The Frenemy Factor
How I detoxed from my toxic friendships
by Deborah Jordan Aaron
Frenemy (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) noun / fren-e-my \ ˈfre-nə-mē \
Definition of FRENEMY
plural frenemies 1. One who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy
2. Blend of friend and enemy
First known use: 1977
We’ve all heard the expression “frenemy”, you may even have someone come to mind the moment you hear the word. I am coming to terms right now with that very same thing. I had frenemies. Notice, I said had. I was not immediately aware that they were. Frankly, I don’t really like the word. It has such a negative connotation for me, it feels like deceit. The people I like to hang out with are essentially kind, sometimes quirky (which is even better) but mostly kind. Or so I was lead to believe. It’s been a long, long time since high school days. I thought all the jealousies and insecurities that are a part of adolescence tend to fade when finding one’s true self. At least, that’s how it was for me. Come to find out, not everyone grows out of it.
Recently I was having a chat with a good friend, a very kind and generous lady whose inner light is radiant! We were talking about people in our lives that have presented themselves in a false manner. That is to say, they are takers. They will take advantage of situations to benefit themselves without putting forth an honest effort. They will take your vulnerabilities and put them on a billboard for the world to see. They will take your kindness and try to turn it into a weakness, as if generosity was something they are entitled to receive. They take your time, your friendship, your honesty and stomp on it as if they were trying to put out your flame. Don’t let them do it. They are trying to take your light, your shine, your glow. Don’t let their shade darken your door anymore! Yikes!! That was harsh…
Truth is, as totally interpreted by me, doing mine…haters gonna hate. Yucky and icky as it sounds to me as a supposedly “grown woman”, it’s out there. The problem that my radiant friend and I have is, why would anyone want to hate on us? Oops, I just tripped over my ego. As for my friend, I’m befuddled (great word, so seldom get to use it) as regards to why anyone would be that way to her. Maybe she is too pretty, too smart, too strong and too enterprising for the select few, the takers. I don’t understand it myself. I look at my “friend pool” and although it is small, it’s by no means shallow. It runs deep. I love my friends and expect that they love and tolerate me because they are amazing and kind…and I’m awesome too, right?!?! Ergo, ego. Oops!
As I’m talking on the comfy, beautiful sofa (not a couch at this estate) in this lovely home with this wonderfully kindred spirit of a woman, I realized that we have something in common. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and expect the same in return, as naturally and easily as we expect oxygen and sunshine. We focus on the positive and our egos believe it will protect us from the negative because that’s not what we want in our lives. It’s our superpower, right? Sadly, believing it is our Kryptonite. Back to ego.
noun / ˈēɡō
a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance. “a boost to my ego” synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-image, self-confidence “the defeat was a bruise to his ego”
The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity
(in metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject
What happens when you realize your tripping over your own ego? My friend was sad; she didn’t know why. I was sad about my own situation, didn’t know why. I keep harping on the ego because sometimes you don’t get to know why. What. When did I hurt you? It may never become clear. Again, haters gonna hate. Back to ego, I don’t think I’m a bad person but someone else’s words and behavior has made me mad/sad/insecure/vengeful…. stop. I did nothing to deserve that behavior. Here is where I step away from my ego.
If I hurt you, it was not my intention
If you judged me, I’m human
If you don’t like me, I’ll get by
If you hate me, I will pray you find a way to overcome that,
I already forgive you.
I choose to be grateful for what you brought to my life…
The challenges we face in the faces we see…
My life lessons…
As I spoke to my friend, she was trying to figure out how to deal with what has come to be known as a toxic friendship. She didn’t feel exactly that way, no one does when they’re trying to figure out what they did wrong. Back to the ego, who says you did anything wrong? This is what I told her, I didn’t actually get it until I said the words… “Release them” “Let them go with grace” “Thank them for what they brought to your life and let them go”. Basically, put gratitude in front of the words. Shazaam!
That is the moment when I realized what an “attitude of gratitude” can be for our spirit. THAT is our super power! If you can be grateful for the experiences that are presented to you, be it friend or frenemy, you win. You learn. Best of all, you still get to be you, wear your heart on your sleeve and trust that not everyone is trying to dim your light. My detox is letting go of the ones that challenge my integrity, my heart, and embrace the ones that bring me joy and light. It’s not always easy to walk away, especially if you’re feeling very hurt and let down. You may even feel a need to strike back, to lash out when your character is under attack. Let them go, just walk away. There may never be an explanation as to why someone doesn’t like you but why burden yourself with the negativity. The good people in your life will stick by you, give you their light and you will shine together.
Note: This is my personal experience; I’m living it every day. Some days are more challenging than others but I always try to remember, I’m responsible for my own shine, it’s begins with me. I hope you have a shiny, glowing day, my friends, I’m positive you deserve it. PS Avoid the shade…
Deborah Jordan Aaron, Advocare Independent Distributor
386.478.1066 office - 386.847.2520 cell - [email protected]
Deborah Jordan Aaron is also an artist, photographer, writer and lover of life. She shares life lessons, insights, healthy living advice and motivational and inspirational messages on this online magazine and in her blog at http://deborahjordanaaron.tumblr.com/