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Should I Keep my New Friend?

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  • #328985
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    Hi everyone! It’s been a while.

     

    Long Story! So, when last I was on the website I was going through my quarter-life crisis. Since then I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Three years ago I moved 3.5 hours away to a new town with my fiance, and while I love the new life, it wasn’t until February of this year I started making friends. There’s this regular I’ve known for nearly three years who invited me to a movie and we hang out at least once a week ever since that movie. We have a lot in common and clicked instantly. Our lives were actually incredibly similar, we even went to a lot of similar events in the neighbouring city in our teens and probably passed each other in the crowd. We love friendly debates, have a similar humour, and have a lot of the same mental health struggles. He’s encouraged me to start therapy, move out of my comfort zone, and start writing again. When it’s the two of us we are relaxed, reflective, yet still joking and can get rather energized, yet respectful, depending on the topic. When we’re in a group, however, he can become “the life of the party” and adopt this persona of “look at me, the confident intellectual funny man.” I’m not a huge fan of that, but it’s who he is, and he fakes confidence because he’s scared of others opinion of him.

    Recently, there’s been some concerning actions that make me wonder. We have a very flirtatious relationship, and I genuinely don’t mind when he plays footsies with me, massages my shoulders, rests his arm against mine at movies, or sits a little too close beside me at the table. He’s also rather prideful and arrogant, he loves to prove to people he’s right and they’re wrong. Last night I had a party and we chose one thing we were most proud of this year, his wasn’t making new friends, his promotion, being the best man at his brother’s wedding, the birth of his nephew, or finally getting a girlfriend after 5 years, it was joining a new right-wing political party and bringing it down from the inside.

    After my new friend group left my party and my old friends were left, we got on the topic of my new friends. Half of them they liked, but he and his girlfriend they do not. [I’m not a fan of his girlfriend either, but I know why they’re together so I’m just waiting for him to drop the charade] My two friends I’ll call them B and K, I’ve known them since we were in middle school, and we’ve been through a ton together. B is amazing with picking up body language and reading people, while K is a human lie detector who is incredibly observant. My friend kept grabbing B’s foot, and B hates people touching her. Even her husband asks before he hugs her. B also noticed my friend was mirroring my body language, was situated directly across from me when we sat down, would get up and follow me around the party. Whenever I was paying attention to my fiance, my friend would stiffen his posture when sitting, or walk over and stand behind me with his chest puffed out. K also noted he would run hot and cold with his phrasing, demean my fiance with choice wording [it was passive-aggressive, but worded in such a way it sounded funny] and she noted there were time he was clearly calculating his “oops, I messed up that word, haha I’m silly” and he accidentally did it, so we wouldn’t catch him when he stumbled over his wording.

    K also said she found his wording rather cruel when I asked about when we were meeting up to play a specific game. He said, “when everyone can be in the same room comfortably, then we shall discuss it.” Which meant we had to explain the month prior something happened. He invited my fiance out to dinner, insisted they sat at the most secluded table in the restaurant, demanded my fiance sat in the corner table and began interrogating him. He claims my fiance did something to someone he’s friends with. Who it is and what my fiance did he was sworn to secrecy [but not so secret as he could tell his girlfriend and roommate, just not the person accused or their partner] at one point he apparently said “what you did was disrespectful. It was disrespectful to me! It was disrespectful to my home! and it was disrespectful to my… Friend. Neko. And she deserves better than you.” [the reason I know this is because my fiance came home and would repeat that phrase over and over trying to figure out what he meant by building is his way up then freezing, and softly going “friend”] So we’re in this odd purgatory where we can’t talk about it because the person who he did something to is so traumatized they can barely leave their house, and until they feel safe, my fiance isn’t welcome at our social events.

    This caused my two friends to look at each other and then ask why I’m still friends with this guy because he’s obviously calculating and mean. I said he’s nice one on one which prompted my friends to point out I use to say the exact same thing about my ex who gaslighted me for five years. The thing is, my friend is different. He’s prideful, nervous, scared others will judge him, he’s deeply upset because he’s a “cis, straight, tall, white man” people will perceive him as bad, so he doubles down on this white night stand up nice guy thing. [which is why he’s so extra in public. He doesn’t want to give a bad impression] My ex would give backhanded compliments, be secretive, and insult me in front of other people as a joke. My friend defends me and builds me up at all times.

    Here’s the point of all this. I know if I approach him, he will get defensive, and when he feels backed into a corner he lashes out [never at me, but I have seen him in heated arguments with other friends, my fiance, and even his parents] He will look them stone cold in the eye, curse them out, then turn his back on them and ignore any further input from the person. At the same time, I care about him, we get along so well, and we’re great friends I don’t want to let go. However, this isn’t the first time an old friend has met him and told me to run away from this friendship. I don’t have many friends, but every single friend has met him, and every friend who didn’t recently befriend him has told me to run [so I have a total of 9 friends plus my fiance, 1 is him, 3 are my new friends, the other 5 are friends I’ve known for at least 10 years and they all say I’m repeating the same pattern as with my gaslighting ex] Should I leave it? Talk to him? Or run away?

