My friend Madelyn and I were hitting numerous yard sales today when we got on the subject of clothing, and how we both like to keep things simple. I, myself, once finding a particular style I like, will then buy one in almost every color.
Madelyn laughingly admitted to doing the same thing, adding that her ex-friend Becky would criticize her for that. She added that Becky also told her she shouldn’t wear hoodies as she was “too old,” and that T-shirts made her “look like a dyke.”
“Did you tell her that you live in a neighborhood that is predominantly gay, so you’re just trying to blend in?” I laughingly replied.
We both had a chuckle about Becky’s comments and Madelyn commented on how much better her life has been, and how much healthier she feels since she dumped Becky as a friend.
I have written about toxic friends in a previous blog, and back when Madelyn had told me about Becky, it was firmly established that Becky fell into the Toxic category. But narrowing it down even further under the Toxic umbrella, Becky was clearly a bully; not necessarily a physical one, but instead (and sometimes worse), a psychological one.
It wasn’t just about clothing critique that earned Becky this label; she also pulled manipulative tactics, guilt infliction and general insults from her cache of ammunition. Whatever Becky’s issues were, whatever her background was that made her that way, was not Madelyn’s responsibility, and I was proud of her when she dumped Becky as a friend.
Having had bully friends of my own in the past, I can attest for the sense of liberation when they are no longer in your life. Sometimes you get lucky and they move away (out of town, to another state, out of the country), but most times you have to gather your assertion and either fire them as a friend or simply order them to back off.
Many people simply go through life letting the bully/bossy friend make them miserable. Whether it’s a lack of gumption, self esteem, energy or all of the above that is keeping a bullied individual from taking action, the bottom line is it is taking it’s toll on his or her mental and yes, physical health.
There have been times when a potential friend has exhibited bossy traits early on, and the red flag in me decides that perhaps I should keep this person at arms length. Sure, I could be missing out on a great friendship, but I have plenty of great friends already; why take on one that could cause me stress?
We’re all entitled to protect ourselves from the bullies that come in and out of our lives. I’m hoping that anyone reading this who has a bully in their life will be inspired to liberate themselves from the toxic individual and gravitate toward the relief and happiness that beckon.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes.