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Thread: Abusive Relationship 1894 days ago

  1. #1
    Regular Poster Chopsifer's Avatar
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    Abusive Relationship

    I'd like to start off by saying that I'm sorry for posting something like this here. This is just a very overwhelming situation and I could really use some keen advice and/or fresh perspectives. I will try to be as short and concise as possible.

    A close friend of mine has been in an abusive relationship for quite some time. I would give details, but I don't think they matter quite so much. Just know that the type of abuse that is occurring is of a manipulative and emotional level. It even goes so far as to where my friend is manipulating herself to see the clear signs of an absolutely unhealthy relationship as completely normal.

    The conundrum I face is no less frustrating. I could try and tell her that she is clearly in an abusive relationship (in a much more tactful way, I assure you) but, this could lead to her completely dismissing the value of anything I might say or advise and thusly she would fall further into making herself think that nothing is wrong in the relationship. I also could just wait it out and wait for the day (that might not even come) that she will realize on her own that the guy she is with is clearly abusing her. The problem with this, though, is the fact that A) that day could never come and B) seeing the way he is constantly treating her is tearing me up inside.

    The injustice of it troubles me to such a great degree--and to see her rationalize the abhorrent behavior crushes me even more. I've even considered a possible "middle ground" from the two approaches, but it has gotten to where I fear bringing it up with her in the first place. I fear because I know that he will somehow find out and I am afraid of how he is going to react. Not only afraid for her, but afraid for myself as well as he is much older (and stronger) than the both of us.

    I'm really sorry to just dump these troubles on the forums like this. Like I said earlier, I honestly need a fresh perspective and some sound advice about possible plans of action.




    Thanks for any advice you might be able to give.
    "The universe is transformation; Our life is what our thoughts make it."
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  2. #2
    King of Ireland/France combo slant's Avatar
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    Here is something I realized a year ago that has helped me greatly to handle these sort of situations.

    No matter what advice you give your friend, they are going to do whatever they want to do. Even if the options and insight that you shed onto the situation is one that has the highest success rate, people are going to do what people want to do. They may say they are going to do what you said, and in the end never do it. Or they may listen to what you say and do it. The thing is that a person isn't going to blindly listen to your counsel and believe it. A person needs to figure out things for themselves and not allow it to be handed down to them. Even if she does follow your advice, if she did not choose to do it because of her own personal insight the same situation will occur in a different form because she has not solved the problem that initally led to her being in that relationship.

    What I would suggest to you is, that as difficult as it may seem right now, detach from the situation right now. Do not feel that you can somehow help her; say what you want to say but also know the consequences that it may lead to. Don't let fear dictate your actions, but also know that if there is a chance your advice will anger her and you know it but still choose to proceed, that is your fault. Don't do anything you are going to regret.

    Also, figure out what is going to solve the solution for you. Like I said: advice is advice. What worked for me may not work for you. So look for the solution.

    Another thought: I did not hear in your scenario that she has indicated she wants out of the relationship. Note that you must make an effort to distinguish your wants from a different persons wants, and realize that she may not want the same thing you want and it is not of your power to direct your friends' life choices.
    Last edited by slant; 18-05-09 at 08:49 PM.

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    Community Member youngster's Avatar
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    no i like to hear others troubles (what can i say, im sad)
    if it was me id try to take the moral high ground. diminishing what someone thinks of your words is less important than doing your best to help a friend.
    "common sense before intelligence"
    grandad

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    Permanent Fixture Zero Angel's Avatar
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    There are 12-step groups she can probably attend. One is called Al-Anon (if her SO is an alcoholic, and this is a factor), and another is called CODA, I believe -- and that one is for people who are stuck in co-dependent relationships.

    http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/codependency.htm
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    Sun Tzu, The Art of War (Denma Translation)

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  5. #5
    C'est la vie Satya's Avatar
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    First off, you can't help someone who doesn't feel like they need to help themselves. Second, if you come between them, then that could very well be the end of your friendship depending upon how codependent their relationship is. Third, if you choose to try to treat your friend's relationship, then you would be putting yourself in a therapeutic role, which can cause a whole hell of a lot of problems in itself.

    With that out of the way, you have a responsibility to your friend as a friend to be honest about what you see. The question is pretty simple. Are you a good enough friend that you will put your friendship on the line to fulfill that responsibility to her? You don't need to try to change her mind or be her therapist, but you do need to do what you feel is right.

