I should have known something was off when she told me she used to be best friends with someone and suddenly she wasn’t. But you know, people change. It happens. People lose touch with one another. So I filed her comment away.
We became military spouse friends rather quickly. Our kids got along. Our husbands got along, bonding over their jobs in the Air Force. Everything seemed to be going smoothly.
Until they weren’t.
There were so many signs that she was a toxic person and I kept ignoring them. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to lose the friendship. Or because I saw it as a way to cope with deployment and separations.
Signs of a toxic military spouse friendship.
Sure, I had other people I could hang out with, but I wasn’t as close to them. It can be tough making friends when you’re a military spouse since you move around so often. When you finally make one, you don’t want to easily toss it aside. You tolerate more.
But I should have been smarter. Her friendship was not a healthy one in the long run.
1. She’s stopped being friends with lots of people.
If you’re informed that she’s stopped being friends with lots of people, take a step back. Especially if she blames it all on the others. If she’s not taking any responsibility, something might be off. She had told me about the best friend she stopped being friends with, and casually mentioned other people that she no longer spoke to as well.
2. You notice lots of passive aggressive behavior.
If she starts to make vague Facebook statuses that you know are directed at you, it’s not normal. Sometimes she’d ask me for favors such as watching her kids. And I would most of the time, but there were days I had other things going on. So I couldn’t.
Then I’d see on Facebook “I’m so sick of these unhelpful military wives” and I’d be suspicious if it was about me, but I never asked. I should have. I should have told her to knock off the childish behavior.
3. There are lots of cancelled plans at the last minute.
If she begins to cancel plans at the last minute, it’s time to find someone else to hang out with. I understand things come up, but I noticed she’d cancel our plans if I was unable to watch her kids. For example, she was planning on coming over one day.
She asked if I could watch her kids on a day that I wasn’t able to. Suddenly she was all, “My kids and I won’t be coming over,” and she wouldn’t speak to me for days.
4. It seems you’re intentionally excluded.
If she intentionally leaves you out, it’s not cool. There would be times when she would say she was busy but then post all these photos of herself with another friend all over Facebook so she’d know I’d see.
This normally happened when, you guessed it, I didn’t do something she asked. I completely understood that she had other friends, but to tell me she couldn’t hang out and then make plans with another friend right after she told me she no seemed shady. Especially when it always seemed to happen if I wasn’t able to do what she wanted.
5. Things get worse during deployment.
If she’s behaving like this when your husband is deployed, you deserve better. Her antics seemed to get worse when my husband went to Korea for a year. She had promised my husband that she’d help me out, but it seemed SHE needed all the favors and if I couldn’t, she’d flip out on me even though it was my husband who was gone.
I did what I could for her, but when my husband wasn’t around, there was only so much I was capable of. I had my own two children I had to focus on, because they were missing their Daddy.
But she didn’t care.
It wasn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong. We had some genuine fun moments. But her behavior simply wasn’t that of a proper friend. I sometimes wonder if she’s acting like this to other people to this day.
Maybe she’s grown up. Maybe. It has made me wary of other friendships I’ve formed but so far I’ve been lucky: I haven’t had another toxic relationship. I know what to look out for now. So perhaps, in a weird way, she did me a favor.
So what about you? Have you ever been in a toxic relationship?
Amber Myers is a proud military wife and mother to two kids who drive her to eat lots of chocolate. She blogs over at Airing My Laundry. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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