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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Friend being mentally abused?

    I'm sorry this is my first post on the forum, I really wasn't sure what else to post about first, and I really need some opinions on something.

    About two and a half years ago, my best friend started dating someone. I have been friends with her for years, we are like sisters. (For the record, we are now all 22 and 23.) When I first met her boyfriend, he would try to put me down in conversations and win arguments. I stood up for myself, and soon he stopped doing it. I started to notice that if she kept arguing with him, he would physically corner her, raise his voice, and other little things. There are a few times when he would corner her, she would go to put her hands up in front of him, and he'd grab her wrists to hold her in place. He always won the argument or made it so he got his way.

    I let this go at first, thinking that maybe she would be uncomfortable with this and either leave him or talk to someone about it. This went on for several months. Soon, he quite his job. He told my friend that he was looking for a job but had no money, and she started paying for his meals and his gas money. He 'could not find a job' for a year, though he only filled out a few applications and even told us that he wasn't really looking. He started ordering food without asking her first and wasting her money.

    At around the same time (a year in), he started refusing her intimacy of any kind. The most he would do is give her a quick kiss on the lips. She told me this bothered her, but he did nothing about it, and didn't give a real explanation. He also wasn't getting a job. She wound up crying about it and getting very stressed out, but told me "Him not having a job is a stupid reason to break up."

    He started acting out in public with her. If she annoyed him somehow, he would purposely publicly humiliate her. He'd guide her into a wall while walking, say something embarrassing about her outloud, etc. Drinking heavily bothers her, but every time they went out together, he would drink until he'd get sick. He kept using her money, and finally she just let it happen. They started to be embarrassing to others out with them, with even her younger brother in high school saying that they were obnoxious to be around. He started lying to her a lot, and he lies to almost everyone, saying he went to job interviews when he never did. Later, he'd accidentally let slip that he never went. She ignored every lie.

    It is now two and a half years into their relationship. He is still not working. He is now telling her that he enlisted for the Marines and is leaving in May. He is not in shape at all, is not working out, and shows no interest in making weight or getting in shape. He says he got employed today in retail, but he frequently gets a job for a week or two to appease my friend and then quites. (At one point he told his employer that his mother died and left, when his mother did not die. Other times he just stops showing up or gets fired. He last job, he called out ten times in two months and then got fired.) He still publicly humiliates her, lies to her, tries to get her upset for his own amusement, and will not be intimate with her. When I am with her, he frequently tries to get the better of me.

    I tried to talk to her about this once, and she got very upset with me. She told me that I didn't understand how much she loved him, and that I wasn't a forgiving person. She said she planned on marrying him and would stick with him, and said it was none of my business.

    Maybe it really isn't my business, but it really worries and saddens me. This is her first boyfriend, and she's turned down other men when they've asked her out, saying she already had a boyfriend and that was that. The other week at a party, he started smoking marijuana, and while it upset her, she pretended it didn't because he told her that he was going to do what he wanted to do. He is getting drunk more frequently. She leaves for college again soon and will be about an hour away, I'm not really sure what's going to happen. I feel like I can't talk to her about it anymore.

    Everytime I am around them, I feel more detached and distant from my best friend. On one hand, I want to let her live her life and make her own choices, but on the other hand, I feel like she's trapping herself into a life of being used.

    I know this isn't extreme abuse, but it's still there, and I was hoping someone had some advice. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Under your bed.

    Re: Friend being mentally abused?

    First off, welcome to tiobe it's great to have you with us.

    I think you have every reason to be concerned but I'm not entirely sure what you can do. Unfortunately the heart wants what the heart wants and it's quite often that reason doesn't even enter into the picture.

    Most of my friends warned me about my ex (my daughters mother) and for whatever strange reason I completely ignored them. The benefit of hindsight has afforded me the obviousness of how stupid a decision staying with her was but I had to learn the lesson for myself.

    It sounds to me like you are a truly great friend so the only thing I can suggest is to make your opinion on the matter clear and then only play a supportive friend role when she needs you. Let her know you'll always be there for her but don't allow yourself to gloss over your opinion of this guy. A good friend is always supportive whenever possible but honesty is always the best policy.

    Incidentally I do agree with you that she is being abused but many people in these situations don't realize their being abused until they've gained some distance from the abuser in either time or physical location. It's very similar to the frog in boiling water scenario; put a frog in boiling water and he'll know it's hot and jump out right away. Put the same frog in lukewarm water, slowly bring it to a boil and he'll sit in there until his insides cook.

    In other words, her abuse level is slowly increasing over time as is her tolerance of said abuses. To someone like you who's away from the situation it's as clear as the nose on your face but to someone like her who's living in it day in and day out it primarily may go unnoticed.
    My Daughter Rules!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    At Home

    Re: Friend being mentally abused?

    First off, welcome to Lifesupporters. You will certainly find some caring people here. I am sorry to hear about your friend. She is being abused and it really saddens me to hear. I understand her feelings to some degree too. It is very hard when you love someone to see the bad side of them. You make excuses and think it will get better. I really hope she sees the light before she is bankrupt and beaten. Keep close to be her support, tell her how you feel and make sure she knows you will be there if she needs you. That is about all you really can do.
    The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office. (Robert Frost)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    The Cloud of Unknowing

    Re: Friend being mentally abused?

    Sadly, there is not much you can do. Perhaps make yourself less available to her, as strange as it sounds.

    The problem is, she is perhaps partly putting up with all this, because she has outlets. Her family, her friends, etc., who listen to her - but can't change a thing, because she herself does not want to change things, as messed up as that sounds.

    Her limit levels for the abuse seem to be on the increase. Unless this "boyfriend" actually pushes a trigger, that is "too much" for her, don't expect things to change. I would not even rule out the possibility that he has been involved with another woman at the same time in the relationship. But I don't know the particulars, so it is hard to know for sure.

    Unless she is willing to make some changes, there is nothing you can do.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Re: Friend being mentally abused?

    Probably you can try to talk to her one more time...
    She is being emotionally involved with her boyfriend and I think she loves him a lot!!
    That's the only reason she couldn't break up with him.
    If his humiliation persists and if he no long loves her or care about her, then it is better for her to leave him, but it is not a easy one, she will be depressed a lot after the breakup, you have to be there to console her.
    she will overcome it later as time goes on..
    Time heals all the wound and hurts!!
    Take care of her!!

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    Last edited by Duke; 06-14-2010 at 12:45 AM.

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