Post # 1
Hey Hive, hoping that I can share some info about my friend and the relationship she is currently in.
First of all, let me start out with the background. They met online although they are from the same city. Boyfriend (BF) works a few states away and he returns back home once a month for a week. When he returns, he now stays with my friend (GF) but previous to the relationship, he would stay with his parents.
Early in their relationship, GF caught him slipping her cell phone into his pocket so he could read all her texts and view her call history. She claims she never gave him any indication not to trust her, and she rarely uses her phone anyway. She confronted him and he apologized, but she put a password lock on her phone so he couldn’t do it again. He stole her phone again and flipped out when he discovered there was a lock on it. On a different occasion, GF pretended to go to the washroom to have a shower but secretly spied on him while he stole her phone for a 3rd time, and also tore apart all of her drawers and tried to hack the password on her laptop. He has demanded that all of her passwords are shared, and she has obliged to avoid a fight.
He has forced her to limit contact with nearly all of her friends, because he feels they are “bad people” who will encourage her to “do bad things”. They are a bit of a partying crowd, but they are not into hard drugs or heavy alcohol. They just generally like to have a good time. He has told her that she is NOT to go out with them unless he is also invited to join. She has also obliged to avoid a fight.
At the end of last month, he came home and they attended a Halloween party. They were there less than 10 minutes before someone tripped over their costume and landed too close to BF. He punched them in the face and a huge fight broke out, until the cops were called to break it up. A few days later, he attacked a guy jogging down the street because he was “too close” to him, and “got in his space.” Again, the cops were called.
GF insists they are soulmates, but I am really, really skeptical. He has never physically harmed her, but he has done a few things that suggest emotional abuse to me. Would you consider this an abusive relationship? What would you do?
Post # 3
@Pralines: Emotional abuse is still an abusive relationship. I have been in a relationship like this before and it was a disaster. I thought he was my soulmate (I was 19 so I knew everything) and we were together for almost 4 years when we got engaged. I call it off 2 months later because I realized I was not putting up with it. Our relationship started off pretty good, then he became controlling – told me who I was allowed to see and not allowed to see and basically how to dress. If a guy friend looked at me wrong then it was world war 3. if we did argue he would use his weight (he was well over 150 lbs heavier then me) to control me.
The relationship will not end well. It is starting off as an emotionally abusive relationship and will likely turn into a physically abusive relationship.
Post # 4
@Pralines: Many of the things you described indicate an abusive/controlling relationship. The obsession with who she is texting and calling, controlling who she hangs out with, isolating her, etc are characteristics often present in abusive relationships, whether the abuse is physical, emotional, or sexual. It is concerning that he seems to be willing to be physically violent with others, both in a social situation (like the party) and just in every day life attacking a stranger. If he can be physically violent with others, there is no reason to believe that he won’t eventually become physically violent with your friend.
Below is the power and control wheel – something we often use in domestic violence advocacy to show the characteristics of abusive relationships. This can be an eye-opener for a lot of folks when they see that what they are experiencing in their own relationship is actually so common there is a standardized diagram for it.
It is great that you are seeing these issues even if your friend currently isn’t. My best advice for you is to continue to be an emotional support for her because she may not be ready to admit that this relationship, which she has poured her time and heart into, is a dangerous one. If the opportunity presents itself, you can gently express your concerns and even share this power and control wheel with her if you think it is something she would be receptive to. It is very important that you have these conversations in person or over the phone rather than texting/emailing since it sounds like he is hell bent on tracking her every communication. If he were to get wind of all of this he may try to force you out of her life and leave her in an even more isolated and vulnerable position.