Toxic Friends

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:08 am

What is another word for indirect insults? Has anyone else ever experienced this and how did you handle it?
Example:
Me:I received my Bachelors this weekend.
Friend 2 days later:: It is dumb and stupid "when people" go to college. Its a waste of money. People who go to college are fools.

Me: I have a poodle.
Friend 1 week later: I dont know "people" are thinking when they buy small dogs. It doesnt protect their house. Its just the most stupid thing Ive ever heard.

Me: I havent heard from Jade in awhile.
Friend 3 days later. What type of *****. worries about another *****. calling them.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:03 am

cvh wrote: What is another word for indirect insults?


“Backhanded”? Why is a word needed? I have never given it much thought, because what offends me is up to me and it doesn’t matter if it is indirect. To me it is more whether I believe it intentional.

Has anyone else ever experienced this and how did you handle it?


Every single day, multiple times a day. If you are engaged in life, if you express an opinion, people will make comments direct or indirect intended to be offensive.

When a potentially offensive comment is made, I first determine if I care. 99% of the time I don’t. Most of the time I recognize that it says more about the person making the comment.

If it is a “friend” then I wonder why I am choosing to hang out with that person. If it is repetitive I distance myself. As you said, “toxic”. This doesn’t mean cutting contact, but just a reccognition that friendships change over time.

In your situation it sounds like your friendship is evolving. Your path is taking you a different direction in life. There are probably still some shared interests with this friend, but maybe it is time to distance yourself.

Note: I’m not without my own faults. I try to improve, but being human there are sometimes comments I wish I could retract. Alas, whatever my opinion...whether the value of your college degree or your choice of dogs, it requires you care.
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#2

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:23 am

Makes alot of sense. Ive been friends with this person for over 20 years (high school). Its definitely intentional and one of the most debilitating experiences Ive ever had. It felt very abusive and diminishing. I had all these positive things happening for me but yet I felt horribl. Ive been around people that I may perceive as insulting every once in a while. This is very consistant and feels like an agressive intentionak attack to my charachter to make me feel bad. I just wonder why she is communicating this way If shes upset about something. Why not a direct conversation?
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:12 am

cvh wrote: It felt very abusive and diminishing.


Do you ever pursue goals where you don’t care what others think? Do you have an example?

I just wonder why she is communicating this way If shes upset about something. Why not a direct conversation?


Even if you ask, she might be unaware and unable to explain. If she did rationalize a reason for the comments it would be exactly that, an in the moment hindsight rational.

Basically you have two routes:

-1- Distance yourself.

-2- Hangout and laugh it off. Don’t define yourself by what this person says.
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#4

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:28 am

As far as the goals. Before this I didnt care what people thought. Atleast, I dont think I did because I cant think of any instances where I cared enough to remember. In the beginning it didnt bother me as much, but overtime I noticed my self esteem being affected. I started having negatives thought about myself that I didnt usually have even though great things were happening in my life. Its acknowleding the intent and recognizing that she "wants" to hurt me that bothers me the most. I cut off the friendship 2 months ago. The messed up part about is that we share 7 mutual friends. We usually get together often for special occasions. Bdays, kids bdays, etc... I removed myself from the gatherings because I cant bare to be around her. Im always on the alert for one of those indirect insults. i just dont want to be around the negative energy. I really miss the gatherings we usually have together, but being around her just isnt worth it. I have to do one on ones with the other friends now.
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#5

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:36 am

I also feel like Im being gaslighted. When I
confront her..she always says she has no idea of what Im talking about but I know she does. Insults are tooo obvious to be a "maybe she didnt mean it that way" type of thing.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:06 am

cvh wrote:I also feel like Im being gaslighted.


Assume you are correct. Isn’t the point of leverage still that you care?

Not going to events, modifying where you go because someone might say something you don’t like? Isn’t that more your problem than their problem?

I guess I’m trying to envision myself in your situation. I’ve got all of these friends and they invite me over, but I know one person will be there that will make comments I don’t like. So I don’t go? Why would that stop me? I don’t understand. I know up front what to expect. Any comment won’t be a surprise. If the person makes a comment, what do I care? I’m under no obligation to be offended.

If it is front of others, just ignore and immediately ask one of the others about what is going on in their life.

Sally, “I don’t like poodles, why would anyone own a poodle?”

