Dating a man who was emotionally abused

When you start to get to know the friends and family of the person you're in a relationship with, it means things are getting serious.

So let's call them Bob and Emily* and get on with it.

I'm not using either of their names or mine for everyone's protection, but I hope that what I have to say can help someone out there who is in a similar situation, even if he's not ready to help himself.

My best friend is still alive, but I wouldn't really call it living.

Reality is far worse because it feels like I'm suspended in time, swimming through Jell-O.

I have this recurring, horrible nightmare of a daydream. I'm not a psychologist, but I'm pretty sure Emily has an undiagnosed mental illness.

I'm at my best friend's funeral and his wife is there. She exhibits a lot of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder: intense feelings of abandonment, impulsive behavior, mood swings. Over the past decade of their marriage, she has slowly been cutting him off from the people he loves, those who have known him the longest and who have kept him grounded.

At first, the effects seemed small—he was sullen and looked worn.

He would cancel pre-planned outings at the last minute.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NCADV, 4 in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control (isolation from friends and family, manipulation, blackmail, deprivation of liberty, threats, economic control and exploitation) by an intimate partner in their lifetime. And the funeral scene—disruptive, loud, and crackly—plays in a loop in the background of my brain.

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