    #329001
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nekoshema:

    Welcome back, good to read from you again. I am not focused well enough this evening, but I have a comment on just one point: evaluating your friend yourself and trusting your evaluation vs. trusting other people’s evaluation of your friend. You wrote: “every single friend has met him.. a total of 9 friends plus my fiancé.. they all say I’m repeating the same pattern as my gaslighting ex. Should I leave.. run away?”

    March 2015, four years and nine months ago, you wrote: “I am also shy, so as a result people take a look at me and think I’m scary. Everyone also thinks I’m  miserable .. but I’m not. At least I don’t think I am. Over the years I’ve begun to question if I’m really happy since everyone says I’m not”.

    I see a possible theme here, caring too much about what other people think and say, instead of relying on what you think.

    Like I wrote, I am not too focused this afternoon, but I wanted to reply to you anyway before I turn off my computer for the night. When I am back, in about 14 hours, maybe I will read from you, and maybe you will let me know if there is any validity to my point here. We can then communicate further on the topic of your friend.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by anita.
    #329013
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    Hi Anita! I’m so happy you’re still here ^_^

    I’m a little stunned you found that old post [I honestly forgot about it] it is still something I struggle with. Interestingly, I recently said something similar to my therapist about how everyone says I’m too negative and she said “I don’t think you’re negative. I’ve always felt you’re realistic.” I almost cried. I seek validation from others, it’s one of the many things I’m working on. [a lot of abuse throughout my life, I need reassurance, because I’m always double guessing my emotions] That’s why I’m here. It’s a new decade soon and I really want to achieve my goals. I know New Years isn’t going to change much, but I’m really feeling that new year energy thing, you know? So I’ve been reflecting on a lot of aspects in my life, and my friend has become a topic for many as “why are you still friends with him?” He means so much to me, and we mirror each other in a lot of ways, but when he’s in a group, he becomes [for lack of a better word] an alpha male and a lot of questionable behaviour rises up. There’s a part of me that is worried he’s wearing masks and even when we’re one on one it’s an act, but on the other hand, I really don’t feel it is. I’ve just been wrong before, and I’m worried he might be manipulating.

    Around the time I was at my lowest point, he was too, and one thing we both did was remove toxic people from our lives. The difference was, he told them to their face everything they did and gave them a choice to change or leave. I simply limited my interaction with them until they faded into the background [this includes family members] Recently, he’s been trying to convince me to do the same thing he did with the family I am in frequent contact with. We debated it and agreed to disagree since my view is I love them, just don’t like them, and I don’t want to burn a bridge because there was a lot of trauma in the past. His view is any bridge, even a rickety one, that leads to a toxic place should be burned. I told my friends this and K and B say it sounds as if he’s trying to isolate me from my family. [all three of them know how traumatic my upbringing was, K and B agree I should limit my interaction with my close relatives, and that bringing up the past to go “see what you did” would simply be a cruel excuse for a fight. Confronting my relatives, giving them the long list of abuse I suffered, then cut them out, is what my new friend wants]

    Anyway, it’s stuff like that, he means well, he wants to help me grow, but his approach can be extreme, and his personality changes depending on the people we’re interacting with. None of my old friends trust him and can see a lot of red flags and similar situations. I admit I see them too. Even my therapist warned me I’m running towards him because he’s broken and I want to save him [especilly since he saved me earlier this year] I just don’t know if I should confront him or leave it, or perhaps as all my friends say, run away because he’s actually manipulating me.

    [Sigh, emotions and relationships are tough lol. Hope you’ve been well.]

    #329097
    Valora
    Participant

    Here’s the point of all this. I know if I approach him, he will get defensive, and when he feels backed into a corner he lashes out [never at me, but I have seen him in heated arguments with other friends, my fiance, and even his parents].

    This is something you need to pay VERY close attention to. You seem to be qualifying this as okay because he hasn’t done it to you, but he’s only not done it to you… yet. He will. I’ve seen this happen over and over again with friends and even myself. We will excuse behavior or think the person only acts that way around certain people but would never do that to me, until he does.  Based on everything you’ve said here, I agree with your friends. He’s not a good person to be attached to. And public personas are just as important as private ones because, at the very least, he’s not being authentic or genuine.

    The way you’ve described how he was acting at the party, what your friends said, and the thing with your fiance, it seems like it’s possible this guy thinks you’re a prize to be won, which explains why he is so nice to you when he isn’t to other people, doesn’t treat you the way he seems to treat everyone else, and maybe even seems to have a ton in common (could some of that stuff be an act, too?). If this is the case and you’re a prize to be won, he will flip on you as soon as he feels he’s won you. Especially if he plants seeds of doubt in you about your fiance (which may be what he was trying to do with whatever that accusation was). He may be trying to break you two up so he can “win” you and then promptly lose interest or maybe just treat you badly for a while like he seems to treat everyone else.

