Why no one talks about abusive friendships

My first experience with abuse was witnessing my parents relationship and eventually my dad to my older brother. Often when you are a child witnessing others being abused; it is difficult to notice it happening to yourself. It becomes second nature to internalise worries, because the bigger picture is more chaotic than day to day, normal problems.

The funny thing about growing up is behaviours and mentalities stick and at the time you don’t have the capacity to differentiate between flawed, learned behaviours and self-preservation.

Ad campaigns surrounding domestic abuse and intermittent partner violence are prevalent in today’s society but what about less obvious relationship abuse? People don’t speak about abusive friendships because the majority of the time they don’t realise they are in one. Abuse doesn’t have to be constant physical battering from a partner, it can come in the form of emotional manipulation from a friend.

The purpose of a friend is to mutually respect, help and support each other through good times and bad. With abusive friends, you make allowances for them based on love and respect for your friendship, something that is not always reciprocated.

You become accustomed to the treatment that you allow yourself to continuously be hurt by the same person, they just aren’t in the form of an angry partner waving their fist in your face.

You find yourself unable to cut contact with them, feelings of overwhelming guilt for not messaging.

The stage after realisation is deciding on your next move. Stop making all the effort, stop expecting the same back in all your friendships. Stop caring what people think of you and believe in your own nature. A friend of mine told me that by reducing contact with people who treat me badly I am able to devote more time and effort to the people who bring positivity and love into my life.

You may be the bad guy in their story but learn to able to politely ‘leave the table when respect is not being served.’ The people with potential to hurt you, hold at arms length. This way you don’t have to completely drop someone you care about, instead you can preserve your own peace. The key for me is reminding myself that I am good to people.

Learn to focus your attention on the people who undoubtedly love and support me no matter what.

Be unapologetic for your decisions to protect yourself; you don’t owe anyone your time, you don’t owe anyone anything but what they give you.

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Journalism student living in London :) Here to spread a little love and positivity to those in need

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Journalism student living in London :) Here to spread a little love and positivity to those in need

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