When I was sixteen, I met a girl who would eventually become my best friend.
Our first “date” (what do you call it when you go places with a friend, anyway?) was to the mall. She drove. Her driving left a lot to be desired. There was a lot of swerving and drifting. Speeding up and slowing down. As I look back on it, her driving was a metaphor for our friendship.
She was always battling something. Her parents, her sister, a partner, drugs, or alcohol. She battled an eating disorder, too. I was often impressed with her courage and her strength. That should could bounce back from anything. What she was really battling was control. Once I realized that, I realized that she was manipulating me.
For twenty years.
I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details, mostly because I don’t want to go there. It is difficult to swallow that someone so close to me could manipulate me for such a long time. And even worse, I didn’t have a clue.
The last time we spoke was October 5, 2010. I missed her like crazy for the first few months. I hated that I couldn’t talk to her every day about nothing and everything. Christmas came and went. The card that I sent to her wasn’t reciprocated. I couldn’t remember a Christmas where I didn’t receive at least a card from her. At that point, I turned my back on the crazy idea of wanting our friendship back and focused on the bones of our friendship.
I used to think that she influenced me, like friends often do. To purchase a certain brand or drink a beverage prepared a certain way. What I’ve learned is that she was manipulating me. She had a tendency to exploit my feelings and disregard my opinions. I can’t tell you how many times we went to the restaurant/movie/bar that she wanted to, rather than where I wanted to go. Everything she did had an ulterior motive behind it.
Those who manipulate often have insecurity issues and a desire to be in control. The same can be said for those with addictions. Did you miss the list of addictions that she struggled with? After knowing her for 20 years, I know that she had control issues. Despite her horrible driving, she was always at the wheel when we went out – so that she could control when we left.
My life has much less stress now than it did when she was in it. She created a lot of drama in her life, which carried into mine. It’s tough to lose a friend, and it’s tough to realize that the friend may not have been the true friend you once thought they were.
I never would have guessed in a million years this would have happened to me.
Have you ever lost a long-time friend or been manipulated by someone you trusted?
This post is inspired by mystery thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. They may not have the perfect marriage, but after Amy goes missing, Nick becomes the number one suspect. Can he discover what happened before it’s too late? Join From Left to Write on June 12 as we discuss Gone Girl. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.