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    C'est la vie Satya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slant View Post
    Here is something I realized a year ago that has helped me greatly to handle these sort of situations.

    No matter what advice you give your friend, they are going to do whatever they want to do. Even if the options and insight that you shed onto the situation is one that has the highest success rate, people are going to do what people want to do. They may say they are going to do what you said, and in the end never do it. Or they may listen to what you say and do it. The thing is that a person isn't going to blindly listen to your counsel and believe it. A person needs to figure out things for themselves and not allow it to be handed down to them. Even if she does follow your advice, if she did not choose to do it because of her own personal insight the same situation will occur in a different form because she has not solved the problem that initally led to her being in that relationship.

    What I would suggest to you is, that as difficult as it may seem right now, detach from the situation right now. Do not feel that you can somehow help her; say what you want to say but also know the consequences that it may lead to. Don't let fear dictate your actions, but also know that if there is a chance your advice will anger her and you know it but still choose to proceed, that is your fault. Don't do anything you are going to regret.

    Also, figure out what is going to solve the solution for you. Like I said: advice is advice. What worked for me may not work for you. So look for the solution.

    Another thought: I did not hear in your scenario that she has indicated she wants out of the relationship. Note that you must make an effort to distinguish your wants from a different persons wants, and realize that she may not want the same thing you want and it is not of your power to direct your friends' life choices.
    With that perspective, you would make an excellent social worker.

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  7. #7
    Community Member Creon's Avatar
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    I mostly agree with what slant says, especially since you're not sure what she wants. She may enjoy that relationship in some weird way. And don't forget that it could be that you may be the one seeing a problem, while in fact there may be none.

    In the case that you strongly feel there is a problem however, then:
    With that out of the way, you have a responsibility to your friend as a friend to be honest about what you see
    ..I'd say it's your duty to do so. If I was in your place, I would state everything I see, trying to avoid potential outbursts of egoism from her, and stating that that is simply my personal view of the relationship, and I could be wrong. Just to let her know that I see her relationship that way.
    -Talent hits a target no-one else can hit; genius hits targets no-one else can see.-
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  8. #8
    Community Member WickedPod's Avatar
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    Please, please, PLEASE don't leave your friend. I know it's tempting to detach when someone you love won't listen to you and continue to hurt themselves. I know that from my own experiences.

    I was in the same place as your friend before. I was with a guy that preyed on my depression, instability, and vulnerability. He manipulated me, emotionally abused me, controlled me, and eventually began signs of physical abuse before I got myself out of it. The problem at the time was that my only friend in the world was dead, so I didn't have anyone but him and his friends to turn to. He controlled my finances, where I went and when, who I talked to, even what I wore. I would straighten my hair, do my makeup really well, wear a skirt (lemme tell you, I have to be feeling pretty saucey to put on a skirt), and put in my contacts and feel so pretty for him. He would take one look at me and tell me to put my hair up, put on my glasses, and put on some jeans. I never realized that he did that to me, because he didn't want anyone to give me attention to where I might have felt that someone other than him could actually love me. Finally, one night after he had already been doing that whole pushing and shoving with me when I was having episodes (like, when the meds weren't working and I'd get desperate and want to do myself in), he got drunk while we were at a small party with some friends. I needed to change out of my bathing suit and into dry clothes for the night, but our friend who lived in the apartment was in his room with the door locked where the only bathroom was. So, I decided I would close myself up in my sleeping bag and change in there. His drunk ass felt that everyone would see me and that I was being a whore, so he got on top of me (while everyone else was asleep), grabbed me by the shoulders, and started to slam me repeatedly into the floor. I screamed and punched and kicked and tried to get him off me. One of the MEN in the room watched it all, but never did anything. Instead, he told everyone that I was being irrational and nothing had happened. Even the females there were telling me that I must have been too drunk to realize what was really happening - despite the fact that I wasn't.

