'Knee-rubs' under the table
firstly, I take the chance to wish you a 2018 full of merriment and love. I am writing to ask your opinion about something that happened before Christmas, when I was in London, to visit whom I thought was a very close friend of mine. Her name is Clarissa: she comes from a wealthy family, she is super smart and has an amazing professional profile but when it comes to men, and whenever she is dating one, she transforms into this sort of insecure little girl whose only aim is to please the other even at the risk of damaging herself morally and physically. Every silly request coming from the other becomes an imperative and everybody else, including her family, is expected to support her insane behaviour. Whenever her sister or I ask her to rethink this attitude, she stops communications, disappearing for weeks... Until, of course, that relationship is over. Besides, most of these guys are 'do-nothing' parasites and what they really want from her is having holidays paid and live in her house for free. I mean... Do I have to carry on? The list of abuses is potentially infinite. Many times, after a break-up, she slopes into depression and apathy and when she finally recovers from them, she starts again reaching out and being the loving, intelligent human being which all the people around her have fallen in love with... Until the next man is around! The last one is a middle aged old-looking Italian man who just moved to London. He barely speaks English therefore I even wonder how they can communicate. Nevertheless, he is already living in her house and they are planning one expensive holiday after the other.
At my last visit, she really wanted me to see him so we met at a bar to have some drinks together. Of course, before his arrival, the all conversation focused on how amazing he was and the life with him full of passion. No interest was shown on what I was doing nor on the issues I was experiencing at work or with my boyfriend. I felt utterly used, dragged there with the only purpose to be a witness of her 'trophy'. When the guy entered the place, he was in the company of a co-worker: a sexy southern Italian brunette whose body language was clearly showing interest in Clarissa's boyfriend. They sat next to me and after a short while I noticed they were rubbing each other's knees under the table. I immediately grabbed my friend outside the bar with an excuse and told her everything. At first, she minimised the thing but then she went nuts for the rest of the evening and instead of facing the guy she just kept bringing me away from the table to ask particulars about their inappropriate behaviour. At some point, I felt compelled to leave the place with an excuse and I stopped answering her million messages the several days to follow.
I am so angry and frustrated about this situation! How women can get to this level of disrespect towards themselves and the people who really care for them? What shall I do now? What shall I say to Clarissa?
thank you for your story and, believe me, the same behaviour shows in many people stuck in abusive relationships; women or men. Sometimes all starts within their family, when they are just children. Consciously or subconsciously, parents are able to establish psychological abusive patterns which perpetuate in their sons' and daughters' adult lives. In fact, generally speaking, wealthy families expect kids to complete studies in prestigious schools, get a successful job and, by a certain age, marry a person which could make them gain social recognition as a family. For all these wrong reasons your friend's main urge has automatically become finding a man to satisfy her parents' imprinted expectations without questioning her real feeling towards him and misjudging his real intentions.
This kind of patterns are very hard to fight unless a family and friends combined intervention take place to make the subject understand that a path of psychological therapy has to be undergone. For sure, the issue is not fixable overnight and many other 'fall-backs' are physiological. Therefore, if you really care for your friend and understand what lies behind her apparent selfishness, my advice is to be patient and convince her to get professional help.
I hope this throws some light into your travails.
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