Menu

Is my friend abusing me?

HomeForumsRelationshipsIs my friend abusing me?

New Reply
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 71 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #407602
    Caroline
    Participant

    I have a male friend. I’m a woman, I’m 32. I am in relationship with a girl. This  friend – we haven’t seen each other for 5 years. We were friends after university, very close friends. We used to meet every week, watch movies, hang out. It was fun but not every time. He had some issues, not worse than most people, but I used to comfort him very often, he talked about his problems a lot. I don’t know, maybe it was something I didn’t mind then. On the other hand I rarely talked about myself.

    In 2016 we stopped talking because he met a girl, also he had anger issues when he was just being angry all the time and projected this on me. I didn’t like it. There was also one time when he wanted me to take some pictures for him (I had a camera). I used to take those pictures usually because he wanted to do some project with music. I helped him. One time I said maybe we’ll meet another time, I just didn’t feel like doing it and he got angry and sad, because It was important to him and I should know, something like that… Couple of weeks later we broke up our friendship.

    In 2021 we met again and started being friends again, let’s say.

    More than last week we were supposed to meet at my place. My girlfriend had plans to go to a concert – alone. It is a kind of music i don’t especially love so I didn’t plan to go, didn’t even buy a ticket. She said she would ask a cousin to come but she didn’t until the day of the concert. He said no, he had other plans. Since she planned to go alone in the first place, it was okay. She come over to go shopping with me first, and then the plan was she will go to a concert and I will wait for my friend at my place.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    But she said it was kind of sad to go alone, she started thinking about this that morning and we always went together to concerts, and generally she felt sad we are not going together. Not in a way that she will be alone, but more like she just wanted to go together with me.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    I hesitated because I knew my friend is a bit strict when it comes to.. let’s say not following some „rules” of this kind.

    He texted me that he is making dinner and just got back home from the town.

    But she encouraged me saying weather is not good, it was already after 4pm, he just came back from whatever he was doing in the town, just started making his dinner and probably I will do him a favour when I call off because he won’t have to hurry and come here. And we always can meet during the week, or next week – nobody is moving out or anything. I said ok, it’ll be nice to go to concert, I’ll ask him is it ok to cancel. So I texted him that my girlfriend wants me to go to a concert with her and I kind of want to go so would it be ok if we cancel and meet next week? He replied: Ok, good. I felt guilty because it didn’t sound Ok so I texted: sorry for the short notice, is it ok? He replied: ok, it’s a pity because it’s short notice. But sure, next week we can meet. Two weeks from today I won’t be in town. – To which I did not reply. I felt guilty, I knew it was not okay and he was angry at me. I spent all evening feeling guilty and thinking about this. But it made ME angry.

    During the week we didn’t speak, but I knew we would come by on saturday. On thursday I texted him: are you coming by on saturday? to which he said: coming by where? and I said I thought we had plans to meet. And he said ok.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    On saturday we met, and here’s the biggest issue here. He has this habit of talking a lot and very long. I mean really long. He can talk for 40 minutes without taking a pause. Even an hour or hour and a half. He really talks a lot. It is sometimes tiring, not to mention I cannot say anything, sometimes not even go to bathroom because I wait until he finishes thought, but then he immediately starts another, without taking any pause. It sometimes happens that he talks even for an hour. And then I say like one sentence and he continues. Through these years I forgot he is like that. When we reunited our friendship it was nice at first but lately he started this again. I was always very polite, listening patiently. He tells me everything, all the facts about him, his girlfriend, his mom, their health, everything, every detail.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    Lately I got really tired with this and a bit angry. When we met next saturday, week after the concert he again started talking about his bike, what repairs he did, exactly what, where, what day it happened, what he ate for breakfast that day, what he wore, that kind of details. I suddently said he already had told me this. I wasn’t sure he did but I said that and thought he would stop talking, it was already about 15 minutes and I was tired of listening to this. He replied angrily: forgive me but I don’t think I told you this story specifically. Maybe another bike repair but not this one so do you mind? I’m gonna finish anyway. – So he kept talking. I got up and started feeding my cat and things like that. I wanted to move, do something, I was nervous.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> He called me out again that I don’t listen to him.</span>

