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  1. #1
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    Oct. 25, 2008
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    Default Friend possibly in abusive situation

    Not sure yet whether I'm looking for advice or just to vent...

    I've known Friend for 30+ years, since we were 6 years old; we were best friends from elementary all the way through high school, and while we have drifted apart since then, I still count her as a "best friend"... you know, the kind of friendship where if she called me at 3am and needed me to be there, I would drive up there and be there immediately, no questions asked. But we have definitely drifted apart-- I went to college, she didn't; we no longer have many of the same interests; we live a few hours apart, etc., and we only see each other maybe twice a year... and with the advent of Facebook, we basically keep track of each other on there; we don't really call or email all that often anymore either.

    Anyway, she's been living with the same BF for 12 years now. Personally, I cannot stand him-- he's arrogant, obnoxious, know-it-all, quick to verbally berate anyone who dares irritate him, etc. One of the first times I met him, I was visiting while he was on the phone with Home Depot who was supposed to deliver an appliance to their home or something, it wasn't going as planned, and he proceeded to call the HD employee every name in the book, threatened to "come down there and kick [his] @ss," etc. Real nice guy... he's an executive chef by trade; I can only imagine what he's like to work with.

    Anyway, I have never witnessed him be verbally or physically abusive towards my friend in any way, and she denies he has ever been so, but I have a hard time believing this based on how he treats everyone else. But he IS controlling... About 6 years ago, Friend and I had made plans to go on a camping trip to Rehoboth Beach with another (gay) friend of ours from high school; the three of us were very close in HS and had taken this trip a few times together when we were younger, so we thought it would be fun to go again for old times' sake. At the last minute, Friend's BF pressured her into backing out, because he didn't want her going on vacation "where a bunch of guys would be hitting on her."

    I was furious and emailed our other friend (the 3rd party of our planned vacation) about how much I hated her BF and he was an @ss. Unfortunately I accidentally hit "reply all," and my tirade about Friend's BF also got sent to her. Oopsie... Friend got pissed at ME (ok, maybe understandably, but I stood by everything I said) and we didn't speak for a year or so; she also shared the email with her BF so I was then solidly on his sh**-list... Friend eventually called me after I had surgery a year later, we quickly patched things up and picked up like nothing had happened.

    This past Saturday, friend texted me out of the blue and asked me if I was free Sunday night. I work daytime weekday hours and leave for work at 7am, so usually Sunday nights are "homebody" nights at my house to get ready for the workweek... But her BF was supposed to be getting an award at a conference being held at a hotel less than 2 miles from my house, and she thought she'd be able to get away to meet us for dinner around 6. (By "us," that included our aforementioned friend from HS; he lives in my town also.) We agreed to pick her up at 6 for dinner.

    5:30, Friend tells me she has to stay at the conference with her BF, could we move our time back to 9pm. (I'm usually in bed by 9pm.) I said OK, we'd pick her up @ 9 and go to the local diner for coffee instead. 9:15, I hadn't heard from her yet, so I texted her; she said she should be done by 10. (Oye.) So we agreed to pick her up in front of her hotel (downtown in the city) at 10.

    10pm, we arived to pick her up; she texted me and told us to find a place to park, she and her BF and BF's boss were going for drinks downtown and they wanted us to come along.

    Other friend and I got annoyed and decided we'd decline... we had thought we were going to a 24-hour diner in the suburbs for coffee; neither of us was dressed for downtown bar-hopping, we both HATE the bar scene, we hate her BF (and vice versa), we don't even know his boss, and we really didn't want to be out at the bars at that hour when we both had to be up at 6am for work the next morning. So Friend approached our car with BF; we said sorry, neither of us came dressed for bar-hopping and we both had to be up for work early, we'll make plans to do this another time, come visit her next weekend or something. We congratulated her BF for winning his award and left.

    A couple hours later, I started getting text messages (allegedly) from Friend, saying how she "really needed us tonight, thanks for letting a location show me what matters most." I replied offering to get dressed (I was in bed at that point) and pick her up in 15 minutes, but I really couldn't spend my Sunday night hanging out in a bar. (BTW, I work in the D&A field and really need to be cautious re: where/when I'm seen in public; I purposely avoid bars because I really can't risk running into clients.)

    This went back and forth, with Friend accusing me of being a horrible person/friend, etc., and me repeatedly offering to come pick her up and her repeatedly declining... It dawned on me fairly quickly that it could easily not even have BEEN her doing the texting; I started to suspect it was her @sshole BF using her phone, and/or Friend herself was hammered. (Her BF knew about my email tirade against him from years earlier; he can't stand me.)

