Old situationship/friendship that was potentially abusive?
CW: SH, mental illness, potential emotional ab*se
Ok I don’t know how long this is gonna be, so if it’s like an eternity I’m sorry. So I (M, 20) met this guy (M, 23) on tinder in about March of 2020. He was in another city and we really hit it off. We were talking about fun things we were gonna do when we met, sex, interests, hobbies, all that fun stuff. Then covid hit and we were stuck in quarantine. So from there we were FaceTiming most nights and I was not looking for anything serious. I told him that and he got very upset, but he didn’t want to entirely cut me off and wanted to keep Snapchat streaks for some reason.
Later we decided that we’d better be off not pursuing something and we just stayed as friends. I thought that was it. Except later he referred to our situationship as dating and said that I was it for him, which really confused me because I thought we were just a fling. I was a little weirded out, but didn’t think it was severe enough to confront him or ask him about it. Once we became friends, it became a super high maintenance and volatile friendship. To be fair, he was going through a lot at home and his mental health was in a very poor state. So I can’t blame him too much for it. He would often send texts to me dumping about what he had been going through, and I tried to help him as much as I could. But I was also not in a great mental state, and it was pretty distressing to have to help him with his when I could barely help and work on myself. After a while it became pretty overwhelming, as he would randomly send these texts dumping about very distressing trauma, family issues, him having me talk him out of SH, without any warning or even acknowledging if I was in a good enough space to help him. And even if I did help him, he would still find ways to lash out, not listen, or just flat out demean me.
A couple incidents stand out in particular. The first was when he needed me to comfort him after he had been rejected by another guy. Alone this wasn’t that egregious but he had told me he didn’t like me talking to him about other guys. So I couldn’t talk to him about that but not the other way around? I respected that but it still felt weird. Anyways, I had tried to help him, cheer him up, let him brush off the dust, take away something from the experience and carry on. He basically said that he knew he was worthless and had no use trying, which hurt because I knew it wasn’t true. This was just one guy and he’d be able to move on once he was out of this mood. I told him if he keeps wallowing like this and not moving forward then nothing would change. He proceeded to call himself a lost cause and berate me for trying to help him take away something from the situation.
The next was about a month later when he started texting me about work drama. I tried to help him as much as possible (I didn’t know any of the other coworkers so I was going off his word) and he mentioned that his other coworkers were nervous he would start talking about the situation behind their back to their other coworkers. I tried to affirm he wouldn’t do this by saying “well you’re not going to, right?” To which he said “I didn’t realize you thought that low of me” and generally got very angry even though I meant to help, even if it didn’t come off as intended.
The worst incident, however, was legitimately traumatizing for me. One night we were texting, and for context, I was stoned and he had gotten incredibly drunk that night. He proceeded to begin texting berating me for not trying during our “relationship” and saying that I walked out when things got tough and he was considering s*icide. This terrified me because a) i didn’t want to be the reason he k*lled himself and b) being the last wall between life and d*ath for a very unwell person is incredibly scary. I kept texting trying to apologize and care for him as much as possible so he didn’t hurt himself. Eventually he stopped responding and my heart sank because I was terrified he had gone through with what he said. I was up all night waiting for any sign of him being alive, and no joke it was the worst night of my life. I’ve never been more terrified. Ever.
At around 6 in the morning I passed out and I woke up around 8 because I had to teach a virtual art lesson that morning. He began blowing up my phone during the art lesson trying to get ahold of me. I texted him telling him I was teaching and I’d get back to him as soon as possible. He apologized but the damage and anguish was already done. I told him as a result I needed to distance myself because his constant dumping, berating, and threats to SH had become incredibly overwhelming and distressing. I have pretty bad anxiety as it is, so these incidents increased it tenfold. He then told me that he again wanted to keep texting and Snapchat streaks and said it felt like I was walking out on him for no reason.
