Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 85

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

Part 85: Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it

I believe Tracy’s husband should have taken swift and decisive action to end her verbal and physical violence at home, because by staying with her and not forcing her into counseling or some other thing, he essentially taught her to believe it was okay for her to assault people and expect them to jump to her demands, accept her assaults, and not demand an apology or kindness from her.

That’s part of the trouble with Stockholm Syndrome.  How he can stay with someone who not only verbally but physically abuses him, and claim to still love her, I do not know.  How he could tell me that he deserved the way I saw her treat him during the weeks they lived with us, I do not know.  How he could blame her jealousies and rages on hormones, stress, or whatever, and not walk away, I do not know.  How he could endure all this crap from her, see the crap she threw at me, see what she did to the kids, and still call her “awesome” and “sweet,” baffles my mind.

How can he not be scared of her?  How can he not find her meanness a huge turnoff?  I didn’t even want to be in the same room with her most of the time!  Why would he want to be anywhere near someone like that?

I just don’t understand it, because if a man ever hit me, I’d lose any attraction and love I felt for him, real fast.  I was once with a guy who was emotionally and verbally abusive with the threat of physical abuse to come; we were together for less than a year, and it took only several months afterwards for me to realize he was no good, to move on and find somebody better.

But then, I should take care not to blame the victim, since Stockholm Syndrome is quite common among abuse victims.  Also, men especially have trouble with leaving or reporting abusive women because society, the police and the courts tend not to believe the man is the victim of domestic abuse.

Richard kept telling me how he was trying to get her to stop, how she’d act sorry and talk about changing; he kept telling me it was pregnancy hormones or whatever else was going on with her at the time.  But I saw this cycle going again and again, even when she was not pregnant.  And then for her to treat me like, my wanting to be buddy-buddy with her was a test to prove how trustworthy I was with her husband–it was just ridiculous.

I just don’t understand how Tracy can be so cruel and abusive to another person, then blame that person and shun her at church for ending the friendship.  Or how she can treat it all like it’s all about her and her being offended, when the truth is, Jeff and I both threw up our hands, decided that she and Richard were both being too violent and ridiculous, and apologies were not forthcoming from them, so we had to leave to protect ourselves.

For me it was finally a reason to stop being obliged to hang around with an abuser, someone who bullies everyone around her (except for the ones on her “approved” list) until they either leave or cower in submission.  (Before, our two families were so intertwined that I saw no way to extricate myself from her.  Forget the usual advice to just see your friend without the spouse if you don’t get along: She wouldn’t allow it!)

We finally decided we were better off being alone and lonely than having ungrateful and unkind friends like these.

I just don’t understand how she can live with herself, let alone take the Eucharist.  You’re supposed to confess at least occasionally–has she confessed these things?

And if so, then why doesn’t she try to make amends with me and be kind instead of carrying on this ostracism of me from her family?  Why doesn’t she come to me and apologize for all the things she‘s done? the barbs, the false accusations, the kneejerking, the ridicule, the ingratitude, the verbal abuse, the threat of physical violence?

I never even got so much as a thank you from her for providing her family with shelter and food despite great inconvenience to us.  I tried so hard to be nice to her, even while breaking off the friendship, but got venom back from her.  I said as little as possible to her during the breakup to try to avoid arguments because I knew I was no match for her abuse, but her angry words just kept coming and coming.

It’s hypocrisy like this that turns people away from the Church, and even I with all my strength of faith have had to struggle to hold onto it–and not abandon the Church completely–while dealing with this.

Richard, after all, had much to do with me finding my way.  He was my spiritual guru, my spiritual idol with clay feet, someone to look up to.  I thought he could show me the way to religious enlightenment.  I thought he was devout, but instead he was violent.  I thought his violence was in the past, tamped down by religion, but it was still there, waiting dormant.  I saw the verbal violence arising in political comments he made on Facebook.

(You’ll note from what happened to Congresswoman Giffords that such political verbal violence leads to crazy people carrying out physical violence.  This article has a disturbing resemblance to Richard drawing a middle finger on a letter he received from our senator Feingold, then returning it to him.  Is that any way for a Christian to act?)

With the way Richard and Tracy both are about politics, actively working with their favored parties, and Richard’s attitudes to the opposition (actually using the word “hate”), and how upset I am at what is going on in my state since the last election put their people in power–how all the things I love about my state government are being yanked away and civility is now dead–I think being friends with them now would have been impossible anyway.

I think they would have been unbearable, that they would have looked down on Jeff and me for disagreeing with them, called us “sheeple” and “socialists,” all that crap going around these days which is making me start to look at their parties as the Enemy because they have acted out of anger and set up my side as their Enemy, rather than working together.

The following clip from a website of personal abuse stories, reminds me of Tracy telling me I needed to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings from her verbal abuse (according to her, caused by my behavior), rather than breaking off relations with her, and of Richard telling me that saying little to her was somehow worse than so-called “harsh words”:

After I confronted her about her having no right to lay a hand on me and my fear of what she would do to our future children, she replied, “if you’re going to get your tiny feelings in a bunch over a little slap, you need to keep going to therapy TO WORK ON YOUR PROBLEMS.”

I bet Tracy says this to her children and husband as well when they get zinged by her for stepping out of line.

This sounds very much like how Tracy acted at the end–and Richard was getting this way as well near the end, which is where the problems between him and me started.

I am so fed up with all the cattiness, abuse and bullying Tracy has thrown at me over the years in return for all the ways I’ve helped her and her family (sometimes at great personal trouble).  I am so fed up with how I was expected to just take it and try to befriend her, and if I complained about how she treated me and her husband and children I was a horrible, horrible person who was “biased against” her and didn’t “respect” her and interfered with how she dealt with her husband (because I didn’t think she naturally had the right to treat him like property and act jealous) and was too lax with my son and wanted to steal her husband.  (I have a good one of my own; why would I want hers?)

I tried so hard to quell my resentment, to do nice things for her, to spend every Lenten period trying to forget it and her lack of apologies.  Meanwhile she just kept nursing her grudges and the things I had done that were supposedly so horrible, and saying things to Richard like, “Did you just spend a couple of hours chatting with that woman online?”  (What?  Since when were we not supposed to chat online?)

While blaming me for not being all open and outgoing with her, she kept ignoring the crucial things that would’ve changed everything: her apologies, her changing her own behavior not just with me but with Richard and the children.  I could never be close friends with a child abuser, a spouse abuser, an aggressive person, a mean girl.  Yet Richard complained to me that he couldn’t go get coffee with me, as if it were my fault.  Jeff was very angry with Tracy, and often got annoyed with Richard as well over the whole thing.

Three unexplained incidents happened.  I will present only the facts so you can draw your own conclusions.

The first incident, was the five disappearing e-mails.  We were all on the same forum and I would often send Richard private messages that way, about life or issues or books or movies or whatever.  He hadn’t been on the board for a while, so there were five messages waiting for him from me.  This was in early 2008.  I had gone to visit Richard and Tracy; I told him the e-mails were getting backed up and had been waiting for weeks so please check them.  Tracy was sitting next to him at the time.

A day or two afterward, I went on my account and the e-mails had vanished.  They were not in my sent box.  There was no trace of them in the message tracker, which would tell me if they had been read.  Richard said he never got them.

I feared my account had been hacked, and changed the password.  The owner-administrator, Todd, didn’t know what happened; we figured maybe it was our usual board stalker/troll, who had a bug in his butt about Todd and kept causing trouble.  But this guy would get blamed for everything that went wrong there, and I knew of one case (the forum hack) where he was blamed for something Richard did.

Tracy and Richard were both admins on that board.  Richard never got the messages….From what I recall, the messages were about books and some other things, nothing that would cause a wife alarm.  And I never heard of e-mails or any online communication being forbidden, never had any reason to think this.

The second incident, at the end of May and the beginning of June 2010, which was also right after Memorial Day, when Tracy was snarky with me about my backpack, and then in the following few weeks she continued to be snarky in response to posts I made on Facebook, and also there was lots of drama between her, Richard and the children whenever Jeff and/or I would visit–

All of a sudden, Richard’s Facebook account had blocked me and hers had unfriended me.  I don’t remember if Jeff had been unfriended by her account, but he was not blocked from either.

I kept trying to send her friend requests, but they didn’t seem to be getting through–some weird glitch, I thought, due to Facebook doing a major change in privacy settings.  I’d see “Awaiting Friend Request” keep changing back later on to “Request as Friend.”  So I kept re-sending them.  I certainly had no reason to think she was denying my requests.

Richard told Jeff he certainly wouldn’t have blocked me, and he couldn’t find my account either, so I should look at my account to see if there’s something weird on my privacy settings.  I sent him messages through Jeff’s account, saying that nothing was amiss in my settings.  I also tried setting up a new account with my business e-mail, on June 2, but even then I could see that Richard had an account, but I couldn’t look at his public profile or send him a friend request.

Then a few days later, he discovered he accidentally blocked me somehow, unblocked me, and my latest friend request to Tracy finally resulted in re-friending.  I thought it was because FB changed settings, but I did not have this problem with any of my other FB friends.

The third incident, on September 26, 2010, a few months after the 7/1/10 Incident, my innocent little boy went into Tracy’s cafe on Cafe World on Facebook.  He did stuff to help her out like people can do in their neighbors’ cafes, even after they’ve blocked your account.  (This time, not only was Richard’s account blocked from all three of us, but hers was too for a while.)  The game left traces of my son being there.

The following day, September 27, his account was suddenly shut down for unexplained reasons.  (We kept track of his account, who he friended, his privacy settings, so he was in no danger.  He was there so he wouldn’t keep using his daddy’s account to play Cafe World and the fish game.)

It hurt to hear my little boy cry.  :(   (I later discovered that this was 6 days after Richard choked his eldest child, and 5 days after that child reported Richard to the police.)

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 84

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

Part 84: Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused

Losing friends can be particularly difficult for introverts because we don’t surround ourselves with people. We prefer a few intimate friends to lots of less-intense friendships, and deep discussion with one person to a party full of festive chitchat. For us, losing one good friend can leave a larger hole in our lives than it might for an extrovert with 25 best friends.–Dr. Irene S. Levine, The Inside Scoop on Your Introvert Friends

The really sad thing is all they had to do was apologize.  I already apologized for hurting them because in no way did I mean to hurt anybody by anything.

All I needed from them was to admit to going over the top with the expressions of anger, acknowledge misinterpreting my e-mail, listen to what I really meant by it, admit to having been abusive–and that abuse is never justified, no matter what the offense, whether intentional or not.

I needed Richard to recognize that by throwing me under the bus instead of explaining to Tracy what my e-mail was really all about, he had implicated himself and declared himself guilty–that by demonstrating to her my innocence, he also would’ve demonstrated his own.  

Then we could’ve sat down and talked like adults.  

But because they dug in their heels and justified what they did, and Tracy just kept spewing out more and more abuses at me, the friendship is over.

Even the Bible says to have nothing to do with the unrepentant user or abuser (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).  

There is no way to restore a friendship without mutual forgiveness and apologies, and there cannot and will not be any sort of friendship between us until the abuse stops: the abuse of her husband, the abuse of her children, the abuse of me.

I will not be friends with people who justify abuse of their children.  I will not be friends with a woman who justifies abuse of her children and of her husband.  I will not be friends with people who justify bullying not just of children, but of grown adults, to get their way.

This quote sounds exactly like Tracy in our e-mail exchanges during the Incident and a month later on 8/1:

Like many abusers, this woman didn’t even mind it if the things she said made her sound like she had mental problems and I wound up thinking she was just nuts, as long as she could still delude herself into believing that she “won” the argument.

These strategies are referred to as “crazy-making” because they are used to make you think YOU’RE the crazy one. But they usually have exactly the opposite effect as you start to think the abuser would have to be mentally ill to come up with the wacky, outlandish, completely ridiculous things she says, and to say them with all seriousness. It is at this point that many victims and bystanders decide that they’re not running a mental institution for abusers, and it’s time to cut bait and to run for the hills.

Although she was attempting to get me to “see things her way”, absolve herself of any wrongdoing, and have me validate and agree with her, what this abuser actually did was to make herself look far worse. Once the phony mask of righteousness dropped off, no preconceived notion that I may have held about her was anything close to as bad as she really was.

While trying to justify her point of view, she gave away many clues as to her true nature, inadvertently revealing an unloving heart controlled by envy, pride, resentment, bitterness, competitiveness, jealousy, and hostility–and all masquerading in the disguise of a “good Christian woman”. –Rev. Renee, The “Christian” Abuser: Twisting God’s Word to Justify Abuse

It’s so frustrating because they kept pointing to me and saying I needed to respond to Tracy trying to start a conversation with me.  Tracy kept complaining to Richard that I wasn’t responding to her attempts.  But I never noticed her doing it; most of the time she said very little to me.  I kept hearing she felt snubbed; I had no idea when.  Even Jeff never noticed me being rude with her, never noticed her trying to start conversations with me.

It’s especially frustrating because I’ll look over websites on abuse that say, “Abusers will tell you they have no idea what you’re talking about, say the incident never happened.”  But I’m not saying this to be abusive or gaslight anybody!  I truly have no clue what Richard and Tracy are talking about.

So even if we had the “conference” Tracy was asking for, her yelling and screaming at me would have made no difference, because I still would have acted the same–not out of stubbornness, not out of rudeness, not out of a desire to snub her or be unfriendly, but because they treated my pleas as excuses and did absolutely nothing to help me know she was trying to start a conversation with me.

