Featured post

Grief Continues Over False Friend

Why can’t I abolish the grief?  Everything I know about Richard says he is not worth it.  But the good times keep coming back to mind.  I keep wishing for a call, a knock on the door, something.

But why?  Why from someone who read all about my pain, anguish and anger, and laughed at it?  Why from someone who claimed to love me like a sister or cousin, then tore my heart out by betraying me?  Why from someone with a violent record who has told me chilling things that made my hair stand on end?

My husband wonders how I can still care about someone who’s done all the things Richard has done to me.  I see every evidence that Richard used me and was never truly my friend.  Yet I keep remembering things that made me think he was my true friend in the first place….

It must be Stockholm Syndrome.

I suppose it’s because they did even more just recently to hurt me, and he did nothing to stop it.  I saw him going along with it.  This is the one I loved like a brother, opened my home to, did anything for, stuck up for, was intensely loyal to, told my secrets to, called my best friend, called my spiritual mentor and guide?  It went against my long-held hopes, which had flared up after his quiet visit to church last October, that one day he would realize what he had done, and come to my husband and me to apologize and make peace.

I suppose it’s because he was my spiritual mentor and guide, the one who showed me the way and was there for me every step of the way through my conversion to Orthodoxy.  Not only did this form a special, unusual bond between us, but it has made his betrayal of me–and his criminal conviction–far more devastating.

It took me maybe a year or less to get over two of my ex-boyfriends after devastating and brutal breakups, to accept that a couple of my friends had drifted off (probably because of an argument they had with another friend), to get past the horrible way my boss quit one day.  Well…Maybe I get used to it, anyway.  I still miss the person and try to reconnect on occasion….But this…this is not going away.  I still miss my friend, probably always will, still have a huge hole in my heart that nothing and nobody else can fill.  Such a friendship as (I thought it) was, does not just spring up overnight to replace it.

I was always a kind, sweet, good, loyal friend to him.  His welfare was always first on my mind, I cried when he had problems and tried to help, I cried when he gave me certain bad news one day in November 2007 [which I won't describe on the Web] and I tried to comfort him, I got angry when I saw him abused.  He knows that I do not deserve all of this abuse.

I want to say to him, “Don’t fight against the pricks of conscience, Richard; your salvation is at stake.  Don’t defend and make excuses for evil.  Don’t do evil yourself.  Remember the monks falling from the ladder?  I heard every word of the priest’s sermon the last time you were there.  I think he meant to speak directly to us, since we’ve both been bothering him with this issue.  Remember what he said?  Stop poking each other, I think it was……Well, every time you act nasty and refuse to consider my feelings about anything, you poke me.  Every day without repentance and forgiveness is another poke.”

Also, whenever he reads my blog, it’s a poke.  It keeps me connected to him.  Keeps me wondering what he’ll read next, and why he’s reading.  It’s another reason I keep sinking into grief again.

Oddly enough, my son’s favorite cartoon, Phineas and Ferb, reminds me of this.  The poseur-evil mad scientist Doofenschmirtz, always fights against Perry the Platypus, his nemesis.  Yet at the same time, he expects Perry to show up to fight his schemes, scolds him when he’s late, even looks forward to him showing up.  He even has little get-togethers with him on occasion.  And in one episode, Doofenschmirtz declares that his best friend is Perry the Platypus.  I suppose seeing my blog stalkers in the stats, is much like this.  “You’re late!  I expect better from you, Perry.”  Oh, look, I have my own nemesis…..It made Doofenschmirtz so proud to have a nemesis.

In reading the Calvary Chapel abuse blog, I see that the writer, Alex Grenier, has posted a few messages there to his dad, who reads it.  So I’m not the only one who posts messages to my abusers.  For example,

ONE FINAL APPEAL: Bob, your other option is to confess, repent, come clean and seek reconciliation and get help for your many issues and ask for mercy. True repentance begins with acknowledging the sin and admitting you have a problem. You still may have to suffer some consequences for your sin, I can’t guarantee you won’t, but I’m pretty sure the consequences will be worse if you keep digging in.

Bob, stop this nonsense. Come forward and confess and repent. I’ll then help you to make amends, and help you ask for mercy, even though you may have to suffer some consequences, but it will go better for my Mom and your wife if you do the right thing now without this going further.

Call me, you know how to reach me.  Blog Post

I can only hope that my own such posts lead to better results than Alex has found, though like Alex, I don’t mince words, don’t sacrifice honesty.  It is one of my most fervent desires, that one day Richard will prove me wrong, and show himself to be the kind of person I once thought he was, and come to us.

In abuse situations, the abuse victim cannot be forced to be the one to apologize, cannot be expected to make the first move.  It is not my place to reconcile with Tracy; it is not my place to make a move for forgiveness with Richard.  Tracy must repent for abusing me, her husband, children and Todd before any relationship between us could ever be possible; my husband will not allow me to make any more apologies to her, and for me to go to her, would be dangerous emotionally and physically.

This is the only way it can possibly be, or else I’d just set myself up for more abuse.  Richard must repent for abusing me by proxy, threatening and intimidating my husband, betraying me, and choking his kid; I can’t be the one going to him with more apologies until he has done these things.

Yet I keep finding complaints in articles and blogs of well-meaning spiritual leaders and friends telling abuse victims they should apologize, forgive and seek reconciliation, even though their abuser is not even sorry, thinks he/she did nothing wrong, and is pretending to be the real victim.  That is precisely what makes a victim a perpetual victim, what makes her a doormat.  People should back off and recognize that the abuser needs to apologize, repent and seek forgiveness, not the victim.

Over and over on abuse blogs, I find victims telling their abusers exactly what must be done before a reconciliation can happen.  I have come across one or two commenters on those blogs, who claim they were given such terms, met them, and are now restoring a relationship with their estranged loved one.  But among the bloggers themselves, I have yet to find a situation like this.

Instead, I find pain, grief, anger, as the bloggers try to deal with the fact that the ones they love, don’t love them enough to do what it takes to restore a relationship with them.  Not even their own parents.  All they find are parents who stalk them, refuse to admit wrongdoing, send them messages denying everything.  Or parents who just cut them off without another word.  It is sad and wicked to do such a thing to another person, to just ridicule and hurt them further, rather than doing the work to overcome abusive behavior and show love.

