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What am I watching unfold here?(122 Posts)
Please excuse me if this is too long. I'm offloading some worries, that I know I can't do anything about. Here goes:
In late January, my bff went to a dinner party, and met someone. They went for drinks, got on really well, and met again for the following few evenings before he had to leave (he was in the process of relocating, but at that stage was only in the country for a few days). They began texting, Skyping, phoning, for hours every day. He was generous with compliments, telling her she's 'stunning' etc, very polite and chivalrous to the point of being a bit old-fashioned (opening car doors etc). She noticed he seemed "quite anxious and over-thinking" at times, but on the other hand - they seemed to have an amazing amount in common.
He even mentioned liking a favourite song of hers, that she had posted on her fb wall a few months back.
On the surface he seems like her absolute soulmate - more so than anyone else she's ever met. But I'm worried. What do you think:
Within the first week of meeting/Skyping, he was asking when he could he meet her little boy, who has Autism. She told me herself "He is scaring me. He has kids himself and they'll be visiting him eventually. He tells me he hasn't seen his kids for 7mths. He doesn't have custody. That is a red flag. Will need to get to the details later. Anyhoo...I think I just offended him...Will tell you when we speak."
Apparently he would get defensive, whenever she tried to dig. His backstory is that he lost a lot of money a few years ago - mainly property investments that went down in the global recession, and it destroyed his marriage. He became depressed and drank a lot, and when it came to custody, he wasn't strong enough to fight ex-wife...but has since got back on his feet, and now working his way up again. He and his kids talk regularly on the phone - they seem to get on, even though he now lives several thousand miles away from them.
Soon afterwards, bff was helping him view apartments to rent, in the same block as hers. He was asking about them since he was relocating anyway, and she couldn't exactly tell him not to move into her block.
They were also talking so often, that if she didn't reply soon enough to a couple of his texts, due to being busy - he would ring her, to ask if she was alright.
She in turn started to arrange our Skype sessions around his calls. If we were talking on Skype and he phoned, she would arrange to call me back in order to speak to him. (to be continued)
Thank you LadyJadie - btw, to you and anyone else - I'm really sorry if any of this has been 'triggering'. Thank you though, for the thoughtful replies - I think yours and pigs predictions of what happens in their conversations are probably right. The more I learn the more creeped out I am, it's an eye opener.
I sort of want to ask her to not speak to him anymore about me, to ask her not to give him any personal information and just leave me out of their conversations. She told me that when he was talking about booking a luxury hol with butlers and maids etc, and saying why not invite some friends along - they were going through a theoretical list - she didn't mention me as she knew my situation would be complicated with childcare, also I really don't mix in those sorts of crowds. (ha! As if it was not bs in the first place!). Apparently he made a point of saying "What about DoormatorDiva?" That just made me shudder when she told me as it feels like he's putting his feelers out to try and suss me out, find out what he can about me.
I will have a look through the 'Your abusive ex, did anyone try to warn you?' thread this evening.
When I initially started posting about it, not here, but in AIBU about the bruise 'joke' - the main thing I felt at the time was a big dose of righteous indignation, mixed with some "Is he a creep or is it my lack of humour?" curiosity. I was actually somewhat surprised that not a single person came back with 'lighten up' type comments. Then I asked about narcissism, and the strength of some answers about being extremely careful was chilling.
I do try my damnedest not to badmouth him - hence venting here. But I think even pointing out a few 'concerns' to her is risky. It's like I'm stuck, if I want to play the long game, as he seems to be doing, then I just have to nod sweetly every time she tells me something else weird, trouble is almost every thing she says about him/their relationship strikes alarm bells. To me that's like leaving her to it.
I guess this is why friendships run the risk of not surviving, as it's a fine line, and hard for objective outsiders to watch and grit teeth.
For the long term safety and well being of your friend and her ds, a manic episode would probably be the better option. As in it will hurt when he drops but long term is less likely to have an impact.
If he is a full blown narcissist on the other hand, he won't be likely to go away without a fight
I do not like this man at all.
I'd put good money on some of his friends and family being figments of his imagination. He is trying to create a new 'reality' for himself because in his old reality he's a useless, fucked-up waster. He wants to be admired by someone. Anyone. Don't believe a word he says.
I know you love your friend, and I know you want the best for her, but you must protect yourself first. Please, please block this man from Facebook and do not under any circumstances engage with him. Tell your friend why if you have to, but after you have removed any 'hooks' this creep may have in you. It'll make you better placed to help your friend when it (inevitably) goes tits up.
