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What would you do next? Am I over reacting?

(370 Posts)
WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 09:53:46

Hi all. This is going to be quite long for clarity. Sorry and thanks for reading.

I have been very close friends with a married man for around 8 years. I'm also friendly with his wife but have a lot more in common with him. It's all above board - our families have holidayed and spent Christmas together, there are no concerns about impropriety.

Around the start of the summer, his behaviour towards me started to change - I feel like he 'argues' with me now for the sake of it (claims to be playing Devil's Advocate but also to hold these views dear, yet has also contradicted himself); has started 'picking' on me - finding fault in what I'm saying; saying things I can only assume are intended to undermine my confidence - things like telling me men have looked at me in 'disgust' or that my 'ego is showing' when I'm simply not being down on myself and that I'm single due to my resting bitch face (joke!). That kind of thing.

We play in a band together. We've gigged a lot over the summer and some of them have included overnight stays and have been a lot of fun so I didn't say anything - not wanting to create an unpleasant atmosphere for the others - and largely dealt with it by ignoring and avoiding but it hasn't made much impact. I did try telling him that his behaviour towards me had changed and I didn't like it but rather than asking what I meant or opening a dialogue, he just said, "I could say the same about you" and shut it down.

A couple of mutual friends suggested he feels threatened by my new friendships within band and is feeling pushed out; that he is jealous because I play a 'higher profile' instrument than he does - not only does this mean that I'm more 'visible' than he is but that if I can't make a gig/left band, I'd have to be replaced whereas he wouldn't. It's been suggested that he is struggling to find his place in the band and that he is trying to be 'blokey' to fit in with the men better - I know that a couple of people find him a bit 'try hard' with a particular persona he has pushed.

I don't disagree with any of that and I think that all of it is relevant. I agree that he has found it socially difficult with them but he really likes them and loves being in the band. I agree that all of those are probably an issue for him. But none of them are my fault or my problem to solve.

However, in the event that I had inadvertently 'pushed him out', at the start of September, I resolved to make more of an effort to spend time with him. Although, the only reason I was spending less time with him was because of how he was behaving towards me.

Nevertheless, I have seen him a few times over the past few weeks and it seemed to all be relatively back to normal. No issues except for maybe a couple of little comments that I didn't like but I wasn't sure if I was just more 'sensitive' to things he was saying now. But there wasn't anything specifically unkind that was directed towards me. So I started to see it as having been resolved.

Anyway, fast forward to a few days ago. We travel to/from band practise together and, at the end of practise, he said it was time to go and he straighted his arm out and put his outstretched hand into my face to push me backwards/aside. I was horrified and stunned. We'd been talking to another man who was visibly shocked by it. I felt humiliated and didn't know how to react.

What I wish I'd done was say, "what the fuck are you doing? Don't you ever fucking touch me like that again!" What I did was try and laugh it off and said to the other man, "he's a bit of a twat, isn't he?" to which my 'friend' laughed and said, "yes I am" but he was behind me and halfway out the door by this point. The other guy just looked a bit shocked and didn't reply.

I had to travel home with him but didn't speak to him and just said I was tired when he asked what the matter was. He was talking about us going out at the weekend so clearly didn't see anything wrong in what he'd done.

I have a long standing history of abuse stemming from childhood and following on to a number of abusive relationships, that still impacts on me now and, coincidentally, the following day, I had a pre-assessment appointment for therapy to deal with this. Which i why I'm not sure if I'm overreacting to this because now I feel I have completely shut down to him. I no longer consider him a friend. I want nothing more to do with him. I don't want to see, speak to, or even be in the same room as him again.

I can deal with the family/friendship side of it - I will just have nothing to do with him but I don't know what to do about band. I don't want to be in practises with him. I don't want to do gigs with him. I don't want to see him in any capacity whatsoever. But I don't see a solution. I could leave but we have several gigs coming up in the next couple of months and I'd be leaving them massively in the shit.

I've since mentioned it to one person in the band who feels that I ought to give it no energy, put it down to being his problem and not let it affect me but I've woken up again thinking about it , feeling angry and with my heart pounding. So I thought I'd bring it here.

What would you do next?

