So I had a friend breakup recently with a guy friend I had since 8th grade. Friend breakups are hard in every way possible, but when you’re dealing with a person who is heavily into drugs, abusive, and has a narcissistic personality disorder, no matter what you do you end up the loser.
Our friendship began in a really toxic way. We had a summer school class together where we got paired together a lot for the game Idiot, which to this day I cannot remember how to even play. I made the mistake of giving him my phone number one day, and literally every day since he would call me. Like all the time to talk at me. Not to me. At me. There were points I could set down the phone for a fairly lengthy period of time and he wouldn’t know I was even gone. There were nights I told my parents if he called to say I was at a friends house because I didn’t think I could emotionally handle him that particular night. Back then I should have known it was a toxic friendship, but then again, I was in 8th grade.
After a year of friendship my parents moved us to MI. He would call, but it would be less frequent. When he did call he would talk about how he wanted to kill himself, how his parents were abusive, the drugs he was trying, his sexual identity which changed almost weekly, and a lot of other stuff that was not very wholesome, but we were teenagers and thought we were edgy people. Thought this kind of stuff was normal. Again, he didn’t really let me talk much, and I really didn’t have much feedback. I think he just wanted someone to listen to him, because from what I understood, his parents had adopted him without really knowing what to do with a kid. They were the kind of people who neglected their child more than they actually parented…and he was craving guidance while struggling to want to control things and I was a listening ear he could bounce ideas off of and verbally cope with his life. Eventually he and his dad got into physical altercations, because a boy that’s a teenager would rather use his fists than words…and a toxic father who doesn’t know how to parent a child despite having been an educator, knows how to talk fists. His life was pretty shitty, and mine wasn’t the best, but my family disfunction was much more manageable than his was. Needless to say I still dreaded the length and weight of his calls, but all the same…I thought I was helping him and there were high points.
After college I moved back to WI. Got an apartment after a few years, and periodically he would call if he wanted to come over and have tea with me. Notice how most of this friendship was initiated by him. He pursued it. He invested in it. Don’t get me wrong I did too by letting him come into my home and sacred spaces. Let him drink my tea. I gave him a safe place to be, which was most of my mistake.
When I got engaged he got a little more “real” with me. He started talking more about my flaws while also emotionally unloading on me about how hard his life was. Talking crap about my fiancé whom he had never met and didn’t actually seem interested in meeting. He bragged about friends he dropped. Talked about how he paid people to do his homework so he could pass classes. I realized more and more that he really didn’t know me, and I started to look at his life and who he talked about and complained about…and wondered if he did the same thing about me behind my back. In fact at a certain point I expected it, but he was still doing things to show me I was appreciated. So I felt like I was valued even as his criticisms started to feel like personal attacks. It happened so gradually that I hardly noticed it. Somehow he had manipulated things so I felt like I was his friend, but he was really trying to belittle me, and I realized too late he was doing the same kind of thing about most women he knew. Especially his mother, who over time I realized was abused far worse in his home life than he was…mainly because she was taking emotional abuse from both her husband and from her son.
He started selling Rx when he was a Senior in high school, but he didn’t give that up like he thought it would eventually. He started justifying it. I wasn’t really interested in that culture so I hardline some things with him. I didn’t want to drive with him places if he had drugs on him. I didn’t want him to come to my home high, which was the hardest one to keep him accountable to because he would make plans, and then have to break them because he needed to self medicate or left me waiting around because he had to sober up. I felt it was rude, but I prided myself on being a flexible person, and if I called him out on it…well that would be unnecessary drama in my life. He didn’t take any personal criticism well.
My wedding rolls around, and while I’m already stressed out, he was giving me the run around. I told him about a little get-together that I was planning and told him if he wanted to come a few days early he was welcome to, but no pressure. Only a handful of people were being invited to it. I guess he booked a hotel to come early. Then he lost his invitation. He texts me to tell him again when the wedding is for like…the third time. I tell him. He’s upset because it’s two days after the party I invited him to. Which I tried to remind him I told him so, but no I didn’t I was wrong he would have remembered…blahblahblah. He asks what kind of stuff he could do so he was entertained in the area while he was there for that who single day alone since i was inconveniencing him so much. I told him about a few things, but told him to google some stuff and see what looked interesting to him. He seemed really pissed off. Which was weird because it wasn’t too late to get his money back. Was he high? Probably. So I ignored him because I had more on my plate than he did and he was an adult and could figure it out. That made things worse. He started telling me how badly this “inconvenienced” him and how “rude” it was that I didn’t mention it was so long before the wedding…like he even knew when the wedding was. Like I was the one who forced him to come early. I told him I couldn’t read his mind and didn’t know what info he had forgotten. No matter, it was still my fault and how dare I “dismiss” his feelings. After 10 messages I just stopped reading them.