Perhaps I had no idea what to say next: This happens to me quite often when someone speaks to me.  It’s not rudeness: I just have nothing to say.

Maybe I don’t know enough about the subject.  I’ve heard of extroverts or neurotypicals “faking” knowing a subject for the sake of conversation, but I could never do such a thing.  If I don’t know about it, I’m not going to fake it.  I wouldn’t know how to do it even if I wanted to.  But I have no idea if this is it, because I don’t remember her doing anything most of the time that would seem remotely like starting a conversation.

[2014 note to demonstrate this: I had a similar problem at work once.  I was a secretary for an insurance agent, but I was not licensed, so I was not allowed to give advice.  However, one day my boss complained that I should be giving advice, even "fudging" answers to people who call, like he overheard from the secretaries for the other agents in the building.  This made me extremely uncomfortable, so I didn't do it.  Not only was this illegal, as I later learned, but it was impossible for me to do this.  Not only do I resist lying, which this would feel like, but it's neurologically impossible for me to "fudge" answers I do not have.]

All Tracy’s badgering, all this hearing long after the fact that I’ve somehow annoyed her but having no idea when or where, all her punishing me for something I couldn’t notice or do anything about–It made me loathe her.

Richard complained, during our arguments in June 2010, that I told him about things I had trouble with long after they happened, so he couldn’t remember them.  This complaint baffled me.  I told him my problems with him, right away.  I only waited once, and only because I had to resolve within myself whether I was the one with the problem before bringing it up.  I had to see if it happened more than once, while normally I would try to bring up a problem as soon as possible.

But Richard and Tracy constantly waited till long after the “offense.”  Tracy kept quiet until July/August 2010, then came out with it–but I already heard it all from Richard and stopped what she hated a year or two previous, so I don’t know what the point was of rehashing it.  While Richard kept scolding me for some way I “snubbed” Tracy long after it happened, so I could remember none of it.  It was very hypocritical of him, obvious projection of their problem onto me.  

All I knew was that I had not snubbed her on purpose.  Heck, I see websites on how to spot a liar that say a liar uses too many words, saying “honestly” or “truly,” etc.  But I use many words here and other places to explain myself, not to be deceitful, but because I’m trying to make a person understand that I am telling the truth.

Many of the tips on spotting liars actually pinpoint behaviors that people with NLD and Asperger’s do naturally that have nothing to do with deceit, such as using a lot of words, not making eye contact, twitching, etc.  I can certainly tell you that I have always had a lot of trouble with eye contact.  It’s taken a lot of time and work to get to the point of being able to look someone in the eye while they talk to me.  And still it feels far more comfortable to look away.  It’s far less distracting from their words, if I don’t have to keep thinking, “Now look in the eyes, but not too long or they’ll think you’re staring.  What is that on his face?”

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

People connecting with my posts, makes it all worth it….

In the early days, I wondered, should I blog about my recent abuse experiences, or just stick to book reviews?  Is it too personal?  But then there are days like this one: In my Statcounter, I see not one, but TWO people connecting with my blog posts.  And every once in a while, I see others going through my posts, sometimes even subscribing.  Even after the ANA traffic died down, I’ve been getting well over 100 hits a day.  :)  (And now I have 11 subscribers.)  I see repeat visitors all the time.  The abuse victim described in one of my posts, about a local court case, even found the post and was touched by it.

And that tells me that these posts are worthwhile, that there are others out there who are looking for blogs like these, for that human connection even through a computer, with someone else in the same circumstance.

And that tells me to keep my blog up, keep these posts up even after I stop writing about the Richard/Tracy situation.

It makes it all worth it, even with Richard and Tracy’s threats and intimidation and all they’ve put me through over the years.  It means my blog really is making a difference.

 

Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 83

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

Part 83: Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason

[Written 1/27/14-4/17/14:]

For a long time after the breakup, I was a shadow of myself: often crying, barely sleeping, doing my daily chores/church like an automaton.  Something about Saturday and going to the store brought on the tears before I could even get back home, then after putting things away, I’d escape and weep in my room.  In the middle of the night, I’d leave my bed to sob where no one could hear me.

When I could sleep, I’d dream that everything was resolved–then wake to find it wasn’t true.  I kept longing for the phone to ring with their apologies.  I prayed every day that they would repent and reconcile with us.  I asked the Theotokos and Richard’s patron saint for help.  I asked my son to pray for reconciliation.  I posted on Orthodox forums about this, asking for prayer and help figuring out how this could happen, help with dealing with it.

Once, shortly after the breakup, my son told me Richard had called.  I was shocked–but soon discovered he was mistaken.  It was either Jeff or some other guy leaving a message, but wasn’t Richard.

It wasn’t Tracy I missed at all, but Richard, though I did want her to be sorry for her unconscionable raging and bullying, and stop falsely accusing me.  I was furious with her, but not at all sad to lose her.  It was, in fact, a huge relief to finally dump this crazy lady out of my life, no longer have to deal with her or see her on my Facebook wall.  If it were just her I lost, I’d be ecstatic.

But it was also Richard and the children: Them I missed.  They were the reason I even tried to make things up.  Without them, I wouldn’t have bothered.

In fact, after spending the month of July not having to deal with her at all, trying to deal with her in August felt like I had finally dropped a mountain off my back, rested and gotten used to the freedom of not having it there anymore, then took it back up again.  This was one reason why I asked for a six-month break, because I missed the freedom of her not being around, and could see a huge difference in my mood.

I could also see a huge difference between her last Facebook message, which showed up on my list of messages, and other messages above it from other friends.  Hers was so nasty, while theirs were so cheerful and friendly.

I would do nothing intentionally, especially not with a young child depending on me.  But I longed to get into an accident or find out I had some terminal illness, so I would die and the pain would cease.

The only way I could get through the day was to do housework and take care of my son.  There were also some people I could hang out with at school when I went to drop him off/pick him up.

When he had a T-ball game, I went, but just sitting there with little to occupy my mind was torment.  And being an introvert, it was impossible to get away from my thoughts for any length of time, no matter what I did: TV, chores, the daily trek to the school (a mile and a quarter, always on foot because I don’t have a car and don’t drive).

I avoided anything and everything that reminded me of Richard: Cthulhu, the music he liked, anything Goth because he’s a Goth, the songs that reminded me of him, Lord of the Rings (he was my Frodo)…I could not avoid church or Orthodoxy, but I scaled back on my fervor because I just could not bear it.  All I could hear during services was Richard’s voice in my head, telling me over the phone of the church’s “mysteries.”  I could barely get through a service without tearing up.

Even an ode to friendship made me sad.  Or anything having to do with marriage, because jealousy caused the breakup.  In fact, I felt just like Stan in the You’re Getting Old episode of South Park, which aired on June 8, 2011.

I didn’t mind making new friends and re-connecting with old ones, but I wanted Richard back along with them.  Otherwise, everything just felt empty.  There was a Richard-shaped hole in my heart–and at 6’5 and 400 lb., that’s a pretty big hole….

I felt lost and alone.  I was devastated; nothing could make me happy; I was torn to pieces, and questioning everything about myself and about our decision to end the friendship.  I’d read about Orthodox forgiveness, and it sounded like I was supposed to repent and beg for forgiveness even though I had done nothing wrong, even though it’s very wrong to require the victim of abuse to debase herself to her abuser.

Then there were the tracks: The train that kept running around and around in my head, constantly tormenting me as my mind tried to figure out what happened and who was to blame, what I should do, was I really a whore.

Everything I saw, everything I did, every movie, every song, even my faith, reminded me of Richard or of Tracy’s accusations, so I could not get away from them.  The slightest trigger sent my brain into a constant spinning of wheels, like a mechanized track it had to follow until it worked its way back out again to a conclusion: I had to remember, ponder, figure out.  Then I’d get a question all sorted out as I remembered everything that happened–but some snatch of conversation, a situation on a comedy, a letter to an advice columnist, or just a memory or song–and off the train went again on its track, around and around, never stopping.

I think it took about a year for these tracks to stop, probably around the time I finished writing my account in this web book of what happened, and could just re-read it if I started on a track again.  The process of writing and revision took from late 2010 to May 2012.

I felt like I did not deserve friendship, was not worthy of happiness, until Richard and Tracy forgave me and snatched me off the track.

I trusted only the people I already knew, constantly afraid to make new friends, because they might turn out to be just like Tracy, or rip out my heart as Richard did.  I feared what people must think of me, because Richard and Tracy had so bullied me for being shy and quiet that I now felt like everyone must be judging me and secretly cruel.  I feared that I’d make new friends, only to find that they were also narcissists, also abusive, and all my sweet new memories with them would turn sour just as they did with Richard.  I feared that old friends would turn out to be narcissists after all these years.  In short, I was scared of people.

I even had terrible migraines that didn’t go away.  As they say, I felt like the life had been sucked out of me and nothing was left to keep me going.  And it wasn’t just because of him, since I had two narcissists preying on me, him and Tracy.  It’s no wonder I was still processing it two years later.

I could not stop talking about the situation with a few of my friends.

In fear and anxiety, I kept looking for Richard and Tracy’s van or Tracy’s work car on the street or in parking lots.  I did see them occasionally, because they lived nearby and the Republican party headquarters was on one of the main arteries.

I could barely stand to hear political talk, especially from the TEA, GOP, Libertarian or Anarchist parties.  All that extreme right-wing foaming-at-the-mouth deceitful rhetoric and hysteria I’d been hearing lately from Richard, was filling the airwaves and reminding me of Richard, constantly.  It also reminded me of Tracy, who worked for the Republican Party, as I remembered her gleefully thinking that Global Warming had been proven wrong.  (Say what?  Um, no.  Global Warming is very real.  Anything that says it is not, is fake science meant to delude people, so businesses don’t get regulated into more environmentally friendly practices.  Meanwhile, the human race gets more and more at risk as people deny the truth and refuse to change their ways.)

The lying crap coming out of the Republican Party made me sick.  (It still does, especially after digging to find it all goes back to wealthy industrialists trying to make more money for themselves.)  I used to be fine with the Republican Party, but the influence of the TEA Party and the GOP’s tendency to go along with Bush’s atrocities, made it unconscionable for me to have anything more to do with it.  Even our local Republican congressman, who’s been in office about as long as I’ve been alive, is now being called too “moderate,” with people in his own party planning to run against him as being more appropriately “conservative.”  The only relief I had was to flee to the Democratic Party, and watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert every night.  Our boys, at least, could refresh my politics-weary spirit with humor by skewering and laying bare the bullsh** that was coming out of the TEA Party and the GOP.

But still, every time I heard yet another Republican or TEA Party lie, it reminded me of Richard and Tracy and all their lies and abuse.

I know some of my readers will disagree with me on the politics, but in my mind it all went together with Richard and Tracy’s abuse of me and their children.  It seemed that the right-wing parties and Richard/Tracy had somehow merged and become the same:

The right-wing parties began saying that compromise is wrong, began calling the other side morons; Richard and Tracy did the same thing both politically and personally.  As the right-wing became more and more entrenched in refusing to give even an inch to the left-wing, Richard and Tracy refused to even remotely consider that they did anything wrong with Jeff and me.  As the right-wing started railing against things like food stamps, CPS or the growth of non-violent parenting, Richard and Tracy did the same.  As the right wing told lies about the left wing to sway the public, Richard and Tracy told lies–about Todd, then about me–to justify their abuse.  So fighting the right-wing became, to me, the same as fighting Richard/Tracy and all they believed in, because their attitudes on behavior, politics, childrearing, all came straight from the Evil One.  So it became the right thing to do.

…These many things fit many of the traits for PTSD.

Also, I have already written here and here about my lifelong struggle, as an NVLDer and introvert, to fit in and make friends.  I have also discovered, through various conversations with other “outsiders” and even a whole forum thread on the Web, that the town I moved to in 1995 (to be with Jeff) is very closed-off to new people.  Many in that thread disagreed, and gave their own experiences, which is okay.  But the ones who posted insults and diatribes against the outsiders, whom they don’t even know, accusing them of being the problem–I think I found the real source of the trouble!  Another thread is here, not just about that town but about the area and small towns in general.

Somebody on another thread wrote, “Some magazine even listed it as one of the toughest places to fit in in America.  Now, I don’t go out and try too hard to make friends.  But the fact I didn’t make one friend while I was here should tell you something.  There is a reason every outsider hates this town.  It is one of the most unwelcoming unfriendly places anywhere….Making friends and connections is da*n near impossible.  These people will shut you out and do so fairly easily.  Trying to network with people about any thing is a total hassle.”

I disagree with those who think the people are deliberately unfriendly or mean: I think it’s more of a cultural thing, the Upper Midwest combined with German ancestry.  The way people describe it on these forums, it sounds much like a cultural introversion.

People are nice and helpful here, not mean or nasty.  (If they were mean, it wouldn’t hurt so much to be alone.)  And I am married with a child, so I’m not sitting all alone in an empty house on New Year’s, so I don’t have that added incentive.  And I do have the introvert’s tendency to forget to reach out with invitations.  But it would be nice to get invitations from others, too.

As it has been explained to me and also on this forum thread, it’s a small city, everybody already knows everybody, their family is here, their BFFs from high school are all here.  They don’t mean to, but their lives are so full of friends and family that they don’t think to include the newcomer in their social plans.  I also don’t like bars, football or alcohol, so that cuts off a huge swath of social opportunity.  One person told me that she had to make friends with another newcomer like her!

