Author Topic: My (former)best friend was cool when I came out, now he's an alt right extremist  (Read 469 times)

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Offline Frazer

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I came out to my best friend about a year ago. I was a bit apprehensive, as he's pretty right wing. Or at least I thought he was at the time, now I could only describe him as a far right extremist, and terms like "far" and "extremist" are not terms I throw around lightly. It's been a long slow change, and I think I've been in denial for a long time that the reasonable and rational guy I could talk to for hours, shoot pool with, playing for pints while we moaned about girlfriends giving us a hard time, debated politics and religion, and we almost always met in the middle, and listened to each other and valued each other's opinions.....that guy disappeared a long time ago.

 He'd never been homophobic or anything, and he'd always been supportive of me for the 3 years I'd known him. We told each other everything, all kinds of intimate things I can't imagine telling or hearing from other friends, without batting an eye, no subject was off limits to us. So when I told him I'd never felt like a girl, and I was going to the doctors to get a referral to a gender clinic, he said he was surprised as he'd always thought of me as a girl, but he was my best friend at the end of the day and was going to be supportive. I said because we both are very pro free speech and he'd always known me as a girl (albeit I never presented that way, and we had always looked and acted like two regular male best friends) that I wouldn't bite his head off or anything if he called me by my birthname, I have a nickname but he'd never used it, which is fine because occasionally in the cis world people don't like peoples nicknames. I understand how it can be hard for people who've known you the whole time by your birthname to suddenly adapt, but most people at least made an effort to call me by a gender neutral shortening of my name, which I've always been fine with as without physical change of hormones yet, it's hard for people to envisage the future you as well as you can. I've never minded the short name, it doesn't evoke any dysphoria and feels like a good bridge to help people cross into the changes that will come. But looking back he never even tried to do that. But I didn't take much notice of it because he was still very understanding and supportive when we talked about trans stuff and all the things that will happen with transitioning.

Anyway, I've been noticing a lot of changes in him slowly over the past year, but I kept trying to write off his behaviour and pretend everything was ok. As a libertarian I used to understand at least the basis of his rationale politically, but now that's become impossible. As somebody that likes to be adventurous and have a good time, I tried to embrace his chaos and destructive nature, but now that's become impossible too. In the past year, every night out or every trip away with him has ended in chaos and trouble. He kept getting into bar fights, last time we went to a house party he got naked and challenged people to fight him if they thought his dick was small. Now he believes all women are inferior, that they're all sluts, and have the mental agency of children, and there's no room for negotiating that  now unlike when we met and he was just a guy that viewed traditional family units favourably and would debate and discuss different perspectives. He didn't see the irony or hypocrisy in the mental agency comment as he said it from a secure mental ward, as last month he got sectioned for being a danger to himself and others jumping infront of motorway traffic. He escaped twice last week, the first time he went back after a day (I didn't believe it until I called the hospital) then they let him wonder off unsupervised for 30 mins and he ran off again, the police have been looking for him and he hasn't returned and is now saying the hospital discharged him in his absence. They're really negligent and don't seem to care so it may well be true. Either way he's not received the help he needs and he thinks he's just fine.

I'd been giving him the cold shoulder, because he was never going to tell me where he was or take the situation seriously, and he'd called our mutual friend's fiance a very disgusting and out of order term. And that guy happens to be my former boss and one of my very close friends.  They've since, and rightfully turned their backs on him despite being nothing but supportive of him through everything until now. So after a few days of not talking to him, hoping he would go back to the hospital and accept the treatment he needs, knowing I don't support or condone his escapade, he messaged me today with some mundane crap about yet another girl he was calling a slut to try and hook up with her. I said he needed to sort himself out and he called me an emotional bitch then proceeded to tell me I'm just like every other woman and he will never see me as a man and an equal. I think this is the end of the road for us. I'm done defending and supporting someone that can't even give me the most basic respect anymore.

My girlfriend thinks this is all because of his recent mental breakdown, and I've been passing off a lot of it as that myself, but I don't know, I think that's exaccerbated it, but he's always had unconventional views and obsessions with conspiracy theories, but it's gotten gradually more and more extreme. She thinks I should give him time and he'll come round, but I don't think there's anything that can be done, I think I've lost him for good, and the chaotic extremist racist misogynistic transphobe is who he really is, and the person I originally became best friends with was just a facade, just the tip of the iceberg. My girlfriend's a social care case worker who's worked in mental health before, she's also a lot more left wing than I am, so I'm giving her take on this a lot of consideration. But I know him a lot better than she does. I learned the hard way with my previous best friend who was an alcoholic that you just can't help people who won't help themselves, and he won't help himself.

 Has anybody had a similar issue with a friend they thought was supportive of their transition then turned out to be completely transphobic? Should I call it quits on our friendship and get this toxic person out of my life for good? Or should I dismiss it as mental health issues?

Offline AnamethatstartswithE

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I am not a doctor, so take every thing I say with a grain of salt.

How old are you two, based on how you two seem to spend your time I'm guessing you're roughly in your mid twenties. That's the normal time for something like schizophrenia to manifest itself. If he's been hospitalized then that would point to something serious.

If that is the case then It's not his fault, for whatever comfort you may find in that.
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Offline Frazer

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Yeah we're 25. He was sectioned once before when he was a teenager, before I met him. I think then he was diagnosed with either paranoid schizophrenia or some sort of schizotypal personality disorder. He was in there for a year that time. He showed me once some old forum posts from that time in his life where he wrote the nazi symbolism 1488 at the end of every post. When he showed me that he said he thought, looking back, it was a bit extreme. I know all this is going to be massively magnified by his mental health issues, but I feel like its getting to a point where i can't just write it all of as mental health and not his fault, because it's always been in there lurking in his mind. Is it unreasonable to want to cut ties with him? I feel guilty but then I feel stupid for feeling that.

Offline AnamethatstartswithE

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Is it unreasonable to want to cut ties with him? I feel guilty but then I feel stupid for feeling that.

No, it is not unreasonable. You have to take care of yourself. It doesn't matter if his problems come from his mental illness or not. These aren't the kinds of things that you personally can fix for him.
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Offline Lady Sarah

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If his toxicity is going to interfere with your happiness, then by all means, cut him out of your life.

On a side note: be careful posting anything about extremist political views. We have at least one mod that will censor you for it by removing your posts.
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Offline KathyLauren

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If his political views include denunciation of trans people, then that would be reason enough to cut ties with him.  But it sounds like he also has serious mental health issues that cause him to be violent.  It is okay to feel sad for him for his problems, but you don't want that in your life.
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Offline Frazer

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Thank you all for your responses and advice, it was much appreciated.

It's been two months now, I unfriended him on facebook but didn't block him, in case he wished to make amends. He hasn't, and I can honestly say I'm quite glad of that, he was toxic, and mostly, I've felt a lot better without him in my life. Apparently he's been recaptured by the authorities and is now back on the secure ward, so at least he's safe. :police: