Why do bad things happen?

newpostHere is an excellent article on this subject, with several contributors: Why do the Righteous Suffer?–Sermons from Presbyterian (USA) Pastors

Also see question 14 from the Presbyterian Study Catechism of 1998.

Since I converted to Orthodoxy after writing this webpage, now for an Orthodox point of view:

Why Does Evil Exist? by a guy named Jeremiah who includes a pic from Boondock Saints on his blog post.  :D

Talking to Children when bad things happen by Rev. Deacon Nicholas Jannakos

Greek Orthodox Church of America’s brochure, Why do bad things happen to good people?

Written between probably 2005 and 2006

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

Scott Walker is looking more and more corrupt…..

newpostSee Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe by Michael Isikoff.

Quotes:

And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources — a top Menard priority.

The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.

“This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with the dark-money world we live in,” said Bill Allison, senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based based nonprofit group that tracks the influence of money in politics.

“Here’s somebody who obviously has issues before the state, and he’s able to make a backdoor contribution that nobody ever sees. My sense is [political] insiders know about these contributions. It’s only the public that has no idea.”

When he later learned about the secret donations by Gogebic Taconite and other contributors to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, Schultz said in an interview,

“I was heart-broken. I was crushed. All of a sudden, I saw something that had never happened before in Wisconsin. You had to go back to when the railroad barons bought the entire legislature during the Gilded Age.”

Meanwhile, the Republican Legislature wants to make investigations like these into Walker’s campaign, illegal.  Which means corruption becomes impossible to dig out and remove.

Dang, it goes all the way to the core.  Has Wisconsin turned into Illinois?

Yet when we protest, we’re called “libtards.”  It’s absolutely ridiculous–a public shaming of those who object to the corruption.

Basically, a sociopathic-style smear campaign to silence the ones who try to root out dark money in politics, and return to rule by the people–

NOT RULE BY BIG MONEY.

The payoff of sharing my abusers’ sociopathic e-mail: Part 2 of my “Stalked” series has been pinned

newpostStatcounter constantly reveals interest in various sections of my “Now I’m Being Stalked” series from 2012.

In this series, which was originally one long post, now split into 7 parts starting here, I described how Richard and Tracy had begun stalking me, and posted the sociopathic e-mail they sent me.

Then in 2014, I re-visited the e-mail with Running my abusers’ e-mail through the narc decoder.

The latest numbers, gathered about a month ago, showed that this series had received 528 views.

In Part 2 and “Running,” I tore apart the sociopathic e-mail by showing the truth behind my stalkers’ ludicrous, lying words.

And these posts are being read.  “Running” has received 33 hits just in the last month.  The various parts of “Stalked” have received 43 total in the last month.

Recently, Part 2 and “Running” have been getting more attention.  Someone in Canada has read “Running” 13 times over the past few days.  And now Part 2 has been pinned:

Gratitude Girl has pinned my post, just before 6am this morning her time, onto the Psych/Narcissism/Sociopathy/Abuse/Codependency board on Pinterest.  (She also pinned Breaking the Power of Narcissists.)

She runs the board; it has 407 followers.  Here’s hoping this pin helps the post go viral, just as a post to a Facebook group last spring made this post go viral: Wasted Years Mourning a Narcissist: Reclaiming Our Lost Selves and Thriving

My blog just contains diary posts, not the “expert” advice of life coaches or psychiatrists.  These detail my struggles and the lessons I learn from them.

Yet so many people are connecting with various posts, whether on narcissism or abuse, that I continually see yet another Facebook share in Statcounter.

It felt so risky to post on these subjects–especially when my two recent abusers discovered them and began stalking me for it.  It felt risky to continue posting even as they watched my blog every week–sometimes more often–to intimidate me into silence.

I didn’t know if they were laughing, if they were looking for a reason to sue, or what they wanted.

It was risky, intimidating, frightening, foolhardy.

But I did it anyway, to prove to myself that I wasn’t just some weak-willed, easily-dominated target of bullies.

And over time, my blog has grown.  My site currently averages 148 views a day.  Others have found comfort and lessons in my posts.  Comments are often turned off, but I see it in repeat visitors, likes, printing my posts, subscriptions, and online shares.

It is particularly comforting to see this in the past week, right after I revised the formatting for the “Stalked” posts and sticky-posted a few of them on my front page for a bit.  Part 2 includes the sociopathic e-mail.

It is comforting to see others read Part 2 or “Running,” because they, too, see this e-mail for themselves.  They then read my response, and find something of value in it for their own struggles with abusers.  I see people click on the link that prints the post.

Just as it was comforting to share that e-mail with the members of the Forum, and know they understand and believe me.  And now, in the past month, new members of the Forum have gone through the 3-year-old threads, read the e-mail and empathized with me, then asked me if things were resolved, and if Richard was properly punished, because child abuse is disgusting.

Just writing these blog posts, and including the sociopathic e-mail from my abusers, was emotionally taxing, because the e-mail meant to rip me apart.

It made me practically catatonic when it first came in.  I was appalled and devastated to discover just how evil both Richard and Tracy truly are, to send such an e-mail and to even plan to stalk me at church!  To call themselves Christians, and then behave in such a manner–!!!!

The e-mail is so horrid (and proves me correct even while objecting to making Tracy out to be a “horrible person”) that I could not even open the original “Stalked” post again for two years.

The same as other e-mails sent by Tracy back in July and August 2010, which I kept as evidence, but have not even peeked at in five years.

Tracy’s style of writing would be familiar to many of you: the kind that tears you apart and makes you afraid to even open an e-mail from your abuser.

(Obviously, Tracy does not feel this way when reading my blog, since she reads here so often.)

When I read Oscar Wilde’s account of Bosie’s telegrams and letters in De Profundis, I realized that Bosie and his father were male Tracys.

Bosie and his father both had a raging dysfunction which Wilde said ran in the family, so it must have been some sort of Cluster B personality disorder.

From what I know of Tracy, abuse, narcissism, borderline personality disorder and Bosie’s family, writing such horrid letters appears to be a common trait among abusers.

There is absolutely no concern for nor respect for the recipient, but rather a desire to make him or her feel smaller than a dust mite, to make her feel like the slime on the wall of a sewer pipe.

