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Thread: Was I manipulated/abused?

  1. #1
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    Was I manipulated/abused?

    I am a teenage female. In June of this year (2016), one of my close female friends told me that she was "in love with" me and had been since March. I explained to her that I didn't want a relationship with anyone until after high school, that I was not attracted to women, and that I loved her as a friend, but that I did not have romantic or sexual feelings for her. She seemed to understand this and apologized for bringing it to my attention. I responded by telling her I was grateful for the honesty and that we could still be friends. (I wasn't disgusted or repulsed by her, I really just considered it a silly crush because at our age, we don't know what love is.) So I carried on speaking with her over text messaging regularly, though I did try to put some physical distance, thinking that would help her feelings.
    For the next two months, she continually complained about how "lonely" she was, how "disgusting" and "gross" she felt because "no one loves" her, how she was "terrible", "horrible", etc., for even telling me in the first place, and so on. This dominated the vast majority of our conversation. I attempted to reassure her that she was fine and that a few bad relationships and an unrequited crush don't determine one's worth, but it wasn't working. She wouldn't stop. I realized that if I just complimented her physically enough, she would stop the self-pity, at least for a little while. So I started telling her nice things about her physical self. None of these were suggestive or sexual in nature, but I still felt uneasy about it. However, it got her to stop.
    Eventually, however it wasn't enough. Eventually, through some prodding on her part, (including some persuasion when I broke down and told her I didn't want to do it), we started sort of sexting. By "sort of", I mean there were no nude pictures sent by me, (she sent a few slightly suggestive pictures but nothing that would qualify as pornography), just some talking. Though it wasn't even very heavily sexual, I felt guilty and dirty and tried to tell her this. She responded that it was fine because she was asexual and so I couldn't cause her to lust. I was confused but if I tried to withdraw I knew she would start guilt-tripping me by talking about how i hate her and no one loves her. So it continued. Eventually she was going to come over with some other friends and said that if we didn't do at least some of what we talked about it would destroy her. I didn't want to do anything sexual, but I did cuddle with her some and devoted most of my attention to making sure she felt comfortable and satisfied.
    One day, she referred to me as her girlfriend. I had never called her my girlfriend. That was not discussed, and I didn't know what to say, so I just let it slide. Soon enough, she was threatening to commit suicide or harm herself if I "left" her, pushing me to go farther physically, and trying to get me to stop hanging out with or talking to some of my other friends. (Basically anyone she didn't know before we knew each other, or who I had been friends with longer than her.) One day when I was at her house, I kissed her. At the time, I thought it was something I wanted to do, but looking back I realize I felt obligated to do so in order to keep her happy. I asked if she was okay, if she was fine, if she was comfortable with the physical contact, and she said yes. She never reciprocated by asking me if I was okay, fine, or comfortable. On another occasion, she started grinding on me and I wasn't comfortable so I told her I had to be home soon and left, which wasn't a lie. No clothes were removed, and no physical contact occurred between us after this.
    In late August my mom discovered some of the more sexual text messages and told me I had to break it off. I don't remember feeling upset or angry at my mom (maybe embarrassed). I just remember being relieved I had an excuse to tell her to stop. I texted her and explained that my mom had said I needed to not be as close with her. She responded with sulkiness because I didn't talk to her first. She tried to guilt-trip me some more but I had my mom keeping a close eye on me, so I couldn't say anything flirtatious or romantic or sexual anyway.
    Since then, she's posted rude and mean things about me on social media (never by name, however) and told me that I was making her cry in the bathroom whenever she saw me at church or other activities. I told her I couldn't text her because school was starting and I was very busy. It took several weeks for her to understand that I couldn't talk to her most of the time, but eventually it worked. The indirect posts on social media continued but she stopped contacting me directly.
    Was this abuse? Manipulation? I feel confused and betrayed and my already significant trust issues have been exacerbated since. This whole summer has been a roller coaster, trying to keep up with her changing moods and help her stabilize. She's told me I used her, that I lied to her, and that it's my fault she's "heartbroken". She already has a new love interest though, so I guess she's not that heartbroken lol. Does this seem like a legitimately abusive situation or just a case of immature miscommunication in a pseudo-relationship?

  2. #2
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    Idk if it would qualify as abuse (in the legal sense) however imo for anyone to continue to force their romantic attention on you when you have clearly indicated that this is not what they want is not ok behaviour...disrespectful of your right to make your own decisions and have them acknowledge and taken seriously. I believe it makes no difference if the situation involves two people of the same or different genders/sexual orientations. No means no.

