Familiarity Breeds Contempt…or Is It Showing You an Abusive Friendship?
Those little jabs and put-downs might be more damaging than you think
“familiarity breeds contempt (saying) — knowing someone or something very well may cause you to lose admiration and respect for them/it” — Oxford Learner’s Dictionary
What do you tolerate in the name of love? Whether it be the love of romance, family, or friendship? How far will you go before you say “Enough!” and stop allowing others to treat you in a way that doesn’t feel good? Do you love and respect your Self as much as you love those who say hurtful things to you?
Like many others, as a child I grew up in a toxic, angry environment that laid the groundwork for some powerful life lessons. They would offer an education and opportunities for healing in issues of abuse, boundaries, standing up for myself, and so much more.
It would take decades for me to chip away at them as they came at me one after another. Sometimes a tidal wave, sometimes a mere ripple as a reminder of previous learning. Shapeshifters they were…wearing disguises like love, whether in romance, promising “happily ever after,” or in family, where I trusted in the often-foolish notion that they stick together, they take your side, they are loyal and will always be there for you.
I was presented with one opportunity after another to recognise abuse, dysfunctional behaviour, boundary violations, or generally unhealthy situations. I was given numerous chances to stand up for myself and say, “That’s not okay and I will not be treated this way.”
Even if it meant ending six marriages before I figured out that I needed to heal my relationship with myself. Even if it meant cutting off relationships with family members who live lives that are hurtful to others, and I refused to be on the receiving end any longer.
And even if it meant ending friendships, which were at times even more insidious in their toxicity than my romantic or family relationships.
There was one friend in particular whom I’d known for several years. As happens with friends…