Hello there. It's been a while.
I'm not sure if anyone here remembers me. Hope you've all been well. Wanted to come by and give an update, plus I'm in need of some SI wisdom.
First, the harder update: Mr. Silver died. He was found in an alleyway, dead of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Despite having left him, I am devastated. And I am learning to go easier on myself for those feelings of devastation. I loved and married him, after all, so of course I would mourn who he was at his best. I don't want to go into the grief process right now. That feels private.
The SI wisdom that I'm hoping for is about detachment.
A few years ago, while I was still being abused by Mr. Silver, a community leader/mentor befriended me, and it was his kindness that helped me to escape from Mr. Silver. I began to work for the community leader, as his cohost, video editor, community coordinator, and several other tasks, and we became close friends during Covid. I really treasured his friendship, though I'm realizing in retrospect that there are several red flags. For one, anyone who has you swear a pact for honesty toward each other (and then breaks it), promises that you will have a lifelong friendship, and in general seems "too good to be true" (and now that I'm writing this out, I'm realizing this applies to romance as well as friendship, doesn't it?), is probably exhibiting a pattern that won't bode well for you.
He has a pattern of having favorites among the community participants. I know this from cues he exhibits plus he used to call me to talk excessively about his favorites after the classes and meetings. There's one favorite in particular who he began to treat exceptionally to the other participants, and then he made her a cohost with us, and then he promoted her, in a sense, ahead of me for something, while they both hid it from me for 4 months. He now ignores me and has become secretive about what they plan together, even though the three of us are supposed to work together on things, and he praises her and gives her special favors and attention while forgetting about me.
This screams toxic behavior to me. The terms "bread crumbing", Hoovering, blowing hot and cold, new shiny person syndrome, favoritism, white knighting, triangulation, and attention supply come into mind. Plus there's this icky feeling, almost like they're having an emotional affair (not sure if that makes sense - maybe because she's married? and because of how secretively they act?), and I've noticed he gets that way with certain people (always women) and not others. Maybe fixated is the right word.
I'm mad at myself for becoming so invested in our friendship. Mr. Silver had isolated me from everyone, so any kindness felt like a lifeline to me. I should never get attached to people like that; I've learned my lesson this time, I hope.
So my question is, can anyone offer me any strategies to detach? I do NOT want to re-engage in this weird toxic dynamic ever again. And to make matters worse, the entire community reveres him as exceptional, kind, genuine, etc. It honestly feels like a cult of personality.
Without a support system, it's harder to break free from toxic dynamics. So may I request if anyone has any advice?