We had a couple fights after this too. One night he was texting me while I hung out with his friends and he said he was getting trashed, which I thought meant he was getting drunk. Later he said he finished and cried during a movie and i joked that him being drunk intensified it. He then responded saying he wasn’t drunk and was now pissed off and was going to go to bed. I apologized for misunderstanding and making a rude joke and tried to respect his space as much as possible. This bothered me a bit because I respected his space, but previously when I wanted space he said i was walking out on him for no reason. At the time I didn’t realize how toxic that was.
Another was when he would send tiktoks of boys he liked but then said he could never date them and called himself “fat and disgusting”. One particular time, he was doing this and said he couldn’t date the guy in the tiktok because he was fat, to which I responded “why should that matter?” If anything, somebody not dating someone else Bc their fat reflects more on them imo. He then accused me of calling him fat which I denied because I was telling him that his body type should not matter to another man he barely knows. That is not the same as calling him fat. He proceeded to leave the conversation and I gave him space, again when he would not give me space in the past.
I also made two pretty major fuckups in the friendship. The first was when we were FaceTiming one time and we were joking about the old situationship and I joked about how I moved on faster. This joke came out horribly and understandably he was very pissed off. We then got in a fight because he started saying that I saw him as some loser who couldn’t let me go, which pissed me off because that was not how I viewed him and I told him he was putting words in my mouth. He then said I was flipping the script on him when I was making the joke, which I will admit was punching down and I shouldn’t have made it.
My second major fuckup was after a brief argument we had. I had made a tiktok joking about how I’d frequently been lovebombed by guys. He then sent it to me saying “you lovebombed me, and you said I love you first. Shut up.” I responded mentioning that he said I was the one, which he excused with being drunk and then said “but go off”. I then impulsively blocked him. At the time, my psychosis was undiagnosed and this was one of the first major episodes I had. Shortly after I realized my mistake and unblocked him. Understandably he was very hurt and later said he never felt so small. I apologized and explained to the best of my ability what had happened and not to excuse my mental illness.
Afterwards things were pretty smooth for a while, until Christmas Eve of 2020 when he facetimed me about more coworker and friend drama. He was moving in a couple days and ended a friendship on a spur note. Eventually we got back to the topic of our tumultuous past with which I confronted him about, and he proceeded to completely twist it to make me the bad guy. He said me wanting space after the night I was up Bc I thought he was d*ad was me “just going like oh fuck you I don’t want you anymore”. He said me being overwhelmed was me “interpreting information he gave me as an attack” and said that I was toxic 75% of the time. I have a hard time trusting my gut so I wasn’t able to stand my ground and fell into a five day depression because of what he said. From here I distanced myself from him far more than I ever had.
A couple months after this, my sister (F, 22) was visiting and I was talking to her about the situation. I told her all of what he had done and said during the call (she knew a bit of what was going on but not the full extent) and she later suggested that his behavior may have been emotionally ab*sive. I was later talking to one of my close friends (NB, 20) about the situation as well, and they have been in an abusive relationship so they know an ab*ser when they see one. They suggested the same thing, that he was emotionally ab*sive.
Upon coming to this realization, I proceeded to block his number and all social medias, cutting him off for good. Even though I’ve cut him off, I still have moments of doubt that maybe I was the toxic ab*sive one after all. That scares me because now that I’ve blocked him and cut him off, if I was wrong about him being ab*sive then i can’t really go back. Was I right to block him for his behavior, or was I overreacting?
PS if you made it through the entire thing you are a trooper, thank you so much for taking the time to read this
Ummm, wow. I wish I'd had half the sense, and self awareness at age 40 that you have now.
You're lucky you never met this soul in person. He sounds manipulative and honestly, dangerous. No, you weren't over-reacting, you were incredibly generous with your time and attention. Now move on.
I agree, you've done enough already. Let go of the situation and move on
They correctly write to you that you should let go of the situation. Get distracted by hobbies or sports.
Maybe you should switch to communicating with other people - family?