    Ultimately, you have to use your own judgment, try meditating on it, not thinking hard about it but see if you can feel how you truly feel intuitively about him. If something feels off, it probably is. If nothing feels off, I’d proceed with caution until he’s shown he can treat people better. Expect that how he treats others is how he will eventually treat you, too. And pay very, very, very close attention to red flags, and it seems as if there are a ton of them here. Especially if he does try to isolate you or plant seeds of doubt in you against the people you’re closest to, and be sure you’re not making excuses for behavior that should not be seen as acceptable. Unacceptable behavior is unacceptable behavior, no matter the reason.

    #329101
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Nekoshema,

    Listen to Valora! She is absolutely right.

    He lambasted your fiancé by pitting him against his friend. He’s trying to make you fight with your family. He’s one way in private and another way in public. No one likes him except you and his girlfriend (that he took five years to find).

    We fall in love with the diamond in the rough, person with a heart of gold who’s just misunderstood stories. But think. The fact that you are asking strangers on the internet about him, and even the strangers are saying, “Bad News”, even while you can control the narrative of the story, speaks volumes.

    I would still be friends with him, but never see him alone and never take him around groups of other people. Guess what that means? That means that he gets to see and talk to you WITH YOUR FIANCE/HUSBAND around! His least favorite person! Yay! He has to man up, grow up, and stop instigating, isolating, and triangulating people.

    Or, just quietly dump him.

    Merry Christmas,

    Inky

    #329103
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    Thanks for the input. My fiance says I keep making excuses for him, and my friends keep asking why I want him as a friend. I see the signs, but I don’t get that “bad person” vibe off him like other toxic people I’ve met. He has said he knows he’s not perfect [despite always joking he’s never made a mistake] and he wants us to tell him when he can improve. So I want to confront him about these behaviours because, again, I really care about him as we get along so well and have helped each other grow through the year. My problem is I’m terrible with wording, and I know if I say the wrong word it will set him off. No, he won’t get violent, I mean he will either cling to “but you said angry when you meant upset” instead of hearing my point or do that curse me out and storm off.

    I have heard from a lot of people, including my fiance, they suspect he’s trying to break us up. I highly doubt that mostly because I have such a low sense of self-worth I doubt anyone as attractive and charming as him [because he is, there’s a lot of girls who have crushes on him, but he’s convinced he’s ugly and nobody likes him] would actively pursue someone like me. However, you’re the first person to claim he sees me as a “prize” which does seem to explain a few other behaviours of his surrounding his “girlfriend” and his treatment of her [it’s normally indifference. He’s only called her his girlfriend once, only to apologize to me once she left the room. He never elaborated on why though] While I admit to our flirtatious friendship, the fact he’s affectionate isn’t exactly exclusive to me. He has more female friends than male friends, and while I’m the only one he’s given back rubs and played footsies with [I’ve asked them] if he knows you’re comfortable hugging him, he’ll hold your hand or accidentally brush against you a little more than coincidentally. This leads B to conclude he’s a creep [especially since he grabbed her foot twice. The first time he was rubbing her sock talking about how cool they were, the second he grabbed her foot and when she said “that’s not your girlfriend’s foot” he apparently didn’t let go for almost a minute] granted, I don’t want to assume he’s a creep, but laying it out like that [and I’m leaving out a ton of moments I’ve had with him where he would cuddle up to me, which has doubled in frequency since he started dating his girlfriend] I can totally see how his behaviour is crossing a line, even if I’m comfortable with it.

    I feel it’s all his perception of himself and I’m hoping to talk to him [but I’m not sure how to word it] so we can work together to improve his “alpha” persona when he’s in public. He tells me frequently how he’s the master of perfect first impressions and he’s terrified he’ll never live up to that first impression so he goes extra with everything. I can’t tell you the number of times we’re in a group and when the two of us leave to head home you can see him physically drop and breathe a sigh of relief and he turns into this completely different person who is anxious and sweet and tranquil. I’ll never forget this one time in the summer we were sitting on a patio completely alone [the plaza had closed and we were watching the sunset listening to some folk music] and we were just chatting about life. He was telling me how happy he is with how his life has turned out and how lucky he was to be a bachelor. We started chatting about life and philosophy all tranquil until his dad drove by and saw us. His father gave him this friendly but finger-wagging “it’s nice you’re hanging out with Neko, but doesn’t she have a fiance? You need to find a girlfriend of your own. Neko, help find a girlfriend for my son, he’s bee single for years.” then jumped in his car and drove off. This resulted in my friend who fifteen minutes earlier was overjoyed with being single to go “he’s right, I’m miserable and need to find someone. Do you have any single friends, Neko?” and when I called him out on it he claimed he was fooling himself and needs a girlfriend.

    Perhaps I’ve fallen for the friend I see when I’m alone with him when in reality he’s more often surrounded by people and is, in fact, the confident, assertive, calculating person in reality and his persona has become his personality. I don’t want to believe I’ve fallen for someone as calculating as my ex, because I do see his flaws, but he’s always encouraging me to grow as a person, he wants to grow as person, and he’s always talking about how much he loves people who insist on growing. Every time we get together, while he’s doing his whole “look at me” schtick, he’s encouraging people to read books and watch esoteric movies so we can discuss and discover new viewpoints. He doesn’t want to be suck in a box, and I like having a friend who challenges me in a nice way.

    #329109
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    lol, I love your response Inky [also, hi again] I feel like I’m bad at describing people, but I’m being honest, and I really do see the issues. While I’ll consider taking a step back from our friendship, it’s either I keep him or lose all my friends. I work with his girlfriend and our other friend, and our third friend is his roommate. My work friend and his roommate are the two nobody has issues with. I’ve never felt comfortable around his girlfriend even before they started dating, she’s very judgemental and passive-aggressive, especially towards me and I’m currently trying to put up a barrier between her and I because of how critical she is of me. If I try to take a step back from my friend, he’ll notice. I had a bad mental health month or two recently and he noticed before anyone else and was checking in on me constantly. On the rare occasion I’m upset with him, he notices and will pull me aside to talk. If I stop hanging with him, I stop hanging with all four of them because we’re pretty well woven into each other’s lives now. Another major reason I’m contemplating stuff is because I’m finalizing the wedding invitation list because I’m sending them out next month and he frequently checking up on things, asking guest-related questions, and seeing how the planning is going. I was going to go around not inviting his girlfriend by going “well, he has a plus one” and should they break up, one of the other friends will have plus ones and they’re all single [which is one of the theories why he’s trying to separate my fiance, I usually had to check with him before any last-minute “who wants to go to this place in an hour” and the majority of the time I would tell him “I would, but my fiance feels it’s too last minute” and now it’s just me invited, so I always go] but if he doesn’t get an invite, he’ll have questions. Heck, everyone will have questions, because we’re so close strangers constantly think he’s my fiance.

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Nekoshema.
    #329111
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nekoshema:

    I am well, thank you.

    Regarding your friend: “He’s encouraged me to start therapy, move out of my comfort zone, and start writing again.. respectful.. My friend defends me and builds me up at all times… He means so much to me”- seems to me that it would be a shame if you end your friendship with this man. How can it possibly be right to end a friendship with a person who means so much to you, who doesn’t hurt you, and who defends you at all times.

    You don’t like how he behaves with your group of friends and your friends don’t like him in their group- reads to me that it will be wise for all people concerned if you keep your friendship with him one-on-one and no longer have him a part of your group of friends-and-fiancé (for as long as the flirtatious behavior between the two of you does not offend and hurt your fiancé or his girlfriend).

    If “he loves to prove to people he’s right and they’re wrong”, if he “kept grabbing B’s foot, and B hates people touching her”, and he knows she hates that, I understand why your friends don’t like him.

    I wonder though why your friends tolerate him in their group; why haven’t they told him that he is no longer welcome to group get- togethers.

    “my two friends .. look at each other and then ask why I’m still friends with this guy because he’s obviously calculating and mean”- well, why are your two friends choosing to associate with an “obviously calculating and mean” person?

    In other words, if he is mean to them, but is not mean to you, then they shouldn’t associate with him instead of telling you that you shouldn’t associate with him. They should make their own choices, not yours.

    There is more in your two posts for me to comment on, and I can do so in the future, as we communicate further on the topic, if you want. I want to focus on my last point to you because I think that it will help you in your goal of no longer overly seek validation from others in this coming new year.

    It is your friends’ business to protect themselves from hurtful people and separate themselves from the company of such people. It is not their business to tell you who you should be friends with, especially when the friend is a good friend to you.

    It is easy to blame other people for all sorts of things. For example, your friends blame the guy for trying to isolate you from your family and for manipulating you (“K and B say it sounds as if he’s trying to isolate me from my family.. he’s actually manipulating me”). It is easy to blame others. I can blame K and B for the same things and say: they are trying to isolate you from this friend and manipulate you to end contact with him.

    I read your two posts attentively this morning and it doesn’t seem to me that your friend is trying to isolate you from your family (instead, his motivation is to fight abuse and injustice),  and it doesn’t read to me that he manipulates you. It also doesn’t read to me that your friends are trying to isolate and manipulate you. Problem is, even though they mean well, they make your business theirs, trying to make a choice in regard to this man that is not theirs to make. And you have let them.