I find some bloggers still writing years later, while some others stop writing, leaving their blogs up for others to learn from.  I suppose the ones who still write, still feel deep pain, or it would no longer bother them enough to write about it.  That’s what happens when the one who hurts you, is someone you love.  As these bloggers keep noting when commenters accuse them of hate, If they hated their abusers, they wouldn’t need blogs to deal with the pain!

I’ve been reading One Mom’s Battle, a blog written by a woman in the process of divorcing her narcissistic husband.  First she wrote her story; now she writes about the constant custody battles and visitation issues.  And yes, her ex-husband and his family read her blog, and try to use it against her in court, even post comments on other blogs and articles, accusing her of libel and stalking.

In the post How to Forgive, she writes how she’s trying desperately to forgive her husband, about a sermon series her pastor did on this topic.  I’m impressed because the pastor seems to get it, saying, “2. Your heart has to be healed to get to a place of forgiveness.”  He doesn’t repeat the cliche that so many abuse bloggers have exposed as false, that forgiveness precedes healing.  As the author, Tina, wrote,

Here is where my main struggle lies.  How does my heart heal when the wounds keep coming?  Every story I hear from my daughters breaks my heart- over and over.  Every week there is a new wound.  How does a wound heal when it is repeatedly injured?  You can bandage a wound and you can apply healing ointments but if something keeps striking the wound then it simply can’t heal.  It is impossible.

Heather writes in the comments,

We as a society expect people to forgive someone who does not deserve it, has not earned it, does not believe they have done anything to warrant it, and fully intends to continue the behaviors for which society preaches the offended party should forgive.

If the subject was financial security, or good health, we would describe someone else trying to give it to a person in those circumstances toxicly co-dependent.

From your post I’m going to assume you fall somewhere within the Christian continuum of faiths. Even the Bible expects repentance before forgiveness. Not even God gives free passes. God even states, if you are going to make an offering to Me, but then remember you have offended your brother, leave your offering and go and get right with your brother. (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.) God even says you cannot be right with Him, while at odds with your family or friend due to *your* behavior and choices. You don’t get to be a monster pretending to be a person, and fully intend to continue in these behaviors, and get a clean slate with the man upstairs….

I’m going to say this again, because it bears repeating: There is a difference between accepting someone for who they are and what they are and are not capable of, and forgiving someone who does not believe they have done anything wrong and fully intends to continue doing things that hurt those around them.

It was also noted that Tina may never completely heal and forgive until after her children grow up and she no longer needs to deal with her ex.

Just the other day, Tina wrote about an e-mail her ex sent her, which accuses her of lying and mental instability, protests Tina calling him “disturbed,” “sick,” narcissistic, etc., accuses her blog of being “fiction” and an “ego trip,” and accuses her of needing to “move on.”  He even twisted facts, which she could document, such as accusing her of crying to Christie Brinkley when that was actually somebody else.  It sounds very much like the e-mail sent to me by Richard and Tracy, as posted in “Now I’m Being Stalked.”  The trouble with the Net is not being sure who’s actually telling the truth.  But her blog does not strike me as “fiction,” and many commenters on that post wrote that their exes send them similar e-mails, so don’t let it get to her.

Basically, all that I’ve been going through is extremely common, both in general and in the blogosphere.

It is NOT gossip or slander to tell the truth about how you’ve been bullied and abused.  See this post by Alex Grenier, himself being accused of gossip and slander.

I tried numerous times over 2007-2010 to deal with these problems directly with Richard and, through him, Tracy (since I was too scared of her to speak directly to her–and since I’ve always felt that husbands should deal with wives themselves, and not the friends of the husband).

Tracy’s repeated response over the years was to bully and verbally abuse, and do absolutely nothing to give me confidence that if I sat down with her, that she would give me a fair hearing and do anything but try to rip me apart emotionally, especially after she had just been cussing me out and sending me all sorts of abusive e-mails.

I also had the example, which I witnessed firsthand, of how she treated Todd when she had a problem with him, and it gave me no reason to expect fairness from her.

The full story of what happened, not a summary, was never read through by anyone until they saw it and read it 6 months ago, then after they read it, I removed it for a time.  But their response was hugely disappointing, a typical abuser’s response, to deny, twist facts, twist your words, threaten you into silence, refuse to repent, refuse to admit wrongdoing, blame it all on the victim.  It’s exactly the same as they did in 2010, only this time with the addition of legal threats, giving me a brand-new hump to get over in the recovery process.

I’ve told Social Services, back in 2011, coincidentally at the same time Richard appeared in court for a child abuse incident I was not even aware of.  So I have legitimately tried to address the things I saw going on and the things Richard told me were going on.  Richard has been convicted of that incident, which gives legitimacy to my impressions of other abuses.  (I don’t know what became of the SS report, since such information is blocked to the public, but I do know what I witnessed and what Richard told me.)

I’ve been to my priest about the situation between us as well, and I know he spoke to them about it at least once, because I observed the conversation.  I also know, being in the congregation at the time, that my priest, knowing all about this, preached twice, while they were in the congregation [Father's Day and late August 2012], about men being examples of righteousness to their families, forgiveness, repentance, making peace with others, and “not poking each other.”  This was a few months ago.

Yet they have not repented, have not made a move for peace, have not ceased to read my blog.  So I am free to treat them as tax collectors, have no fellowship with them, tell my story here.  If they were repentant, if they showed an ounce of consideration for my feelings, there would never have been a need for these blogs.  Abusers do this over and over again, refusing to take responsibility for their abuse, blaming the victim for it, and then telling the victim it’s her problem and she needs to get over it.

This blog is my outlet until it’s all out of my system.  There is no arbitrary timetable for getting over abuse and bullying.  Life does go on, and blogging only takes up a tiny part of my time: Most of my days are about dealing with the stuff I have to do, deep-cleaning the house each summer, moving furniture, what I’m reading, favorite TV shows, going to church, interacting with friends on Facebook or occasionally visiting them, pondering where to go for Thanksgiving, traveling, learning Greek, reading, working out, bicycling, or whatever.  I have friends at church and a friend who throws a huge bash every year, based on the Highland Games.  This year we’re hosting Thanksgiving for Hubby’s brother and his wife and child.

