Dealing With The Obnoxious Uninvited Guest – Update

by admin on October 25, 2016

I submitted “dealing with the obnoxious uninvited guest” about a month ago and I promised an update when readers were asking, so here it is!

I found a way to say to my friend that I did not want her on again/off again boyfriend to come to our party. She mentioned the invitation was on her fridge and I took the opportunity to say, “Well please make sure “Dan” doesn’t see it.” She responded with, “Oh don’t worry he isn’t allowed in the house”.

I felt this was a sufficient way to say in a nice way that he was not invited. I had been waiting for an opening to say something and I was glad it had presented itself so neatly.

As the party drew closer, she started showing her usual signs of reconciliation with Dan. These include vague posts on social media about her “date night out” sans pictures, ceasing posting positive memes about surviving loss and starting over, daily texts to me asking for encouragement and support ceasing, etc.

Because of this change in behavior I was afraid that he would show up to the party and felt nervous about any potential altercations.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry because my friend completely flaked out, even after RSVP’ing “yes” for her and her 3 children weeks before on top of constantly talking about the party for months. She texted me two hours before the party and said that she was busy chauffeuring kids to activities all weekend and that’s why she couldn’t make it work.

I would not be surprised if I find out later she was with him this weekend and was ashamed to tell me. She typically avoids her friends and family when she returns to the relationship.

I have taken some time to consider things and realize this friendship might be more drama than what it’s worth. I have decided to step back from the friendship until things change. I don’t need toxicity in my life . I love her, but not the drama. I am starting to feel like she thrives on it.

As a side note, the party was an absolute smash! Even with 20 people canceling the DAY OF the party on social media (argh), we had a great turnout with about 120 guests. It was a wonderful, magical time. The servers I hired were worth every penny because we got to enjoy the event with our guests! 1024-16

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

lkb October 25, 2016 at 4:16 am

I’m glad the OPs party went so well. I do understand her feelings that she must step back from the relationship but hope that she maintains at least some slight contact with the friend. If the friend is in an abusive relationship, she may need in the future (especially if there are children involved).
I’m not saying it’s the OPs job to save the friend but it could be that it’s Dan’s tactic to isolate the friend.

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Mal October 25, 2016 at 6:01 am

I can say from experience that, at some point, you need to remove yourself from the drama, even if the friend is in an abusive relationship and you’d like to help them.

I’ve had a friend who put her verbally and physically abusive partner before me for years and when I found that I had done every- and anything I could for her, to no avail, it took such a toll on *me* that I had to give her the cut direct.
Part of me was hoping that might finally be the wake-up call she desperately needed but mostly, I just couldn’t stand it anymore as she, again and again, told me to my face that she knew she was worth a lot more than the guy made her feel, that she was determined to end this “relationship” once and for all – and then went right around back into his slap-happy arms again. I kept crying in frustration because nothing I said, nothing I helped her realize, seemed to make a dent in her misled devotion.

At some point, you can’t help a friend anymore if they don’t *want* to be helped. They need to seek out professional help themselves.

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lakey October 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I absolutely agree with Mal. OP’s friend has gone through 3 dozen (36) breakups and reconciliations. Until the friend gets professional help, I don’t think anyone can help her. It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about ruin their life through self-destructive behavior, and I suspect that her taking this guy back 36 times qualifies as self-destructive. On the other hand, the world is full of people who were substance abusers, who were in abusive relationships, and so on, who finally faced reality and fixed themselves. There’s always hope, but she needs to do it for herself.

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The Wall of Creativity October 25, 2016 at 6:31 am

Dump the friend. End of problem. No need to feel any remorse – she made her bed, let her lie in it.

You know, sometimes people rattle tins in front of me, trying to raise money for women’ shelters. They never get a penny from me. I just think back to a couple of years before when they were saying “You know, I’m only attracted to the bad boys.”

Call me callous but I think there are plenty of people out there more deserving of pity.