    Fast forward sunday (next day) he texts me he has something important to say and can we meet like right now. I didn’t feel like it because its the only day in a week we can spend a whole day together with my girlfriend without work, shopping etc. Monday to friday we both work, for now it’s difficult to meet during the week. So i texted him something like: what happened, can you tell because its unusual. But I also said: I can come out for like half an hour or something but my girlfriend is at my place so wouldn’t want to leave her for the whole afternoon or evening (i know it wouldn’t be half an hour because he needs time to talk). He wouldnt want to tell me over the phone what happened. She left earlier so that we could meet. She usually leaves at 8 pm but she said okay she will go at 6:30.

    He arrived and started saying that he feels something is not right. He felt very much hurt and sorry for himself because I called off our meeting in last minute, when I knew we didn’t see each other for few weeks, and this concert – my girlfriend knew she was gonna go alone and she knew I had plans with him already, so why did she disrespect him that way. He told me he would never do such thing to me, and the rules are that stomachache or illness would excuse me but not something like going to a concert. He kind of said he gives me chance to explain myself.

    I said i think things just happen. She wanted me to go, I wanted to go and I said sorry but I don’t think what else I can do or say to make it better and I do not think it’s such a big deal.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    Also he told me about that time he was talking about the bike and he saw I was not listening to him, and it is impolite to not listen when someone is speaking. I told him the truth: that he talks a lot, very detailed, very fast and I sometimes don’t follow his stories, it’s too much, too long, I wouldn’t be able to repeat or summarize what I heard from him most time. It’s just overwhelming. So my reaction was that: I think he said it before, and I just got up and started doing something – not that I didn’t listen, I was in the same room still so the fact I was feeding my cat doesn’t mean I didn’t listen to him. But he said that it is nothing difficult he was saying about the bike, I also have a bike so I should understand, it’s not like he’s saying quantum physics to me. But I said it’s not the case. It’s just too much, too overwhelming. I think he did not understand. <span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    He said he was disapointed with me because I was always listening to him very patiently and he thinks I am rude and impolite. Also he said he always thought of me as „the shoulder to cry on” – I think this is very crucial here, so especially he is disapointed and shocked with my behavior lately. Also the fact that he had to „beg” me to meet today (on Sunday) and he felt „like a schoolboy” when I ”mercifully” allowed him to come to my place to talk, because we are friends and this should not be the case that he has to feel that way.

    I know I should say directly things like I don’t wanna hear this anymore, this is too much details, stop talking. but I was raised this way and just keep quiet, maybe I’m good target for being treated like this. I told him that I know i should speak directly but sometimes I can’t and I cannot promise I always will.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    He said a lot of things like what’s the point of being friends when he does not feel wanted, and that last time he didn’t feel wanted – the time he talked about the bike. He felt unwanted in my house. I can’t remember what exactly I did apart from not listening to bike story. He also said I didn’t text him all week, only to text him on thursday to invite him. He started scrolling through the texts and asking: did you get this text? you didn’t reply. how about this one? and this one, did you get it?<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    I feel terrible but I also feel a bit relieved. What do you think? I wrote this to vent a little but also not always sure how I should feel. I was abused growing up. If you read this till the end I thank you. Have a good day. I will appreciate your thoughts on this but saying hello would be nice too.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    #407607
    camila
    Participant

    Hi Caroline, I think he puts a lot of expectations on your friendship, sometimes we have a friend but life goes on and the years pass and we realize that the friendship doesn’t resonate anymore and I think maybe its your case. I don’t think you should feel terrible with yourself but if you are not feeling this friendship anymore you should talk with him in a very honest way, its ok to grow apart and to understand that nothing last forever, he needs and will understand, you are both adults with your own life. I hope you are feeling better, sorry for my English its my 3 language.