But every once in a while, something brings back a feeling of anger or grief; I blog about it; then I feel better.  I also want to help others recognize abuse and get out of it; I also want to hold my abusers accountable.  So I blog.

And to be honest, it pretty much was out of my system, when my abusers found the blog 6 months ago and gave me brand-new abuses and denials to recover from.  The grief was refreshed because I saw nothing from Richard but a hard heart and refusal to stand up for what’s right and end the abuse, which was very disappointing.

Because he laughed at my pain, threatened and frightened me, and acted as if I had never meant a thing to him, ever, but was just a tool he manipulated and preyed upon.  Because I keep seeing him reading all sorts of things and wonder if he cares, but he still says nothing encouraging.  So that’s why I am back in the pit again, because this is ongoing, not something that ended a couple of years ago.

The other problem is that the whole situation had many repercussions throughout the rest of my life, affecting–sometimes severely–practically everything I deal with or encounter: music, movies I watched with Richard, my faith and religion because it had become so interconnected with his through his mentorship, my NVLD, my selective mutism, how I interact with people as friends or acquaintances or strangers (because this was the most severe part of how I was traumatized by Tracy), trusting anyone enough to form new friendships, forums I went to on the Net….

Even hearing the words “I don’t understand” became a trigger reminding me of abuse, because when I said this, Tracy said, “You’re too stupid to understand!”  July 4 reminds me of them.  My favorite Thanksgiving movies remind me of them.  Lord of the Rings reminds me of them.  Cthulhu reminds me of them.  (This is a real problem in geek culture.)  As it has done for the past several years, just cleaning my basement causes echoes in my mind of Tracy’s jeering words ripping on my household “routine.”  Hearing the words “F— off” on TV is a trigger reminding me of abuse and putting me back in the pit.

It’s one thing to deal with a relationship breakup; it’s quite another when there was severe psychological or other abuse as well.  Especially since the abuser puts on such a good, charismatic front in the beginning that you can’t believe this wonderful person is an abuser.  That makes the breakup that much harder to deal with and get past.  That’s not the fault of the victim, who should not be blamed for having trouble.  The responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, and society must keep it there.

Though it helps tremendously that I did stand up to my bullies, told them the truth, told them to leave me alone, kept my blog up, kept going to my church despite them, went to my priest for help, told my friends, told my family.  While these past 6 months have been especially difficult, there is now the feeling that this could be the last gasp of a long-held grief, that standing up to them will eventually pull me out to the place where I can finally say, I’m a survivor.  I’m a thriver.

But because I still care, if Richard were to come to us and say, “I’m sorry, I screwed up, I was an a**hole, I’m working on being a better father, I’m working on being a better friend,” I would probably take him back.  Though Hubby might be a harder sell.

There is also the erroneous idea, which many people including my abusers/bullies apparently share, that you should just forgive and forget abuse, then act like it’s perfectly fine to interact with your abusers.

Sorry, no.  The appropriate response to an unrepentant abuser is to cut them out of your life.  No contact, or limited contact.  Forced niceties are just lying, fake, two-faced.

It’s one thing if an abuser/bully has expressed some sort of apology/repentance; past abusers/bullies do this on occasion with me.  They find me capable of letting them into some sort of relationship with them again, maybe friending them on Facebook or the occasional e-mail.

But if you don’t repent, despite my repeated attempts to demonstrate what you’ve done and how it’s affected me, then don’t expect me to give you so much as the time of day if we pass on the street/in church.  Don’t expect me to be happy to see you.

As the writer of One Mom’s Battle writes,

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to be seen as a victim.  I don’t want you to be seen as a victim because your story is my story.  My story is your story.  I have the privilege of authoring the next chapter of my life and you have the ability to write your next chapter.  Is it going to be a chapter where you are the victim or is it going to be the chapter where the victim finds her (his) voice and stands up to the bully?   Narcissists are the same as bullies– they have low self esteems yet portray themselves to be powerful and bigger than life.  I want to be that awesome kid on the playground who finally stands up to the bully and sets boundaries.
Cheers to setting boundaries and finding your voice!

I have set the boundaries.  I have found my voice and stood up to my bullies.  I am still grieving, but grief does not make you a victim.  It’s okay that I still grieve, especially since I do not oppress my family/friends with it, but let it out here on my blog.  Letting the bullies push you around, that’s what makes you a victim.  I did hit a low point a while back, but I’m rising above it and beginning to heal.

Paul later says in Galatians 5 “why” we are to rebuke: We want people to repent of their sins: The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who have “selfish ambition”…who “lie”…are given over to “fits of rage”…have “hatred”…spread “discord”…are “jealous”…are “idolatrous” etc etc. All fruits of the flesh.

Bob Grenier has those in spades…to this moment. I have them to some degree in my heart at times too. I haven’t had “fits of rage” that have ended in hitting my children and leaving bruises and drawing blood…but I’ve had fits of rage in my heart toward Bob and others. I admit that I am a sinner and I actually literally confess and repent of those sins. Bob doesn’t cop to the specific sins. You can’t repent if you don’t cop to it. Big difference.

Everything has the potential for getting better with confession and repentance…a key ingredient all of us…and especially a Pastor who professes to “teach the Bible simply”…cannot skip…yet claims otherwise. Relationships, hurts, offenses, abuses…all can heal with the Offender doing their God Instructed part of the equation. But, Pride and fear of losing one’s position as king of their kingdom…can be quite an obstacle.  http://calvarychapelabuse.com/wordpress/?p=598

“[Yes, true. Mercy would be swallowing your pride and admitting to your sins so that my brothers and I could have a mother again...and so my grandkids could have a grandmother. That would be both Just and Merciful come to think of it. But no, you can't cop to any sin...you're an "anointed Prophet" and we all know anointed Prophets can't cop to specific sins...just generalities and allusions to some nebulous undefined non-descript stuff that allows you to dodge accountability...and perpetuates your myth of piety...false piety. Inside and behind closed doors, you're a ravenous unrepentant wolf].”–  From http://calvarychapelabuse.com/wordpress/?p=613, by Alex Grenier, who–just as Tracy forbade me to contact Richard until she had her yell at me–is being kept from his mother for confronting his stepfather, Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel, about his abuses.

