Five signs that you are in an abusive relationship... with a friend

Five signs that you are in an abusive relationship... with a friend

Stop ignoring the warning signs and find out if your friend is abusive.

bad friend

Physical abuse in a relationship can be recognised from afar but emotional abuse, not so much. Minnie Ntuli received a mail from Anita, who is having a hard time keeping her ‘needy’ friend happy and whilst helping Anita with her friendship, Minnie dropped some signs to look out for to find out if your friend is abusive.

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Physical abuse in a relationship can be recognised from afar, but emotional abuse can be harder to detect.

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Minnie Ntuli received a mail from ECR listener Anita, who is having a hard time keeping her ‘needy’ friend happy and is in need of some advice.

Minnie decided to do her best to help Anita out and shared five tips that could help you detect whether a friend might be emotionally abusing you.

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Or these signs might help you recognise someone else suffering in this type of friendship.

Here are the five things you should keep in mind when doing introspection on your relationships.

1. They don’t listen to you

In an abusive friendship, you may feel unwanted and ignored. Here, what you say may feel like it’s not getting through to them because they are not acknowledging what you say or it might be falling on deaf ears. A good friendship needs communication so both parties are seen and heard. 

2. You do not feel respected

Good friends do not criticise or judge you, but an abusive friend will disrespect your choices. Whether it’s your choice in clothing, partners, and even your goals, these friends will only criticise. And although criticism is necessary, it should always be constructive and not cause pain.

3. You do not trust them

Due to the nature of this friendship, you already do not feel comfortable with sharing your secrets with them. It might be because they don't listen to you or you've noticed other untrustworthy behaviours. You may have observed them lying to other people so they are probably lying to you too. All relationships must be built on trust, but if they are untrustworthy, you should be concerned.

4. They need you for everything

Your friend probably asks you for advice all the time. They are constantly texting and calling you, demanding your attention daily. Making time for your friends is important but abusive friends may take up your energy without giving any back. You’re good enough to call on when they need you but not only do they not take so much of your energy, they never give you any back.

A friendship is a two-way street. In order for you to be able to give and give to someone else, you need to replenish your resources and also receive some assistance from your friends in times of need.

5. It feels one-sided: 

In a friendship, an uneven dynamic can get toxic. With your friend always relying on you and being dependent on you, they can end up pushing you towards their own goals and values. That minimises your own goals and potential because you're too busy investing in someone else. Instead of being collaborative and working together to succeed, abusive friends can get competitive and while supporting friends is super important, there needs to be a balance.
Walking away from long term friendships can be hard so it is important to try and communicate your feelings. If that doesn’t work, remember that you deserve better and deserve to be around people who bring out the best in you.

At the end of the day, the right friends will feel like exactly that: right.

Main image courtesy of iStock

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