    So New Year Resolution, or stated intent, should be… you take it from here, if you choose to do  so.

    anita

     

     

    #329119
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    I have two separate friend groups. My group of old friends live in the east end of the city, and my new friends and I live in the west end. The only reason K and B know my friend is because I invited them to my party. They do not actively seek him out and don’t go out of their way to socialize with him. My new friend group, we all have varying degrees of eye-rolling “he’s doing that thing again.” The other day I was telling his roommate what my fiance claims he did at the dinner and the roommate sighed and replied “of course he did that. He thinks he’s some valiant knight protecting his friends when he’s actually coming off as a bodyguard.” and we both had a laugh at our friend because he does this. He thinks people see him as a bad white guy, so he will frequently step forward and go [essentially] “I am a tall, straight, white man, and I am defending the rights of all those who are not me because for too long straight white men have been in charge and it is time you listened to this oppressed group. Since I am defending said group, I am a good person.” He thinks he’s being chivalrous when really it’s coming off, well, desperate for validation?

    As for our flirtatious friendship, my fiance is fine with it because he knows it’s harmless and nothing would happen [we have a very open, honest relationship] he’s more concerned my friend will cross the line. As for his girlfriend, she won’t say, because she bottles up how she feels until she explodes. When that happens, she waits until I’m alone [example, I go into the stock room at work and she follows me] then she’ll corner me and hound me until I’m crying because “see, you say you’re sorry, but I don’t think you really are.” Though I have noticed when it’s a little too intense, she jumps between us, gives me a hug [she almost never hugged me before they started dating] then cuddles up to him [and half the time he pulls away from her] Example, this one time we went two weeks without seeing each other [the longest we’ve gone in over a year] when he came into my apartment he raced over and held me for at least a solid minute if not two. After a while, I asked if he was okay, he said no, when I asked what I could do he replied “just hold me.” so I did. It wasn’t until, as I said, a minute later at least, I realized and told him his girlfriend and my fiance are in the room and he let go. [my fiance said it was fine, his girlfriend didn’t say anything] when they were leaving he slipped his arm around my waist and was giving me a side hug while we chatting in the doorway. His girlfriend was standing across from me and I could see her squirming and she proclaimed, “I want to hug Neko too!” then tackle-hugged me really quicky, turned and quickly hugged my fiance [who she has said repeatedly she hates] then grabbed her boyfriends arm and drags him outside.

    Thanks for your input. your line about him wanting me to fight injustice made me smile because that’s what he does. It’s what he lives for. It’s something I admire in him. I know what he meant by it, but we have two different worldviews. His upbringing wasn’t abusive but he did have a number of toxic relatives. He confronted them and argued his viewpoint so he could receive some semblance of closure, so he advocates people do the same. I don’t like confrontation, I always tell him nothing disturbs me, he can say/do anything and I won’t be bothered, but in that friendly debate, I explained the only thing that triggers me is being in the room with two people arguing. If two people are screaming a each other I break down, so approaching my family and laying out all the terrible things they did, I know will result in them yelling at me, and I will crumble. He’s not pressuring me to do it, he’s articulating how freeing it was for him, and while it isn’t for everyone, he wants me to stop avoiding.

    My New Years’ goals are working on my self-confidence, tone down my inner critic, and build on the things I’ve started in therapy. I’m trying to build a more positive future, one where I’m more emotionally and mentally stable. My fiance and I are wanting kids in the next 5 years, and while it’s not the only reason I want to become a more stable, well-adjusted person, my childhood trauma has always been a shadow looming over my vision of motherhood. I don’t want to repeat the patterns, so I’m actively working on finding stability now. I honestly feel about 5 years behind in my life lol. I know everyone’s on a different path, but I feel like I’m 30 going on 25 in terms of accomplishments. This year has been so rewarding, a lot in part to my friend, and I’m hoping to build on the successes and projects I began this year. I’m actually excited for the future [which hasn’t happened since I decided to move to this city 3.5 years ago]

    #329131
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nekoshema:

    You are welcome.

    It seems like his girlfriend is suffering because of his behavior with you. I can’t think of any girlfriend who will not be troubled by their boyfriend hugging another woman for so long. Some changes need to be done so that she doesn’t suffer unnecessarily.

    You wrote regarding your friends: “They do  not actively seek him out and don’t go out of their way to socialize with him”- my point is that if they believe he is mean, calculating and manipulating, if it bothers them to socialize with him, then they should go out of their way to not socialize with him.

    Their job is to choose who  they socialize with and respect your right to choose who you socialize with. Even better, it will be nice if you (and your friends!) trusted your ability to evaluate if it is a good or a bad idea to have in your life.

    To another topic (which you communicated to your friend): “If two people are screaming at each other I break down, so approaching my family and laying out all the terrible things they did, I know will result in them yelling at me, and I will crumble”-

    – to me, this means that you should not lay out “all the terrible things they did”, because of course, you don’t want them screaming at you. I don’t believe that confrontations are necessary. For example, I chose to cut all contact with my mother but I did not confront her before I ended all contact with her.