I personally began to confront the abuses within our family, privately, over six years ago. I met stiff resistance from Bob. I asked him to repent and change his behavior toward all of us. Instead of repenting, he denied the abuse and then continued more wrong behavior and began to lie and abuse further. I was not afforded a Matt.18 meeting with him and his board and elders as witnesses to address the allegations. I was cut off from all communication with him and my mom when I pressed the issue of abuse and continued to ask him to repent and stop mistreating our family. I was told to talk to Greg and Sue Dowds about it and to “put my thoughts in a letter”…instead of Bob communicating with me in person any longer. I resisted at first, and then met with Greg and Sue (Bob’s two right-hand surrogates) and gave Bob his “letter”. Bob did not like the “letter” very much.  http://calvarychapelabuse.com/wordpress/?p=3


Featured post

Why Abuse Victims *Should* Blog

I keep finding blogs about abuse and narcissism on the Net, people’s personal experiences.  Some are about narcissistic families of origin, some are about divorcing a narcissistic ex, some are about domestic violence, child abuse, abuse from a friend….And the inevitable comments: “Why put this on the Net instead of in a personal journal?”  Or complaints that it’s “dirty laundry” being aired on the Net.

Of course, there’s a huge difference between typical arguments with others, which do not make good blog material, and actual abuse, bullying and molestation.  If you argue with a family member over who gets to host Thanksgiving, that’s not abuse, and not of lasting interest.  I don’t post about such things as, arguments with my husband, teenage arguments I had with my parents (except to say how I’ve since learned from it), disputes with the in-laws, getting dissed by a receptionist, etc.  These things are common to everyone and have very little public interest.  I really don’t want to read a blog about how some wench at work ripped on your outfit and you snarked back at her.  But actual abuse situations, psychological manipulation, narcissism, bullying, and the resulting traumas, should be considered valid subjects for blogs.

There are reasons to blog about this publicly.  There are various ways you can vent, after all.  But one is to put your experience where others can easily find it, be validated by it, and learn more than they ever could from a clinical manual.

Sure you can publish it in a book, as many people do, but then you have to go through a publisher, editing, marketing, then your book doing poorly and no longer getting published.  You also get accused of selling your grief for money.  At least with a blog, all these things do not happen, and anyone can read your blog for free.  It’s authentic.

Another is the most important: For millennia, abuse victims have been forced to keep quiet.  Don’t air dirty laundry, they’re told.  It’s “vengeance” and “gossip,” they’re told.  Outsiders are told to mind their own business.

Some have been able to tell what happened, but many more try and fail, and get punished by the abuser–or even by society.  Many will tell, but the statute of limitations has expired, or the abuser will have a good lawyer, or the principal doesn’t believe you, or the church places your molester in a different parish, or the abuser refuses to apologize and make things right, or whatever.

But now, the Internet has given abuse and bullying victims a unique and effective means to get out our message.  We don’t have to hold our silence anymore.  Don’t squelch us from speaking out about what’s happened to us.

And maybe, just maybe, the more of us speak out, the more abusers will realize they can’t keep us quiet, and abuse will begin to cease in our society.

Here is a blog and comment thread addressing the question of abuse blogs: should we blog about it, should we show all our emotions, etc. etc.  At least a couple of comments show that whatever we write, whatever emotions we show, are all part of the process of dealing with abuse situations, and should not be censored.


Featured post

Domestic Abuse (anyone who lives together or is in a romantic relationship, including roommates or family members)

I’ve noticed quite a bit of hits from keywords referring to abuse.  This is, unfortunately, a common problem, and people need to find help.  There are also many hits from keywords referring to narcissistic or borderline personality disorders, disorders which often lead to abusive behaviors.  So I will make a series of posts from my webpage on abuse, which gathers together links I have found most helpful.  I have them arranged by category.  The first part is on the general topic of abuse.  The last section of the webpage, my own personal abuse stories, has already been posted here.

Domestic Abuse (anyone who lives together or is in a romantic relationship, including roommates or family members)

Types of abuse (including spiritual); cycle of violence; signs; links for help; links for men, gay couples, immigrant women, and teens

While this website is specifically targeted to gay men, it is very detailed, and useful for straight couples as well.

Heart 2 Heart: Support Network and Self-Help Data Base for Abused Women

Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women


Dear Abby’s warning signs of an abuser

No Place for Abuse: Biblical & Practical Resources to Counteract Domestic Violence  (Catherine Kroeger)

Women, abuse, and the Bible: how Scripture can be used to hurt or to heal  (Catherine Kroeger)



Deal Breakers

I hate his hot temper

Abusive Relationships

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects

Types of Abuse

Charlton PD: Warning Signs of Abuse

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A Training Manual for the Greek Orthodox Community

Signs of an Abusive Man

Hidden Hurt: Domestic Abuse Information

Succinct and helpful 3-part article on abuse

Controlling Abuse

The Cycle of Domestic Violence

Cycle of Violence

Characteristics of a Controlling Personality

Warning Signs That You’re Dating a Loser

Profile of an abuser: an insecure control freak (12/22/09)

Self-diagnosing abusers (12/23/09 live chat)

My Trip To Oz And Back: A True “Retrospective” Story Of My Relationship With A Person With BPD  (note: they are lesbians, so this is violence by a woman, not a man)

Women as Verbal Abusers

Signs to look for in an abusive personality

Safety Planning–Extensive Guide

How to clear your browser

StealthGenie: Your abuser could use this to stalk your every move via your cell phone, so be aware

How to Prevent Domestic Abuse

Domestic Violence Handbook (though it does concern me how much this focuses on women as victims and men as abusers, when it’s often the other way around, or mutual)

How to Know if You Are an Abusive Spouse

Violence Against Women: Panel Discussion

Presto, Change-o, DARVO: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender

Are You Being Abused?

