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Is it wrong to hang up on someone who is verbally abusing or manipulating you?
May 10, 2009
1:29 am
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Recently I had a very trying phone call which turned into an attack on me, and a lot of pressure from someone I know who was attempting to emotionally manipulate me into doing something I was not comfortable with. I'm going to keep this general to allow for responses from people. But, after much time spent attempting to reason with this person, explain myself, I finally just had to hang up before I said something I regretted.

I told my sister about this, sent her this ranting awful email this guy sent me afterwards (keep in mind this is someone I've only talked to for two months and never met). She read the email, but said "Oh, you shouldn't hang up on people, that's not nice." WTF? Of course it isn't, but sometimes people won't listen to anything else. When I said I had to go and that he was making me upset, he just pressured me more.

Anyway, to make a long question short: is it at times Okay to hang up on someone? Isn't it much the same as walking away when someone is being unreasonable and not allowing you to get a word in or be heard? I really don't know.

May 10, 2009
1:34 am
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hi mozzrella, we dont have the details, so it's hard to judge. sometimes there are situations that warrant that you hang up, to prevent someone from walking all over your head.

the question is, why do we have to pick up the phone if we know that the caller is somebody who is abusive?

May 10, 2009
1:58 am
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If it's true verbal abuse, then no, it isn't wrong in my opinion.

My ex would call sometimes and we'd begin arguing...she'd start name calling..i would warn her "do it again and I'll hang up." which would usually warrant an "F U"...so i'd hang up. eventually, she learned I wasn't going to tolerate verbal abuse and that ended the majority of the name calling.

As I saw it...it was the best way to hold her accountable for verbal abuse...I'd disengage. Why have discourse with a rude looney?

May 10, 2009
3:27 am
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Honestly, it didn't start off that way, and the entire time (nearly or about an hour?) I was talking to him was because he called and asked my advice and was upset about something. I just did the best I could to make him feel better, and then he turned the conversation to asking me why I wouldn't go visit him.

He lives out of state, we only met on the Internet and began talking two months ago, it is a big deal for me to meet him because he lives out of state. What happened was, we talked about meeting on neutral ground and that it would be nice, but then my dog got injured and well, I just have other priorities at the moment. It was a devastating thing to happen to me, the injury was serious and could happen anytime again. My family are not comfortable watching her, and after considering it, I was not comfortable leaving her. I do not know how much longer I will have her with me.

He accused me of putting the dog before him. I said, that was correct, but she was in my life nine years and I have no child so she is very important to me (how you can justify your love of an animal to someone who doesn't understand that, well, it's impossible). He became irate because I said, I also canceled a trip to see a cousin I am close with because I needed time to figure out the logistics... and she understood perfectly, she is a pet person, and also visits here so I will see her. He, on the other hand has not been enthusiastic on meeting me halfway on this, wants me to come to HIS hometown or elsewhere and stay the night in a hotel (asking a lot and this also makes me uncomfortable). I said I would do a day trip to go to a concert or something. Now he's acting like I was breaking off a ten year engagement to be married.

I tried to understand his disappointment, because I too was disappointed although my concern for the health of my dog has more of an emotional impact on me to say the least. It has been a stress, and a sadness. He didn't get that. Only that he wasn't getting to do something he wanted to do. He said "Oh, now I am worth less than a dog." I said, "That's not what I said. But my dog is very important to me, and I miss my cousin who I canceled a visit with- and I've known her for 40 years. You can't tell me that you should be more important to me than she is. No offense, but we just met!" He was furious.

He told me I really should kennel my dog. I said I don't want to do that. Then he got difficult about it. So I warned him "You're upsetting me. You're trying to change me, getting me to do something I don't feel good about and pressuring me." He said a few things about how I cared too much for my dog and didn't know how to care about people and I said "Oh, you're making me so mad... you called to ask me what things people wouldn't like about you, I can't tell you that, but I can tell you that you try to control me, manipulate me and I don't like that. You are getting abusive. " Then he starting saying I was, and I just hung up because I was getting so upset I didn't want to say something awful.

Then he sent me an email saying I was sick and "souless" because I kicked him when he was down and wanted to push him over the edge and make him kill himself. I really don't know where he gets off saying that. I couldn't have tried harder to communicate to him how he was personalizing this and it was more a separate issue for me. The email he sent me was a four page rant about how I am just neurotic and awful and souless. I can't even do the conversation or the email justice.