    #407609
    Caroline
    Participant

    Hi Camilla, thanks for the reply. Yes, you are right, we probably grew together. He acted like this years ago, turns out he still does, and I have changed a lot. Hope you have a great day 🙂

    #407610
    Caroline
    Participant

    *grew apart, sorry 🙂

    #407611
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    “He has this habit of talking a lot and very long… He can talk for 40 minutes without taking a pause…  an hour or hour and a halfwithout taking any pause… He tells me everything, all the facts about him, his girlfriend, his mom, their health, everything, every detail… he again started talking about his bike, what repairs he did, exactly what, where, what day it happened, what he ate for breakfast that day, what he wore, that kind of details… that he talks a lot, very detailed, very fast and I sometimes don’t follow his stories, it’s too much, too long… It’s just overwhelming”.

    Wikipedia/ Pressured Speech: “Pressured speech is unrelenting, rapid, often loud talking without pauses. Those with pressured speech do not respond to verbal and nonverbal cues indicating that others wish to speak…  They are unable to listen to others, either talking nonstop until they run out of steam… The speech can be either intelligible or unintelligible.. People with schizophrenia, as well as anyone experiencing extreme anxiety, may also exhibit pressure of speech…  a feature of hypomanic and manic illness  <sup id=”cite_ref-3″ class=”reference”></sup>Pressure of speech has commonly been observed in people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorderPsychostimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines may cause speech resembling pressured speech”.

    health line. com/ pressured speech: “It’s often a part of experiencing a manic episode. The speech will come out rapidly, and it doesn’t stop at appropriate intervals. It’s difficult to understand what’s being said during pressured speech. It’s also not possible to carry on a conversation because the person with pressured speech will not stop long enough for another person to speak…  A pressured speech episode may continue for more than an hour.”

    Back to what you shared: “he had anger issues when he was just being angry all the time and projected this on me… I spent all evening feeling guilty and thinking about this. But it made ME angry.. I was always very polite, listening patiently… Lately I got really tired with this and a bit angry…  I was tired of listening to this. He replied angrily: forgive me but I don’t think I told you this story specifically… He called me out again that I don’t listen to him… He felt very much hurt and sorry for himself because I called off our meeting in last minute,…He told me he would never do such thing to me.. He said he was disappointed with me because I was always listening to him very patiently and he thinks I am rude and impolite…I know I should say directly things like I don’t wanna hear this anymore, this is too much details, stop talking. but I was raised this way and just keep quiet, maybe I’m good target for being treated like this…. He also said I didn’t text him all week… He started scrolling through the texts and asking: did you get this text? you didn’t reply. how about this one? and this one, did you get it?… I feel terrible but I also feel a bit relieved. What do you think? I wrote this to vent a little but also not always sure how I should feel. I was abused growing up“-

    -My comments: he’s been taking advantage of your passivity (listening to him quietly for hours), being unreasonably demanding of you, taking on the victim role and accusing you for victimizing him, aka blaming and guilt-tripping you. He did not take any responsibility for his problematic speech and for projecting his anger at you:  so, yes, he has been abusing you is my answer to your question (in the title of your thread).

    The wrongdoing on your part was not that you didn’t always, 100% of the time, listen to him quietly and politely. It was not that you got angry at him. The wrongdoing on your part was not something you did to him, but something you did to yourself: expecting and demanding of yourself to be a quiet and passive recipient of his guilt-tripping and of his pressured speech (which is very distressing to be exposed to, I know because my mother talked that way).

    Seems to me that you are inclined to feel guilty when accused of a wrongdoing (even though there is no wrongdoing on your part, in this case) and he is inclined to blame and guilt-trip other people. A combination of a person inclined to feel guilty and a person inclined to blame is a disastrous combination: it is simply bad for your mental health. Do you agree?

    anita

    #407615
    Caroline
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for the reply. I really did not expect such a great help.