How to Recognize Someone who is Abusive

video on abuse and jealousy by an abuser to one’s spouse, family

On the double standard of women abusing men

Website for people with autism or Asperger’s; about being targeted for domestic abuse because of their special issues

Starting in November 2010, Dr. Phil has been doing a season on domestic violence; lots of good stuff is here, so spend time going through the links and shows.  Though I wish he’d look at the other side of abuse: women against men.  http://drphil.com/shows/archive/?date=2010-12, http://drphil.com/shows/show/1249/

Do not let victims assume the blame, and do not make excuses for the abuser’s behavior such as stress, unemployment, alcoholism, etc. There is no excuse for abuse. –Eastside Domestic Violence Program/ Religion and Domestic Violence

Women erroneously think that a dangerous man is only a violent man. While the violent man is indeed one of the categories of dangerous men, there are seven others that are often overlooked. These omitted categories are exactly how women get into dangerous relationships. These lapses in information leave women without the knowledge to respond to the face of dangerousness when he is in their life. Since much of the information about “what” makes a man dangerous has not been taught to women, they do not recognize and respond to dangerousness.  –Sandra L. Brown, M.A., How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved

How to Spot a Dangerous Man (describes the various kinds of dangerous men alluded to in the above article)

The abusers blame the victim for causing the abuse. For example, the abuser would say to the victim, ‘If you cleaned up more, I wouldn’t call you names’ (Zimbio.com, Love Shouldn’t Hurt, link no longer works).

Neither the man, nor (still less) the woman, possesses absolute power over the other partner in the marriage. Coercion exercised over the will of another–even in the name of love–kills love itself. And so the question arises: must one submit to coercion if it threatens that which is most precious?

A countless number of unhappy marriages result from precisely this–that each partner considers him or herself as the owner of the loved one. This is the cause of nearly all the difficulties of married life. The highest wisdom in marriage is shown by giving full freedom to the person you love: for our human marriage is the counterpart of the marriage in heaven between Christ and the Church, where there is absolute freedom.  –”Domestic Violence at Home: Cursory Observations” (how submission is misunderstood and abused) by Kyriaki Karidoyanes Fitzgerald


Featured post

Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–February 1994, Part 5

One night as Phil and I sat talking in the lounge together, he put his head against the back of the couch or chair and began to lament that he wasn’t worthy of me.  He would do this often over the coming months, telling me he wasn’t a good person and that I should find someone else.  I didn’t believe him at the time.

I was to discover, through him and two people I’d meet senior year, that I had a tendency to find guys like this, who would be down on themselves and need me to encourage them and tell them they’re not so bad as they think.  This is what I did for Phil.  I also told him that his old desire to become a priest showed him to be a very spiritual person.  I said I had always admired spiritual people, such as priests, pastors or missionaries, and he began to weep with (I suppose) joy.

Phil told me early on, “My parents say you’re another me.”  They saw the way I was then–shy, quiet, spiritual–and the way Phil was the year before–shy, quiet, spiritual (he was more outgoing and less quiet now)–and said this.  Over the coming months, they would say that we were perfect for each other.

Every day when classes allowed, Phil came to talk to me while I worked in the library.  I did miss having a chance to get more homework done, but didn’t mind seeing him.  He would stand there and chat, his two Big Slam Mountain Dew bottles beside him.  He would try to drink the Dew there, but Seymour didn’t like that.  There were rules against that.

Phil often interrupted me as I read my World Civ textbook while working the desk in the library.  Once, in April, while I read a copy of the Mirror, he read it upside-down.  Latosha saw this; after I told her we were engaged, she said she saw him reading upside-down and thought, “That man’s in love!”

I still worked with James; Phil sometimes joked that he was scared of me working with a good-looking guy.  That was ironic.  He would also joke that one day I would go back home and marry some football player from Notre Dame.  Or that I would find someone with a longer nose than his, and leave him.  (I loved long noses, and his was quite long.  Not Cyrano-style long, but a long bridge.)

Phil told me about his “Vampire Friend” S–, who was really into vampires, dressed like one for Halloween, was into sadomasochism, and was engaged to Phil’s first ex-girlfriend for a while.  He feared to introduce me to S–, who had a tendency to steal away his girlfriends.  (A later girlfriend confirmed this, making me wonder what kind of “friend” S– was.)

Phil liked to spend his evenings with me, but after ten, Clarissa kicked him out.  So we had to go into the lounge to spend the rest of the evening.  Sometimes I even watched Alternative Nation out there with him, since even a boyfriend wasn’t enough to make me want to give it up.  Without it I felt sad, incomplete (sort of like the King Missile guy without his detachable weenie).  We’d cuddle on the couch and chat for hours.

As we sat in the lounge each night, Phil liked to greet Julie’s freshman sister with “Mornin’!” whenever she came into the lounge.  She just made that smile-grimace which says, “Okay, whatever!”

Phil watched Beavis and Butthead, and though I used to hate it, he got me into it.  He said he’d disowned S– High School (I forget if his alma mater was North or South) because he recently discovered the guys there now were all Beavises and Buttheads.

He grew his beard back because I said I liked him better with his little beard.  Dave would yell at him to shave, and Phil would say somebody didn’t want him to.  It grew in sparse and reddish, with several hairless spots: a sort of birthmark.  I liked it that way.

Phil was in Roanoke Singers, which paid $200 a month: far better than what the rest of us got in work-study.  I could never understand why Dave kept yelling at him to get a job, because he had one.

He used half his paycheck to pay for tuition each month, and the rest for food, gas, maintenance and car payments.  He kept running out of money and asking people to lend him some.  By the 15th of every month he owed so much to people that by the time he paid it back, he’d have to start borrowing again only a short time after.

It was a never-ending cycle, and though he did always pay back what he owed, I found my own wallet getting emptier all the time.  I could usually pay for my food in the Muskie and for snacks and laundry, but would desperately need Phil to pay me back come payday.  It seemed as if Phil had more of my money than I did.  The following fall, this was one thing I did not miss.

I mentioned the ill-fated relationships with Peter and Shawn, and Phil said, “You’re so nice to me!  How could anybody not love you?”

Phil’s minivan was a Dodge Caravan, the kind that was so popular that year: boxy, wood paneling.  Where there was paint instead of paneling, it was brown.  It was used (1985, according to a Firestone receipt), which confused me because I thought that model had only just come out.  After all, a model exactly like it was so popular that year that it seemed there was one in nearly every parking lot or driveway.  We thought this was funny.

Phil had three dolls in his minivan: Ren and Stimpy, and Family Dog.  He handed these dolls to me nearly every time I got in the minivan: It was my “job” to hold them.

