Social Question

DrShelby's avatar

Should I confront someone who is cruel?

Asked by DrShelby (182points) April 25th, 2022

My friend’s girlfriend is absurdly rude and cruel, nearly nonstop. It is to the point that the two of them are no longer invited to events or social gatherings. She is new to the area and our friend group, but we are all adults and have been nothing but kind and welcoming to her. We even made her a basket of treats when she first moved here. The examples are over the top, and nearly unbelievable. She yells, shouts, and states things that are shockingly cruel. When it happens it is shocking, and hard to believe so it becomes difficult to say anything. It is fairly obvious that she is experiencing some insecurities (and possibly some social deficits) and attacks as a defense mechanism. However, it is beyond anything I have ever seen in real life, it is worse than any bully in tv or movies.

Her behavior is abusive, and I am not sure how to move forward. I want to cut them out of my life, but I also want to confront her. I do not think confronting her will help anything, but I feel as if I need to stand up for myself. There is also the issue that I will be losing my friend by cutting her out. I am not sure what to do. I can provide examples, but did not want to waste time or spread her negativity and cruelty further. Thanks in advance for any thoughts, ideas, or stories that are similar. xx

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27 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, tell your friend that if his girl can’t pull herself together you won’t associate with them any more. Tell him to look you up if the situation changes. Leave it to him to try and correct her.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Walk away from her immediately and ignore her behvaiour.
Then talk only to your friend not her.
if she confronts I would tell ther that I don’t reward bad behaviour.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Thank you for sharing your situation with us. I understand your desire to confront her, but I wonder if it’s worth it. I would simply cut them out of my life and go about being happy without them. I would be shocked at a friend who would associate with someone who is cruel and abusive. What makes him need such a girlfriend? I would question his connection to my friend group.

seawulf575's avatar

Huh. So that’s where my ex ended up.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes time for a talk with your friend. It may not matter or it may be an excuse that helps him ‘see the light’.

@seawulf575 Good one!

DrShelby's avatar

Thanks, everyone, I think you are all right. It is not worth confronting her, but I should explain to my friend what is going on.

@Hawaii_Jake I think that my friend is disassociating from his gfs behavior, and I fear that she is like this (or worse) to him in private. So, he might be in some denial at this point. He makes jokes occasionally that her behavior is due to her being from FL, but doesn’t seem to actually understand how awful it is.

@seawulf575 take her back plz lol jk I wouldn’t wish this person on anyone. If your ex was like this I am happy to hear they are indeed an ex.

Blackberry's avatar

Everyone has to learn at some point in life, they’re gonna have to cut multiple people out of their life.

I would move on, wait for them to ask later on down the road “Hey what happened to ya?” Then you be mature, take the high road and say something like “At the time I found you to be a bit aggressive and needed some space” or something like that.
You can’t let them know they got to you, so act like they never mattered and that you barely thought of them.

Kardamom's avatar

I would have a polite but firm conversation with your friend, rather than just ghosting him.

There’s probably no need to confront his girlfriend unless she does/says something to you or one of the other people in your group before you talk to your friend.

Sample conversation:

You: Hey Dave, do you mind if we have a little heart to heart in private? (Do not have this conversation with his girlfriend within earshot).

You: “You may have noticed that Janet has said some pretty mean things and it’s very upsetting to a lot of us (if he asks for examples, give him two). It’s gotten to the point where people are not wanting to have Janet around, but nobody wants to hurt your feelings, but I have to tell you, Dave, I am to the point that I can’t be around Janet anymore, because she’s abusive and it’s getting in the way of our friendship. I hope there is something you can say to her (Janet) to let her know her comments (give another example if you need to) are hurtful, and I feel like I need to step away from this situation. I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but I’m just not willing to put up with it anymore.”

You are basically telling Dave what you are going to do, and why. He may be defensive and deny that Janet has done these things, that’s why you need to have a few specific examples to illustrate your point, but don’t give a million examples, and be very specific. People tend to throw generalities back at you when they are angry. They will play the “what about you” game if you are too general with your examples. Instead of saying “Janet is rude.” give an example like, “It really hurt my feelings when Janet said I look like a fat pig at the wedding reception last week.”

