Hey Doc! My friends and I need your help.
Our friend is in a super toxic relationship and Tuesday night he finally escaped the relationship. She then sent him around 80 calls, found his mom’s number, home number, and sister’s number and sent him text saying that she was going to kill him. Then on Thursday, she showed up outside of his door at 9 in the morning. (She goes to a college that’s 3 hours away, meaning she took a 6 am bus ride all the way here). She then proceeded to cry for six hours straight and threaten to kill herself.
Apparently, she has attempted this before. Eventually she guilted him into taking her back through emotionally manipulating him and threatening her safety.
My friends and I have no idea what to do, it feels like we’re helpless to save him from this mess and we’re pushing against a brick wall. He even met a new girl a few days ago that is super into him and is not a manipulative psycho who actually treats him with respect.
Any advice would be great. I feel like slapping him at this point.
Stuck In The Middle
Your friend doesn’t have a relationship. He has a hostage situation… and his girlfriend is both the hostage taker and the hostage. The problem here – besides the fact that he’s backed himself into a corner by his ex – is that there’s nothing you can do to save him.
This, unfortunately, is a universal truth for anyone who’s friends with someone stuck in an abusive relationship, male or female: as much as it may drive you nuts to watch your friend suffer, you can’t force him to leave her. It’s going to drive you batshit watching him waste away with his toxic girlfriend, especially when there are other, awesome, non-manipulative, non-borderline-personality-disorder-having women out there practically throwing themselves at him and feeling completely powerless to do anything.
But, sadly, that’s the way it has to be. He knows he’s in a toxic relationship… but he’s the only one who can get himself out of it. You can’t force him out. You can’t go all Saving Silverman on her (and look how that worked out…) and try to drive her away. He’s a grown-ass man, and the only way he’s going to get out of this mess is when he decides he’s had enough.
Now having had experience with this sort of thing before, I do have some advice for you and your friend.
Don’t talk shit about her; he knows what she is. Don’t pressure him to dump her; he already knows this is what he needs to do. He’ll do it when he’s good and ready, and pushing him is only going to make him push back. The best thing you can do right now is be the friend he needs. You need to be as non-judgmental as possible; he knows he did a stupid thing and giving him shit for a decision he made when he felt like his back was against the wall will only make things worse for him. Give him your unconditional support – he’s going to need it. Be someone he can lean on and provide him strength when he needs it. If he asks for your opinion, then tell him how you feel. Phrase it in your concern for him: you’re worried about him, you don’t like how he’s been so drained lately or the way he’s been so depressed.
Also: keep him busy. Since she’s not actually on campus with him, it’ll be easier to keep him occupied and distracted. She may be using the electronic leash to try to keep tabs on him, but the more you and your friends can spend time with him, the less of an influence she’ll be able to exert. Having a life outside of her one-woman campaign of misery will also help build back his self-esteem and help remind him that he needs to establish strong boundaries
Here’s the other thing need you need to tell your buddy: she is not his responsibility. He’s not her doctor, her father, her legal guardian, or even her guardian angel. Yeah, she’s threatened to kill herself if he leaves her… big fucking deal. First: she’s not going to do it. This is an incredibly common manipulation technique that abusive shitbags – men and women – use to keep their partners in line. She’s relying on the fact that he’s a good guy and doesn’t want anyone to hurt themselves over him. It’s a way of making him feel as though he’s somehow responsible for her and playing on his sense of guilt. She only has as much power over him as he allows her to have… and right now, he’s allowing her to have a lot.
Second: even if she does hurt herself… that’s not his fault. Unless he actually has secret mutant powers, he didn’t cause her to do anything. She’s a grown-ass woman, fully capable of making her own decisions. If she’s in a place so dark that she actually would carry out her threat to commit suicide, then she’s such a danger to herself, then she needs to be 5150’d instead of going to class.
(By the way: do not try to get her committed.)
Eventually he’s going to get around to dumping her again. When he does, you all need to go nuclear immediately. This means cutting off every avenue she has of getting in contact with him. All of you need to block her on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Instagram, GoodReads, everything. All of you also need to make sure that your privacy settings are air tight, especially on Facebook; it’s absurdly easy to stalk people via friends-of-friends. Be sure to tell his family as well; she’s already dragged them into her drama once already, she’ll likely try again.
In addition: go to campus security. She’s shown up unannounced before, and odds are, she’ll do it again. Bring copies of the threats she’s made against your buddy, as well as bringing up all the other people she’s dragged into this drama. Do not let them brush you aside just because she’s a woman. She’s threatened to kill him and she’s shown up on his doorstep without warning; it’s their job to keep him safe and her off campus.
