There are a million self help books out there. TV shows, online forums, you tube videos, seminars. Everything you could possibly need… if you want to deeply confuse yourself.
You can’t actually live in literal invincibility, we know this, it’s biologically impossible. Even our own minds can plunge us into involuntary madness as a form of fierce self preservation when faced with an unbearable threat or trauma.
You can however choose to be brave. In fact you must. You must choose to be loyal. To be responsible and self sufficient. What you cannot do is wallow in self pity whatever the reason, don’t make excuses for yourself or treat people badly simply because they’ve done so to you. Build yourself bigger than that!
You can however address their behaviour, call their actions to account and refuse to go quietly. Don’t you dare let people walk all over you and get away with it. Don’t make the mistakes I did. Guard your secrets & hand out your trust sparingly. So often deep trust can come back to bite you square on your ass.
Don’t believe people when they call you a drama queen simply because you refuse to tolerate their treatment of you. People who are disloyal and treat you badly are the drama and they’ll always be the first ones to point the finger. Don’t take it, you owe yourself that much.
The older you become, the more acutely aware you will be of the mental health issues you’re surrounded by. When I refer to mental health issues, I’m not referring to depression and anxiety, although these may often coincide with the conditions I’m referring to.
I’m referring to the often less obvious and often undiagnosed conditions. The kind that spur abuse and violence. The kind of traits you’ll see in the best of friends who have later thrown you under the bus without a second thought. The kind you see in controlling, abusive and guilt inducing partners.
I’m not a psychologist, I am however the beneficiary of vast life experience. I have known far too many of these people.
Most of us suffer from anxiety of some sort as a result of experience with these people. Whether it were a bully, unbalanced parent, teacher, crappy friend or lousy partner. Their actions land, here is how to brush them off.
Let’s dig in.
The friends who broke your heart.
Friends… ahhh. Lesson one. You will never have as many as you think you do. In high school it will be the entire grade bar a few. In college you’ll splinter off, gain many and lose a few.
By university you’ll be lucky to still have a couple of handfuls of truly good friends, perhaps if you’re lucky like I was, there will be a few from high school. It’s difficult to tell you who to trust most. There will be one friend who always has your back. You’ll fight like sisters, not speak then make up. But this friend, she’ll be there. No matter what. Girl, make sure you too, are that friend!
There there will be the friends who screw you over in the most profound of ways. The ones who’s deceit you never even seen coming. The ones whom you’ll never wrong in a single way but somehow they will become instrumental in contributing to the hardest times in your life.
Nothing will clear out your friends list like a divorce. Chuck Family violence on top of that and you’ll feel an army mobilise against you. This army will comprise of your ex, his family, his friends, your so called friends and plenty of strangers.
I remember at the time I was granted our initial restraining order, begging my closet friends to be polite to my ex but to refrain from discussing our private life. Even the simplest of details. For some reason, despite that these friends had always been my friends and not his, for some this was too great a loyalty to bear. Simply too much to ask.
I remember ending those friendships and providing genuine explanations why. I remember their fierce denials and accusations of my drama queendom, denials I would have believed had I not already held the screenshots, emails and various other forms of proof tightly in my hands. They always forget that you have the proof. Keep it, keep everything. The need to produce it always arises.
I remember their retaliations. The other ‘friends’ whom jumped on board with no reasons of their own. Friends who developed sudden and previously unheard of issues with me in alliance with the initial traitor. I remember bidding them good riddance and laughing quietly at the idea that I had even entertained the idea that I might be the drama queen. Every time I drove my dramatic backside to pick them up from work, lend them cash, comfort them in their break ups, guarded their secrets & dramatically attended each if their special events.
I remember another friend, a best friend. One whom had gone through a seemingly similar experience at the same time as me. One whom had written me a character reference for my divorce, whose family I’d respected and supported in everything they had asked. A friend whom had sent me countless messages of support and apparently undying friendship. That is until she accused me of being a bad friend.
My crime, making new friends and dividing my time accordingly. This friend turned out to be the kind of friend for who no apology was good enough. Nothing short of my full and complete attention was enough to prove that I wasn’t a ‘bad friend’. I ended this friendship politely and cut all ties. I continued to offer her mother business advice at every occasion that she asked. I still often miss her grandmothers kindness and affection toward my daughter.
This friend talked rubbish within the community, about my business, my new religious friends, my budding relationship. She attempted a business like mine, this ended, she then initiated a relationship with my brother in law, claiming to be ‘family’ in just a few short weeks, inserting herself and her gossip back into my life. This ended. Less than two months after this she moved on from my brother in law to my ex husband.
The same ex husband whose abuse she had witnessed. The same ex husband that just a few years before, she had apparently supported me in escaping. Some ‘friends’ have no limits when it comes to justifying their bad behaviour and punishing you for ending the friendship. They don’t understand that you ended it because of the trouble you recognised in their character. My best friend moved from a friendship with me to a relationship with my brother in law and finally to a relationship with my ex husband, but still I’m the bad guy, the drama queen.
Then there was the friend whose business I helped her build. Whose every question I happily answered, whose attitude completely changed when I refused to sell her my business and so she began replicating mine. The friend who justified her copying as ‘gods will’ and went on to accuse me of bullying and racism. These days the similarities are so close it’s hard to tell who came first. Thankfully social media provides a gem of a timeline.
These friends will forget that you have the text messages, the emails, the character references emailed to your lawyer. These friends will forget about the proof that you fiercely supported them and that even in the end, you ended the matter in the kindest way possible. They always forget.
These friends are why I would tell you now to have your own back. Just because you are good to someone in every way possible, does not mean that they will be good to you. Keep every text, every email, every photo. You never know when those little snippets from your past will be the very proof you need to substantiate your claims and defend your name. So don’t forget.
This goes for the passive aggressive partner, shitty boss or colleague, the family member, in laws, the strangers who insert themselves into your business. I’d like to tell you that the world will be good to you, and I pray that it showers you in everything that is beautiful. But just in case it doesn’t. Take the advice I wish I had been given. Because sometimes people are awful & it really is everyone for themselves.
So move on from them, build something huge, get a killer education, travel, gain experience and make new friends. Love new people. There are always new people!
Know yourself, know that there is a reason these people so heavily resisted your decision to end your relationship. Know that you did your best by them and wish them well. Know that they miss you and they know that you were good to them. But don’t ever be silly enough to trust that they won’t do it again.
Loyal is loyal. Not is not.