Open Letter To Women In Toxic Friendships
To all the women in toxic friendships, you know who you are,
Growing up, my mother always told me to put others first. She had instilled in my siblings and me that we had to be kind to everyone, regardless of the situation. When you’re in elementary school, it’s simple to be kind to everyone. Maybe you allow a kid that doesn’t have a place to sit their chair next to you in class or something like that. I met one of my best friends because when I was a new kid, he let me sit at his lunch table, and I’m still really grateful for the kindness he showed me.
However, as you get older, it can become harder to draw the line between putting other people first and letting people take advantage of you.
In high school, I hung out with the kids nobody understood. I had many friends who were disabled, and I had some friends who were just the quote-unquote weird kids. Living in a very Christian community meant that kids who listened to metal music, or were into Macabre subjects, quickly found themselves cast aside. It is because of these friendships that I now have a strong love for horror movies, true crime novels, and all things spooky. I’m blessed with some long-lasting bonds that have grown and become strong friendships in adulthood.
My strong instinct to embrace the people who seem lonely or different let me befriend someone who would teach me a life lesson that I’m trying to pass on to others.
When I first met this woman, she was standing alone smoking a cigarette, she had bleach blonde hair and washed out Tripp pants. Being that we were both fans of metal music, we became fast friends.
People around me said she was bad news. It was easy to shake those comments off, though. After all, at first glance, she seemed to be a doting mother, loving girlfriend, and she had a twisted sense of humor, which is something I’ve always liked.
As the relationship grew, there were more and more red flags. I would get many random texts from cellphone numbers I didn’t recognize, looking for this girl. She would often make plans and break them, with an excuse like her car wouldn’t start or she lost her wallet.
Brushing things off became more and more difficult. She always needed money for something important; she would say her kids needed food, or her heat was going to be cut off. Despite being hard up for money, she always seemed to be able to go shopping at Hot Topic or take trips downstate to go urbexing.
Another huge red flag was when the man I was dating at the time told me that she tried to have sex with him on multiple occasions. Moreover, before that, I was on a blind date that she set me up on, and the guy that was there told me about how she tried to have sex with him in the car on the way over to our meeting spot.
Of course, I wanted to believe her when she said that all of this was a display on the part of these men of jealousy and disrespect of our friendship.
About a year into the friendship, I decided I wanted to go back to school and get my life together with my newfound confidence and desire to become an adult.
The red flags started appearing even more. I would always get phone calls and drive-bys looking for this woman. She would apparently give out my school schedule to people and tell them she was my helper, so she could go do random things while people thought she was at school with me. My gut told me something was very wrong, but I met her dad, who is a local pastor and radio personality. His charismatic persona made me feel like maybe I was wrong about his daughter. As time went on, there were allegations of unsavory behavior surrounding my friend. The claims seem never to end.
At one point last year, I was in the hospital, dealing with a chronic health condition. Upon returning, I was greeted by several missed calls and angry text messages. Unbeknownst to me, my friend had started dating a known criminal and was now being investigated by Social Services and animal control.
At this point, I had had enough. I decided to follow my instinct to cut off contact with this person. It was complicated because I had formed a bond with her daughter, who referred to me as “Aunt Keely.” We spent much time together, doing fun things like reading books, listening to music, and playing with their pet mice.
In the interest of my career, I decided not to pursue the friendship any longer. I have aspirations of moving out of state and becoming independent. I want to become a foster parent eventually. Having someone like this in my life could ultimately destroy my dreams of having a family or having a life of my own.
A few days ago, I got a text from the individual stating that I should be more grateful for the friendship, and I was being ungrateful and mean.
Women are taught that women need to be wary of romantic partners who try to manipulate them, take advantage of them, or hurt them. Sadly, this isn’t always the case, and women are just as dangerous. Women can do just as many shady and hurtful things. Society places that stigma on women that we must be caring and loving. Please watch out if you feel you are being treated poorly in a friendship; it is just as bad as being treated poorly in any other type of environment. Everyone deserves to love. Everyone deserves happiness. People like that will eventually move on and find other people to manipulate once they realize they have used up the resource.
Everyone deserves love, including you.