Usually when people talk about toxic relationship they mean the “romantic” relationship. But friendship can be toxic too, and that is exactly what I’ve experienced.
I met V over the internet. I was young, 14 maybe 15, she was 6 years older. I was reading her blog with fanfiction. We haven’t met for several years, but the friendship started developing. We talked on chat/skype daily. I started helping her with the fics (co-translation, beta, etc.).
I really liked V. She understood me, we had similar hobbies – I FINALLY had someone to talk to about Harry Potter, and anime, and shiping, and yaoi, and everything… In few years V became one of the most important people in my life. I talked to her about every problem, every joy. I turned to her when I needed an advice.
When we finally met in person, I was in college. And I was instantly smithen. Like I couldn’t stop staring at her because she was real, she was here, and she was SO AMAZING. (It was an instant crush, I didn’t realise it at that time because I was so deep in the closet I didn’t even consider that I can actually have a crush on a girl).
She lived in a different town so we didn’t meet regularly but we kept talking every day, sending each other gifts even (for birthdays, namedays, Christmas, …). And at that point I was so deep in that I did everything to please her.
She had a huge influence on me. When I visited her in the summer, I’ve spent a week at her house. I spent most of the time alone, with her cats, because she was working (now, that sounds so wrong – I went to visit her, but I didn’t get to spend much time with her). In that spare time I was working on her fics, of course (they needed so much beta, she didn’t have the best command of language). And during that visit I let her die my hair. Actually, it wasn’t lie I had much to say in the matter. She literally pointed to a chair and said “Sit. We’re dyeing your hair.” She chose the colour too.
I kept dyeing the hair the same colour for 3 years…
Much of our friendship was revolting around her fanfiction blog. I was absolutely in love with her works at first, but with years I started seeing the imperfections. They were poorly written, and had really bad plots (too simplistic or too “wtaf?!”, + too many mpregs). Yet, I was unable to stop reading her fics and commenting them (in a favourable way of course, she didn’t deal at all with criticism). I tried, I kept telling her that I’m busy with my college an everything. But she kept saying that if I stop reading and commenting, she’ll stop writing and will tell all her other fans that it’s my fault (and I really didn’t feel like being bullied by a bunch of yaoists). It was blackmail, I see it now.
She kept using emotional blackmail on me. It was effective – she knew it. All she needed was to pout, say that she’s sad, said that she’s lonely and I kept doing what she wanted. Even without her telling me anything, with most things there was the underlying “V would approve”. It was emotionally straining.
About 1,5 years ago my other friends started noticing that something was wrong with my relation with V. And they decided that it needs to stop. Gradually, I stopped visitng V’s blog. Gradually, I reduced the amount of contact I had with V. I started making decisions for my own – I did things because I wanted to do them, I stoped thinking “what V would say about it”. Half a year ago I finally changed my hair colour. It felt as if a weight has been taken off my shoulders.
V sometimes still messages me, and I’m still unable to ignore her. I still have her in my facebook friends. I still kept checking her blog – every two months to see what she’s up to, and whether she’s doing okay (she always had bad health and kept ending up in a hospital, that’s how I know she got pregnant). I cannot cut the ties to her completely. She was an important part of my life for quite some time. But I’m making progress. I stopped following her facebook feed and blocked the notifications from her on Messenger.
I hope that one day, I’ll be able to leave her behind completely and not care about her.
Because, I know that now if I got involved even a bit in her life the things could come back to what they were really fast. And I really don’t want that.