The term “frenemy” is usually used to describe someone who is supposed to be a friend but more often than not, works against you like an enemy.
The two most important questions to ask about a frenemy situation is WHY it exists in the first place. What exactly is motivating each party to be in this relationship to begin with? What is the pay off? Let’s start with analyzing the frenemy, then focus on their victims and how you can avoid becoming such a victim.
Frenemies can be family members as well as co-workers. They are not always the friends you “pick” but they always disguise themselves as friends. What makes these people so dangerous is their stealthy and subtle emotional abuse. These people are the definition of “crab mentality”. They are very uncomfortable with watching their friends, family or coworkers succeed in any way that exceeds their own abilities. They are usually weak, cowardly people who try to build themselves up by breaking others down.
The weapon of choice is usually passive-aggression and emotional abuse. This venom is usually deployed in small, subtle ways that are not aggressive enough for you to confront them about it. Once again, these people are cowards, and the best way for a coward to attack is through camouflage. You can call it “death by a thousand cuts” or adding small amounts of poison to your coffee every morning. The result is the same: They weaken you, create doubt, and slow you down.
The most obvious sign someone is a frenemy is their indifference to your well-being. Furthermore, they come off indifferent when things are going well for you and are often in a good mood when things are going bad for you.
You cannot confirm they actually like you as a person, yet they still actively associate with you. There is an unpredictable and unsupportive nature to them. They also tend to avoid “equality” in a relationship and behave as if you owe them something or need to earn their good graces.
The least dangerous frenemy is the simple “user”. They become your friend because they want something. Once they get what they want, they may or may not stick around. This is the kind of person who only reaches out when they need a favor. They have no real bond with you. They are just there to get something.
The most dangerous frenemy is the “crab”. What makes the crab dangerous is they secretly dislike you, envy you or most dangerous of all, hate you. And remember, these people can be family members and coworkers as well. Not just the friends you “pick”.
The crab is not your friend, they are your opponent. Inside, the crab believes they should be better than you in every way. And this is why they hate you to begin with. Usually you have something they lack and they believe you don’t deserve to have it. This could be looks, your job, the person you’re dating, where you live, etc. Whatever it is, they believe you don’t deserve it and they do.
You might ask why the crab would choose to sabotage their opponent rather than rise above them? The reason is because the crab is weak and cowardly. Its much easier to throw eggs at a car than it is to buy your own car. The mentality is: “If I can’t have it, and you don’t deserve it, I’m going to take it from you or ruin it for you”.
Another thing that makes the crab dangerous is their behaver is somewhat subconscious. Often, they’re not “consciously” plotting against you. Sometimes they really believe they are your real friend. Yet, at the same time, they hate you. But they don’t want to admit to themselves that they hate you. Such an admission would force them to confront the reasons why they hate you and ultimately face their inner demons of insecurity and inadequacy.
What makes the crab feel good is when they successfully tear you down. When you fall, joy floods into their veins. And they will be the first to offer a helping hand because now they feel superior and validated. To them, tearing you down is an “accomplishment” and it feeds their ego because now they feel superior to you. Which is all they wanted.
The reasons people keep frenemies in their lives are various, but the most common reasons are guilt, fear of conflict or a simple lack of awareness. Since frenemies are stealthy, they can often fly under the radar. They’ll make you feel like shit, but you won’t be able to prove their behavior has malicious intent. It will be presented under the facade of “honesty” or “trying to help” so no overt blame can be cast on them. Those who fall for their tricks become victims.
Those who keep these crabs around due to guilt and fear of conflict will eventually reach a breaking point. But not before a lot of damage has already been done. Most, if not all, toxic relationships involve crabs and users. Knowing how to identify them and eliminate them from your life is one of the best things anyone can do for peace of mind. Without peace of mind, your life cannot move forward in a positive direction. Ultimately, you only get one life. Wasting it on toxic relationships that hold you back in life is not wise.