A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

What Type of Friends do Abusers Have?

[September 28, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

The following very helpful insights were sent by one of our readers and we post her insights here with her permission. This is a good illustration of an unsafe relationship characterized by one controlling, unsafe person staying in the relationship only so long as they are the superior and their “friend” is the inferior. This is what she wrote:

I am watching a movie, and in the movie [Internet Archive link]1 Helen says to Jack, (the topic is friends):

….I’ve only now just seen it. How you’ve arranged a life for yourself where no one can touch you. Everyone that is close to you is either younger than you….or weaker than you, or is under your control.

That dialogue made me think of my ex-husband and his friends. Most of them are younger, weaker, or under his control. Activities with his friends revolved around playing or watching sports or sharing meals. The conversations were always about trivial things. He didn’t have any friends that would or could challenge his thinking, his actions, his perceptions, and when he did encounter such a person, that relationship never lasted.

Back to the movie:

Jack responds:

Why are you getting at me? I thought we were friends.


I don’t know that we are friends. Not the way you have friends, anyway. Sorry, Jack.


I don’t understand.


Oh, I think you do. You just don’t like it….

I hadn’t thought about the type of friends my ex-husband has, but it seems to fit….

1[September 28, 2022: We added the link to a script for the movie Shadowlands, the movie quoted by the ACFJ reader in her insights. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that link. Editors.]

[September 28, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 28, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Great topic! My first husband had only a couple of friends – blokes he had known for years, but didn’t see all that often. And he didn’t put all that much effort into keeping up the friendships. It was like he didn’t really care about those people much anymore, they were just there in the background. Now I know women tend to be different from men as regards friendship, and they tend to keep the social oils lubricated more than blokes do, but even so, my ex seemed like a loner. And the old friends he did have, didn’t seem to have a great respect for him. Maybe they had seen his angry side over the years, and lost respect that way. So in my ex’s case, he didn’t seem to have friends who he could enjoy controlling or being superior to, he just seemed to not function much in friendship period. Which of course put that much more burden on me – it was like I was his only friend, the person he depended on, the one who held him up and filled all the gaps.

    His friend was his archery bow – he had been a dedicated archer for years. A pretty solitary sport: all that practice you do alone, no team-work. Yeah, he was in an archery club, but when he went to practice there would often be no one else there. Our little daughter (a very sociable creature), when stuck with him on access weekends, would make friends with the spiders in the clubhouse. She even gave them names!

  2. Finding Answers


    From the original post:

    Everyone that is close to you is either younger than you….weaker than you, or is under your control.

    I can think of other words to add to the list and maintain the substance of the statement. Requires some extra thought….

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