If she does show up again – do not engage her. Don’t talk to her, don’t answer the door. Tell her to leave. If she won’t leave, call campus security. If she’s not on campus, the call the cops. Your buddy has no obligation to talk to her, listen to her or otherwise enable her bullshit. Opening the metaphorical door even an inch just gives her even more leverage to wedge herself back into his life. Cut her out.
Your friend is lucky to have friends like you. Help him stay strong, give him your support and be the shield he needs to keep the crazy out of his life.
This is a question regarding a body type.
So, I’m a tiny girl. And by tiny I mean, pretty flat, front and back. Weird saying this, I don’t even know you (but I value your words and love your blog– great job!). Anyway, so, I’m pretty bold when I like a guy. I will usually tell him, upfront and in-person. Unfortunately, I’ve only had the chance about three times to be this bold.
Other times, I’m held back by a … thing. Being a nerd, I hang out with nerd guys. And they all seem to be really into curvy girls. And that’s great! Girls of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, and I mean that. Despite self-esteem issues, I really try to stay fine with my own body type (I am twig-thin and am often accused of being “too thin”– I’m not, doctor says I’m healthy as a … healthy horse, I promise), and am only shaken when confronted with the poisonous question of “Is what I have enough to please?” I guess I feel like there are fantasies I will never be able to fulfill for my guy (when he happens).
So recently, despite my previous forwardness, my confidence has dropped considerably because of eavesdropping on (I wasn’t really, I was actually RIGHT there) conversations in recent past workplaces (restaurant talk, what should I have expected?). Guys talking about how they at least need a “handful” … ok, well, guys tend to have bigger hands than ladies. Just sayin’. When I was younger, I used to Google search what guys thought of small girls, and the majority (though not all!) of my findings yielded glorious statements like, “I’m not a pedophile” or “Real men want real women with curves”, I was a wee bit crushed. I don’t feel like less of a woman because of it, just… less desirable. I was young and foolish, and while I know not to go looking for that stuff now, I was impressionable.
I’m also surrounded by curve-love (which is great, curves should be loved!) at conventions and other gatherings of geekdom (I tend to avoid comic book stores — some good experiences, but also some uncomfortable ones, as you’ve mentioned on your blog). While I appreciate curves, I always feel … ahaha, “under-dressed”? I’m terrified to cosplay most anyone (except Death from Gaiman’s “Sandman”– man, I love her).
I think to assume that NO guy likes small women is pretty low of me, but what are the odds that, in finding a guy who does (and him being a geek who is NOT into loli), he doesn’t end up disappointed? Or want something more? Am I worrying too much?
Thanks for reading,
A-Cup o’ Concerns
You’re worrying yourself over nothing, ACoC.
Just as I’m always saying that women aren’t one monolithic hive-mind, neither are men. Guys are incredibly divergent in the body-types they go for. For every guy who goes nuts for Christina Hendricks’ hour-glass figure, there will be another who wouldn’t bang her with a stranger’s dick and Taylor Momsen doing the pushing. Kirsten Bell – to pick a celebrity – is quite petite, but folks find her sexy. There are plenty of men who go nuts for petite women, just as there are plenty of guys who go for BBWs. The big problem – other than people body-shaming naturally thin women – is that younger guys often have a hard time owning up to their own preferences. There’s a lot of pressure for guys to conform to the “Gimme BOOBS” stereotype and someone who diverges from that image may not feel as though he can own his preferences.
Sadly, the only thing that helps in this case is for him to mature enough and become self-assured enough to not give a shit about what other people think and just embrace that he likes, whether it’s big ladies or wee ones.
Be careful relying on the Internet as a barometer for opinons; not only is it an echo-chamber, but it gives a distorted view of how people really feel. The loud folks can seem far more numerous than they actually are. On the one hand, you have guys saying that “you need a handful”. On the other, the French have a saying: “a smaller-breasted girl holds you closer to her heart”.
Sexiness is about attitude as much as it is anything else. One of my friends is insanely petite – to the point of having to shop in the juniors’ section as often as not. She’s had her share of boyfriends and admirers over the years and is now incredibly happily married. Part of what made her popular wasn’t her measurements but her personality. She has an appealing mix of punk-rock-don’t-give-a-fuck and Zoe-Deschanel-perkiness that won people over. With the right attitude, a 32 A-cup can be even more alluring than someone with Jayne Mansfield’s measurements. It’s all in how you present yourself as a hollistic person.
And just a side note about cosplay: cosplaying as Death is going to get you plenty of admirers. You might also try Ninjette from Adam Warren’s series Empowered. There’s also a wide variety of anime characters that you might find appealing. But more than just matching their fictional measurements, cosplay is about how you feel about the character. Pick a character you love and rock it, bra size be damned.