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to think this woman is unable to imagine any senario she hasn't herself directly experienced . . .

(21 Posts)
WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 12:04:13

. . . and so not to bother talking to her anymore?!

So I was talking to a friend the other day about my cousin who has told me that she is in an abusive relationship. She asked me what it was that my cousin had said so I told her that she has said her DH is controlling, jealous, doesn't like her using email or going out without him and has punched her around the body.

My friend said "yeah but you've only got her word for it" and "yeah but you don't know what she might have done to make him like that" shock shock shock

This friend has made it obvious to me in the past that she can only see things from her own perspective and can never put herself into the shoes of other people. For eg, she thinks that all single mums should work full time and when I have explained that sometimes they can't earn enough to cover the childcare (and don't all get free childcare from family like her) she just couldn't understand that. I'm starting to think she might be a bit thick.

itisnearlysummer Thu 18-Aug-11 12:24:16

Some people aren't able to empathise with others. I know a couple of people like that. So I just don't tell them anything where empathy would be necessary.

If you already knew that she (by her own admission) was like this, why would you tell her about your cousin's abusive relationship?

SuePurblybilt Thu 18-Aug-11 12:27:39

Yes, perhaps a bit thick grin. I think a lot of people are like this. I also know people who don't fully acknowledge something exists until it has been experienced by a Sleb and covered in Take a Break/Daily Hatemail.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 12:30:46

itisnearlysummer It just came up in conversation as we were talking about something else my cousin did recently and her husband was mentioned.

I always mean not to talk to her about anything like this and made that decision after the single mum conversation (that started because another friend of mine is a single mum and is in the situation I described) but I talk a lot so it's not always easy.

This "friend" isn't really a friend as such, she is my brothers girlfriend so I am not able to avoid her but don't chose to spend time with her.

SaffronCake Thu 18-Aug-11 12:46:37

It's human nature when looking at a person who is badly flawed to keep holding out chances for them, to hope that they will behave in a less offensive or disappointing way. Many do. How many people's first impression of someone was negative only for that person to later become your friend, partner or somene you admire? It's quite natural to not really believe she can be so empathyless and keep expecting a more normal reaction. It's also quite natural to reach a point where you realise she can't or wont and that she really IS that much of a total loss. I think this is your wake-up call Eyebrows.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Aug-11 12:48:00

She may find it difficult to empathise but she's also quite right to warn you that there may be more than one side to a story. I've had my fingers burned on several occasions leaping in to the rescue of various people. One, with a story rather like your cousin's, it turned out she was the abuser and not the abusee. That pulled me up sharp. And as for the single parents story. Maybe she just doesn't like you discussing other people's problems or gossiping?

itisnearlysummer Thu 18-Aug-11 12:55:12

WhoseGot I see. I only asked because I avoid telling the people like this anything about which I'm actually bothered because I hate having them make a crass comment about it. But I, too, am often caught up in it sad

I agree that this needs to be your wake up call. I believed for a long time that I could educate/change the people like this by exposing them to various sides of other people's stories, explaining the situation to them, getting cross and I've learned that there is nothing I can do.

There are also as many sides to a story as there are people who can tell it. So do be aware of that.

SaffronCake Thu 18-Aug-11 12:57:35

Assuming we believe the counsin (which the OP is a lot better placed to judge than us) I don't see that there are any more sides to it. No matter what anyone ever does, you can't hit them.

Whatmeworry Thu 18-Aug-11 13:14:32

TBH when I hear someone going off about someone else my automatic response is "What's the other side to this story" because (based on long experience) there always is one.

Your friend sounds young/inexperienced. I've probably got a bit better over the years at just nodding and saying "I see" and asking a few roundabout questions - dunno if its improved my empathy smile.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 18-Aug-11 13:40:12

From observation of these boards, it would seem that some over-empathise to the extent that they lose sight of the fact that there are always two (or more) sides to a tale of domestic strife.

If your cousin is being physically abused by her dh, why does she continue to live with him?

As for your 'friend', you already know that there are subjects you should avoid when talking to her but confining a conversation to the state of the weather and the price of potatoes is not easy if you have an enquiring mind.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 14:40:10

SaffronCake It's human nature when looking at a person who is badly flawed to keep holding out chances for them, to hope that they will behave in a less offensive or disappointing way. -
Yeah I think that's what I do, I just can't quite believe that she is that way I suppose, but I have known her for 10 years so I should just accept it!