Early on, Phil wanted us to find “our” song.  We chose “I Can See Clearly Now,” the remake by Jimmy Cliff, because it had been one of my anthems that school year, and was also on the soundtrack for our first movie, Cool Runnings.  Whenever we heard it, we turned it up.  But I don’t think that in my mind it ever had quite the huge association with Phil that “Everything I Do” had with Peter.


Since Phil and several of my friends were in choir, I heard about the single choir director and saw her little, yellow sports car.  It was a peculiar yellow, kind of a dark yellow.  The choir people loved it, and found the director amusing in a good sort of way.  They liked the way she acted, the tips she gave, the way she directed, the way she said to say “watermelon” if you don’t remember the words because it really does look like you’re singing the right ones.  She began dating a professor, which surprised them, probably because he had already been teaching at Roanoke for at least 35 years, and she was only about 44 years old.  (She eventually married somebody else.)

Heidi’s friend Paul was in choir.  Phil told me that Paul’s hearing aid dog Maizie often accompanied the choir during practice.  The choir would hit a high note and Maizie would start barking or howling along with them.


On Sundays I still liked to go eat with my friends in the cafeteria during dinner, as before, taking Phil with me.  But now, Phil kept wanting me to leave them right after I’d eaten.  I always wanted to stay and chat and joke with my friends, but he’d sit or stand there with a stern look on his face and tell me he wanted to go.  I’d try to resist, but he would practically make me leave.  

My friends noticed this and maybe other things I missed, and began to dislike him.  They thought he treated me like a child, that he was controlling, domineering and possessive.  He noticed that they didn’t like him anymore, but blamed this on his being Catholic (they were mostly Protestant) and supposedly socially annoying.  So he didn’t like them, either.


I don’t know how I didn’t notice this when we kissed, but he did not brush his teeth very often.  He also didn’t bathe very often.  He had this thing against showers which I won’t explain on the Net, yet he didn’t take baths instead.  I guess my nose slowly became immune.

Whenever Phil drove me to or from school on the road to S–, we passed a cemetery, and Phil held his breath.  He had this childhood superstition that if he breathed by a cemetery, he would soon die and be buried there.  Last I checked on Facebook, he’s still alive.

Once, we saw a dead cat by this cemetery, which upset us.  How ironic that the cat would be killed by a car right by the cemetery.

The Plymouth Neon car debuted in 1994; the TV ads for it featured cars with froglike faces bouncing all over the place.  When it stopped and faced the viewer, the caption “Hi!” appeared underneath it.  (These ads were so cute that in 1997, I got a 1995 Dodge Neon, my dream car at the time, and wrote on my Marquee (personalized) screensaver at work, “I now have a bouncy, baby Neon!”)

There was a billboard right by the cemetery, and one day, an ad for a Neon was put on it.  It had a picture of a Neon facing the viewer, and said, “Hi!”  It looked as if the car was trying to say hi to the people in the cemetery, but of course, none of them returned the greeting.  Phil and I found this hilarious.

Though Peter had once been welcome in the O’Hara house, he was now ostracized: He tried to back up the computer or something like that, and ended up crashing the hard drive.  Everything had to be re-installed, and it was a big mess.  Phil and I thought it was unfair of his family to ostracize Peter, since he didn’t mean to crash the hard drive.

I got my share of unfair treatment from Phil’s dad, too.  First of all, one night in February, I wanted to take a shower because I was staying overnight at Phil’s.  (I did so much of it that semester that Clarissa missed me and wanted me to spend more time in our room.)  I asked Phil when the best time was for taking a shower.  He said nighttime, and that even though it was late, no one could hear the shower.

At my house, my mom could hear the shower because the bathroom was in the master bedroom; Phil said this was no problem at all at his house.  He said, “Actually, people would prefer it if you showered at night, because in the morning everyone’s trying to take a shower.”

So I took mine that night.  I also shaved, which I think I did with just the faucet occasionally running and not the shower after I bathed.  Then I had to rinse off the shaving cream with the shower, turned off the shower, squeezed out my hair and ran my hands under the faucet to rinse off any hairs that may have come off from my head onto my hands.  Then I dried off, got out of the shower, put on lotion, put some kind of leave-on conditioner in my hair and combed it, then left the bathroom.

After I came out of the shower, Phil said his dad had come to him and complained about somebody using the shower and keeping him awake, and turning off and on the water about three times.  I asked if he explained that he told me I should shower at that time, but I don’t believe he did.  I was upset because I had specifically asked and then done what I had been told was the most polite thing to do, and still was accused of rudeness or not thinking of others.

At times I wondered if Phil’s dad hated me, because there were other things as well, such as Phil’s parents telling him (later that semester) that I didn’t live there.  (At this time, Phil would say to me, how could he tell them I was his wife and had a right to be there?)  Then there was the phone.

I would only use my phone card to call long-distance from Phil’s house, which I don’t think I did all that often.  And since I used the phone card, I didn’t see a need to ask to use the phone.  I remember only one time when I used the phone to call home, and of course I used the card.  I got off the phone feeling happy because it was a good chat with my parents.

Later, Phil told me that his dad found out I was calling home–I believe Dave told him, intending to get me in trouble–and got upset.  He complained about me using the phone for long-distance, and not wanting to find a charge on the bill for a call to South Bend.  I believe it was Phil who said, “Maybe she uses a phone card,” and calmed him down a bit.

I was upset about this because yes, I used a phone card, no, I was not rude and thoughtless, and why didn’t he ask me first before assuming that I was running up his phone bill and getting all mad at me?  If he didn’t believe Phil that I used a phone card, he certainly should have believed it when he looked at his next phone bill and there was absolutely no charge for a call to South Bend.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Featured post

Emotional Abuse

I’ve noticed quite a bit of hits from keywords referring to abuse.  This is, unfortunately, a common problem, and people need to find help.  There are also many hits from keywords referring to narcissistic or borderline personality disorders, disorders which often lead to abusive behaviors.  So I will make a series of posts from my webpage on abuse, which gathers together links I have found most helpful.  I have them arranged by category.  The first part is on the general topic of abuse.  The last section of the webpage, my own personal abuse stories, has already been posted here.

From my page Abuse in all its forms: My Thoughts, Quotes and Links to help:

Emotional Abuse

Are you in an emotionally abusive relationship?

