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My close friend is bullying me, my other close friends don't want to stand up for me

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    About 8 months ago my friendship group began to fall apart, there were three of us which people always told us was a precarious friendship dynamic but until then it had worked really well for us (for 3 years). The friend who began bullying me has bullied other people but everyone usually turns a blind eye to it because they're afraid of her and that she'll do the same to them. We used to be a friendship group of 4 but I didn't stand up to her when she bullied and isolated our other close friend, I did try to stay close to her however we eventually drifted away and she isn't part of our group anymore - she seems really happy now and I want to be like that but don't know how to get to that position as she did it a few years ago when life wasn't so hectic and friendship groups were still changing a lot.

    My toxic friend tells everyone everything I tell her and exaggerates it or manipulates it to make me seem like an awful person and she tells everyone terrible things about me which aren't at all true - she also talks to my newly ex-boyfriend about me saying all of her unkind opinions and things that I've done (which I haven't actually done) - I'm trying to stay friends with him and it was going fairly well until she intervened - she knows I'm not over him and is just making it so much harder (which I'm almost 100% sure she knows she's doing). I tried to confront her about it but she wouldn't talk to me and instead came to talk to me on her own terms which I'm okay with because it meant I could ask her about it all in a way she was more comfortable with as she likes to be in control however she denied everything. She made me feel really guilty saying that I shouldn't believe other friends over her because she's one of my closest friends except I know her history of bullying and I know she isn't the most trustworthy at the best of times and it isn't just one person that's told me she's doing it - I've had 4 different people tell me and another 2 say she has when I asked them about it.

    I've been struggling with depression again and my anxiety is worse than it usually is because of exams and she knows this and says she's supportive of me and that how can I accuse her of all of this when she is so supportive but in reality I don't think someone can be supportive and be horrible about you behind your back because the stuff she says behind my back just makes everything so much worse and makes the supportive times effectively mean nothing at all.

    How do I get out of this friendship without also losing everyone else I care about?
    (My other close friend, other friends and my ex).

    I'd appreciate any advice, no matter how small, thank you
    Hi Anonymous101 and I'm glad you shared as these situations can be really upsetting. I think the first thing that jumps out for me is that you ned to trust your gut instinct as it's vital you prioritise yourself and your needs, especially when you're also managing anxiety and depression.

    As you've tried confronting her / speaking to her with no success so you could try not laughing anything off if you're ever the butt of any 'jokes' and then pull her on it at the time, being clear that it's the behaviour and not her that's upsetting you. If it's the gossipy stuff, again try and deal with it as it occurs so you don't have to dwell on it. This might encourage some of your other friends to step in and support you at the time.

    If you feel that the time you spend with her makes you feel worse afterwards, this seems like a sign that she's not someone that you want / need in your life and you might have to consider walking away for your own good. There are a few ways to do this, so for example you could allow the friendship to fade rather than have a huge blow up. I'd also try speaking again to your other friends in the group, separately and say how it's making you feel and see if they will support you better when it happens.

    Could you speak to the friend that left the group and se how she feels about it? Her viewpoint might be really useful as she's been through the exact thing.


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