KnickerBockerAndrew Wed 23-Oct-19 09:58:17

I can't really visualise what he did. It sounds like a badly-timed playful push, but was it more? Was he trying to hurt you?

If it was a playful push, I think he sounds like a dick but no more than that.

nomoreclue Wed 23-Oct-19 10:00:14

Ok. Firstly, why do people always post on here saying “am I over reacting” what’s with this? You’re ALLOWED to feel how you want about whatever you want. It’s called freedom and having your own mind. You aren’t a slave. That said, I think his behaviour is disgusting. Why didn’t you knock his hand away?!? I’d suggest you arrange to meet him and tackle him about him directly. Stand up for yourself! He’s obviously trying to make you leave the band!

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:02:20

It wasn't playful but it wasn't malicious. It was just hugely disrespectful and massively upsetting given my history of abuse - which he knows all about.

He straightened his arm out and put his hand in my face and pushed me.

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:04:30

Why didn’t you knock his hand away?!?

I felt ashamed and humiliated. In that split second all the past came flooding back and I didn't feel like I had the 'right' to do that or the right to expect someone not to do that to me.

It only lasted a split second and then I was furious with myself for not pushing his hand away. I was really shaken up by it.

I think he'd be dismissive of it if I said anything about it sad

Quartz2208 Wed 23-Oct-19 10:08:39

Tell the band why you are leaving and that his attitude to you is why. I take it the rest our men and dont understand.

Please do not put yourself through the gigs, they have to make a choice here as to who to support

Beerincomechampagnetastes Wed 23-Oct-19 10:08:44

You’re not overreacting. You are under reacting.

I wouldn’t have anymore to do with him and I wouldn’t be in his company again and I wouldn’t be giving a shit about the ramifications for other people.

BuildBuildings Wed 23-Oct-19 10:09:26

Focusing specifically on the push... As women were told to not make a fuss all of the time so I totally get why you just tried to minimise it. Don't beat yourself up for not calling home out there and then.

BuildBuildings Wed 23-Oct-19 10:09:42


Shoxfordian Wed 23-Oct-19 10:10:41

I think you should tell the rest of the band how uncomfortable he makes you and how he physically assaulted you. They should hopefully make him quit not you

Bigpaintinglittlepainting Wed 23-Oct-19 10:12:31

I would tell him that you are no longer friends due to his behaviour and stay in the band. Maybe he will leave if everybody thinks he’s a twat

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:19:13

Thanks for the replies.

I feel a bit caught between a rock and a hard place tbh. I don't actually want to leave - I love it too and it's done wonders for my confidence (which I also think has been part of the problem for him).

No, they're not not all men, it's probably an equal split and some of the women are aware of the issues over the summer and see my perspective.

As far as the men go, the one who saw the other day was clearly shocked by it; I know a couple of the others, i think a couple of the others also wouldnt like it. They're quite 'traditional working class men' - happy to be a bit crass and make a few rude jokes but wouldn't lay a hand on their women and see it as their place to protect sort of men.

But I dont really want to put them in a position where they'd have to choose.

If they had to, they'd probably choose me but I dont really want to make this everyone else's problem too sad

Hollachica Wed 23-Oct-19 10:19:30

I do not believe you are over acting.
You need to tell him how he is making you feel.
Write it down with examples.
It is not acceptable.
Nothing is negotiable, you don't want him to justify himself.

You have a choice, talk to the other band members and say he behaviour to you is not acceptable. He leaves or you leave.

There is no going back on this. He has become unpleasent and belittling you. I am giving him the benefit of doubt re: was it assault (though I think it was).

You need to take control & stand up to this bully. Good luck.

Shoxfordian Wed 23-Oct-19 10:20:17

Why shouldn't they have to choose? If you think they'd support you then you should definitely tell them about it.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 23-Oct-19 10:20:30

Wow - well no, you are not over reacting at all.
Pushing you in the face is totally unacceptable.
Imagine someone doing to this to you walking down the street?
You'd fucking deck them!

