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Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

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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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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Sirtriz » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:31 am

Thank you Terry and Avatar for your responses; I really appreciate it.

Though she is still back at the abuser's, she is not happy there. She tells me he barely talks to her or does anything to help around the house or even to take care of his own daughter. He seems to be on his phone a lot, of which he is quite secretive, so she suspects he has other women he is talking to. So his initial promises to get her back there, that he'd work on things with her, go to counseling, etc., are proving to be empty.

She is still spending occasional time with me. She came over yesterday for breakfast and told me that she feels like she is falling in love with me, but is so confused because she doesn't know what is real. She said that he has caused her to doubt so much of what she perceives. But she said even when she is there at the house with the abuser, she will go out to her flower garden and think of me and feel comfort. She said she likes my personality and that I am a good listener. It takes me aback a little to hear her say that because we have known each other over the course of 7 years, though the past 4 have been very sporadic contact until recently. So it's like she is re-getting to know me.

In a way, I thought maybe she and I were having a breakthrough and she was seeing that she might deserve better. We did end up making love. Sometimes after we do she feels almost giddy like a school girl for a day or two, but other times she feels very guilty. We talked about if this is wrong or not. Neither one of us are cheaters by nature...we never thought we'd be in this situation. She probably shouldn't have gone back to him to begin with...things started sparking between us while she was broken up with him. Even psychologists say an "affair" could be positive for an abuse victim to regain her self-worth and break free. Not to mention, is it really wrong if she has a bad relationship and just happens to start getting to know a better guy and chooses to permanently end the bad relationship that has only degraded her. Even in movies people root for a good guy to steal a woman from the bad guy. And it's one thing if, say, a woman is good to her husband and the household but he cheats on her just because he's a pig vs. if a woman is being mistreated and cheated on herself, maybe she has the right to choose a better option. So these are tricky moral dilemmas. And an abuse victim such as herself may not have the means to just break clean and be on her own before getting involved with someone else. She might need to test a different man first and make sure about him before she risks leaving for good. I don't know. I just wish she had never gone back to begin with, but it is her process. On top of all this, she spirals back to feeling like, no, her heart is really with him, not me.

Anyway, this morning I then found she had blocked me altogether on Facebook, texting, and phone calls. Not sure on the email. This is the second time she's done this when she felt so overwhelmed, but unblocked me within a day. So I figure she will probably unblock me again, but it is interesting. She seems to do it if I say too much about how beautiful I think she is and how I hope eventually she'll give us a full chance together. She gets very skittish, for sure. Also very scared the abuser is spying on her, who by the way is a boyfriend, not husband.


I certainly have much more to offer her than the abuser. I am financially secure whereas he has no financial responsibility at all. I am more than willing to help with chores around the house, go do things with her that he isn't interested in, etc. Not to mention never call her a bad name or push her around.

Hard to say how this will turn out.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Terry E. » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:04 am

A friend ( a girl) in a similar situation once told me "I am not sure I have ever been in love - or what love is "

I think that is a survivor thing.

many normal people live complete lives never having any true commitment to a partner. It is almost like a business.

Meet, align finances and career prospects have family, get appropriate social approval from family and friends and then grow old together.

that is living but not love.

you are living. I think she is seeing many things now and you are reading her pretty well.

I am guessing she has anxiety issues but you appear to be okay with it, many can't deal with it.

anyway thanks for the update

good luck
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby avatar123 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:31 pm

I think your logic and thinking on this are good, as far as how you treat her and what you want her to see and learn. Just have to be careful about your basic premise, that she wants the same things that you want. That may or may not be true, but I hope it is.

She may not actually know what she wants, or perhaps what you offer her also scares her, as it may seem too good to be true, or too much of a responsibility to give back at that level. She may not feel worthy or capable of it.

As you said, it's her process, Just please be careful about yourself too. Whether this works out or not, you want to be able to look back on it and know you did the right things, the best you could do, and not with regret.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Sirtriz » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:31 pm

Thank you both again for your input.

Recent happenings are that her ex father-in-law, whom she considered as her own dad, died. I was there for her during the day helping her take care of him until the whole family was able to be there to say their last goodbyes.

That evening after the coroner arrived to get his body, she went home to where she still stays with the abuser. He punched her in the face. Imagine that after she suffered such a huge loss.

Later that morning she called me sobbing. She was going back to be wtih her dad's wife, who also is in frail condition. I brought over breakfast, as well as some ice packs for her face.

All day I stayed with her and her dad's wife while they both slept. Imagine that, here I am a practical stranger to that family, but I'm the one there for them. I took care of hospice coming to get the hospital bed, and neighbors coming to call. Her dad's wife was very impressed by me.

Later that evening , she finally awoke and was tickled to see I was still there for her. There are times when she just gets a look on her face that knows she is loved by me. She and I talked and it seemed she was having breakthrough realizations that I'm the man for her, that she deserves better.

The next day I also came over with dinner for the 3 of us (she, her dad's widow, and myself). She told me that all day her dad's widow was bragging about what a wonderful man I am and how good I've been to them both. My gal was tickled and proud of me. She even confided in her dad's widow that she had been punched by her abuser and that she has torn feelings for the both of us. Her dad's widow already knows of the abuse history, turns out. So, it seems I have an ally in my corner.

Additionally, now that her ex-husband knows about me, he seems to trust his dad's wife's judgment. He was not the best to my gal either, but he wasn't the worst...overall he is probably one of the better guys she's ever been with...at least he has grown. So, as the father of their son, he too is horrified by the abuser and hates his son being exposed.

So, it was looking like she was very close to taking another lunge away from the abuser and about to go with me again, come back to my house and stay this time. We also had some very loving intimate moments.

