I only have a brother and he doesn't have any children (yet). So, although I don't have any blood nieces or nephews, I do have what I call "love nieces and nephews". Whenever we have Auntie-Shellie-n-them time, something I mention (at least every third conversation) is "A bad platonic friend can do far worse damage than a bad girlfriend or boyfriend can ever do." I know from which I speak because, while growing up, I had a female friend who was one of the worst things to happen to me, to date. It took years for me to break free from her toxicity, but if I were to summarize what she was in one sentence, it's this—she was an extremely emotionally abusive individual.
There are a dozen times a dozen reasons why being in an emotionally abusive friendship is so problematic. But one of the main problems is it can put cracks (if not straight-up potholes) into the foundation of how you think all relationships should be. I say this because, if you want your relationships to be healthy, they all should be rooted in friendship.
Unfortunately, because this is the kind of topic that is not addressed as much as it should be, a lot of us don't realize the deep wounds we have due to some of the current emotional abuse that certain "friends" inflict upon us or the scars (which result in our hardheartedness) that remain because of past emotional abuse.
If you're wondering if some of the discomfort you're currently experiencing with a few of your friends might have to do with the emotional abuse they're dishing out that you haven't be fully aware of, here are some clear signs that that's exactly what's going on.
Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Friendship
1.You’re Constantly Walking on Eggshells in Their Presence
A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about how one of their friends can never receive criticism. While they are able to easily dish out boatloads of it, when someone calls them out on their stuff, they either go on the attack or they think their friend isn't being very supportive.
The immediate thought that comes to mind when I think about these kinds of individuals is they probably have some deep-rooted childhood or adolescent issues that need to be addressed. Chances are, their parents were verbally, mentally or emotionally abusive in their delivery, which has caused them to become hyper-sensitive. Or, they are narcissistic, perhaps, without really realizing it (some signs of narcissism including being arrogant, extremely prideful, having a sense of entitlement, being selfish and they aren't very empathetic).
People who are like this aren't looking for the kind of friendships that will help them to grow into better people. They merely want folks around them who will make them feel like they are awesome, flawless even, all of the time. Oh, and they also like individuals who act like they can't survive without their insight and guidance. This combination typically results in you having to walk on eggshells in their presence.
Friendships should be a place where you can fully express yourself. If this sounds foreign to you or you've got a friend who penalizes you for being real—or being real with them—this is another indication that you probably have an emotionally abusive situation on your hands.
2.Their Needs Are the Only Ones That Really Matter
Last year sometime, I penned a piece about a best friend who ghosted me. What really tripped me out about it is she had the balls to do it after a few years of holding her hand through an affair (an affair she was having). When I confronted her about how toxic the situation was and how poorly she had been treating me throughout it, that's when she got ghost. Wow. Just wow.
Now that I've had some (more) time to heal and process, something that I realize is, during the last five or so years of our friendship, everything was about her and her needs. The moment I expressed that I actually had some of my own, all of a sudden, we had problems.
No friendship is healthy when it's not rooted in mutual respect and constant reciprocity. If you've got a friendship that only works because you're the one working it, to a certain degree, yes…you are in an emotionally abusive situation.
3.They’re Controlling and/or Manipulative
Some of us have been controlled and manipulated for so long, we don't even know what signs to look for. I'll give you some. Signs of being controlled by a friend include them—making you feel bad for not thinking or acting like they do; constantly making plans in the friendship without taking your own wants or feelings into consideration; making you feel guilty for not sharing all of your life's details; inserting themselves into areas of your life where you did not invite them and/or them not asking you things but them making demands instead.
Signs of manipulation? Emotional instability. Constantly creating drama. Gaslighting you. Having a lack of respect for your personal, emotional or relational boundaries. Refusing to take personal accountability and responsibility for their offenses and mistakes. Only reaching out when they need something.
Yeah, this emotionally abusive friendship thing is more common than you thought, huh? I feel you.
4.They’re Not Trustworthy
Recently, I was talking to a sistah friend about someone we mutually know. When she asked me why I didn't feel comfortable getting closer to this individual, I told her that she simply didn't seem to be very trustworthy.
While on the surface, a lot of us define trustworthiness as someone who we can trust with our business and secrets, it actually goes deeper than that. A trustworthy person is genuine. A trustworthy person is consistent (including when it comes to their moods). A trustworthy person empathetic, compassionate and they operate from a place of integrity.
When you're in a friendship with someone who is trustworthy, you can be totally confident that they have your back whether they are in or out of your presence. However, when you're in a "friendship" with someone who isn't, you never really feel totally at ease or safe.
5.They Never Make Mistakes but They Think You Make a Ton of ‘Em
That former best friend that I mentioned earlier? Something that was a constant about her is she had a reason, excuse, justification or all three for every poor choice that she made. So much to the point that I don't think she really believed that she did anything wrong. Oh, but when I did something she didn't like, either she would go weeks without speaking (you know, she'd take the passive aggressive route) or berate me about it.
A good friend is gonna call you out and be open to being called out. You both will trust each other enough to allow that to happen. At the same time, they will also support you as you slip up along the way, encourage you as you learn from your mistakes and affirm you so that you will gain even more confidence to pick yourself up and move forward—as you do the same for them.
If this is a foreign concept in one or more of your friendships, well…there's a motto that I think you should immediately start applying to your life—I will bloom whether you water me or not. I saw this on a T-shirt. Cop one so that you can start to gas your own self up to set some much-needed boundaries with your friend because if they are always right and you are always wrong, not only is your friendship unhealthy, you are being emotionally abused as well.
6.You Never Really Know Where You Stand
Hurt people hurt people. We've all heard that before. Personally, I think part of the reason why certain folks are abusive in their friendships is because they are emotionally unstable within. And how can you really feel safe with an emotionally unstable person? They're the ones who are hot (really nice to you) one moment and cold (literally freezing you out) the next. They're also the ones who claim that you're their bestie one day and then (usually due to something you have no clue about) they stop talking to you.
Emotionally unstable people tend to have all kinds of cracks in their foundation, making it hard to build anything real, long or lasting with them. If you just read that sentence and someone's name immediately came to mind, I don't have to say it, do I? Yep. On some level, you're probably involved with an emotionally abusive friend. Bless your heart. Know that you know, it's time to be a friend to yourself and, at the very least, set some new boundaries. And best, get out of it. Stat.
Want more stories like this? Check out these related xoNecole reads:
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- Subtle Signs Your Friend Doesn't Like You - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Learn The Signs Of Gaslighting In Friendships - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Know the Signs: Spotlight on Isolation from Friends and Family ... ›
- Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship - The Atlantic ›
- Signs Your Best Friend Is Verbally Abusive | HealthyPlace ›
- Signs your friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship ... ›
- Is Your Friendship Toxic? | Psychology Today ›
- 8 Signs Your Friendship Might Be Abusive - Everyday Feminism ›
- 7 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship, Marriage Or Friendship ›
- 17 Signs You're In An Abusive “Friendship” | Thought Catalog ›
- 17 Signs You're In An Abusive “Friendship” | Thought Catalog ›
- 6 Warning Signs That Your Friendship is Abusive ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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