    I am wondering, when you are together with your family members who did terrible things to you (I wonder what those things are, but you don’t have to let me know), what is going on inside you, how does it feel to be in their presence?

    anita

    #329153
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    Regarding his girlfriend [honestly, this is the most times she’s been called that. Most people don’t know they’re dating and he has only once referred to her as his girlfriend. In fact, when she gave him his birthday gift he gave her a high five and said “you’re an awesome friend” then gave me a hug a few minutes later] as I said, I don’t like her because of how she treats me. There’s a small part of me that gets joy out of how he comes to me and not her most of the time [and I know I shouldn’t] but I have tried to take a step back. Hence why at the party I sat across from him and not beside him as normal. [but as my friends observed, his focus was on me and not his girlfriend] I’m currently working on not being so open with her [my therapist suggested it] I’ve known her for a little longer than him, but I know more about him in 8 months than her in nearly 3 years of working with her. She gives me one-word answers or walks away, and when I talk to her about things she will say things in a judgemental tone. She’s also diagnosed me with a learning disability despite the fact I’ve explained why I am the way I am, and that I have been tested for the learning disability she claims I have and I do not, then she’ll go “yeah, but it’s usually misdiagnosed, so I still think you do.” The last time I told her anything in an attempt to be friends was when I was super excited I had a breakthrough in therapy. I told her I discovered the emotion I typically feel is shame [huge deal for me, I had no clue. typically, if I’m not happy, I’m sad, other emotions don’t register] and she looks at me, scrunched up her face and goes “oh? you didn’t know you constantly felt shame? Because it was really obvious to everyone.” and skipped away.

    As for my family, I have all the abuse [I use to say “all but one” but another breakthrough in therapy, turns out it’s all of them *unenthused cheer*] I know it doesn’t excuse it, and it really doesn’t help my case when I say things like “they were only physically abusive when they got mad, so it wasn’t so bad.” But it’s how I rationalize and cope. They were people doing the best they could, despite it being bad. My parents had a very rough divorce [hearing them screaming every night for 3 years can make anyone triggered by arguements] We moved to another Provence with my mom who would get upset whenever we reminisced or called our dad, dad’s side, or old friends, so my sister and I stopped contacting them, and they eventually did the same. It’s strained, but we’re slowly rebuilding that relationship. [which he encouraged me to do]

    My friend specifically wants me to confront my mother, who he doesn’t like [yet she finds him charming and can do no wrong] I was a parentalized child, had to play therapist for my mother, became her “rock”, was emotionally manipulated and verbally abused. When I was in my gaslighting relationship I developed an eating disorder [which she brushed off as “you’re not thin enough to have an eating disorder”] and began self-harming, which resulted in her getting mad every time she saw and would hit/punch me or throw things at me [which normally happened growing up when she caught me doing something she didn’t like] my mom has moved far away and whenever she comes back to visit she stays at my place. She’s visiting next month and has voluntold me she’s staying. This is why my friend wants me to list all those things to her and go “and for those reasons, I am not comfortable with you in my life.” To which I know exactly what will happen, she’ll cry, probably hit me, and start screaming about what a terrible mother she is. Instead, I limit my interactions to texting and the occasional call. When I’m with my mom it’s odd. The first day everything is fine, and then she’ll say/do something upsetting and I just have to bury it, but in the years she’s been away I’ve become more open and willing to talk about things, so having to bite my tongue around her and her side of the family [aka, the people my friend want me to confront and cut out] it causes me a lot of anxiety, which causes me to have a panic attack, which then causes my mother to hit me and tell me to “stop making a scene” which, as we all know, fixes a panic attack. [spoiler alert, it doesn’t] then she leaves in a huff, goes to my sisters [who is far better at coping and is aware of my struggles] and proceeds to vent to her about what a terrible person I am and how bad our mom feels because of my actions. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I love my mom, and we do get along and have fond memories and good times together. We’ve just became different people and she doesn’t like that, and she has a tremendous amount of guilt surrounding all the stuff growing up, but she doesn’t believe in therapy, doesn’t want me being too open with a therapist [which is why she doesn’t know I go to therapy] and becomes defensive when I bring up the past.

    I have anxiety, so I work myself up with scenarios and scare myself before she arrives. While things are never as bad as I envisioned, I’m still on edge. This thanksgiving we visited my grandparents and my mom’s family was there [including my uncle who I did cut out of my life and is banned from my wedding. He threatened to kill me and my fiance and when I told the family they shrugged and went “that’s your uncle for you. He threatened to kill me *proceed to tell me the time he threated/attacked them as if it’s a charming story*”] it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but nobody spoke to use outside of my sister and two cousins [the other “black sheep” of the family, religated to eat in the kitchen while the rest of the family sat in the dining room. Wasn’t a problem, we called dibs on the kitchen table to avoid them.] the only thing they said [after not seeing me for two years] was “oh, you finally lost the weight” then walked away. No hi/bye nothing, just commented on my weight and vanished. This triggered my eating disorder and made my nerves bad and my mental health went down for about 2 months and very recently I started eating/recovering from it.

