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Straight Talk TNT: The sickest bullies are those who pretend to be friends

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: Someone I once considered a good friend has been saying absolutely horrible things behind my back. I overheard her, so I know it’s true. This person is very insecure and has tried to imitate almost everything about me at one point or another. Over time, she has spread rumors about me so horrid they caused me to switch schools twice. I recently learned that she told lots of people about my self-injury problem (which I see a therapist for) and made fun of me for it. When I confronted her, she lied to my face and denied everything. When I removed her from my life, she claimed to be the victim. I am so hurt. I already have horrible trust issues. How do I move forward as she continues spreading hate? ~ Hurt in Redding Molly, 19, Berkeley: This person sounds seriously jealous of you! I had someone hell-bent on being rude to me. The situation baffled me. I had never been rude to her and had no idea why she randomly hated me. Then a friend pointed out that it stemmed from jealousy. Eventually people saw how she treated others and stopped hanging out with her — but not until she said terrible things behind my back and to my face. She even tried to fight me! Remove yourself from her as much as possible and treat the situation as childishness and jealousy. Nate, 17, Toledo, Ohio: A few years ago, I thought about hurting myself and sometimes considered suicide. Because I felt alone and stressed, I attended therapy sessions. You have to realize there are people who love you very much! You mean the world to them! This girl was not a true friend. Instead of helping you, she opened your wounds to others. Reject people who cause you harm. If they persist, go to those who love you and ask for protection. Omari, 17, Wellington, Florida: Choosing friends wisely can be a lesson hard-learned. Some people have vast numbers of friends. But only the lucky have TRUE friends. Life teaches what a true friend is — and it weeded this one out. Sarah, 19, Redding, Calif.: As hard as it sounds, keep moving forward. Once high school ends, this person won’t be in your future. Find an activity outside your school environment. When I switched schools, I was miserable. Then I joined the swim team and realized how kind and loyal people can be. True friends are important. Stay away from those who bring you down. Katelyn, 16, Huntington Beach: This person is a bully, not a friend. If you don’t have true friends, reach out and make some. Continue therapy for your trust issues and get some power on your side by asking the school for help. Tell them you’ve switched schools twice because of her. Dear Hurt: Your letter contains the secret to your healing. In it, you display both your “mature self” and your “wounded inner child.” Your mature self sees this girl’s behavior for what it is: sick. But your inner child is hurt and frightened because her destructive gossip has reopened wounds from your past that occurred when you were too young to handle them. Both inner and outer parts of you are real. Do not ignore either one! On the outside, handle things maturely with the advice given here (walk away from this insecure, jealous bully, reaching out to loved ones and authorities as needed). On the inside, attend your “wounded child” with therapy and personal compassion (imagine yourself loving this younger helpless version of yourself as if you were her ideal parent). Peace lies in tending to both inner and outer realities. ~Lauren More at straighttalkTNT.com