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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Friends with Possibly-Abusive Boyfriends

What’s a friend to say?  Your gal-pal is good-looking, top executive material, well-paid, funny, smart enough… and head over heels for the wrong guy.  Do you envision a life of domestic abuse and seek to rescue her from this relationship?

I did.

Her sister approached me and told me all—the late-night phone calls from sis-to-sis, the whispered conversations from a grocery store into which she had darted for five minutes.  She was being watched, monitored, her every move scrutinized probably because she was too good for him and he felt inferior.

The rescue story is a long one, involving vast distances, self-esteem issues, and how she became involved with a guy who wasn’t even legally divorced.  (I checked.)  The behavior could have stemmed from his separation, but it didn’t bode well.  Controlling men who were jealous, as well, were not cool.  He wanted to isolate her and make her quickly over-involved and responsible for his feelings and mistakes because he “loved her so much”.

Get the barf bag.

She couldn’t see it, but eventually came to her wits, and we got her out of there.  A year passed.  He tried to get me to intercede to her on his behalf.  Apparently, there was something in his koolaid, if he thought that was going to happen-!  Another year passed and they began texting each other.

I was not amused.  And maybe it was none of my business.  But I remember those crazed phone calls and texts of hers, trying to talk without phonetapping and eavesdropping.

She flew away one holiday weekend to “visit her family”.  The couple secretly wed… and he became part of the family.  Her sister flew with her after having downed liberal doses of same, said koolaid.  Maybe things had changed with the fellow if she approved.  (Try and explain an “overnight new husband” to your kids who are almost old enough to start dating.)

I hope so.  People change.  Sometimes.  From all outward aspects, they appear to be happily married and I wish them the best.  She is back to her old self.  The other day, I was chatting with her at a reception and I caught him a couple of times, watching us, as though trying to read our lips from across the room.  I. kid. you. not.

Creepy.  I had a flashback to my friend being far away and having to watch her every move….

So it surprised me when she approached me the other day.  This time the roles had reversed.  She shared with me about her sister who was originally concerned for her—are you following this?—also smart, funny, intelligent, top drawer—who had fallen for a guy with wonderful credentials who now resided outside the country and some days had time to chat with her, and other days behaved rather aloof.

“He’s very busy with his work,” she told her sister of the hot-cold, hot-cold relationship, while speaking of the possibility of going to live in that country soon.

“Danger, red light,” I intoned to the sister, who had done virtually the same thing a couple of years before.

Had they learned nothing?  Was I the only one glimpsing a pattern here?  If the inappropriate behaviors had dropped off for one sister, it didn’t mean that it would work out so well for the other….

The first sister dodged the bullet of outright abuse.  The second sister we are trying to extricate, keeping the lines of communication open, and telling her how much she has to offer.  It’s looking hopeful.

Most everyone wants to be loved.  But control and isolation are a gilded cell at best, and usually, a prickly path to abuse-to-come.  For yourself, first of all, and for those all around you for whom you serve as an example:  only settle for the best.  Love does not have to hurt.

 

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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. Thank you for posting these stories. It is so true that we often misunderstand control and jealousy and monitoring as “he loves me so much.” It’s so important for us to raise our signals and know that this is often the way relationship abuse starts. The perpetrator is a victim, too. Someone who does not know how to love without fear. But the more we talk and the more we share the stories of love and abuse, the more we can help people see themselves and their relationships clearly, maybe for the first time. Thank you for taking part in It’s Time To Talk Day. You know from your own life how much it means.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, Stacy, I really appreciate all that you’re doing with the “It’s Time to Talk” Day! I have adopted daughters who come from abusive birth “homes” (if you could call them that), who need to put the pieces together. They need to be surrounded by strong men and women who will live the truth of love….

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    We have to talk our heads off to our children about this kind of behavior so that hopefully they will recognize it and know it is wrong wrong wrong if they get involved with someone who exhibits it. I think the best time to reach them is before it happens and when they are in the early and mid and even later teens years. We have to go over it and over it. Not only is it important for girls, but our boys have to know that females act this way too.

  3. The website is not up yet but we would like to use the image of the woman starring out window , our website focus is on child abuse and credits will be given with link.many thanks

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