Having been suicidal in my life, I understand perceptions are warped. However, I do not think the mentally ill are entitled by morals or law to behave anyway they want to. In fact, I exercise the golden rule and say to myself, and anyone who would question, I believe that when someone is acting out, it is wrong to coddle them... when I am sick, I need to know about it. I need to get help. One of the things that makes me get help is when I start to notice other's concern or reactions to my inappropriate behavior.

I don't feel guilty, but I guess I do feel kind of puzzled that my sister thought I was so wrong to hang up on him... especially after reading the horrific email he sent me. No, he wasn't like that before the call. I had no indication the phone call would go that way, much less the email.

I wish my sister would have been more supportive, but I guess I like honesty better than false comfort.

Anyway, yeah I'm a soulless neurotic person who is "obsessed" with her dog and I deserve to be lonely for the next 40 years. Right. Ugh.

Well, I am cutting him out. Not speaking to him or answering any emails. No love lost there. But that's not the issue, now I wonder what I did wrong.

-ella

May 10, 2009
4:17 am
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sad sack
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Oh Mzrella,

I am just so sorry that you had to deal with this abusive guy and then your non-supportive sister. You did nothing wrong. You clearly told him that he was upsetting you. He continued and you did what you needed to do.

After reading the email you received from him, your sister should have recognized that you really had no choice in the matter.

I am sorry, but this man sounds very unstable and unhealthy. I say thank goodness that you found out what he is like before you actually met face to face.

I have read your posts before. You are such an intelligent woman. I am in your corner and I root for you to find some peace and happiness in your life.

By the way, I, too, am an animal lover so I perfectly understand the position you took regarding your beloved pet.

Learn from this experience. I would block his emails and phone calls. You certainly don't need a man like this in your life.

I wish you the best.

(((mzrella)))

sad (a.k.a. sleepless in New York)

May 10, 2009
7:43 am
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mzrella, as a mother to a human child and a "mama" to a cat and a dog...you absolutely did the right thing. What is most important is you did what you thought was best and you stuck with it.

I would say the universe dropped a great big present in your lap. You found out what a jerk he was before you invested too much time and money into actually meeting him.

Did he not volunteer to come see you?

Bitsy

May 10, 2009
7:49 am
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I agree with Bitsy. My h. was very very into this, "You put such and such before me. again and again. You were lucky to find out what he was like before you invested much. money, time emotion

Keep your furry friends close to you the sound wonderful.

May 10, 2009
8:58 am
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By the way, when I was seeing a therapist before my divorce she actuallly told me, if G starts "preaching" to you tell him you refuse to listen, walk away or hang up the phone.

Ex-h is one of those people who will get up on his soap box and he is right and the rest of the world is wrong.

Bitsy

May 10, 2009
9:27 am
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through_the_fire
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Mzrella,

You have every right to hang up on anyone you want to, if you communicate to them the cause. You clearly asked him to stop pursuing the subject. He refused to do so, and I think was on his own trip and downward spiral separate from you. It sounds to me like he provoked and pushed for his own purposes. But regarding you-- you have every right to set boundaries and to end a conversation.

Often, women in particular, are taught that protecting themselves, refusing to coddle someone is not NICE. It is one of the biggest traps they set for women and it works all too often.

Take care.....and I hope your dog recovers well.

Fire

May 10, 2009
9:28 am
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through_the_fire
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Oh and you can hang up and not communicate the cause too!

Fire

May 10, 2009
10:08 am
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ELLA...you did the right thing, i would have done the same.

I too am a dog lover, and yep, my dogs would come first over a man i only known for a few months.

And, you told him you were getting upset on the phone, and he just didn't "get it"....hanging up is what you needed to do.

Let this guy go, he showed his true colors early in the relationship, or whatever you may want to call it....you're better off without him.

((((camer))

May 10, 2009
11:50 am
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atalose
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Mzrella,

Sometimes our “new healthy” responses to non-healthy people don’t feel right leaving us questioning our response. You did exactly what a normal healthy person would have done in that situation. Your sister may have some un-healthy behavior of her own and her thinking that hanging up was wrong shows that. Nothing you can do about that except realize she may not be the one to turn to with things like this.

