Dealing with mutual friends
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Tagged: mutual friends
March 11, 2017 at 11:31 pm #25374
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting. Happy to have found this forum. I was in a relationship with a sociopath and during that time experienced what most or all of you have experienced, lies upon lies upon lies, triangulation, extreme manipulation, future faking and so forth. It was the most painful experience of my life. He of course targeted me during a very vulnerable time. It has been a few months since I’ve seen him and I am still recovering but have made progress. My question is how do you all deal with mutual friends? Some are more like mutual acquaintances but a couple, one in particular, that I would call a real friend, knows a lot about how he treated me and is still friendly with him. I am having trouble accepting neutrality but understand I may be expecting too much. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
March 11, 2017 at 11:46 pm #25375
Welcome, auri12! I post pretty frequently. My relationshipSSS with sociopaths are long over. But your question about mutual friends is indeed a tough one.
My ex-and I had three mutual friends — an older couple, and the woman and I were very close. And a single woman who the ex- urged me to get to know. The single woman and I had some things in common, but I believe she also has some sort of personality problem — I have no idea, really, what her problem is. But she is “pleasantly” very argumentative. She challenges EVERYTHING I would say — and essentially try to destroy my reasoning and my belief system. She also has virtually no personal ethics. I broke off from her 3 times, and this last time — maybe 6 months ago — I just could not stand it anymore. I was under stress for a long time, just thinking about her and how miserable she made me feel. She has had the courtesy or wisdom to not contact me, thank goodness.
As for the other two mutual friends, I just still feel really bad about my friend who was 20 years older than me, and had SO MANY WONDERFUL things she knew, and shared with me. I loved her. I feel really bad that I had not stayed in touch with her. True, we did not live in the same state (USA) but I don’t know what happened, exactly, that we no longer saw each other. But another problem was the her husband and my then-husb. were very good friends. So, like you point out, it was a sticky situation, and, for me, and my friend I assume, very sad.
March 12, 2017 at 10:01 am #25386
Thank you Synergy, for the welcome and your response. It is sticky. I guess I can’t expect loyalty but it definitely changes the nature of our friendship.
March 12, 2017 at 2:27 pm #25387
Hi again, auri12. Sad. As for the single woman I mentnioned, it did not change the nature of our friendship — but it was never the best anyway, although we regularly associated (in different cities where we both happened to live at the time) off and on for 40 years. I’m glad she’s gone.
Anyway, well, friendships often do not last forever. When I moved to my present city, where I’ve now lived over 20 years, it took me quite a while (ulp.. several years) to find a friend. I went to several different organizations in hopes of connecting — the neighborhood association, where I was a participant for a while — got an award for my work to eliminate graffiti in my neighborhood — but no real friends there. AlAnon was one place I found good friends. Also in a church I went to for a while. I’m not religious, so stopped going to church. There was a lot of love there, and it’s evident when I see members around town, but one of the people I met there is a close friend now. Just keep on keepin’ on — do you have other close friends? One thing we are told is it’s very important to keep women friends, in case you no longer have a male partner. Or platonic friends if you are a man or in a non-hetero relationship. So if you have a wait period to find close friends, just step out there. Another great place to find friendship is mutual interests. I love other crafters — hand-work like knitting, crochet, embroidery. Or maybe you are athletic — a workout or yoga group, tennis player, etc.
March 12, 2017 at 9:18 pm #25389
Well, I think you have asked a difficult question that many of us have probably had to face. I’d be interested to hear Donnas view on the matter.
For what it’s worth my first instinct was thinking “NO CONTACT!” Meaning that by being intouch with this mutual friend, you are still effectively in contact with your ex.
If you see your mutual friend they may unintentionally update you on what your ex is up to, and who with. While you are still hurting and recovering those details may damage and hurt your further.
Then there is the second question at the back of my mind, is this a real friend? I don’t know the nature of the friendship that you have with this person or how special the friendship is to you. However, I would really question the sincerity and integrity of any friend who stuck by someone who hurt, damaged and abused you. Why would a real true friend do that? I get that they may be in a really awkward position and sometimes in life it’s best to be diplomatic and neutral and let other people sort themselves out. However, sometimes in life we need to get out of our comfort zone and say, “you know what, that wasn’t right and I don’t like how you treated her.” A good friend says it as it is right? So if these mutual friends are true friends to your ex maybe they should call him up on his behaviour.