    I was not aware of this condition (or a symptom, forgive me, not an excellent english speaker). I was googling stories of people who have similar friends, but those stories seemed different than mine.

    When he left I was feeling guilty of not saying directly how I feel – as he said – I should say I do not understand or do not follow his speech instead of “shutting down”. Today I do not agree. I know the problem was not my reaction (however proper or healthy it was or not) but his talking. Knowing he would continue this pressured speech I know I cannot meet him again alone.

    I’ve been thinking about telling him we need to give each other space. The only reason I did not say it was over for us was that I do not want to lose people around me. But I know having people around who abuse me is not the way to live.

    Before he left he asked me couple of times what’s next for us, are we gonna be friends still or what is my decision. I could not answer. I think he saw my lack of reaction mostly, I explained myself a bit (I know I should not have but as I said I was abused growing up, I am really trying to cope with situations like that, trust me I am trying to not hurt myself again). Most questions he asked I said I cannot give him answer, I cannot offer him anything more and that I am really surprised what he just told me and tired. He left without me saying anything. I think I was afraid of saying anything harsh but I have been preparing what to say when we will talk. I think I will say that this friendship has become too intense and we need to give each other space, and that I appreciate the calm life I am living for past few years, as well as my good mental health and my boundaries, and that I would like them to stay that way.

    Thank you again for making an effort. It really clarified it for me.

    #407618
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    You are welcome! Pressured speech is a symptom, so I read, and a condition I suppose: both words are okay. (No need to apologize for your English, it is fine. Mine is not my first language either: I still have a problem with when and us prepositions: at, to, from, for, in, on, etc.)

    I know the problem was not my reaction (to) this pressured speech“- the problem is his action (his pressured speech), not your reaction.

    I know I cannot meet him again alone“-  I agree.

    I’ve been thinking about telling him we need to give each other space“- good. Make it clear to him, if needed, that it’s not up to him to give you space; that you will be taking the space that you need with or without his consent.

    The only reason I did not say it was over for us was that I do not want to lose people around me“- it is a very positive loss when it comes to losing the distress involved in being exposed to pressured speech and guilt-tripping.

    But I know having people around who abuse me is not the way to live“- I agree.

    Most questions he asked I said I cannot give him answer“- if you want, you are welcome to list his questions and maybe I can help you to come up with answers that feel right to you.

    I think I will say that this friendship has become too intense…  and that I appreciate the calm life I am living for past few years, as well as my good mental health and my boundaries, and that I would like them to stay that way“- excellent! I can’t think of anything more important than a calm life, a good mental health and respected boundaries!

    anita

    #407620
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    Glad to read that you agree with what I come up with. I sometimes need to have more time to understand what happened, I do not have immediate reaction to abuse and maltreatment. I know why is that and probably most victims of abuse have it, but how to overcome this, how to know right now: I do not feel comfortable, this is not right, someone is hurting me. I have to say I have those feelings but I do not trust them I guess, not enough to act.

    Mostly he asked if I want to be friends with him, if we can work together – Truth is I would probably never reach out to him if it wasn’t for the job offer I got. Now we work together in a team of 5 people. That’s what worries me. Seems to me some people in the office do not like him because of his anger and talking. But still I need to make it work, so to speak. At least right now when I am still working here, not sure what the future holds but I would prefer not to switch jobs at the moment.

    So the question if I want to be friends with him is tricky. I think we indeed grew apart and it is not possible anymore. For the past year he wanted to meet every Saturday (plus Sundays – I declined but he used to ask every week) he wanted very frequent meetings, called sometimes everyday. He wanted to drop by during a week but I also did not have time usually. I do not have that much place for him in my life anymore.  I don’t think anyone has, for a friend, that much place and I do not think it is healthy and normal to be that needy and clingy. He has a girlfriend and he lives with her, I should mention.

