‘I recognised I was in a toxic friendship and it had to end’

Feb 21, 2020
This community member felt their friendship wasn't worth maintaining and sought to end it. Source: Getty Images

Years ago on a cruise my partner and I struck up a friendship with another couple that continued after we returned home. This isn’t strange for us; we have made some wonderful friends on previous trips overseas.

We became close friends, confiding in each other about everything. We were even invited to their daughter’s wedding and my friend’s special birthday party at McLaren Vale.

Even though we lived a huge distance away from each other, we would meet in the middle for dinner or brunch. Our partners became great mates as well.

However, that changed. One day my partner had a call from my friend to say her husband had collapsed and died of a heart attack. He was still working full-time and they’d only recently moved into a new home. It was their ‘dream home’ facing the beach. We were devastated at the news.

She asked my partner to get me to text, rather than call, her. She still needed to speak with other family members.

As requested I sent her a ‘I hope you’re doing okay. Hang in there’ message, not expecting to get anything back. Grief can be a difficult thing to navigate and I knew she would be caught up organising her husband’s funeral.

We finally caught up 10 days later, at the funeral. After hugging, she insisted that we sit next to her up front with the rest of her family.

Sometime after the funeral, she needed to go into hospital for an exploratory operation. We were so close that I didn’t hesitate to offer to stay overnight with her at home and drive her to the hospital in the morning. Her daughters both had young children, the youngest was expecting and on bed rest.

It was a long drive to her home and when I saw her we both burst into tears and hugged. I was surprised that she had a Rescue Dog as she never mentioned it in all the time we’d known each other. I have no problem with animals and have dogs myself. When my boys were young we had cats, birds, even frogs.

However, this dog didn’t like me initially. We worked on her and then after dinner we were on the lounge watching a movie and the dog went to sleep on my lap, very happy. The dog even seemed content to let me pick her up and carry her out to do her business before coming back in and going to the main bedroom.

I went into my room and found that my bed had been wet on by the dog. I wasn’t sure when it was done and I didn’t make a big fuss, so I stripped the bed and used the blankets in the bottom of the wardrobe to wrap up in to keep warm.

We were up early the next day and my friend asked me to help her choose what to wear. As I was looking at the shirt she had on, the dog leapt from the bed, growling at me and bit me. This happened not once, but several times. I screamed and smacked the dog across the nose. She released her grip on me but then tried to bite me on the other leg.

My friend went to the dog’s aid, immediately picking her up and cuddling her. She asked, “Are you okay?” and thinking she was talking to me I said that I thought I was bleeding. She looked up and said, “I was talking to the dog.”

I left the room and went to the bathroom. I was bleeding and counted eight puncture wounds in my legs and numerous scratches from the dog. I had no other clothes so had to wear the blood-stained pants to the hospital. I couldn’t find any bandages and when I asked my friend told me I was being ‘dramatic’. I was shocked!

It was a quiet ride to the hospital. As I promised, I stayed until she was taken for surgery. I called another friend who worked at a medical centre close by and stepped her through what happened. I was able to see the doctor straight away. When he saw the bites on my legs he advised I’d need a tetanus injection and he prescribed a strong dose of antibiotics to ward off any infection. Thankfully I did not require stitches.

I went back to the hospital and stayed with my friend until her daughter was able to get there. She was staying in overnight and going to her daughter’s to recover.

I tried contacting my friend a few days later, knowing she’d been discharged from hospital, but received no reply to my messages. On Mother’s Day, I sent her another text message to say I hoped her recovery was going well and that she was doing all right. No response. A few days later I sent left another message just to let her know I’d been required to have a second lot of antibiotics following the dog bite. Again, I received no answer.

Angry, I contacted her for a final time. I advised her that I was no longer interested in being her friend and that she was never to contact me or my family again. I even went so far as to block her phone number, so frustrated I was at the situation.

Several days later all hell broke loose. This friend contacted my partner and demanded to know what was going on. While she received my final message, she claims she never received any of the previous messages I’d left for her. She informed him that after the surgery she’d not been well.

I was even more angry that she never asked how I was. She was ranting and raving that I’d scared her dog when I stayed and that following the incident she had to take the dog to the vet. The dog was now so anxious when people came around. I hardly think that was my fault!

When I refused to have any further involvement with her, she went on social media and made awful comments about me. My family and friends were quick to put such hurtful things right and the comments were removed after complaints were made.

It’s been two years and I was recently contacted by this person on Facebook Messenger. She claims that her husband would be so angry that we were no longer friends. I found such a comment was only meant to emotionally blackmail me into a response, however, all it did was bring back all the hurtful things she said and did. I decided it was best not to respond.

The whole experience has left me feeling sad.

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Have you ever had to end a relationship or friendship because it was no longer good for you?

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