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How should I treat this friendship?

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Hey. I've been dwelling on a certain issue for a while now and was hoping for some input.


I've mentioned this in passing, but one friend of mine was instrumental in me developing HPPD. I've always had a lot of trust and respect for him, and held his intellect and companionship in high regard. Once he'd stumbled upon psychedelics, he pretty much took them on board as his area of expertise, researching them perpetually (PIHKAL and TIHKAL and so on), discussing them in a positive light all the time, saying he was determined to become a psychopharmacologist, frowning upon people who didn't respect their use, etc. I had faith in him in all of this as he's a very intelligent guy, and he was very confident in all these opinions and such.


Without his constant praise of psychs, telling me I needed to try things, telling me we needed to trip together, sharing his wealth of knowledge about certain drugs constantly and such, I'd never have used psychedelics at all. He was the one who provided me with 90% of the stuff I used.


It was even after I'd gone through a bout of pretty severe depression that lead to me dropping out of school (which had only happened after we'd tripped a few times, though which I attributed to reasons other than that) that he kept on insisting. Of course, I was interested and a fan of the stuff. I had failed, probably on some level refused, to attribute the issues I was experiencing to drug use. I wanted to keep on tripping. I'm definitely not innocent and 100% a victim here at all. But anyone with the level of knowledge he had me convinced he had would surely have recognised that I was not a person who should've kept on using anything of the sort. He had HPPD symptoms too and he assured me they were nothing to worry about. Even when I did research things, a big part of the bias I'd display in only acknowledging the positive aspects of things, thinking shit wouldn't happen to me, etc. was due to my confidence and trust in him. That MDMA would be beneficial for me, that 2C-B and MXE were really mild and safe, and so on. He'd discuss doing things, and there'd be this intense pressure, and I'd tell him I had faith in him and we'd go ahead. 


I know a big part of this is my naivety in being so confident in someone who in retrospect really ought not to have been trusted anywhere near as much, and the adage "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" definitely applies, but the fact is that he was still very reckless in what he was doing, and I think he had a responsiblity to me as a friend in whom I had so much trust and who had convinced me of his trustworthiness in this matter to keep me safe, and he failed at that spectacularly. 


It's just so frustrating to know that without his influence in my life, I would never have been here. I would never have lost over a year of my life and counting, damaged my friendships and education and so on.


And he's never mentioned this. Never acknowledged his role in me winding up where I am. Do you think he ought to accept partial responsibility, and acknowledge that, and apologise? Or am I being dumb? Do you think the onus is all on me because in the end I'm the one who decided to take the drugs and I'm the one who allowed myself to develop that trust and confidence in someone?


Nowadays I can acknowledge that as someone so aware of his own intelligence, he needed to have that confidence and knowledge to justify his slowly growing desire to abuse drugs. By adopting the identity of some kind of Shulgin protege, frequent recreational tripping became an intellectual pursuit rather than a risky habit. I feel like his insistence on my involvement was largely a part of backing up that confidence. Throughout the years of our friendship it's become apparent that he's pretty damn narcissistic and manipulative, and he wields his intelligence very well in imposing those traits on other people.


When we talk and hang out now he'll  often discuss how anxious he is and how he feels like he needs to get on antidepressants. Very little of our interaction will centre around my situation. I do my best to tell him what I know and what I think's best. He and his girlfriend smoke fucking loads of weed, he's still keen on using psychs and is about to start growing shrooms, etc. I can't help but feel like he's crashing and burning, but my gentle attempts to influence him away from it have done very little. It's awful but a part of me feels like he deserves to deal with something as severe as I have, but of course I could never really wish this on anyone.


I don't really know what's best to do. I'm so fucking angry at him for so recklessly assuming his knowledge was thorough enough to assure me that I was perfectly safe, but of course he's prone to making mistakes like anyone else. Hell, I sold 25-I-NBOMe to a couple of friends, and gave some to a couple others, so I've endangered others as well. But I feel like he should've broached this with me. That he deserves to take some responsibilty for my situation. And he hasn't and I really don't think it's even crossed his mind at all because we're close enough that if it had he would've brought it up and that sucks. But then I'm not sure if I'm being dumb and entitled, and whether I should just do my best to forgive and forget.


