November 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm #55200emilie18Participant
A coworker I have known for many years has an on again, off again (8 years all told) relationship with a man I believe is a narcissist. She has told us many tales of his patterns of mistreatment of her and her frustration, anger and disgust at herself for always going back to him. His pattern is to convince her he is a “changed man”, treat her well for a month or two, then start slowly making subtle comments about her hair, her weight, her clothes, her way of thinking – just enough to make her doubt herself, then escalate to picking fights for no reason, kicking her out of his house at 2 am, standing her up for dates, being seen flirting with other women in places he knows she frequents. After she breaks up with him he starts showing up at restaurants where she is socializing or bringing her coffee as she is checking in at work or calling at all hours. This last pattern ended over four months ago. I showed her this site and told her my story, shared insights and articles and gave her lists of the warning signs. Other coworkers let her know how much they disliked this guy and how happy she seemed without him. She seemed receptive to it all. She agreed he was bad for her and said this was truly The End. She started dating a nice older gentleman who treated her like a princess, respected her, brought her little gifts, introduced her to his family and generally was a great guy. We at work were cheering her on, encouraging her, supporting her. Then last night she sent out a group email saying that she did not want to be judged but she had broken up with the nice guy because the former jerk (my words) and she had talked “for hours” and he promised to do better and couldn’t live without her and she was really still in love with him and blah blah blah — you all know the script. I am so angry with her right now I can’t even talk to her. I don’t want to see her hurt again, naturally, but I also hate, hate, hate to see him manipulating her and “winning” again. He has always struck me as a smug, arrogant, conceited jerk and I am truly baffled that after this long of NOT being with his toxicity – and experiencing a sweet, gentle, honest relationship – she could actually return to that environment.
I know I will get over this initial anger and I know I need to be the supportive, caring coworker again — but how? Has anyone on here had to be supportive of a person who is so obviously in the claws of a predator? How do you keep your mouth shut when you see someone being torn apart again and again? Or do you?
November 23, 2019 at 4:41 pm #55204SunnygalParticipant
emilie- I would say you need to detach from her and live your own life. She is an adult and it is up to her whether to leave or continue this relationship. It is sad she stays in this sick relationship but it is her choice. That is my 2 cents.
November 23, 2019 at 4:49 pm #55205polestarParticipant
Hi emilie18 –
You already talked with her, gave her all the information that she needs to help herself, encouraged and supported her in getting away from the Narcissist ( or whatever brand of abuser he happens to be ), and cheered her about moving forward with her life. She knows what you think about the jerk. You have stated your bottom line on the issue. If you go any further in dealing with her, then you are placing your own self in the position of being victimized by her. I don’t have her book in front of me, but Shannon Thomas alludes to this in her book, ‘ Healing From Hidden Abuse ‘ when she states that she will not work with someone who will not go No Contact, when the relationship is killing them – in the same way that she wouldn’t be having a conversation with a drug addict about boundaries while they are mainlining heroin. The person is indulging in their drug of choice – that being an abusive relationship addiction. You have gone through a lot yourself and now are at a place where you can have the joy to reach for more and more love and light. Your coworker is bringing much darkness and is crossing the line of what I believe should be acceptable in your life.
Blessings to you.
November 23, 2019 at 5:11 pm #55206Jan7Participant
Hi Emilie, you are an amazing friend & co-worker. You see the truth with this manipulative man. Remember she is caught in the tornado of his manipulative, cunning, pathological lying words, gas lighting abuse etc etc. She is addicted to him. He has trauma bonded her to him.
Do you know that statically a woman in a abusive relationship will return to her emotional, mental, verbal and/or physically abuser 6-9 times before breaking her mind free from her abuser for good?
So, please do not be upset with her. Pat yourself on the back for being kind & supportive towards a woman that is suffering right now.
What is the best thing you can do for this victim of abuse?