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Lady phoenix October 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

That is incredibly heartless of you. Juzt because some women thrive off of drama or toxicity does not mean EVERY woman in the shelters are like that. Lots of women either suffered from low self esteem that they are conned into dating these jerks. Some men go through a jekly/hyde route. Some men do everything to keep women with them.

What you are doing is toxic and victim blaming. Not cool

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CW October 25, 2016 at 11:24 am

I respectfully need to disagree. Women’s shelters are for the women who removed themselves from a destructive relationship and have no where to go. They may have children with them that need help. Just because someone was attracted to a “bad boy” does NOT mean they deserve to be abused (mentally or physically). How dare you.

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KMC October 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Your comment implies that every woman in an abusive relationship chose to be there and also that only “bad boys” turn out to be abusive. Neither is true.

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Lomita Momcat October 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm

The subject of abusive relationships is much, much more complicated than being about some women being attracted to “bad boys.” For starters, women can be abusers of their male partners.

As one of the other posters indicated, not all abusers are “bad boys” (or girls). Some are medical doctors, educators, engineers, ministers, accountants, managers, and every other profession under the sun.

Many abusers present a charming and charismatic face to the outside world. It’s not uncommon for people outside the relationship to think that the abuser’s spouse is lucky to be with the abuser.

Just like pedophiles usually go through a process of “grooming” their victims to assure that the victim will tolerate the abuse without giving the pedophile away, most abusers “groom” their partners in a process that strips away self-esteem and sense of competency to the point where the victim feels helpless to defend themselves or break away.or even express how helpless and worthless they feel. (FWIW, abusers are usually drawn to people who have self-worth issues to begin with.)

Two things we as individuals can do to help decrease abuse:

Recognize that abuse is NEVER the fault of the victim. Nobody, ever, “deserves” to be abused.

Educate ourselves to the signs of an abusive personality, recognizing first of all that abusers aren’t just “bad boys” or girls. Abusers are about control of others and assigning responsibility for the abuser’s faults, failings and problems to others. That’s how you spot an abusive personality.

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Green123 October 27, 2016 at 2:18 am

And indeed men can abuse their male partners and women can abuse their female partners.

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stacey October 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

You have a point with respect to the lack of judgment sometimes practiced by men and women who are in abusive relationships. That said, God help us if we have come to the place where only the truly deserving receive help in time of need. Humans are fallible and that frailty attaches to every member of the race. Your money is your own to manage. But you might reflect on the likelihood of your own occasional lapse of good judgment before writing off an entire demographic.

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abby October 26, 2016 at 7:52 am

Wow. So much ignorance and victim blaming all in one post. Well done.

I guarantee you no battered woman has ever said, gee I sure wish I could leave my abusive husband because getting beat up when dinner is 5 min late sure is no fun! If only non abusive men did it for me, I’d have it made.

There is so much more to abusive relationships than the poor judgement of the victim. There’s the isolation, the gaslighting, often the financial dependence, usually minor children- who may be subjected to unsupervised visits with the abuser if the victim can’t prove abuse happened- all leads to the situation where the victim feels trapped.

And abusive men aren’t necessarily “bad boys”- some of them are white collar professionals with an outwardly friendly, even milquetoast demeanor to the public.

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Aletheia October 27, 2016 at 4:52 am

How dare you.

How. DARE. You.

I have been in an abusive relationship. I have never, ever once wanted to date a “bad boy.” I denounced the Heathcliff types since the time I began to be aware of them. The bastard hid his abusiveness away until I was too far in to escape quickly or cleanly. That same situation is far, far too common, probably much more common than the “I only date bad boys” mindset is. I escaped about a year after he began to show his true colours; some women take years, or even decades or *never*, to do the same because of how their abuser tears them down – mentally, physically, and emotionally. The ones that do manage to escape to shelters and try to build their lives again (after being destroyed down to the obliteration of their own self and self-worth) deserve much more than your *pity* – they deserve your respect, and support, and kindness, and understanding.

To say that you don’t donate because “there are plenty of people out there more deserving of pity” is galaxies away from mere callousness. I’d say you should be ashamed, but I doubt you have any shame left in your cold, dead heart.

