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Toxic friend?

(123 Posts)
Dgrann777 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:44:37

Good morning everyone.

I have a friend who is lovely in many ways (you know there’s a but).smile but,
She makes little digs and put downs constantly sometimes with false humour and sometimes with false advice eg. Don’t like the paint colour did you make a mistake?
Why don’t you ask for a refund on that sofa etc etc.
Your hair is a bit short, long, is that what you asked for etc etc.
You Irish are all alike, a bit daft, don’t like your accent etc etc.
Usually I just ignore it because I know she has personal problems and to be honest I don’t really care what she thinks of my taste but now she has started on my grandchildren...my Achilles heel....
Is this what is called a toxic friend?
I think I have to walk away. What would you do?

NannaM Sat 20-Jul-19 15:58:23

Dgrann777 - read up about Gaslighting. Your so-called friend will carry on doing this for as long as you have a relationship with her. She is chipping away at your sense of self worth. You deserve better. Hugs

jaylucy Sat 20-Jul-19 15:41:46

I once had a boyfriend that used to look you up and down and then say "how much did you pay for that top/dress/trousers?" when you used to tell him, he used to come back with "you could have bought a new one for that " or "it'll be nice when it's finished!" but he was joking.
Think your friend has a bit of the old green eye about her. OK for her to "joke " over you but she needs to draw the line somewhere and I'd tell her either that you find her comments demeaning or that you don't mind what she says about you (just) but when it comes to the grandkids, they are off limits.
I can see this friendship fading away as we speak though

blue60 Sat 20-Jul-19 15:39:47

If you are asking the question, then there's something wrong.

If you are feeling anything but happy to be in her company, then it's time to either tell her how you feel about the comments she makes, then resume a better friendship, or decide to back away if you prefer not to confront.

I have done the 'back away' from friends who I no longer share interests with, or get annoyed with them.

Up to you really.

Acer Sat 20-Jul-19 15:35:35

I wonder if with this kind of ‘friendship’ if there is a way of being brave enough to ‘talk honestly’ about what exactly is causing such unhappiness in the friend that they can make such comments ?

Patticake123 Sat 20-Jul-19 15:35:33

I ditched a toxic friend almost 9 years ago and felt great relief. I do still think about her occasionally, we had known each other for over forty years, but her acidic remarks were just too hurtful and I walked away. Another couple we knew and socialised with made the mistake of criticising my Grandson. He was 2 years old at the time, I never saw them again, don’t miss them, but I still regret not telling them why I ceased seeing them!

HootyMcOwlface Sat 20-Jul-19 15:05:56

You need one of mumsnet’s (I think!) stock replies here OP - say “Did you mean to be so rude?” to her next time, if there is a next time!

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 15:03:38

mumofmadboys
Soory I somehow posted before finishing!
I really wanted to say, I wish we could form our own special family, you and I and all those of us who are unable to be close to our family or who have a member with whom we cannot mix. We understand each other.

You are not alone. Many people are abused by a sibling or treated as the 'second-best' child by a parent. There is so much unhappiness in the family structure hidden behind closed doors. You have the power to be in charge of your own life now. Try and simply accept that these less than perfect things do happen, you did your best, but the right thing is to ensure your own happiness and welfare and that of your own family.

Wishing you contentment and times of genuine joy, the feeling of perfect peace and all the best of love in your life, from Elle x 🦋🌺🌼

pixie601 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:59:14

Why are you even asking what you should do!!! Walk away, she is no friend to you.