Abused Women: Symptoms of Emotional Abuse

Covert Emotional Abuse: How Abusers Control, Objectify and Dehumanize their Victims

Are you a victim of emotional abuse?

Emotional Abusers

Emotional Abuse

Healing Emotional Abuse

Lies Abusers Tell

Emotional Abuse: The Victim and Abuser

Signs your girlfriend or wife is an emotional bully

Emotional, Psychological, and Mental Abuse: Is There a Difference?

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


Goewin the Bard

text and pictures copyright 1995 


At the time of Beltane, near dusk, Goewin, daughter of Duncan, a young bard, sat on a tree stump to play her flute.  She was a fair maiden with golden hair and sky-blue eyes, and driven to play music on her whistle.  But, though certainly not destined to be a king, she had been given a personal geas by a druid, the seer who foretold her musical ability when she was born: She was not to play any song that would make herself cry.  Because of this, she was known throughout the land for her cheerful music and jigs, and never played sad songs.  (A geas is a taboo; breaking it brings death or dishonor.)


“Brigit, give me a poem,” she said on this day of Beltane, “something to play my music to.”  Brigit was patron to poets.  Words began to flow from her mouth:

I saw my love on the field,
Newly back from war;
His sword shining in the sun,
His helmet gleaming,
Three heads hanging from his horse.

“Where is my brother Cadwallader?” he said
As he alighted from his horse.
I said, “He went to a feast
An hour past the time,
And therefore lost his head.

“There was great rejoicing when he died.
Whether rejoicing from the mead or dislike,
I do not know!”–”No matter,” said my love;
The land is better for his loss!”

–And there Goewin stopped.  She couldn’t think of how to go on, so she decided to wander around the fields and wait for inspiration.  In a wood, she saw a small shape flitting around.  Curiosity overcame her, and she followed it to discover what it was.


The shape disappeared near a fairy mound.  Goewin had never seen such a mound before.  She’d heard about them, but with her mind so full of her poem, she didn’t recognize what this was.

A blackbird flew over and perched atop the sidhe (fairy mound).  Goewin said to it, “Is this mound meant to give me my song?”  It began to sing, which she took as a sign.  She sat beside the bird, which didn’t fly away, and began to play and to work on her song.

As she played, a beautiful, tiny young woman appeared before her.  She had slanted eyebrows and eyes, eyes of blue-green, a pointy nose and a small mouth.  Her hair hung in red-gold spirals.  A golden torque was around her neck, and her dress looked as if it was made of silken leaves.


“Your music is enchanting,” she said, “and light and cheerful.  We have heard it within the sidhe.”

“Within the sidhe?” Goewin cried, finally recognizing the fairy mound.  Then hands reached from behind her and grabbed her.  The fairies carried her off and into the sidhe–their home.

So Goewin entered part of the glorious realms of the Otherworld.  At first she was frightened, but the fairies made her feel at home.  Elva, the beautiful elf with the red-gold hair, being the daughter of the king of the elves, gave her the title of chief bard to the fairies.  Goewin played for them as they desired; her happy and beautiful songs delighted them.  They had her play as often as she could without getting a sore throat or a light head, and nursed her throat so she could sing for them as well.


Goewin found her home to be the sidhe.  Here was a place more wondrous than she’d ever imagined.  The sidhe looked so small from the outside, but within it was the kingdom of Elva’s father, Aubrey.  Goewin composed more lyrics within the sidhe:

An honor ’tis to be bard to the elves,
Fed by fairies, nursed by nixies.
Wander the world and you won’t find
The wonders of the Otherworld.

Birds of all types, birds with purple feathers, peacocks–
They flit here and there and sing with my flute.
Gold houses and a copper castle,
Green, fertile fields that know no blight.

No sweeter music is ever heard than this of the birds;
No sweeter song than the ones the gate-tree hums to you.
Tree of glass, topped with green glass leaves,
Gives you shade from a sun of gold.

And at night, a silver moon shines.
It shines on the doors of lapis lazuli
At the east, the west, the north and the south.
It shines on fairy feasts and dancing.


I go to a feast, with tables laid
With wine, pork, mutton and bread.
The elves cover me with silken, leaf dresses, yellow and blue and red;
They give me jeweled torques with gold and red gold, laurels for my head, a gold branch for my hand.

As I play, the elves dance in rings in the fields,
Little lights leaping in the moonlight.
May Day every day
That they choose.

An elfin poet named Brí, son of the chieftain Bran, soon caught Goewin’s eye–a goodly youth with hair like flax and eyes of sea green, a long nose, and muscular arms; tall for an elf, but not gawky.  His eye was keen like that of the eagle that perched on his shoulder, little Craig as he called it.  Brí wore a leaf tunic, leather shoes and a magnificent tuigen (poet’s mantle)–the lower part made of swan skins, the neck of a swan hanging down from the collar and down the back.  In his hand he carried a gold branch.


Though Goewin’s own tuigen was made all of swan and her dress was made of the finest silk leaves, this tuigen made her eyes widen.  Here was a chief poet, worthy of her; whenever she saw him, her songs turned to love ballads.  She hoped to work a kind of love charm on him through her music.

One day, Goewin saw Elva gaze after Brí when he passed by, and heard a sigh that showed she loved him, too.  Goewin knew it would be risky to compete with Elva, but she had never seen so worthy a youth as Brí.  She would fight for him, even with the daughter of the king of the elves.

Elva soon realized she had a rival, and that her rival was preferred.  This enraged her.  One evening at a feast, as Goewin played and the fairies danced, Goewin began singing a love song.  It described Brí, though it did not name him.  Brí recognized himself in it, and danced over to her.  After the song, he kissed her.

Elva leaped from her purple glass chair, rage in her eyes, and said, “I invite you to my father’s kingdom, and this is how you repay me?  You steal the man I wanted to make my husband!”

“No one, mortal or fairy, will do such a thing to my daughter,” King Aubrey said.

“Banish her forever from the sidhe, father!” Elva said.

“So I shall.”


He called over a black horse, which carried Goewin out of the sidhe and dropped her onto the ground.  She began to sob when she saw the horse disappear into the mound, and the entrance hide itself from her.  Her silken clothes turned to the frock she’d worn before entering the sidhe.  Her head and throat ached with tears.

