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#34215 - 11/15/03 07:43 PM How to say no?
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I have friend right now, that I can not deal well with. She has been good friend to me during all this time, and has helped me times when I need help. But right now, I can not deal with what she is going through.

She is woman married to a**hole man who likes to be bully at her and kids, hits her and is just total creep. She still stays with him because she is afraid to be alone. They have two sons who maybe do not be hit also, but witness this. And it is too close of my life, I feel I am seeing my mother with my father, and wondering why the hell she does not leave. I worry that it will be like my parents, because even after death of my brother, my mom does not leave him. Is that what must happen, that this man must kill someone before she realize it is better to be alone? She talks to me of all this, and emails me, and I can not deal with it, it is too close of what my life before was like.

How do I tell her no, how do I say I can not deal? I feel guilty, and shamed, that I can not help her when she has been good friend of me. But all I want to do is scream at her and say get the hell away of him before he kills one of you. It is like what I say, she does not listen anyway. I do not know I do any good. How does someone say no?


Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

#34216 - 11/15/03 08:21 PM Re: How to say no?
theo Offline

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
in a way, a person is completely blind when in the abyss of their fear. i have also lived this live of domestic violence and witnessed it in many family member's lives. they know on one level they are in danger, but the terror one knows is better than the terror one does not know, or so the twisted logic goes. at this point in this tragedy of your friend's life there is nothing you can do because she has to see the greater danger to her and her children before she can take that step into the unknown. you can do nothing, unless the children are in direct danger then there is the need for their protection in reporting the abuse to authorities. that caveat aside, it is your friend's choice to stay. you also have a choice. you can tell her that you care for her a great deal but that you cannot participate in the violence against her, even passively. you have a choice to tell her that despite your love or compassion for her you cannot be a part of her life while she stays in danger, or you can continue the status quo of listening to her and dealing with the pain you endure. it is not betrayal, leosha. she refuses to see the danger, and you cannot continue to put yourself at risk. i have dealt with this many times, but the lesson i have learned is that the boundaries i need to maintain for my own well being have to take precedence when those i care for refuse to see their own dangers. it is her choice, leo, not yours. you did not let her down, she did.

journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

#34217 - 11/15/03 08:25 PM Re: How to say no?
newMom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/08/03
Posts: 19
Loc: anywhere
Do not feel bad or ashamed. You need to take care of yourself first. You have offered her advice and she has not acted upon it. You are a caring and concerned friend. She is fortunate to have you as a friend.

As to the whys - Why doesn't she leave? Probably a multitude of reasons besides not wanting to be alone. Men like hers are bullies and try to isolate or do isolate their partners to be in control. They tear away at their partner's self-esteem, so the partner feels like a nobody and does not feel strong enough to go it alone. These men usually say if you leave me I will kill you, I will track you down. You cannot hide from me. Statistics show that the most dangerous time for a battered woman is when she is in the process of leaving or has just left. Unfortunately, these guys make good on their threats.

There are agencies that are experienced in helping battered women and children. I would be honest with her - if she is a true friend she will not want to hurt you and will understand - and I would strongly encourage her to contact one of these agencies. If she needs someone to talk to, you can tell her that she can come here, and pm me. I will do what I can to help her.

Take good care of yourself,

#34218 - 11/15/03 11:40 PM Re: How to say no?
FlyWM Offline

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Michigan
You know buddy, you have no reason to be ashamed or anything, you need to take care of yourself first, then other people come after that. I know how you feel about this buddy, it is frightening, and you have every right to tell her you are unable to handle it well, I totally understand it, and I think you can just politely tell her the truth, I know she will understand, and if you are unable to tell her, I can speak with her if you wish. It is very understandable buddy, you have no reason to be ashamed, I know she will understand it.


Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible in not a declaration, it's a dare.


#34219 - 11/16/03 12:26 AM Re: How to say no?
bountiful1 Offline

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 62
Loc: New York, New York, USA

It sounds to me that you have done very well with what you can do. (Telling soemone or warning someone from your own experience is a very brave action!!!) Because you know of the experience, you can empathize and be very clear about your warning - which it sounds like you have done! (Knowing the experience can allow a person to empathize from exactly knowing what it must be like to be in those shoes. Empathy runs from that exact point all the way to feeling sorry for soemone even if oyu have no idea what they are talking about).

If it gets to be too much for you, don't be ashamed of letting your friend know. You spoke up, pull in for yourself if that is what you need to do.

I do not agree that you have to take care of yourself before you can help others. I can feel absolutely horrible about myself all day and still take care of many friends and family on that day. At the end of teh day, I actually fel better because I ahve gotten the attention off of myself for a time when I was feeling bad, and that lifted the feelings quite a bit. This approach works better for me.

You sound like you have spoken. Needing to pull back is nothing to be ashamed of.


We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and I dream of freedom and happiness and fulfillment for us all.

#34220 - 11/16/03 12:37 PM Re: How to say no?
Tribear Offline

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Originally posted by Leosha:
How do I tell her no, how do I say I can not deal? I feel guilty, and shamed, that I can not help her when she has been good friend of me. But all I want to do is scream at her and say get the hell away of him before he kills one of you.
I've read a few of your other posts, and you seem to have a lot going on right now just to keep yourself safe.

You already have the words to say in my opinion, I sure heard you loud and clear.

I've had to do the same thing to a few people, tell them I had all I could handle with my own problems, because I was trying to save my own life. That seemed fair even to me, and I can go too far taking care of others sometimes.

I know you care for her, but you can't leave the bully for her, she has to do that herself.

Using mostly your words, here's one possibility:

"I want you to know that I have all I can handle right now to take care of myself. I can not deal with seeing you in so much pain.

"But since I care for you so much, I must tell you this.

"I feel guilty, and shamed, that I can not help you when you have been such a good friend to me. I wish I knew the perfect words to help, but I don't. Sometimes I just want to scream at you, and say get the hell away from him before he kills one of you".

That kind of thing says caring to me, not abuse.

I don't believe our words make NO difference in the outcome of a situation, but I do know it is her choice to make. Maybe if she hears it from enough people, it will sink in. Maybe that's the most you can do for her.




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