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Lost a friend over religion


Janeway
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I agree. This probably says much more about tensions in their marriage / family than about you. But I would also feel bad, and I'm sorry you do. I once offered email support to a family moving to our area, spent a lot of time sharing information, then I got The Question. When I answered honestly, that was it. I didn't know the writer or care in any way to know her, but it was still hurtful and insulting. In the end, her action did more to clarify my thinking on her faith than any amount of thinking or praying or reading could have.

 

That's what I was thinking.  I think it's less you and more whatever weirdness is going on in the marriage.  Of course, HE may have forbid her to be friends with you too. 

 

At least it wasn't someone in your greater sphere of friends.

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the wife was very embarrassed by his questioning me and kept trying to get him to stop. But, she was soft spoken and she definitely seemed in a role where she was not allowed to speak up. My husband was never comfortable with the dad. He says he wants nothing to do with the dad as he seems very, as if he is extremely familiar. For example, one time, he and his adult daughter, who was a teen at the time, got in to an argument. The then teen showed up at our door and wanted to be let in. Fine, but that was odd. And she just sat on our couch. Eventually, the dad shows up. Instead of telling the daughter to go with him, or even asking her to go with him, he proceeds to sit on the couch and just talk with her for an hour. I was not home at the time. My husband said he had no idea what to do. The husband acts very familiar and will plop down by someone and talk to them like this as if he has known them his entire life. But really, he felt very off to me and did for a long time. In the beginning, we thought perhaps he just tried too hard. But eventually, it just became very red flaggish.

 

 

Frankly, that would tell me he tries to put on a show.  Who wants to have an in depth, personal talk in front of people? Really?

If you like the wife, text back and tell her that would be lovely, but realize this friendship is going to come at an investment on your end.  It is *very* difficult to be friends when the families don't click, sometimes the friendship is still very worth it... Sometimes not.

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:grouphug:

When we moved, we found everyone asked us the same two questions in the same order.  "Where are you from?"  "Have you found a church yet?"

 

:lol:

It weeded out our friend potential very quickly to those we gave the "wrong" answer to. 

And even further if we gave the still more wrong answer: "We're Catholic."  Apparently that means we're one step above satan worshipers in some people's books.  Or equal to.  Haven't figured that one out yet.

 

 

 

 

Only in some circles.  And in some circles they'll pretend it's acceptable and make snide jokes.  And in other circles they will genuinely recognize you as a sister in Christ.... The hard part is discerning who is who.  And, sometimes you do them a huge favor by letting them see your faith and religion... It changes minds.

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First off, we don't know that he told his wife that he's not ok with her spending time with the OP.  That is an assumption.  It could just as easily be that the wife decided not to subject OP to her husband, or that she's embarrassed by his behavior and doesn't know what to say, or that the husband's questioning made her realize that OP wasn't someone she wanted to be friends with, or some other X factor that we're not guessing at.  But they are all guesses and we don't know.

 

Second, if the woman's husband did tell her to drop the OP and that's the kind of marriage that they have, then that's ok.  I don't know how we label anything "weird" in marriage anymore, given where things are headed in our culture (he/he, she/she, he/she/she/she, etc).  Historically, a husband telling a wife to drop a friend wouldn't be weird at all.  Currently, it's more unusual, but not as much as you would think.  

 

Thirdly, and most importantly, none of those things add up to abusive, which was my point to begin with.  We don't even know if he's controlling.  We definitely don't know if he's abusive.  All we know is that he's pushy and rude...which is a far leap from controlling and abusive.

Honestly I don't know how you can compare an overly controlling husband with gay marriage. I would think an overly controlling marriage partner would be unacceptable, even with today's so-called "weird" ideas, in any sort of marriage. And as for the polygamy, it is still illegal and should be as far as I am concerned since there is too much room for abuse IMHO.

 

As for making assumptions, I do agree that we should always be careful of making assumptions. OTOH, his behavior was rude and his wife as much as said he was overly controlling IMHO.

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the wife was very embarrassed by his questioning me and kept trying to get him to stop. But, she was soft spoken and she definitely seemed in a role where she was not allowed to speak up. My husband was never comfortable with the dad. He says he wants nothing to do with the dad as he seems very, as if he is extremely familiar. For example, one time, he and his adult daughter, who was a teen at the time, got in to an argument. The then teen showed up at our door and wanted to be let in. Fine, but that was odd. And she just sat on our couch. Eventually, the dad shows up. Instead of telling the daughter to go with him, or even asking her to go with him, he proceeds to sit on the couch and just talk with her for an hour. I was not home at the time. My husband said he had no idea what to do. The husband acts very familiar and will plop down by someone and talk to them like this as if he has known them his entire life. But really, he felt very off to me and did for a long time. In the beginning, we thought perhaps he just tried too hard. But eventually, it just became very red flaggish.

