The sad truth is I have had to let go of a lot of people in my life in order to be free from abusive situations and toxic relationships. Narcissistic friends can be so hard to see and very challenging to remove from your life. I know I doubted the narcissism I so blatantly saw and wrote it off as “just how they are” in an effort to let people be themselves and be a friend anyway. Once I saw the patterns I was repeating with similar people to the narcissistic abusers I had as partners it became clear that the only way to truly be free from abuse was to be very discerning with whom I keep and nurture as friends.
Narcissistic friends can look like someone that has your interest at heart, who would have your back, someone that even though they are difficult to others seems to be ok with you. They will groom you to need them and push your boundaries ever so slowly until you are no longer able to say no to them. They will set you up to fail with the illusion of being your biggest fan. The narcissistic friend will lie to you and go behind your back to smear you. They will find ways to destroy other relationships you have and make you reliant upon their friendship as the only true support you have in your life. Eventually, they will turn on you, knocking you off the pedestal they had you on down to a devalued position. If there is conflict because of this devaluing they will cut you out and give the silent treatment likely while smearing your name to anyone that will listen, The problem then becomes the issue of no one else knowing or believing that person is a personality-disordered abusive friend. You are left with losing more than one friend in the process often and can feel quite alone.
Seeing Toxic Truths
After you leave an abusive relationship it often happens that you begin to see other toxic relationships in your life. This happens to many survivors because once your eyes are open to what a toxic relationship really is and especially once you start researching what a healthy or emotionally safe relationship is you begin to see truths about those around you. When your only pattern of relationship is one that has you as an abused survivor, it’s all you know of relating even if it never feels quite right. As you heal you begin to need healthy interactions and hopefully become less tolerant of anyone pushing your boundaries or gaslighting you or any other toxic behavior a narcissist will throw at you. Seeing the truths, while painful, is necessary for many of us in our healing. Narcissistic friends keep you in the abuse cycle that you are trying to free yourself from. There is no way to “manage” those relationships in a healthy and constructive way just as there is no way to do so in a romantic relationship with a narcissist. Narcissists make terrible friends.
Letting go and making room for healthy friendships
One very positive thing is that letting go of toxic friendships makes a lot of room in your life for healthy ones. Toxic people take time, a lot of time. They take your energy and focus in order to keep them happily full of your supply so being free from that means being free to welcome in positive friendships. It may feel like you have no one after abuse because of how many people it seems you have to let go of. Use this time to focus on your own wants, wishes and
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Lise Colucci is an intuitive healer and certified life coach, as well as a certified narcissistic abuse recovery coach. She is a long-time admin and mentor for the SPAN Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Group, actively helping survivors of narcissistic abuse in the expansive community to learn and heal.