My husband, who came here for work, has the exact same problem I do, and he talks more easily and is more extroverted.  I’ve tried to make friends, only they would make social plans right in front of me and not even ask if I wanted to join in.  I see people post on Facebook about get-togethers, and think, “Why didn’t they invite me?”  I’d change churches or jobs, and feel like the people I knew there, dropped off the face of the earth.

Sure we have Wisconsin friends, good friends, made through college and the SCA, but they live so far away that–especially with work schedules and children–it’s a hassle to get together often.

So after the breakup, when people tried to cheer me up with, “You’ll make new friends soon,” I’d think, “Yeah right!  I’m going to die alone because the only friends I could make in this town were outsiders I had to pull in myself, and they turned out to be narcissistic abusers who were only using me!”  Not only that, but how do you just go out and replace a five-year close friendship, and the depth of emotional intimacy, sharing and caring that goes along with that?

I did try to reach out more through Facebook, where I re-connected with some local people I’d lost touch with over the years.  But again, the same problem arises: You’re not part of the high school circle or family, so they keep forgetting you’re there other than to invite you to big parties full of strangers.  And you enjoy the parties, but you’d like to be the one they call when their car breaks down or somebody goes to the hospital or they need to vent about a problem.  But they have 10 other people to call, family or friends they’ve known for 30 or 40 years.

Richard inspired me to talk and keep talking, which is hard for me except with certain people.  Some of my old friends I can talk to like this; for some others, it’s hard.  This made his loss especially acute.  For years I’d missed having a confidante in my town (other than my husband); then I finally had one, had a social life like other people; then it was all ripped away again.

I’ve joined a writer’s club, so hopefully things will get better.  And I have other friends in other cities who have the same problem: Sharon, who’s lived in the same city her whole life but is an introvert, and Mike, an outgoing extrovert who keeps moving as a preacher, but finds it easier in some places and harder in others to make friends.

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 82

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

Part 82: Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

Schumacher cites the rapid phases this kind of woman goes through when she’s not getting her way or feels she’s losing control. For example, when you challenge her or threaten to end the relationship, she probably exhibits the following emotional states in quick succession:

  1. Angry and agitated. (You’re treated to a rage episode and/or nasty commentary, blame and accusations.)
  2. Panicky and apprehensive. (She exposes fleeting vulnerability as she tries to “feel you out” in order to see how and if she can regain control. She may worry that she’s gone too far and is testing the waters before gearing up for another control maneuver.)
  3. Agitated and threatening. (Because anxiety is ego dystonic–i.e., painfully uncomfortable–she quickly reverts to form and begins to bully you and issue ultimatums and threats of punishment.)
  4. Depression and despair. (When all else fails, she becomes sullen and withdrawn and suffers a temporary identity crisis.)

At the very least, I know she was going through phases 1 and 3.

From Forcing Submission on the blog Narcissists Suck:

All narcissists do this in one way of another: they don’t merely abuse, they FORCE SUBMISSION TO ABUSE. This makes them God, whose punishing wounds we are to shamefully accept as our fault. We are not to resist: we are to simply hang our heads as deserving of them…   What Makes Narcissists Tick pgs. 104-105

 

Notice that what is required for this to work is for the narcissist to completely disarm their victims. No right to self-defense is allowed! This is what they must strip you of first before they can go on to pretend that you are submitting to them of your own free will. Like they deserve such submission and like you’ve freely given it.

…Knowing that a narcissist is driven by their need for power over others, and knowing they are always in search of this headiest drug which is absolute power over others, then you’ll also be aware that they must force your submission in order to feel powerful over you. All this leads straight to the fact that a narcissist must deprive you of your right to defend yourself to accomplish this.

They will always do this by fraud, lies, and threats. They will bring in their proxies [Richard] to help them get you to submit to that which no one should ever have to submit to. They want to be able to pretend that your forced submission is a real submission…and this can only be done if they successfully deprive you of your ability to defend yourself.

Can you see how incredibly important it is to be fully aware of your right to NOT submit to abuse? I am convinced that no one breaks free of the power of a narcissist over them until they are able to claim for themselves the right to self-defense.

…It is important to mention here one very tricky sleight-of-hand that a narcissist does to disarm someone from self-defense. This is accomplished by intentionally mislabeling your defensive behaviors as being “retribution” or “vengeance”.

They accuse you of hurting them. They pretend to know your motives and lay the accusation that any efforts you make to defend yourself are actually coming from your desire to hurt them. If they can convince you that you are being vengeful, or at least if they can convince you that others see you as being vengeful, then they can shut you down. Force your submission once again.

This happens very often when a victim of a narcissist goes into no contact. The pious howling of the narcissist contends that your cutting them off is itself abusive and is therefore coming from a spirit of malice and revenge on your part. Your act of “no contact”, which is as mild and non-reproachful of a way of dealing with a serial abuser that there is, becomes conflated to be proof of your cruelty, malice, and vengeance. Don’t fall for such insane logic! Don’t let someone convince you of having motives you don’t have! Don’t let the narcissist disarm you that easily!

I used “no contact” as merely one example of self-defense that can be mislabeled by the narcissist. Any type of self-defense can be characterized this way by the narcissist and will be. Expect it. Be prepared for it. Don’t fall for it.

It was amazing how, after Tracy let loose with these deliberately hurtful words on 7/1/10, she accused me of hurting her again and again over the years–when I had tried so hard to be kind to her and bite my tongue at her snarks, despite all the inner pain and turmoil it caused me to be kind to an abuser.  As if her abuses of me, her snarks and various punishments, were somehow not to be noted at all.  It was pure, narcissistic hypocrisy.

This blog post also describes how Anna Valerious’ mother flew into rages and pounded their butts several times a day, forcing them to put out their hands instead of shielding their butts with them.  She writes:

I have no doubt now as I look back on this scene repeated so many times over in my life that my mother could pretend I believed I was deserving of every ounce of her rage and punishment because I would cooperate by bending over and not in any way resisting my punishment. She taught us from our earliest moments that if we ever attempted to run away from her when she came for us that it would be punished with overwhelming force.

So, there were no chases around that bed or the house. No, every vestige of resistance was removed before she would commence pounding our asses. I have no memory of her ever spanking me while my hands were still covering my backside. She waited as long as it took to get the total compliance that must have made these sessions such a pleasure for her sadistic torture of her children.

My mother removed all other of my rights to self-defense as well, but the above is the most literal example of her demanding that I “bend over for it.” My mother has for most of her life gotten most of her narcissistic thrills from the children in her power which included other people’s children that were entrusted to her care. (How well do you know your daycare worker, hmm?)

She worked tirelessly to ensure that I didn’t try to defend myself psychologically from her predations as well. All signs of resistance were squelched with ferocity and swiftness.

As I read this, I can just imagine Tracy having the same triumphant reaction as the blogger’s mother did when she got the children to put out their hands.  This reaction would have come when I began capitulating to Tracy’s demands over the course of those two or three days starting 8/1/10.

I was once in an emotionally abusive relationship (Phil) that had the elements of physical violence being very likely in the future.  My friends and family all grew to hate him, but I didn’t know why.  Yet I kept trying to hold it together, even debased myself by begging him to come back when he–disgusted with my refusal to just sit back and take his abuse without protest–left me.  When he came back again two weeks later, it was to a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.  He seemed like a different person.

After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex, which disgusted me, but which he constantly insisted I do.  I kept saying no before, so now that he had me broken and submissive, afraid he would leave again, he pressed his advantage:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants.  He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not.  I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t.

But a few days later, I did one thing wrong in his eyes, and off he went again.  This abusive relationship lasted nine months, but the baggage lasted for years.

Now it was happening again, as a desperate grief, longing to have my BFF and spiritual mentor Richard back again, and loneliness, led me to be that broken, submissive person all over again.  Tracy was emotionally assaulting me the same way that Phil did, forcing me to bend over and do whatever she wanted, if I wanted to be friends with Richard.

Yes, Tracy, you and my abusive ex Phil are exactly alike.  I see in you all sorts of things that he did to control and abuse me.

But fortunately, those 6 pages of grievances I wrote in preparing for a conference–and my conversation with my priest–forced me to see that this was not going to work.  I stopped capitulating and began defending myself again.

This broke Tracy’s power over me, so she became angry (angrier).

And this was the thanks I got for all the things I did for them, for her: taking in the whole family to our own financial detriment, expensive damages, and cockroach and lice infestations; putting up with all her crap; putting up with Richard’s lack of consideration for other people; giving them money; giving them Christmas and birthday gifts; providing them with free babysitting and use of the computer when theirs was offline; giving them food; treating them to dinner on game nights or their anniversaries; and another thing which I do not want to describe here, but that was major.

All we wanted for these things was kindness and consideration.  Instead, I was abused and gaslighted, and blamed for the abuse of me, for two and a half years, accused of “moving in on” Richard, and treated like my simple requests for consideration of my time and feelings, or to simply spend time with or chatting with my best friend, were unreasonable, “paranoid,” even ghastly fauxs pas.

It’s enough to put me off ever offering my home to any other homeless people, because it shows that no good deed goes unpunished.  It shows that we were not seen as their friends after all, but as people to use whenever they needed a babysitter or a taxi service, and abuse whenever they no longer needed us for a while.

And Richard sure sold me a bill of goods.  He kept saying that everything would be fine once she accepted me.  But even though she did finally accept me, as proof of which he invited me to sushi (which had been forbidden before she accepted me), she took it all back again at some unknown point when she decided I wasn’t behaving properly again.  Even though I had already been informed through that sushi thing that the “trial period” was over, here she was throwing me back into it again without even saying so or saying why, and then punishing me for every little thing I did that she decided to misunderstand.

Shortly after the August 1 attempt at peace, one of the people who came over for their Friday night D&D game, sent Jeff a message through Facebook to call her: She had lost her cell phone somewhere in Richard and Tracy’s house.  (Uh-oh.)  This was during the Friday night game, which Jeff no longer attended.  When he called, she asked, “What happened?”  They talked about it a little, but he gave no details.

She didn’t actually play the game, but was there with her husband each week, and watched the children (who really should’ve been in bed at that late hour, 9pm-1am, but weren’t).  Then she said, “They all miss playing D&D with you!”

Jeff told me afterwards that he didn’t want to hear that Richard and Tracy miss playing D&D with him.  He wanted to hear that they miss me.

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

Breaking up with Charles–November 1994, Part 3

I admit I skipped a few Intro to Christianity classes.  But sometimes I just didn’t want to get up and run off to a 9:15 class.  I’d either be tired or depressed about Phil again.  Once or twice I actually felt under the weather.  (Maybe this is a symptom of depression; after all, up until this time, I wouldn’t dream of skipping class unless I was sick or had a bout with insomnia or had to tend to Phil’s nervous breakdown.)  So I’d skip it, and copy the day’s lecture notes from Mike.

I followed the syllabus, read the assignments, did the research essays and studied for the tests, so I didn’t miss much.  Since I knew the material, I made an A or B in the class.  And I didn’t have to tell the teacher where I’d been.  I did show up to most of the classes, though sometimes I think I barely made it on time.  (I don’t remember now how often I was late or on time.)  But then, after all, I just took this class for the credits anyway.  It was interesting, but I’d taken all the required courses and only needed a certain number of credits so I could graduate, so I took whatever looked like fun.

****

Sharon began giving us all titles, all in fun, not because she really felt this way about us.  Pearl was sometimes the Slut.  I was also the Slut, but I don’t remember if I had another title.  Pearl was also the Druggie because of all the prescription drugs she had to take after her surgery.  There may have even been a hypodermic needle involved.  Tara was the Alcoholic.  I forget why, exactly–maybe because she sometimes liked to mix up Sloe Screws and drink Daiquiris and Sex on the Beach.

Sharon kept torturing Tara and me with the song “Zombie” by the Cranberries.  She’d sing, “In your head!  In your head!” until we pretended to hit her.  One of us would say, “It’s in my head and I can’t get it out.”  So Sharon would sing, “In your head!  In my head!” and laugh.

****

Over the weekend, Mike joined us for a meal.  Charles saw a picture of his sister Wendy.  Mike told her age, which was closer to Charles’, and Charles said, “Could you introduce me to her?”

At another point, he said he was “twenty-four, and still not dating anyone seriously.”  He smiled at me after he said that.

A twinge of insult lasted only one nanosecond.  I didn’t feel insulted after that, just wondered what was going on.  Charles hadn’t been coming over much, I had given up on trying to be in love with him (I guess I no longer felt that “spark” as he called it), and after his comments I started to feel like we weren’t really seeing each other anymore.

I tried to work up the courage to break up with him.  I’d even been depressed lately, wanting more and more to be with Mike (or Phil if he repented of his abuse) instead, so depressed Clarissa even noticed one day before dinner and asked what was wrong.  (I didn’t tell her.)

We also had different political opinions: We were both Republicans, but his opinions were much farther to the right.  One evening, he turned on Rush Limbaugh’s TV show, to my dismay.  I kept my mouth shut to avoid trouble.

And he could get vocal with people who disagreed with him on politics.  He recently embarrassed me when, to an innocent comment made by the elderly Southern teacher I’ve mentioned before, he blew up and yelled at her.  He said he was so sick of people saying such-and-such.  I don’t remember what she had said or if she meant it politically, but he made it so.  She was a sweet lady, and his elder, and didn’t deserve that at all.  I think that was when I first seriously considered breaking up with him.  I knew this just wasn’t going to work out.

On the tenth, the group walked back from lunch and got to where the sidewalk forked, one way leading to Muehlmeier and the other to the apartments.  Charles usually came along with us to our apartment, but lately he’d been splitting with us and going alone to his room in Muehlmeier.  I thought he did this because Sharon complained about him coming over every evening.