In any case, I feel like he's someone I need to distance myself from. He's just a pretty negative guy generally, can be very insensitive and judgemental, jealous, demanding, snappy, oblivious to others emotions, and so on, and I just don't know that I can every really properly trust him again. I guess the question is how much to distance myself from him, given that I'm already pretty socially evasive and he's one of my few remaining friends. 


Sorry for my insomniac ramblings. I'd really really appreciate some input, others' stories of this kind of stuff, etc.


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instrumental or not you made the choices that got you there, not him. Dont let your own decisions impact a friendship. If the guy is a shit friend and constantly gets you into bad things then hell go ahead and do whats best for you and walk away but do it for the right reasons and not for one you could grow to regret. If nothing else consider that this friend is someone that probably knows what your going through better then alot of other people could hope to.. for better or worse 

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Shit. This rings so true for me it is startling. I also had a friend who gave me access to everything that otherwise wouldn't have come to my life in the same way.. and at a time I was depressed. The person in my life who I would equate your friend to turned out to be a negative person to have in one's life, despite all his attractions. He had (has) a heart but he had more problems than the rest of us yet professed we were the ones with issues. He has now gone to travel around India, is still taking lots of drugs and despite the face he puts on, is really depressed. He had it all going for him at one point, he could have done a lot with himself. But he fucked with too many people and didn't tackle his own issues. He let me and others down in many respects. I've never abandoned him (despite him refusing to speak to me for a year at one point) but I don't really want to be around him any more. The worse thing is now he really needs help, won't seek it professionally, and is bad at taking advice. He desperately wants me to be there for him - now that he is really depressed - but I can't do it. I am full of love, but I don't have time for this guy any more. He really let me and people around me down.. I don't have the energy to take on his issues after he caused me lots in many respects. One needs to be very careful of attractive people. There is a very dark side to charisma.

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To be fair he never knew you would end up with hppd. I just look it was you got burned. Some people are lucky enough to walk away from all their drug experiences and can't comprehend how badly it can effect other people. You are certainly not entirely to blame but pointing fingers at home won't get your anywhere. If he was a true friend I think he would accept SOME responsibility and at least acknowledge that. I tuned a lot of friends onto blow. I was out of control with it and wanted everyone to be in on it. I realizes how much of an asshole I was and I have apologized. But no one has blamed me for their habits. And my apologies were always met with criticism. In the end it was your choice but it would be nice, just as a friend, for him to step up and say sorry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for your response, Syntheso; sounds like you've definitely been through the same kind of selfish, reckless friendship as me and the resulting gut-wrenching dissonance about your responsibility to the relationship. It really does suck that the most magnetic personalities are so often the most destructive. I think once you reach the point where you can honestly say that someone's brought more harm and sadness into your life than good and is likely to keep on doing so you should cut them out. You have to make sure your life is the best it can be and if you know cutting them out of that is the best way to do so then that's what you should do. As a psychologist once put it to me, "the friend chop". It doesn't sound very nice but it's a hell of a lot nicer than the alternative; from now on it's an attitude I'm going to adhere to firmly.


As for this friend of mine, of course I'm aware he made mistakes, that he undoubtedly feels remorseful for a lot of it, and so on. Forgiveness just isn't the blanket of fairy dust people treat it like, and it's certainly not something one's obligated to give. It is all in the past and can't be changed now. But I think it'd be unjust for me to just let it go, really. The best case outcome is that he learns something from it all and doesn't endanger someone in the same way in the future.