Its good you found out what this guy is all about before you invest any more of your time with him. I’d block his e-mails and ignore his phone calls, more healthy behavior to be proud of!!!

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 10, 2009
11:50 am
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PreciousG
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In my opinion, if you are uncomfortable in any situation whether on the pone, in person it doesn't matter you have to respect and protect yourself first. So no hanging-up is not rude.

Even if the person is not being abusive but you nolonger feel comfortable in the sistuation and you have attempted to express this and the person is not attempting to rectify the sistuation then by all means walk away or hang-up.

From what you have shared, you respected and protected yourself. I say, good for you! 🙂

May 10, 2009
12:37 pm
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sdesigns
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Sheesh, ella, I'm glad you found out what he's like by phone instead of going to see him. Sounds like you dodged a bullet.

Don't doubt yourself, girl. I think you did the right thing. He was being abusive, put you in a place where you felt you had to explain and defend yourself, and he still showed that he wanted no part of what you thought and felt, that he was right, period.

Who needs that?

He wanted support from you- where was his support for you??

Nah, you didn't need to continue a conversation with someone who was so rude and self centered and abusive. You gave him an option, he decided to continue- CLICK.

sd

May 10, 2009
7:51 pm
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readyforachange
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(((ella))) I am sorry you had this happen to you. No, I do not think it is wrong to hang up the phone. I do not ever do it without telling the other person that I'm going to do so, though. My ex used to call just to rant at me, verbal abuse in my book. So, I would say to him....I'm sorry, I'd be glad to talk to you when you can calm down. Right now, I don't think this conversation is productive, so I'm going to hang up now. Goodbye.

You have every right to protect yourself from something that you feel is abusive. You just don't have to stoop to their level to get that done. Politely tell them you are going to hang up, and do it.

May 10, 2009
11:09 pm
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fantas
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(((Ella))), I echo everyone here, you did the right thing by hanging up. Your sister may handle these things differently than you, it doesn`t mean you have to do this the same way or agree on it.

I think that as long as you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about these things, you have a right to stop by disengaging. You don`t even need a reason. Trust your intuition and go with it the first time you sense the red light flashing.

By the way, he should have offered to come visit, instead of badgering you, if he wanted to see you that badly.

May 10, 2009
11:31 pm
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sadsack-

Thank you for what you wrote about me, I don't feel so intelligent sometimes!

There's no question I am blocking calls and emails. I think he may know that already. He was over the top.

Hey, I'm in NY too. And often sleepless as well!

hugs,
-ella

May 10, 2009
11:37 pm
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Bitsy-

Yes, isn't it a gift to save me from this guy or what? Maybe my tolerance for manipulation is much less than it used to be... but I have a ways to go... (there's more to share about other things on threads to come).

But I had to do right by my dog, I did try to go see my cousin, but my family were apprehensive about staying with her... and she loves them so I wouldn't leave her with anyone else. Plus, the more I thought about it, I didn't want to leave her at all... what if it happens again and I'm out of town? This trip to see my cousin was supposed to be fun, not to worry. And the concert with that guy- same thing. I can make that sacrifice easily. Too bad he couldn't deal with the disappointment well enough to preserve the friendship. He took it personally, maybe because he is depressed.

Oh, and no, he wasn't too keen on coming here. A gentleman would not have asked something of me he wouldn't do himself.

Well, especially with someone I don't know... I can only offer my word, and I was being honest.

Thank you for your support as a fellow animal lover.

-ella

May 10, 2009
11:43 pm
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Tiger trainer,

Hey, besides my sweet dog, tigers are my favorite animals! I have books and pictures of them, I considered getting a tattoo of one!

Yes, this "why does X come before me" tune sounded a little familiar. My past boyfriends used to sing it quite often and fortunately, that's one thing I did right, I never put them before other commitments with people. I always enjoyed my friends. Unfortunately, I don't have as many anymore, and no bf, but that's another thread...

But yes, when someone is pulling that crap it reminds me of a story my mother told me about two friends she had when she was little and one asked her to choose between the two... so she "chose" the one who would never ask her to choose. Possessiveness is not only irritating, to a degree it can be scary. This guy scared me with all of this. I'm gone for good!

-ella

May 10, 2009
11:47 pm
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Fire-

He was way off in acting like I didn't give him warning. I did communicate the cause to him too. And kept saying "I'm gonna have to go." "Now you are really making me upset so I should go."

