I was going to write about the difference in feel between the same actions with different intent. Instead I’ll write about manipulation, because a terrible ‘friend’ and manipulator has just exited my life, and I’m feeling sore.
If I went into the history of the friendship it would be a novel. Instead I shall say that he was a good friend’s internet boyfriend when we were in highschool, and when she left him … I stayed his friend. Dealing with him always stressed me out, because he was needy and he was very negative and he would do and say things that would make me uncomfortable. It got to the point where I uninstalled Facebook Messenger on my phone because just seeing his face pop up made me want to scream with anxiety and frustration. There were many a day where he would pop up and I would scream “fuck off” to my phone and be in a terrible mood for the rest of the day.
It’s only very recently that I’ve realised why.
He is manipulative. He says horrible things about himself so that I will say nice things. He cowers and crawls when he feels it will get him what he wants, he deliberately inspires pity. He is incapable of seeing anyone’s discomfort or pain other than his own – I told him he’d done something to hurt me and all of a sudden it was all about him, how bad he is, how he hates himself, how it hurt him, how anxious he is, how sick he’s feeling, how he can’t cope … and this has, I realise, been the pattern throughout our entire friendship. There is no room for me in the friendship. There never has been.
I took him to task, and I wouldn’t let him pull his shit on me, so he blamed me for him dropping out of school and failing at work and ‘proving him right’, and how he wished I thought he was dead. What a lovely human being he is. How kind and considerate. And yes, there are two sides to this story, I “attacked him” when he apologised the first time (saying I’m sorry, I’ve got the job, my boss has sent me to a counselor because I tried to kill myself, me, me, me, me) and so he “fled” (blocked me so he could continue believing I was a mean and horrible person who hated him). But holy hell I have never said, suggested, or attempted to make him believe in any way, shape, or form, anything like what he just said to me. That’s just downright cruel. I’m aspie as fuck and even I know that shit don’t fly
I’m angry, sure, but also just kind of … disappointed and deflated. This is someone I’ve known for 16 years. This is someone I’ve supported through depression, someone I’ve cheered on from the sidelines, someone I’ve encouraged to do what he enjoys, what he loves, to look after himself first and foremost. I know it’s just who he is, and in a way that almost makes it worse, because I didn’t see it until now.
Except that I did, I just didn’t really know it.