When you were a child, your mother probably taught you to be nice to everyone. But now you are an adult you know not all people are nice to be around. We can sometimes find ourselves locked into friendships that are not good for us. Maybe you have a friend who competes with you or a relative who’s too dependent on you for help, yet they never help you in return?
“A toxic relationship has a negative effect on your life,” says psychologist Gemma Cribb. “It makes your life less satisfying. You feel anxious or depressed or angry when you think of them. You often agree to do things they want, just to keep the peace. You try to avoid them and if you cannot, you feel like you are walking on eggshells around them. Your sleep can even become disturbed or you can feel agitated or exhausted.”
All relationships go through rough patches now and then, including marriages and friendships. But in good female friendship, there’s give and take to bring the respect back into the room. In a good marriage, there’s mutual support. Toxic friendships can feel intense, but they’re not mutual.
A toxic friend’s gossiping and constant need to be the victim or drama queen can be very draining. You feel overwhelmed when you spend time with them. If you are wondering if you have a toxic friend – or you are trying to help your children navigate a difficult friendship – start by asking these questions; Do you laugh around them? Do you feel you can be yourself? After spending time with them, do you feel angry, uncertain, exhausted, or anxious?