 

Ugh.  I've known the type.  It sounds like aside from religion issues you and the husband wouldn't mesh well anyway (which is not unusual, stories of husbands and wives friends not getting along are legion, the other way, too).  I like the above poster who said to just text her back that you'd be happy to hear from her and then leave it be. 

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Honestly I don't know how you can compare an overly controlling husband with gay marriage. I would think an overly controlling marriage partner would be unacceptable, even with today's so-called "weird" ideas, in any sort of marriage. And as for the polygamy, it is still illegal and should be as far as I am concerned since there is too much room for abuse IMHO.

 

As for making assumptions, I do agree that we should always be careful of making assumptions. OTOH, his behavior was rude and his wife as much as said he was overly controlling IMHO.

 

The post that was in response too specifically talked about a woman signing up for a "patriarchal" marriage.  My point is that we can't exactly call a "partriarchal" marriage "weird" given how "weird" marriage has gotten.  And "overly controlling" is for the parties involved to decide.  If the wife signs up for a "controlling" husband, that's her business.

 

I never denied the husband was rude.  I denied that rude behavior should lead to the assumption that the husband is abusive and controlling.

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It sounds to me like he has some weird social behaviors.  It might be that his questioning about religion came out of his cluelessness about that stuff.

 

I used to work with a guy who was a bit like that - overly familiar, he made slightly odd social mistakes.  He had a really bad start in life, and I think it caused a lot of his problems.  The over-familiarity seemed to be the best way he had figured out to be normal in his interactions.

 

He was a prick, mind you.

 

It might be the wife is aware enough of his various limitations she doesn't see any good coming out of having him cross paths with people when it starts to go sideways.  She may know it is not worth it to try and say anything either, or may not want to embarrass him at the time by directly calling him out.

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I just used this term: "my people." I went to the Sheep and Wool Festival. I had a strong feeling of, "these are my people!" To me, it means these are people who value the things I value and like what I like. When I am at the little league ball field, I don't get that "my people!" Feeling. Doesn't mean there isn't anyone there I like; it just means I don't gel as well with the Travel Team moms.

 

I swear, at the Wool Festival, I never saw so many hand-knit shawls and scarves on others in one place! Lots of crunchies who undoubtedly keep chickens and can tomatoes and loathe single-use beverages.

Aren't ALL beverages single-use? The alternative is frightening.

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  And "overly controlling" is for the parties involved to decide.  If the wife signs up for a "controlling" husband, that's her business.

 

I never denied the husband was rude.  I denied that rude behavior should lead to the assumption that the husband is abusive and controlling.

 

I disagree strongly. His behaviors are not simple rudeness; they are red flags for emotional abuse if not other kinds of abuse. Red flags don't necessarily mean it's there, but they are clues that the community should pay attention to, not shrug off. Being in a controlling relationship does NOT imply consent on the part of the person being controlled.  Most women in abusive, controlling marriages did not "sign up for" that. They got carefully groomed and taken in to that kind of relationship step by step. They may wake up and realize that they are trapped. Often, their sense of what is normal and their ability to trust their own judgment is seriously eroded by that point. That is one of the things that makes it very hard to leave. Another thing that makes it hard is that the woman gets gradually isolated and doesn't have a support system if the time comes when she'd want to leave. 

 

So if a member of the community recognizes a potential red flag, at least take note of it. It *is* our business, most especially because there are children involved.  The interaction with the teen-aged daughter was quite odd as well. 

 

I would text back as pp suggested saying that you'd love to get together and to let you know when. That shows that you still care and are a possible resource. Her daughter also saw your family as a resource. 

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Ugh.  I've known the type.  It sounds like aside from religion issues you and the husband wouldn't mesh well anyway (which is not unusual, stories of husbands and wives friends not getting along are legion, the other way, too).  I like the above poster who said to just text her back that you'd be happy to hear from her and then leave it be. 

 

I am not going to bother. Really, if she is willing to be rude to me under the excuse that her husband controls her, it is her choice to be controlled, and I am not interested. Sometimes, my husband will complain about a friend. But I would never ever hurt a friend by repeating anything. If she is not capable of being a grown up and making her own decisions, and she is simply his puppet, then I do not want to be in the friendship with a puppet. I prefer real people, and grown ups at that. So, yeah, I am going to not pursue any further relationship. My husband never liked them and I never once let that affect how I treated them or when or if I saw them. She did not give me the same respect. Her excuse does not matter. This is her life. I do not want to be a part of that. 

