Reader’s questions: relationship advice for Theresa
We don’t usually do this but this week we received a letter from a reader seeking relationship advice for Theresa, a longtime friend. We are not qualified to offer such advice, and although there is no political angle, we thought that perhaps someone out there could help?
Dear Autonomy Scotland,
I hope you don’t mind me bothering you with my problems but I have no-one else to turn to. I’m at my wits end you see. Your guide to the Scottish election really helped me get my head around the complexities of additional member systems, so I though you might be able to offer advice on a thorny situation in my life?
I’ve known my pal Theresa since we were kids and she has been really going off the rails recently. It all started with a traumatic incident, a horrible breakup to be exact. Well, I say horrible but she kept her emotions pretty well hidden, stiff upper lip and all that, she seems to be in denial. She and Claude were the perfect couple in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, they had their differences of opinion, he was a bit clingy at times, not great with money and he could be overly officious. Still, they had a stable, rewarding and worthwhile life together, they looked out and cared for each other and together they seemed more than the sum of their parts.
In her past, before they had met she had always been independent.
She had travelled at lot and from all accounts she had a big impact on every place she visited. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative. That said, and this is something she doesn’t like to admit, at the time she met Claude she was going through a bad patch. She was down on her luck, was barely working, electricity was disconnected and she seldom even took out the rubbish. Still, that was life for a lot of people back then, but memories are short and selective and we often block out the negative aspects of our past.
Within months of meeting Claude she was thriving again. They were able to buy a nice place together, they were the life and soul of parties, they worked really hard to make their local communities great places to live. While they both had suffered due to tempestuous relationships in their past, this seemed different, the most secure and properous period they could remember. Still, she couldn’t forget about that globetrotting, emancipating period of her youth. She was conflicted, gripped with a wild obsession about what she could achieve if only she could free herself from the repetitive, almost bureaucratically mundane reality of life with Claude. So, after a brief period of not very nuanced wrestling with her competing emotions, she embraced her delusion and walked out on him.
It was a mess. He took it really badly as he could not fathom how this could be good for either of them. Yet once he realised it was over he became determined to look after his own interests. So, lawyers got involved, things turned really sour, she lost the house, she lost the circle of friends, she even lost her job due to the stress. She was back to square one, alone in the world without the support network she had previously. She had gotten what the little voice in her head was urging her to do but inside you could tell she was isolated and terrified.
She started acting funny as well, a phenomenon I can only put down to how internally divided she had become.
I could tell she still loved Claude but she just couldn’t defeat her penchant for risk and her subconscious propensity to self harm. Whereas before she had always come across as reasonable she began getting upset over nothing, flying into spontaneous rages, garbling meaningless soundbites at the drop of a hat. She also seemed to regress to a younger version of herself.
For instance, I met her for a drink one night and she turned up wearing leather trousers the likes I’d not seen her in for 35 years.
I had sweat running down my brow just watching her as she edged her rigid torso into a power-stance after alighting from a taxi. When it was her turn to buy a round she seemed to be gone for ages, and then I noticed a commotion at the bar. When I looked up she was gesticulating at the Polish barman. I’m not sure what they were arguing about but I observed her scream above that ruckus that ‘crisps means crisps’. I’m sure I heard him apologise profusely for not stocking red, white and blue flavour. When she came back clutching a bag of scampi fries she was incandescent and ranted for ages about hoards of immigrants ruining the country.
Little did I know at this point but her views were being influenced by the bad company she had gotten herself into.
First she started hanging out with a bunch of bigoted out of touch right wing types, most notably a rat called Michael. You might know the sort, a wee grovelling, untrustworthy and thoroughly manipulative prick (excuse the language) whose behaviour makes Jago look like Baldrick post-concussion. That was bad enough as he was filling her head with all sorts of nonsense but then he introduced Theresa to his man-crush, Donald. It was not long before Theresa and Donald became a thing. You could not have picked a guy more different from Claude. Donald is, in my opinion, the most odious creature I have ever had the displeasure to set eyes upon.
I don’t really know where to start.
I have never in my life met such a narcissistic, odious bully. Within seconds of being in his company he actually, and I’m not joking, publicly mocked a disabled person that deigned to ask him for directions. He just stood there and acted out a spasmodic dance in the guy’s face while laughing like an eight year old Ted Bundy on ritalin. When I tried to intervene he turned his wrath on me, asking me if I ‘was on my period or something?’. I went through the menopause 15 years ago for fucks sake. ‘Don’t make me grab you by the pussy’ he threatened, ‘you may be a bit over the hill but I don’t mind, I got big hands, if you know what I mean?’. As an aside they looked pretty small to me, with the chubbiest fingers I had ever seen.
While all this was going on Theresa seemed to be actually finding the whole scene mildly amusing. Standing behind him, sniggering, like the cowering sycophant who egged on the playground tyrant.
I should have gone home at that point but I stayed and went for dinner as I could not give up on Theresa after such a long friendship. Well, it was like having dinner with a fascist. During the three courses he advocated torture, equated all Muslims to being terrorists, insinuated the Mexican waiter was most likely a rapist, talked about his frustration about not being able to make love to his daughter who he found sexually attractive, bragged about how he forbid his third wife from having an abortion, denied that man-made climate change was real and bragged about how many little people he had trampled over while running his property development business.
Theresa and I barely said a word the whole meal. It was all about him, him, him.
I could understand why he was self employed as there is no way any sane person would have bestowed a position of power upon a sociopath like Donald. The results would be catastrophic. Donald would repel anyone who possessed a modicum of self-respect or a whiff of morality. The guy was bragging about his umpteen bankruptcies and how he avoids paying taxes for God’s sake. He refused to pay for the meal and made Theresa pick up the tab. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was only after her money. I’m worried as she’s not herself and could easily be taken advantage of.
The thing is Theresa seemed to be enjoying herself. She seemed happier for the first time in years. It’s like she thinks she is heading it the right direction but it’s plain to see this will end badly.
I just don’t know what to do. I feel that I knew her so well but now Theresa is lost to me. She seems to be getting something from Donald but all I can see is her losing all the respect, prosperity and support she had with Claude. Whatever she is obtaining from him she is paying a high price for it. They say opposites attract but whatever the opposite of a pussy grabbing, disability mocking, racist, chubby fingered imbecile is, it’s not the Theresa I once knew.
I just want things to go back to where they were back in the good old days. I’m desperate for advice.
What should I do?