Friendshipby Tina Swithin

Last November, I attended a Louise Hay (Hay House) conference that was life changing for me in many ways. While many could label it as a “self help” conference, I was thrilled going into the experience because I was walking in at such a good place in life. I was happy in all aspects of my life: I was married to an amazing man, my children were safe after a four year log custody battle and I believed that I was living an authentic life.

During the conference, we did a lot of meditation work and self reflection. While I’ve never been one to meditate (my brain does NOT slow down long enough!), I was able to meditate for the first time and actually slow my mind down. One of the most thought provoking things came when one of the speakers talked about 2013 being the year to leave toxic relationships behind and 2014 was the year to excel free and clear of drama. Woo hoo!  I was once again ahead of the curve – I was out of the one toxic relationship in my life!  Go me!  Winning!

During this weekend, my mind kept wandering to one relationship that didn’t feel authentic. Sadly, it was the relationship with the person who I proclaimed to be my best friend. As the weekend progressed, this relationship began to pop up more and more in my mind.

Over the next month, I allowed myself to reflect on my friendship and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how dysfunctional it really was. I was in a friendship that was very one-sided and lacked authenticity on many levels. I realized that I was in a relationship where I gave and gave in an effort to seek approval yet there was no follow through from the other side. The follow through from the other side only came when she needed to vent, cry or share one of her many recent dramas. The “friendship rule book” also came with a list of people that I could not talk to because in some way, and in her mind, the had wronged her. Being someone who can get along with anybody, this was very difficult for me but I followed her unspoken rules out of loyalty to our friendship.

I have spent the past few years studying dysfunction as it pertains to relationships yet I naively categorized these issues in the traditional male-female relationships. My “ah ha” moment flickered during the conference but became brighter and brighter during November and December. I reflected on my relationships and used “borrowed judgement” as I processed my thoughts and reached out to friends for advice and support. I decided to communicate my feelings to my best friend. Initially, I was met with kindness but that shifted over the next 48 hours to the point that I had a decision to make.

I broke up with my best friend.

It hurt. A lot.

I cried. A lot.

I was angry. I was angry with myself for finding myself in another unhealthy relationship.

I was in a relationship with someone who was incapable of truly loving or accepting love. A relationship with someone who was very selfish. I didn’t beat myself up – I realized that I am human. I wanted to see the best in someone and I was let down. It wasn’t her fault….and it wasn’t my fault. Our friendship was part of my journey and my experience in this world.

With that said, it was not an easy decision to make. It was worse than a normal break-up. I have never removed myself from a friendship before. On an emotional level, it felt worse and more painful than leaving my marriage.

Ending a toxic relationship was the “grown-up thing to do” and sometimes it sucks being a grown-up. I made a healthy decision and for that, I am proud of myself. Leaving this relationship has opened doors to healthy friendships that I had kept on the back burner out of loyalty to the dysfunction. As the weeks have progressed, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

2013 was the year that I broke up with my best friend and 2014 is the year that I will focus on the healthy relationships in my life. 2013 was the year that I closed a huge chapter (custody battle) and it was also the year that I married the love of my life. I truly believe that each person enters our path to teach us a lesson – good or bad. Through this experience, I learned a lot about myself. I know that I am a good friend and I know that from this point forward, I will only invest myself in relationships that are healthy. Cheers to 2014!

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Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.

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