    I started to really get scared after that. I tried to walk away from him, but I was so afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. I started to talk to my mom about moving out of the house and into my own apartment. I wanted to experience independence before I got married and my mom thought this would be a great idea, especially since she never did and regrets it. When I presented this to my fiance, he flipped. He said that I was supposed to help him pay off his debt so that we could get married debt-free. HIS debt. The last straw happened at the movie theater. He had promised me that for my birthday (March) we could go to the movies and I could get a small popcorn and small Coke. He was ALLOWING me to spend my own money on this. This was back when you could only use a credit/debit card at the ticket counter and not at the concession stand. When we got to the ticket counter, he insisted we use our cash. We didn't have enough to get the tickets AND get my popcorn and Coke. Mind you this was all the way at the end of May...I'd waited nearly 3 months to "cash in" on my birthday present. And it's not like we didn't have money. We both made enough we could have lived on our own and, obviously, didn't have any rent or utilities to pay for. I couldn't get him to let me use the card, but he "swore" that we would have enough left over for my so-called gift. So, we go in and stand in line to get our tickets torn and I look over at the concession stand board and see that we are $0.25 short. I looked at him and he had this look on his face like "you stupid bitch. hahaha You will get your popcorn when I SAY you can have it." I lost it. I fucking lost it. I was never this girl. My two older brothers NEVER had to stand up for me growing up, because I was always an ass-kicker. I didn't take shit from anyone. I never had to fight anyone physically, because people always backed down from me - even if I am short and petite. I'd lost myself and he was keeping me down. I finally said to myself "snap out of it! What the HELL are you doing?! Look at yourself! You let this shithead control you and even lay his hands on you. The "old" Casey would have knocked the shit outta him by now." I gave him the look of death and I laid into him - as calmly as I could since we were in a movieplex on a Saturday night. He told me to shut my mouth, which really pissed me off...FINALLY. I told him that I was about to slap the shit outta him and he said "do it. I'll fucking kill you." and then he raised his fist at me. That was it. That's all it took. He had the audacity to do that in front of God and everybody. That meant he was willing to do it anywhere. I had driven us in my car that night. I told him to fuck off and find his own ride home - it was over. No wedding. No making up. Over. I wound up giving him a ride home, but was firm about the end. He wanted to talk to me, so I let him. He cried and everything. I told him that if he wasn't willing to go to couple's counseling like I'd been asking him to do (to see my psychiatrist with me), then he didn't love me like he should. He didn't deserve the love I had for him. And I wasn't going to marry someone that didn't have the same love for me that I have for them. I left his house and cried for about five minutes sheerly out of embarrassment that I'd been planning a wedding that wasn't going to happen. That I'd talked him up and swore he was a great guy that no one could see.

    My family and the two friends I'd made at my new job were elated, much to my surprise. No one had bothered to tell me that they hated his guts and couldn't stand to look him in the eye. Had I ever lifted my head up like I normally do, I would have seen that. I would have seen my mother not being able to meet eyes with him. I would have known. They were afraid to say anything to me for fear I'd run off with him. That might have happened. Who knows? I like to say I wouldn't, but I can't say that for sure. I needed to find out for myself.

    BUT, if I didn't have my family and those friends, I might not have had the sense of support had I decided to leave. If I hadn't had that support there waiting for me, I probably would be a battered wife with no communication with my family now.

    With all that said, please stay by her side. Try to raise her self-worth - she probably doesn't have any right now. She needs it to realize that she deserves to be loved and not abused. It's very likely that she will be physicallly abused by him if he's manipulative and emotionally abusive. Hang in there. I know it's hard to watch someone you love get rammed into the ground by someone they think loves them. I know. But, if you leave it could very well mean the end of her. Let her know you love her, as often as possible. DON'T talk badly of the guy - it doesn't help. It will make her be more defensive of him and feel further away from you. I know it's not the best or easiest advice, but as a person that's been in her shoes that's all I can say. Good luck and I'll keep both of you in my prayers.

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    Quotidian Schismatist Wyote's Avatar
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    Just to sort of reiterate what others have been saying:

    We accept the love we think we deserve.


    Try to empathize with your friend as much as possible, and perhaps you will discover an angle to which she will at the very least, listen.
    One of the most responsible things you can do as an adult
    is to become more of a child.
    ~ Dr Wayne W Dyer ~

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    Regular Poster Chopsifer's Avatar
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    Everyone who has posted so far:
    Thank you for the advice and perspective. I think I've decided to bring it up with her in private, despite what consequences may arise from it.

