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Advice for a colleague

(14 Posts)
NewbeeMummy Mon 15-Aug-11 11:33:28

So yes I know the first response will be that I should butt out and mind my own business, but one of my colleagues has asked me for my advice and I'm a bit gobsmacked by what he has told me.

Him and his GF are having a few issues, and have had a number of rows (apparently) haven't slept together in several months, and he wants kids and fears she doesn't. So they've gone away this week to talk things out and try and figure out if the relationship is worth saving.

Now I know in the past she has been verbally abusive and slammed doors etc, all which make me a bit concerned for him.

But I've just had an email from him asking is the following is normal. This is by no means the only example of this, but it's the most recent.

"Had to fix a cupboard door after she slammed it hard after she realised how badly she was bleeding after slamming the bin as she cleared up a broken cat food bowl she'd dropped. Are all women this prone to violent behaviour, bad language and mood swings?"

Now I obviously only know one side of the story, but this all seems a bit much.

What do the mumsnet masses think about this?

gillybean2 Mon 15-Aug-11 11:37:17

I would be more worried that he's contacting you while they're on their week away. You sure he's not using you as a crutch?

skybluepearl Mon 15-Aug-11 11:53:50

I take it he is a work colleague and a good friend maybe gilly

She sounds like she might be a bit angry about things (is she dealing with a big issue at the mo?)or just quite young and in stroppy teenage mode. DH and I have odd arguments but i don't bang things - although i do get a bit cross and hormonal at times. Not OTT and we get on very well most of the time. How much of the time do they actually get on - do they mostly enjoy each others company? Do they make up nicely after an argument? Do they have some fun together?

NewbeeMummy Mon 15-Aug-11 11:54:46

Thanks gillybean2 - if he is using me as a crutch, what's the best thing to do?

NewbeeMummy Mon 15-Aug-11 12:00:28

I would say he's borderline on being a friend, I'm a bit wary of him as about 5 years ago he asked me out and I declined, and things got a bit weird, but that's very much in the past now and I try to be nice and supportive while making it very clear there is a definite line to where our friendship will extend.

They're both relatively young - I think she's about 25/26 and he's almost 30. (god that makes me feel old)

From what I've been told - again very aware that this in only one side - they have a bit in common, but mainly the fact that neither of them are particulary socialable people. If I ask how their weekend was I get told they stayed in a watched recorded TV or films.

I believe these tempers have been going on for the last 6 months or so (around the same time as she had implanon inserted, which is how we came to talk about this as I have the same thing and he asked if I had noticed mood changes) Apprently once the dust has settled he seems to tip toe around her and try to just stay out of her way until it all blows up again.

NewbeeMummy Fri 19-Aug-11 09:38:10

I just wanted to add an update to this. I'm really starting to worry.

After this last email, I replied (maybe I shouldn't have) saying I didn't think it was normal, but they had to sort their issues out and work on their relationship.

I felt awful doing this, as if the roles were reversed and it was a female colleague telling me these things, I would have got in the car to collect her and remove her from a potentially violent situation.

He has emailed me again, to say she had thrown a big kitchen knife at him last night, which hadn't hit him, and luckily had bounced into the sink.

I really don't know what to do to help - please can someone stop me going out of my mind with worry and guilt?

AlcoPop Fri 19-Aug-11 09:57:02

if the roles were reversed and it was a female colleague telling me these things, I would have got in the car to collect her and remove her from a potentially violent situation

The situation has turned violent. Get him out to a place of safety through talk or a taxi. Try and get his other friends to rally around. He needs support and it's not just you who should / can supply it.

Theirs is an uncomplicated relationship: not married, no kids.

All this said, be wary of being drawn in further than you are comfortable with.

Rowena8482 Fri 19-Aug-11 10:03:46

And if he suddenly needs to "come to your spare room to hide from her as he's frightened" or "just needs somewhere to go for a little while" say NO! Find him the phone number of a DV organisation that can give him proper advice and/or help if he says he wants to get out or do something about the situation. There's nothing stopping him checking into a hotel if he needs to escape that badly. (and yes I may well be being a bit "blokeist" but a woman in the exact same situation could do the same. He has a job, so has money, there are no kids involved, why can he not just walk out?) The "he asked me out and it got a bit weird" would have alarm bells ringing for me.

ShoutyHamster Fri 19-Aug-11 10:22:54

Sorry, alarm bells.

It sounds very much like his focus is on getting YOU involved in his life rather than getting OUT of the situation he is in. The history with him asking you out, it 'getting a bit weird' (how was that? did he seem needy, intrusive?), his odd sort of recounting the details 'Are all women this prone to violent behaviour, bad language and mood swings?' - it all sounds as if it's more designed to get you interested and involved. And it does sound as if you are already a bit involved - why does he know you have a contraceptive implant?! - I know it's just conversation, but I just wouldn't give out that kind of detail to someone I was a bit wary of, it just gives a bit of a 'close friend' message iyswim.

You are wary of him - don't overlook this instinct.

So - the most important thing is the fact that he appears to be in a violent relationship. Give him details of DV organisations and when he emails you next, advise him to call the police, offer to do it yourself. Take it seriously, but DON'T respond in an 'I will be here for you' way. It's not appropriate that you are, really - you do not know him well and you cannot reasonably be expected to take this on. You CAN help by taking what he says seriously and saying the same thing - go to the police, leave, tell your family, etc. Tell him that you really feel that he should confide in closer friends than you, too.

If - if he is using this situation as a way of engineering a closer relationship with you, this serious response will thwart that as well as hopefully alerting others to his situation at home.

NewbeeMummy Fri 19-Aug-11 13:48:02

Thanks - I've been wondering how to get involved without over stepping the mark, I want him to feel he can trust me, but that there is a definite line which cannot and must not be crossed.

But you've all come through with perfect advice, so thank you.

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Fri 19-Aug-11 13:57:50

OP, there's a men's advice line here - please pass this on to him and encourage him to speak to someone about the situation.

DV against men is really tricky - as it's so overwhelmingly something women experience men in abusive/violent relationships are often very ashamed about admitting it's happening to them.

I agree with the others that you don't want to end up being in the position of getting involved in the situation, but if he's in an abusive relationship then he needs impartial advice from people who can help him get out.

tethersend Fri 19-Aug-11 14:01:52

Excellent advice from ShoutyHamster

G1nger Fri 19-Aug-11 15:08:21

The throwing a kitchen knife thing is way too far. Way, way too far. Give him the advice you'd give to a woman.

NewbeeMummy Mon 22-Aug-11 09:44:58

Thanks all - he's back at work today and I've passed those details on to him, and said I'm happy to support him as a mate, but no more.

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