mrsgreenfingers56 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:58:19

I really understand this post. I had a friend who was also lovely in many ways so I read this with great interest. But she had a very bitchy and snide side to her and it was so upsetting. She could be very supportive but then sneaky comments about the length of my hair and once when shopping a lady was doing a hair demo and asked people with long hair to come over and have it pinned up. My friend walked away and when I found her after hair demo she told me "Only common people have their hair done in public" in such a nasty voice I was astonished. I think the hair thing touched a nerve as hers was baby thin and losing it a bit. Another comment was about me living in a Cul-De-Sac and how "It's like living in a goldfish bowl" in a cutting voice. It was really hurtful and totally uncalled for. And I could carry on.
She would never comment if you had a new dress on, haircut, new handbag and in the end we parted company but didn't fall out. I think really we had nothing in common in the end. But after 20 plus years of no contact and seeing my mum at the shops recently and finding out I had been through cancer treatment she wrote to me and being Christmas time sent me a card. I sent one back but had to go to great lengths to find her address as not kept. She apologised in one of her letters for basically what happened and I thought that was very gracious of her. We exchange a few letters throughout the year but not met up. She did sort of suggest it but to be honest not sure how I feel about that. We did have a good friendship and had some real good giggles at times but she always said she preferred being friends with men to women.
I read this recently "When someone is cruel to you, remember that it's nothing to do with you and a reflection on them". I think this can be very true at times. Think you need to move on from this friendship Dgrann77, there are lots of other ladies who would value your friendship more.

Poppsbaggie Sat 20-Jul-19 14:57:33

Dump her. Life's too short!

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 14:55:44

mumofmadboys
I am so sorry to hear of your sadness at this situation. I too have a similar estrangement.

It does not help that we live in a Culture that emphasises the family and puts it on a pedestal, showing close and supportive relationships between siblings as if this is normal. I can tell you from my career (now retired) that this image is far from accurate. As we often say, you can choose your friends but not your family! Also I was often struck, if I met the family, on how different people could be within the same family. In my family, my half-sister resembled my mother and I resembled my father, in looks and ways. The two were so very different I used to wonder time and again about how my sister could do what she did!

I think it is time we came to understand that family is not the be-all and end-all of our lives. True friends and real kindness is the main thing. If any of your family are not good to you, abuse and hurt you or show they do not want you, then let them go. Just make your own friends, concentrate on those around you and on the people you know you can trust.

Of course you wanted to love your baby sister! It is terribly sad that it turned out this way. But do not dwell on it, please. People are different! Even in a family people can be so different from one another that forcing a relationship is often detrimental to at least one person. I learned this when I was badly abused and I had to let go and make my own life where I could be safe. After a few years I did recover. But I do find the sentimentality about the "perfect family" especially around Christmas when everyone is getting together "with the family" very hard to bear.

willa45 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:54:40

When someone uses humor to berate another, it's just another example of passive aggressiveness.

It's a clever way to insult people they resent or envy and still remain unscathed. Should the aggressor be called out on it, they can pass it off as a 'mere joke' and accuse the other side of over reacting.

I can think of a dozen reasons why you don't need 'friends' like that......most have already been mentioned here.

No need to have a row. Simple make yourself scarce whenever she wants to meet and she may eventually give up. You can also end the friendship abruptly and without explanation by cutting her off from your life altogether. .....it's what they call 'ghosting'.

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 14:34:49

Dgrann777
Sorry I am a bit late on the scene in answering. I have been "otherwise engaged".

I think you have answered your own question. Probably you just needed a bit of moral support. So I will add mine, yes, walk away.

I have found that as I get older, I am less able to cope with the negative and picky people of this world even those with problems. If she has always been like this then she is unlikely to change. You are likely to find her more and more upsetting and unreasonable. You do not deserve this or need it.

I would save yourself the pain of a formal parting but just not be available each time she tries to make arrangements to meet. On the phone you will have to go and see to something in the oven, answer the door, leave for an appointment... so can't talk. Just keep her away from you and eventually she will get the message. I wouldn't try to talk to her about her criticisms and put-downs. She would enjoy engaging in this opportunity to continue to put you down and twist what you say.

