Saying Goodbye to The Fair-Weather Friend

I was a magnet for toxic people, and it was up to me to change this pattern.

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Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

Recently, I have been waxing nostalgic about a holiday at an ashram I took almost twenty years ago. It was there that I serendipitously ran into *Amara, a friend of over a decade who I was at a painful impasse with.

It was surreal. There she was on the path walking towards the lake. She called my name. It was time for us to speak and lay it all out, no holds barred.

Amara touted herself as a spiritual healer versed in sundry esoteric techniques such as holographic resonance and cathartic release work. She seemed wise and encouraging.

I saw her cruel, dogmatic derision. It was an illuminating experience. My realizations were suffused with grief and outrage. I retreated to the temple to ruminate over what happened. Prayer and meditation guided me towards common sense. It was clear that I could no longer be vulnerable with her.

Amara’s encouragement to open up and reveal the depths of my being was simultaneously coupled with the admission that she couldn’t endure hearing my pathetic disclosures. I was prompted to ask for what I needed and then contemptuously resented. It was an insidious mind-fuck.

Within that year, the proverbial shit hit also the fan with a narcissist I was dating.

Discovering his engagement on his betrothed’s blog put the kibosh on our farce of a relationship. The betrayal with him and the epiphany with Amara threw me into a relational overhaul. I embarked on the task of relinquishing one friendship after another.

It is vexing recalling how I sorted through my relationships and said goodbye to so many whom I loved, but couldn’t trust. Loving those I couldn’t trust was a familiar and familial theme in my life.

Once again I found myself releasing my toxic family of origin, only this time they were the family I chose.

Naturally, I was a hair-trigger since the ‘degrade and discard’ with the narcissist. It was obvious to everyone, including myself, that I succumbed to disillusionment and apathy. I exemplified a misanthrope. Facing the truth of the disrespect I allowed, enabled, and tolerated was both humiliating and humbling.

Most of my life, I over-strived to compensate for those broken parts of me I deemed loathsome and unacceptable. It was a primitive posture and an expression of the core injury that no one would love me if they saw my needy, dark traits.

I was convinced that I could only be loved if I was viewed as powerful and strong. Basically, if I epitomized supply.

Amara and her sugarcoated duplicitous verbiage was just a mirror of my own internalized ambivalence about deserving the kind of love and friendship that could willingly hold a space for my imperfections. Her beguiling overtures of “let me be here for you…. be open, trust, reveal” was invariably followed by resentment and cruelty once I opened myself up to receiving. It was a recapitulation of what I went through with my family and what I enacted with the narcissist.

I was a magnet for toxic egomaniacal people. It was up to me to change this pattern.

Waking up to this reality made me shaky with others. I was befuddled as to what interpersonal safety or balance looked like. Recognizing that my suffering was characterized as bitching and moaning and that words of support were hollow lies, alienated me.

I feared that if I shared anything pertaining to my intra-psychic world, even at a friend’s prompting, I would set myself up to be demeaned and scapegoated.

Consequently, for the most part, I chose to be alone with these parts of myself. Seeing through the hypocrisy and the narcissism jolted me into action and self-preservation. I had to continue letting go of people who were a threat to my loving myself. I released many seemingly beneficent and spiritual people.

Although my rage and the grief compelled me to be monastic and guarded, ultimately, it led me towards owning my worth. It also taught me that although we all have to ultimately rely on ourselves, we need a bridge of commonality that gives us strength and hope.

I formulated a vision, to have containment with grace, in which I could realistically determine what I want to receive and give to others. No more deferring of power, allowing degradation, manipulation, or lies.

The proverbial silver lining in this arduous rite of passage was that I let go of reconciling with mistreatment. I committed to receiving loving, compassionate, self-aware people capable of taking responsibility for their projections and able to accept, nurture, and tolerate darkness, as well as light.

Fair-weather friends no longer have a place in my life and if I can help it, they never will.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories…

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

Written by

NYC Therapist & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen, traveler, lover of art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

Written by

NYC Therapist & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen, traveler, lover of art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

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