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I am not going to bother. Really, if she is willing to be rude to me under the excuse that her husband controls her, it is her choice to be controlled, and I am not interested. Sometimes, my husband will complain about a friend. But I would never ever hurt a friend by repeating anything. If she is not capable of being a grown up and making her own decisions, and she is simply his puppet, then I do not want to be in the friendship with a puppet. I prefer real people, and grown ups at that. So, yeah, I am going to not pursue any further relationship. My husband never liked them and I never once let that affect how I treated them or when or if I saw them. She did not give me the same respect. Her excuse does not matter. This is her life. I do not want to be a part of that.

Yikes
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For those arguing with my statement that this man is abusive...   Berating, belittling, and arguing with a relative stranger over whether her church has female pastors is clearly abusive behavior.   It is intimidation, and he is isolating his wife.  Both are elements of domestic abuse.  As an impartial reference for those who've had less social science education, there's something called the Power and Control wheel that can help clarify whether behavior is abusive or not.  Here is one of many links:  http://www.thehotline.org/2013/08/taking-a-spin-around-the-power-and-control-wheel/

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I am not going to bother. Really, if she is willing to be rude to me under the excuse that her husband controls her, it is her choice to be controlled, and I am not interested. Sometimes, my husband will complain about a friend. But I would never ever hurt a friend by repeating anything. If she is not capable of being a grown up and making her own decisions, and she is simply his puppet, then I do not want to be in the friendship with a puppet. I prefer real people, and grown ups at that. So, yeah, I am going to not pursue any further relationship. My husband never liked them and I never once let that affect how I treated them or when or if I saw them. She did not give me the same respect. Her excuse does not matter. This is her life. I do not want to be a part of that. 

 

I am really taken aback by this.  I am guessing you have had no experience at all with what it means to actually be controlled by a husband, which is what several of us have suggested the facts sound like. It's a form of emotional abuse. That can occur by itself but over time is likely to escalate. 

 

You can google domestic violence or a question like "Why doesn't she just leave?" or "dynamics of emotional abuse" and get some information that might help you understand where your neighbor may be.

 

You say you didn't let how your husband felt affect how you treated them. Did you pay a price for that in the relationship or is he okay with you having relationships that he doesn't necessarily like?  If you are free to have relationships that your husband doesn't entirely approve of, that means your husband doesn't control you, so you are comparing apples to oranges if hers in fact does control her. 

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This man may not be abusive. He may have a social skills disability, where he is not able to read cues from others that his behavior or words are unwelcome.

 

I don't think the woman's message to you meant that she doesn't want to be friends. I think she may want to be friendly but hopes to avoid further conflict by socializing when her husband is not present.

 

If you like spending time with her, I'd take her up on her offer to meet without him. If you don't like her, then I would just be polite if you happen to run into her. I wouldn't blame her for her husband's faults.

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This man may not be abusive. He may have a social skills disability, where he is not able to read cues from others that his behavior or words are unwelcome.

 

I don't think the woman's message to you meant that she doesn't want to be friends. I think she may want to be friendly but hopes to avoid further conflict by socializing when her husband is not present.

 

If you like spending time with her, I'd take her up on her offer to meet without him. If you don't like her, then I would just be polite if you happen to run into her. I wouldn't blame her for her husband's faults.

This was how I interpreted her words. She wants to be friends, but wants to do so without the presence of her husband.

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This was how I interpreted her words. She wants to be friends, but wants to do so without the presence of her husband.

That doesn't preclude him being controlling. She sounds interested in a friendship behind his back. Why does she have to go behind his back? It seems like he is choosing with whom she can associate. That's something a controlling person does. That's a flag to me.

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That doesn't preclude him being controlling. She sounds interested in a friendship behind his back. Why does she have to go behind his back? It seems like he is choosing with whom she can associate. That's something a controlling person does. That's a flag to me.

 

Not necessarily.  She could be embarrassed by his jerkiness and not want to subject her friend to it again.  It may be that he's fine with their being friends.

 

It's just hard to tell from the outside.  There is all sorts of speculation.  Yeah, the guy raises red flags to me too but I've found that often when I think I have a person or situation figured out, it turns out I am all wrong.

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I am really taken aback by this.  I am guessing you have had no experience at all with what it means to actually be controlled by a husband, which is what several of us have suggested the facts sound like. It's a form of emotional abuse. That can occur by itself but over time is likely to escalate. 

 

You can google domestic violence or a question like "Why doesn't she just leave?" or "dynamics of emotional abuse" and get some information that might help you understand where your neighbor may be.

 

You say you didn't let how your husband felt affect how you treated them. Did you pay a price for that in the relationship or is he okay with you having relationships that he doesn't necessarily like?  If you are free to have relationships that your husband doesn't entirely approve of, that means your husband doesn't control you, so you are comparing apples to oranges if hers in fact does control her. 