And it makes no difference whether the recipient did anything to deserve this: No, all that matters to the abuser is that the abuser THINKS he did.  Wilde would get such letters and telegrams from Bosie without rhyme nor reason to it.

So it was emotionally risky to open those posts again in order to revise them.  But I did it anyway.

It is wonderful and healing to see that my pain in doing this, is helping others to heal.

It was worthwhile not only to share those blog posts and the e-mail, but to keep them up.  Sometimes it takes a while, but others find them and use them to glean their own lessons.  They find validation for their own struggles.  They find a way to no longer care when their own abusers send them e-mails like mine sent me.

Then, sometimes, they share with others.

It’s all part of raising awareness and helping to heal abuse victims.

BLOG HARD!

 

Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 36

Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Part 36: Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard

Tracy’s abusive nature was pushing me away, but if I wasn’t befriending her in the way she prescribed (since my means of befriending her weren’t good enough), it was somehow my fault.

She just didn’t seem to understand that nobody wants to hug, play with or get close to a porcupine.  It’s hard enough for shy people to approach a friendly person; she was unapproachable, unfriendly.

For many months it would seem I finally met all her criteria and she accepted my quiet nature and we were getting along all right.  But then all of a sudden I’d find out that she was upset with me still, and once again the restrictions on my friendship with Richard were back up.

One day I’d hear she was perfectly fine with something, such as me hugging Richard, then later hear that she was fuming at me for it.  It seemed she kept giving out permission and calling me a friend and then taking it back again later, or else pretending to like me while calling me “that woman” behind my back.

This happened three times.  I never knew which end was up.

At least once, I felt driven to do things out of desperation that appalled me in saner moments.  (You’ll see from that link how narcissists can affect the people who live with them.)

She didn’t use the word, but through her jealous actions, she treated me like a whore so much that I began to feel like it at times–even though I had no intention of such things, and even though I had followed Richard’s lead of what was okay behavior.

He’d tell me that some old restriction was gone, and naturally I’d think they were all gone.

For most of the last year of our friendship, everything was fine, as far as I knew: Richard gave me the “signal” I asked for to demonstrate that Tracy was finally okay with me and he and I could have a normal friendship like with his other friends, without offending her in any way: late night chats, going out for coffee.

I played games with her on Facebook, “liked” her posts, that sort of thing.  I figured the only reason Richard and I weren’t going out for coffee was our financial and family situations.

During a conversation in late spring 2010, when we discussed the sexual harassment of 2009, I talked about how he kept neglecting to return my calls.  I said I’d wonder if he wasn’t allowed to talk to me.  But he said no, that was over with a long time agoI.e., the old restrictions and jealousies were long gone.

It wasn’t until the last couple of months of our friendship that things began falling to pieces for no reason anyone ever told me.  (And I was blamed for behaving as if the old restrictions and jealousies were long gone when they were not.  Um…um…WHAT?)

When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

How many of us have asked ourselves, “How could I have done that?” “What was I doing?” “What was I thinking?”

Lately when I think back to that time in my life it is more like thinking about another person, perhaps a friend or star in a tragic drama. I think, “That wasn’t me!”

I’ve realized that those instincts are right on the mark. It truly wasn’t me. The shell of a woman that was his possession was the manifestation of his pathology. I was buried in an hypnotic trance, unable to surface.

So, while I think that living well is the goal we all need to strive for, it is important to remember that living wholly and fully free from the grip of pathology isn’t revenge so much as a gift to ourselves. –Laura Kamienski, “Resurfacing Hope

Richard and I had built up the kind of close friendship where I felt I could tell him anything at all, be frank with him about every issue between us, and he would tell me his own deep, dark secrets.

In the beginning, things were wonderful, like we were a mutual admiration society.  I often sent him e-mails describing various things about myself, hoping he would find me interesting, and understand me better.  I wanted him to know what makes me “tick.”

But I was often unsure if he even read them, since he was so unresponsive even when I asked direct questions.  He used to be very open about himself as well, but now his e-mails were short and unsatisfying.

One day in March 2009, he mentioned that he lets Tracy read some of our chats and my e-mails–and that she got mad at him the night before because he wouldn’t let her read a chat about some personal issues I was having.

I felt exposed, as if I’d caught a brother sneaking in to read my diary.  I told Richard things I told nobody else before, along with various personal and private things that are only told to close friends: things about my past, religious questions and doubts, fears, things like that.  They were for him and him alone.

For Tracy to read them was a real invasion of my privacy.  I didn’t want her to know these things because I didn’t trust her enough to tell her.  I didn’t trust her not to use them against me somehow, make them into a joke.

I said I didn’t tell Jeff about the private, personal things Richard told me!  Also, Jeff didn’t show me his private e-mails or chats.

This should have been understood as part of the rules of friendship, that you don’t betray your friend’s privacy by showing his/her private e-mails to your spouse.

It was yet another way that, in reality, Richard just wasn’t a good friend.  Yet another huge red flag that I missed.  If your friend goes showing your private e-mails to his/her spouse, that’s a huge violation of your privacy, and must not be tolerated.

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

 

 

I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 37

Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Part 37: I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out

In order to be my friend, a person MUST accept me the way I am.  I just ask for acceptance of introversion and quietness, not bad behavior like angry outbursts and cussing at people.  I always try to cultivate kindness and gentleness; I’m not going around being mean to people.  Mostly I sit there quietly, laughing at jokes but that’s about it.

Most people seem to like me.  They consider me innocent, unoffensive.  They call me “Trouble” or tell me to “Behave” the same way that you call a big man “Shorty.”

About 20 years ago, I finally decided I had enough of people telling me that I had to be more outgoing or talk louder or smile more.  I decided that there was nothing wrong with being shy, quiet and soft-spoken.  I figured that if somebody doesn’t like it, that’s their problem, not mine.

And I won’t change myself in any way just for other people: I have to see a good reason for the change.  Since I was not being mean or unkind, I saw no reason to change my basic personality.

I certainly felt far too mousy to be a threat to anybody’s marriage, but rather just the kind of person who inspires confidence in wives.

