. Peace

  • http://Narcissism Jane

    I ended a 50 year friendship last year because I realized the friendship was just a place for my friend to boast and that we were friends so long because I never expected anything from her — including a simple hello at her daughter’s bridal shower.

  • http://pochp.wordpress poch

    Anything that is negative will continue to effect negatively until you confront it and put it to stop.

  • Debra

    I just read what Jane said & feel SO MUCH better. I recently ended a 30 friendship because I got sick of our “friendship” always being about her. It was also ‘a place for her to boast’. I’ve been for years her poor relative. It ended badly & I handled the whole thing poorly & for that I’ve been asking God for forgiveness. However, I’ve have also been asking Him for counsel regarding whether or not I’m doing the right thing by ignoring her attempts to reconnect. I’ve seen what I thought were indications of the Lord telling to stay away, leave it alone, it’s done & Jane’s comment just reconfirmed that.
    Thank you, Jane!

  • http://Friend Shelly

    I have had to end a long time friend as well all we had in common was the past and when ever she needed something she would call me and only tell me what I wanted to hear and then she would call me to only talk bad about me and my family knowing hers was not any better but I didnt feel it was my place to tell her so I took the abuse. And now I just leave her alone I dont call her and hope some day she will realize it.

  • http://abandonedfriend Anonymous

    My bestfriend husband sexually assaulted me a month before their wedding. She sided with him and married him anyway. I withdrew as the matron of honor and we haven’t spoke to her since. I’m so hurt and frustrated. Any advice anyone?

  • Cindi

    I too have had toxice friends as well as relationships and I have finally learned that you cant MAKE someone chanege; so I simply keep this rule in my life..if the person sucks the life from you and they are only there for them selves, then I say be positive or be gone! some say it sounds so cold but seriously, when someone drags you down or keeps YOU negative..not a goos thing I listen, say a prayer for them and then, when they get tooo negative..I walk hangs on my front door…”NO NEGATIVITY ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT; BE POSITIVE OR BE GONE”..much easier to live that way then the must always count our Blessings and keep moving on, never stand stagment..cause then the devil can catch up with you before ya know it!! stay strong and keep your faith just as strong..God Bless

  • Tinkerbell

    I have had toxic friendships for the last 30 years and there was a certain person that just wouldnt leave me alone. I just got over a horrible marriage and from the abuse both emotional and mental I was trapped within myself. I was constantly being the victim of others people’s treachery. It took me 6 years to get away from this toxic marriage and took control of my life. I lost 100lbs and went to complete my veternarian technician degree. When I was starting to get on with my life and thru faith able to deal with a lot of issues one of them was my self esteem.
    This certain toxic friend became very dangerous to be around because she was not happy with the changes I was going thru. When I met a wonderful man she was not happy and went after him trying to savatoge this relationship. Sending him over 7 email writing everything from she starts off small but once you with her she will blow up tp 265 lbs again. She was not happy with anything I was doing not even when I was offered a job from my course and I was so happy.
    When I found out what this toxic friend was doing to my boyfriend I sent her an email telling her that things were revealed to who she really was. She sent me 27 emails calling me everything from fat cow, to emotional basketcase, to anything else she could and then sent these to my boyfriend.
    I changed my life right then and there by not talking to her not answering her and not associating with anyone she knew. I am still with my wonderful fiance now and we have put all our toxic friendship aside and with faith we endured.
    I just wanted to share so maybe others who have similiar friendships can learn from others that they are not worth the pain and never give them the power to make you feel LESS THAN WHAT AND WHO YOU ARE.

  • Scared

    My toxic friends are my family. What should I do?

  • Gloria

    I am a movie and TV person. I was watching a movie on the Disney channel with my grandchildren, The Princess Diaries, and heard one line that stuck with me.
    The only way a person can make you feel inferior, is with your permission.
    I have tried to keep this in mind in all my associations. Along with my faith in God and Myself this has helped me tremendously.

  • Tinkerbell

    Dear Scared
    Take control of your life as best you can and then walk away from it all. Find a way, pray for guidance and the strength to endure, and with this realization that they are toxic you have started the first step to changing your life. Once you ELIMINATE THE TOXICITY OF THOSE RELATIONSHIPS you take away their control from you! Never be scared of who you are, what you think and where you feel you belong.