He said good-bye to us again on the tenth, and I thought about pulling him aside right then and breaking up with him, but wondered if it was really necessary: As far as I could tell, we were just friends now, no more.  Our dating status seemed to have dissolved without a word.  So my roommies and I just said “bye” to him and walked on.

But then Charles pulled me aside and said we should break up.  He could see the feelings I still had for Phil.  There were things he’d heard, though he didn’t say what, and he said something about Phil and I wanting to get back together.  The wording made me think Phil wanted me back and was about to come back to me.

My heart jumping, I said, “Why do you say that?”

But this wasn’t the case, to my disappointment.

Had he heard about the angry letter?  If so–well, I had to send it.  Confronting an abuser–whether by letter or otherwise–and cutting him off if he won’t repent, is standard advice.  Did he mean the secret marriage?  If so–well, the practice is hardly limited to the young and foolish.  Couples far older and wiser, agree to secret marriages long before the public wedding.  I never did find out what “things” Charles “heard.”  All I knew was he said we needed to grow up, that he was older and knew better.

He said, “It seems to be a rebound thing for you after all.”

I said, “I didn’t mean it that way.”

“We can still be friends.”

“Of course.”

And we truly were.  I harbored no bad feelings, except for the “grow up” crack (which Pearl considered arrogant).  He didn’t appear to resent me, either.

As far as I was concerned, he didn’t break up with me: We broke up with each other.  It was mutual, the first time I’d ever experienced such a breakup.  Finally, I was free from trying to feel attracted to him, and from wondering if other guys realized I could still go out with them.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 4–Prudes, Faulty Theology, Brainwashing, and Learning to Love the Judgment

Previous parts

On page 128, young and beautiful Ekaterina is flirted with and asked out by Qasim.  It’s ONE date, hasn’t even happened yet.  Still, young Kenny

wanted to blurt out that he cared for her and would rather date her himself, but it was too late.  He had missed his window of opportunity. He would look jealous and desperate.  Would he have to compete with Qasim to see her at all now?

Come on, Kenny, where’s your sense of competition?  She’s asked out on one date and you just give her up to Qasim without even a fight?  You act like she’s engaged!  It’s called DATING.  You do it before you get engaged.  And you can date lots of people at the same time if you want.  None of the guys asking out a girl are called “jealous” or “desperate” just because she went out with somebody else last week.

On page 133, Abdullah introduces his wife Yasmine to his old fellow Tribulation Forcer Gustaf (Zeke).  Before the Rapture, Yasmine converted from Islam and tried to convince Abdullah to become a Christian, but he refused:

The big man [Zeke] greeted Yasmine with a bear hug.  “I heard all about you, ma’am,” he said.  “I sure did.  Tell you what–I’da been your husband, you’d have changed my mind.”  As soon as he said it he appeared to realize how it sounded, blushed, and apologized.  “I just meant…you know….never mind.”

What, you can’t make jokes in the Millennium?  What’s he apologizing for?

Then on page 134, he says to her, “Now Yasmine here–you don’t mind if I use your first name, do you, ma’am?”  Um, why on earth would she mind?

People are just so–odd here, uptight.  Perfectly normal actions and words are treated like blunders or like they must be okayed first, such as Ekaterina calling her boss Kenny by his first name on page 94.  Even Ekaterina resisted flirting with Qasim on page 128, for no reason I could see.

On page 144, Rayford wants to know if God wants him and Tsion to go see Noah speak to the kids at COT the next day.  (What, aren’t you allowed to make decisions for yourself anymore?)  But God’s not saying, so Tsion says,

How about we put out a fleece?  See if Mac can get us there by the crack of dawn and back as soon as it’s over, and if he can, we’ll take that as divine permission.

Oh, geez, not a fleece!  I have had bad experiences with fleeces, the Evangelical version of divination, and just as reliable.  See here, here and here.

On page 153, I’m a bit disappointed because–if Buck were still called Buck like in every other Left Behind book–this would be another “Buck was struck.”  But no, it’s “Cameron was struck.”  This is bad in writing: Don’t confuse the reader by changing the name your character has used for all this time.  Except for the Bible and Russian novels, this is an amateurish fail.

Interesting note from Noah on page 156:

Why did we live so long back then?  For the same reason you will live long [ie, about 1000 years].  The world actually exists now, as it did then, under a canopy of water that blocks the most harmful effects of the sun.  When that condition no longer existed, life spans were greatly reduced, as history shows.

Hmmm….I wonder what scientists would think of this theory…..Let’s see….I’m not sure if a credible scientific website would even bother with this.  But I found a scientific rebuttal on a website about creationism:

Neither the Bible nor science support the idea that a water canopy ever existed above the earth. The Bible teaches that the “expanse” of Genesis 1:6-8 cannot be a canopy, since it encompasses both the atmosphere and interstellar space. The Bible also indicates that the “floodgates of heaven” are nothing more than a reference to clouds and rain (as found in passages after the Genesis flood). Scientifically, any kind of water canopy produces so much heat that it would cook everything on the planet.

See that site for more information.  Another one is here.

Page 159 has yet more padding.  Oftentimes it’s the Bible clipped-and-pasted.  This time, it’s the story of Noah, recited again as children cheer at appropriate spots, to remind us that we haven’t just tripped into a book of Genesis.  Yeah, yeah, we know the story, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of this book.  The one good spot of all this padding: It gives me a chance to skim without missing anything.

On page 189, Chloe asks Ekaterina, Kenny and Bahira (young people), “[The Tribulation Force] had one goal, one mission, and that was to thwart Antichrist as best we could by what?”

Their response is the best part: “They all looked blank.”

Obviously nobody knows.  We readers sure don’t!

The answer finally comes out: “By adding as many people to the family of God as you could.”

Wait, that was it?  Well, other than wiretapping the Antichrist’s office and plane, which never seemed to be used for much of anything.  You have the ultimate good-vs-evil, and you can’t even muster up a decent Underground Resistance movement.

On page 198, Kenny says that Raymie and another Raptured person could have ended up married if they were “naturals” (ie, were not Raptured/glorified and could still have families).  Kenny says that because they’re “not wired that way anymore,”

That allows us to spend a lot of time together, really as brother and sister, worshiping, praying, studying, planning.  I can’t tell you how rewarding it is.

Eh, that’s only because you don’t know what you’re missing.  ;)   But Kenny does say, “And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have someone like that in my life, plus adding the romance to it.”

On page 215, Bu–er, Cameron says a mouthful:

Cameron whispered to [Joshua and Caleb], “I will, of course, accede to your wishes, but before you begin, the children would like to recite to you in unison what they memorized from the Scriptures yesterday.  Would that be permissible?”

Did you swallow a dictionary, Buck?  Come on, nobody actually talks like that in non-professional real life unless they want to impress people with their booklearnin’.  Are you a sycophant, Buck?

Even worse is finding out what the children memorized from the Scriptures:

The Lord’s anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, “Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from 20 years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.”

You had children memorize a verse about Old Testament wrath?  Is this meant to scare them into righteousness?

And then, of course, there’s more cut and pasting from the Bible, as we read the story of Joshua and Caleb yet again.  Pretty much nothing new happens except for the kids cheering now and then.  On page 223, Joshua and Caleb mention the harlot Rahab from the story.  Yet none of the kids asks, “What’s a harlot?”  Yeah, riiiight… LOL  Heck, when my parents watched Blazing Saddles when I was a kid, my little voice piped up with, “What’s a whore?”  (My dad’s response: “Look it up in the dictionary.”  Which I did.)

On page 305, Rayford says, “There is no question Irene and my daughter and I are biased, so I would ask that we simply accede to my grandson’s request that we covenant together in prayer and seek the Lord over this.”  What are you saying, again?  What’s wrong with plain English?  Nobody talks like that in normal conversation!

At the end of all things, we finally get to the last judgment, of the lost.  It is explained on page 350 that these are “all the men and women in history who died outside of Christ.”  Then we read,

Rayford had the feeling that the many verdicts he had just heard would have horrified him in the old days.  And yet now, hearing the offenses of those who had rejected and rejected and rejected the One who was “not willing that any should perish” and seeing Jesus’ own tears as He pronounced the sentences, Rayford understood as never before that Jesus sent no one to hell.  They chose their own paths.

Er…It’s made clear that these are people who died without being Christians.  But there are a myriad of reasons why people don’t choose to be Christians.  It’s not all about wanting to do your own thing and stick your tongue out at God.  Many don’t believe there is a God.  Or they were raised in a family/country where Christianity is generally considered blasphemy, or simply not taught.  Christians sin just as much as non-Christians, and deserve Hell as well, but it’s made clear in this passage that the “transaction” (ie, saying the sinner’s prayer) decides whether you’re “saved” or “lost.”  But no human can be more merciful than God.  By saying people automatically go to Hell just because of their religion, you tread in dangerous waters, crossing over into God’s territory: the final Judgment.

Here’s another review of this book.

FINALLY!  I am DONE with this series!

Full review

 

Tracy blamed others for her abuse–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 81

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

Part 81: Tracy blamed others for her abuse

Perhaps one of the most disturbing moments you will have in dealing with a personality-disordered person is their near-telepathic ability to sense the exact basis of your aversion to them. For example, if you consider them “toxic,” somehow you’ll soon find yourself being called “toxic”–by them.–http://www.shrink4men.com/2011/12/05/predator-detection-and-the-devil-of-plurality-personality-disorders-and-the-nature-of-good-and-evil/

Yep–the things she herself was guilty of, the things I saw her doing, the things that even my mother said about her, she accused me of over the years: manipulation, lack of respect, childish behavior, needing to grow up, not respecting boundaries.

I understand and keep boundaries just fine, thank you very much, despite her accusations.  Richard, however, crosses boundaries with people all the time, which he himself admitted to, when he first moved in with us.  He made Jeff uncomfortable by pretending to be “after” him.  He made me think he was trying to start an affair with me.  He posts things on the Web to other women that are far beyond anything he ever said to me, such as “Richard is sexing [Internet name of some online woman].”  And Tracy herself constantly crosses other people’s boundaries, including mine, by her nasty behavior, and by expecting them to just shut up and take it.

Just as she accused Todd of a “power grab” and being “childish” and a “baby” when she herself was doing these things, and blamed him for getting upset over how she treated him.

She complained about me getting upset over the “consequences” of my “behavior,” while she herself was getting upset over the consequences (lost friendship, loss of free rides, loss of occasional free money or food, loss of free babysitting) of her own behavior (nastiness).

While it is good and right to accept constructive criticism, and ponder one’s own contribution to a problem, an abuser does not do this, and will use your own tendency to do so, against you.  Your apologies will be seen as capitulation, as her being “right,” as her winning the war, as an excuse to continue beating you over the head for your “crimes.”

Constructive criticism comes from someone who wants to work with you and preserve your relationship.  Blaming from an abuser is her against you, her needing power, her needing to win, her needing you as a punching bag and scapegoat.

Todd also said that Tracy yells but does nothing to help fix a problem.  I never saw Tracy help to fix the problems between us.  Rather, she got Richard to tell me how I needed to change, how I kept doing everything wrong.

In all those printouts of their argument, I never saw evidence of Tracy trying to resolve things with Todd, but only blaming him for everything.

The issue of her not helping out with chores kept coming up again and again and again, while she nagged Richard to clean the house.  Even Todd noticed this.

A person has to learn how to distinguish constructive criticism from blame, or else s/he could end up mulling things over and over again (as I did throughout the friendship and then for many months afterward), trying to figure out what s/he did that was so wrong, being puzzled, feeling terrible without cause.  Just as a writer needs to learn the difference between a helpful critique and suggestions which would damage her piece, a person needs to learn the difference between needing to accept responsibility for a shortcoming or wrongdoing, and being scapegoated by an abuser.

You will note that no matter how nasty Tracy behaved toward me over the years, I was always the one who ended up apologizing, as she threw the blame on me and took none on herself.  I was always blamed for her inability to let Richard be himself and trust him.  I was always blamed for every nasty word she said to me on other issues, every snark, every jab.  Even Richard joined in and blamed me for her nasty behavior the day of the Incident, and therefore showed that he expected me to apologize for her behavior.

And I was sick and tired of it.  I was sick and tired of being blamed for her nasty behavior because I’m naturally introverted and quiet, and because I naturally withdraw from mean people.  I was sick and tired of being blamed for Tracy’s desire to keep a tight rein on her husband and control his every interaction.

And her deciding that Richard had to block me on Facebook and by e-mail and not speak to me at all until she okayed it, because she didn’t like me sticking up for myself and objecting to her nastiness, was the last straw, the proof that there was no way to reason with this person because she’s driven by emotion and does not know the meaning of “reason.”

It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors. They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly. In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance.–Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies

 

Narcissistic mothers are masters of invalidation. It’s part of their gaslighting armoury. They dismiss and undermine your feelings and emotions to make you feel only what’s acceptable to them. This means that they get to treat you the way they want, and maneouvre the situation so you don’t get to feel the appropriate responses.

It is cruel beyond measure. Of all the abuses heaped upon daughters of narcissistic mothers, this might be the worst. If you can’t even trust and own your own feelings – well, what have you left?…

Because of this invalidation daughters of narcissistic mothers can grow up believing that they are abnormal or twisted. This is because our totally natural and normal feelings are told to be wrong (either in as many words, or by implication), and so we absorb the message that we’re wrong to have them.  This is totally head-wrecking stuff.–Invalidation

 

I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.