But Tracy expected me not only to be her friend, but to change myself, who I was, the basic way I communicate with people–

–or else she wouldn’t consider me her friend–

–or let me have a normal friendship with Richard, with all the normal things friends do with each other (going out for coffee, or even having a private conversation standing on the grass outside the house).

I’m certainly not talking about going out to dinner or dancing, “date” things, but just talking with a friend!

As I wrote here, there were even times in early 2008 that she fought him “tooth and nail,” because he needed to come over–for ten minutes–to pick up some things they’d left at my house, or mail that arrived for them!

She acted like her reactions were somehow normal and accepted by society and my objections were wrong.  But if I acted to Jeff’s friends like she did to Richard’s, Jeff would have divorced me years ago, and vice versa.

Jeff had far more trust in me and allowed far more freedoms even when he had just met Richard: His basic sizing-up took a very short time.

Our trust in each other has meant very little drama with each other over friends, very little drama with friends, and must be a far happier life than assuming suspicion of every one of your SO’s friends until they have passed your “test.”

Even though Richard was in my exact same situation–

–the wife of his friend Chris hated Richard and Tracy, and “fought tooth and nail” to keep Chris from meeting with Richard–

–this inspired neither compassion nor understanding in Richard and Tracy toward me.

If you have some constructive criticism and couch it in gentle language, I can listen to you and appreciate your help.  Sometimes even if couched in annoyed language, if I know you have my best interests at heart, I’ll listen, see your point and change.

But to base the very friendship on how well I adopt your neurotypical or extroverted ways of doing things?  To call me unfriendly for not following your demands?

That’s no friendship: That’s a dictatorship.  Normally you hear that you should just be yourself; I was being myself, but ordered to be somebody else or I was a terrible person.

In this hostile environment, I could not relax or feel comfortable with Tracy, which made it impossible to become any more outgoing with her than I already was.  And Richard just enabled Tracy’s dictatorship, rather than getting her to lighten up and let me be me.

Over time I began to discover that he hid various things from me.  That he expected me to change my basic self which had so delighted him in the beginning.

Meanwhile, he complained that he had to change things when around me–which I never asked him to change: He just assumed I couldn’t handle these things in someone else, because I did not do them myself.

I had to change myself to satisfy Tracy, but now he told me if I didn’t like something he did, I had to just deal with it.  He spoke about making people “just deal with it” as if it were a virtue, but it’s a vice for me to tell them to just deal with my introversion?

This also demonstrates a problem my husband and I have noted in society of late: People have lost civility, have forgotten how to work with instead of against others. 

Instead of thinking about another person’s feelings, it’s become a virtue (seen on Facebook memes) to refuse to apologize for offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings.  It’s a very narcissistic view that breeds bad feeling and hate.

Richard gave me excuses for her bullying, her snarks at me: pregnancy hormones, various life stresses, jealousy, tactlessness, the way she was raised, or even that she was upset at something I had done.  I was cut no slack for never intending to upset or hurt her, while they expected me to cut her all sorts of slack for intentionally hurting me.

It reminds me of a friend I had in college, who was very socially inept, more so than I was.  She had some physical disabilities that apparently affected her social understanding, and there may have been one or two learning disabilities as well.  So because we were close, she upset or annoyed me at times.

But she was still my friend, she was a sweet person and meant well, and I’m friends with her to this day.  I’ve long since forgotten or pardoned the things that upset me, and felt bad about my own actions, for which I have apologized to her.

I can recognize the difference between intentional and unintentional hurts, and will cut people slack if I know them to be good-hearted.  I also know better than to assume someone hates me just because they don’t say much to me, because it’s far more likely that they’re just shy and/or quiet.

There is a huge difference between a socially inept but well-meaning person making gaffes and asking for understanding and acceptance, and an abuser with a bad temper ripping on you again and again and saying, “It’s just the way I am and you have to accept it.”

There’s also a huge difference between a normal person messing up once in a while in how they treat people, and a physical, sexual or emotional abuser doing things over and over again on purpose.

That’s why with most people we can accept their claim of a misunderstanding, while with an abuser it’s, “She’s trying to make me crazy and justify bad behavior.”

Everyone has faults and little ways of being selfish.  With most people it’s best to let it slide, but with some, it becomes a pattern of behavior manifesting itself in many different ways that shows this is indeed an abuser.

Everyone is rude at times, for whatever reason, but the abuser is deliberately rude and nasty again and again.  You don’t blame a kid for saying naughty words if he has Tourette’s, but you punish a child who beats up his sister.

There’s a difference between being clueless or obnoxious, and being a narcissist.  Otherwise, we would be cutting people out of our lives simply for having faults, and end up alone.  Richard had plenty of faults of his own that I chose to ignore for the sake of the friendship; I hoped he would do the same for me.

But there’s a huge difference between Asperger’s or introversion, and narcissism or abuse.  There’s a huge difference between a differently-wired brain, mental disorder or personality type, and a personality disorder based on behavior.

Extreme shyness and quietness has always been my way, ever since childhood, only diminishing if/when I feel comfortable enough to open up to somebody.

Some people really can stop their abusive behavior if put on the proper medication or treatment.  Some people have no medical problems to excuse what they’re doing.

Being afraid to talk to someone is not the same as screaming abuse at them or calling them names.

While we can excuse and put up with the occasional bad behavior from most people, we eventually discover we can’t do the same with an abuser.  The trouble is that the abuser treats a target like she’s the abuser, like she’s the one with the problem.

Not only did I feel that Tracy did nothing of the kind for me that I did for my old friend, even though I demonstrated kindness and generosity toward her in many different ways–

–but I recognized her as a bully.  I saw that she hurt me on purpose.

I knew this for certain because of things that Richard told me: For example, when I overheard her ripping on me on the phone to her mother, he later told me she knew I was in the next room–and did it on purpose!  She and he both found a way to justify her actions!

Or the time she yelled at me over the phone, Richard found out about it and made excuses for why she did it, but I never heard that she was sorry for it.  I thought there was no excuse for her to do that, when they were the ones being inconsiderate of me and my time.

Basically, there was always some justification for hurting me, and never an apology, so I knew she meant to hurt me.

I have always resisted the idea that shyness or quietness are somehow defects or personality flaws that must be changed.  No, they are personality differences.