You, “So Joan, what has been going on with you?”
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#7

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:19 am

I totally get that. This has been going on for five years now. Ive ignored it all those years. The more I ignore, she just turns up the heat.I just recently stop going to the events two months ago. I just had enough. I dont like open ended conflict. I like to know where I stand with people. One day being extremely nice and one day being a complete B is confusing especially when nothing has hapoened to trugger the behavior. But, I do get what youre saying. Why am I letting someone elses behavior effect me to this extent. Im one of those care too much people.. and everybody knows it. My dad pointed this out to me. He said it could be a good thing and a bad thing too. I guess je was saying people may take my kindness for weakness in so many words.
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#8

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:30 am

She wasnt always like this. I guess Im pondering over the "what happened" to make you act this way towards me now. I keep thinking about it cause it just doesnt seem to be any logic to it.
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#9

Postby Candid » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:23 am

Hi cvh!

In case no one else has, let me congratulate you on getting your bachelor's degree. It's a great accomplishment and I know how hard you have to work for it.

My poodle was the best dog I ever owned. He was a stray that followed me home, but if I decided to buy another dog now I would definitely choose a poodle. Why? Because apart from border collies, they're the cleverest dogs around. That makes them great companions. And unlike border collies they don't shed hair (or smell 'doggy' when they're wet), which means they can live in your home (mine shared my bed) without giving offence.

As to what type of *****. worries about another *****. calling them: I do. If it's someone I care about, I want to know what's going on with them and whether I can help in any way.

Could this 'friend' be jealous? She doesn't sound very bright. But no matter what her reason, I wouldn't consider someone this hostile a 'friend'. I would sideline her. You can do without these underhand remarks.

It's all very well to say "sticks and stones will break my bones" etc., but why would you want to go on spending time with someone who deliberately sets out to hurt your feelings? It's the lost trust that's getting to you, not the substance of her catty remarks.
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#10

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:37 pm

cvh wrote: I guess Im pondering over the "what happened" to make you act this way towards me now. I keep thinking about it cause it just doesnt seem to be any logic to it.


I think your previous response shows a bit of logic to it. There is reasoning or cause in there. Your dad has kindly pointed it out. You don’t like conflict. This can be a weakness. It can be maladaptive.

One thing we sometimes hate to acknowledge as humans is that we are animals. We are a social species that operates in groups. What happens in any social group? The evidence is clear, we have social hierarchies. You don’t even need to read the research, just open up any social media channel.

Put a random group of people on an island and a social hierarchy will form.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways, adaptive and maladaptive ways to navigate the social group. You seem to generally have healthy ways. But leaving the group because of a conflict with another member doesn’t seem very adaptive.

Think about it another way. This person uses insults to navigate the group. Why? Because it works for them. Where does this person typically fit in the hierarchy? Insults should be maladaptive behavior that is met with conflict, but in this group it works...at least at some level.

Does this person insult other members of the group? My guess is this member tears you down because it props them up. It works, because you don’t defend yourself and the dynamics of the group is such that other members don’t see a problem with it.

Anyway...I think you should focus on developing your skills or mechanisms you use to deal with conflict. The fact you left the group shows it is an area where you could benefit. This person that uses insults will exist in every group.
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#11

Postby Candid » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:52 pm

“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.”
— Paramahansa Yogananda
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#12

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:49 pm

In the past. One of the friends that I guess was at the top of heirarchy use to insult the friend I'm having conflict with for years. It was consistant. One day she just stopped talking about it. I'm not sure if it stopped or if she just adapted. It's the same behavior she now displays to me now, that she wasn't before. During this time she used to talk about this person as if she feared this person in a sense because she wouldn't be herself around her. Her conversation about her always seemed like she put her on a pedestal and she felt inferior compared to her. As far as her placement on the heirarchy. For a long time I think she felt like 4 of us was on the bottom and she initiated more time with us. Now that she has made some positive changes in her life she now has begun to hang with the other 3 that were probably looked to be higher on the hierarchy. Previously she always displayed that she felt inferior when it came to them. She would put on a facade with them but be more honest with us. I'm not sure if she believes that behavior comes with that position or what. Prior to her making positive changes I had begun to climb in my career and had become alot more successful than I was before as well. I have always envisioned "myself" as more neutral. Then and now.
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#13

Postby cvh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:02 pm

Candid, it is defnitely the lack of trust that I am dealing with. You say we are really good friends but your actions display just the opposite.
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#14

Postby Candid » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:31 pm

Yes, the betrayal hurts. How can you gently remove her from your life?
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