Wishing you lots of luck and the company of true friends who support you in future! 💐

Rosina Sat 20-Jul-19 14:13:13

People who case stress, or unhappiness, or make you doubt yourself and start to wonder if you need them as a friend are best consigned to history. I had a long friendship which had many ups and downs; I am truly very, very far from perfect but hopefully as tolerant of others quirks as they are of mine; however on several occasions unpleasant things happened and estrangement resulted. I realised much later that this was all down to jealousy, and the final situation that resulted in my 'friend' continually slamming the phone down when I attempted to explain that there had clearly been a misunderstanding suddenly made me feel that I had had enough. Several mutual acquaintances - all of whom had been ostracised on occasions by this person - told me that I would be foolish to try to pick it up again as nothing would change. I didn't - and have felt a great sense of relief, as I hope you will too. Hindsight has taught me that my friendship was worth very little, and I then had more time to concentrate on true friends.

Cabbie21 Sat 20-Jul-19 13:39:24

Perhaps a question is How to end it?
If you are out somewhere together, each with your own transport, you can literally get up and walk away, preferably stating a reason.
If you have gone out together in one car, you can make a comment at the end of the journey, if things have been bad.

If you make contact by text or email, you can not answer, or say you are not free. Or reply stating why you don’t want to spend time together.
If she rings you can not pick up.
If she leaves you to make the next arrangements, just don’t bother.

I see my local friends at church or choir or similar. We rarely take it beyond that. Others, more distant, well we just pick up where we left off and get on really well, but it is usually up to me to make contact. Now I am wondering whether to make the effort. It can be a minefield.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 13:16:36

Thanks for your comments Grammaretto

Grammaretto Sat 20-Jul-19 13:14:10

that's really sad mumofmadboys. I don't know what to suggest but I do hope your little sister comes to her senses.
Drop it for a while. Have no expectations and then you could be pleasantly surprised.

Nobody likes to be told they are hurtful so perhaps she is dramatically showing that she's deeply hurt by being told off.

maryhoffman37 Sat 20-Jul-19 13:00:20

The answer is in your question. If you can use the word "toxic," it isn't a friendship. Ditch her and, if she asks why, tell her.

Notsooldat75 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:59:53

I totally agree with the majority! Walk away, don’t waste your valuable time or energy on this person, she’s insecure and is trying to undermine your confidence to make her feel better.
I have done this with one or two so-called friends, and believe me, it’s so liberating! Make sure you surround yourself with nice people and let the others go.

Jaycee5 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:42:36

What are you gaining from this friendship? If there is something worth preserving, you have to tell her that if she doesn't cut out the constant criticism or you don't want her company. I doubt that it will work though and you probably will have to walk away so you might as well get it over with.

Rhinestone Sat 20-Jul-19 12:14:47

There is nothing that says you have to stay friends with someone because you are friends with them. We all change as we get older and what suited us at 20 may not suit us now. I’m at the point in life where friends should enhance my life not cause me stress and anxiety. As far as I’m concerned my grandchildren are off the table. If anyone be it family or friend start talking or criticizing them they are gone from my life.

Onestepbeyond Sat 20-Jul-19 12:14:14

Just press Delete -

flowers flowers

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 12:13:55

I put up with negative comments from my sister for a very long time. Also a lack of interest in my life and my family. I tried to raise it to try and improve things. She screamed at me and said she wanted nothing more to do with me. That was 7 months ago. I have tried to improve things by writing and phoning. She refused to speak to me. She is my younger sister and my only sibling. I feel so sad. I have loved her since she was born 50 odd years ago. I know I have faults too. I am prepared to meet her halfway and try to improve our relationship but she shows no willingness to do this. I suspect our relationship is over. She didn't send our family a Christmas card even and missed my birthday. I continue to send her and her family cards and presents but hear nothing back. I feel desperately sad but don't feel I can do any more

Alexa Sat 20-Jul-19 11:56:49

She is seriously scratchy. She sounds like the son's girl friend in the TV comedy 'Mum'.

BusterTank Sat 20-Jul-19 11:50:34

I think you need to set her straight and if she doesn't like it , she knows what she can do . I think you have let her get away with things for To long .