We can’t all be the life of the party, or else everyone would talk and nobody would listen.  Shy and quiet people mean nothing at all harmful and will welcome attention from nice people.

But while Tracy was being deliberately hurtful by finding any reason to hate me or be upset with me, and then coming up with one way after another to punish me or hurt me, I was the only one expected to change my behavior or even so much as apologize?

I got sick of this, of apologizing to her and getting nothing back.  Or wanting to apologize and hearing I had no need to do so–but there was no evidence of Tracy pardoning me.  Of explaining to Richard that no harm was meant, and what I needed, but getting very little understanding from him, and no understanding at all from Tracy.

It’s one thing to say “I can’t help it” if your extreme shyness, introversion, selective mutism or Asperger’s/NVLD makes it hard for you to make small talk.

It’s quite another to say “I can’t help it” if you smack or yell at someone, or rip them to shreds verbally.

One means well; the other means harm.  Therein lies the difference.

For me to deal with social ineptness and extreme shyness that got far worse the more hurtful Tracy became…

For her to keep ripping on me in one way or another…

For her to treat me like I was the one being deliberately hurtful, while she was the nice, patient one being hurt again and again–

–It was gaslighting and projecting, plain and simple, common tactics for abusers.

But I never saw Tracy be rude or nasty to people she wanted to impress, to people she liked.  I never saw her make snarky comments on Facebook to anyone else but me.

Outside of her husband and children, I only saw her pull out the claws with her ex, school officials who annoyed her, people she disliked or saw as rivals, and Todd, the other family friend she chased away.

By the way, like me, (as she said) Todd also preferred to talk to Richard instead of her, because (as Richard said) Todd was wary of her, and (from what Todd said) saw many of the same things I did in her.

When they are with outsiders they are such a charming, friendly person. People tend to like them and admire them.

You are continually amazed at how rational they are with these people, how phony it is, and different it is from the person you know privately. In other words, they treat you differently than outsiders. –JoyfulAlive Woman, Behaviors and attitudes of the narcissist

How ludicrous that while Tracy got furious with me for telling my husband all the things she did to hurt me, her husband and children, for seeing her behavior as controlling and possessive…

…she could say all manner of things about me and do anything she liked to me–

–while I was supposed to just suck it up, take it, and be meek, mild and accepting toward her.

I spoke out against the evil being done to me and to people I loved!  But she got even worse when she discovered what I thought about what she did, and pinned the blame and bad behavior all on me!

I wonder where folks get the idea that Christians have to be meek and mild, silently enduring mistreatment, tolerating anything anybody else does, and timidly standing by while abusers trample all over them and other innocent victims. Since when is it a sin to speak out against evil?

This is what our abusers want us to believe, and they just love throwing it back in our faces anytime we protest their behavior. They provoke us to anger, they cause untold pain and suffering, and then when we finally speak up, they smugly inform us that we’re not acting like “good Christians”.

This is hogwash. Abusers would just love for us to back off and be quiet while they do anything they want and get away with murder.

Satan will always try to use our righteousness against us, to get us to question our faith, and to separate us from God. This is just another one of his tricks.

What kind of awesome, wonderful, All-Good God would our Father be if he actually wanted us to allow wickedness to operate unchecked in our families and our lives?

This concept is preposterous, and contradicts the perfect goodness of the Lord. Our God is All-Good, and the devil is all-bad. They are diametrically opposed for all eternity.

God instructs his saints to take a stand against evil and fight the good fight, not to keep silent and hide in the closet.  It is God’s plan that good will triumph over evil.

We are the Army of God.  We must put on the full armor of God and stand against Satan and his army.  That is our assignment, and our destiny as a child of God….

When dealing with Abusers, it is always best not to expect the appropriate reactions to rebuke that you would get from a normal person, such as apologies and improved behavior.  Be prepared! –Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc., Rebuking

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

How DARVO could prove which of us is telling the truth

archives

DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.

DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender.

This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.  –Jennifer J. Freyd, What is DARVO?

While re-reading this article on Shrink4Men, I came upon a section which hit me as proof to my readers (who can read Tracy and Richard‘s bizarre, intimidating and remorseless e-mail to me in the “Now I’m Being Stalked” post, and how they’ve been trying to stalk and intimidate me online and off the past few weeks) of which of us is telling the truth:

Of course, not everyone who denies wrong doing is engaging in DARVO. Many partners and exes of abusive women are accused of things they didn’t do or of things that never happened.

Naturally, when this happens, you deny the accusation and perhaps feel a little (or a lot) bewildered. How do you know if an individual’s denial is the truth or an instance of DARVO? Freyd (1997, pp. 23-24) proposes:

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases.

Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior.

This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on.

The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. The attack will also likely focus on ad hominem instead of intellectual/evidential issues.

Finally, I propose that the offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. The more the offender is held accountable, the more wronged the offender claims to be.”

The original paper (“Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory” by Jennifer J. Freyd) goes on to say:

The offender accuses those who hold him accountable of perpetrating acts of defamation, false accusations, smearing, etc.  The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense.

BINGO!

More relevant stuff:

The divorce process triggers these fears and pushes all of their hot buttons, which explains why many escalate their controlling and abusive behaviors during a divorce.

Divorce represents a final loss of control and means that their flaws and faults might be exposed to friends, family, mental health professionals and the court system. Most Cluster Bs fight tooth and nail against having their abusive traits and other nasty qualities exposed.

Now that you’re no longer together, you know too much about her and, therefore, must be discredited and destroyed so that no one will suspect that she’s actually the one with the problems. This is her logic.

…3. High-conflict people feed off conflict and chaos. It gives them a buzz. For many, the only way they know how to relate to others is through aggression, blame and playing the victim. Once it ends, what does she have left? Nothing.

4. Oppositional withholding. This is more leftover baggage from your marriage. Many of these women are withholding partners. Meaning, if there’s something you really want, she doesn’t want you to have it.

The more you want something, no matter how insignificant and small, the more she finds reasons that you shouldn’t have it or actively obstructs you from getting it.

In this respect, these women are like oppositional, defiant toddlers. The more you want to wrap up the divorce; the more she digs in her heels and tries to delay it. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier,  Divorce and high conflict people: borderlines, narcissists, histrionics, sociopaths and other persuasive blamers

Sociopaths blame others for their bad behaviors and do not take personal responsibility for their actions. At their core, they are filled with rage, which is often split off and projected onto their victims.

