Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 4:02 am | Mostly Cloudy 51º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Emotional Manipulation, Feeling Used, Too Many Boyfriends

Question from Rozelyn

I am 17. A 21-year-old friend of mine keeps asking me to tell him how I masturbate. I asked why? I kept saying no, and he kept saying why? He said do you trust me? Do you feel safe with me? Do you know how you do it?

He kept asking me how I do it and what do I do. He told me that he’s just curious. He doesn’t think he learned about it. Then he said nothing will happen, I swear. He kept saying that. He asked me to send pics.

Before that, he was being all romantic and insisting that I have feelings for him, which I don’t. He says he thinks about touching me, and then he kissed his phone screen because we were on the phone talking. I want to block him but I’m just afraid.

I’m afraid that he’s going to find me somehow and I’m afraid he’s going to do things to me, and I’m afraid that if I don’t talk to him then he’s gonna kill himself because he has threatened to do that if I get off the phone. I just don’t know what to do.

Weezy

Contrary to the insistence of desperate men throughout history, describing sexual details is not a life-saving technique. Nor is sexting taught in any CPR class. This man is responsible for his own mental and emotional health.

He sounds extremely manipulative, but we do need to erir on the side of safety when it comes to suicide threats. The next time he threatens to kill himself, get off the phone, block him and call 9-1-1. The arrival of an ambulance in his driveway should put a halt to that tactic.

There is no good reason for you to remain in contact with this person. He is attempting to control you by hitting every note on your emotional piano until you hear one that works for him.

Trust your gut. You find his behavior to be scary. End this. You should never feel pressured to discuss your private and personal behaviors with anyone. Not EVEN your boyfriend or husband.

It’s YOUR business. If you ever wish to share this part of yourself with an intimate partner you can do that ... as long as that is YOUR choice. Nobody gets to bully you into it. This man is using you and scaring you, and he has thereby sacrificed all friend privileges. He is not your friend. He has crossed a line. Tell authorities. Block him and move on.

(From Toxic to Love video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Natalie

Hi. Sometimes I feel alone and I’m tired of being used. I hate that I get attached to people and they leave me.

Weezy

I understand. We all really dislike that feeling. As you reach out to form friendships, be careful that you are getting what you give. Has someone earned your trust? Are they sharing with you what you are sharing with them?

We all need friends. If you want a good friend, BE a good friend. Listen to people. Compliment them. Appreciate in them what they value in themselves.

But as the friendship begins to blossom, notice the balance. Is it mutual? Often when it is not, a person will feel compelled to take two steps closer to the person. Don’t do that. Back away a bit. Let someone miss you. Let them take a step toward you. Look around you for others who may more fully value your friendship.

You can’t make someone be a good friend. The only person you can control is yourself. If somebody is not earning your time and attention, however much it hurts to do so, turn away so that you are better able to see someone else who deserves your time and attention.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Angie

My friend always says she has many boyfriends and I don’t know what to say. Advice would be great!

Weezy

It sounds like you guys are around 12 years old? Is that about right? You are at that weird age where some people are suddenly very aware of love and romance, and many kids are just not there yet. The subsequent conversations can be confusingly awkward. Everyone is trying to prove that they have it all figured out.

Here is the important takeaway: NO ONE HAS ANYTHING FIGURED OUT! I’m still working on it.

When I was your age there was this one girl in P.E. class who kept looking over to the boys’ side of the gym and saying, “Oh, my God. I am soooo ‘boy crazy.’” I was like, “OK ...” Cut to, that girl turns out to be a lesbian.

We don’t always know why people say the things they say or claim the things they claim. We do know that a 12 year old has no need for any number of boyfriends higher than one. You can gently ask her why she has many boyfriends. Juggling one is really more than enough of a challenge. Have fun with the questions and keep any judgment out of your voice.

This is just a kid who is trying to find herself. She may be trying to prove something to you. She is your friend. There is nothing more to prove. There are subtle ways of letting her know that many boyfriends does not impress you. Tell her that what you value in your friend is her!

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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