I understand completely. I mean, I understand why she does not leave. I am not saying she has to leave or change things. I am saying, I do not want to be involved in this situation. Really, I know she feels like she has no choice. And she needs help to see that she actually has a choice. And emotionally, she is stuck in the feeling that she cannot choose. But clearly, if I am friends with her, I am friends with his puppet. I have young children. My children are usually with me. I do think he is abusive. He is very much so a boundary stomper. 

 

But even though she is in an abusive relationship, an abusive relationship mostly has the same psychology as an addiction. And she feels she cannot let go. In reality, she could. But emotionally, she feels trapped. Just like someone with an eating disorder feels they have to, or someone with a drug addiction, and so on. She is more scared of what happens if she leaves and she does still love him. I know all this. But I also know that I cannot fix her. I've been to alanon (to deal with my inlaws). I did not cause her problems and I cannot fix them. And I only stand to be hurt more by them. I am not interested in being her secret hidden friend who walks by and pretends to not notice her if her husband is there. I do not want to be a part of her abuse cycle. When she hits rock bottom, maybe she will try to get out. But not if I enable it by having a hidden relationship. I won't be apart of it. And I cannot be a hero who saves the weak damsel while dragging my children in to it (as I am a SAHM with young children, so they are generally with me).

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I don't know why, but my first instinct is that something may have happened to him personally involving religion and that is why he is so caught up in your answers. His daughter was rolling her eyes and I read into that as, "here we go again..." like this has been happening lately. I know, it might not be that at all. I'm just saying what I read into it. Maybe he just recently finished a church retreat or became active in a parish council or converted himself at one point. Maybe he has great issues with female pastors and felt you were lying by saying you were not affiliated with that church (during some other visit) and now you are. Now he's grilling you because he doesn't trust you. Who knows.

 

Big misunderstand. I'm glad the wife still wants to see you and I'm sure she's embarrassed by his behavior.

Edited by heartlikealion
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I am really taken aback by this. I am guessing you have had no experience at all with what it means to actually be controlled by a husband, which is what several of us have suggested the facts sound like. It's a form of emotional abuse. That can occur by itself but over time is likely to escalate.

 

You can google domestic violence or a question like "Why doesn't she just leave?" or "dynamics of emotional abuse" and get some information that might help you understand where your neighbor may be.

 

You say you didn't let how your husband felt affect how you treated them. Did you pay a price for that in the relationship or is he okay with you having relationships that he doesn't necessarily like? If you are free to have relationships that your husband doesn't entirely approve of, that means your husband doesn't control you, so you are comparing apples to oranges if hers in fact does control her.

I think Jane's response comes across as rather harsh, but it's also honest.

 

The hazard of being in an abusive relationship is that people who aren't in one, have no desire to join in on someone else's.

 

I have siblings who have very abusive marriages. I have little to no involvement in their lives. Because I'm not dragging my own life through that crazy mess. They have been repeatedly offered ways out. And sometimes they would leave, but always went back. At some point, people realize they should step away bc there is nothing they can do until and unless the abused person is willing to accept help. And I don't have patience for playing secret games or pretending the abuse is normal either. I'm not going to meet a friend in secret bc her husband is batpoop crazy. If I meet her in secret, it will be to help her pack. Not for a lunch date.

 

So I totally understand Jane's perspective and I'd probably feel the same way.

 

Want my help? Okay. We can figure this out.

 

But I'm not playing games, playing polite while being treated rudely, and I'm not going to get involved in the drama either.

 

I get why they don't leave. But it doesn't obligate me to stay to watch the train wreck.

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People in abusive relationships aren't grown ups? 

 

Many people in abusive relationships ARE grown up, but in a way people who aren't are not. (In a way they would rather no one had to be.)

 

And what's the good in talking about the choice to leave in a country with inadequate social security? It's hard enough here where I have social security, because the justice system sure is inadequate.

 

And sometimes staying in an abusive situation is what keeps people alive.

 

I would really like conversations about DV to move on from blaming the victim for not leaving. Sometimes leaving is the right thing to do. Sometimes it is not.

 

 

Understand, though, that I am in NO WAY arguing that you ought to be involved in their crazy.

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The husband is a controlling weirdo. My husband and I have, sadly, left friendships where one spouse was just too "off" in multiple ways and it was impossible to maintain a relationship with the mother and kids without his involvement.

 

Since you don't seem to see her very much anyway, I'd just leave off with the friendship, but I can see where her text felt like she was ending it; and that doesn't feel good for you. I'm sorry. Maybe when she is stronger she can contact you and come to your turf to talk.

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