I dated a guy who was a major headfuck and gas lighter. He cancelled a date with me very early on when I first started seeing him as his mum was in hospital, next morning he texted to say she had died.
I carried on dating him and a year later he started talking about his mum as if nothing had happened. She was alive and well. Never underestimate what this type of man will lie about.
I don't think you should ask her to not talk about him or leave you out of their conversations. Not because it's not rational (it totally is) but because to her lovestruck mind it will just push you further onto her list of people who 'don't get it' and it will probably just mean you crop up more in her dialogue with him (*"Doormator is being so funny, she thinks.."* as Pigs said earlier)
You're right, even voicing concerns will come across as badmouthing or vindictive. I'm afraid the 'smile sweetly' option, unsavoury and against your better instinct though it may be, is pretty much the only option. Perhaps the best you can do if she tells you something that sets off massive alarm bells is, in a firm but gentle way, say "that's not right". Then you'll have to sit back and hear her fire off a couple of excuses as to how it's 'not that bad' followed by something 'wonderful' he's done to justify that really, she's fine and making totally fine choices. I was a bit at her saying you "really don't mix in those sort of crowds" and then telling you she said that? It seemed a bit condescending, did you think so? I don't know your friendship, but if it was strange of her to say it then it struck me as classic trying to make herself feel 'better' than you, to make herself feel better (if that makes any sense )
You do sort of have to leave her to it, and exactly spot on about the risk of the friendship not surviving bit. I know when I was with my ex I lost one of my bestest friends, ever because of him. I didn't want to but I also didn't like her for essentially
screaming the truth in my face trying to make me see. NOTHING could have made me see. Love can make you crazy, but love tied with vulnerability/emotional abuse is the most mind-boggling craziness I've ever experienced. And I can only look back and see that now. You're going to have to wait it out, and respect to you for being prepared to play the 'long game' (long it may well be) knowing you're doing all you can. You're a great friend.
Of course do anything you feel is right to keep yourself safe though.
part of the reason i think manic episode is that his family tried to stage an intervention whilst he was there.
OMFG, what a terrifying story!
My first thoughts were also bipolar and manic. Everything you've said matches that theory ... except one or two oddnesses. The two things that made me feel even worse about this chap are his father's staggeringly narcissist remarks on his widowhood, and this: Yesterday he posted on his status - "There is one born and in existence every minute and one on every corner, an idiot, a DH, a FW & an AHole. The multiplier effect is exponential. The world focusses on finding a cure for everything, yet such key ailments is not on the radar".
Is that verbatim? I know all the acronyms are widely used but, honestly, it sounds to me like a Mumsnetter
Glorified pomposity about The State Of The Universe is a typical manic characteristic. But it's also a warning sign of psychoses associated with severe personality disorders (my dad used to do it.) It also seems to show a sideways self-awareness - he's one of the dangers in the message, and certain nobody will ever realise he's a "disease" because they're all looking the other way. Again, this echoes my father's style of thinking. My father was a violent psychopath. That type of personality disorder, unlike the others, features incisive self-knowledge and an extraordinarily cold ability to plan ahead with built-in flexibility for psychotic/impulsive episodes.
An uncontrolled manic can do an incredible amount of damage, imagining they're doing everything brilliantly. An extreme sociopath can likewise destroy all around them, with full knowledge of their destructive impact. Given the stories you've posted, it rather sounds as if this guy might be both.
Never mind the amateur diagnoses (I couldn't help myself) but I am practically screaming at you to STEER WELL CLEAR. If you were my RL friend, I'd be urging you to formally separate from your bff, telling her you'll be there for her if things go wrong but need to distance yourself from her relationship.
On the other hand, I'd be fascinated to see where it leads.
There is some fantastic advice on this thread.
I posted on your earlier thread about my friend who is in an abusive relationship. At first I was like you and screamed at her to call Women's Aid, to check out some of the forums here, to get the hell out. The evidence against him was huge but I quickly realised that not only was she not listening, she was retreating from me. And that would have made her more vulnerable.
ALL you can do is be there, without judgement and wait until she sees the truth for herself. I know my friend (and yours too probably) knows the truth somewhere inside her but for whatever reason she isn't willing or able to face it at the moment. She wants to believe it will all be ok and trying to force her to see it won't doesn't help.
Remember there are many bits of their relationship that are not reported to you that will make her feel it is good. My friend has fun times with her partner between being used as a punch bag.