    Basically I like my life now and any change [mom coming back, losing my friend, his girlfriend] is rather upsetting because it’ll change for the worse, and I want things to change for the better. [and I know bad things will happen, but if I can prevent them, I would like to]

    #329155
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nekoshema:

    I read just a bit of your recent post and I want to read all of it (and anything you may want to add to it) attentively tomorrow morning my time, which is in about 17 hours from now. Till then, take good care of yourself.

    anita

    #329177
    Valora
    Participant

     I don’t get that “bad person” vibe off him like other toxic people I’ve met.  He has said he knows he’s not perfect [despite always joking he’s never made a mistake] and he wants us to tell him when he can improve.

    I have heard from a lot of people, including my fiance, they suspect he’s trying to break us up. I highly doubt that mostly because I have such a low sense of self-worth I doubt anyone as attractive and charming as him [because he is, there’s a lot of girls who have crushes on him, but he’s convinced he’s ugly and nobody likes him] would actively pursue someone like me.

    I’m quoting these two things you said above because they’re important and relevant with each other. Do you think the fact that this attractive and charming man paying so much attention to you may be clouding your judgment a bit?  I don’t like to throw the word “narcissist” around, mainly because I think it’s vastly overused this day and age, but from what you’ve described so far, he is sounding pretty textbook narcissist, which means he knows what to say and how to say it to get you to trust him, even when his actions should be speaking louder than his words. It’s a deception but people constantly fall for it because of the charm. That’s why I definitely think it’s important to pay very close attention to how he treats others because he WILL treat you that way sooner or later, now matter how he treats you right now.

    while I’m the only one he’s given back rubs and played footsies with [I’ve asked them] if he knows you’re comfortable hugging him, he’ll hold your hand or accidentally brush against you a little more than coincidentally.

    How does your fiance feel about him doing these things to you, and how would you feel if another woman were doing this to your fiance? It’s important to note this because it’s a gray area when it comes to infidelity with some people, although some people are okay with these kinds of things, many will find it inappropriate and leaning toward disloyalty. If either one of you would not be okay with the other receiving this kind of treatment for someone else, that’s another red flag toward your friendship with this man. It could be damaging to what I assume is a relationship that is very important to you (I’m assuming so because you’ve agreed to marry your fiance). If your fiance would be bothered by it, is it worth the damage? Also, how does HIS girlfriend feel about it?

    I feel it’s all his perception of himself and I’m hoping to talk to him [but I’m not sure how to word it] so we can work together to improve his “alpha” persona when he’s in public. He tells me frequently how he’s the master of perfect first impressions and he’s terrified he’ll never live up to that first impression so he goes extra with everything. I can’t tell you the number of times we’re in a group and when the two of us leave to head home you can see him physically drop and breathe a sigh of relief and he turns into this completely different person who is anxious and sweet and tranquil.

    Do you think the fact that he appears to act differently ONLY around you might be helping you make excuses for his behavior, thinking he’s misunderstood and only reacting that way because he’s insecure, so if only he could feel more secure he’d act differently and everyone would see what you see and that you can help “fix” him? That can be a trick, too. It’s a way to get you to let your guard down. Narcissists tend to build people up, make them feel special, like a million bucks, until they know they have them and then they flip. I’m not saying he’s definitely a narcissistic person or even that he’s being calculating for sure, because there’s no way for me to know that, I just want you to make sure you keep your eyes wide open. Read up on narcissistic abuse, how those relationships start (even friendships), what happens during, and what happens after things start changing (which usually happens so gradually that you don’t notice it happening until suddenly you feel terrible about yourself and you’re isolated from all of your loved ones and yet can’t understand why you feel so badly).  I’ve been through it in way, so just read up on it so you’re aware of what goes on so that you can see the signs if they’re there, and don’t let his charming nature cloud any judgment (we as people in general tend to make excuses for charming and attractive people for behavior that shouldn’t be excused, because their charm blinds us and makes us think they must really have good intentions. That’s how narcissists are able to do what they do to people. My daughter’s father is that way and it’s hell trying to coparent with him sometimes. lol).  So just read up, stay educated on that kind of a person, and pay close attention for annnnyyyy red flags without excusing behavior… and that will help you protect yourself from falling into narcissistic abuse. From what you’ve described of the advice your friends have given you, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re worried about, too.

