Have you ever been in a toxic friendship? I have and it just about destroyed me. It took time before I finally ended the relationship and restored my health. I also learned some things in the process so I won’t make the same mistake.

Toxic friendships are bad for your health. By the time you enter your adult years you will have encountered one or more. Maybe you are the type who attracts toxic friendships. Some people are like that. They have an active rescuing chip in the brain and they cannot seem to help themselves. Is that you?

Toxic is synonymous with poisonous, deadly, unhealthy. Your system is not made to exist with anything toxic. If you listen to your inner self it will alert you that the friend you chose is bad for your mental health. Here are 7 signs you have a toxic friend.

Your friend needs to be the center of attention

Toxic people crave attention and they will get it in any form. They can be nice to be noticed. Or they create drama to draw attention toward themselves. Even negative attention accomplishes their goal.

A toxic friend can hijack your special event, like a birthday party or celebrating your recent promotion. When the focus of the moment should be on you, it somehow shifts to her. Why? Because toxic people struggle with insecurity and the way they cope is to keep the attention on them.

Your friend always takes and rarely gives

Toxic friends are always on the take. You are the “lending tree” and they are the “picker”. They want to borrow your car, clothes, money, and your precious time. When they call or text, the expectation is that you will respond immediately. If not, expect a flood of 911 messages to follow.

When it is your turn to need support, don’t count on a toxic friend to respond. Your needs are not as important as what they are doing at the moment. A litany of excuses (many untrue) are given and you’re supposed to understand. After all, their problems are more important than yours. In reality, toxic people lack empathy, an important friendship trait.

Your friend uses guilt to control your friendship

Toxic friends are experts in making you feel sorry for them. They play the victim role at an Oscar award winning level. Because they create a lot of drama, you are at their beck and call. Guilt is an underlying current that dictates the relationship. You never know what might happen if you don’t respond when they call.

Individuals with a tendency to “rescue” or “fix” others are susceptible to toxic friendships. You think you can turn this person around, yet in the end, you are the one being controlled. Guilt keeps you responding.

Your friend is impulsive and repeats bad behavior

Toxic people tend to be impulsive. They do not think about the outcome of their decisions. Instead, they just act in the moment. The problem is that often their impulsive behavior gets them in trouble.

Impulse control is a function in the brain that regulates behavior. It involves frustration tolerance, the ability restrain impulses and live within limits. People with poor and impulse control and lower frustration tolerance make decisions quickly and don’t factor in potential risks or consequences. At times you may feel like your banging your head against a wall trying to get a toxic friend to look at her behavior. It won’t work if she is ruled by her impulses. Which brings up the next toxic sign.

Your friend blames others for her faults

Have you noticed that your toxic friend creates a lot of problems? But does she accept responsibility for them? Toxic people usually blame others and rarely take ownership for their actions. It’s always someone else’s fault. If you have a toxic friend then you’ve likely been blamed too!

It is difficult to feel safe in a relationship with a friend who blames others for her problems. It can be like walking on eggshells around her. You know they are the problem but somehow they make you feel like you are. So here’s another sign.

Your friend makes you doubt yourself

A toxic friend can get into your head and make you doubt yourself. Suddenly, you’re questioning yourself and wondering what you’re doing wrong in the relationship. You may feel responsible for her problems. Some toxic people are so convinced in their minds about things and state their case with such conviction, it can mess with your head.

You want to end the friendship but feel trapped

As I mentioned earlier, guilt is one of the toxins that controls the relationship. Toxic people are very manipulative in friendships. It feels a little like Hotel California, “you can check out anytime you want but you can never leave.”

Good friendships don’t come with traps. You should have the freedom to be yourself and not be overburdened by drama. If this is not how it feels with your friend, it is likely because she is toxic. You may feel trapped but it doesn’t mean you are. Do not allow guilt or fear control you. You are free to walk away.

Featured photo credit: Dollar Photo Club via dollarphotoclub.com

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