People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking. The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times!

The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”. The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.

Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better. It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system.

I have observed through my nearly half-century of life that those who are capable of being cruel and abusive emotionally to someone they ostensibly “love” are the exact same people with very tender regard for their own feelings. They are so easy to offend unintentionally by a look or a word. Keep in mind as you continue reading that I’m talking about those whom we find ourselves time and again unintentionally setting off. That is a red flag. Someone who is easily offended for reasons that are never clear to you at the time.

…Let me say it another way. The more self-involved someone is, the more hyper-sensitive their feelings become. Many teens are a good example of the combination of insecurity and immaturity which makes it very easy to step on their feelings before you realize what you’ve done. Adults who are emotionally arrested at their teens will continue to be very easily offended and will often justify being at least occasionally abusive to those close to them.

Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors. I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off. Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things.

Narcissists often pretend to be offended in order to steer the behaviors of those around them to suit their purposes. It is a manipulation tactic to constantly be looking for reasons to be offended as the narcissist does. But, in addition to the intentional offense that narcissists take over what would never be perceived as a slight by a normal person, the narcissist is easy to offend in actuality.

Pop their grandiosity bubble, fail to reflect their illusion of themselves back to them as they want you to, remind them of reality in any way they have chosen to ignore, fail in any way to give them what they want even if they haven’t told you what they want, and you’ll find yourself dealing with the intensely offended narcissist. Most times you’ve unintentionally done it. That never gets you off the hook.

…Do you find yourself flagellating yourself when you “hurt” the feelings of someone who regularly abuses you and your feelings? What is up with that??? Why would you waste one more moment telling yourself you’re a mean, “bad” person when you see that hurt puppy-dog look in your abuser’s eyes?–Do They Have Feelings?

After all, what is so “offensive” about me being a naturally quiet and introverted person, that she felt I was somehow hurting her by being me?

Through my life I have made many friends who like me just fine and accept that I’m quiet!  Maybe one-on-one with them I can get into long, deep conversations.  But in groups, even small ones, I tend to be very quiet, even if I’ve known and been comfortable with the people for years!  They just accept this as “my way.”

But to Tracy, it’s such a horrible offense that I can’t even get coffee with Richard and I deserve her verbal abuse for it???  “Hyper-sensitive” is right!  And Richard called me very sensitive?  (There he was acting like the abuser in the quote above.)

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

I confront Phil about his abuse–November 1994, Part 2

On the third, Persephone and I joked about how Phil squanders his money.  I mentioned the tithe-disagreement when he said he’d handle our finances, and she said, “I’m never gonna marry him.  I’m not crazy!”

On the fourth, I wrote in my diary,

“I’m a better person when I’m not around you.”  Hogwash.  [And also, from accounts of his next girlfriends, not at all true.]  You’ve got to take responsibility for your own actions, since nobody makes you act cruel unless they hold a gun to your head or something. If you treat me like dirt, if you feel like a bad person around me, that’s your problem, not mine.

On the fifth or sixth, Saturday or Sunday, my roommies and I were walking back from lunch when lo and behold, I saw Phil and Persephone off in the distance, walking on the drive over by the marshy field beyond.  I couldn’t believe it.  I have recorded many different times when Phil and I somehow “happened” to be in the same place at the same time, no matter how unusual.

When we had class at the same time and in the same building, it was understandable, but this often wasn’t the case.  It was as if Phil knew where I was at all times and made an effort to be in my sight.  If, in those days, American society had already grown paranoid about stalkers (which they were in the late 90s), I probably would have asked the question, Is Phil stalking me?  As it was, I was very upset, seeing yet again a reminder of how quickly he threw me away and looked for a replacement chick, after having insisted for months and months that we were truly man and wife.

On November 3, I had just prayed for help forgiving Phil.  I had also just written in the Journal to my friends the day before about the hurt and anger I didn’t know how to deal with.  I had to shelve new books in the Religion section of the library.  So I looked around for books on knowing God’s will and other spiritual questions.  Then I saw this little, white paperback with the title, Forgive and Forget: Healing The Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis B. Smeade.  (Here is an interview with the author which describes the book’s philosophy.)

I snatched up the book and put it on the cart to check out.

It said hatred was stage 2 of forgiveness.  It said that in order to forgive, first I must confront the person who wronged me–say how he wronged me, and that I hated him for it.  It had to be done, or I wouldn’t be able to release him in my heart, and he wouldn’t know that he did something wrong.

On pages 141-2, the author described a college teacher who trusted the chairman of her department to put in a good word for her.  Instead, he stabbed her in the back, and she lost her job.  She knew about it, but he didn’t know she did.  She pretended each day to day that it hadn’t happened; each night she’d go home and throw up.  Finally, she told him he’d done her wrong, “and I hate you for it.”  After that, she stopped throwing up after work.  Dr. Phil McGraw also says that sending a letter is sometimes necessary:

As you consider your own triggering event and the nature and degree of the suffering you’ve endured, what is your MER [Minimal Effective Response]? Maybe you don’t feel the need or have the courage right now to do either one of the kinds of things that were contemplated for Rhonda. Maybe what you need to do is write a letter and write down all your thoughts and all your feelings. Maybe that does it for you. Maybe you even need to mail the letter, if your event involves another person. Perhaps, like Rhonda, if you can’t mail the letter, then you might need to go to the offender’s grave and read it to him or her in the cemetery.

Whatever your MER is, you need to identify it and you need to do it. You need to emit that response until such time as you can say, “OK, that’s it. That’s enough. My lens is clean. My emotional business is finished and I am free to go back to being that person that I now know that I am.”

So I confronted Phil in a letter, which I let sit, told my dad about, and then showed to Pearl for advice before sending.  It’s often said that we should confront people rather than just complaining about them to other people, that the pain of confrontation is brief in comparison to the pain of having a problem continue.

The letter went into detail about the emotional abuse Phil had put me through.  It made clear that I saw him with my last letter coming out of Muehlmeier, and that I felt there was nothing about that letter to upset him.  It chewed him out for showing it around rather than considering it.  It gave my perspective on the marriage, which is that it was real and valid.  The letter explained that I had to confront him if I ever hoped to forgive him.

I prayed a lot over the letter, asking for guidance, for the proper words and content, for God to work his will through it, soften Phil’s heart for it, convict him through it….I felt it was God’s will for me to send it.

Phil never responded to the letter–probably because I told him not to unless he sincerely repented.  I didn’t want to talk about it.  I’d already had quite enough of his dismissals any time I tried to tell him he did something wrong.  I wanted him to stop sitting with us at meals and getting mushy with Persephone, to stop greeting me in the halls; I wanted to be left completely alone so my anger would cool down.  I wrote, “No more will I be walked over.”  Persephone found the letter accidentally, but after talking with me about it, decided she had nothing to be angry with me about.

After reading this letter over again almost 20 years later, I would have deleted some things, though I put them in there for a valid reason.  But they could be misunderstood or seen as arrogant.

But I understand them: I was furious with him because, as I have shown over the course of these memoirs, he had emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abused me since we started dating.  I expressed so much anger because he ripped my spirit in two with his constant psychological abuse, gaslighting, playing hoaxes, and attempts to force me into painful or disgusting sex.  He sexually assaulted me.  He tried to change history on me and lie to me numerous times about my own behavior, to make me think I was bad, when I never did what he accused me of.  He shamed me and cut me down over and over again for things which were not wrong, such as solving a puzzle on a game differently than he would, simply so he could control me with his fury and verbal abuse.

The pain was still raw, and immediately after breaking up with me, he started up with a new girl.  He sat with my friends and me all the time to be with this new girl, and got cuddly and cutesy with her right in front of me, deliberately rubbing in my face that he had moved on already.  He told lies about me to his friends, a smear campaign to make others think I was the abuser.  He was still trying to control and abuse me after the relationship was over.

5 years later, I still saw it as an excellent letter, though I already saw the things that needed changing.  Even 12 years later, when I posted these accounts on the Web in 2006, I still thought it was a good letter, with nothing to be ashamed of.

In any case, the letter never threatened or begged; it gave my point of view completely, and told him to stay away from me so I could calm down my anger.  It was brief, only about 4 typed pages.

I did not yet know the terms emotional abuse, sexual abuse (forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do), psychological abuse, or gaslighting.  But this and the previous letter described many of his abuses, and begged him to get counseling for himself.  It even directly accused him of abusing his authority as head of the wife.  It’s a relief to read this many years later, because I did indeed confront my abuser with his abuses, and do not have that “unfinished business.”

This part I would not touch; it is the best part of the letter:

During our marriage I may’ve done a few things I shouldn’t have, but you’ve done your own things that make me think you just don’t know how to respect or love a wife.  Some of the things you say to your own mother were warnings to me, but I hoped you wouldn’t treat me the same.

And your refusals to respond to my needs in so many situations–only your “subconscious” really knew the proper way to treat a woman, and that’s why I fell in love with him.  Then I discovered he wasn’t even real, and that it wasn’t easy to get you to act like him, even though you said it was.  He was you, you said.  Yeah, right.  He was reasonable, unaccusing, cool-headed.  He could compromise.  He didn’t demand his wants over my needs, nor make me feel like I had to be a meek little slave to please you.  He wouldn’t flat-out refuse to do something I needed done just because he didn’t want to, he’d have a legitimate reason.  He wouldn’t force himself on me in ways that pained me, he’d slowly get me to want them.  He wouldn’t take and take all I was willing to give, which was a lot, and then not give me what I asked for.  He wouldn’t be chauvinistic nor treat me like a silly and naive woman, when really I could often reason better or was better informed.  [At first this seemed arrogant, but then I saw that he treated me like "a silly and naive woman."  It wasn't about arrogance, but protested being treated like an idiot.]  He didn’t abuse his authority as head of the wife, or be a tyrant.

This isn’t a question of being meant for someone, this is a question of examining yourself and the way you treat your wife, changing what you can change and not taking the defeatist attitude that you can’t, learning to compromise, and thinking how your stage of rebellion (which really isn’t against me) can be gotten through without hurting and alienating the people who love you the most.  I feel sorry for Persephone, who has yet to learn these things about you.

Since he never apologized or repented during that time (at least, that I ever heard), and carried on his behavior to subsequent relationships, I was probably talking to a brick wall.  But somebody had to confront him.  Persephone also confronted him, calling him an a–hole for things he did to me and told her about.  Knowing her, she probably also confronted him about things he did to her.

So there you have it: First, I went to him directly with my concerns.  Then I discovered that Persephone told him off for the things he did to me.  Yet he did not repent.  Since we had no church in common, and he no longer went to InterVarsity meetings, there was no way to “tell it to the church.”  The next stage, adapting Matthew 18:15-17 to my situation, was to stop associating with him.

On the 8th, praying on the way, I pinched the letter as a symbolic “laying on of hands,” then dropped the letter in the Campus Center mailbox.  I went into the Campus Shoppe for a bit, then started out.  But who should open the door for me, but Phil!  How did he, a commuter on a campus with more than 1000 students enrolled, always show up in the same place and time as me?  I stared straight ahead and walked past him.  As I wrote in my diary the next day,

It is done.  It makes me nervous, but there’s also that consciousness of doing the right thing–facing up to my tormentor, taking no more of this abuse.

Pearl also has a theory on why I keep running into him all the time: Maybe God’s trying to teach me endurance.  Hm.

 

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 80

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

Part 80: I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail

It had to be Tracy’s way or no way.  She tried to force me to allow her to scream her narcissistic/borderline fury at me, to accept all her abuse as my due and grovel before her, or else I could never be friends with Richard, be friends with him on Facebook, e-mail him, contact him, etc. etc.  This was emotional blackmail, so I refused to go along with it.  My mom said Tracy was being very manipulative.  This meant I could not be friends with Richard, but the price was far too high.  I could not give in to her, could not sacrifice my self-respect to her, could not let her break my spirit the way she tried to break the spirits of her children.

Brian denied that he needed any help.  He thought he was fine the way he was and he had good reasons every time he exploded.  It was everyone else’s fault that he lost his temper, and they deserved what he said or did to them.
He told Carl clearly that if Carl didn’t do what he wanted and didn’t endure the attacks, Brian wouldn’t allow Carl to see his grandchildren.  There it was; not only attacks but also blackmail.

So what did Carl do?

  • He and Vickie decided to tell Brian that they wouldn’t take the abuse any more.  They were going to create an Isle of Song for the rest of their lives.  Good behavior was required from anyone to get on that Isle; blood wouldn’t count.
  • They knew they’d said that before, but they’d always given in and had pretended that the bullying had never happened.  They knew also that Brian counted on that.
  • The next time Brian exploded at them in front of his 11 and 13 year-old children, Carl said publicly that they weren’t going to put up with that behavior any more.  They weren’t going to see Brian.  They’d love to see the kids but Brian probably wouldn’t allow that.  They wanted the kids to know who was responsible for the breach.
  • Carl told Brian they were taking a break from involvement with him for at least six months.  He’d have to make it on his own.  After then, if he wanted to resume contact he’d have to call and apologize and promise never to act that way again.  He’d especially have to apologize to Vickie.  Carl was going to protect his wife against all comers, even his son.
  • Even after that time, they were going to continue to withhold money because they wanted interactions to be based on fun, not need or greed.–How can we stop bullies if we’re compassionate?

Also see my blog post on emotional blackmail.

