Advicesisters.com Classic Q&A Remix: Why Has My Friend Suddenly Become A Mean Girl?
I have been friends with another woman about my age for 5 years. I enjoyed the friendship initially. But “Anna” started to get obsessive. She’d call me every night and leaving dozens of messages. She’d also text me constantly. Now, Anna has started to criticize my taste in clothes. She puts down my relationship with other friends. She has even ridiculed my job as “just a hobby” (I’m a massage therapist). Last night she picked a fight with me and told me not to come by for Christmas dinner even though I have nowhere else to go and called me a “stupid bitch.” That was the last straw. I asked her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t talk about it. I don’t have a lot of friends and I do get pretty lonely. What would make a former friend morph into a mean girl?
An abusive friend causes no less damage than an abusive family member or lover. Therefore, if you allow the cycle of abuse to continue you will continue to be hurt.
No matter how lonely you think you will feel without Anna’s “friendship” or how much you may wish that Anna would go back to being the loving friend she was in the beginning, she probably won’t.
The sad fact is that in the beginning, you saw the facade she used to lure you into the friendship and get you under her control.
It is important to remember that you cannot change others, you can only change your response to them. Anyone who shows you abusive behavior is not a friend.
Maybe Anna is lonely and angry at life, but she needs to get her “therapy” elsewhere, not by beating on you so she can feel better. But she is a classic mean girl. Don’t feel bad or take what has happened personally. It’s all about her, not you.
If you are lonely, make new friends. Just get out there and try new things and meet people who will help you feel good, not abused.
Whatever new “friends” you make will be better friends than this neurotic and destructive person who obviously doesn’t know the meaning of the word. If you stay in this relationship you are bound to be miserable!
There are people in this world who are so insecure about themselves that the only way they can feel powerful and in control is to criticize and break down the confidence of others. Anna appears to be the kind of person. She gets particularly abusive when her sense of self-worth has been threatened and things aren’t going well in her life (which is probably most of the time).
Regardless of the cause, an abusive relationship is a destructive one, whether it is in a love relationship, a family relationship, or just friendship.
Abusive people usually do not realize (sometimes, they don’t even care) how their behavior affects others. They are usually too self-centered and self-absorbed to think about the harm they might be doing. Often, even when faced with the undeniable truth about themselves, they will angrily deny their abusiveness.
It may feel confusing to find yourself in a relationship like the one you have developed with mean girl Anna. At first, the friendship seems normal and, your friend’s attitude supportive. Then, suddenly it changes. It’s the hallmark of an abusive personality.
Abusers rope you in so you make an emotional investment in the relationship. Then they reject you leaving you hurt and confused. Therefore, the ultimate power of abuse is control…manipulating someone else to suit your own needs against their will, whatever the consequences.
It takes courage, but perhaps you need to confront Anna and say: “Your verbal abuse is hurting me and I’m not going to tolerate it. If you want to treat me with respect we can continue being friends. However, if you are only looking for someone to dump on, our friendship is not going to survive.”
If you are unable to do this face-to-face, you might try writing her a note. Be prepared for her to get defensive and angry, deny it, and heap on more abuse.
But Remember that this woman gets her power from controlling you. Don’t let her! Walk away if she won’t change her behavior, and don’t’ be disappointed if she doesn’t. You say you are lonely, but a better investment of your time might just be to reach out and use your efforts to make new connections.