Reply To: Dealing with mutual friends



Dear howdoimoveon, Thanks for sharing your story. I see two or three things Would like to comment on, and how I’ve handles/mishandled similar situations. I’d been political sorta friends with a man for about 10 years. I was at his 60th or 65th birthday party, which was a blast, by they way. He had a long-term live in girlfriend. I had seen her behavior twice: Once, she verbally LIT INTO a high-up official in our state government. She was HORRIBLE to him. She has a mental disorder, and he knew it, so did not fight or talk back to her (allowing a disordered person to attach them is not helping that person). So anyway, at the very time the guy’s birthday party was happening — which she did not attend — she was moving out of their home — with the assistance of two other people I knew, and he knew and trusted. So anyway, she later on makes fairly public that he had been abusing her. Who do I trust in this situation? Was he really abusing her?

As for your brotherly friend, I speak only for myself, but when my ex- found a new g/f shortly after I threw him out, I found out her telephone number. I called her and told her about his treatment of me. She later broke off with him, but I don’t know whether my phone call had any influence on that decision , but I felt like I needed to warn her.

You wrote that he apolotised, and “I was brave (or crazy) to be really honest with him. However, I dread the day he gets into another long term relationship as I just don’t know what will happen.”

I question what you see as your role with this man, since if you are aware how he treats women, do you not have a supportive role for this man’s decisions? I’d say two possibilities other than just being a bystander, you could either let the women know, or get out of the picture altogether by ending your friendship with him. If it were me, I would not want to just “stand there and watch” this mistreatment of women, over and over. There is a book called “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.” One premise of the book is that the Bystander is on the side of the bully, if they do not intervene in some way. They can stand by, stand up for, or speak out in support of the Bullied person, during the incident. (In the situation you write about, “during the incident” would be when you find out he’s starting a new relationship, not waiting till the infidelity has already happened — maybe you can save her!) The book says, if the By stander does speak out, and stand by the side of the Bullied, the Bully will either stop bullying the Bullied, or will back off in some way. Plus, the no-longer-bystander, may cause other people who are in the vicinity to stand up to the bully alongside them, so there is at least one person speaking up, and maybe others, as well. I hope this makes sense about the Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander — kinda hard to summarize the message/s of the book, but it’s worth a read. But as I see the situation you describe, the man you know is the Bully; his “newest woman” is the Bullied; and you are the “Bystander,” unless you talk to her about what he does.

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