How to deal with a best friend's toxic relationship.

Reader Question #4: My friend is dating someone terrible, or, Secre...

A close friend is dating a total loser.

Your Hate Just Feeds The Dark Side. The worst-case scenario is that the guy is an abuser and that he will use your dislike of him to help isolate your friend socially.

Your friend knows how you feel about Darth, right?

I’ve told my friend what I think, and he always has an explanation for everything this guy does.

There’s kind of a test for this that’s also the way to cope with this. When your friend tells you another story about Darth (or makes excuses for crappy behavior), answer like a therapist would:  Don’t talk much, and when you do, ask only questions.

What a therapist does is ask you leading questions and radiate non-judgement until you’ve talked your way through all your own defenses and circular bullshit and tried to turn things into entertaining anecdotes and try to convince yourself that “it’s not that bad” until you run out of excuses and you have to say the truth: What you want. What you need. What you feel. What you’re afraid of.

... if you can find it in your heart, maybe try this:

“I don’t like him, and I still don’t get it, but if you are happy then I trust you.”

That seems crazy counter-intuitive and I can feel those words turning to ashes in your mouth, but this is why I suggest them: Controlling people make their victims second-guess everything.

Deep inside your friend knows everything he needs to know about how this is going to play out. Remind him that he’s smart, and strong, and good at making decisions, and that he has your respect, because an abuser will be doing the opposite. Detach from your own need to be right about this. Detach from your own need to control the outcome of your friend’s relationship. Remind your friend of his own strength. It could be the thing that breaks the spell.

Or not.  In which case, you don’t have to go to their wedding. That sounds like a really good weekend to be Anywhere But There. [last emphasis mine]

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Those are good statements Ruth. Thanks for the article.


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