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    • #59888
      Copperflame
      Participant

      Hi Ladies,

      It’s been quite a while since I left my abusive partner to come to a refuge, which was the best thing I ever did and a move I have never regretted.

      Although I’ve had two lots of specialist domestic violence counselling, I’ve recently started having psychotherapy to address some of my deeper issues. Although I’ve learned to set firm boundaries with men and have very finely tuned ‘red flag’ radar, one of my issues is forming unhealthy relationships with female friends, two of whom turned out to be abusers themselves and who I no longer see.

      However one of my friends lies all the time – about everything and anything. I enjoy seeing her, but she’s lied to me a lot and I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel comfortable about it any more. They’re not little ‘white’ lies either; some of them are blatant lies and are very misleading. I’m now feeling very confused about our friendship. She’s aware that she lies a lot, but justifies it by saying that everyone tells ‘white’ lies. I don’t think she lies to be malicious; I think it’s more likely to just be a bad habit, but honesty is important to me and I’ve always been open and honest with her.

      Lies are a trigger for me because like all abusers, both of my abusive ex-partners lied all the time and in the end I couldn’t trust a word they said. Now I’m beginning to mistrust everything this friend says too. It’s reached a stage where a lot of what she says doesn’t ‘add up’ and I’m starting to feel confused and off balance about this friendship, the way I felt with my abusers. It feels as if she’s playing games sometimes.

      My therapist has suggested I take a break from her, and I feel I would like a break if only to clear my head and think more clearly. I’ve got into a bit of a rut just recently and my therapist has advised me to develop some new interests and make some new, hopefully healthier friendships.

      Yet I still feel confused. Am I overreacting to her telling lies all the time or am I being judgmental? I was very isolated in both of my abusive relationships, so having close female friends is a comparatively new experience for me. I think I now know what to look for in a healthy intimate relationship, but still feel a bit unsure when it comes to female friends. My friend is supportive and I enjoy her company, but her lies are becoming an issue for me.

      Thanks for listening, Copperflame.

    • #59890

      Hey CF.
      Personally I don’t think you are overreacting .
      I think once we have recognised dynamics of manipulation and lies however they manifest themselves then our radar is finely tuned.

      Taking a break from your friends seems a good idea
      all best
      ftc
      x

    • #59895

      sorry that should have read friend

    • #59898
      SunshineRainflower
      Participant

      I have difficulty with friendships too. I think if we experienced dysfunction in childhood, it sets us up to see dysfunctional people as normal so we often end up surrounded by them.

      The lying is a red flag. My mum is like that, lies a lot and says white lies are no big deal. The problem is what can you believe if someone lies all the time? And then it becomes gaslighting, which is a form of emotioanl abuse.

      I agree it sounds like this is someone to distance yourself from and then probably remove from your life. What’s the point of a friendship if the person just lies all the time, I don’t see how you could trust them. I expect that you’ll start to notice people like this quicker the more you heal and will hopefully make some healthier friendships in future. I’m in the same boat, I’ve had to go no contact with a lot of former friends because I realised their behaviour mirrored my mum, my brother, my dad and my ex. I’m extremely lonely but don’t want to return to a life where people lie to me, put me down, criticise me, mock me and imply that I’m incapable.

    • #59958
      Copperflame
      Participant

      Thank you SRF and FTC.

      Sunshine Rainflower, I’m so glad I’m not the only one to be experiencing difficulties with friendships. Like you, I grew up in what I now realise was a very dysfunctional family. My father was emotionally and sometimes physically abusive towards my mother, but she was sometimes emotionally, verbally and physically abusive towards me. I have an older brother who bullied me when I was growing up, and yet I looked up to him. My father and brother had very disrespectful attitudes towards women, but also my brother had disrespectful attitudes towards everyone, including people in authority.
      I’m sorry that your mother lied all the time. It must have been very confusing for you.

      I still find that when I feel confused by someone’s behaviour, when I feel things somehow don’t ‘add up’ or that something is off, I start feeling a lot of self-doubt – is it me? Am I overreacting? Am I being judgmental? I used to feel like this with both of my exes. With my first abuser, I constantly used to ask myself was his behaviour normal, or was there something wrong with me? My second abuser’s behaviour seriously confused me and I used to twist my mind into knots trying to figure him out. I now know there was nothing wrong with me – it was them being abusive and controlling. My second abuser was extremely manipulative and very big on gaslighting, hence the confusion.

      Now I’m beginning to wonder if this friend is playing mind games with me as well. Perhaps I should learn to trust my gut feelings, but I still find it hard to get my head around the fact that women can be abusive too, and I seem to be drawn to abusive women.

      Hoping that the therapy will help with there relationship issues.

      Love Copperflame xx

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