I tried to move on, but he sent me nearly 30 texts later after he had already sent 10 about how I was being so rude. Offering false grace with abusive remarks and personal attacks which apparently he didn’t realize refuted the grace he claimed to offer. It was the day before my wedding by this point, and everyone around me kept taking my phone from me and threatening to kick him out of the wedding or text him back not to come. I fought for him to still be part of it. He doesn’t know that, and I feel dumb now for doing it. My mom pointed out that the party had been on 4/20 and I realized why it was so “inconvenient.” Rather…I should say I assumed why he was so mad. Because I don’t know for sure if he was really upset to not be able to smoke on 4/20. Eventually my aunt who is a psychologist told me the harsh truth: “Emily, what he’s doing is abusive behavior. Is he always like this?” I thought about it. Yes. He was always like this when I did things he didn’t like. I didn’t want to deal with it anymore, so I just told people to hold onto my phone, but let him text and get it out of his system.
The day of my wedding he let himself into my dressing room, and thank goodness I was clothed when he walked in. ” I just knew when I saw the dress and saw you I’d forgive you for this whole thing.” Everyone had some major rapid eye movement. I ushered him out telling him that I needed to get dressed and he was all smiles acting like he hadn’t just bitched me out over the course of two days. When he was gone my mother, bridesmaids, and especially my Maid of Honor vented her disbelief and anger. I told them to let it go and forgive him. He really didn’t have any clue he was out of line. He was that dumb about wedding etiquette. Still, I was angry, but only for a little while as we regained our composure and started saying the word “inconvenient” too much to one another as a joke.
His facebook posts got more and more mean to everyone over the course of my Honeymoon. He traveled to Ireland (a trip his parents took him on for his birthday like they did every year) and as in past trips he came back believing himself more cultured and above so many others “around here” and started posting things like “You all better be back in line when I get back” and other more abusive and controlling verbatim. He started to sound psycho on social media. I knew that it was time for me to think more carefully about letting him go as a friend. I could wait until after the Honeymoon though.
Weeks after my honeymoon he messaged me:
“Not to be a dick or anything, but can you me and your husband hang out soon and do something that I’ll actually enjoy too…just so I have a good time and not just the two of you having a good time?”
What? Great way to start a conversation after nearly a month of nothing post-wedding.
“I’ll get back to you.”
I ignored him because I just didn’t have time to get back to him with my new job and adjusting to marriage. Then a bought of depression happened and no one heard from me for months.
“Been over a month…I reached out now you need to.”
“Have grace with me friend” I responded.
His response: “I am.” No. He wasn’t. He was being controlling and passive aggressive. He didn’t know forgiveness. It wasn’t in his nature. I knew I was making things worse, but I was getting angry so I ignored him. He posted passive aggressive comments on my posts about how long he felt he was waiting to hang out. I kept deleting them.
Eventually he sent me this long message about how I was throwing our friendship away, and as I thought back I asked myself “What Friendship?” I realized that I had allowed this for far too long, and I realized he was never going to change. Our friendship always happened at his convenience. Why couldn’t it happen at mine. His narcissism was showing more and more as time went on, and I began to realize how abusive he really was getting. My husband was an abuse victim. I wasn’t going to bring this abuser into my home now that I was married. I wasn’t going to expose the love of my life to that. So I wrote back:
“Yes, if our friendship ends it is my responsibility, because I’m choosing to end it. I think I’ve outgrown you. I wish you the best.”
Over 56 texts later of him railing into me and after I blocked him on Facebook and Instagram he tried sending my husband a nasty message on Facebook. My husband blocked him. He tried contacting me while I was at work and the preview on my phone read “You Christmas gifts we subpar…” Or something like that. Really? I wanted to reply How petty! I invested moments of my life I will never get back for you to emotionally unload on me! I let you into my home. I fed you my food and tea. I gave you Christmas gifts when I was BROKE AS FUCK! I was so mad I went into my HR person’s office and cried to her about how angry I was, how petty he was being, the harassment, and how I was scared that blocking him on my phone would only encourage him to show up at my house…and I didn’t want to know what that would look like at this point because I had no idea what kind of person he was becoming. All I knew was he wasn’t being “real” and he never was. He was just being abusive.
My coworkers asked for pictures of him to know what he looked like. I showed them his Facebook profile and they were horrified by the kind of things he posted. “I’m walking you out to your car tonight.” My Director said. “This guy sounds fucking psycho.”
I couldn’t sleep that night. Which pissed me off because it was too flattering to him for me to feel this way because of him. I would hear a car nearby and immediately start shaking. I had several panic attacks in two weeks time because of how fearful I was he would show up and cause a physical altercation with me or my husband. It was horrible and after each time I felt angry at myself for feeling that way. For being that afraid.
Thankfully, he hasn’t showed up, and I hope it stays that way.