  • Your Name

    I had to end a relationship of 47 years with a childhood friend who over the years became more and more self-destructive in a passive-agressive way. I has cost me everything I had, my credit rating, and a lot of friends, but I find the overall peace of mind is amazing. She had to block out bad things from her childhood, because she refused to deal with them, and it took over her life. She did the opposite of whatever the doctor told her; then she expected me to fill in all the missing pieces of her life. It is sad, but the girl that I knew was lost in an envious, destructive woman that I could not help.
    Since then I have not heard from her. She undoubtedly made up some terrible story about me with her as the hapless victim to her family and few remaining friends, but I have worked my way to peace with it… accepting the things I cannot change, but being free of the vampire quality of the relationship.
    Letting go is really letting God, and not looking back.
    Good Luck, Linda

  • Bettyboo

    I have a sister that has been married for over 30 yrs and she is very judgmental about everything and everybody. She wants to no all your business who, what, why, how come, that doesnt make sense etc. But when it comes to her and her family everything is a secret and it cannot be discussed. She has no female freinds at all, the only person she talks to all the time is our Mother, and my mother has changed her thinking and is not negative like she used to be, she goes to church, and read her bible daily. My sister is getting on my mother’s nerves and I would like to no how to you deal or approach a person like this without having to fight?

  • ginger

    i too totally understand about toxic friends. but what do you do when its your kids that are sucking the life from you. my kids dad was very toxic to me and i left him with three girls after thirteen years. my girls ages were 13, 6,and 3years old when i left him. i never kept them from seeing him ever. i went thru the court system and he got all holidays as my ex would say its my punishishment for leaveing him so my kids really dont like the holidays at all. i never let the kids see that it hurt me. i always was a happy person with my kids and i still am. it was hard but all of my girls have graduated from high school and now they each have a one child of there own. but the problem is they dont share the grand kids with me and that hurts the worst. they dad died nov 19th,2004 i took care of him before he died. but him dieing at thanksgiving has just made things worse. i love my girls but i have had to just pull away. does anyone have any sugestions on copeing with your toxic kids and keeping your grandkids from becomeing toxic too.

  • shirley

    I have a sister that I have not spoken to in about 4 years. I have tried to send her a birthday card through email,but she won’t answer me. So I am really thinking that she does not want to have me in her life. So I will just work on fixing myself and going on with my life. I am struggling with that everyday, but I know with the Lord’s help and family that I will get through this and it will make me that much stronger. Thanks for listening

  • Tired of Fixing

    I have a toxic friend also, who is currently sucking the life out of me and I am letting her. We met about a year ago as neighbors. She was coming out of a depression and I was entering mine. I thought she could be a great source of support because she knew from experience what i was going through. It was fine in the beginning, but then things changed. She “checked out” of her life and began having inappropriate sexual relationships with men she would meet on the internet. She became obsessed with living in a fantasy world with one particular man who was engaged to be married. Everything she was doing at this point went far beyond what i considered to be morally right. She was in total denial of any wrong doing on her part and her family and friends (including me) suffered a great deal. Things have finally ended with him in a bad way and now i find myself still trying to council her and make her feel better. She has finally realized that everything i have been telling her since the beginning was the truth, but what i want to know is this: Why is it so important to me to council her on her terrible problems when i have so many of my own that i get no help from anybody with? Why do i feel like i have to be the one who has to try to “fix” everybody elses problems? Is it a need for approval that i never got as a child? I am tired of being a fixer for other people. I need to learn how to fix my own problems and not look to other people for help. I have been let down so many times by people that i thought would be a positive influence in my life and they have just left me high and dry. I have put myself out so many times with nothing in return from anyone. Whey do i continue this destructive cycle and how do i make it stop?

  • Marsha

    I’ve had this type of relationship with my sister-in-law. I wondered why I always felt so drained whenever I spent time with her. I t was very difficult for me to tell no thank you when she invited me for dinner. But I knew it had to be done to save myself.

  • Your Name

    There is no getting away from toxic people, and it was a huge AH! moment for me when I realized I was as toxic to some people, as they were to me. I also came to understand that many of my relationships were forged out of “like pain.” We are attracted to people who are on the same level of emotional pain as our self. This explained why my relationships were so dysfunctional: marriage, best-friends, family relationships, etc. I was in pain! As I learned to heal from the wounds of my past, which by the way is a choice, my relationships changed and healed also.
    25 years ago I read the book Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer and reading it was like having someone take the blindfold off my eyes – I could see the problems, not just feel them. If you can see it – you can fix it. The topic of this book is centered around understanding your personality strengths, weaknesses and emotional needs. If these needs aren’t met, they turn into cravings and cravings never lead us to healthy habits or relationships.
    I realized that one of my deepest desires is to have fun, only I married “Mr. No Fun.” Opposites attract and then attack! I thought about walking out of the marriage, only it wasn’t fair to my kids, he wasn’t a bad guy, just – no fun. So, I learned how to add the emotional needs into my life and guard them. I now pencil fun into my schedule and if my husband wants to join me he can, but he isn’t allowed to be a wet blanket, or he won’t be invited again – this plan has worked for us along with setting up other boundaries in our relationship (We have just turned over 33 years of marriage).
    You can’t get away from toxic people, but you can learn to deal with them by understanding how their personality is wired up. Building relationships is like cooking – it’s a messy business if you don’t have the right tools.