But, sadly again, she got cold feet and went back to him. She blocked me for awhile and I'm still partially blocked, though can use Facebook messenger, but not make any phone calls. So, I am limited how much we can have an in depth conversation. I am trying to give her the space, but this time I haven't been as good as other times which I feel I've failed. I've perhaps written too many messages and emails trying to appeal to her better sense.

For example, I ask, why is she blocking me? When he should be the one she blocks permanently because he harms her.

While she had moments of clarity after being punched in the face...now she is back to "but he tries to better himself every day and I can't give up on him". She says she doesn't want to disrupt her son's life...even though his being in that environment is so toxic and I've got an extra room in my house for him where he could have a calm environment where he is wanted (the abuser doesn't like him there, though he is a good kid with a 4.0 gpa).

It's almost like she forgets all the good that takes place between us and I have to start over each day winning her over again. I never saw the movie 50 first dates, but based on the plot description where a man loves a woman with short term memory who forgets each day she fell in love with him so he has to start fresh each day...it seems like that's what it is like for us.

She's also thinking because we have made love that it was bad, though at this point I don't feel bad at all because I don't feel like the relationship she has with him has any validity...they don't even sleep together anymore. I told her, she made love with me, a man who loves her inside and out, her perfections and flaws...who cares about her as a whole woman, not just her body...a man who only has eyes for her, and never would cheat as her abuser has. So it seems hard to see how that is bad.

As a side note, last week when she was feeling like she was coming to me for sure, she asked me to get tickets to an early showing movie. Of course I was excited to do something to make her happy, as well as do something fun together as we hadn't had much chance to go on a real date. But, somehow it seemed she had to sabotage that by dilly dallying until it was too late to go and the money was wasted for the tickets. So, this seems the classic example of sabotaging a relationship that could give her what she really longs for. Because with her abuser, they can't count on plans to go out together which disappoints her.

Additionally, she seems very self-absorbed at the moment. Yesterday she got very sick and went to a clinic for what she thought was high blood pressure. I only learned about this from Facebook hours later. She checked in just down the street from my house! I messaged her that I feel terrible she didn't let me be there for her when I was only a couple minutes away (she actually lives a half hour away with the abuser, but her son's father is about 15 minutes away...so strange she checked into this clinic so close). She replied back "thanks, but I have plenty of support". I replied back, that's fine, but it still hurts me to know she didn't trust in me this time and it feels like she was trying to spite me.

Meanwhile, I wonder if I should contact her adult daughter and express my concern for her. I worry about my survivor getting angry if I did, then pushing me further away than she is currently. I don't want to jeopardize that I am still a lifeline/anchor for her...but I wonder if her daughter can help shed some insight on how I could gain more ground...because I know her daughter, in fact the whole family, despises the abuser and knows he is poison to her.

Thanks again for listening.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby avatar123 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:56 am

Sounds like a pattern may be emerging here. She is more receptive to you when she needs help, when your absolute devotion to her is a welcome thing. But then she becomes much less receptive apart from those times, even to the extent of blocking you, which is more or less a rejection of the devotion that was welcomed before.

I don't know why she is behaving like this, but I think it's clearly unfair to you. She must be aware of this too. So I think there is a large imbalance in your relationship. It might be that by ignoring this and remaining devoted, you are enabling her behavior. A relationship can't work with only you contributing. So maybe it would help to give her some space and let her decide whether or not she wants you in her life. That would be the only way to know for sure, if it's worth it for her to make some effort on her own, and take her own actions to demonstrate her devotion to you.

Without that, I think the future would only be more of this same pattern. So it's something for you to consider, would you really be happy in that circumstance?

I'm sorry, I know that's probably not the outcome you are hoping for. I'm just trying to give you an objective perspective. I think your devotion to her is so complete that it may be hard for you to be objective about her.
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Sirtriz » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:03 pm

Well, you certainly seem to have some valid insight, Avatar. Though yes it hurts.


This morning she texted me that her abuser stayed with her dad's widow last night because she was sick. So, in her mind that makes him just as good as me and the dad's widow must like him too.


She still has me blocked via phone texts and calls, so I can only use Facebook Messenger. Which is interesting she is at least leaving that path of communication open.


I tried to explain to her that her dad's widow is frail and takes what help she can get from whomever and probably not thinking clearly due to grief. I told her it is absolutely gross that he stay with her after he hit her in the face after her dad's death, giving her a black eye. That at that moment when she was hit, she was seeing clearly the difference between the abuser and me...but now she's back to making excuses and trying to make me out as the monster and him the saint. Even trying to make me jealous as a way to sabotage good possibilities she has with me because she feels unworthy. That when she goes back to the abuser, her thinking starts getting foggy again...and she starts feeling sick all the time because of the toxic environment. That I'm the one who has been there for her, but then she pushes me away. And that I feel used when she starts pitting me against him and it's not right and I don't deserve it.


I feel compelled to call her dad's widow and discuss this with her and ask that she not allow the abuser to come be with her because of how he hit my survivor after her husband's death. All I can do is attempt to have a heart to heart.


This is really hard. I know a woman like her needs a man like me to hang in there with her. But it does get hard to keep my composure and stay steady. I found this interesting article that sums it up well:


https://www.lovemagazine.com/magazine/a ... ood-trauma
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Re: Confusing behavior of lady friend in DV situation

Postby Sirtriz » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:41 pm

Hmm, interesting. I decided to call her dad's widow. She said that the abuser did not stay with her and she hadn't seen him for weeks. How about that. But she agreed that it wouldn't be good for him to come there after he hit my survivor the night of her husband's death.
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