Should You Really Be Friends With Your Friends?


Love Lundy, Writer

An important part of taking care of yourself is being intentional about the people you allow into your life and knowing when to stop being in a relationship (romantic or platonic). Often, when talking about abusive relationships, unhealthy friendships are forgotten. To the public eye, abuse is only valid if physical action is taken, but emotional abuse is just as hurtful. Emotional abuse can sometimes be hard to recognize, and once abusive traits are recognized in someone you are in a relationship with, it can be hard to know what to do. Emotional abuse is defined as a form of abuse where a person subjects or exposes another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is important to know that every person has the capability of having a bad day and treating you unkindly. In that situation, it is definitely appropriate to tell them that they weren’t being nice and to resolve the situation. However, repeated abusive behavior, such as insults, stonewalling, or general disrespect should be addressed. If you consistently feel like you can’t be honest with them, you can’t trust them, or that being around them does not make you feel good about yourself, the friendship could be abusive.

If you do find yourself in this situation, do not worry. Remember that you are not the cause of this abuse. As every parent has relayed to their elementary-aged child, know that “hurt people hurt people” and that you are not strong enough to move forward once this behavior is recognized and addressed. The ideal thing to do in this situation is to distance yourself from this person. While, as a friend, it is your responsibility to help someone you care about, it is not your responsibility to help someone you care about, it is not your responsibility to help this person work on fixing their negative traits. If you feel that the person is receptive enough to hear it, tell the person that the things that they have done to hurt you and use specific examples to help them understand why their behavior is negative.