It seemed that apologizing to her got me nowhere.  She did not accept, did not respond with an apology for her own verbal abuse.  She kept going on about things which I had apologized for and/or stopped doing a long time before, things which she never forgot about and kept bringing up all the time with Richard (and he with me on occasion), so that I was embarrassed and wanted to hear no more about it.  She talked to me as if I were a seducing vixen who didn’t understand boundaries, when I had been careful not to cross boundaries.

After I showed Jeff the series of e-mails she sent me after my own apology on August 1, I said, “The things she wrote make me feel like such a whore!”  He said, furious with Tracy, “That stops NOW!”

What disturbed me further was when Chris–though he said Richard told him nothing about what happened–came on Facebook and started talking to me as if I had somehow been trying to start an affair with Richard!  I wondered where he even got this idea.

I wanted to tell Chris that Tracy’s complaint of me was a red herring, that there was no such thing going on, that the real issue was her abuse and bullying.  Instead, I told him that there was no attempt to have an affair with Richard, that I’m very much in love with my husband and he’s like my other half, that Richard was my spiritual brother.

I wondered if Chris had any clue about Tracy’s abuses, if Richard had ever told him what he told me, if Chris had any clue that Tracy was treating me, the same way Chris’ own wife was treating Richard.  Chris knew what it was like to have a wife who would punish him for wanting to hang around with a close friend whom she objected to.  I had hoped that Richard’s trouble with Chris’ wife would show Richard what it was like to be in my position, so he would understand me and stop making excuses for Tracy.  But apparently–even though I made the connection during conversation with him one day–he just didn’t get it.

This little blurb sounds familiar because Tracy gave every indication of not being satisfied until she had her chance to go on and on and on about how horrible I’d been, no matter what apologies or explanations or white roses of peace I might give her:

Just a day or so before this person she was addressing had emotionally abused her for an hour over the most unpredictable and irrational thing until HE felt better. Nothing she said or did could assuage him. He simply had to abuse her until he started feeling better.–Do They Have Feelings?

Though I can imagine that if I stopped biting my tongue and told her all the things on my own 6-page list of all the horrible things she and Richard had done, something like this would happen:

Yet, she makes this matter-of-fact statement and because REALITY sucked for him…his feelings were ‘hurt’. She told me in agonizing tones how horrible she felt immediately after saying it because she could see the ‘hurt’ in his eyes as he toddled off to his bedroom.–from above link

I was sick and tired of all these false accusations, of drama queens and know-it-alls, of people justifying jealousy, possessiveness and control.  I most likely have NLD or Asperger’s or both, but I can still tell when bad behavior is treated like good.  I can recognize injustice and hypocrisy.

So I was not allowed to be friends with Richard after all.  But then, after all that had happened, being friends with Richard again was not going to happen anyway unless Tracy had a complete and utter change of heart, mind and behavior.  I broke off the friendship with him for good reason, and wasn’t going to reconcile with him unless she did this.

But that’s a lot to ask of someone who just will not admit that her behavior is abusive, irrational, manipulative, but just keeps justifying it as her right and something you have to just accept.

Jeff doesn’t want to find me sitting with them in the church basement again.  Hopefully they won’t come to my church anymore unless they’re ready to apologize.  [Note: This was written in 2010 or 2011.]

I noticed before when Todd broke off relations with them, and now it was happening again, them being all mean and chasing off the friend, then complaining, “Well, you’re the one who ended it, not us.”  First time, Richard said it to the ex friend Todd; this time, Tracy said it.  What the heck?  And of course, guess who has to change, guess who has to apologize, for them to take you back: YOU!

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

I suggest a six-month break–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 79

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

Part 79: I suggest a six-month break

Now, again Tracy tried to manipulate, control and emotionally blackmail me by insisting on a “conference,” or I would continue to be forbidden from speaking to or e-mailing Richard, and his Facebook/e-mail accounts would remain blocked to us all.

I could not imagine what else she could possibly have a problem with, and wasn’t so sure I wanted to hear all her nitpicky little complaints.  I almost gave in, but Jeff was vehemently against it.

I could see nothing in it but an airing of grievances (her hurtful accusations yet again, my own list of grievances which was 6 pages long at that point, 30 pages now), a degeneration into yelling and screaming, and a friendship even more in tatters than it was already.

I wrote the list of grievances so I could discuss my own problems with them, rather than it being all “Let’s beat on Nyssa day.”  If Tracy thought it would be all her yelling at me about all my supposed crimes and me listening with nothing to say in my own defense, with nothing to say about her own many crimes–she had another think coming.

The list was supposed to be part of working things through.  But with each thing I wrote I grew angrier and angrier, with both Tracy and Richard.  I finally put down my pen and said to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I e-mailed to Mike at 1pm on August 2,

I just wrote out 6 pages of grievances….She still has more for me and I don’t know what they could be….I’m not sure if I can do this.

Mike wondered why I cared so much.  He said, “Honestly, these folks seem to be toxic, hurtful, not nice kinds of people.”  I said it was because not too long ago, Richard and I were very close, that we were dear friends and he was a kind of spiritual guide.

I then called my priest for advice on how to conduct this conference, but he said there should be no need for a conference after I’d already apologized.

I said I never hurt them intentionally.  My priest asked if I knew what I had done, other than what I apologized for and what she had already said.  I didn’t, just got some vague reference to things I had supposedly been doing all this time, that she hadn’t told me about yet, various ways my behavior supposedly had to “change.”

He said, “You can’t put your finger on it, can you?”  He could see nothing anybody would find offensive in me.  He said if there’s to be any relationship, Tracy must accept my apology and not keep going on about how I acted badly.

I saw it as being steamrolled yet again, like always, my thoughts and opinions having no weight, while she gets to call the shots in everything.  She didn’t follow my conditions for talking to them about reconciliation, that she not speak more abuse to me, so why should I follow her conditions and keep talking with her any further?  And the following Sunday, when I told my priest what ultimately happened, he said, “Friendship is not about conditions!  It’s about respect!”

I was sick and tired of dealing with Tracy.  Jeff’s blood pressure had spiked around the same time she came into our lives, and over the day or two we spent messaging each other the first days of August, he was furious with her.  He was so angry and disturbed by Tracy’s hateful, controlling and manipulative attitude in these messages that he tossed and turned all night.  

It seemed to me that the only way to reconcile was to stop dwelling, forgive and move on, without re-hashing crap again and again.  I had tried to do this for two and a half years–even shredded the diaries, letters and e-mails I wrote about her behavior during the time they lived with us.  I even asked Richard to pray for me during Lent 2008 so I could squash thoughts which I did not describe to him, thoughts about how evil she had acted.  Heck, for those two and a half years, I couldn’t even clean the basement without thinking of how she had ripped on my “routine.”

She had to stop going on and on about me, and I had to rip up the 6 pages.  Jeff and I wanted to have a six-month break instead, an amicable break during which we could say hi at church and they could ask us for help if they needed it, and let everyone’s anger die down before trying to talk again.  My priest said this was wise, that a conference would do no good at all, that I apologized so why have a conference? that friendships should have no conditions, but respect for each other.  (He said her reaction to our offer of a break showed what kind of a friend she truly was.)

I explicitly wrote in my e-mail to her that we wanted an amicable break, in which we could say hi to each other and they could ask for help.  I wrote that Jeff and I wanted this.

One of my friends broke up with his best friend for abuse around the same time we broke things off with them.  He told his friend that they could meet again in “a year and a day” to talk it over.  The friend did not take this well, though when the year and a day passed, he was calmer and more pleasant.  I had this in mind when I wrote this e-mail to Tracy, because I wanted to have this chance to meet again when tempers had cooled, and try again.  I had grieved terribly over the loss of Richard and the children, and wanted them back in my life, but Tracy’s demands were impossible.

I wrote to Mike,

[Jeff and I] decided to take a break.  I don’t know how they’re going to take the idea, but I looked at the situation, Jeff’s anger, Tracy’s anger, my anger, and realized that a “conference” would devolve into shouting and more anger.  We don’t need to keep airing grievances; we need to forgive and put it behind us.  That’s what my priest said as well.

I hope that time will do the trick, time and prayer and talking with spiritual fathers.  As soon as I wrote the e-mail asking for a long break, not permanent and not as enemies, I felt some of the stress begin to lift.

But Tracy saw it as yet another offense.  She told me off with words like, we threw their olive branch back in their faces, “Have a nice life” and “You know where we live if you decide to GROW UP and stop feeling hurt over the consequences of YOUR behavior.”  (Amazingly horrid, isn’t it, how she deflects responsibility for her abuse onto other people?)

Um, no, you know where we live if you decide to grow up and realize that abuse is wrong and that what you did was wrong.  (Especially since they’ve moved at least once since then.)

But of course, I couldn’t say so because she immediately blocked me on Facebook, where we were having this conversation.  So she can dish out abuse but can’t take criticism.  LOL  And she speaks like such a child.  That’s the child’s way of arguing: low blows and hurtful comments wherever possible, throwing mud at someone as they walk away from you.

I wrote to Mike, “Just no willingness to look at her own behavior as being nasty and contributing to the problem.  We’re sick of dealing with her.  Done.”

On August 7 I wrote to Mike, “The more Tracy acts this way, and the more Richard allows her, the more they push us away.”

What I should have written in reply if she hadn’t blocked me, since obviously diplomacy was going nowhere:

Dang, Todd was right: You ARE a horrid person, AND nuts.  You are jealous, possessive, controlling, verbally and physically abusive to everyone, ungrateful, spiteful, snarky and bullying, truly evil and downright nasty.  That’s why I never liked you, so don’t get some idea in your head that it was about wanting to “move in” on your husband.

You haven’t yet recognized the consequences of YOUR behavior are that you and Richard are losing one friend after another, and you don’t recognize that YOUR behavior has been the source and cause of all this trouble over the past few years, that things were going great until you decided to be suspicious, possessive and controlling.  But I doubt you ever will, unless and until you decide to get help for your personality disorder.  So good riddance to you, I hope I never see you again as long as I live, and don’t ever come near me again.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have written that if given the chance.  In fact, I was still in “catch more flies with honey” mode and was going to write something much kinder when I discovered she’d blocked me.  But it is how I felt.

Apparently, it was wrong of me to say things that accidentally hurt her feelings (when she eavesdropped as I complained to my husband about her many abuses), but I should just accept it as my due if she said things that deliberately hurt my feelings, so I could hear her.  Even though what I said was privately to my husband in an attempt to figure out what to do about things as a united front, or privately to Richard hoping he would help get her to stop her hurtful behavior, while what she said was directly and deliberately said in order to hurt, to belittle, to demean, to humiliate me.

Apparently, during this whole thing, for us to consider her deliberate verbal assault, deliberately hurtful words, to be an insult that could not be resolved, an offense worth ending a friendship over, especially with her lack of apology for it–over my unwitting and unintended offense that was made while trying to patch up a dear friendship which I feared was slipping away from me for no known reason–was a terrible insult to her and somehow childish.

Apparently, wanting to cool down for a while, give her venomous anger a chance to go away, and offering to still be friendly and help them out during the break, was somehow an insult and childish.

Apparently her mind, formed in an extremely abusive environment itself, could not fathom that verbal and physical assaults could go too far, that such assaults are the true childishness, that the adult thing is precisely what Jeff and I were doing.  Someone who throws tantrums like a 2-year-old, doesn’t get to tell me to grow up.

She complained that we threw their olive branch back in their faces–hogwash.  (As my priest said, “What olive branch?”)

Um, no, I’m the one who extended an olive branch, they dug in their heels, and then she threw it back at me.

Me submitting to her abuse or else, and not being allowed to have a voice or opinion of my own, is her olive branch?  She was certainly playing the victim.  Did she or Richard honestly think that ANYONE would remain friends with them after such treatment?

But of course, Tracy blames me for everything, thinks I’m being childish, thinks I’m the reason the friendship is over, told me to “have a nice life” because I refused to restore friendship on her tyrannical terms.  The consequences of her behavior are ended friendships, time and time again, yet she just doesn’t get it.

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

Struggling to move on despite the pain–November 1994, Part 1

At an Open Mike session one night, Dr. Nelson read a story, a long one with tons of pages, but very funny.  It was a conversation between two people.  He read quickly through each page–not too fast for comprehension, and apparently on purpose.  When he finished reading through a sheet, he tossed it on the floor. That, as well as the story itself, was part of the hilarity and amusement of the story.

The Open Mike gatherings seemed to be quite popular that year.  I’m not sure how long they’d been around, but I believe they started in my underclassman days, when they were held in the Muskie.  They’d been well-attended in past years by students and teachers, but maybe even more now, probably because they were in the Pub where people liked to hang out day and night.  Many different people participated now, and it was no longer just a treat for writers: Singers and musicians were now welcome.  Two married teachers, who also had a band, played Celtic music one night, when the husband taught my Celtic class over Winterim.

One night, as my friends and I found seats, I caught a glimpse of Persephone sitting at the bar and Phil standing or sitting next to or behind her, his hand on her shoulder.  THAT was something I didn’t need to see!  I suppose I don’t even need to mention how incensed and upset and sick this made me.  But I just walked by them, ignoring them both, and went to a table with my friends and enjoyed the readings and performances.  I didn’t want Phil to think he could spoil my evening just by showing up with another girl.  I had to be stronger than that.

****

Most of my friends didn’t hang around with Peter much and didn’t know him very well, so didn’t often talk about him.  With Phil, however, things were very different.

My suitemates and possibly Astrid all went to town one day, Mike driving.  We stopped in a parking lot and Mike said before we got out, “I’m mad at Phil O’Hara.  You know what he told me?  He said I shouldn’t wear my key chain necklace because it makes me look like a girl.”