But I agree, and it's part of the process of recovery to learn when to walk away. I'm just learning, so maybe I'm not a saint at it... but I have to do it sometimes before I let the person get to me further. And that's what it would be- giving them permission to do so.

-ella

May 10, 2009
11:52 pm
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(((Camer))),

My dog came before my last two boyfriends in many ways at many times. But you know what? Even in those two dysfunctional relationships, those guys understood. MORE than that, they loved her too and took care of her. So I guess I'm not used to a guy who doesn't "get" the dog thing... and so far this one is just a phone friend. Why it is such an issue for him is a definite deal breaker for me.

If I'm ever putting out ads for personals (which I doubt, but who knows?), mine will be a "must love dogs" type ad!

BTW, anyone see that movie? How adorable is John Cusack? I can't believe I still think that and I'm 40. One of my favorite actors when he plays the "nice guy" act.

I'm rambling.

Thanks for being supportive,
-ella

May 10, 2009
11:59 pm
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ataloose,

Yeah, it's no small coincidence that my sister thought it was wrong to hang up on him. When she has SCREECHED into the phone at me, I've done the same to her. Her response to this thing was "Well, it's not nice to hang up on people. I don't like when you do it to me (usually she get's a warning too). And I feel sorry for him."

My sister is prone to histrionics at the drop of a hat, the last time it happened she was actually IN my apartment screaming at the top of her lungs with no regard for my neighbors. I almost called security, because I had a hard time throwing her out as she wouldn't leave.

My sister can be a good person, but she isn't well 100% herself. Her issues with men color how she relates to other people and sees the world so much that if I had a lot more support I would cease mentioning anything to her aside from the least personal of topics.

Hopefully, going to coda meetings and by getting healthier, I will make new friends and learn how to relate to my family better.

-ella

May 11, 2009
12:05 am
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Precious G,

Thank you. Sometimes self preservation is of the prime importance. This was one of those moments in my mind.

The call took place quietly on a train ride because I felt it was urgent to respond to his message which he left when he was upset. I think I did make him feel better, but in spite of that he launched into this thing about the dog and basically an attack on my values and character. That's what it felt like and I communicated that as well. He wouldn't stop, even though I was getting closer to my destination. So he had fair warning in either case, that I'd have to get off the phone whether I liked it or not.

Well, it was a day trip to see my folks (as there will be no overnights for a while) and I tried not to let that argument get to me. It was a nice day with my mom to have lunch for mother's day early.

This is part of my baby steps into recovery.

Still, I'm doing some dumb stuff.

-ella

May 11, 2009
12:11 am
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sdesigns-

Hey there!

Still at the embryonic stages of beginning CODA meetings and realizing I have a problem... so doubting myself is all I'm about right now! But with that email, the doubt just started to dissolve. My sister's comment upset me a little because I expected more support, but it's not surprising. It reminded me of the issues i have with HER, and bad arguments of the past... so it was adding insult to injury. I didn't let on too much that I was hurt, just questioned her reply and said "I thought you'd be a lot more supportive." She said she "felt sorry for him." Shouldn't I be her first concern? I want honesty from her though, so if her opinion is different, so be it. I can't change that, it just would have been nice for her to support me like I do for her so often. Oh well.

-ella

May 11, 2009
12:20 am
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readyforachange-

Well, the thing is, I told him I had to go. Then I told him I WANTED to go because he was making me upset. THAT was repeated to him on more than one occasion. He's just thick I guess.

There is such a long road ahead of me, and I'm just at the beginning of learning things like not losing my temper when it can be detrimental to me or anything else. In a way, this hanging up thing is what I do to cope and not act out in a worse way and say more hurtful things I cannot take back. Also, I had to end it and he wasn't allowing for it when I asked him to. I do look forward to the day, when I have more control over myself, when I am more diplomatic and loving, yet self loving as well, and will be able to navigate difficult situations without being abrupt myself. Sometimes, you just need to though.

In no way did I stoop to his level. I never raised my voice, I never insulted him, in fact. I was sensitive to his condition and even mentioned that this might be the reason why we weren't understanding each other. That his pain might be too great for him to understand my circumstance. How much more could I give him? I was very kind, I just didn't want to be a doormat. He hurt me and I'd had enough.

-ella

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