Toxic relationships, as I covered another time, poison every area of your life. They change the way you think—they mess with your perspective and even your brain chemistry—and so they change the way you do everything. They always mess up your friendships since your friends and your toxic partner have conflicting interests—namely, your friends want what’s best for you, and your toxic partner wants what’s best for him. But he has a very manipulative way of making you believe that that’s also what’s best for you. For a while, you take the side of your manipulative partner, making your friend’s feel rejected, scorned, and disrespected. They try to tell you you’re making a mistake. But you’re in love (it’s not love—you’re just temporarily poisoned) so you don’t listen. Once you come to your senses and get out of that toxic relationship, you’ll have to repair your friendships if you want to keep them.
Admit that they were right
Tell them that they were right about everything. They need to hear it. You have no idea how frustrated they were watching you be completely brainwashed. They would tell you the truth, and you would tell them that something else was the truth—something that was completely false. You need to tell them that you were in a fog, and they were right all along.
Thank them for trying to save you
Thank them. Really. It wasn’t easy for them to come to you and tell you that your partner was bad for you. They knew you wouldn’t take it well. They certainly didn’t tell you because it was fun for them to bring up—it was just because they cared about you. So thank them.
Tell them you were delusional
Tell them that you now realize that you were completely delusional—that that relationship put these odd goggles on you that made you see the world differently, and in an unhealthy manner. You can list every thing you did and said that you know was delusional.
And that you abused their love
You need to understand that they feel like they tried to give you love and care by warning you about that guy, and you threw that love and care away. You scorned it. You remember. You lashed out at them. You didn’t listen. They were trying to reach out to you, and you smacked their hands away. Apologize for that.
Prepare for pushback
They probably won’t be prepared to let the friendship go back to the way it was, right away. They won’t be ready to pick up weekly dinners or start calling you to chat, just because, just yet. You did some damage here, and they can’t just blink their eyes and forget it.
They’re just hurt—you can’t blame them
You hurt your friends. Do you know that? They picked their friends carefully. They gave you their love and time for years. They trusted you to respect them. And then you seriously let them down when you chose that manipulative a*&hole over them. So, yeah, they’re a little hurt right now.
They took your pushback
Also remember that, when they tried to tell you that guy was bad news, you pushed back. You argued with them. You wouldn’t listen. You weren’t having it. And then, they tried again. If they took your pushback, you now have to take theirs.
Do. Not. Talk. To. The. Ex
Don’t do it. If you are making any headway with your friends, and they learn that you speak to the ex, your friends will retreat immediately. They’ll feel completely betrayed. Don’t take an “innocent coffee” date with him to tie up loose ends. Controlling men don’t do that, anyways—they just try to get you back.
See your friends on their time
Don’t expect them to make this easy on you. Perhaps before, when the friendship was in good standing, they’d move things around and make accommodations for you. Not now. Nope. You’ll have to work around their schedule.
Like, bend over backwards for them
Truly, be prepared to bend over backwards to get these friends back just like they did for you when you were with that guy. Remember? You’d reschedule on them at the last minute because he wanted to see you instead. Or you’d bail on your friends entirely because you were in another huge, blowout fight with the guy.
Know that trust isn’t regained quickly
They say it takes years to build trust and seconds to break it. Well, that’s what happened here. They thought they could trust you to be reasonable and reliable. You proved to be neither when you were with that guy. Rebuilding this trust will take some time.
So don’t rush them to forgive you
Don’t rush them. You simply can’t. If they still seem reserved or stand offish, you can’t tell them, “Okay enough already!” Don’t you think they wanted to say that to you when you were behaving insane in that relationship?
Hear them out
They need to vent. They need to tell you all the things they were saying to each other about you, to your face now. They need to tell you every single infuriating thing you did during that relationship. It’s cathartic for them and, honestly, good for you to hear.
Don’t make excuses
There are no excuses. You just…messed up. They know what happened. You got wooed by a bad man. It happens. They don’t want to hear the excuses.
Tell them what you learned
They need to hear that you understand what happened, and that you know why it won’t happen again. Tell them that you know what the signs of a controlling man, and a toxic relationship, are now. List them.