  • LilyKay

    It is me who is the toxic friend. ME_ME_ME!!!
    What do I do?

  • Your Name

    Toxic people are very difficult to deal with. Jesus dealth with toxic people many times in the New Testament. He shared with them and then moved on, refusing to wallow with them in their toxicity. We can always pray for them and we should. But for our own peace of mind, we should not interact with them in their illness. This is a situation that occurs in church settings with the family of God also. This is a difficult thing to handle as many of the toxic people in the church are in leadership positions. If you cannot handle the negative feelings that come with these aberrant behaviors, it is probably best to find another church and sever all ties with these dysfunctional people. I had to do this in the Church that I grew up in when there were two church members, a minister of music and a little young squirt treated me like I was a piece of gum on the shoe of life. I left the church, angry and upset. Then I realized that I was okay and it was them that had this problem. Jealousy is a terrible thing expecially in God’s house

  • Helen

    Th article may not be helpful with the case you descbed to me, but this a good site.

  • Larry Parker

    It’s pretty well known on Beliefnet that I had a toxic friend for almost 2 decades who I finally “broke up with” about 10 years ago — just after my second suicide attempt at age 30. He was the only individual to have a role in both of my suicide attempts, the first at age 13 — which, if you think about it, is about as “toxic” as it gets.
    But I agree with the first commenter that it takes two to have a toxic friendship. With the chaos in my own life, I craved the attention (even negative) from someone who is an Internet gazillionaire, with a perfect wife and perfect life, whom I happened to have grown up with.
    Of course, he verbally abuses his perfect wife mercilessly and has substance abuse problems to go along with all that money and power.
    I finally wrote him a letter — and sent it to him. He said he didn’t understand what he had done wrong — or, if he had done anything to me, he couldn’t remember. Which only made me realize he hadn’t understood or remembered anything about the previous 20 years.
    Ultimately his loss, not mine.

  • Your Name

    I also want to say something about this topic. I kind of have the same situation with my friend as well. It’s become the time when me and my friend don’t get along well anymore. We’ve both changed and are going through times of our life where there’s lots of confusion and pain, and it makes me sad that I don’t know how to communicate w/ her anymore. I don’t know how to share myself or how I’m feeling w/ her, it’s almost as if hanging out is not even fun anymore, because we’re both depressed and feel pain in our lives. I figured the best way for us to heal our friendship is for us to look within ourselves and to fix ourselves before we can fix our friendship again. I also agree, that it takes 2 to create a toxic friendship.

  • Your Name

    Thank you to the Your Name who suggested the book Personality Plus. I will definitely check this out. To lilykay, I want to say I know the feeling! I felt toxic, too. But, if you are able to identify it in yourself, you are on your way to healing. Just move in the direction that feels right! To Your Name (who mentioned the above book) and Scared I want to say that you CAN separate from toxic families. I have just done that myself. It took a lot of agonizing years and self-hatred but finally the pieces all came together very recently when I took my father to the doc and realized then that he was alcoholic. When I heard him tell the doc his situation but dance around his drinking, I suddenly realized that this had been my fear, too, all these years, saying the truth. So, I used the term then and do every day now as I heal. It has sealed my fate in the family. I am ostracized. But, for the first time ever I can live w/myself and my truth. I feel whole.
    LOL. But, life doesn’t end there. Oh no! What do I do with myself now? HA! This will be the struggle of the NEXT 40 years! :)

  • Cher Potts

    I am taking a break from a 28 year friendship. I love my friend dearly and have always enjoyed being around her. About 3 years ago she started a relationship with a severely bipolar man that refuses to admit his problem or deal with it. My friend has gone from a a very strong minded person into someone that I don’t recognize. She has become defensive, irritable, sensitive, paranoid and irrational. It’s almost like she is taking on the symptoms of her boyfriend. He verbally and mentally abuses her to the point that it makes me sick to hear about him at all. I tried to share with her that I am finally overcoming my past and enjoying the first healthy relationship that I’ve ever had and she became very resentful and stopped talking to me. When I confronted her, she lied and avoided the truth and blamed all her problems on me. I’ve decided that she needs to be on her own and figure it all out by herself. I can no longer put all my effort into rescuing someone that seems to like the misery. In the mean time I’ve accomplished projects that I’ve put off for years and finally have the chaos gone from my home. I never realized how much I catered to her. Needless to say my husband is very happy to have his wife back tending to the family instead of always rescuing my friend from her drama. My wish is that she sees the light and kicks this guy to the curb before it destroys her. And that she stops resenting me for getting my life on track.
    Cher in Wasilla, Alaska