    What I see best it would be us staying as colleagues that see each other once in a few weeks, months, with a group of other people, not talking day to day basis about each other’s everyday problems (what has been the issue here). Not sure how to maintain this. I guess I could just say this to him.

     

     

    #407625
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I read some of your recent post but I am not focused enough to read and reply attentively, so I will get back to you tomorrow morning (in about 14 hours from now).

    anita

    #407640
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you. Have a good day 🙂

    #407647
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I sometimes need to have more time to understand what happened, I do not have immediate reaction to abuse and maltreatment. I know why is that and probably most victims of abuse have it, but how to overcome this, how to know right now: I do not feel comfortable, this is not right, someone is hurting me. I have to say I have those feelings but I do not trust them I guess, not enough to act“- I don’t remember ever reading a person express this. It fits perfectly with my experience: I wasn’t able to evaluate situations and figure out if there was abuse in the situation, or not. Sometimes days later, it would occur to me that something wrong happened days earlier, and in my mind, I would prepare a retroactive response that I should have expressed at the time the response was relevant. It was very frustrating!

    As to why it happened: I think that it’s the Freeze Response to perceived danger. You know of the 3 Fs: Flight, Fight and Freeze, 3 natural responses to danger? While my mother was abusing me, as a child and onward, my brain perceived DANGER. I couldn’t run (Flight was not a possibility), couldn’t- wouldn’t fight her (Fight was not a possibility), so the only reaction left was FREEZE. My body froze (no movement) and my brain froze (no thinking). I just stood there until it was over.

    Fast forward, in situation with other people, my brain was frozen: no thinking, no evaluating, and therefore no appropriate, sensible reacting. Do you relate to this? If you do, we can talk about how to overcome this (your question in the quote above).

    He asked if I want to be friends with him… Now we work together in a team of 5 people. That’s what worries me. Seems to me some people in the office do not like him because of his anger and talking. But still I need to make it work, so to speak… So the question if I want to be friends with him is tricky… For the past year he wanted to meet every Saturday… called sometimes every day… I do not think it is healthy and normal to be that needy and clingy. He has a girlfriend and he lives with her, I should mention“-

    -I didn’t know that you are working together (if you shared it before, it didn’t register…perhaps my brain was frozen, lol). Given what you shared in the quote above, I think that it is very important that the only friendliness that you express to him would be strictly in the context of work, and that you should have no contact with him outside the work context, which includes not being alone with him: not privately and not publicly. Reasons: (1) the other 3 team members/ work colleagues understandably dislike him. If they think that you like him, being that you are his personal friend, they may think that you approve of his abusive behaviors,  (2) If the other 3 team members think that you disapprove of his abusive behaviors, and yet you choose to be his personal friend, they may think that you are emotionally dishonest and therefore, not trustworthy, (3) His live-in girlfriend (and others) may think that you are having an affair with him because, like you suggested yourself, it is not normal for a man (particularly one living with his girlfriend) to be this needy and clingy of another woman!

    What I see best it would be us staying as colleagues that see each other once in a few weeks, months, with a group of other people, not talking day to day basis about each other’s everyday problems (what has been the issue here) “- if I was you, I would not talk to him outside the work context, not day to day, not on any day; not about each other’s personal problems, not about anything other than work, within the work context (never being alone with him whenever it is possible).

    “Not sure how to maintain this. I guess I could just say this to him“- how about telling him that from now on, you and him will be interacting only in the work context and not in any other context; that from now on, you are friendly work colleagues, not personal friends?

    anita

    #407684
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    I now have read something about flight-fight-freeze and although I knew about it earlier – I did not know my lack of response in that situation is exactly the freeze response. I read to overcome too frequent freeze response one should practice grounding and relaxation. Not sure if it would work for me.  I can see you probably know something more about this.

    “Fast forward, in situation with other people, my brain was frozen: no thinking, no evaluating, and therefore no appropriate, sensible reacting. Do you relate to this?” – Yes, definitely I do relate.