If these mutual friends are true friends to you then maybe they should lean more to your side and let you know that they aren’t impressed with his behaviour and offer support and love. Which is what you need right now.
How badly would it affect your life if you cut all ties with them altogether?
My experience was that the sociopath I was with for three years made me completely dependent on him as I developed an incurable auto-immune disease which meant I was in and out of hospital for the last 18 months of our relationship. He completely isolated me from my friends (and he didn’t have to try too hard as chronic illness does that to you anyway). Then when I was at my sickest, he left me. By that time my only social group were his friends and family. We all got on really, really well but as he is the typical charming manipulater he ran the smear campaign against me. He made out that he had to leave me as he had tried to look after me and help me in every way but apparently I was horrid to him and pushed him away….yada yada….all lies. I adored him and did everything I could to make him happy despite my illness. The reason he left was because my sick pay ran out and he just happened to inherit £100,000….which he forgot to tell me about.
I was so upset that he slated me to his friends and family as they never got in touch to hear my side of the story. I desperately wanted them to know what he was like. But months later, after the split the thought occurred to me that perhaps they weren’t real friends. Not one of them got in touch to offer support. I expect that’s because of all the lies he probably told about me but nothing was stopping them from picking up the phone to hearing my side of the story.
Sorry, I’ve gone off on a tangent.
I guess when it comes to your situation you need to ask yourself if remaining friendswith these mutual friends is going to damage you. Are you going to resent them deep down for condoning his behaviour? Would it be better to cut them out and go no contact and move on with your life?
Looking back now, if I had stayed in contact with my exs friends I would still be devastated to learn that he had moved on. I’m still in love with him and the future I thought we had.
I had to get out of my comfort zone two years ago. I have a very good male friend who has been like a big brother to me for years. He has always looked out for me and we have a very healthy plutonic relationship. However, several years ago he had a really lovely girlfriend. She adored him and he was really into her, to start with. Anyway, he cheated on her. She never found out but eventually the relationship broke down and they split. I wasn’t friends with this girl BUT I was friendly and I liked her and I felt really uncomfortable that I knew that she had been cheated on.
Then fast forward a few years and this guy has another really nice, bubbly, intelligent girlfriend who he buys a house with, tells her they are going to have kids and get married. She was over the moon. He was really into her. I really had a lot in common with this girl and although I was too unwell to socialise I spent time with her and got to become friends.
Anyway, the predictable happened. My male friend cheated on the girlfriend. She found out. She was devastated. It almost broke her. Her whole world imploded. And I was angry.
I comforted her as best I could. I had only known her 18months so she wasn’t my best friend but I still cared for her and her feelings. My real problem was how I felt about my male friend. I decided that I couldn’t be silent. A good friend should be there through the good times and bad times and be there to tell you when you are being a total idiot.
I went to see him and told him how much I valued our friendship. I told him how much I valued his support through my illness. I told him how much I cherished the times we had growing up. But then I told him how I thought that his behaviour to both his previous girlfriends had been totally unacceptable, it had been degrading and that I had a real problem with it. I actually said, “you’re an amazing friend but God help anyone who gets into a relationship with you.”
I knew at that point that it would either make or break our friendship. We talked for a while. I was still pretty angry at him.
We still have a good friendship. He apologised to his ex, which gave her some closure but she is still understandably upset. They seem to have both moved on and I hear from her occasionally. The most surprising outcome to me was that my male friend admitted to me that he cheats because he has such crippling low self-esteem. He is now on anti-anxiety meds and is in counselling. I’m still his friend. 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.
Sorry for the long post, I guess I’ve tried to look at all angles.
If I were you, and I’m not, I would go NO CONTACT with the mutual friend. My reason for this is that it was my first instinct when I read your post and my first instinct when I met my ex spath was that something wasn’t right and that I should avoid him. Everyday since he left me I wish to God that I had listened to my first instinct and run a mile away from him.
Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
March 12, 2017 at 10:07 pm #25391
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.
