Monday, June 18, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Friends struggle to reach lost member

Q: We have a friend, "Allen," who has recently lost touch with us and who we believe is being manipulated and emotionally abused by his significant other. Over the course of their relationship, his now-wife has joined herself to Allen's hip in that he can't make plans with others that don't include her; occupies about 90 percent of his social interactions when they do attend events and parties together; has rushed him into their life events, including moving in together, proposing, getting married and buying a house.

Since they got married in September, he has stopped speaking to me and a few of our other mutual friends where he was previously very close to us. I feel this is her doing.

The thing is, Allen avoids confrontation like the plague, so he just lets this all happen, and refuses to respond if anyone tries to reach out to him. Some of us have asked him if he's OK, if he needs help, etc., as he's visibly miserable, but he just ignores us.

Is there anything else we can do for Allen? Or are we forced to watch this horror from afar?

T.

A: That's the short answer, yes. When someone chooses to stay away from you, even if that choice is coerced, it's hard even to make an argument for parachuting into his life, much less to pull it off.

But. You know red flags when you see them and there are a lot here for sure: her possessiveness, isolation, pressure to commit, plus his natural reluctance to stand up for himself.

Remain as present in Allen's life as his circumstances allow. Do not stop calling, do not stop engaging. You can enlist other mutual friends to be part of a circle of readily available support, where each of you commits to checking in at regular intervals.

Four of you, say, sending Allen a warmly neutral check-in or invitation twice a month will add up to a reminder every few days that he has people standing by. What doesn't seem like much now can become the propped-open door to the rest of his life.

Comments

Tell Me About It: After years of depression, a diagnosis

Q: I’m 33 and have dealt with depression on and off since my adolescence. I grew up in a household with every kind of abuse you can think of, but I didn’t start seeking help until my early 20s via talk therapy, and cut ties entirely with my abusers. ...
Published: 06/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaul’s Drag Race...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy news confirms estrangement

Q: I just found out my son and his wife are going to be parents. I’m very excited and somewhat confused and a little hurt: She’s seven months along. I don’t know why the long wait to tell me. They live in another state, and I haven’t seen them in abo...
Published: 06/15/18

Tell Me About It: Sister must face her poor choices in men

Q: Last night, I received my umpteenth call from my sobbing, devastated sister (mid-20s) over yet another semi-hookup-flirty-thing guy that didn’t work out. He is moving away and she found out via an announcement at work, not from him.This is a years...
Published: 06/15/18
High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

A gliding, wraith-like figure of a Dementor from the Harry Potter films enters Central Park, and the exteriors of the surrounding buildings immediately are covered in a layer of ice, a sign of their power to drain happiness out of the air around them...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Father’s Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Father’s Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFather’s Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. It’s Father’s Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18

Tell Me About It: Group resists suggestion of sober vacation

Q: I have a friend I have known since high school who has recently been in recovery for drinking. He is about six weeks into an outpatient system and has been doing well. A group of friends including my friend in recovery have been going on two campi...
Published: 06/14/18
Top things to do this week: Father’s Day freebies, Summer Circus Spectacular, Gelatin Plunge

Top things to do this week: Father’s Day freebies, Summer Circus Spectacular, Gelatin Plunge

NOTE: This item has been updated to reflect the correct start time of 7 p.m.SQUISHY: Gelatin PlungeRaise money for a cancer charity and you, too, could plummet down a slide into more than 2,000 gallons of orange gelatin before a party with live music...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/15/18
‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

It’s been 14 years since the premiere of Brad Bird’s beloved animated superhero film The Incredibles, one of the mega-hit Pixar films that cemented its reputation for film humor and heart that would satisfy both parents and children. With cool mid-ce...
Published: 06/13/18
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Maroon 5, Joan Jett, Styx and more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Maroon 5, Joan Jett, Styx and more

MANY VOICES: Maroon 5Remember when Adam Levine crooned the hook on Kanye West’s 2005 single Heard ’Em Say? Feels like a lifetime ago; it’s hard to imagine ’Ye and the Maroon 5 frontman booking studio time together in 2018. Or at least, it would be, i...
Published: 06/13/18