    Seems like you may have unintentionally given her some mixed messages, by maintaining your friendship and placing yourself in a situation where she could continue to pressure you to let things develop in the way she wanted...is a knack (one that took me a while to learn) to clearly indicate 'no' in a firm but caring way...I certainly would have felt out of my depth as a teenager trying to cope with the situation you describe.

    I am glad that your mother intervened and hope that with time this situation settles down. Life? Idk sometimes it throws some 'could do without this' things our way
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  4. #3
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    Tasha1701D is offline Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
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    I relate to having friendships where I'm guilt tripped and such, and while I was reading about the friendship you describe, I kept thinking about two different friendships I've had in particular.

    One friendship this made me think of was someone who needed to come over to my place when I wasn't there, and before I gave her the key to get in, I said that it was to be her alone, no one else in my place, cuz I wasn't gonna be there etc. I trusted her, knew her pretty well (or so I thought), and so I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't come home and my place be cleared out or something like that. I talked to her the day after she was over at my place alone and, although she was trying very hard not to, she let it slip that other people had been in my place. I confronted her and initially she lied, but then admitted that she had had other people in my place without my permission. However, she pulled out the victim card, the guilt tripping, the whole nine yards for months, while I was trying to figure out if I had done something wrong by being angry when I found out that she had done what I explicitly told her not to, and completely losing my trust in her and the friendship. She even got her parents to try and bully and guilt trip me. Of course, the friendship didn't last, but I was waffling for months about whether I had done something wrong, maybe I was over-reacting, or whatever. Eventually, I decided it was my house, and I didn't need all this bs, but even now thinking about it, I still worry if I hurt her and such.

    The other friendship was with my best friend in college--or I totally should say "best friend" really. We had a close relationship, did lotsa things together outside of the classes we had together, like movies, hanging out, idk, just normal college kid stuff. We had been friends for a few years when I went over to her house to watch a movie, which was a pretty routine and normal thing for us to do. Things happened and she ended up raping me. I cut her off immediately, it was traumatic and all that. The funny thing was afterwards she acted like me cutting her off was me abusing her, she tried to guilt trip me into talking to her, hanging out, etc, for months and months, even got her family involved, etc. It was kinda nuts. She finally stopped when she got caught using the number for my credit card for online purchases, which she had apparently stolen while she was at my house at some point.

    I am grateful to hear that your mom intervened, and that you weren't raped or otherwise abused somehow. For the friendships I've talked about, I haven't called myself an abuse survivor from these unhealthy/manipulative relationships cuz to me it's been more about poor boundaries--I wasn't trapped in the relationship with no option to get out like I was in my childhood abuse situation that left me with lotsa psych issues to sort through. The friendships had pretty crappy boundaries cuz I was still trying to figure things out for myself, still growing, learning, figuring out who I was as a person, all that kinda stuff. But I did learn things from the experiences--like someone can say I'm abusing/hurting them and say they're my victim all they want, but that doesn't mean that it's actually what's happening

    Sometimes now, when I'm in those kinda situations, I try to sort out actions. Like for my friend who came over and then guilt tripped me cuz she didn't stick to what she agreed to, I'll go through something like this: My initial actions were to tell her that she was the only one allowed in my place when she needed to come over when I wasn't there, and after giving her the boundaries on it, I gave her the key. Then her action was to come over, use the key, and let other people who didn't have permission come into my place. She then tried to cover it up, lied when confronted initially, then started saying I was overreacting. I did confront her on it cuz I wanted to know what had really been going on in my home.

    Thinking through it like that kinda helps me take the emotion out of the situation temporarily so that I can look at it kinda as if it's something happening between two other people. It helps me examine my actions as well as see what I think about the other person's actions without the emotionally charged opinions I've got going on from being hurt and all that.

    Anyway, dunno if all that makes sense, but wanted to share cuz I relate to friendships that end up going sideways for one reason or another. for you. Really glad your mom helped you with this particular situation. for your mom, too.
    ~Tasha

    May you have peace, live long, and prosper.

    "On the starship Enterprise, no one is alone." ~Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in The Bonding, ST:TNG Season 3
    "Seize the time, Meribor-live now! Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." ~Capt. Jean-Luc Picard as Kamin in The Inner Light, ST:TNG Season 5

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  6. #4
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    Sorry

    I can relate to things seeming to begin then progress, and me not wanting it but also not so sure how it git anywhere, where was my voice? How wasn't I heard by person or how didn't I speak clear or loud enough.

    Often this kind of situation has been more mind confusing than one where person clearly seemed to be trying to get to harm me. So confusing when it was done covertly, or insidiously, kind of like grooming me or instilling fear, obligation or guilt. That situation has its own type of awfulness and it is so awful cause it bends my mind to figure out what side is up, down, sideways and such with it.

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