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LeeLee88 October 27, 2016 at 11:28 am

Hold up guys, I’m catching a wiff of troll bait. Why come into an etiquette board, to a thread about a toxic/abusive relationship and make such an egregious statement? Give the troll zero goats to eat.

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Aletheia October 27, 2016 at 11:36 pm

I really, really hope you’re right, but at the same time, there have been other (genuine) commenters in the past that shared similar tone/board-deaf views… :/

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AthenaC October 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Well … that comment really isn’t out of the norm for the commenting culture here.

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Rebecca October 28, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Donate, or don’t donate. It’s up to you. I have never donated to a women’s shelter either, but it’s because there are numerous things to donate to and you can’t donate to everything. I put my donation dollars, and volunteer time, into animal rescue. Others like to donate to children’s causes, or cancer research. Pick something that’s near and dear to you. But, your REASONS for not donating to women’s shelters in particular are completely and utterly out to lunch.

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A Person October 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm

To Wall of Creativity – What an interesting assumption, and disgusting too. Nobody deserves to be abused for any reason.

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Michelle October 25, 2016 at 7:34 am

So glad to hear your party went well!

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JD October 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

I’m happy your party went well! I think you are making the right choice, to back off some. I think you are probably right about her being back with him and hiding it. I’ve seen that in my experience with friends and co-workers, too — the signs are there, even though they don’t say a word about it.

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lakey October 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

I had a sister who did that. Her boyfriend wasn’t abusive or an alcoholic, but they had one of those stormy, on-again-off-again relationships. They were both shallow and self-centered, which made for a lot of drama. She would announce that she had broken up with him “for good this time”, then a few months later you would go to visit her, and there he’d be.

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Dee October 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm

lakey – Isn’t it often just a matter of self-centeredness? To use up a friend’s goodwill and assistance without taking the responsibility of not wasting it? I really don’t have patience for people who won’t help themselves out of abusive situations, or who return to them repeatedly. I know one person who complained of how her ex was still abusing her, all while he had been dead for a few years already! I called her on it and she was miffed when I told her it was beyond reasonable; she just didn’t want to let go of the drama. In the meantime, she didn’t use any of that energy to be a real friend to the people who had helped her so much over the years.

I’m happy to help when help is actually needed. However, I avoid “victims” like the plague. OP is better off without this “friend”, who has made it very clear OP is not even worthy of basic courtesy. What bothers me most is those kids. Surely there is a good reason to call authorities to let them know how little this mother cares about the toxicity of their home life?

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Yasuragi October 25, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Wha…? How was the late ex abusing her?

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Dee October 25, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Yasuragi – He wasn’t, of course. But the mantra had been chanted for so long (“he thinks he can pull a fast one on me … he sure likes to make a fool out of me …”) that even after he was dead she was still trotting out his sins, using present tense. She was a perpetual victim who wasn’t entirely happy if she wasn’t being “abused”. Her second marriage was a peaceful one but she still pretended she was downtrodden. She taught me a lot about how to avoid getting sucked into the drama of people like her.

oregonbird November 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

No, calling CPS out of spite is not a good idea.

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mark October 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

Ugh, three kids and dating someone abusive. 🙁

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Skaramouche October 25, 2016 at 9:33 am

Thanks for coming back with an update, OP! I often wonder what happened in the wake of various stories we hear so it’s nice to actually know. It’s funny you say that you feel she thrives on the drama. I don’t know your friend but I do have several acquaintances about whom I would say the same thing. I have come to an identical conclusion: I don’t need that drama in my life. I hope your friend eventually sees how toxic Dan is and drops him for good!

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mark October 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm

I think some people think drama is the “fifth” food group as often as they serve it up.

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SianMcClay October 25, 2016 at 10:52 am

Well done, OP! I’m so pleased the party went well! And I appreciate your giving kudos to the waitstaff.
I always wanted to try that but my parties are never quite big enough! Maybe I’ll just hire a bartender.

