Coping-with-bullying

Toxic Friendships: When It’s Time To Let Go

When a good friend turns frenemy, it can be more painful than having your teeth pulled and turn your world upside down.

RELATED: Is Friendship A Higher Form Of Love?

Do you:

a) Rid your world of toxic friend once and for all by sending her a vomitous mass of glitter, coupled with hate mail, via latest social media sensation, genius website: shipyourenemiesglitter.com?

b) Watch endless re-runs of Mean Girls on a loop, crying into your Tim Tams and chardonnay?

c) Gracefully cut all ties with said toxic friend and move on with your life, fast?

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships

The answer, dear reader, is of course C (although A would be so satisfying!).

Everyone encounters a toxic friend or two at some stage in their life. The key is not to dwell too much on why it happened, I think, but just to get the hell out of it, stat! Of course, this can be easier said than done with it’s a one-time great, long-term friend who now seems hell-bent on making your life miserable.

Interestingly, new UK research recently revealed both men and women are equally likely to lose two of their closest friends when they start a new relationship.
Sad fact of life, isn’t it? You’d think your closest friends would be thrilled for you when you meet a great love?! But no – jealousy is indeed a curse.

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships
I interviewed a senior clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, about this complex topic of toxic friends. Her insightful answers are below:

Q: Are there any warning signs for a toxic friendship?

A: Relationship experts define a toxic friendship as one which causes more hurt and pain than good. So, when the friendship is causing you to feel bad about yourself, guilty, miserable, used or any other of a possible range of negative emotions a good deal of the time, and these negative emotions outweigh the positive feelings you get from the friendship, then you are in a toxic friendship.

Some people have a talent for making themselves feel better by putting their friends down with criticism and cutting remarks. If you realise this bullying is happening to you, take some deep breaths and resolve to end it. No one can “make” you feel sad or depressed, it only happens with your cooperation. So, dig deep and find the strength to end the friendship!

Q: Why do our one-time BFFs sometimes become our mortal enemies?

A: Sometimes, a friendship starts off being pleasant and fulfilling, but over time it turns into something toxic. Why? It could be that one friend has been successful or had happiness come their way and the other has missed out and feels jealous and resentful. Or maybe one party feels superior due to their successes and starts to be condescending and contemptuous towards the friend they regard as less successful. Maybe one friend is miserable due to a failed relationship and wants to make others suffer too.

There are many possible reasons why are some friends so good for us at the start and then turn into our worst foes. You could try talking to your friend about what is happening and how you feel about their behaviour towards you. But the important thing to remember is you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. So, if you find yourself in this situation and your friend is not prepared to acknowledge or change the way they are treating you, walk away!

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships

Q: How do you combat a toxic friend?

A: If you discover that you are in a toxic friendship, my advice is to walk away. Trying to change the relationship for the better would be very difficult: both parties would need to recognise the need to behave differently and want to change – that’s unlikely.

Usually in a toxic friendship one party holds most of the power, the other party is the recipient of hurtful putdowns, cruel comments and/or manipulations. The powerful one won’t want to give up their power – it enhances their self-esteem and gives a sense of superiority. Why would they want to change that? If you are the injured party, cut your losses and walk away. Yes, you’ll feel lonely for a time but you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you’ve had the strength to end the abuse. Instead, spend time with people whose company your enjoy and who you walk away from feeling happy.

Main image via forty2014.com; secondary image via en.wikipedia.org; third image via theberry.com and final image via www.pinterest.com.

September 18, 2015

Should Daycare Centres Have Zero Tolerance to Violent Kids?

In the 1992 US psychological thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle there’s a particularly frightening scene when the lead actor Rebecca De Mornay – who plays a crazed nanny – terrorises a little school bully who’s targeting one of her charges.

Now, I’m not a violent woman in the slightest, but when a friend jokingly reminded me of this movie scene, just after the shock and upset of learning the class bully had attacked my three-year-old daughter at her daycare centre, such is the fierceness of mother love, I could scarily relate to the mad nanny’s actions – if only for a second.

RELATED: How To Survive The Daycare Drop-off and Is Your Child Being Bullied?

While it would be very tempting to personally warn the daycare bully not to ever go near my child again, I am trying to trust that the centre’s carers have in fact got this dire situation under control. My daughter’s crime? A happy and sociable child, she simply wanted to play with this school bully, who lashed out at her in anger when she touched his toy.

And this was no normal toddler tantrum – this three-year-old boy, in my opinion, needs the attentions of a child psychologist, stat – he lunged at my daughter’s face with long, dirty nails, leaving deep scratches  just right under her left eye.

I was upset that this had happened to her at all, but even more so when I later learnt from my poor, traumatised daughter, when I got her home, that it was in fact the class bully who had attacked her – it was no random incident.

This kid is a repeat violent offender who’s previously bitten other kids, hit them with sticks and inflicted multiple bruises on yet another little girl, just from hard pinches. I know all this from other parents who have similarly signed incident reports.

So it got me thinking: should daycare centres have zero tolerance to violent kids? Should it there be a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy to weed out class bullies? I believe so.

bullying, violent kids, daycare centre
Unfortunately, our daycare centre doesn’t agree: they say they’re duty-bound to work closely with the class bully, and his parents, to improve his behaviour. Indeed, they protected him by not immediately revealing to me that it was he who had attacked my daughter.

Well, as I’ve told them, I don’t think this is good enough. I have every right, as a parent, to expect my child will be going to safe place, when I drop her off at their daycare centre twice weekly. Indeed, I am paying them for such a service.

Why should parents have to be anxious about their children getting attacked by a class bully, who clearly needs help?

And what will it take for this child to be excluded – a serious injury to some poor, innocent kid?!

And why haven’t this kid’s parents removed him? Don’t they care about the unnecessary stress their bully child is causing the other kids and their parents?

While I could just pull my child out of this daycare centre – and my husband and I are still seriously mulling this over – my daughter has made many good friends there, usually loves attending it and it’s very convenient to our home.

I am currently eagerly awaiting a response to my above concerns from my state government’s Early Childhood Education and Care which regulates early childhood education and care services.

What do you think? Should class bullies and violent kids at daycare centres be excluded?

Main image via safeharbor1.wordpress.com and secondary image via www.pixabay.com.

October 10, 2014