Also I am struck by your comments about him showing off his bruise. She is adamant it was a lack of foresight while you are certain that he manipulated the situation. You may very well be right but I could see how she would think 'DDiva wasn't even there. She's never met him - how could she know that? She's never liked him' This plays right into his hands so that when he badmouths you she thinks 'it's true DDiva is really harsh about him and she doesn't trust my instincts. She is trying to control me.'
If you are going to say anything (and I suggest you try not to) pick your battles very very carefully.
Sorry for the essay. I hope your friend sees the light soon. You obviously care very deeply for her.
I am not suggesting that you are trying to control your friend btw. I am saying that her new man may well try to use your words to manipulate her into seeing him as a knight in shining armour, rescuing her from everyone else.
I'm sorry you're going through this. It's horrible.
What am awful situation OP.
Your friend won't see it. My ex wasnt quite this obvious in his ways , but he was a vile individual who I credit with ruining many years of my life, and a lot of my hope.
What ladyjadie and highjinx say is very true
Just going back to one of my own points there: before personality disorders were 'invented', narcissistic personality disorder was called "megalomania": power-crazy. It sometimes helps to remember this when thinking about people with the traits you describe.
I share your opinion that your friend will be glad to have a friend like you one day - hopefully, not too far ahead. Meantime, though, please do all you can to make sure he cannot touch you either materially or emotionally.
charlesroi He seems alright on fb - has hundreds of friends, surely they can't all be wrong about him, which makes me think maybe I'm being way too suspicious. It's funny but the 'Dance with My Father' song drew quite a few likes, and 'It'll take time, mate' and 'Oh that's beautiful' type comments. There's me looking at it through narcissistic-traits goggles now, and of course all I see is a guy posting about how much he imagines his young daughter should be missing him! Perhaps I need to be careful I'm not just misinterpreting everything ultra negatively. Also I've restricted him, but if I defriend him altogether, it might just antagonise him.
AKissIsNotAContract - That is a headfuck and a half! To be fair to this guy, it would have to be a really elaborate hoax involving videos and other friends and family, well-wishers etc. if his Mum is alive.
ladyjadie "I was a bit at her saying you "really don't mix in those sort of crowds" and then telling you she said that? It seemed a bit condescending, did you think so? I don't know your friendship, but if it was strange of her to say it then it struck me as classic trying to make herself feel 'better' than you, to make herself feel better (if that makes any sense )"
Oops - gawd, sorry that was me not being very clear at all. Bff said she didn't mention me because she knew there'd be childcare problems, and the last part of that sentence was me thinking in my head, NOT her saying it to me!!! I should have put that bit in brackets. To clarify, she would probably love me to go on this fantasy dream holiday, but for my part, there's probably very few situations I'd find LESS comfortable, than to be stuck somewhere for days on end, with a crowd of corporate high-fliers, bossing maids about, all used to the champagne lifestyle! LOL!
It would have gone down something like this: New Man realises that bff is gasping for a holiday, as she's not had one in years. Also he knew he had annoyed her with going out drinking, and forgetting he'd made arrangements to take her and her ds out to visit friends the next day, and ended up letting them down. So, he decides to dangle a big carrot. He suggests looking at brochures and picks top-end, butler-laden luxury holidays, all very grandiose. He waves a few lovely pictures at her and suggests they book something amazing. Then suggests inviting friends. She doesn't say me, because she knows I'm suspicious of him, and suspects I'd just say no anyway, cos she knows what I'm like. He notices the absence of my name, and prompts "Why not invite DoormatorDiva?" (not that he really wants her to, but just to suss out the friendship/situation), she'd have said "Oh, DoormatorDiva can't/won't come - childcare would be a bit difficult" Then she recounts the story to me...but part of her is telling me, because she actually hopes that I will say "Yeah of course I'd come!!! Sounds fab!" and it's all hunky dory, because she wants to believe it.
Instead, I said "Wow... that's just crazy. What a mad thing for him to suggest. Are all these friends he wants to invite, supposed to be paying for themselves - or is he paying for them, too?" So then bff said "I don't know, I guess he's paying for it..." and realises it's a bit outlandish. But the next time new man brings it up, she would probably just say I had said no. And then new man would use it as "Oh. What, she doesn't even want to go on holiday with you? Are you sure she's your friend?"
garlicballs I am really, really hoping he's not a mumsnetter! It's far too mundane for the likes of narcissists, surely? I've nc'd for these related threads and deliberately kept the word 'narcissist' out of the thread title.
The status quote was verbatim. I actually don't know all the acronyms apart from Ahole. FW = Fuckwit?? What's DH?
