I received a message last night from a new friend who endured similar abuse in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath. She asked, “Did you and you-know-who have mutual friends that refused to pick a side? I mean, he’s an abuser, so I’m struggling with those that KNOW who he is yet don’t take a stand. Did you go through that?”
My simple answer back to her was yes—and it’s so hurtful. Well, actually, I wrote, “Yes, I sure did and it f’ing hurts. And I want to say to them, “Really??? I have a RESTRAINING ORDER against him from a court of law, a stack of emails a mile high from other women he used and abused, and you’re STILL Switzerland?” None of my close friends would dream of not standing arm-in-arm beside me. After all, they were the ones pleading with me to see that I was in an abusive relationship in the first place.
It’s furniture industry contacts and a handful of social media “friends” who make up the majority of Switzerland, for me.
Now, I realize that a few just don’t want to rock the boat, some already have a pre-conceived notion of who I am based off calculated maneuvers on his part, and some just don’t care enough to care about anything other than their own reputation and how it might feel to take a stand.
The sad reality is that this type of non-physical abuse—which is rampant in relationships across the world—has been able to hide in the back of a dark closet for way too long. Most surivors are scared to talk. And rightly so! Those of us who do speak up endure more harassment by the abuser and shaming by folks who don’t truly know (or trust) the inner workings of what transpired.
Funny enough, for me, it’s the folks who refuse to stand up for the one speaking out that hurt the heart the most. There are some social media friends who are still “friends” with him. Maybe they’re playing both sides?!? Maybe they don’t want to rock the boat?!? Whatever the reason, it took me awhile to understand that sometimes no amount of “proof” will inspire someone to stand up if they just aren’t stand-up kind of people. And maybe those types of people aren’t my people.
On the flip side, one mutual social media friend came to me apologizing for believing him when she finally saw the light. And I’ve done the same with those in his past whom I didn’t believe even though they were saying he was abusive. I respect my friend immensely for reaching out and sharing that with me. She cared enough to show her support and own the fact that she was snowed. That’s human. That’s real. That’s standing up.
My advice to anyone dealing with this is to evaluate your inner circle often. Give time and energy to those who lift you up and stand up for you like anyone would do if you were the victim of physical violence or traditional bullying. Abuse is abuse. And Switzerland is no place to be when your friend has been abused.