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To tell or not to tell?


Phoenix_girl
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How would you tell a friend (in a nice way) that he's emotionally abusive? Or would you even tell him?

 

This is something thats come up and I'm just wondering if i should tell him, and how i could tell him - i dont think he would particularly open about it. He's not malicious in his behaviour, it appears to almost be defensive, but im concerned he might start behaving like this towards others...if he hasnt already.

 

Right now im not talking to him, but if he ever comes back around, i wanted to know whether or not i should mention this to him.

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I've just done that, curiously enough. It was hard, but I sat him down and gently explained what effect he is having on others. It kinda made him upset, but he already is aware that his behavior patterns at work are getting him into trouble.

 

I stayed calm, kept a soft tone of voice (but not patronizing or condescending or know it all, just friendly and caring) and we did finally get through it. Took a couple hours though. I told him I cannot be his outlet anymore because it's affecting my own psychological state and stressing me out. He has to get help.

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I have a friend like that, he's really irrational and people have tried speaking to him about it in the past... even his girlfriend who it mainly affects, but he doesn't care. He's so abusive to his girlfriend, not physically, not even emotionally, but mentally. He makes her feel bad for the stupidest things, for example, we'll all be hanging out, he'll wander off somewhere and we'll just be like "Okay, I guess he'll come back." He'll come back about ten minutes later and say to his girlfriend "So you don't care about me, you don't care where I went or if I was okay?" It happens everytime we all get together, so often times we invite his girlfriend to come hang out with us and she doesn't let him know what's going on, simply because he ruins every outing with his behaviour.

 

And he doesn't believe there's anything wrong with it.

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I am glad you posted this. I have a gal pal that is VERY emotionally abusive to her husband. She insults him, embarrasses him. and yells at him about everything. I've been wanting to talk to her about it so bad...but I am afraid that she may get VERY abusive back to me. I am one of her best friends and even I feel like I must walk on eggshells around her! The way she treats him around all of us is not only awkward, but it makes us not want to be around them as a couple (as much as we love them).

 

This is a touchy situation, but not if your friend has complete trust and respect with you. If you two have the sort of relationship where he is OK with your opinions of him...then it would be OK. If not, he may take it as you are crossing personal boundaries.

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I think you should say something to him. He either doesn't know that he's hurting you, or he does it and doesn't care. Whether it's defensive or not, you shouldn't have to put up with that in your friends. Say that you feel hurt because of the way that he talks to you sometimes. If it doesn't change or lashes out at you, you may have to continue putting some distance between the two of you.

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what sort of behavior have you noticed? Just curious, because I recently finished up a book on emotional abuse?

 

 

I was doing some research online in regards to a past relationship that was both emotionally and physically abusive. As I was reading over the list, i realized that about half the things also applied to my friend. Here's what i noticed:

 

Ignores my feelings, disrespects me, insults me and then says its a joke, gives me the silent treatment, walks away without answereing me, rolls his eyes when i talk, laughs at my pain (that he causes), he controls everything in our friendship (when we talk, when he comes over, etc), tells me im to sensitive, uses lies and contradictions constantly, says something and denies it later or tells me i misunderstood, always has to be right and me wrong, never keeps a promise (has made very few to begin with), etc.

 

Theres more but i think this list is long enough. Hes very evasive with me - he says things that are really sweet and caring, but his actions are just way out in left field (hes never physically harmed me). All i want is to be friends with him, but he holds it against me that i have feelings for him. I got upset with him once because he got involved in one of my relationships (out of jealousy) and since then he would be really distant if i was dating someone....i once asked him if he thought i was in a physically harmful relationship, would he do anything and he replied "no, only if you asked me to". To this day he doesnt know my last relationship was physically abusive. About a year into our friendship we were at a pub (with separate groups) and i heard one of his buddies ask him what was going on between us (there were rampent rumours that we had feelings for each other) - he got really embarrassed and replied that i was just some girl.

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Thank-you Phoenix Girl... I was just about to send her to that very site.

 

The main page has a lot of helpful info and books for further reading. And if you are also interested join the FORUM and pose this question there. There are many people who are either IN relationships you've described or

have gotten OUT of them.

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Whooops... just realized YOU were the OP Phoenix Girl. Sorry about that.

 

Look, you are NOT his therapist. So don't try to FIX HIM. That is one of the biggest mistakes we make. Co-dependants. We try to fix things.

 

However, if you are being assertive.. that's another thing all together. When someone wings you with a zinger.. YOU immediately call them on it.

You tell it like you see it. "That was mean" "That was uncalled for" "What you just said was just plain rude"

 

If this man appears to have many of the qualities that may point to him being abusive.... RUN.. don't walk. Go the other way. You don't want to get romantically involved with him. And don't think you are going to be some HEROINE and SAVE him. That rarely if ever happens. More likely he'll tear you and break you down ... you'll be sitting in your own pew wondering... HOW THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME.

 

Be smart about it. You've done well in recognizing the patterns and signs of an abusive personality. Now walk away.

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Yeah i wasnt going to try to change him - it was going to be a "this is how you act and how it affects me, this is what its called" etc type of talk. if he was open to what i was saying i might point him to a few websites, but its up to him to change, all i could do would be make it clear that i wont stand for his behaviour.

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Don't point him to link removed site. Maybe cut and paste from there.... or give him an listing of the many books she's sited.

 

Many women who are in abusive relationships go to that site to figure out "How" to get out. There are many who can't get out and go there to vent and to get a bit of solace. I can't tell you how many times an "EX" or soon to be "EX" has found his way onto that site and raised havoc.

 

 

I can tell you from experience being married to an abuser. I "did" try pointing out to my x.. his abusive traits. He didn't see it that way. As you pointed out in one of your posts.. they'll say..."You can't take a joke, You have no sense of humor"... or... "You're making a mountain out of a mole hill"... or they'll gas light you and say.. "No that's not how it happened..." telling you that your perception is off.. that the things you say happened didn't happen that way at all. It's crazy making.

 

Sometimes people do realize what they are doing. And that's the most viscious type of abuser. He gets something from what he's doing. A feeling of "One upsmanship" "Power trip" whatever. But a lot of times, an abuser does NOT realize what they are doing because they are playing a role.... they are mimicking... behaviors that they've learned in their childhood. Maybe a mother or a father was abusive.

 

The point is... You can rarely hold a MIRROR up to an abuser and have them suddenly SEE.. what they are doing and admit to it. It's a little like being an alcoholic... they don't see a problem until they've hit rock bottom.

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