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Help with getting away from an abusive friend

  • 19-06-2021 11:02am
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    My male best friend (whose gay for context) puts me down so much, to the point I have no confidence left.

    People tell me I’m pretty. But he makes me feel horrible.

    He calls me fat, says I have frizzy hair, says my clothes are ugly, he says how I dress is embarrassing. All under the guise of joking/slagging. I usually say shut up and try laugh it off or say "Aw stop, that's not nice."

    When we have a few drinks and I’m dancing he laughs at me and says that I have no rhythm. I’m so sick of it. My confidence is on the floor.

    The problem is I’m very attached to him and I’m not sure why. We have been friends for a long time. I talk to him every single day and he very much knows and understands me. But I can’t take anymore put downs. It's a bit like an abusive relationship really. He also never celebrates my successes, but he is quick to point out when I fail.

    Last night we were having a few drinks and he said something horrible and I told him I’d had enough. I started crying. He said “but we always do this, why are you crying?” I think I’ve just let it go on for so long that it’s normal to him now, and I recognise that's my fault too for allowing it.

    He puts down everyone. Apart from his very pretty friends who he hypes up.

    He has a friend who is very photogenic and when I said she’s so pretty, he said “Only in pictures though, not in real life, and I said that to her.”

    He's extremely toxic, doesn't uplift me, and I am realising now how mucg he is holding me back. Someone flirted with me recently and I didn't know what to do. I thought "I am disgusting. Why would he be interested in me?" I realised then how much I have internalised all of these "slaggings". I hate myself. I even stopped wearing my favourite runners because he laughed at them and said they were horrible, even though I'd received lots of compliments about them.

    I need to get away but I feel absolutely stuck and I guess we are dependent on each other in a way. There is really no point in me bringing any of this up with him, I believe he is far too toxic to take it on board and I'm not sure he is capable of changing. This is far too engrained in his personality at this stage.

    Any advice at all for getting away from a person like this would be great. I know now that I need to for my own sanity. Thank you.



  • Administrators Posts: 12,872 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Give yourself a couple of days. Don't answer his calls or texts. If he tries to meet up with you tell him you're not available. He upset you last night and knows it. So you avoiding him for a day or two shouldn't come as a surprise to him.

    In a way, if this is how he is with everyone and this is how he has always been with you you can almost excuse it as banter. But, now that you have pointed out to him it upsets you he should make every effort to stop.

    If he doesn't then you just phase him out. You actually don't need him as much as you think you do. And if you do walk away and spend less time with him you will more than likely find other friends. Friends who have been avoiding you because of him!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,826 ✭✭✭yosser hughes

    Ditch him, he's toxic and sounds incredibly shallow. Life's too short for this sort of shyte.

    Are you female by any chance? Is he like this with his male friends?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    Your friend is a d*ck and a bully.

    Don't even bother calling him out on it, he'll get all high and mighty and turn it on you.

    Cut him out of your life - full radio silence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31 RebeccaK21

    This guy isn't your friend. Think about what you actually get from the friendship, I know you say you're dependent on each other, but besides company the friendship isn't meaningful for you. You deserve way more. Just be less available to him and phase him out, he isn't going to change. That kind of thing takes willpower, but the effect he's having on you is holding you back, so I would just focus on that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 916 ✭✭✭1hnr79jr65

    First thing you need to correct is that is NOT a friend, that is a bully abuser.

    Second talk to someone to assist you with telling the abuser to fk off out of your life if you need support. There is no need for you to stay around so this person can put you down for their own self gratification.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭whomadewho

    Any advice at all for getting away from a person like this would be great. I know now that I need to for my own sanity. Thank you.[/QUOTE]

    He is your best friend op! He is not your friend full stop. I'm all for friendly banter but Friends dont act like that. Cut him loose.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,273 ✭✭✭km991148

    What's stopping you from ignoring his texts etc?

    Seriously, think about that and what the answer is.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I agree with the other posters he is TOXIC and clearly has his own stuff going on which he is projecting on to you. Life is too short to allow this negative energy in your life. I would say walk away...find nice friends who have your back! Remember nasty comments only matter if you believe they are true! Find people who build you up and motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Best of luck😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 949 ✭✭✭mistress_gi

    Like other people have pointed out, this person is not your friend. I have a feeling he uses the guise of "saying it like it is" to make himself feel better...
    I think you need to figure out why you feel you have to out up with this abuse.
    You need to realise you are better and are worth more than being constantly put down.
    Once you put yourself first it should be easy enough to walk away.
    If you feel the need to tell this person why you're ditching them do, but only if it helps you with closure.
    Trust me, being alone is infinitly better than being in bad company!
    Good luck OP!

  • Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭ Fletcher Embarrassed Spike

    It's a bit like an abusive relationship really. He also never celebrates my successes, but he is quick to point out when I fail.

    You know yourself this friendship needs to end

    He'll not change and will eventually go back the same again,best way is to go radio silence....someone like that wont reach out/make 1st contact anyway

    i had similar situation with a group when i younger wasted years on end being made feel sh1t about everything about me....lifes too short

    I eventually just stopped replying,ignored group rid of phone/social media for months after it,as was determined to not get sucked back in......

    Its shít and lonely,its really hard to make new friends here,but no way would i go back to the way i was before......this person is ruining yous head and not your friend.....get rid

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  • Registered Users Posts: 982 ✭✭✭Rrrrrr2

    Truly bizarre how and why some people put up with this kind of abuse. Cut him lose now ffs.
    Be prepared for plenty of bitchiness and stabbing you in the back- just like he does now really but not to your face

  • Administrators Posts: 12,872 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips


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  • Registered Users Posts: 745 ✭✭✭ClosedAccountFuzzy

    That's not a friendship. He's a being a bully and expecting loyalty and respect by treating you badly.

    You can find that personality - the bullying boss, the diva star on the football team, the stage performer who is an absolutely nightmare, the vicious bully holding court as Ms or Mr popularity at school and you get it in friendships and relationships.

    He doesn't seem to care about you or respect to, but just expecting you to be his punch bag.

    Bullies need someone to punch down and they need their minions.

    My advice would be to put your foot down, say it's totally unacceptable and walk away.

    There isn't enough time and energy to deal with that kind of behaviour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,745 ✭✭✭Aglomerado

    Distance yourself.
    Life is too short.
    If you meet a friend and they make you feel bad, then they are not a friend.
    I've had to do it in the past a couple of times. Even old friends I had known for 20 years.
    Too many nights out ruined, it was not worth it. Look after yourself first and foremost.

  • Registered Users Posts: 745 ✭✭✭ClosedAccountFuzzy

    I've dropped toxic former friends and, quite honestly, it has to be done.

    When you're walking on eggshells or feeling you're being put down by someone, you have to reassess what it's all about.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,369 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    It's worrying that you mention hating yourself, because of him.

    What a pathetic individual he must be that he has to constantly put others down, whether in terms of insulting their appearance or what they wear. Not alone does he not bring anything positive to your life, he brings huge and damaging negativity.

    I think you need to drop him as quickly as you possibly can. I know you mentioned being dependent on one another, so it may be easier said than done. But you know now that it has to be done. Your health is being damaged by this so-called friend. You mentioned talking to him daily. Start by cutting that out.

    Put yourself first in your thoughts. Talking this out with someone else, perhaps a counsellor, might help you to work on strategies to improve your confidence and belief in yourself, and help you to break away.

    Mind yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Drop him, he's a bitch. Gayness irrelevant - the vast majority of gay lads don't play into the bitchy gay stereotypes, it's toxic behaviour. Pure nastiness, put back on your favourite runners and forget about the dose.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,729 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    this person isn't a friend.
    Friends build you up, not tear you down. A friend supports you, they don't knock your confidence.and self esteem.

    You don't need this person in your life and you will be all the stronger without them.

    Good luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 29 Senior

    As others said, phase him out.

    Don't initiate contact. Tell him you are too busy to meet. Etcetera. He will soon get the message.

    Then start to work on yourself and improve your self esteem after all the knockings you have taken from him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,119 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes

    Stop texting him stop hanging with him ..don't go to gatherings you know he will be there at ...if he asks you to go somewhere say ..i can't im so busy.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 745 ✭✭✭ClosedAccountFuzzy

    Join some groups. There are many things happening in terms of outdoor walking groups, zoom meetups and so on.

    Deliberately broaden your circle of friends as the pandemic fades and just let contact with this guy fizzle.

    I wouldn’t necessarily be confrontational about it, but be prepared to withdraw contact from someone who is behaving in a toxic way like that. Also don’t get caught into a cycle of trying to fix them. It’s usually a very well established personality trait that does not change.

    You’ll get people who are maliciously or spitefully critical like that and you’ll find them in all walks of life too. It’s about making themselves feel good by making someone else feel bad.

    Irish “slagging” humour can mask it sometimes but I think we all know when the line is crossed and from your description it really has been.