    So I texted, "you have my number, I'm not going to have an argument via text message, I don't even know if this is you or XXX, please call me." She replied that it WAS her (not BF), but she didn't call. Then came a message: "This is XXX, as far as I'm concerned you can go f*** yourself, this just goes to show what kind of person you are, you're about as good a friend as I suspected," blah blah blah.

    I replied, "you have my number, you are welcome to call me." That was the end of it-- no calls, no more replies.

    (Sigh.)

    Now I'm a big girl; frankly I don't give two ****s if her BF wants to call me every name in the book. And if she chooses to stay with him, that's her choice; I'm not going to beg for forgiveness from either of them. BUT, I do want to let her know that if the crap hits the fan, she is still welcome to call me if she needs a ticket outta there; regardless of whatever weirdness was happening via text messages last night, I'm still there for her if she needs me.

    BUT, I can't exactly text her. For all I know, BF keeps (or at least checks) her cell phone. Same probably goes for email. I can write a snail-mail letter, but I can't expect the BF to not intercept that either.

    They live with Friend's mom; I called her this morning (knowing Friend and BF wouldn't be home yet) and asked her to have Friend call me when she has a chance to do so privately. Beyond that, I don't know what more I can do.

    Ugh. UGH. Does anyone else have any experiences dealing with a good friend in a potentially abusive situation?

    (And I'm sorry for the novel. Kudos if you read the whole thing.)
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  2. #2
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    Apr. 1, 2003
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    Cocoa, Fla
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    No experience but I would say - be there for her but do nothing else. She has to decide when she's had enough. Remind her (when verbally speaking to her) that she has a place to retreat to if she needs one (i.e. a safe haven).
    Sandy in Fla.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Nov. 4, 2003
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    Yup, you can't help someone who a) doesn't see the need for it; and b) doesn't want it.

    Should the poop ever truly hit and she calls, just love her.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Aug. 25, 2008
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    Florida
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    Been there from the other side AND from that side. You just did what you need to do. Maybe let her mom know that you will be there for her, and just from time to time reiterate that. It took a good friend saying "hey, you really don't need to take this" after observing a tirade to get me to leave. I just thought that he was argumentatitve, and that I "handled" it. I didn't realize he was abusive towards me, or how isolated I was getting. I finally did, and reached out towards one of those friends who was still there. But I had to get there on my own - my teenaged daughter was probably my biggest motivator.



  5. #5
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    Feb. 20, 2010
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    All 'round Canadia
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    Why text her? She has a cell, he works - give her a call on the cell when he's at work. Just briefly tell her that you'll be there for her if she needs you, but you're not willing to let yourself be jerked around either.

    She may or may not need help. If she's not sharing, her situation as it appears from your POV might not be the whole truth. But even if she will need help sometime down the line, she's an adult and doesn't want it right now, and her behavior towards you and the other friend is frankly rude and dismissive. She is responsible for that, not her BF.



  6. #6
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    Apr. 22, 2011
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    CA
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    There isn't any evidence in there that she feels either need or desire to leave. Telling her that you're there for her if she ever needs to get out might be akin to someone telling you that they have a nice mule ready, should you ever decide to sell that horrid warmblood you've been working and showing for years. It probably just wouldn't really make sense and might even come across as offensive.

    That said, she doesn't sound like such a great friend anyway. She's a big girl, and even if BF is pressuring her into doing (or not doing) some things, it's ultimately up to her to draw the line. Not respecting your schedule and canceling plans at the last minute are just not nice things to do to friends. And for all you know, maybe that WAS her texting you and calling you terrible names. If she is in an abusive relationship, accepting her behavior and engaging in this sort of conflict can start to look quite a bit like enabling.