It just amazes me that she doesn't "get" it. I was in an abusive relationship which she knew about at the time so she has seen it from my point of view at least. When we were discussing my cousin I told her that several things my cousin have said ring very true going from my own experience (the sort of pattern that abusive relationships seem to follow) and that I could see where it was likely to head. I often end up having this conversation itisnearlysummer as it's something I know about, but so many people don't understand how you can end up in that situation, even if I explain the manipulation/mind fucks/isolation and everything that makes your brain feel like soup when you are in it. I just get the ignorant "yeah but I would just leave init".

I guess that it's this plus all the other things, like not understanding how hard it is for people who don't have the free childcare that she does, she goes on and on about how lazy everyone else is and how there's loads of jobs out there bla bla bla. Think she might actually read the Daily Mail . . . no really!!!

She seems to also think the worlds revolves around her and even when people do her massive favours she thinks she's hard done by and isn't at all grateful. Her mum gave up her job to provide free childcare, she also gave her 200k to buy a house, yet this woman goes on and on about how she has worked so hard for everything she has. I have said to her before that she is lucky to get the childcare and the huge amount of money and that the single mums (that she is slagging off in the same conversations) often don't have those opportunities, she can't see it though. So if I say that she wouldn't be able to work if her mum didn't provide childcare and that she wouldn't be in her large house if it wasn't for the money from her mum she actually can't imagine it! She actually can't see how helpful that has been to her situation and I don't understand that, it makes me feel like I'm in crazy land!

I once looked after her children for a week so her mum could have a break and at the end of the week she called me lazy! The more I write the more I think she is an arsehole!

Whatmeworry Yes she does sound young . . . she's 35!

Whatmeworry Thu 18-Aug-11 15:01:43

Whosegot She sounds like one of those who are "vexatious to the spirit", I just cut them out as soon and as much as I can - life is really too short.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 15:05:55

vexatious to the spirit

What does that mean exactly? Haven't heard that before.

Cocoflower Thu 18-Aug-11 15:11:37

Technically she can see others people perpective if she asking "but what about your cousins DH perpective?".

Maybe it's not right to question this abuse but too me this shows more perpective in thinking their is two sides to every story, even if her questions are unsavoury.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 15:17:36

Cocoflower Yes I know what you mean and was waiting for someone to mention that. I think she just sees badly of everyone really. She had already made her mind up based on the fact that my cousin is uneducated/has children by 2 different men that she wouldn't believe a word that came out of her mouth. Like that makes her someone never to believe. She is very judgemental.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 15:22:35

Also meant to say Cornflower I think with my friend she can't imagine being in that position (abused wife) so refuses to believe it happens.

Thumbwitch Thu 18-Aug-11 15:25:55

vexatious to the spirit = she ruffles you up right through to your very soul and makes you uncomfortable.

She sounds utterly thick, tbh. People who have no ability to empathise or see anything from anywhere other than their own perspective have small, narrow minds and believe in nothing that they haven't experienced themselves. Anything that falls outside their sphere of experience or normality is "weird" or simply doesn't happen.

I find this level of wilful ignorance disgusting, tbh. Do avoid her wherever possible for your own blood pressure's sake.

Cocoflower Thu 18-Aug-11 15:26:17

I do know how frustrating it can be whosegotmyeyebrows though. I think your right some people do like either try and believe nothing evil can happen in this world so find some justification (maybe to reassure themselves that can't happen to them) or some are just bloody minded and refuse to change their opinion or be proven wrong.

My mother can be like this- she always needs to excuse someone bad behaviour- im sure she thinks it peace-keeping but its highly frustrating.

Whatmeworry Thu 18-Aug-11 15:27:12

vexatious to the spirit

It's from Desiderata, it vexatious just means irritating, annoying etc. The sense of it is avoiding people who are irritating and cause hassle/get on your nerves/are dispiriting to deal with.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 15:44:10

Thumbwitch

vexatious to the spirit = she ruffles you up right through to your very soul and makes you uncomfortable.

She sounds utterly thick, tbh. People who have no ability to empathise or see anything from anywhere other than their own perspective have small, narrow minds and believe in nothing that they haven't experienced themselves. Anything that falls outside their sphere of experience or normality is "weird" or simply doesn't happen.

I find this level of wilful ignorance disgusting, tbh. Do avoid her wherever possible for your own blood pressure's sake.

Yeah that's summed it up really, you put it better then I could.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 15:48:47

So I need to avoid her and her face! (She's always walking into rooms with "the face on" that causes an atmosphere and ruins everyone elses day)

I do generally try to do that. Every now and then though I have a nice chat with her and think I should make more effort. So I do. And she says something obviously quoted out of The Sun or similar. If you question her on it she gets aggressive face and is scary and stroppy. I am not very "quick" so it's hard to argue with her. She is "quick" but quick with bollocks.

Then I feel awful because I failed yet again to trust my own judgement and not talk to the silly cow!

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