    #329179
    Valora
    Participant

    As for our flirtatious friendship, my fiance is fine with it because he knows it’s harmless and nothing would happen [we have a very open, honest relationship] he’s more concerned my friend will cross the line. As for his girlfriend, she won’t say, because she bottles up how she feels until she explodes. When that happens, she waits until I’m alone [example, I go into the stock room at work and she follows me] then she’ll corner me and hound me until I’m crying because “see, you say you’re sorry, but I don’t think you really are.” Though I have noticed when it’s a little too intense, she jumps between us, gives me a hug [she almost never hugged me before they started dating] then cuddles up to him [and half the time he pulls away from her] Example, this one time we went two weeks without seeing each other [the longest we’ve gone in over a year] when he came into my apartment he raced over and held me for at least a solid minute if not two. After a while, I asked if he was okay, he said no, when I asked what I could do he replied “just hold me.” so I did. It wasn’t until, as I said, a minute later at least, I realized and told him his girlfriend and my fiance are in the room and he let go. [my fiance said it was fine, his girlfriend didn’t say anything] when they were leaving he slipped his arm around my waist and was giving me a side hug while we chatting in the doorway. His girlfriend was standing across from me and I could see her squirming and she proclaimed, “I want to hug Neko too!” then tackle-hugged me really quicky, turned and quickly hugged my fiance [who she has said repeatedly she hates] then grabbed her boyfriends arm and drags him outside.

    This means his girlfriend hates how close you two are, and I cannot at all blame her for that. It really is something most people would find inappropriate and your fiance is a very, very trusting man that I think you should hold onto.  Your friend is very much disrespecting his girlfriend by doing this when she clearly is uncomfortable with it. SHE is his girlfriend and you can see he’s not treating her very well. Red flag.

    #329183
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    Firstly, yes, my fiance is a wonderful man and I’m the luckiest person to have him. I want to stress I’m not pursuing my friend, this is just how our friendship has progressed [we tend to make a lot of innuendos, sex jokes and flirtatious banter] I discussed it with my fiance, he said it was a little questionable, but he trusts me completely, it’s my friend he’s convinced is up to something. As time’s gone on he’s stated he dislikes my friend [especially after that dinner, obviously, which my friend still doesn’t believe my fiance doesn’t want his friendship. I’ve told him to his face twice and my friend still acts like they’re best buddies and nothing happened] and while he won’t tell me to stop being friends with him, my fiance does hope I walk away from my friend. As for how I would feel in a similar situation, I was years ago. He had a longtime friend who he knew through an online game and they were flirtatious. I met her in the chat a few times, she was very nice, wanted us all to meet in person one day. Unfortunately, she passed away, it was very hard on my fiance. We decided to have a photo of her at our wedding because she was one of the first people we told and she instantly said she would attend.

    Very fair point about the girlfriend, though I should point out we’ve been friends for over a year and have always acted this way. His girlfriend hasn’t been dating him long, she was one of the friends we hung around with for the same amount of time, and she’s seen [and commented on] our friendship. About a month ago, she asked him out without telling us and wanted to keep it a secret. If we didn’t overhear her bragging to a coworker she was dating our friend, we’d probably still be oblivious. Yes, that whole hugging me in front of her happened after we found out they were dating [which again, it’s only been a month] but when we confronted her with this fact [as in myself, the work friend and the roommate] we said we were fine and nothing had to change. And I’ll admit my friend took the “nothing will change” statement to heart since we’re still as flirty, cuddly, clingy as before. We still sit together when we go out places. I’ve deliberately waited for his girlfriend to take the seat next to him, and he’ll get all confused. Twice since we found out they were dating he’s looked at me all sad and asked why I didn’t sit next to him, and once [at her house I should add] when everyone else got up for food [I stayed in my seat because I wasn’t hungry] he took our friends seat next to mine and moved it so close to me he was practically in my lap. [no joke, I asked the person sitting across from us at the table if there was no room and she replied “oh no, there was enough room to put another chair between your friend and the person next to him] I know I’m not defending his actions very well, I’m mostly trying to say it’s a very new relationship and he’s acting like they’re not dating outside of walking beside her when we’re in a group. Otherwise, it’s the exact same dynamic as it’s been for a year, and if you were to ask who his girlfriend was, everyone instantly picks me. I know his girlfriend isn’t happy, she refuses to say anything, but I’m leaving things as the way they’ve been because that’s what we all agreed on. So until she backs me into a corner and starts demeaning me [I’m betting it’ll be at the New Years party he’s hosting because my fiance is banned from attending] I’m leaving things as they are, just trying to take a step back from her as a person and avoid any extra physical contact with him.

    Reading your above post, I’ve met a number of narcissists and while you make a good point, he is different from them, which is why I hesitate to conclude he is one. Yes, I’m also aware of my tendency to “save” or “fix” people, and I’m trying not to with him, but there is a part of me that’s trying because [as far as I’m aware, it could all be a lie] I know him and I know what he’s going through. This is where I get confused because of all my past trauma I’m constantly double guessing and seeking validation because I’m convinced I’m making stuff up, what’s happening is not really happening, like sure he keeps bumping his leg against mine, but that’s a coincidence, not intentional [to which everyone including my fiance is like “he’s a straight dude? Yeah, it’s intentional.”] I’ll examine how our next hangout goes [if it’s not the party it’ll be movies next week] and if he’s still rather physically close I’ll say something because I have been trying to keep a little distance since he’s now dating someone [despite how she treats me]

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Nekoshema.
    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Nekoshema.
    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Nekoshema.
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