    Sure, she definitely might not be pleased about it. But what a lot of posters said is right. While I know that I am, perhaps, a little too emotional to detach myself from this situation, I have a responsibility to tell her about my concerns. I also have a responsibility as a friend to let her know that I will be there for her, regardless of the amount of worth put into my observations.

    Thank you a million times over for the advice and the concern.
    "The universe is transformation; Our life is what our thoughts make it."
    -Marcus Aurelius

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  11. #11
    What do you mean, I can change my Usertitle acd's Avatar
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    Satya pretty much covered anything I had to say. Stay her friend, no matter how frustrating it is. And yes, be completely honest with her in the most tactful way you can muster. Don't condone his behavior, but don't accept her down-playing it to make herself feel better.

    The thing is, she's not going to be rational about this. She's going to be led entirely by her emotions, and he's manipulating her emotions. It's really as if she's under a spell, she's under his control. But it's not hopeless. The only way she will ever leave, is when she is tired of the pain. It may take her several tries, but eventually--if she has supportive and honest friends and family surrounding her, she will leave.

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    May snark if provoked Eniko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WickedPod View Post
    Let her know you love her, as often as possible. DON'T talk badly of the guy - it doesn't help. It will make her be more defensive of him and feel further away from you.
    This.

    As someone who's been in a bunch of emotionally abusive relationships, focus on her. Focus on what she deserves, and what she needs. If only people had focussed on me when I was in those relationships instead of trying to make me see how wrong the people I was with were, I might've extracted myself from them sooner.

    If you do need to express your reservations about this guy specifically, do what I did when one of my friends got back with her lying, cheating ex husband. I told her I was only going to say it once, and I said everything I had to say, and never brought it up again. I don't think pointing it out more than once will be anything but counter productive.

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  13. #13
    Shai Gar
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    Kill your friends other half or kidnap your friend and take her to a brainwashing expert.

    People who remain in abusive relationships deserve to be abused. If you want her out, you'll need to be drastic.

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    Community Member Azure_Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shai Gar View Post
    Kill your friends other half or kidnap your friend and take her to a brainwashing expert.

    People who remain in abusive relationships deserve to be abused. If you want her out, you'll need to be drastic.
    What about children? What if they are too young to get out on their own and have no one to remove them from that situation? Do you still think they deserve to be abused?

    I realize that you were joking, but not everyone can escape abuse.

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    What do you mean, I can change my Usertitle acd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shai Gar View Post
    People who remain in abusive relationships deserve to be abused. If you want her out, you'll need to be drastic.
    They don't deserve to be abused. It's not like someone is attracted to a person who woos them with threats and violence.

    Abusers are fantastic actors, they woo you, treat you like a god/goddess for a bit, then slowly but surely begin to weave you into their web of manipulation until they've broken you down mentally.

    Then they trap you in a cycle. The main abusive episode-->The "honeymoon" phase---->and then tension building until you're back at an episode.

    People in abusive relationships have been brain washed, and they need to be offered an alternative way of thinking. Nobody deserves to be victimized.

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  16. #16
    Shai Gar
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    I wasn't joking.

    Social Services are there to protect children. I meant Adults in abusive relationships.
    Last edited by Shai Gar; 19-05-09 at 03:03 AM.

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    What do you mean, I can change my Usertitle acd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azure_Knight View Post
    I realize that you were joking, but not everyone can escape abuse.
    I can't even tell you how many times I have had people tell me that abused people in relationships deserve what they get.. It's sadly a bit of misguided conventional wisdom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shai Gar View Post
    I wasn't joking.

    Social Services are there to protect people. I meant Adults in abusive relationships.
    Do you have any idea how social services operates on the issue of domestic violence/ dating violence? I think if you did, you wouldn't argue that the abused deserve what they get because there are social services available to them..

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  19. #19
    Shai Gar
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    I meant children, not adults.

    Maybe your friend has a hidden desire for being a sub (S&M) and feels the same of being a sub so she pretends not to be to everyone else.

    She might have found the perfect partner.

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  20. #20
    Community Member WickedPod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alt ctrl del View Post
    Do you have any idea how social services operates on the issue of domestic violence/ dating violence? I think if you did, you wouldn't argue that the abused deserve what they get because there are social services available to them..
    No kidding. Many are murdered by their abusers simply for going to the govt for help, as they should be able. The system doesn't work when it comes to that. The system is too concerned with not violating the rights of the abuser.

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