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Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Open Discussions About Domestic Abuse.

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Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Sirtriz » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:19 pm

I've known a woman for 7 years. When first met via work she was single (divorced) and she definitely grew a crush on me. For many months we kindled a friendship and it was immediately comfortable like we were boyfriend/girlfriend, in contact in person or through text morning to night. At first I wasn't sure I wanted a relationship, but she got to my heart and then I started to feel weird that we only had this "pseudo" boyfriend/girlfriend thing at work and via all day long texting. So I tried to get us to go out with each other outside of work. So we did a few times and one time she kissed me (she initiated it). But, I knew she had a history of abuse (every man she's ever been with has abused her emotionally and physically, as well as childhood sexual abuse, and she's been raped a couple times). So I didn't take it any further than kissing because I wanted her to see a man could respect her and love her for more than just her body. She was blown away by me. However, the next day she withdrew and for several months I kept trying to rekindle to get back to that spot, just being good to her, and a few times it seemed I might succeed, but she'd get overwhelmed and protest saying she only saw me as a friend. Then, suddenly, she got with another man, who ended up being abusive. All this time I was crushed...my heart broke for her and me. Then, after that relationship ended, she got with another abusive man who ended up being such a bad influence she lost her job and had a breakdown. So these two abusive relationships after me over the course of 6 years. However, we were occasionally in touch with each other all this time and I never stopped loving her.

Well, recently, a few months ago, she started to speak to me more regularly and say she wanted us to spend time together every couple weeks to reform a friendship. However, she was still with an abusive man. So I said, I would love to spend time with her, but I'm not sure how that could work, because I've never stopped loving her, and she's with someone else, and though I believe I'm the better man, I worry if he knew she spent time with me that he'd hurt her. So we just kept it at an email here or there.

Well, not long after this, she contacted me saying he really roughed her up and she knew she needed to get out. Given our history I wasn't sure she should come to my house, so asked about family and friends who she could escape to. But she said they couldn't accommodate. I'm not sure how much she really tried for their help, but I felt I just could not let her stay in a situation where she was being harmed, and I always said to her anyplace anytime I'd do anything for her if it was a healthy thing to do. So said, well, she can then come to my house if she is comfortable with that. She said, that's what she wants.

Surprisingly we got along fantastically while she was here. But, I learned a lot about the 2 relationships after me, how sick and abusive they were. Physical/verbal abuse, cheating on her, emotional mind games, etc. While she was here she was very anxious and even afraid at night and needed a light on, doors locked, etc. My house has 3 different chairs that rock and she'd go to those and rock in them to soothe herself. Sometimes she'd cry and break down in my arms. I mean, she had deteriorated quite a bit in the 6 years since we were last more active in each other's life. Her mind would get very confused sometimes and she had bad insomnia. She smoked now and drank more than seemed moderate. Quite a few times she wanted me close to her physically. I was afraid to rush into anything or disrespect her, but eventually I gave in when she wanted me and we kissed passionately amongst other things. Then afterwards, she would deny she has those romantic feelings for me saying she just needed to feel human touch. I said, well, sometimes I wish I could have human touch, but I'd never want to do it with someone I don't have those feelings for, so it is hard to believe she doesn't feel that way about me, she is just afraid. I also gave into these feelings because I felt, well, it may be confusing with her to be involved this way, but maybe by doing so I'd create a closer bond with her and weaken the one she has to the abuser...and I knew I would never hit her or break her things or call her names, cheat on her, waste her money, etc. etc.

Then, unfortunately she went back to the abuser. While she was here I did some studying up and knew this might happen, so wasn't surprised.

However, since she went back she has come by my house a few times and we've been intimately involved (kissing and making love). I have read that sometimes a woman who has been abused needs an affair to break free from the abuser, an affair with a man who treats her right. So though it isn't something I thought I'd ever do, I felt like this was calculating all risks and weighing it all, it was better I allow this to take place between us. I do love her and want her. However, the last time I was here she only wanted the sex and not the kissing. SHe said kissing me was too intimate. She said I am a good kisser and kiss her tenderly with love. Please don't judge me on this, I'd rather not get responses stating how horrible I am. She never should have gone back to the abuser.

Also, since she's gone back to the abuser, she makes excuses for his bad behavior, or puts him on a pedestal. I say, well, I too do that, or even more, so I'm just as good if not better, plus I would never hurt you like he does. But she dismisses that and I get no credit. A lot of her thinking seems to be backwards. LIke, when we were involved 6 years ago and she went with the 1st abusive guy, I was really hurt. Sometimes she and I would have some heated words exchanged. But still I never called her a derogatory thing or hit her. In fact, I would feel so horrible that we were upset with each other that I'd find ways to show her kindness, with a small gift, or what have you. So I feel this was natural anger. However, she says her family is so leery of me because of this past because that hurt her so much. Yet somehow they are more mad at me than they are at the abusive guys.

Anyway, what I am mostly wanting to know right now is, if she says she feels nothing for me but a friend, but then engages with romantic physical contact, what does that mean? Should I believe her that she really feels for me as only a friend? It seems she is just in denial about me the good guy as well as the abusive bad guy.

Also, any general feedback to help me understand her experience. Thanks and sorry this got so long.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Terry E. » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:27 am

When girls are sexually abused a lot of things can go wrong. Your story is pretty well classic and I have read variations of it on these boards many times. The difference with your comes from the perspective. Yours vs hers.

I hope someone else chimes in but from what I have seen it stems from lack of self esteem. Why someone with poor self esteem and trust issues continually chooses a bad person rather than a good person I don't know.

In some cases the woman has become so used to high drama and high emotion, they actually feel more comfortable there. If you have lived in a chaotic situation that you have skills in negotiating you may also find yourself more at home there than in a stable life.

I will also guess that she is very reluctant to trust anyone. Maybe living with someone she does not trust is easier than trying something totally new to her.

Finally there is the sex part. Some women in highly abusive relationships become conditioned to only having "good sex", when they are abused.

They are just a few things.

You sound like a really nice person. I wish you luck in helping her and finding what is right for you.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby avatar123 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:59 am

In addition to what Terry has said above, from your description of her history, she may not really know how to have a healthy relationship, of the kind you want to have with her. So what seems confusing from your perspective is not from hers, it's in line with what she expects and knows to do. The fact that she goes back to an abusive partner indicates that she identifies that as part of the relationship, and is accepting of it.

So while your feelings for her are sincere, she may never look at it the way you do, or be completely comfortable with you, or "in love" the way that you are. You'd have to be willing to accept that, or wait for her to figure it out and try for something better with you. It sounds like you've been doing that already. So just need to have your eyes open and be aware that it may never happen. In the end it's a greater function of her behavior than yours.
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