    It sounds like she's reached out to you when things got tough before (after your surgery), so there's a good chance she'd do it again if she needed to. If it were me, I'd keep a distant eye via Facebook and be cordial, but draw and maintain boundaries as far as making plans. I would hold her to the same standard I'd hold anyone else. My friends don't get to call me names, cancel on me all the time, or have text fights with me. Those things are just not OK and if they happen, I will make that clear. If they happen repeatedly, I have plenty of healthy people to spend my time with, and can only hope that they find their way into that circle eventually.
    If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Oct. 25, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    Why text her? She has a cell, he works - give her a call on the cell when he's at work. Just briefly tell her that you'll be there for her if she needs you, but you're not willing to let yourself be jerked around either.
    They both work at the same place (although the place where they work is huge and they are in completely different departments), and they both work weird, fluctuating hours. Hard to tell when I'd be guaranteed to catch her without him possibly being around.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  8. #8
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    The whole purpose of her wanting to get together and talk was because she has a whole lot of ridiculously stressful stuff going on right now-- her brother has a terminal illness, and when their father passed away 2 years ago, Friend (and BF)moved in to caretake her mother, who is physically healthy but mentally/socially completely dependent. I can 100% see how she is completely stressed out right now, so I really have no interest in holding a grudge against her over this... If I was in her shoes, even without the lunatic BF, I'd be a basketcase.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  9. #9
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    My best friend's husband sounds like the twin brother to your friend's BF. He's a royal @$$. Pulls all the nasty punches when they get into a fight, calling her stupid, a bad mom, lazy, etc and keeps pushing her until she cries, then acts all sweet like he didn't mean it. He blows all their money on video games, so they literally have weeks where they have a $0 bank account, and they have a year old daughter. I hated him since day 1 and visa versa, but she's (for whatever reason) head over heels for him. I tried reaching out to her father, after he threatened to punch her (he's never laid a hand on her), and I got no response from him.

    I just lend a ear to listen when she needs it. No more. I stopped trying to give her advice because she never took it. She knows that I'm here for her. It sounds like you did exactly the right thing with your friend. I'd stay in contact with her, even if it's just a FB message or text here and there, but not get caught up in the drama.

    Good luck! It's so tricky.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
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  10. #10
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    Oct. 25, 2008
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    I got a text (!!!) reply following my call to her mom, telling me not to contact her mom and stressing her out, so I called Friend. (There are times when I'd like to freaking strangle people for texting when they should just be picking up the ?!#%@ phone, but I digress.) Proceeded to get another earful from Friend, more of the same from last night, until she hung up on me mid-sentence and started texting again, ended up telling me that I and our other friend can go about our perfect lives together and keep on judging hers, goodbye.

    *sigh*

    Funny how one can SO want to strangle someone yet pity them at the same time.....

    Anyway, what's the saying? If everyone's problems were thrown into a pile and you had to pick some back out, you would probably pick your own? Yeah, that.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  11. #11
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    Apr. 28, 2009
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    Based on your latest phone conversation, it is probably best for you to just back away and leave it be. Some people don't want to solve their problems, they just want others to share in it with them.
    https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses

    Practice! Patience! Persistence!


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  12. #12
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    Oct. 9, 2000
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    I had a friend with a husband like that. From day one all of her good friends hated him, her mother hated him. He is a first rate asshole. Controlling, belittling, unkind, controlling, know-it-all, etc. I don't know that he ever physically abused her, but he certainly emotionally abused her. Mr. PoPo and I stopped socializing with them because he couldn't stand to be around husband. She and I would only socialize just the two of us, not with her husband around, and only on days where he would be at work so she could "get away" without getting in trouble for missing "family time."

    She and I had been friends since 1978 and eventually lived in the same town as adults. I loved her but I couldn't get involved in her husband's BS - she chose to accept him so I had to accept that about her. I would have been there for her if she ever decided to leave, but she never did.

    She and her daughter just died in a boating accident. I visited with him a couple times after she passed - I wanted to think he wasn't the asshole that I thought he was, but he is.

    I'm sorry that your friend is going through this. I hope that some day she has the guts to leave and have a nice life away from that creep.
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran



  13. #13
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    Oct. 25, 2008
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    Yeah, I'm done. I'll certainly pick up the phone if she calls, but the ball is in her court. Hard to believe that a 30+ year friendship could go *poof* over... well, over what exactly, I'm not even sure.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  14. #14
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    So sorry cnvh. I can sympathize and it's an awkward, sad place to find yourself in. Just answer if she calls, but don't pursue it any further. After 30 years, she knows somewhere in there that you are there for her no matter what, and she may reach out to you again. Eventually.

    It's a bummer.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit



  15. #15
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    Her comment about your perfect life is pretty telling to me.

    Sounds to me like she knows she's in a bad situation--not just because of BF, but because of her own choices along the road in life, her mom, etc etc but doesn't really know how to manage the situation and feels like everyone else is judging her. She's more comfortable being angry at someone outside of the situation perhaps? I dunno.

    But I think I'd just take a step back as you said. When/If she wants to talk, you can be there. But you don't have to take the verbal abuse either. There are limits even to good friendships.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  16. #16
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    Avoid the drama llamas. You need a friend like this like a hole in the head.



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