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Please help me help her!(11 Posts)
I hope you wise ladies can help me as I feel like I am walking a tightrope with my closest friend... This will be long, sorry!
Late last year, she discovered unprecedented infidelity, lying and manipulation from her DP. He entire relationship had been a lie, and subsequently it came out that it's not the first time he's done this, and he's left a trail of broken women going back a decade.
I don't want to go into too much detail as I want to respect her privacy, and I'm quite recognisable in RL from my post here.
She has naturally felt like her entire foundation of everything she thought was true in her life is gone. DH and I have supported her over this last three months as she's gone through this turmoil. Her ex is now local after having been studying elsewhere for a year (hence why it was so easy for him to cheat) and as expected, he is ramping up his efforts to win her back, despite NEVER having taken responsibility for his actions (it all "just happened", he didn't want it to, he was the victim, etc, etc). His previous behaviour with other women, and his initial reaction to discovery, has left me in no doubt that he has some seriously sociopathic/narcissistic tendencies.
The problem is that friend is getting sucked in again. She's seeing him for coffees, he's spinning all his bullshit, and she seems to be either forgetting what utter hell he has put her through, or hasn't forgotten but is willing to literally go into therapy (with AND without him, which worries me even more) for the rest of her life just because she says she was happy with him.
I have been there from the start, looking out for her, but ashamedly, I lost it a little bit yesterday (not with her, mind you, but with how he seems to be winning, for want of a better word). I told here that she was only happy when she was with him because she was unaware of about 70% of his life when he was fucking around on her.
I could tell she was angry with me (probably because she knew i was right) but also ashamed at the same time because I think she knows the truth but would rather be with him in the hope that he'll miraculously change than try to get over him which will be very hard.
I think I might have pushed her away, and I suspect that she will stop telling me stuff now, which plays beautifully into his hands as she has told everyone about him, so if she goes back she will be so embarrassed she will effectively isolate herself and it will be him and her against the world that doesn't understand them, if that makes sense.
What should I do now? I don't want to bring it up again if it's going to cause more problems, but I can't bear watching her walk into this mistake as I love her and want her to be happy.
You are a wonderful friend.
From bitter experience your friend is trying to make her life seem less of a failure by considering going back to him. You and I and other posters all know this isn't going to happen long term and she will just get hurt again. Trying to `fix it' was a mistake I made but she has to understand that what he does it out of her control and not her responsibility.
If she can stop feeling any guilt herself and see that there was nothing she could have or can do to put things right with him - she can and must move on.
I can understand your frustrations but I know when it goes wrong again you will be there and she may then stop going back.
A reconciliation only works if the betraying partner accepts proper responsibility for what they did, is genuinely sorry and really works at taking the lion's share of the healing. Her DP doesn't sound like this, especially as he appears to be a serial offender.
You cannot make her see this though (unfortunately), but she really will need someone on her side. So I hope you can stay a good friend. This does not mean approving her choices, but I hope you can find ways to give opinions in a way that gets her to think, not recoil from you. And hang on in there as she may need friends later.
Thank you guys. The idea of thinking about the way I express opinions really resonates with me, as this has always where I've been really good with her. However, if I am honest, it's also something she hangs over my head - ("I know you're the one who can be analytical about this stuff, and not be over-emotional so please don't over-react when I tell the latest thing he's done/nonsense he's emailed/manipulative attempt at reconciliation")
That's where I felt I really let her down last night - by allowing my frustration to show. We have told h over and over and over that the only way she can get past this is by almost treating it as a bereavement, in that the person she thought he was never existed, so it's like he died. We've also spoken over and over about zero contact, but she just feels like things are unresolved. What she doesn't seem to grasp, yet, is that things will never be resolved, as he'll never be able to explain his behaviour in a way that any ration feeling person will understand.
It makes me so sad...
You haven't let her down. Your friend is a fool, probably has very low self-esteem and is willing to be deluded by some rotten man rather than embrace life as a singleton. Her and thousands of others.... she's nothing special.
She's actually used you up to now by expecting you to swallow all the 'let me tell you what he did' crap and say nothing beyond 'there there dear'. Glad you've been honest with her and I think you have to back off from the advice now and let her lie in this very grubby bed she's making for herself. You might not feel able to stay friends with her when they get back together.... can be very awkward if you've been vocal in endorsing the split... but that's a different decision.
If someone is intent on walking into the fiery furnace you can throw yourself in their way and hope to stop them, but if they're intent on their purpose they'll step over you and walk on to their doom.
You've done what you can for your friend and, from the sound of it, you've done a hell of a lot more than many others would, but you can't live her life for her.
If she goes back to the twunt that's her choice and there's not a damn thing you can do about - except question whether you want to be friends with someone who is so obviously bent on self-destruction.
Thank you for or posts. Not staying friends with her is out of the question - we have been friend for 30 years and I consider her to be as close to me as a sister.
Does anyone see in merit in me drafting some kind of email to try to explain my reaction last night? Or do you think (as DH does) that I just need to drop it until she brings up the subject again?
I am just so worried about her, and feel so certain that if I could just say the right thing in the right way, she might be able to let him go... Just can't bear watching her be such a sucker, for want of a better word. She comes from an abusive home, and I have called her out on her constant rationalising/justification for things he has said and done since the split, and she at least recognises that she does this.
I'm with your DH on this and agree him that you should drop it.
You've said your piece and anything more now is overkill which is likely to have the opposite effect to that which you may desire and could serve to alienate her.
When you next speak to her, unless she raises the subject, I suggest you avoid all reference to her 'problems'.
'Why Does He Do That' by Lundy Bancroft is highly recommended on this board. Why not buy a copy for your friend?
No don't email/write letter about it. Don't bring it up unless she does. You know she won't be listening to you. If she asks your opinion on it all, just say that although you feel she is heading for heartache (again) you will be there for her, even though it hurts you too to see her go through it. Don't whatever you do go on about the twunt cos you will just upset her ("He loves me really, you don't understand!" Yeah yeah), just be there for her. And don't say "I told you so!!"
Your DH is right. Drop it now because she is not at all interested in anything you have to say. You may see her as a sister but right now she sees you as an annoying 'Jiminy Cricket' figure, saying everything she doesn't want to hear.
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