Your friend is likely to side with his girlfriend. I have been on the receiving end of that situation, and it’s awful, so you need to be prepared for that possibility, and then be willing to walk away.

If he later breaks up with this woman, and apologizes to you, you can rethink your position then. You don’t have to write him off completely, just step back from the situation for the time being.

Good luck, and I hope it all works out down the line.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I guess I’m pretty direct with friends (which is probably why I don’t have that many). I would politely chat with my friend and in so many words tell him that his new girlfriend is an insufferable bitch who is not welcome in my home or events until she either gets counseling for her issues or you find someone more deserving to be in a relationship with. There is a good probability that she is gaslighting your friend behind the scenes so while I can’t pretend to know the details I would be careful on how I handle that. Alienating your friend from his peers is probably what she wants so I would not give an inch of my friend to someone like that if I could help it. Somehow, you and the people that know your friend best will know the best approach to keep your friend shielded from a toxic relationship.

DrShelby's avatar

@Kardamom (I love your user name!). Thank you so much for this plan, this example script is exactly what I was trying to sort out myself so this helps tremendously. Just seeing that others would come to the same conclusion as me is helpful as well. I have a history of assuming that I have done something to make others treat me badly, so this is why I turned to a public forum to ask about it. Thank you, I know now that I absolutely need to discuss this with him. It will probably be hurtful to him, but it will be less hurtful than if all of his friends randomly ghosted him for no reason.

My friend has confronted his gf about her abusive behavior and he admits she is “rough around the edges” but he doesn’t seem to understand how bad it really is. When he confronts her, he says that she shuts down and just says things like “Well I guess I should just die. Can’t do anything right!”

@Blackwater_Park I appreciate that you are direct with friends, I personally prefer direct or blunt communication over indirect. I wish I was more direct! I do think she is gaslighting him or manipulating him in many ways. I have seen her rewrite the narrative on even trivial topics, she routinely will say something that is wrong and someone will gently correct her and she will turn around and say “That’s what I said.” When a group of people call her out and say no that’s not what you said, she will attempt to manipulate even then. It is truly bizarre and bordering on delusional (maybe full-on delusion?). I think I am going to talk to him privately, explain the situation, ask if he needs help, and tell him that we are all here for him. Thank you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@DrShelby When he confronts her, he says that she shuts down and just says things like “Well I guess I should just die. Can’t do anything right!” This is classic manipulation. I’m glad you agree with @Kardamom and will try her idea. Please let us know how it goes.

DrShelby's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake It sounds hyperbolic, but to me, it sounds like everything this woman does is some form of manipulation. I will update! I am nervous about it, but it is really helping to have you all here for support! Thank you.

KRD's avatar

I’ve heard that a spark of kindness always sparks another so you could try that if you want to but I don’t think that will work from the sounds of it. The best thing you can do is kick her out.

DrShelby's avatar

@KRD That is exactly what I tried to do. I would ignore her comments(sort of assuming she had something wrong with her, or that she felt out of place), and I would go out of my way to be nice and accommodating to her. I included her in everything, bought her things, introduced her to people, and explained who they were in relation to her partner, I helped her set up an interview at a company my friend owns, etc. But she seemed to take my kindness as an attack. One example: I was buying coffee for everyone, and I asked her what kind she liked, and she yelled back at me “Coffee flavored f-ing coffee! How f-ing hard is that?!” Then she mumbled to herself about how she thinks my shoes are stupid, and that every woman from my state (she is from FL, never lived anywhere else and now lives on the west coast) must be a complete moron. There are so many more examples of behavior and comments like this. It seems to me that one of her triggers is kindness.

Jeruba's avatar

Wow, I don’t even want to read about this one any more. Maybe your friend takes some kind of perverse pleasure in this woman’s behavior, but no one else should have to put up with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. She must have been abused as a child.

chyna's avatar

Stay away from this person at all costs. She is a time bomb waiting to go off. You don’t need this in your life.