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Lisa H. October 25, 2016 at 11:16 am

While my marriage was careening down the slopes at warp speed, I welcomed all drama. I didn’t realize it until later, but it was a way for me to feel better about my bad situation knowing that I wasn’t the only one treading water in the middle of the ocean.

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TaterTot October 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

I’m so glad that your party was successful and drama-free!

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Ashley October 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

I’m glad your party went well, and I’m glad you decided to take a step back from the friendship. Honestly.

I’m at a point in my life where if someone is involved in drama/toxicity and refuses to do anything about it, then I don’t need them in my life. I just don’t. That’s high school stuff, and I’m a grown woman. I graduated high school, and the drama stayed there. I don’t know how anyone else manages to live an adult life full of petty high school drama and toxic relationships.

So yeah, take a step back, see what happens.

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Lomita Momcat October 25, 2016 at 11:33 am

The whole issue of abusive relationships, co-dependency, and the dynamics of abuse and the family and community is very, very complicated.

But there is one simple aspect to it:

Nobody can “fix” another person who doesn’t believe they are broken. There is no leverage, no force in the entire world, powerful enough to “fix” somebody else who doesn’t think they are broken. All you can do is break yourself trying to “fix” them.

Because broken people believe that the source of all their problems is other people and other things, not themselves, anyone who gets drawn into their vortex of problems is, sooner or later, going to be assigned a chunk of responsibility/blame for the problems.

So the right thing to do, when a broken person tries to suck you into their problems, is to politely decline to be sucked in, refer them to a professional who is paid and trained to deal with the problems, and remind yourself that you have no power to “fix” them as long as they do not believe that they are broken and that they are their own problem.

Hurts like hell when the broken person is someone you love and want to help. But even if you love them, you can’t fix them if they don’t think they’re broken and don’t want to be fixed.

Repeat as necessary.

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Cheryl October 27, 2016 at 12:41 am

Or as I have learned to say “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I have a family member whose life is often more over the top than the worst soap opera and I repeat this to myself when I get off the phone from her during some of the worst of it.

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Vicky October 25, 2016 at 12:07 pm

OP – thanks for the update. I’m happy that your party went so well.

I get wanting to draw away from this friend and eliminate the drama in your life. I did – you’ll have a much more peaceable life. It is, though, a struggle between wanting to be a good friend and wanting to eliminate drama

I have had to do the same with a friend of mine. She has been going through financial issues, cheating husband and subsequent divorce for 5 years now. I have been there for her but grew frustrated with her inability to move ahead. She does nothing about the divorce (get a lawyer) or her home foreclosure until it is critical mass, creating much more stress and drama than needed. She is in deep financial trouble yet in the 3.5 years since her husband walked out, has not gotten a job (there is always some excuse). She asks for advice and then makes every excuse under the sun to not take action. I’m not the only friend that has distanced ourselves from her. Listening to her complain about the same things over and over again became overwhelming and frustrating. I wanted to be a good friend but there is a point that I needed to get away from that drama. I found myself struggling to look at the positive things after being dragged down by her negativity. Getting away from that has helped me tremendously.

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Lerah99 October 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Anyone can end up in an abusive relationship.

But when you CONTINUE to date abusers, you are seeking it out.
And that is sad.
It’s the kind of self destruction that will eventually kill you – just like alcoholism, just like drug abuse.
And just like alcoholism or drug abuse, no one can save you against your will.

Yes, abusers isolate their victims.
But their victims also let that isolation happen.
They find it easier to let go of their friends and family so they don’t have to fight with their sweetie pie.
Regardless of the emotional, physical, and psychological abuse their sweetie pie puts them through.

When it comes down to it, sometimes women have a good reason to stay.
After all, abusers are twice as likely to kill a woman after she’s left.

No matter, you cannot save your friend. For good or for bad, she has to save herself.
And you are well within your rights to refuse to be a witness to her self destruction.