    I did not mention that we worked together at the beginning. Last year in July 2021 I texted him I have an interview in a company he works. It wasn’t at his division at first. He said it would be nice to meet, he was extremely happy I texted him, said he missed me etc. I knew I would not text him if it was not for the job offer – I guess my text was just very spontaneous and I assumed we would meet in this company anyway so I thought maybe good idea to text him, see if he still works there, maybe give me some tips. I did not expect the reunion of the friendship, especially as sometimes we texted birthday wishes or christmas wishes (I think last time in 2018) and it was just very casual.

    From July 2021 to march 2022 we used to meet quite often, at his place together with his girlfriend or at my place sometimes. He called a lot and talked but with time I got tired and angry with his behaviour, and I felt I needed space from him because the contact became too frequent and just too much. At work he brags that we are the best friends, he doesn’t talk about the fact we did not speak for 5 years so knowing we were friends in 2012-2014 we cannot exactly say we have been friends for 10 years. In 2015-16 we have met few times and texted birthday wishes once in a while some time after that.

    I must say first of all I don’t like the fact he has been telling people we have been the best friends, know each other for 10 years because it is simply not entirely true.

    I changed divisions at work in December 2021 to the one he works so we started working together. In March/April 2022 we started talking less, I texted less often, did not ask how he was because I did not want to hear his lectures. Last sunday when he came to my place with all his resentment toward me he also mention lack of contact from my side for the past months.

    Situation at work is problematic. Just when you wrote “If the other 3 team members think that you disapprove of his abusive behaviors, and yet you choose to be his personal friend, they may think that you are emotionally dishonest and therefore, not trustworthy” – the same day my coworker asked my why am I not “in his team” since we were best friends.  I think for past few days this is my worst concern because I know I will break up this relationship one way or another but worry about what people at work would think as they already think we are best friends (not 100% sure what he tells them – I am working home office, he and only one coworker are in the office)

    I feel it is a trap that I fell into.

    I have not talked to him since Sunday, except for work messages and e-mails. I know he will probably call me out for this, as he again must feel neglected so I’m preparing for the conversation. I wrote what I need to tell him, but it is very stressful that I have to say it all and stand up for myself. He usually intimidates and bullies me. I regret I put up with this all these months and did not stand up for myself and now it became a trap I need to get out of.

    As for his girlfriend I do not know what he told her to get her approval on meeting with me that often but I do not feel comfortable with being so close to him. I know I no longer want to be alone with him and do not want people to think we are that close. I am aware it is not normal and I do not need nor want that kind of relationship with him.

    #407685
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I just noticed that you submitted a post 14 minutes ago, but I won’t be able to read or reply for 7 hours or maybe for as long as 18 hours from now. Take care! I’ll be back to your thread later.

    anita

    #407688
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita, thank you for making time to answer me. Have a good day (or night depends on time zone you’re living in)

    Take care!

    #407795
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I feel it is a trap that I fell into… He usually intimidates and bullies me. I regret I put up with this all these months and did not stand up for myself and now it became a trap I need to get out of“- I think that objectively, the situation is not as bad as you feel that it is. You can undo the trap and set yourself free if and when you stand up for yourself and create a new reality at work.

    my coworker asked my why am I not ‘in his team’ since we were best friends.  I think for past few days this is my worst concern because I know I will break up this relationship one way or another but worry about what people at work would think as they already think we are best friends (not 100% sure what he tells them – I am working home office, he and only one coworker are in the office)“- tell the guy that you and him are friendly work colleagues but no longer personal friends. Then tell everyone else at work the same thing. Be factual about it, don’t elaborate. And then, if he comes to your home uninvited, don’t let him in. If he calls you outside the work context, tell him that he is not to call you because you are no longer personal friends. Be calm and persistent.

    It is a great opportunity, as scary as it may feel, to assert yourself and stand up for yourself: take advantage of this opportunity!

    anita

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 71 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.