When you enter a relationship with someone be it a romantic or platonic one, you typically go in wide-eyed and under the impression that nothing could go wrong between the both of you. Everything is fine, you go along your life noticing tidbits here and there that you find odd, but seem to always find an excuse to write off any and all behavior he or she was exhibiting.
Eventually, you begin to believe that their actions/ behavior towards you are indeed your own fault. The first reason being is they blame you, the second is because no one defends you and you feel like you deserve it. These are clear signs that you are in a toxic friendship/relationship and you need to get the hell out.
According to an article posted on Psychology Today, their description of a toxic relationship is as follows, "...unhealthy individuals target and prey upon others for their own personal needs and gratification."
For years I had been in a situation quite similar to the one above, I had entered a relationship with a group of people who seemed like normal. Things were all fun and as the years went by and everyone became more acquainted, which meant I became more and more "used" to how things were between that certain individual and I. As time went on, I was blamed for events that took place to which I had zero involvement, I was used as a scapegoat for their emotional issues, and constantly judged and ridiculed behind my back to those who had not bothered to know me as a person and even worse those who claimed to be my friends. Eventually, I began to change who I was, tiptoeing around every situation, making sure whatever I said wouldn't cause more "problems".
All the while, I sat there, taking each blow after blow because, apparently, there was always some excuse made up to have me be the fault to each situation. Even when I would try to defend myself, an excuse was given to that person's actions and I was not only expected to apologize but would never receive an apology for any one action. No matter what I did, no matter how many "heart to heart" conversations were had it never seemed to be enough for the individuals involved to see their wrongs. This turned into a toxic never-ending loop and I was drowning.
Now, if you have recognized my own personal encounter as something you yourself or someone you know has been going through, there are a few options you can look into in order to self-help the situation. The first is to take responsibility. Now I know this sounds odd, but at the end of the day, you yourself have allowed that individual to stay in your life. There comes a point where you and only you have allowed them to be a continuing factor in your life.
The second option is to set boundaries. Not to confuse setting boundaries with the idea of building up walls, because you should not have to wall yourself off from the world. You need to make sure that you have enough distance from the situation to where you will no longer allow yourself to be affected by that individual's actions. Anything they now try to accuse you of is all because they are going out of their way to involve you.
The third option is to end the friendship. I know it is hard to break up with people, but sometimes, the lines have been crossed too many times and you are no longer able to take the smoke and lies they serve at your door. Walking away can be your only way to finally be rid of their toxicity and that is perfectly OK.
If you are someone who has been going through a similar situation or if you know anyone who has been reaching out with concerns, please know that you are not alone and in no way is anyone's behavior towards you your fault. At the end of the day, you and only you have the power to allow other people's actions to affect your life. Understand that they themselves are struggling internally, and once you have come to that conclusion, you can shut the door on those individuals and watch your life blossom.