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Kirsten October 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm

It’s not true that women seek out abusers, not knowingly. First of all, abusers generally don’t start being abusive straight away. They’re clever and they’re subtle, and they choose women who they realise will tolerate their escalating behaviour – they pick their victims. Secondly, the women who repeatedly pick abusive partners often grew up in abusive households. They don’t always know what a healthy relationship is. We’re all drawn to the familiar, whether it’s someone who wears the same cologne as a favourite grandparent, or someone who behaves the same way as an abusive parent did. It’s a subconscious thing and we don’t always choose it. Saying that victims let it happen is victim-blaming and it sucks.

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Lerah99 October 26, 2016 at 9:11 am

Even if it is subconsciously, they are still seeking it out.

If you are in your 4th abusive relationship, and you haven’t realized that you need help? That’s an issue.

Yes, abusers can absolutely be charming and charismatic. Some abusers wait until the woman is pregnant to start in on their abuse. And abusers do seek out women with low self esteem who will put up with the abuse. That’s what makes them abusers.

ANYONE can get into an abusive relationship.
You can be completely blindsided the first time a man screams at you for being too stupid to live, or breaks your favorite thing because he didn’t get his way, or smacks you for disagreeing with him.

BUT, if that’s how ALL your relationships go, it’s time to start considering that maybe you are making really poor choices in the love department. That maybe you finding jealousy so flattering in the beginning of a relationship is a warning sign. That maybe his demanding to know where you are via text every 15 seconds isn’t love but control.

Women who refuse to even consider breaking the cycle of abuse because it’s “familiar” to them.
That’s sad, but it’s also self-destructive as hell.

When someone is an alcoholic and they refuse to go to rehab, or AA or therapy or even try to stop drinking – is it “victim blaming” to say that they have a self destructive behavior that will only end in prison, insanity, or death? No, it’s not victim blaming. It’s reality.

When someone is a drug addict and they refuse to go to rehab, or AA, or therapy or even try to break their habit – is it “victim blaming” to say “Hey, if you don’t knock this off, you’re going to end up dead.”? Nope, it’s the truth.

If that person (no matter how sad their life has been. No matter the mountains of tragedy, childhood abuse, mental illness, PTSD, homelessness, poverty, etc… which lead them to this place) refuses to change their behavior – they will die. And no one can save them.

Same with women who seek out abusive relationships.
And, of course, I don’t mean that these women are looking for an online profiles that says “Date me. I’ll drink too much, smack you around, and then the next day I’ll cry and tell you how sorry I am and how much I love you.”

But, if the common thread in all your relationships is that you are being abused – it’s time to stop dating and get into therapy. Because you are obviously seeking out people who will hurt you.

Stating that repeatedly dating abusers is self destructive isn’t “victim blaming”. It’s the cold hard truth of the matter.

How about, instead of calling out “victim blaming” everywhere so you can prove how “woke” you are – you should stop infantilizing adults and acting like their choices, decisions, and actions don’t have consequences.

They may have a tragic and sorrow filled background that leads them to make poor choices, but they still make those choices. You can be sad about their background and even sad abut the choices they have made.

But the only thing that might save their life is when they stop blaming others for their situation and take actions to change.

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Lady Phoenix October 27, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Lerah, a lot of women who get into abusive relationships do so bcause that’s what they know. A lot of these womens were raised in toxic environments, which in turn messes with their psychology. The abuse they endure sends a message to the brain that “This is normal”, and all the abusive asshats are “the best they’re gonna get”. This is what we call “gaslighting”.

Seriously, knock it off with the victim blaming, cuz that is all you are doing.

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Lerah99 October 29, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Stating that they are self destructive and no one can save them against their will isn’t “Victim Blaming.”
At no point am I saying “Eh, those women deserve it”

What I’m saying is no one can save them against their will. That they have to be willing to break the cycle. That they have to both want to get out and be willing to change their actions to do so.

The abusers are still abusive jerks who should be locked up. The abusers are still at fault. But assigning blame won’t save the victims. Only they can save themselves.

Lomita Momcat October 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm

There is a world of difference in making the observation that a person who seems engaged in a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior has a very serious problem that will have catastrophic consequences, and saying that someone who is in a downward spiral has a defective character and it’s their own damn fault if they can’t stop.

