Eastenders Real Life: Exploring My Toxic Female Friendships

This isn't a spoiler-alert or fan-fiction. It's just my opinions and reflections about current issues and characters in Walford, East London.

She’s been my best friend ever since we were kids…she can be my worst enemy. -Sharon Mitchell, Eastenders

When I heard Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) say those words about Michelle Fowler (Jenna Russell) at the hospital, I stopped sipping my wine. (Thanks to BritBox, I get my episodes a day later.) Her words made me pause. This well-loved soap character just described the female friendships I’ve had since high school. The only difference is that my friendships never lasted as long as theirs.  

Female Version of My Dad

Even now I don’t have a “group of girls,”  close girlfriends, or even a steady “bestie” in my life. Like my father, I’ve had many acquaintances. The few close female friendships I’ve had during the last 30years have ended badly. In fact, the became quite toxic towards the end.

Fortunately, it wasn’t due to my friend sleeping with my father and having my baby sister (Michelle and Sharon’s father, Den). I can also say that my two divorces didn’t happen because my best friend slept with one of my husbands (Michelle and Sharon’s husband, Grant). After hearing Sharon’s words, I have tried to analyze why I don’t have long term best friends. 

My dad believed in having many acquaintances and very few trusted friends.

The only thought that comes to mind is that I’m a female version of my dad. I was extremely close to my dad before he passed away (he was my heart). I look like him, and I have his personality. We were both Cancers born in July; he was the 1st and I am the 16th. If you know Cancers, we love hard and hate even harder. We can be your best closest friend or your worst mortal enemy. (Makes friendship a challenge, doesn’t it?)

However, at some point, your dignity and self-respect outweigh hanging onto toxic friendships.

My dad believed in having many acquaintances and very few trusted friends. (My mom’s social groups were her sisters and other female family members.) I tend to follow my dad’s beliefs. So, why did they end? It all comes down to my choices. Like my exhusbands, I chose the wrong women to trust for lasting friendships. We had different goals and expectations. Even when they treated me poorly, I still accepted their half-apologies and continued our friendship. 

Back to Sharon and Michelle…

I couldn’t leave without saying my peace about Sharon and Michelle’sfriendship. Based on Michelle’s past and current actions, I believe she wants Sharon’s life. I also believe that underneath Sharon’s tough exterior is a slightly insecure woman who wants their friendship to survive in spite of everything Michelle has done. (This current Michelle has been quite nasty, self-righteous, and condescending lately.) I can relate to that need for connection. However, at some point, your dignity and self-respect outweigh hanging onto toxic friendships.

So, that was my “A-ha moment” from the scene at the Walford Hospital. I look forward to seeing how Sharon and Michelle’s toxic friendship continues to unfold.

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