If you can't let the band down then I suggest sending one text.
'Your physically abusive push in my face the other day was absolutely unacceptable and was in fact, physical abuse. You know my past and yet you still did this. What the fuck gave you the right to do that? I want nothing more to do with you as your behaviour towards me has been hostile of late anyway and your friendship is not something I want anymore. I won't let the band down so I will do our up coming gigs but will be leaving after that. We will not be travelling to rehearsals or gigs together. I will not be interacting with you at rehearsals or gigs. I want you to stay away from me and respect my wishes on this. you absolute fucking gob-shite '

This is NOT your shame or humiliation. This is all on him.
I'm raging on your behalf OP!

hellsbellsmelons Wed 23-Oct-19 10:23:21

If they had to, they'd probably choose me but I dont really want to make this everyone else's problem too
But it is going to be their problem because you will leave otherwise.
I think others are right.
Tell them you will do the gigs you have lined up but that you can't remain in the band while he is in it.
Let them decide from that statement what they want to do.

Pinkbonbon Wed 23-Oct-19 10:26:41

I would tell the other band members that you are sick of his snide comments and that he seems now, to think he can put his hands on you and that 'It just isn't on. I don't want to leave you guys in the lurch but the thought of having to hang with him again makes me queazy'.

Then either they kick him out or you are free to leave. Or you have a convo with him where you tell him you are sick of his behaviour and the relationship from now on will be professional only. Either way, tell the other members first, so that he can't tell them 'his' side first, eg: 'you're a drama queen' ect...

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:34:09

There is no going back on this. He has become unpleasent and belittling you

I know sad

Either way, tell the other members first, so that he can't tell them 'his' side first, eg: 'you're a drama queen' ect...

That's the thing. There could be no other side to it. There was no jokey 'banter' for example that just went too far. I can't even remember what we were talking about but it was just band stuff. It came out of nowhere.

The most hurtful part of it is that this is DV awareness month and I'd shared a post on fb with a brief outline of my own experience and an overview of what constitutes domestic abuse. He commented it on it positively and less than 24 hours later he does that.

snowbear66 Wed 23-Oct-19 10:35:22

I think that you should tell your band mates and give them the option of either sacking him or you rather than just quitting. Either way you can end the friendship with him.
It did read as quite shocking that he pushed you in the face.
My ex was in bands for years and band members are often sacked for a lot less! & groups change their lineups a lot.

Elodie2019 Wed 23-Oct-19 10:36:00

Stop socialising with him. Decline all invitations.
Don't share lifts with him, make your own travel arrangements.
Don't sit/stand near him at gigs/band practice.
Walk away, get up if he approaches you.
If he does manage to put you in a position whereby you are forced to stay, don't enter into any conversation with him. Yes/no answers but zero conversation.

How old is he? He's a nasty piece of work.

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:36:09


Your text suggestion is really good thank you. If I decide to text him, I'll use that as the basis for mine.

I planned to sit on it for a few days and see how I feel by the weekend. Not that I expect to feel differently about it by the weekend but that I might be able to think more clearly.

Thatnovembernight Wed 23-Oct-19 10:39:38

You are not overreacting. I know you don’t want to leave the band or make people choose but I don’t see how this is sustainable.

Pinkbonbon Wed 23-Oct-19 10:40:39

So basically, it was deliberate. He saw your post, which exposed your weak spot and he went for the jugular. He's your common variety narcissist. They do that all the time.

Talking with him won't help, he knows what he is doing. He wants you to suffer in order to feel good about himself. It might not even be about getting you to leave the band. He just hates you.

WhatWouldYouDoNext Wed 23-Oct-19 10:42:05


Thanks. I'd already stopped travelling to gigs with him because of the way he treated me on one of our longer trips at the start of the summer - the overnighters were a couple of hour's drive away and, after the first one, I resolved to drive myself. It was awkward because it would normally make more sense for people to car share and, as a result, we both ended up doing 2 hour + drives on our own.

Car sharing for practise has made sense up until now because of limited parking/convenience and because things seemed to have improved a little - I don't travel to practises with him over the summer either. But you're right. I need to stop that.

My ex was in bands for years and band members are often sacked for a lot less!

Yes, that is true!

Just to clarify my 'overreaction' question. It triggered a 'trauma response' in me. I wondered if others would have a similar response or whether they'd just be able to laugh it off.

It seems that most people would find it disrespectful though. So thanks.

Elodie2019 Wed 23-Oct-19 10:45:13

If you do text him, keep it simple, unemotional and matter of fact. Don't give him any wriggle room.

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