DrShelby's avatar

Here is a little bit of an update and mini vent:

I was at a celebratory dinner for a friend last night(celebrating a birthday, and career change). The couple in question were at this dinner, they were not invited and everyone was confused about how they found out about it and came anyway. The GF was horrible the entire time, she said specific and horrible things at every chance she got. She at one point yelled at me to “read an f-ing book for once in your life. How stupid are you.” I read many books, it is part of my career in fact, and she knows this. Later she said that we were all terrible singers, and should be embarrassed by it. (This was a fancy-ish restaurant, that had an upper level with private karaoke rooms.) One of our friends is a trained and semi-professional singer, so I believe she took someone else having skill as an attack.

Anyways, I briefly confronted my friend. Because of the situation and surroundings, it was not really possible to have a full or extensive conversation. However, I did tell him that his GF was making everyone uncomfortable and that I was genuinely confused by her comments and behavior. He sort of brushed it off and said (again) “She’s from Florida. That’s just how they are.” When I pressed the issue further, he admitted that she is insufferable and that he is not happy in the relationship but feels stuck. We agreed we would talk again when she is not around. Today she has messaged me several times asking me to pay her for dinner. The entire dinner. I paid for the entire, I have the receipt and every other person there knows I paid for the dinner. She is insisting that I owe her for some reason, despite the fact that she and my friend conveniently had to leave just as the bill arrived. So that’s where this situation is at currently. ugh. I will update again later when I have had a more substantial conversation.

RocketGuy's avatar

Definitely tell him that his GF is very unpleasant to be around, and won’t be inviting her to any events.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Un-invite them if the show again ! With the “bouncer” at the facility.

seawulf575's avatar

I’m getting old and my tolerance for bullshit has gotten small. My filter that keeps me from tearing into someone has worn thin. I’m at a point that if I ran into someone like this I’d likely tear into her, explain to her exactly what a horrible person she is, exactly why, and exactly where she can shove her opinions. I’d tell her that the world is not all about her and that many other people have lives and opinions and most have consideration for others. If she wants to make a scene, make one. Make sure it isn’t the kind of scene she will enjoy. And I’d make sure to tell your friend that you love him dearly and cannot stand to see him with someone so verbally abusive and that as long as he is with her and she is this way you have no desire to be at the same place at the same time as she.

seawulf575's avatar

And yes, I did have almost this same conversation with my ex after we were divorced.

Kardamom's avatar

@DrShelby I just wanted to let you know that after you posted this question, so a couple of days ago, one of my dear friends flew home to see her mom after not seeing her since before the pandemic. My friend who is smart, and kind, said that her mom has always been very rude, controlling, and downright mean. She was dreading flying home, and I had even tried to talk her out of it. Apparently this treatment has been a lifelong event, my friend is in her mid 50s.

She felt “guilted” into going, and while she was there she texted me that her mom was already being a jerk and she couldn’t wait to get home. When she did arrive home, her sweet husband, who got a daily blow by blow while she was there, brought a box of kleenex, because he knew she was going to cry when she got back home.

My friend described a lot of the same type of behavior that your friend’s girlfriend has been dishing out, and she has pretty much made the decision not to go back there again. Being on the opposite coast make that decision a bit easier.

I hope you and your friends can come to an agreement to avoid these two people, until your friend decides to break up with her, and you all have a firm, but polite conversation with him explaining why you had to cut him out.

It isn’t fair to you and the others in your group to have to put up with this kind of abuse. The guy who is dating her is making a choice to be with her (for whatever reason) and it’s terrible that he is trying to brush off the severity of his girlfriend’s behavior (ie: “She’s from Florida) and you should not put up with any of it.

If he ultimately comes to his senses and ditches this woman, you can let him back into your group, but I wouldn’t do that unless he shows contrition.

Please update us on your situation, and good luck to you and your friends : )

WhyNow's avatar

There is a saying… Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I need it most.

chyna's avatar

^There is also a saying …rudeness will not be tolerated.

snowberry's avatar

Being loving doesn’t mean that you should tolerate abuse. Sometimes the kindest most loving thing you can do is tell them that you will not participate with someone as long as they bring an abusive person into your life. Then wish them well. That sets the standard for them, and you have clarified your boundaries. That’s about as good as it’s going to get.

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