This was the Roanoke Key Chain Necklace, a big blue thing, which was “high fashion” around campus.  You know, the sort of thing you see in any club or institution which gives out key cards.  Lots of people wore them, both male and female.

Pearl said, upset, “I wouldn’t trust anything Phil says about what’s manly.  What does he know about it?”

Another time, Charles said he didn’t like people forcing friendship on him.  He said Phil did this.  I believe he meant Phil always trying to talk with him when he didn’t want him to, or things like that, and people trying to be friends with him even though he sent out signals that he didn’t want to be.

****

We started giving Mike time-outs.  Whenever he got too weird and his jokes got way too weirdly dirty, someone called out, “Time out, Mike!” and he was supposed to settle down.  I didn’t do this myself, maybe because I have a high tolerance for oddballs–so much so that I married one.  :)

A popular college myth, which we all believed, got exposed as a myth one day, probably senior year.  It was, if your roommate dies, you get straight A’s because of the emotional anguish.  It may have been the Mirror which revealed this wasn’t at all true.  I learned in 1998 that this is apparently a popular myth in colleges all over the country, because a comedy movie came out about a kid who tries to kill his roommate and make it look like a suicide so he can get straight A’s.

One Sunday evening, when snow covered the ground, Mike drove Pearl, Sharon or Astrid, and me to a church in S–.  We got lost.  Finally we found the church, but the service was already halfway done.  We found the congregation watching a movie (an actual projector-movie, not a VCR tape) about Dave Roever, who lost half his face in Vietnam but now uses this as a witness to how Christ helped him go on.

Since the lights were off, we could sneak in and hope nobody noticed us.  When the movie ended, people saw and greeted us and asked who we were.  They were excited to hear we were college students.  Did they know we came late?

Some guy called Mario became the target of cafeteria tray jokes.  I think he was in a frat.  I don’t know if he was a freshman pledge or what.  But people kept writing these awful, explicit jokes about him on the cafeteria trays.  My group tried to avoid the “Mario trays,” but it wasn’t always possible.  When we failed, we’d say, “Uh-oh, I’ve got a Mario tray.”

Our InterVarsity sweatshirts, ordered earlier in the year, now arrived.  They were dark blue with gold lettering.  The front said “InterVarsity Christian Fellowship” and had an alpha, cross and omega.  The back said, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.–Isaiah 9:2.”  They seemed to be a fashion statement for our group: One day I went to a meal and found everybody at the table wearing one, even Charles.

****

Apparently, a lot of things bugged me that semester.  I guess Phil put me into a bad mood that lasted until December: I could feel myself getting dark and maybe even turning into less of a nice and caring person than I was before.  I didn’t like it, but didn’t know what to do about it.

Phil kept sitting at our table at meals–surrounded by people who he knew disliked him–and getting cutesy with Persephone, rubbing his new relationship in my face.  Apparently his ex-wife was not worth what respect and sensitivity he once showed to his ex Tracy when he was with me.

I was mad at Phil and getting madder, a typical response to abuse of any type, and it seems this affected my attitude toward life in general.  It took time to pull out of this, and the help of a man who treated me much better, teaching me I didn’t have to be on the defensive all the time in case another guy turned out to be a Phil.  By 1999, I started to feel more like the type of person I was supposed to be.

****

As you may have noted with the story of the Halloween party in the last chapter, Pearl was finally back, but now she had to use the wheelchair again.  When she could use her scooter she was very independent, but this was the second time she had to depend on other people to get her around the campus.  Sometimes it was hard to correlate schedules to get someone to push her wheelchair.  We’d do it for her because she was our friend and we loved her, but it did make it harder for us and, I’m sure, for her.  I know I wouldn’t like having to be dependent on somebody else every time I wanted to go across campus or even to the next building.  She couldn’t go anywhere on her own because she just wasn’t physically capable of using her scooter until she got better.  (I believe this is the time they removed one of her hips, and later they gave her a replacement.)  And that wheelchair was heavy and hard to push!

I hated seeing her in this situation, and I’m sure everybody did.  We worried about her because she had to go through so much.  She was able to walk once, long ago, and she was supposedly going to be able to walk again by this year, but there were complications and it didn’t turn out that way.  (I believe her problem was rheumatoid arthritis in the legs, which caused her not only to need crutches and the scooter but also stunted her growth.  That’s why she was so small.)

****

It was sometimes painful to work on my novel Jerisland, but I had to because it was now my Senior Writing Project.  When I broke up with Peter, I couldn’t work on it because I had imagined the hero Stefan was like Peter.  Stefan and Jeri were supposed to be happy together forever.  Now, all summer I had imagined Stefan was like Phil.

Before, I put the breakup with Peter in Jerisland and made things happen the way I wished (at the time) that they would have happened.  Though Stefan did awful things to Jeri, he apologized and made up for them.

In this latest rewrite, Jeri became the dumper, not Stefan.  She listened to Stefan’s best friend, who tried to convince her she belonged with Stefan.  Since Stefan reminded me of Phil, and some of the things I wrote in the story came from my relationship with Phil, it was hard to write that Stefan and Jeri had a happy marriage that lasted forever.  But I had to because there was no way I wanted those two to break up.  It seemed I could never have a happy relationship that lasted for the rest of my life, but dang it, I wanted Jeri to have one with Stefan!

****

Apparently we were supposed to read shelves in the library.  I had never heard of this rule before, or that any of us had been assigned to certain shelves.  But Sharon and I started doing this together.  We basically scanned the Dewey decimal numbers to make sure the books were in order.  It could get boring quickly, but we talked about life, and the cool and old and weird and German-language books we’d find.  We even found one on Egyptian hieroglyphics.  We checked it out of the library.  We were supposed to draw up our own copy of the Egyptian alphabet, but never got around to that.  I loved working with Sharon.

I enjoyed re-shelving books.  Pulling or pushing along the book cart, going upstairs in the elevator (the only one on campus besides the one in the Wehr Center), going in among the stacks putting books away–it all made me feel so important: “I work here!”  We put the books in numerical order before taking the cart away from the circulation desk, to speed up re-shelving.

Re-shelving took me away from the desk and from life in general, sticking me in among the stacks, where I wanted to be.  I still had no clue where Tara and Sarah’s “haunted bookshelf” was.  (They said books would fall out of it.)  Sometimes I felt a little creeped out in the juvenile section, a tiny room at the very top of the building.  My friends told stories about it being haunted.  But I’d find the most wonderful and obscure books in the library, and often come back with books on the cart, to be checked out.  I loved checking my own book out rather than waiting for a clerk, writing my name on the card, putting it in the card box, and putting a date due card in the book.

Sometimes I felt light-headed and dizzy in this room.  Sometimes I wondered if I felt this way because I was pregnant.  At various times in my life, I’ve had these sudden bouts of dizziness, though they don’t last long, and I go years without feeling it again.

But it wasn’t as bad as when he first divorced me and I could barely get through my two hours (dazed or numb, Helene called it), trying to go through the card catalog doing a project we’d been given, and not go crazy with the pain, fear of losing my husband forever, and sadness.  The working day took forever in those days.

But in November, trying to get through the work day wasn’t quite so bad anymore.  Being in the stacks alone or with Sharon, though sometimes hard to handle when sad thoughts returned, was often a solace, reminding me that I belonged among books.  My purpose and calling was to read and write.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 78

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

Part 78: How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism

Secondary Arguments. If you decide to withhold raising the white flag, you will find your battlefronts broadening in scope as you engage in “topic warfare.” The topics of conflict will stray far from the original infraction. Every problem you have encountered since the beginning of your relationship will come up. Any sensitive information you have shared with her will be misconstrued against you. The attacks become very personal in nature.

You don’t make enough money. You’re a lousy lover. Every relationship she has ever had is better than this one. It goes on and on until she gets a very pivotal reaction I call the “nugget.” The nugget is any bad or politically incorrect reaction on your part. Heaven forbid if you defend yourself or call her a name. Unknowingly, you have just been read your Miranda rights. Anything you say can and will be used against you. As soon as she gets the nugget, this theater of operation is over.–http://www.shrink4men.com/2010/11/15/high-conflict-phases-of-abuse-blame-shifting-distortion-rage-and-manipulation-diagram/

 

Narcissistic Rage is something you, as the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, will no doubt have experienced.  Narcissists hate being challenged. Because they’re such superior, perfect people, how dare you, a mere nobody, challenge them in any way?  This is why Narcissists react out of all proportion to the smallest slight, or perceived slight.  Or even, to the slightest request for better treatment.

Any challenge threatens their wellbeing. Their persona is so fragile that it cannot withstand any challenge whatsoever. This is why they go on the attack so viciously. They really are fighting for their life, or it feels like it to them.  There are no limits to what they’ll do or say in the throes of this rage.  They’ll eviscerate your personality, your very Self. It’s like soul-annihilation. It’s so destructive and vicious. It’s a self-esteem destroyer.  Sometimes this Narcissistic Rage can turn physical, but even if it remains at being verbal, it’s terrifying.–Narcissistic Rage

 

Perceived Insult. It is easy to think of this as the “trigger.” Problem is, this is no ordinary trigger. It is a hair-trigger. Anything that portrays her as less than perfect or holds her accountable will trigger her for sure. You need to evaluate what triggers your partner. If you were the one that actually triggered the response, it will be easier to identify. However, sometimes it wasn’t your finger on the trigger. More on that later.

Disproportionate Rage. This phase could easily be labeled “shock and awe.” You will be in awe because in your mind the perceived insult will not warrant the level of rage you receive. If your infraction is deemed serious enough, she is most likely to use nuclear weapons first. Don’t be surprised if you are subjected to flying objects, yelling, divorce threats, and false 911 calls. There will definitely be memories that last a lifetime!

Defensive / Retaliation. This is basically a scaled down, less violent version of the previous phase. Cluster bombing comes to mind. She has done nothing wrong! You are wrong! It’s just that simple. Anything you say is wrong. Even an apology would be wrong. Your recollections of the events are inaccurate. Nobody has ever treated her as poorly as you do.  She claims that all of her friends, doctors, therapists, parents and the mailman agree with her. They all know you are an abusive jerk. She claims she will continue to do whatever she wants. You will pay for your infraction. She is the judge, jury and executioner all in one. You are not able to get a word in edgewise at this point. All you can do is hunker down and let the bombs fall.

Submissive Route. As previously noted, if you are willing to accept her phony apologies and “drink the Kool-Aid”, you can take a shortcut to the Cloud phase. Just remember, there is no amnesty granted. You still caused her to act poorly in the beginning. You are basically on parole. If you violate your parole, the conflict will immediately pick up where it left off.–High-Conflict Phases of Abuse, Blame Shifting, Distortion, Rage and Manipulation Diagram

 

When they are angry for something that they have imagined or misunderstood, you can try to prove the facts to them, you can drag in a hundred witnesses, present undisputable evidence–they will still not change their mind. –http://joyfulalivewoman.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/behaviors-and-attitudes-of-the-narcissist/

 

This blog on the dangers of apologizing to a narcissist, is just what happened here.  In summary,

Narcissists always have to be right. This makes it your job to be wrong. The trouble is, you’re actually often not wrong.  This annoys the narcissist you know immensely.

The narcissist hopes and prays that you will make mistakes more often, and they can’t wait for you to have to admit it to them. They look forward to this day “The Day You Will Finally Have To Admit You Were Wrong” just like a little child waits in eager anticipation for his or her birthday. Like an addict craves a fix. This makes the thought of apologizing to a narcissist feel awful.  Whats most likely to happen when you do apologize?  Well, it’s not generally very good stuff…

Apologize to a non-narcissist, and you’ll probably be forgiven. Apologize to a narcissist, and the most likely result is smug, victorious expectations of more subservience, more apologizing from you, more admissions of inferiority and more demands to please the narcissist. These actions are all driven by their massive egos, and their egos must remain convinced the narcissist is superior.  You’ve finally admitted what they’ve wisely known since meeting you–youre completely inferior to them. It took a long time to teach you this, so there’s no way they’re going to let the lesson go un-reinforced.

The Dirty Laundry List 
When you apologize, sometimes narcissists will launch into a list of all the other things you supposedly need to be extremely sorry about. Things you did last week, last month, last year…the list is long, and they are fuming. You are vastly and immensely wrong on a regular basis, and they’ve been such a good person, never bringing it all up!  But…now that you mention your shortcomings…come to think of it, while they have you, there are PLENTY of other things you need to get oh-so-very-sorry about! They figure they’ve gotten a few drops of blood out of you, so they feel encouraged–why not try for a gallon and see just how far down they can make you hang your head?

She did make sure to throw in there phrases like, “You were wrong!”–about something I still do not feel I was wrong about.

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012

 

The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 77

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

Part 77: The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues

Before we were to call, I wanted him to read the e-mail and respond.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I got the idea to suggest a movie night to Tracy through Facebook, as a peace offering, and expected a kind reply.