Also, of course he didn't know that I would wind up with HPPD as severe as I have it. The thing is, he made it out like he was sure I wouldn't. He intentionally constructed and imposed this identity of a superior and highly knowledgeable psychedelia expert, and I really don't think that because I was gullible enough to get caught up in that delusion that I ought to own all the blame and exempt him from any. I told him about my early visual symptoms and he very firmly told me that it was really nothing to worry about and that I could go on using things with no worries. He frequently insisted on how good certain things were and how we needed to use them together and how he was sure they were safe. I expressed apprehension about MDMA and he told me that it was fine and safer than weed and shit, we needed to roll together. I told him I really didn't want to roll again and he kept pushing and I kept brushing it off but then when I was drunk and had my guard down he pushed more. When it first got "really bad" I told him and he grabbed and sternly and firmly spoke down to me and said "the drugs you've used can't cause any of these problems". That last one really cemented how much of a fuckwit he really was about it all. Forgive me while I employ the best analogy I can think of:


Imagine you're standing in front of a fire. You've never seen one before but you've heard in passing that it can be dangerous. Your friend, whom you trust a great deal, stands by you and aggressively assures you that not only is it safe to touch the fire, it'll actually be fun. They've read extensively about fire and have a lot to say about how the warnings about it are false and misguided and are perpetuated by stupid conservative people based on outdated nonsense ideals. They wave their hand around in it a little and pull it out unscathed. They insist that you should try touching it, they're sure that it'll be okay, that very respectable and informed people out there recommend it and do it all the time. Because this person you hold in high regard and trust immensely is so confident in their understanding, clearly knows a lot more about it than you, and is so eager for you to do it, you're interested now and you decide to give it a try. You wind up with severe burns. Of course it was you who willingly performed the final action, without having done extensive research about what you knew might be a dangerous thing to do. But that hardly means that this person who positioned themselves as a trustworthy, knowledgeable authority on the subject and who perpetually urged you to touch the fire should get off entirely scott free. They can't just turn around and say "it wasn't my fault at all because I didn't hold a gun to your head" and be justified in doing so. I think there's definitely a burden of blame there that they need to own. I think that's the logical conclusion.


I think that pretty accurately reflects what's happened here. Him accepting blame for it isn't going to make the problem go away or improve it at all, but as a friend I think it is the right thing to do. He did a lot of stupid and inconsiderate things, abused my trust, and played a significant role in me winding up in a very bad place. He didn't intentionally do it - who on earth would - he just did a lot of reckless and destructive things that shouldn't be done in a friendship.

He's probably been the most destructive person in my life after my parents and I'll never be able to have the same love or respect for him again. It's made so much worse by the fact that in the year or so since it really got bad he hasn't stepped up and made any sort of apology, owned any responsibility. And I know that if I were to raise it with him he would refuse to, and I just don't have the confidence or strength or wherewithal to deal with that kind of argument so I probably won't bring it up with him for some time. It's hardly my responsibility to get him to acknowledge that he did me dirt.


Reading back over this I realise I probably sound like a daft, gullible idiot. Hell, maybe I was. But it was all so different at the time. Our friendship was very long and very deep. I've always been pretty smart, but I've also always had a hell of an inferiority complex and low self-confidence and so on, especially when we first met. Always in need of validation, always assuming everyone was better than me and looked down on me. The perfect candidate to be victimised by a narcissistic, manipulative, authoritative personality like him. Of course he has good qualities, nobody can be completely written off. But man they're weighed down by some bad ones. People like that have a way of making you think that what they want to do and would like you to do is what you're independently deciding you want. That doing otherwise wouldn't be fair to them. He was so scathingly but confidently judgemental. The fact that I was someone he didn't (to my knowledge) subject to that made me feel special, I guess. Ha. That I was good enough for this intelligent and talented guy to want in his life. He would pretty regularly entirely write off people he was close to and cut them out of his life, and would always have plenty of good reasons for doing so. People I'd met and gotten along with well enough and who clearly cared about him, who kept on trying to reconnect with him to no avail. One of these people had a similar relationship with him to me I think, and even got caught up in his psychedelic obsession too; wound up doing a lot and buying a lot and selling a lot and if I recall wound up with at least moderate HPPD. Not sure how he's going.


Yikes, went off on some tangents there. I guess what it all comes down to is that this is all stuff I need to put behind me, learn from and move on from. I guess it's just becoming clearer and clearer that my friendship with him is something that belongs behind me as well. (god knows he should understand the desire to entirely cut off people who care about you).

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