Without going into a dissertation, in a lot of cases of people in self-destructive behaviors, including people who seem drawn to abusive partners, there is actual mental illness involved. Mental illness has a biological basis and is no longer considered, at least by educated people, to be a character defect. Certainly substance addictions (including alcoholism) are accompanied by changes in brain neurochemistry that are well-known and are the subject of much research by the medical/psychiatric community.

I guarantee you that when you find someone who is has repeatedly been in abusive relationships, you’ve found someone who has a diagnosable mental illness that needs treatment, not condemnation.

The dynamics of abusive relationships are very complicated. It’s best to leave treatment to professionals. The one thing that EVERYONE can do is understand that no one, ever, EVER, “deserves” to be abused.

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Dee October 27, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Lomita Momcat – You don’t have to have a mental illness to be dysfunctional. You can have traits of an illness but not enough for a diagnosis, or a personality disorder, or nothing diagnosable at all. There are many reasons why a person might seek out high-adrenaline relationships. Sometimes people just thrive on drama and choose to live that way, even if they aren’t actually asking to be abused.

Lerah99 October 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm

At no point did I say they “Deserved to be abused”.
I said that repeatedly getting into abusive relationships is self destructive and will end in their death if they don’t choose to take action to get out. Because no one can save the unwilling.

PM October 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm

I’m glad your party went well. But again, she is not a good friend.

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Rebecca October 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Glad to hear you didn’t end up with Dan at your party.

Why she didn’t come, when she was looking forward to it and talking about it for weeks, I’ll guarantee it’s because she is back with him and she would not have been able to go without him finding out about it and he’d have come. She knew he wasn’t invited and she wasn’t going to tell him that.

These kinds of guys generally don’t accept “I have longstanding plans this Saturday with other friends” as an answer for “what are you doing this weekend?”

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kgg October 25, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Goodness, she has three children? That just made this a whole other level of sad.

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Just4Kicks October 26, 2016 at 1:04 am

I’m happy your gathering went well.
I’m sure you were disappointed your friend ditched you, but, me personally, I think I would have breathed the tiniest sigh of relief you didn’t have worry any drama she may bring to your house.

…And..as far as dumping her as a friend altogether, it sounds like she NEEDS a friend like you.

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Anon October 26, 2016 at 9:06 am

She may NEED a friend like the OP, but there comes a point where it’s just too much to even try to keep up with a friend like this. If you’re friend is causing so much drama in your life to the point where it’s taking a toll on your own health, which it sounds like for OP, then you are totally allowed to step back from the relationship.

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Mojo October 26, 2016 at 3:06 am

Good to hear the party was a success, and the drama was averted. Sounds like a good idea to step back from this friend for a while.

Perhaps you can use this time to plan your response for the next time they split up. You know it will happen – she’ll come knocking at your door, looking for support and swearing this time she’s done with him for good.

How will you react? How much of yourself are you willing to give? Is there anything you can do to help that you haven’t tried before? It’s up to you how involved you want to get next time, but if you’ve thought it through first you’ll be better prepared.

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Wilbur October 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

There is something lacking in someone’s perception of themselves when they continue to indulge an abuser, low esteem possibly. If you stay, what is his/her motivation to change? Some people push buttons and test boundaries jus for @#$% and giggles. I have a 35 year old daughter who I think is a high functioning mental case, who would invite drama and craziness when things got too peaceful. Every guy she “dates” has outside children that they don’t see or take care of and they treat her like trash. She has 3 children with 3 different men, 3 abortions and 1 miscarriage. A disposable life is hard on everyone that has a connection to the abused. What better for someone other than yourself.

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Cheryl October 27, 2016 at 12:51 am

I have a family member who quits taking her meds when things get too peaceful. IMHO she loves the drama her meltdowns cause and “accidentally” skipping her meds for a day or two EVERY MONTH or so gives her an excuse. And no one calls her on it because they have to live with her (I live several hundred miles away and visit for a week or two just about every year and yes, there is ALWAYS a meltdown sooner or later.).

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