    It’s a sort of a version of Schadenfreude, where someone is getting pleasure from someone else’s misfortune or humiliation. That’s not good humoured banter. It’s downright nastiness.

  • Registered Users Posts: 189 ✭✭Dog day

    What a nasty piece of work this person is, the very opposite of a true ‘friend’. Fair play to you for recognising the toxicity in this ‘friendship’ OP, sometimes when people abuse us for long enough we can normalise what is abhorrent behaviour.

    I’d agree with the posters recommending that you phase him out. Be permanently ‘busy’ when he wants to meet up. No deep conversations or explanations, this bully (for that’s all he is) doesn’t deserve your energy. I know it may be difficult given you know him a long time but you’ll feel so much better without such a nasty, negative individual in your life. Wishing you only good things for the future, including lovely people in your life that build you up, not tear you down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 725 ✭✭✭M_Murphy57

    For context, Is he your only close friend or are you both part a bigger circle of good friends?

    To me, you've 2 choices:
    1) send him a version of what you've written here, then block him and dont contact him again or
    2) just block him and dont contact him again, no text first.

    You might feel sadness and loneliness for a while , might even be tempted to get in touch but dont.

    Also be prepared for him to make up.lies about how it ended, say awful things about you. That's just how narcs like him operate.

    Keep your head high and stay out of any drama he tries to kick off when you cut him loose. Eventually he will be "just somebody I used to know" and you'll wonder how you were ever friends with him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭James Bond Junior

    I'm not one to post in PI ever but I clicked in as I have a person I want to cut out. Funnily enough a gay man also who enjoys nothing more than putting others down in the same way. A few years ago, two female friends of his both messaged him in tandem and told him that they no longer wished to be friends with him and wished him the best of luck but don't contact them again. These people had known him for decades and would have been his closest friends. He was hugely upset by it at the time and tbh it was what he needed to hear.

    I have decided that I am phasing him out of my life also. I don't need to be as blunt as the two ladies were but we drifted apart in recent years. I moved abroad but will return again and I'm just not going to try and resume the friendship. Life is too short for toxic people and anybody who feels it necessary to belittle you to raise themselves up is not a friend, they are a bully.

    Maybe cutting him out and making it explicit why you are doing so would cause him to reflect on his behaviour with others. Do what is needed for yourself. Write him a letter if you don't want to do it in person.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,419 ✭✭✭antix80

    He probably thinks he's sassy like a tv gay.

    You realise he's bad for you. Time to make new friends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,042 ✭✭✭✭B.A._Baracus

    Ditch him.
    You don't owe him anything. This is all apart of growing as a person. This guy is such a negative impact on your brain box so you throw him away like a used tissue.

    I'll say this op, if me and you were friends and you were bringing me down then you'd never hear from me again. If you really annoyed me or did something on me i'd add in an f-off too :p I would'nt care if you were my only friend in the world. My mental well being is worth more than keeping toxic friendships for the sake of it. Most people would do the same.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 11,879 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    Toxic, nasty, insecure bully.

    This person is not your friend. He needs you as an emotional punchbag to make himself feel better. Please cut out this rotten piece of dead wood from your life.

    You deserve so much better than to be emotionally belittled, shamed and abused?

  • Posts: 3,637 [Deleted User]

    Hi OP. I want to comment on how clear an understanding you have been able to articulate in your post here. You know well what you’re dealing with so you’re in a good position now even if it’s an unpleasant situation overall.

    Hold yourself to following through now on the decision you’ve made. It’s 100% the right one to make, so don’t let the harm he’s done to your self-confidence undermine your resolve. Nobody, nobody deserves to be treated the way he has treated you, let alone a ‘friend’. But people like that won’t change, no matter what their short term behaviour might suggest.

    Tell him you’re tired of him treating you like dirt, demeaning you and leading you to feel awful about yourself. You’re done, end of story. Block him on everything and don’t ever look back.

    You’re very ‘together’. You’ll doubtless find real friends, people who’ll remind you how great you really are, quicker than you would with that arsehole hanging his ego from your coat tails.

    I wish you well. Leave that eejit in your past.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe

    get as far away from that guy as possible. he is toxic and corrosive and will only drag you down. Get away.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Hi all, OP here. I was a bit worried posting this originally, I was hoping people wouldn't reply to tell me I was at fault for allowing him to treat me the way he did. I'm really grateful for all of the supportive replies, they have really solidified my decision to cut this person out of my life. I already feel better, knowing that I have empowered myself by refusing to put up with any more of his abuse. Thanks again everyone.