Whenever we hear about abuse, we think of romantic relationships. But, there is friendship abuse, and from asking my followers on Instagram, many have experienced it or was the abuser themselves.
So, what exactly is friendship abuse, and why isn’t it talked about it often? While there is no exact definition of friendship abuse, there are signs that could fall under friendship abuse. I believe it’s not talked about often because we all have friends, whether it’s a lot or a few, and we usually wouldn’t think that those friends would hurt us, be mean purposely, or intentionally betray us. But it happens more often than we think.
I wrote a blog last year about friendship’s value, and I mentioned having an unconditional friendship and a connection with that friend. Do you have any conditional friendships? Let’s take a look at some signs of friendship abuse.
First Sign – Constantly Lying
Do you have a friend or had a friend that spread rumors and lies about you? Maybe they try manipulating others to believe what they are saying about you. What about a friend that has no problem with lying to your face, and when you confront them about it, they lie again to cover up the other lie? Another might be that they lie to others and try to put you in the middle of it and expect you always to play along?
None of that is fair to you, and you cannot have a friendship like this because friendships are built on trust, just like any other relationship. A friendship is a type of relationship, and it needs to be nourished in order to grow. But that’s not going to happen with all these lies. Also, having rumors spread about you by someone you consider a friend hurts, and I know first-hand how that feels.
Second Sign – Controlling
Do you have a friend that makes you feel lesser than they? Maybe they are always saying specific comments to make you feel some type of way, or it seems like they are always in competition with you. These actions are common in people who are controlling.
They might try to control what you do, what you wear, and sometimes even who you hang out with. They will tell you who you can and cannot hang out with or act differently when you are going to hang out with other people. It could be the opposite; they act differently towards you when other people are around—trying to bully you in front of people.
A true friend wouldn’t mind you hanging out with other friends, or they would try to meet them and get to know them. Also, they wouldn’t try to make you feel any less. A true friend would encourage you and support you.Tweet
Third Sign – No Respect /No Boundaries
This friend doesn’t keep their promises, they hurt your feelings and make it seem like it’s your fault, or they break boundaries as soon as it is a benefit for them.
They don’t respect your time by constantly changing plans last minute without consulting you, or they cancel. Sometimes they will “forget” that they had plans with you, or they might purposely not include you at all.
Does the friendship feel one-sided? It seems like they need you for EVERYTHING, and you always help them, but when you need a favor, they are not available. This is also a lack of respect. You are still making sure that they are okay, but they are never making sure you are alright? This can be very draining because friendships should be like a two-way street. You scratch my back, and I got yours.
Know When and How to Walk Away
In an article on healthline.com, Dr. Walfish feels that it’s best to leave quietly and not confront your abuse. Although it is said to have open communication or honesty is the best policy, in this case, she says, they will most likely blame you.
Let others know about the situation, other friends, or family members, and let them know that you will no longer associate yourself with this person. Just like it’s not easy to leave an abusive relationship, it’s not going to be easy to leave an abusive friendship.
In the same article, Dr. Gail Saltz says that one may need therapy after leaving because this relationship may have caused damage to your feelings, self-worth, and therapy will help to not fall into another abuse friendship.
One might think that this happens to only kids or in high school, as in the movie Mean Girls, but this can very well occur in adulthood. I know I’ve had my own experiences with friendship abuse, and it hurt. Because you love this person, and you trust them, but then they go and abuse you.
God calls us to be in community, but we need to be careful of those enemies dressed up as “friends.”
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) – Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.Tweet
Like this post? Subscribe with your email to receive my posts straight to your inbox! 🙂