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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » I have a friend in an abusive relationship (may contain triggers)

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Author Topic: I have a friend in an abusive relationship (may contain triggers)
Lucifer
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I have a friend in an abusive long-distance relationship and I'm not sure what I should do if anything. She has been dating this guy for about 3 years now and he lives in California, and my friend and I live in Washington. Even though he lives in California he still controls her, she isn't allowed to do anything without his permission, and if she does she risks being called some pretty nasty names and him breaking up with her for a few days while torturing her with text messages like, "I'm hanging out with my ex girlfriends right now". She tolerates everything he does and even comes up with excuses for him.

I have talked to other close friends that are also really close with her, and we've all agreed that it is as if she has developed some sort of stockholm syndrome towards this guy. We've all tried to convince her that she shouldn't be with the guy and she agrees that our arguments make sens yet she still lets him control her.

The guy supposedly has some sort of "rare sickness" that only a few people in the world but he doesn't even have a name for the sickness. He tells my friend that he's dying and that stress will make him die faster, but I see the whole "sickness" thing as an act to control her, because I hate to say this but she is gullible. She hasn't seen him since they've started dating and has tried to meet up with him but he has an excuse each time she's tried to see him. My friend is in her last year of high school right now and she talks about how she wants to move to California to be with this guy but I'm afraid she'll either move there and he won't move in with her, or that they will move in together and he'll beat her.

This guy won't even let her go to the movies with her friend or stay out past 8pm otherwise he will torture her mentally by calling her names and threatening her. In the past year they've broken up about 10 times (That I know of, she doesn't talk that much about how their relationship is doing because she doesn't want to complain about it, only to be back with him a few days later.) One time I told her I was pretty sad that she couldn't come to the fair with me and a bunch of friend and she felt pretty bad about it and told me that it was her boyfriends job to make her feel bad, and that I shouldn't be making her feel bad.

Anyways I've tried everything to convince her this isn't the guy for her and I'm not sure what to do, before I graduated, me and her were so close, she was my little buddy for doing anything while we were at school. I could go on with the things this guy does but at this point I haven't even talked to her in a few weeks because she's back in school again and we're both busy. I miss her. What do I do?

(Hope this was the right section.)

Posts: 7 | From: Washington | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Is she living on her own or with parents/guardians?

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Lucifer
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She lives with one of her parents and isn't close at all with either of them. From my point of view it seems both of them see her as a nuisance, her father has actually signed her up for jobs without telling her and tries to get money from her for rent.
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Heather
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So, she doesn't have any family members who would be very concerned she's in a controlling online relationship, and also -- from the sounds of it -- is potentially being defrauded by this person online?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lucifer
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She's told me she isn't close with anyone in her family and she can't wait until High School is over so she can move to California with this guy. She doesn't seem to have anyone that is really there for her except the group of friends we share.

Another friend and I have talked to her about this guy and she doesn't blame us for being concerned and agrees with a lot of things we point out but she rarely goes against what this guy says is okay. The couple times she did go against what this guy told her not to do (like hanging out at the fair for a couple of hours) it was after a couple of hours of pressuring her to come and it ended with the guy being mad at her, so I stopped trying to do things with her because I didn't want it to ruin our friendship or end up with her being sad because this guy was mad at her.

Well I wouldn't call it an online relationship, it's more of just a long distance relationship. She was introduced to the guy a few years ago by his cousin and he moved away. She is always calling and texting him and that's how they keep in touch. I've witnessed times when she would be on the phone with him and he would be cussing her out and messages he has sent her and he is able to control her with it.

He has also sent her gifts which he claims are expensive like this ring that he claims is worth twelve thousand dollars. Whenever they get into a fight he demands that he will get the ring back and that she has low class.

It seems like he is using the gifts and claims to be sick to guilt her or control her from leaving him.

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Heather
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Is she in high school now? If so, has she tried speaking to a guidance or other school counselor about this relationship?

I agree, this sounds like an unhealthy, controlling and verbally/emotionally abusive relationship, very clearly. Have you ever tried giving her any information on healthy and unhealthy relationships, like webpages, pamphlets or books?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lucifer
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She is in her Senior year now, and knowing her, I'm positive she hasn't tried to talk to any counselors about it, I'm sure she wouldn't be willing to either. We have/had this friendship we're we could talk to each other about anything. The times she would talk to me about this guy she would always mention that she doesn't want to bother me with it because it's embarrassing that they break up all the time just to end up back together again. When they would break up she would tell me how she is done putting up with him, and then they would get back together and she didn't want to seem like a hypocrite so she would avoid talking about how they were doing.

And I haven't directly given her any links to go to or anything to read. I was thinking about showing her the Love is Respect website but I'm not sure how to approach that. I have just told her that it's not healthy and that it seems I treat her better than her boyfriend does. But she makes excuses for him.

I have little knowledge about abusive relationships, any knowledge I have about them I feel is common sense. But It almost seems like she has stockholm syndrome, though she's not physically being held against her own will.

[ 10-24-2011, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: Lucifer ]

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Heather
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Stockholm is very specific, so I'd let that go. Especially since the way she's being about this is very typical for people in abuse, period.

The Love is respect site is absolutely a good one. I can give you some links we have here, too.

Have you been able to tell her very plainly that you feel this is an emotionally abusive relationship? If so, how did she respond? When she's said she feels embarrassed, have you expressed to her that people in unhealthy relationships very often feel ashamed like that? And people who are being abused/controlled often have a very hard time leaving?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lucifer
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I haven't plainly told her that I think she is in an emotionally abusive relationship. The closest I have come to telling her that is telling her that I think he controls her. When I told her that she would bring up that he is sick and that she has to cut him some slack because of that because his 'treatment' makes him like that.

When she told me she was embarrassed she also told me she didn't want me to get tired of hearing about it to the point where I would stop being her friend. After that all I told her was that it was fine to tell me and that I wouldn't get tired of hearing from her about it.

I haven't told her that people in an abusive/controlling relationship often have a hard time leaving, but a close friend of ours has, I'm not sure how she reacted to that.

I see now I need to give her more information about abusive/controlling relationships and not just words from my mouth that sound like opinion. Any advice on how to bring it up to her without being blunt about it?

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Heather
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Can I ask why you feel that you shouldn't be blunt?

I ask because it sounds like you have tried being more subtle, and that obviously isn't having an impact. Why not simply say you feel she is in an abusive and controlling relationship, that that's nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something to take very seriously and not try and excuse, because it is going to keep impacting her life more and more negatively the longer she stays in it?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lucifer
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I feel that if I am blunt about it she will let herself be more controlled by him out of fear of it being true, and becoming more reclusive about her relationship with him. I'm not afraid of sacrificing our friendship if it means I plant a seed of thought that might grow, but I don't want to confront her about if it makes her take a few steps backwards.
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Heather
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Let's try this: what approach with her that you have not already tried do you feel will be most likely to get her to just look at information about controlling/abusive relationships and consider that she may be in one?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lucifer
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That puts it all into perspective, the only other approach I know is being blunt about it, and when you put it like that it's easy to realize it's something that has to happen. I'll bring it up to her, and give her the links to some information, hopefully she'll think about it enough so that she'll actually go to them.
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