Sociopaths have poor behavioral and emotional controls and can be impulsive. They often alternate rage and abuse with small expressions of love and approval to keep their victims under their control.

Sociopaths lack boundaries and do not care how their behavior affects others. They may become enraged and/or desperate when their victims try to enforce boundaries on their abusive behaviors. They have difficulty maintaining friendships, and, is it any wonder given how they treat others?

They typically end relationships and/or try destroying former friends who have seen behind their masks.

Some may have long-term friendships, but they either seem to be long-distance or friendships with incredibly damaged individuals with low self-esteem who admire the sociopath, i.e., sycophants. –Dr. Tara, Rethinking female sociopathy, part one

Do they do this on purpose?  The expert, Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, has some insight into how NPD’s/BPD’s think:

Basically, she doesn’t have a James Bond evil villain-esque plan for world domination; everyday is a battle to protect herself from being assaulted by the truth of what a damaged, flawed being she is.

These women create a distorted bubble of un-reality in which they are wonderful, misunderstood creatures who have to put up with lesser beings like you, me and everyone else on the planet.

Verbally abusing you and making you believe you’re a jerk is how she keeps her version of reality undisputed and household tyranny alive.

She may know that her behavior is hurtful, but doesn’t care. She feels justified because you “deserve” it for some imagined or minor affront to her ego. However, I wouldn’t say this is “premeditated” or even conscious. It’s instinctual survival behavior.

She has learned how to manipulate you, others, and her environment through trial and error, like a child who has discovered cause and effect.

These women see the world in terms of rewards and punishments—much like a 5-year old.

Calling a NPD/BPD’s behavior “premeditated” gives her credit for a level of self-awareness I just don’t think she possesses.

Also like a 5-year old, these women are totally egocentric. They believe the world revolves around them, that everyone else is like them, and motivated by the same desires and fears.

As for her threatening divorce; you should be so lucky! Here’s the most crazy thing about these women; they do everything in their power to drive even the most patient, tolerant, and forgiving soul away, yet their greatest fear is abandonment.

Because of her egocentrism, if her greatest fear is abandonment, then you must also be deathly afraid of abandonment. –Is a Borderline or Narcissist Woman’s Emotionally Abusive Behavior Premeditated?

Also, “Narcissists/sociopaths do not feel remorse for their hurtful and/or criminal actions and believe that their targets deserve to be screwed” (Do Narcissists Feel Remorse?).

Also, why would I make up a story like this?  Why would I expose myself to the Net as emotionally vulnerable if it were all a lie?  Why would I tell all these personal things, exposing my gullibility and mistakes, for a lie?

I keep wanting to remove some things from my story, things I had only told my husband before this.  So I start thinking, “What if my family/friends read this,” but keep these things in because they’re a crucial part of the story.  Why would I expose myself like that for a lie?

And especially, what would be the purpose of lying about people, whose names I refuse to even reveal on the Net?  Why would I research narcissism, BPD (borderline personality disorder) and abuse in the first place, if not to try to figure out what the heck was going on here?

I might google abuse because of my college memoir stories of abuse, or to add something to my webpage about abuse, but why would I google it because of Richard and Tracy if there had been no abuse?

I never heard of BPD until I began googling about abusers during my grief, did not know much about narcissists, was not aware of the connection between NPD/BPD and abusers.

After I began to suspect BPD/NPD based on Tracy’s behavior, which fit the traits and behaviors I kept reading about, Todd told me that according to Richard, BPD is indeed in her family.  As the author of Narcissists Suck put it,

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog. –Calling Narcissists Evil

My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.

That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to.  But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.

It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits.  As the author wrote on the main page,

Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect.  The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….

Why would I want to put such a personal document online?  There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD. There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.

Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it.  When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”

Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue.  My wish is to give hope to others.

Like me, the author changed names and identifying details.  This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.

It’s the most baffling part of Richard and Tracy threatening a lawsuit, because I never used and never intend to use their real names in these blogs–and anything I would tell my priest about this, would be the truth, and not in any way actionable.

Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, former female friend.

In searching the Net for other people who have been threatened and accused of lying/defamation for telling the truth about abuse, I found this by Christina Enevoldsen:

When I was in my early forties, I stood before a group of people and named my father as my abuser.

It felt good to let go of the secret, but when I went to bed that night, I felt horrible guilt for “betraying” my dad. I heard a little girl’s voice tell me that I was going to get in trouble.

I knew that was a voice from the past and assured myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but deep down, I believed I deserved to be punished for telling.

I didn’t know what the “punishment” might be until I got a letter from my mom. For years, she’d accepted that I’d been sexually abused, but when I uncovered my father as my primary abuser, she accused me of lying:

Christina-
I am writing to inform you that your malicious slander of your father has not gone unnoticed. You have built an entire world out of your fantasy. In dreaming up your sexual abuse you have maligned your father’s character and deeply hurt his heart and mine. Your lies shall surely catch up with you.

I want you to know that if you have any plans of writing a book, we will sue you and anyone who has anything to do with it. Your defamation of your father’s character will stop. You will not enjoy one penny from any book published about this gross lie.

And I should let you know that we filed some of your inflammatory statements about your father and me, along with your threat against me, with the Mesa Police Dept.

And I will always be your mother whether you recognize me or not as such.
Your mother-
Mary Schamer –I Blamed Myself for my Abuse Since I Didn’t Tell

Comment #30 on this blog post, by “PS,” reads:

The letter from your mother was chilling… and reminded me so much of the threatening email I got from my brother several years ago.

This after he’d spent the better part of a year cyberstalking and harassing me when I confronted him and my parents over the abuse (my parents knew and did nothing to help me, in fact my mother labeled it “normal experimentation” and tried to convince me “all families fool around”), and after I told the rest of the family (who never responded and, from what I heard, sided with them, so they’re no different than any other abusive family structure).

He told me in his email he was going to contact a lawyer to “seek remedy” and accused *me* of being the one harassing him, told me that my letter was a “poison pen” and essentially called me a liar, among other things.

