When I was in therapy, there was one topic about one person I wouldn’t even broach. And since February, that person has not been in my life. And it’s bitter sweet. Bitter in that in separating myself from this person I lost a lot of our mutual friends, but sweet in that I am away from this toxic and abusive person.
This person regularly made me regularly feel worthless, pathetic, incapable, dependent, wrong… just wrong all the time, and made me do things I would never do by way of manipulation. I once pointed out to this person that they were being psychologically abusive, and the reaction was explosive. The person did every technique of neutralization and blamed it on me. I was ungrateful, inconsiderate, obnoxious, mean, jealous, horrible.
In a way it made me stronger, but also, this person played a large part in my anxiety issues. More so because I couldn’t discuss the issues with this person with my therapist for fear or reprisal.
Sometimes I still go on my “lurker” account and check up on old mutual friends to make sure they are okay. But I have to remind myself constantly, reaching out to them is inviting this toxic person back into my realm.
And, in some respects, it did me a favor. If those “friends” didn’t have the goddamn common courtesy to pick up the phone and call to ask, “hey, what happened with you and that person?” they probably aren’t even good friends.
This person was my friend and confidante for 10 years. And in the midst of it, I never realized it. All the cliche signs were there, but only until he was out of my life, did I realize how bad it actually was.
It’s been 10 months and some change. My world has not imploded, like you said it would without you there.
And I’m going to be fine.
Better than fine.
So, friends, you may have this toxic person in your life who needs ousting. And sometimes you can’t see it because you are in the middle of the metaphorical forest, and can only see trees, do it. Your world will not end. Life keeps going on and moving on.
Convenient list (I’ve stuck and asterisk by the indicators this person demonstrated toward me):
1. They humiliate you, put you down, or make fun of you in front of other people. ***
2. They regularly demean or disregard your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs. ***
3. They use sarcasm or “teasing” to put you down or make you feel bad about yourself. ***
4. They accuse you of being “too sensitive” in order to deflect their abusive remarks. ***
5. They try to control you and treat you like a child.
6. They correct or chastise you for your behavior. ***
7. You feel like you need permission to make decisions or go out somewhere. ***
8. They try to control the finances and how you spend money.
9. They belittle and trivialize you, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams. ***
10. They try to make you feel as though they are always right, and you are wrong. ***
11. They give you disapproving or contemptuous looks or body language.
12. They regularly point out your flaws, mistakes, or shortcomings. ***
13. They accuse or blame you of things you know aren’t true. ***
14. They have an inability to laugh at themselves and can’t tolerate others laughing at them. ***
15. They are intolerant of any seeming lack of respect.
16. They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing. ***
17. The repeatedly cross your boundaries and ignore your requests. ***
18. They blame you for their problems, life difficulties, or unhappiness. ***
19. They call you names, give you unpleasant labels, or make cutting remarks under their breath.
20. They are emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable most of the time. ***
21. They resort to pouting or withdrawal to get attention or attain what they want. ***
22. They don’t show you empathy or compassion.
23. They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility. ***
24. They disengage or use neglect or abandonment to punish or frighten you. ***
25. They don’t seem to notice or care about your feelings. ***
26. They view you as an extension of themselves rather than as an individual.
27. They withhold sex as a way to manipulate and control.
28. They share personal information about you with others. ***
29. They invalidate or deny their emotionally abusive behavior when confronted. ***
30. They make subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to frighten or control you. ***
I think we can all agree 2016 sucked the big one — with this year, I don’t want that baggage. I want it gone. I don’t want to feel angry or ashamed anymore. And I vow, I will not take it into next year. I will NEVER open myself up to be used like that again.
That is my resolution — not some pedestrian thing like lose weight or drink less booze — to never be taken in by another manipulator. I will be goddamned before I let that happen again.