Be kind to her. Show love & support. Do not weaver on this. She will need a very soft place to land when he either discards her again or she finally breaks it off when him again. As you know it’s a nightmare to escape the grips of a disordered person.
She will not be happy with him once his love bombing & the honey moon stage is over…as we all know the “happy” times do not last long with a narcissist or a sociopath narcissist.
Educate your co-workers to be kind & gentle with her. Show support. NEVER TELL HER “WE TOLD YOU SO”…her mind is literally being brain washed & under his mind control. He is her cult leader. She is a cult follower to him.
When she does wake up to reality again…show her this site. Hold her hand & bring her to Lovefraud. And read the articles with her. Also, look up the “Domestic abuse power & control wheel”. Print this out. And show everyone in your office what is going on with your co worker so they support her too. When she does wake up try to encourage her to go to her local abuse center for free counseling & also to talk with Donna here at lovefruad.
Remember abusers isolate their victims. SO PLEASE remain friends with her. You do not have to turn a blind eye to his horrible behavior. But, give her encouraging words that she can survive without him. Don’t push her away. Hold her tight with kindness, respect & love. She is just trying to survive right now under the mind control of an abuser.
Hugs to you for being a kind soul & posting for help for your friends/co-worker. This really shows how your heart is filled with kindness. 💜💜💜
take care. 🌺
November 24, 2019 at 11:18 am #55209emilie18Participant
Thank you all for your wise and compassionate advice. You are right – she IS an adult. It just breaks my heart to see her in this situation again – especially after all the great information, support and advice she had sought out from us at work. Yes – I need to step back and let her live her life and be there for her when she finally dumps him. Again. And yes, I will never, ever say “told ya so” – even though I – and many others – did. My frustration is born in compassion and fear for her.
Been there, done that, lived the aftermath. Many years ago I took a friend to the hospital after a beating from her boyfriend. She swore she was leaving him. Twice more I drove her in for treatment. It was only when he did the same to her 10 year old daughter that she finally left. Two broken arms, a concussion and years of therapy for her child could have been prevented if she had left after the first time. So, yes, I DO get frustrated and angry, even though I understand the science behind returning to abusive relationships.
Thank you all for listening and understanding. I am working on the very hard task of keeping my mouth shut. (smile)
November 26, 2019 at 3:29 pm #55228slimoneParticipant
I went through this with a co-worker, who ultimately became a very close friend. She went back and forth with a rather run-of-the-mill narcissist, for around 4 years. I gave her books, we met for coffee, we talked. She would try to set boundaries, and then let him break them over and over.
I did what Jan7 suggested. I gave her love, an ear, the wisdom of my experience. I was there when she needed to talk. Until the final time she went back to him. Then I wrote her an snail mail card telling her I loved her, respected her choices, but could not participate in a friendship with someone who didn’t love or respect herself. This was after 3 years of developing our relationship. It was ‘strategic’. I really just felt I could not go another round with all the nonsense, so I was honest with her.
Boy, I tell you when she got my letter she called by bawling her eyes out and said it was the best thing I could have done. She broke up with the guy, and never looked back. Our connection was more meaningful to her. AND, she was ready.
But it took nearly 4 years. I am not saying you need to stick it out with this person. I stuck it out with my friend because I had grown to cherish her as a dear friend, and I could see she was making progress, even as she returned over and over.
I was never ‘with’ one of these types for an extended period of time. Instead I had multiple relationships, both romantic, and non-romantic, with them; until I realized (in my 40’s) what I was dealing with, and why I kept seeking these types out. So it took me the better part of my early adulthood to finally go no contact with any more of these ‘relationships’.
November 26, 2019 at 4:18 pm #55229SunnygalParticipant
It would be nice to think all people in abusive relationships leave but I wonder what percent actually do leave. I know a 25 year old male with a very abusive female. I gave his mother Donna’s book. She keeps it but doesn’t read it. I think she is afraid. She has 2 other sons and grandchildren.
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