I hadn't thought about bipolar or manic, even psychopathic. My ex was bipolar but he wasn't like that.
if this guy is bipolar it would be type I (perhaps your ex was type II who tend to have more depression and only small bouts of hypo(lesser)mania) - with type I mania can spill over into psychosis at the far end when things tip too far. my friends mother has it and has had several psychotic episodes bless her.
He would probably aim to charm you before trying to silence you. Lots of effective manipulators manage to get all their victims' support networks working for them & against their targets.
This is long, and very good: www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml
Heartless-Bitches also has a superb red flag list.
could he be after your friends passport/residence?
if marries here would he be better of for that ing in her country?
but he builds up story about her violence so he can divorce her very quickly
His lack of ability to charm seems not to fit - you'd expect him to have charmed the socks off all her friends before/while getting to work on her self esteem.
At this rate she's bound to notice that her friends are keeping quiet, isn't she?
swallowedAFly Dick Head. Ohhhh...of course.
Hmm..bipolar does ring a few bells actually. Grandiosity, manic spending, alcohol abuse, insomnia...
He has been in therapy though. Or at least he has told bff this. During his divorce I think, when he was depressed. I think it was one of the first things he told her, when he was saying 'no mindgames, no pretence' etc.
Presumably if bipolar was an issue it would have been diagnosed? Really, bff was so enamoured with him even then, that if he can tell her he's been in therapy, he can tell her he's bipolar and it wouldn't have put her off.
garlicballs thank you for the links. If nothing else - I'm getting an education in what to watch out for!
happyAvocado I'm not sure what he is 'after' - apart from she's lovely of course, and loyal, and attractive, and has a cute young ds. She is separated but not yet divorced, so not technically free to remarry until they sort out the divorce. He has apparently told her he doesn't want to get married again anyway. She's a SAHM atm, ds only goes to school part time, and ex sends money back - it's maintenance for ds and therapies, enough for rent etc. but not really much provision for her (if any). He can't be after her money. And she's an ex-pat too, so if it's a passport/citizenship thing there are easier targets. I think he does genuinely like her, but is not particularly healthy for her.
StephaniePowers Bff thinks he's incredibly charming! It's only me that seems to be very wary - he has a lot of mates at the pub, is seen as a bit of a party animal, life and soul etc. But then, I wonder how well a group of work colleagues, drinking buddies, and business associates really know him - since he's only been passing through before. Bff doesn't have a lot of close friends there, at least, no one she has really talked to about him. Most of her friends are new, made when she came out of marriage break-up 'hibernation'. Apparently he has a reputation as being a bit of ladies man, so he does attract women. I'm not under his spell I suppose, because I'm far away - looking at the actions, rather than hearing the pretty words, excuses and explanations.
Op, you are not over-invested here at all. You are concerned for your good friend and her vulnerable child. You are listening to your instincts and you are right to do so.
FWIW I had a very, very good friend for a number of years who had a series of unfortunate relationships with manipulative and, frankly, strange men.
Two of them ended up crossing into DV territory.
A lot of what you've said about your situation reminds me of her with her absusive exes - particularly the sussing out of you, in bff territory.
The later of the two guys did a number of very strange things - including moving in next door to her. I went to visit her once and he insisted on coming to pick me up from the station without her, even though I had never met him before and didn't even know what he looked like.
He was weird from the start - over familiar with me but also weirdly semi-aggressive.
I kept quiet until it got to the point where she was going to move into him and she expressed her doubts and then I told her she'd been in this situation before with previous abusive ex. That she didn't need him or owe him anything. That she was brilliant and better off without him.
She left him, thank fuck. It was only afterwards that she told me she should have told him to sling his hook when he called her a 'fucking slag' on their SECOND DATE.
My friend had everything going for her - intelligence, looks, sense of humour and still ended up with a prick like that who treated her like shit from the very start.
I don't know what I'm saying, really, other than..BE THERE for her, and only her. I think he may be trying to win you over and make you 'his' friend so he can gang up on her with you.
Obviously you won't let that happen. But be warned that he will try to alienate you from her if he sense that you see him for what he is.
OP you say when she first started seeing him the friends who invited her to the dinner party were very protective of her? Could this be because they know so much more about his background and things he's done, having known him for years?
These are the people who your friend should be listening to, especially the Dh as he was the one who got so protective. I wonder what they would have to say about all this.
He sounds truly awful.
She doesn't need this shit. I hope she sees sense.
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