I turned the tables on him at the advice of two attorneys and called the police on him. They said they couldn’t pursue charges as he lived in another state, but they were willing to call him and tell him to stop contacting me.

I don’t know what they told him, but they must have scared him good, because the most he was able to muster was “I’ll stop bothering her if she stops harassing me.” Outside of when he notified me – politely – that our grandfather died two years ago, I haven’t heard hide nor hair since.

I read more of Christina’s story:

My next stage in disclosure was speaking to a group of about forty people, many of whom knew my father. I wasn’t sure what their reaction would be, but I felt ready to share it, no matter their response.

I had enough of a support system, within myself and with others, so I was secure and didn’t need anything from them. I just wanted the opportunity to share the truth. They were overwhelmingly supportive.

I was validated by the group, but when I went home that night I heard a little girl’s voice in my head saying, “You told,” in an accusing tone. I recognized that the little girl was the little girl inside of me.

She was the one who was warned not to tell. She was the one who was afraid and felt threatened.

But as my adult self, I wasn’t under my father’s power anymore and he couldn’t do anything to hurt me. So I comforted myself with that and validated my progress—and continued to tell.

After that, I published the story of my abuse history online. I wanted it to be public. I wanted the whole world to see it.

I wasn’t afraid of my dad finding out. I wanted my parents to read what I wrote. I wanted them to know I was talking about it. I felt empowered and strong. –How Do I Disclose My Abuse?

I believed that there was a rule that I was allowed to share a bad experience with one or two people at the most and then I had to stop talking about it or I was “just being a victim”. Yet I was compelled to keep talking about it even with the internal accusations and the guilt that it caused.

I was warned that “dwelling” on things doesn’t serve any purpose—that it would just make me feel worse.

But I was already depressed and it wasn’t from talking about my abuse. I was depressed because my trauma and the feelings that went with it were locked up inside of me.

As I started to see some benefit from talking about my abuse, I started to question the limited talking “rule”. –Why Do I Talk About My Childhood Abuse Over and Over?

Patty:  When I first read a survivor’s story from a book, I cried for days. I was so relieved to know that I was not the only one. Her abuse was different, but the trauma from the abuse was the same as mine.

Even though I didn’t know her and never spoke to her, I felt so close to her. As I continued to read about her abuse, I grew stronger. I was no longer alone.

For a period of time the only books I read were stories about survivors; I didn’t want to read about healing.  I wanted to become a part of a group of survivors. There were no survivor groups where I lived and there were no computers at the time, so the only connection I had was with the survivors who so graciously shared their stories.

It was life changing for me. I continue to read survivors stories because it continuously brings me into the circle.

Jennifer:  I wasn’t able to admit that I was a victim of sexual abuse until I started reading other people’s stories. They described the same types of things that happened to me as a kid. The only difference was that they had a label to define their experiences.

I had always thought of it as “stuff that happened”, stuff that I didn’t think about, let alone talk about. It never occurred to me until then to attach the word abuse to my memories. If I hadn’t read the accounts of other survivors, I would most likely still be in denial today.

I am so grateful to all the brave men and women that have opened up and shared their stories. They have paved the road for me and future generations to tell our stories and begin the healing process. –Why Do I Need to Tell?

I felt like poison was being spewed at me but at the same time, I was surprised how calm and rational I was able to remain. I refused to accept the abuse and told them as much.

I was able to stand up for myself in a way that I never could have before I began to heal. I could see that what they were doing to me wasn’t my problem.

I didn’t ask for it or deserve it. I was just the current target but, they soon discovered, no longer an easy one.

As difficult as it is to realize that some people can no longer be in my life, if they can’t give me the basic respect that I deserve as a human being—they don’t belong there.

I am the first to admit that I still have a long way to go. I have breakthroughs and setbacks.

In times like these I can see that I have made progress and it feels good. I am no longer powerless. I am exposing the lies for what they are and in the process, reclaiming my self-worth.

I didn’t deserve to be abused then and I don’t deserve to be abused now. I am worth just as much as anyone else and that knowledge gives me the power to reclaim my life. –Penny Smith, Standing Up for Myself: Reclaiming My Self-Worth

Post by Prozac Blogger:
Major Breakthrough: Exposing the Truth

I will NOT be silent.

The emotional abuser will play up the “pathos” in an attempt to garner sympathy, all the while, continuing to (cyber)stalk his ex, making jokes about things he could do to upset her, and invading her personal space and boundaries …

(almost all the Cyberpaths we have exposed have gone to their target’s personal sites, boards on which they post, etc. saying they were “just protecting THEMSELVES against their Target’s relentless abuse. Turnabout!! and projection, readers.

Prime Example: Campbell filing a frivolous lawsuit against his victim that was thrown out!)

Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker’s objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting her.

This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. ….

People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU.

They don’t play on your insecurities and they don’t wage psychological warfare on you. They don’t blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don’t fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat. –Natalie P., Emotional Abusers–The Heart of Cyberpaths

This post from the Whispers of God blog goes into the issue of how to tell when someone is falsely accused of abuse.  In her context, she’s talking about child abuse/molestation.  But I can imagine this applies to those accused of bullying as well, such as the psychological and verbal abuse I was put through by Richard and Tracy.

Richard would be the one who claimed to love me like a sister, that I was “very dear” to him, but I have accused him of being a party to the bullying, of even threatening Jeff in June/July 2010, of manipulating and using me in 2007 and then betraying me in 2010, letting Tracy believe I was guilty when he knew I was innocent.  Also, Tracy claimed to Jeff on 7/1/10 that they “valued” our friendship.

As WOG says, if someone you loved accused you of abusing her, and you knew you were innocent, you would be desperate to talk to her and sort things out, would be visibly shaken.

Yet I have received absolutely no such communication from Richard, only an e-mail from him and/or Tracy accusing me of defamation, ridiculing my pain, expressing no remorse whatsoever, and even showing no remorse over Richard’s criminal conviction.

WOG, too, is being threatened with a libel suit for speaking out about how she’s been abused, and you can read about this in her various posts.

 

The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 9

newpostCatherine and I wrote dream visions for Chaucer class, based on Romance of the Rose, which Chaucer translated.

