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Bullying friend/acquaintance - prefer n/c but not possible - any advice?(9 Posts)
I'm finding it really difficult to manage a situation with someone who I'd prefer to go n/c with, but unfortunately our paths will cross due to our hobby.
"Friend/acquaintance" apparently achieved high levels of success in our field, which is largely unregulated. She has a large social media following and comes across as knowledgeable, connected and respected in the field (although as time has gone by I've noticed she frequently unfriends people who challenge her views).
She was absolutely awful to me on more than one occasion and her actions seriously triggered my anxiety levels to the point I felt suicidal. She made life utterly hell for me during an already highly stressful time in my life and almost delighted in sticking the knife in at times (whilst being incredibly helpful at others, to complicate things ).
My counsellor has confirmed I did nothing to warrant the way I was treated, but that I managed the situation amazingly well. After months of healing I have opened up to others I trust in the field, who know her and either saw snippets of how she treated me (and helped me get out of a situation where I was dependent on her "help") or who know she has apparently treated others the same way, and have received lots of support.
Because she operates unregulated, there is no formal complaint route I can take (nor would I want to, I have moved on). She did apologise to me months after the worst incident and I said that was good of her, but have been pretty much n/c since.
This might be an anxiety thing, but I'm finding it difficult to join in the online hobby related groups we mutually belong to, as I don't want any run-ins with her, but am conscious it will be noticed that I am not communicating as openly as I was previously with her, plus I am missing out on networking and building contacts through the groups, so it's not ideal.
She has recently messaged me to ask how I am and I'm feeling at a loss to know how to respond, or whether to just ignore. I also know it is likely I will physically bump into her at some point so am going to have to face her one day. If I do respond I want to remain polite (I don't really do rude in any case) but how I handle this feels particularly important as I'm about to turn professional in our game, and therefore want to be professional about this!
TIA for any thoughts.
Oh I really feel for you. I don't have much helpful advice but your situation sounds a lot like a bullying situation I ended up in in work, I felt exactly how you are describing. I went for counselling and learned that she was displaying typical narcissistic traits, and when I read more about it I could see that described her perfectly.
Thankfully she quit her job, and I did soon get back to my usual self once I had no contact with her at all. For me, I don't think I could have continued to deal with it if I still had to have any contact with her.
Sorry to hear you've faced similar. I am definitely verging on not replying at all, and can already feel my anxiety levels creeping back up (annoyingly I've just finished counselling as had been doing so well n/c so can't take this there now).
Can't decide whether it might be better to be polite and short (just one reply, and then no more) to make seeing her in person less of a big deal I guess (where I could also be polite and short I guess).
If I don't reply I worry it'll make it harder when/if I do see her (which seems a bit fucked up tbh!).
Polite and short seems a sensible option, so long as you wouldn't be drawn into a longer exchange, and have a plan for that possibility?
This seems to me the perfect opportunity to get her on the back foot a little.
'I'm very well thanks. Hope things are going better for you too. Will you be at X? Perhaps I'll see you there. All the best, Ninelives'.
A nicely innocuous nod to her apology to you which lets her know in no uncertain terms that your take on it is that she acted badly, unreasonably, and you slightly pity her- but are not intimidated.
Oh I like that, thanks Fizzy.
Getting drawn in Spongebob is a concern, but I guess I'll just have to play it cool
and come back to MN for help if I do!
So sorry you're going through this. I can certainly relate. It sounds to me like you're already handling this really well, even if it doesn't always feel like it. For me, it's important not to allow others to compromise my own integrity - it sounds like you're doing well with that, maintaining politeness etc. Well done!
I also like Fizzy's reply. I think it might take the weight off you if you send something like that and hopefully, it will make it easier for you if you see her again.
I'm struck by the fact she apologized. I've known quite a few abusive narcs and that is quite a rare thing in their world. It might bode well??
Wishing you all the very best in dealing with this.
Just a thought about your online presence.
Would it help to create a new account with your name changed slightly? All sorts of professionals do this and it can help you to handle what comes up professionally as it feels more separate than if you use your actual name. You could then block her from contacting you through your original account - make a clear personal/business divide. (Or even just block her from both.)
Just an idea.
Thank you GoodDay
I too thought it was good I had the apology, however she had done this several times already (been awful and then apologised, then been awful again) so am not convinced she won't turn again. But I have to remember I'm not in any way dependent on her, as I was previously, so hopefully if I keep myself at a distance all will be well.
And yes re: online stuff - I can always block if needs be, perhaps I'll see how it goes.
Think I've successfully navigated the communication, so all is good. Thanks to all for the help with this.
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