  • mjs

    What do you do when your husband (over 50) really enjoys the shock factor with our friends about sexual topics and seemingly agrees with their anything goes sexual attitudes? He really has a bond with an older friend who has an anything goes attitude. I have had my moments trying to be what he wanted, (I take full responsibility for my behavior)… but these friends whom I love as God’s children ….their behavior…actions are offensive to me…I do not judge them though I disagree with their behavior and language….I am constantly dodging bullets to pull me into situatons…I know if I start not going over there, my husband will continue too..He does not believe in God, neither do these friends… I do not want to do anything that will turn them further away from God ….I feel so dirty when we are around their behavior….I love my husband and do not want to do anyhing that would drive him further away from an oppertunity to know Jesus as his savior….as well as our friends….people have been hurt enough by piaity, judgement, and holier than thou attitudes by others that call themselves Christians. I feel like I am in a mine field…
    Your insight would greatly be appreciated.

  • Your Name

    I was in a very toxic relationship this person was narcissistic. It was always his way. But, I love him very much. I found some good qualities in him depsite the toxicity. We both have issues in fact everybody has issues. I am ready and willing to work on my issues. He was not he was prefect he had NO issues, but he did. Iam now working through my issues with much success. All I can do is work on me. If by chance he wants a relationship with me than we can work on it together, it takestwo willing people. I sent him a birthday card he asked me why did I do that? I spent three in a half years with this person what was wrong with me sending him a birthday card?

  • Holly L

    I also have had a similar issue with a family member. Our relationship began great, or so I thought, but she was secretly hating me for “taking away her family” and became jealous of the relationships I was developing (I am an in-law) I tried to contact her to tell her that sometimes when she says something it made me uncomfortable and/or hurt my feelings. I did this despite warnings from my husband and other family members. I should have listened because a huge arguement insued and we have not really talked since which makes it VERY awkward at family functions. Some of my family has seemed to “side” with her and others with me. It frustrates me that this individual is always involved in ANY problems in the family yet NO ONE in the family will force her to realize how desctructive her negative thoughts and actions are. It seems to me that there can and will be no peace until this individual realizes she can be manipulative and no matter what her background is, we must learn to adjust and move on. It has taken me a good 2 years to not “hate” her anymore and I have to admit, I have my days. Days when I know she is delibrately broadcasting falsehoods to make me look bad to my inlaws (i’ve even presented proof to my inlaws that shows how the truth was twisted yet still no one assigns fault to this individual!)
    I have finally been able to move on but it took TIME and a lot of going to church to find my peace and self confidence again. Other family relationships that had been effedtive when this all took place have never been the same but I’ve come to accept that. I know who I am, I know that God loves me, and I know that I am a great person! I have chosen to use this negative experience in my life and apply it in a postive manner. I am currently going to school to become a nurse, going to specialize in psych.
    thank you for allowing me to vent this to the board. sometimes that’s all that is needed. I do believe that God doesn’t want us to turn away from individuals who need our help. I also believe that God does not want us to become to involved with those who can damage us. That’s how I know Im on the right track, it gets hard. The devil will use toxic friends to slow us down from reaching the true potential God wants us to be!

  • Guess Who

    Dear MJS,
    I believe you are on the right path by not judging. The word states that we are to live in the world and not be of the world. If you feel very strongly about being around their behavior, perhaps you should tell your husband. Tell him you don’t feel comfortable and would like to not be involved every time he visits with them.
    That way you are removing yourself and not judging them or your husband. Of course pray about it before having the conversation for guidance.

  • Your Name

    For sanity, there are those I simply had to put on “call block”.