Mine was “Romance of the Rosebud,” including a character named Lord Cugan.  Catherine loved being the “goddess of pleasure and salt” in my story, especially the following:

“Goddess of Pleasure and Salt?” I said.  “Do those two things go together?”

[Catherine said,] “They do if you throw salt all over your body and have your man lick it off.  Of course, you’d better keep plenty of water on hand for him.”

She often proudly told people that I made up that title myself.  It was based on her always telling people at lunch that she was the goddess of salt so they must ask her permission to use it, or at other times that she was Venus.

Her character’s humor was raunchy, just like the real Catherine.  Then it cut off right in the middle of the Reeve’s perverted Canterbury Tale, which Catherine began to tell, and said, “And here the manuscript breaks off, the rest of it lost to history.”  Read The Romance of the Rosebud here.

Catherine’s dream vision included both Sir Stimp-a-lot and Lord Cugan.  Sir Stimp-a-lot (based on my casual boyfriend Stimpy) was a bungler vying with Lord Cugan for the attentions of a fair maiden, and Cugan won.

She also included a wall, such as in Romance of the Rose.  She used real teachers, putting virtuous ones inside the wall and “bad” ones outside or on the wall.

I forget where she put Counselor Dude, but he was included.  Our Chaucer teacher Christina was probably included, and put inside.

Christina apparently read my story first, because she wrote on Catherine’s paper, “I’ve seen this name ‘Lord Cugan’ before; it seems to be a popular name.”

****

Brad wrote on Monday, March 20,

You said you are perverted at times [when joking].  That is a great trait.  It confused the ones around you.  Make people wonder what you mean.  Add a little of vagueness [sic] so people wonder if you are perverted or just misunderstood.

On probably that same day, Cugan and I saw Pulp Fiction.  I was surprised to find it still playing, since it came out months before, when I read a bad review of it.

Cugan and I and another young couple were the only ones in the theater, so Cugan and I lounged in the seats with our feet on the backs of the seats in front of us.  I thought the movie had bombed.  I couldn’t figure out why as it played.

I sat there laughing and enjoying the whole movie (though parts were gross and I didn’t like what happened to John Travolta’s character).

Despite my laughter, with the cussing and references to sex, Cugan kept saying, “I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I didn’t know it would be this way.”  And I kept saying to him, “Don’t worry about it!”

We both loved it, and thought it, not Forrest Gump, should have won the Oscar the two contended for that year.  Cugan figured Forrest Gump won because it was about values and such and not a bunch of people cussing and shooting, but Pulp Fiction was more fun.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

So far, still no sign of my stalkers….

archives….since I saw them around 10:30 Monday night, and blocked them in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.  They were quite interested in my blog for several days, checking Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, now–nothing.

It’s still far too early to be sure, because sometimes they don’t check for a week or so.  But I know that Toolator works; I checked it on my own computer, and it worked like a dream.  I used it back in May to block their computer after they started scaring me by checking my blog and website constantly throughout the day; I never saw that IP address in my stats again, even after I removed all blockers.

The only reason I couldn’t use Toolator to block their cell phone, with its dynamic IP (changed every time they used it), was that the Toolator owner has been strangely unresponsive for quite some time.  I, and others according to complaints on the user forum, sent in money to upgrade so we could block more IPs and IP ranges, but never got upgraded, never got responses to our e-mails (though our money was taken).

And other codes I found online, which were supposed to work on dynamic IPs, just did not work for some reason.  All I needed was to block a range, just one range, and I’d block all their visits, past and future.

But my stalkers’ new IP claims to be a “dedicated static” IP; if so, then I may never see their new Android browser around here again.  Because I may just keep that blocker up for good.

I feel dark clouds beginning to disperse, the proverbial weight lifting from my heart, but not completely because I have to wait a couple of weeks to confirm it.  I also have to see if they use other means to access my blog.

But this could be God’s hand, working right before Lent begins to allow me to cut off this constant contact they have with me, and get away from them at last.

I can’t be absolutely sure who was reading my blog when, whether Richard or Tracy, but the behavior (late-night times, posts read, repeat visits on posts) strongly suggest Richard was doing a lot of it.

I just can’t see Tracy being up that late so often just to read my blog, or being interested in many of those subjects.

And I often wonder if some part of Richard still cares about my husband and me, to be reading things like, my son breaking his arm, my husband having surgery, twice reading a post about my trying to heal.

And the fact that, ever since they read my post a couple of months ago about being freaked out by seeing them pass me twice on the street, I haven’t seen them at all, anywhere, in real life.  Plenty in my blog stats, but nowhere in person.

Well, unless you count getting a misdirected letter, meant for them, sent to our house, just a few weeks ago.  ;)  Not their fault, of course, just some athletic organization whose records never got updated after they moved out of our house.  But it still gave me a start.

Rather than deliver it ourselves which once we would’ve done, I wrote “Please forward” and the new address, which I got from Richard’s online court records.  And my husband crossed out our address, because, as he explained to me, he wanted NO misunderstandings by the post office of where that letter should go.  It just goes to show that I can do my best but can’t just cut them out of my life completely.

Well, Richard, if you do still care, if you want to find out how my life is going, how my healing is going, if my husband successfully keeps away cancer, then you’ll have to talk to me yourself.  No more stalking my blog.  I’ve cut you off from your fix.

And for me, no more sending you messages via my blog.  There’s nothing else to say, no more evidence to present; nothing but what you only get to see if you come to me in person, ready to make peace.

But at the same time I feel relief, I feel this sudden wave of sorrow that my so-called “best friend” has done this to me, put me through all this hell, starting in 2007 and continuing to this day.

[Update 10/9/14: Actually, Toolator worked in 2012.  But it seems to have lost all tech support, because the block proved completely ineffective after 2013, and no one ever upgraded my account–or anybody else’s, from the posts in the support forums.  It’s one of the reasons I finally switched from Blogger to WordPress.org.]

 

Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 8

On probably Friday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Cugan came to the apartment for a date.  He tossed two cute, stuffed baby gargoyles on the chair, and handed me a St. Patrick’s Day card that he originally planned to mail.

I soon found out that one of the gargoyles was for me.  I didn’t know what kind of name a gargoyle would have, but he suggested Dido, and named his own Liko.  We decided mine was a boy and his was a girl.

