Toxic friends can merely “do” for you. A healthy friendship is all about “being”.
If you are a new reader, welcome on board, and thank you for deciding to stop by. If you are a returning one, I want you to know how grateful I am for your trust and loyalty!
I am aware some of you might be tempted to ask whether all toxic friends are dark, manipulators, or simply what I like to call character-disturbed individuals who lost their soul battle and turned evil.
There are two kinds of toxic people
Toxicity can either come from an abusive & manipulative person or an emotionally imbalanced human being who is diving into life with a package of numerous emotional scars, mental patterns, and unprocessed feelings.
I am pretty sure each one of you is most likely to have known some kind-hearted people who drain you and leave you frustrated instead of adding a plus-value to your world — be it a parent, a sibling, a life partner, a friend, you name it! Some of them would even get angry whenever you try to connect with them or seek some validation. Interestingly, they learned to repress their feelings as an adaptation to their environment, given they perceive their vulnerability as a weakness and have no clue about how to regulate their emotions.
As a result, they are unable to detach themselves from their self-centeredness and the need for their unhealthy ego to be right.
More to the point, they can please you by granting you some favors and doing good deeds. Nonetheless, your relationship will never get a chance to be emotionally rich, soul-nurturing, and a healthy exchange of energy. In conflicts, they hurt you by being too aggressive since they may get easily triggered by something you say or do, and which they exaggerate in their imagination — what we call in psychology an emotional flashback. As a result, they are unable to detach themselves from their self-centeredness and the need for their unhealthy ego to be right. Hence, those people would not consider your feelings and genuine investment in the relationship, not even for a second, to simply “be” and apologize instantly and sincerely.
At that moment, what should matter is your hurt feelings that you clearly express as well as your need for validation, regardless of who is right and who is wrong. Unfortunately, this kind of wisdom is out of their reach. It takes self-awareness to enlarge the gap between the stimulus and the response.
According to “Childhood Trauma” therapist Patrick Teahan, this kind of person is very averse to your emotions, not because they don’t care but because they are threatened by them. They tend to be very reactive to your emotions, specifically if they perceive that you are going into victimization.
People I will not trade for anything in the world!
I was a fearful-avoidant insecure person up to two years ago. People belonging to this insecure attachment style develop hypervigilance and a high level of observation when it comes to human behavior. As a result, they are experts in spotting any microscopic swing in someone’s mood and act accordingly. At the same time, and because they have no clue that this skill was part of their subconscious survival strategy, they tend to expect others to mind-read them as well. They believe that it is the norm and how relationships should look like.
When two fearful-avoidant individuals are in a relationship, they can get along so well with each other and build a healthy relationship. The same logic applies when it comes to a secure/secure or secure/fearful-avoidant type of relationship.
It seems to me the problems described above tend to occur very frequently when a fearful-avoidant or secure person tries to build a relationship with another insecure attachment style — anxious-preoccupied or dismissive-avoidant. Simply put, the conflict of needs and tendency to “be” versus “do” would only lead to chaos sooner or later.
During the last year and a half — post the transformation, the Universe has been gifting me with many folks I treasure and have the privilege to call soul friends. I never met most of them in person and was fortunate to know them through Medium or LinkedIn. They are the reason why I love these two platforms. Curiously, I needed to set myself free so that I could start attracting those special individuals and give them a ticket into my sacred world. Also, I became able to pay closer attention to some common patterns between those in my old circle whom I admire.
For those of you who don’t know me well or at all, you would take note of my tendency to separate between love and relationships. While the former is a free emotion I can genuinely give to anyone and anything, a relationship needs to be deserved and balanced.
As hard as it could be for me to give up on a person for whom I care and wholeheartedly invested my time, energy, and soul, I can’t help but do so from time to time because I respect myself and that I also do matter.
Those I will not trade for anything in the world, though, are my soul friends who understand what it takes to build a healthy relationship. They have this exquisite capacity to actively listen to me, make me feel seen and unconditionally loved, and always succeed in empowering me in my moments of angst through merely being who they are.
In the words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. I will never be able to thank my soul friends enough or to give credit to all of them. Thus, I will avoid mentioning names. I know they will recognize themselves.
The most impressive one, though, is a 21-year-old student from my old circle. I have been following with pride how much she has been evolving in a record time. Bear in mind she is only 21 and will have plenty of life experiences yet to come. Undoubtedly, her wisdom and self-awareness are beyond her age, and her generous soul will never stop amazing me!
A recent conversation modeling this kind of healthy relationship
He is an ex-classmate from the engineering college and the only one with whom I kept in touch. Knowing my tendency to struggle with self-discipline, he offered to help me when it comes to writing, given he is a habit coach among other entrepreneurship endeavors.
Here’s an idea: There is a leftover part of our brain that is constantly on the alert for threat. In the absence of large predators and such, it needs something to do, as it’s been on high alert for a long, long time. Danger rises with proximity, right? A storm on the horizon doesn’t trigger the same response as one overhead. So maybe there’s a short-circuit that misidentifies proximity (including emotional proximity) as threat. I work with addicts, and a theme which runs through their experience is protecting themselves, first from their feelings and eventually from everything. And they accomplish this by chemical control.
Fear and control are the twins of dysfunction.
How fantastically articulated, dear Mac!!! I’m in love with this adding!!! I couldn’t agree more, obviously!!! Fear is the worst enemy of all, and a f*cked up subconscious program is this way specifically because it is ruled by fear… Thank you si much for stopping by, my friend, and for adding so much value! I’m grateful!