  • Linnea

    I’ve known people in my life who fix broken relationships by walking away. I’m not saying this was your choice,Therese. I think there are ways a person can maintain an important connection while setting boundaries. Oftentimes this is tough,I know. It can be learned,however,and should if possible . My example is my brother,who while I do understand his need to protect himself,walked away from a relationship with his only sister,me. I had an addiction to alcohol which caused disfunction he couldn’t handle. Now while it may seem that I’ve answered the puzzle;that’s why he left,of course it’s never that easy. He was out of my life for 13 years. I never knew where he was all that time. Never thought I’d see him again. He got cancer,then contacted me through an attorney. We were able to communicate again but my brother was disappointed because the relationship was not what he wanted. i had a tough time connecting to a stranger even though he was my brother and terminal. I feel sad about this. When he left,I also had a 2 year old son with whom he never regained a relationship. So,before deciding to cut someone off,think seriously about possible ramifications for the future. My brother has days to live. He has a wife and baby whom I just met. His wife is angry at me for not giving more. I’ve no more to give at this point. God bless, Linnea

  • Your Name

    I have a toxic friend who I think secretly hates me. I think she’s jealous of me because of things I have that she doesn’t have. She’s completely self-absorbed, lacks emotional maturity, doesn’t take responsibility for her actions, refuses to grow up, uses people, lies or tells half truths, creates constant drama in her life and seeks constant attention.
    Every 6 months, she gets involved with another inappropriate man and when it all falls apart, she wants everyone to rush to her side with support. However, when my fiance and I broke up last summer, and I reached out to her, she wasn’t there. She’s self-centered to the point that if it’s not about her, she isn’t interested.
    I think it’s important to set boundaries with toxic people and in this case, that means I need to stop contacting her. If she calls me, I can listen without offering advice. I don’t need to draw a line in the sand. I don’t need to make a stand. It doesn’t have to be black or white. I can just quietly keep my distance. Nothing I say is going to make her change. If there comes a time when I’m really needed, then I can be there, but under my own terms. But in the meantime, I need to keep myself safe from this person, who is in actuality just using me when she needs me.
    What makes me mad, is that our mutual friends don’t see this. It makes me wonder if they’re stupid or seriously co-dependent. This person is a negative, energy drain. But I’ve been counselled that I just need to trust my own judgment and let them do what they want. Live and let live. Let go and let God. I look forward to the day when this person no longer rents space in my head and I’m trying to do what I can to make that happen.

  • John Peters

    I have a long time friend who keeps perverted thoughts out loud to me. At times this makes me uncomfortable. He also talks about all the bad things from my past. Never anything of his past, always my past everytime we get together with him and his wife. He claims I taught him all the bad ways from past; not looking at the new me, a new creation In Christ, the old has past away. I’m not saying ‘perfect’ myself, for we are all sinners and we all fall short to the glory of God. Every time I try to talk to him spirituality, he just laughs and says he is perfect. What does one do when a toxic person such as this says rude and belittling words to you? Seems like the words of inspiration are thrown back in czarism to you to belittle one who is speaking God’s Word of truth. I have another friend who lives in Florida, he to has a one track mind. I’ve sent some inspirational thoughts to him as well. For someone who is his 90’s , his thoughts are still perverted of this world. What can one say or do with this friend ? JDP

  • Nancy

    As I read the Sept 21 entry, I thought: that’s my toxic friend! I’m the person whom Therese quotes in this article…My toxic friend’s motto is “it’s all about me”. It makes my skin crawl when I think of how un-Christian such an attitude is and how hurtful it is to others. Unlike you, I do have to see it as black and white. I have to close the door completely on this person as a friend because I do not have the skills to handle her. I always get caught up in her drama. For now anyway, I have to stay out of her path. But I do have a problem: how does one stop obsessing over the pain and hurt and humaneness of it all? It haunts my mind.

  • journey2009

    A while back, a friend of mine shared a term with me. This term was to describe certain people who sought (consciously or not) to drain the life force from others, via manipulation, victim-mentality, or putting forth feelings with all sorts of strings attached. She called this sort of person a “qi (aka chi) vampire.” It seemed fitting. If we use our intuitions, we can sense these sort of intentions fairly soon after meeting someone.
    Once I realized that my own family dysfunction gave birth to my need to rescue others, and to become trapped in co-dependency, then part of the puzzle was solved. The river called De-Nile became less deep, and I had to work on myself. My own limitations, judgements, and harsh self criticism.
    As we remain healthily detached, and still show compassion, this is key. This is not an easy task, especially for women, who are sociologically geared towards helping. The healthily-detached path may end up garnering less “friends”, and a bit more solitude, but your spirit will soar.

  • Your Name

    to respond to the toxic friendship or the sept 21 thread…and all other posts listed below about the above…i’m truly inspired and appreciate your words of wisdom; i do not feel alone now …going thru this blk and white relationship…i, too, have found that it is w/ me that i have to learn to love myself and not be so self critical and set healthy boundaries…i’m praying for peace as i have been counselled as well that this is normal to feel pain and hurt for some time…for now i hold you in my prayers and myself that we can continue our lives w/o toxic people to rent space in our head…i have no regrets walking away.R

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.