However, though I told Richard that if we were to work on reconciling, I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had done a month earlier, and though she seemed pleasant enough that day when face-to-face, via Facebook message the monster returned in complete disregard of my feelings:

She said she’d blocked my e-mail address from his, so he never even got my apology!  She said he consented to this, which showed that he out-and-out lied to me in the church basement!  (What was the point, then, of him telling me to re-send it?)  That she made him block his Facebook from our entire family, not just me but Jeff and our little boy as well!  Then she justified it because during the Incident, when she used his Facebook to send me her raging e-mails, I had tried to defend myself and find out from him what the heck was going on!  She said this made her “sick.”  Somehow this made her think she should treat me like some kind of stalker–even though we broke things off with themYou see how bizarre her thinking is?  It also fits what Sam Vaknin writes here:

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim. Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him. He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized.–The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

It also matches what Anna Valerious writes here:

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so. Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly. It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical.–Your Most Fundamental Right

I never had any intention of stalking Richard, was blocking him out of my life: I took out Firefox bookmarks for a couple of forums he used to run.  I even deleted my posts from his Facebook wall and pictures on July 1 before sending a good-bye message and unfriending him on Facebook the morning of July 2.  I only sent one e-mail–the apology–to find some peace and close the book, and he never even got that.  In fact, from what I recall, I deleted his e-mail from my computer address book (but then put it back so I could send this e-mail), and deleted their numbers from my cell phone.  Was she projecting onto me what she herself would have done?  

So blatant lies–in church–from him, and more ridiculous and overblown behavior from her which, of course, she said I deserved.  Insult piled upon insult!  She pulled her claws out again and petulantly said that “YOU were the ones who ended it and unfriended us on Facebook, not US” [the YOU being Jeff and me and the US being her and Richard], that THEY didn’t want to, and that Jeff “stormed into” their place and broke things off–Um, as opposed to her “rational” behavior, I suppose?

I tried very hard to restrain myself and speak to her kindly, in hopes of turning away her wrath in the way prescribed by Proverbs.  I sent her a copy of the apology e-mail, hoping that it would calm her down, show her the misunderstanding, and inspire her to apologize for her overreaction.

But she wrote all sorts of things that showed not only did she not care about my feelings or trying to break things to me gently, but she was still steamed over things I had long since apologized for and/or stopped doing.

Richard had told me he blamed himself for everything, so I knew if it were just him, we could work things out.  But Tracy was another story.  She seemed to pay no attention to the things I actually wrote in my e-mails, but twisted them into what she wanted them to say, so she could feel justified in raging.

She went on and on about things I had supposedly done that were so horrible, saying “you were wrong” about things that I still do not feel I was wrong about, that I should’ve known this or that was wrong or against convention (when no, I hadn’t, and had seen no evidence of such conventions among friends).  I go into this in previous chapters.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry for offending her, no matter how kindly I wrote to her, no matter how much I bit my tongue and how little I said, no matter how much I refrained from defending myself or telling her how badly she had been behaving all through this–it made no difference, put no chink in her rage armor.

I couldn’t think she was right and I was wrong when I found plenty of blog posts, forum posts, articles and the like which actually sided with my way of thinking.  Expecting me to act the same way she did in the same situation, when no, I think about these things entirely differently than she does, haven’t reacted like she did in similar circumstances, or wouldn’t react like she did.

How could I possibly have known that she thought befriending the wife before doing stuff with the guy friend was a form of showing respect for the wife, when I didn’t demand such things from my husband’s female friends?  She said everyone knows this, learning disability or not–er, no, NOT everybody knows this.  I do not know this, never required it from my husband’s friends, never expected it, never even would’ve thought that she would require it until she started treating me like a slut and getting enraged at every little thing I innocently and obliviously did that she didn’t like.

For me, respect from Jeff’s friends simply means they’re not mean to me; I do not require them to befriend me as well!  It was impossible to tell if she was completely wrong about this being a convention that “everybody knows,” especially with the way so many of the old conventions were done away with and people started doing their own thing in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s–or if this was yet another example of people telling the NLDer, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”  I also go into this here.  But now, after a bit more experience added to what I already had, I see that no, Tracy was wrong, though she tried to tell me I was:

There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.  I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.  Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.  Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.  No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.  Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that. I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….

I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know. If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married. After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about. This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

 

Apparently Tracy knows absolutely nothing about NLD if she thinks she did anything here but prove my assertion of NLD!  Apparently she has no concept of how NLD and Aspergers affect the brain so that even common social conventions, things that people can intuit without being told, are unknown to the NLDer or Aspie.  She talked as if I couldn’t blame this on a learning disorder, as if I were just being stupid or stubborn or malicious or “moving in on” her husband, when the reality was I could very easily blame it on a learning disorder!

Not only that, but more and more, I am finding officially diagnosed NLDers who identify with what I write about my experiences. The more she argued against my NLD, the more ignorant she made herself sound, yet she probably thought she was winning the argument.

And not only that, but the things I wanted to do, for two months Richard had freely done these things with me, and never gave me any reason whatsoever to believe that they were in any way “inappropriate,” so I had absolutely no reason to think that they had to be cleared with Tracy first.  Such as, the way he and I would talk for hours, or going out for coffee/ice cream.  This is crazy-making behavior from Tracy, more of her obvious borderline personality disorder/malignant narcissism, no matter how much she may try to spin it into somehow being her “right.”

The “shoulder thing,” as Richard termed it, hadn’t been done for more than two years because it upset her, yet here she was bringing it up yet again, as if we had never stopped doing it, as if I needed to be lectured again and again on how evil this was–even though at the time it had been done innocently of wrongdoing.  Jeff, too, was upset over how I was being treated over it.

I was already sick of hearing about it because it kept getting brought up by Richard all the time, even though it had stopped, and because Richard once told me how she kept bringing it up again and again with him as well as an example to him of how horrible I was.  She used it as a tool to defame my character to Richard, when I have never done anything even remotely like cheating on Jeff.  I found it horribly embarrassing and I just wanted her to shut the **** up about it, yet here it was yet again.

Did I mention I had only done it a few times, and only because Richard had done it first and taught me that it was perfectly fine and ordinary and innocent for platonic friends to do, and we hadn’t done it for more than two years?  I also have another friend who does this with his friends all the time, and right in front of his wife, who laughs.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems, making a mountain out of a molehill, so that I greatly resent being treated the way I was over it.  What about this was worth all the fuss?  The same behavior made Jeff shrug–and it had been Richard’s idea in the first place.  There is absolutely nothing sexual about it, or else I’d have to push my son off me when he does it.  There are far worse things that people do, things Richard and I did not do, and steered clear of out of respect for our marriages.

And I have no problem with anyone who wants to sleep on a friend’s shoulder.  I have no problem with a woman, maybe late at night around an SCA campfire, falling asleep on Jeff’s shoulder, even if I don’t know her.  Tracy assumed that I would, but I wouldn’t–and my husband wouldn’t, either, because he saw the same thing, shrugged, remembered all the faithfully married people he knows who do such things with friends, and went back about his day.

I have no problem with Jeff wanting to hug a friend.  I have no problem with Jeff e-mailing or online chatting or phone chatting with any of his friends, female or male, whether I know them or not.  I do not bother “approving” his friends, and find that to be very controlling and infantilizing.

Some people are reserved, and some people are touchy-feely, comfortable touching close friends, anybody they talk to, co-workers, whoever.  I always just stuck Richard in the “touchy-feely” category.  I saw him online and off, flirting with his male and female friends, and asking female friends for “huggles”; that’s just the way he is. If he meant more by it than he let on, that’s not my fault, that’s his.

Just because my boundaries are looser than Tracy’s, does not make me wrong or a whore.  It just means I disagree with her, which I should be allowed to do without her verbal abuse.  In fact, I believe that more people should do what I did, that American society should be more open and free with affection for all loved ones, not just children or spouses or romantic partners.

I want to be more like this, myself, which I have trouble being because of a lifelong reserve, but I see people around me in the SCA being far more open all the time.  Caring gestures, hugs, sleeping on shoulders–I want to do all these things freely with my friends, male and female, and break out of that shell.

I find Tracy’s reaction to these things, her refusal to rest until I heard every little thing she considered to be “inappropriate,” her character assassinations of me, her insistence that I agree with her that they are “inappropriate” even though they in no way involve sex or groping–to be very offensive and close-minded, very backward-thinking.  I’d rather follow the philosophies of the Cuddle Party people, not the must-not-touch philosophy of American reserve!  So I will freely admit these things here, because I feel I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, or that Tracy has any right to make me feel as if I did!  If that makes me a hippy, so be it–I’ll fit right in in the SCA!

As Ayla felt in Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters” when thinking over her past, a Cro-Magnon girl being raised by Neanderthals:

She, too, had broken taboos and paid the harsh consequences, but she had learned from them.  Perhaps because she was so different to begin with, she had learned to question whether what she had done was really so bad.  She had come to understand that it wasn’t wrong for her to hunt, with sling or spear or anything she wanted, just because the Clan believed it was wrong for women to hunt, and she didn’t hate herself because she had stood up to Broud against all tradition (p. 259-60).

Also, on page 649:

He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so.  A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost.  In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

 

Since many social conventions seem like a waste of time to me, I’m not so judgmental of people who break them.  It’s a good brain for a writer to have.–Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability

 

Sociologists representing symbolic interactionism argue that social rules are created through the interaction between the members of a society. The focus on active interaction highlights the fluid, shifting character of social rules. These are specific to the social context, a context that varies through time and place. That means a social rule changes over time within the same society. What was acceptable in the past may no longer be the case. Similarly, rules differ across space: what is acceptable in one society may not be so in another.–Convention

 

I don’t need someone like you
Expecting me to share your views
‘Cos I don’t expect that what you see has anything to do with me
“Your Crusade” by Jesus Jones

I saw this very same disproportionate rage come out when Tracy raged at Todd over a game.  I saw her disproportionally rage at Richard, or at her children, on many occasions.  Being told her rage over this was somehow justified, that most people would be worse–tells me that maybe Richard and Tracy have been spending too much time around other narcissists and have a perverted view of what’s “normal” or “justified” behavior.  Richard’s hints that he would assault and possibly kill if his wife ever cheated, are very telling.  Richard’s wanting to assault the woman who sent him an eviction notice, is very telling.

There were other things that I had apologized for a year earlier, by e-mail with her and over the phone (with tears) to Richard, that hadn’t been done since, yet here they were being brought up yet again.  During the conversations a year earlier, I felt horrible about the things I was told had been seen in my behavior.

Things came out horribly badly and, though they weren’t meant that way, I could see the problem, could see, for example, that a certain action had been manipulative; it had actually been Jeff’s idea, so I went along thinking maybe he knew best, so he felt horrible as well; I apologized and never did those things again.

For months I kept feeling horrible over them, even though they weren’t meant the way they were taken, even though I had confessed and been absolved by my priest.  For some months I had every reason to believe that the past was now over in her mind as well, and I tried to move on from the past.

But here, in August 2010, I was being accused all over again of things that had not been done for at least a year or two.  Over the month since the July 1 Incident, I had also reflected quite a bit over my own behavior, and repented to her now for some things (even though, on reflection, I wonder why I thought I needed to, and think it was her poisonous verbal abuse working on me).

But instead of pacifying her, it only seemed to spur her on to more verbal beatings and more descriptions of how horrible I had been.  It was as if she saw me as somehow unable to change from past offenses, that she had to beat me for them over and over again.  (Richard also complained that she treated him this way.)  Meanwhile, she treated her own offenses as if they did not exist, as if they were her right to do them, as if I deserved them, and I remember she got angry when she overheard me telling Jeff what she had done.

On the one hand Tracy claimed she knew I didn’t mean anything nefarious, yet on the other she treated me as if I did, playing with my head, pulling up things I had supposedly done which really weren’t so bad, but she had a way of making them sound bad.  I almost wish she had indeed tried to kill me when she had the idea: Jeff would have pulled her off and had her arrested, thrown her out of our house and into jail on a domestic abuse charge, and the friendship and our support would have been over right then.  But it was more than a year before I even heard about this, more than a year of wondering why the heck she refused to like me and I just seemed to be treading water with her, more than a year before I knew just how violent she could potentially be.  It confirmed that she was not the type of person I wanted to befriend.  But I was being forced to do just that.

On August 1 and for a day or two after, I showed her e-mails to Jeff.  He also thought they were over-the-top, nasty, blaming–and, at times (such as the “shoulder thing”), he’d say, “Oh, baloney!”  There was no openness here to different points of view, no hint of conceding that she could have done some things wrong as well, no hint of apologies for her nastiness over the years or on Facebook or on the day of the Incident, nothing but wanting me to bow down and submit to her and say that everything she said was correct.

Yet with all this, she kept saying there was MORE to be said.  I didn’t know what on earth could be left to say: I had done nothing else!  All the things I could think of, were done more than two years before, and not again unless and until I was led to believe that it was safe.  And how was it such a terrible breach of boundaries, etiquette and respect for her, for me to want to speak privately with or go to a coffee shop with my BFF, after having already spent several weeks living with Tracy and getting to know her and telling her secrets?  It would not have been a secret meeting, but one I fully expected Richard to tell her about.

Isn’t living with someone the most effective and thorough way to get to know them, far better than small talk?  And didn’t I watch movies with her, joke around with her, have long talks with her, change her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, keep an eye on the kids while she walked to school to pick up the eldest?  Did this count for nothing?

I was being treated as if things I had no desire to do, were in my heart.  And I was sick of and disgusted with it.  It’s bad enough being blamed for things you actually have done, without being blamed for things you have not done.

And false accusations like this are common from abusers, especially insidious because they have a way of getting under your skin and making you think they’re right and you’re the one with the problem.  (I recently read a blog comment from a guy whose wife had so convinced him he was the one with the problem that he spent years in therapy getting nowhere, until he finally realized that she was sneakily abusing him, that she has borderline personality disorder.  He got out, but still struggles with feeling like he’s the one with the problem.)

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 
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges

originally written 2010-2012