March 13, 2017 at 10:40 am #25394
hi auri12, I’m new to the site too, I’m a gay guy just been involved with a sociopath. Very painful. I’m glad I found this site too. I’m finding these threads so helpful. I now understand what’s happened and I feel like I’m beginning to heal. I read that if the sociopath is good, he’ll have already got to your friends and have made you out to be the crazy one. I’m certainly finding this in my case, I noticed a few of our mutual friends have cut down contact with me. I had seen this before now but just assumed they had their own busy lives (even though I knew it was kind of suspicious how they all had just become ‘busy’ all of a sudden at the same time). I also read that you might have to be prepared to let friends go if that’s what’s happened – that you shouldn’t try to explain what’s happened to them and warm them about him cause if he’s good he will have put real serious doubts in their mind about you and they’ll be questioning whether it’s you that’s telling the lies. This is one of the hardest and most painful struggles I had to come to terms with, letting some people go that I knew I couldn’t convince. The only way I’m getting through it is by telling myself that if they’re so one sided that they wouldn’t try and talk to me first and get my take on things before judging etc then perhaps they weren’t the friends I thought them to be in the first place. I don’t know if any of this will help, I can’t imagine this is the kind of thing you want to hear and I sincerely apologise if this is difficult to take in especially when often it’s those very friends that you’d hope would be there for you for support that are now doubting you, but I’m just warning you about a possible scenario that may occur as a result of it so you can be prepared. It’s better to be aware of the lengths they can go to to destroy your life if they feel that way inclined. I wish you all the best. Stay strong.
March 13, 2017 at 11:06 am #25395
Dear SurvivorNo27, Hello, and welcome to the forum. Seems’ I am often he welcomer, since I get emails in response to some threads and, well, I just write a lot! Donna Armstrong is the wonderful owner/host of the forum!!! Thanks and Yay, Donna.
Sigh, yours is “just” another issue of friends not getting both sides of the story. It’s really sad.
I used to teach piano to kids and adults. Mostly kids. Thank goodness I was old enough, and had taught for many years, when times got really tough in the media, from the media, and influenced parents against having their kids “alone” with another adult. I’d guess, especially a divorced single woman. I got spooked 3x by almost getting accused of molestation.
A next door neighbor had two daughters who were not my students, but who used to help me around the yard when I was gone for a few days. The girls liked me a lot. This witchy neighbor had a barking dog — early in the morning, day and late at night. It used to come right to my bedroom window and stare at me and bark. The window was only about 10 feet away from her fence. I took her to court to stop the barking and so she decided to get revenge by spreading rumors that I was a poor single woman who craved relationships with her daughters. What????? I craved???? Hey, I had 25 piano students!!!!!! Their parents trusted me with their kids, and their kids were terrific students, and learned pieces rapidly, as well as the basic of music like chords, ear playing, sight reading, accompanying …which the majority of piano teachers neither teach, nor even know how do do them. This neighbor even went to the newspaper with what a dumbo I was to attack her sweet doggie. The paper did not ask my point of view, just let me look like a crackpot. I called a friend who was a local elected city council member, and he said, “Leave it alone. You never want to get involved with the press or they will go after you big time.” But ha ha — even though she called my voice mail and snippily said after the judge’s decision in her favor, “Well! Now we see what is true about win-win.” Win-win was my solution originally to the barking problem, and I had suggested ways to make that happen, but she was not cooperative then. Anyway, that phone made up originally upset, but that upset did not last long — I realized it was a win-win!!! Because she thought she won the case (win for her) and the dog stopped barking (win for me!)
Just a story about me — if it’s not relevant to your situation, sorry for breaking in. But maybe it will help as another tale of betrayal. Hope you can find a win for yourself, by finding better friends. It really, really is a hard case when someone is accused of something they did not do. Very painful. I had this happen in a work situation one time, and there was absolutely no recourse except to quit the job, which I did. Fortunately there were other jobs to be had. Sometimes the unemployment rate is so high that there are no other jobs. I don’t know what I could have done then — except the boss died young of a heart attack — he deserved it — may his soul never rest in peace. Sorry for the blasphemy…..Maybe there was a new, better boss, but I doubt it, because the assistant boss was the one who accused me without evidence. Oh, rant, rant, rant.
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