Cugan said dust bunnies were Dido’s food.  Well, then, he had plenty of food at the apartment and, especially, under the beds.

My roommates called Cugan into the office.  I listened from outside as Pearl said with a laugh, “We want to know, what are your intentions toward our roommate?”

Their little “interrogation” didn’t last long, and may have embarrassed Cugan a bit, but it also made us laugh.

This was probably when we saw Forrest Gump, which we liked.  Of course, we had no idea that one day, a new variety show called Mad TV would mix together Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction in a sketch, and have Forrest say, “We’re going to get medieval on your butt-ocks.”

(I don’t know how long this Mad TV lasted.  We only saw the first episode, because the Forrest Gump sketch was the only good one, so we figured it wouldn’t be around for long.)

I came home that night to find my “stash”–my own cupboards, which held snacks and chocolate–taped shut.  My roommates did this as a joke.  I just pulled off the tape and opened up the cupboards.

My roommates were so strange that night, making weird noises on the couch and laughing to high heaven, that I could only attribute it to the full moon.

I don’t remember what Tara thought of Dido, but Pearl thought he was cute.  I kept him on the back of the couch during the day and evening.  That’s how stricken I was with Cugan and his gift.

Sharon, however, whenever she saw it, would say, “Eww!  It’s ugly!”  She or Pearl said, “If it flies, it’s outta here!”

So, naturally, one night he fell off the back of the couch onto the cushions, and Pearl or Sharon cried, “He flew, so he’s outta here!”  He wasn’t, of course.

Unfortunately, after all the years of hanging around our various dwellings and sitting on the beds with other stuffed animals, Dido and Liko got lost in our latest move in 2003.  One bag or box held them and others of our most precious stuffed animals; one bag held rags.  Naturally, the rag bag made it just fine.

We searched everywhere and even called people who helped in the move, but the bag was nowhere.  Also lost were Cugan’s Animaniac dolls and my Halloween witch cat, which looked just like a Halloween decoration I named “Pirate Samantha” back when I was around nine years old.  I used to write and act out all sorts of stories about this Pirate Samantha.  But now she was gone, too.  :(

****

The first time I went to Cugan’s tiny apartment in M–, its contents impressed me, though the mess did not.

The outside walls of the two-story apartment building were typically German: white with brown half-timbers.

The living room, with a big picture window, was small and crammed with stuff, which lay all over the floor and on plastic shelving units, though I think he had made some attempt at cleaning up before I came over.

A chess set was laid out on the coffee table, which was off to one side.  Two big, square pillows, which also went on the big, round, papasan wicker chair, formed the “couch” because, as Cugan said, a couch was often a luxury.

On top of one of the shelving units lay stuffed versions of all three of the Animaniac siblings.  That’s when I discovered his love for Animaniacs.  I think other stuffed animals were here and there.

A Celtic harp stood in one corner, books on the Celts (including the same one by Nora Chadwick which we read in Celtic class) were in a bookcase, a Bible or two sat near the “couch,” and Luther’s Small Catechism lay on the floor by the “couch.”  Had I found the kind of man I didn’t dare dream of finding–one with interests similar to mine, one who actually liked the Celts and the Bible?

Not only that, but based on his name, he believed himself to be Irish, and had a plaque with What Shall I Say About the Irish?  He fit the traits quite well.

(I’m not Irish, rather Scottish, but took an Irish Writers class which got me interested in the country.)

Though many years later his family discovered that, through his father, they were most likely Scottish, it has not been confirmed one way or the other about him being Irish, Scottish, or perhaps both.

In any case, I can’t help noticing that all my lovers (Shawn, Phil and Cugan) have been Irish….

And the best thing: Unlike Phil, he bathed AND brushed his teeth every day! not just once every several weeks after lots of nagging!

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

On Spiritual Abuse

Is your church infected by spiritual abuse?  The Apologetics Index has all sorts of links about this.

Also see Churches That Abuse and Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.  These are full books on PDF.  The guy who runs this website has a signed letter from Ronald Enroth giving him permission to scan these two books, both of which are out of print.

One practice, now widely discredited because it easily becomes spiritually abusive, was often used in the 60s and 70s: shepherding.

It’s giving yourself over to someone else, your “covering,” who makes all your decisions for you–even who to date or marry, how often to have sex, or what music to listen to.

If you disagree with your shepherd or suggest changes to the group rules, you just might find yourself out of the group, since the leadership makes all the decisions.  Congregations may find themselves with no vote or voice.

In groups which decided the “shepherds” must be the opposite sex, shepherding has also led to adultery.

It has also led to broken people.

Unfortunately, shepherding seems to have re-emerged in many churches and Christian groups–ones which seem orthodox on the outside, so you must watch out for it.

I’ve heard of accountability groups, which seem to have come from this practice; take care that it does not match characteristics of shepherding.

I’ve also noted that talks about wifely submission sometimes use the same terms used in shepherding: i.e., the husband is the “covering” for the wife and she “submits to his decisions” no matter what.

Webpages on shepherding, what it is, how it’s abused:

Shepherding Movement

Christian: Who is your covering?  A Christian look at the Shepherding Movement by Steve Coleman

Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Christian Growth Ministries–Advanced Information

National Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Promise Keepers Warning

Article by Don Matzat about this and other issues

The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age by Lynn and Sarah Leslie describes the practice of signing covenants, which exists in many groups and churches.  It also implicates the Purpose-Driven Church model.

Willow Creek charges Promise Keepers and Willow Creek Church with shepherding.  The writers are rather fundamentalist and I disagree with them on many points, but they still make interesting charges.  Whether the charges are true or not, you be the judge.

Here and here, you can investigate whether Willow Creek practices shepherding.  And here, you can check out Saddleback’s FAQ.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot on these sites.  I’ve heard of restrictive covenants and the like, but don’t have proof of them.

Nowadays, you can also find blogs about spiritual abuse, on which you can share stories, find comfort and validation, and learn which churches to avoid.  My favorites:

The Wartburg Watch

Spiritual Sounding Board

Calvary Chapel Abuse

Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD (includes posts about a spiritually abusive pastor)

Forum on Jesus People USA

Written between probably 2005 and 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church