She found her way back home, and discovered that what had been months to her, were centuries to her people.  Her family and friends had long since died and turned to dust.  She ran back to the mound, all alone in the world, separate from Brí and even from the world of the sidhe.


She calmed herself and sat top the mound as she had once before, and began to play her flute.  She hoped to comfort herself with music, but played along with her grief, until she began to play a melancholy melody.  She composed lyrics for it in her mind:

Gone, gone, all are gone;
All my life has gone with them.
My family’s gone, all from the earth;
I can look, but never find them.
I’ve seen their tombs.  My house is crumbled.
The people have all forgotten me.
Goewin daughter of Duncan, who is she? they say.
My cheerful, charming melodies have not survived.
I am the chief poet of the elves!
Or I was.  And my songs have gone with the wind to the Cailleach.

Oh, the agony of being forgotten as if I’d never been.
The elven world is closed to me–
My love is exiled from me.
No more shall I play for the elves–
For the fairies who loved me,
For palaces of purple glass,
For trees that hum my tunes.
I’ll die before a day is gone for them,
And I’ll be gone–gone–forgotten
By the elves I made happy–

And here a tear fell from Goewin’s eye.

Thus Goewin daughter of Duncan broke her geas, and died.


Her body lay over the mound, and Brí carried it off to bury it.  Elva felt terrible about her death, and allowed the fairies of the sidhe to mourn for her.  In time, Brí forgave her because of her abject heart, and after a year they married.



Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull–January 1995, Part 2

Sharon wrote in the Journal,

Nyssa, answering your inquiry about how I used to see you.  For a long time you were very quiet and never said anything.  You sat with all of us at meals but you never joined in the conversations.  We didn’t really know you.  You were a part of the group, but you were a stranger for a long time.

I asked you to room with me this year for a reason.  I didn’t know you and I could tell there was an extremely interesting person in that shy, reserved exterior.  And I was right.  You talk so much more than you used to.  You are a completely different person than I had once thought.  I love the ‘you’ that I have gotten to know this past year.  Meeting the real ‘you’ has been one of the highlights of my year :) .

I wrote,

I’m surprised you say you didn’t really know me before and that I didn’t talk much. It seemed different to me. I had long talks with you and Pearl and others, and I felt closer to you all than I did to almost everyone else. Like here were people that actually knew me. Now I’m a bit confused about the whole thing.

Sharon replied,

I didn’t mean to make you doubt yourself or the way you see yourself now or in the past. You really didn’t talk to me as much as you talked to Pearl (and Cindy when you lived in Krueger). You did talk a lot when you were with one person, but I usually saw you with the “group” and you really didn’t say much. But that’s not bad. Usually I don’t say much in the midst of a large conversation. I just can’t keep up and my mind goes blank.


I was the only one in the apartment with a Winterim class.  Sharon and Pearl were probably working at their work-study jobs, giving them an excuse to stay in the apartment during Winterim.  Tara had an internship, and also stayed in the apartment.

For me, the studying wasn’t at all bad, though, because I enjoyed the Celtic Roots class.  I think I often read the chapters at work in the morning.  In the afternoon, I practiced playing the tin whistle while my friends were out of the room.

Yes, studying the tin whistle was part of the class, since Dr. Bard, the teacher, played French folk music with his wife.  They even played at the campus Open Mike and at gigs around the area.

Dr. Bard, a 30ish, social science teacher with glasses, had red hair and a beard, and combed his hair down over a bald spot to look like bangs.

We had two textbooks, little paperbacks.  The Celts by Nora Chadwick was one.  The class and even the teacher agreed that this, though informative, was very dry.  Still, I found it useful when writing my novel Tojet.

We liked The Elements of The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews a lot better.  It was a fun book, going into the religion of the Celts, from pagan days to after they converted to Christianity.  She, a Druid, included exercises in the back of the book for such things as finding your totem or your destiny through meditations.  But in the rest of the book I noticed no bias for or against any religion.

Helene and Catherine had Celtic class along with me, and I would usually sit between them.  The class was held in the Honors classroom, room number 24 in Old Main.  We had a lot of fun in that class, and would talk about it afterwards.  It seemed everyone in the class had a good time.

I believe we all had to pay for our tin whistles, but once we did and Dr. Bard gave them to us, we’d practice simple songs for the first fifteen minutes of each class.  The tin whistle played like a recorder, with very little wind, which was good for me because I didn’t have enough wind in me to play anything more strenuous.  (It’s hard enough for me just to talk loud.)

When the course ended, Dr. Bard asked how many of us would continue to play our tin whistles.  Most of us raised our hands, including me.  However, though I still have the music sheets we used, along with sheets showing examples of knotwork, I haven’t played my tin whistle since 1998.

This class helped me get over Phil by giving me something fun to do that wouldn’t remind me of him, and by proving I didn’t need him to have a good life.

One day, in fact, Catherine and I and maybe Helene went to check mail in the Campus Center, as we did every day (though I, of course, couldn’t check mine there anymore).  We took out our tin whistles and practiced a particularly challenging and beautiful tune, which we learned in class that day.

The door to the Pub was across from the mailboxes, so I happened to see that Phil was in the Pub.  I hoped he’d see and hear us, that he’d realize I moved on and was now doing new and interesting things.  I wanted him surprised to see me standing there playing a tin whistle.  I wanted him to think he’d lost a talented, imaginative, and intelligent person, and would never get her back again.

We were supposed to practice our tin whistles outside of class.  One day soon after we started playing them in class, Brigitte said she was practicing hers in her dorm room one day when a girl went out into the hall and cried, “What is that?”

On probably the 18th or 19th of January, Dr. Bard taught us how to draw Celtic knotwork.  Mine wasn’t very good, but during class I began to practice.  During the lectures and while we listened to various types of modern Celtic music, I drew knotwork all over my plain Roanoke folder (which was my Winterim folder) and colored it with my yellow highlighter.

At night, I filled in the knotwork with other colors as well, using a set of markers.  I drew spirals, knotwork, snakes and torques, and I even filled in various letters and other things with the highlighter.  In the end, it was a folder to be proud of.  Of course, by then I was probably done with the course, so I used it for other things.

We sometimes listened to old- or new-fashioned Celtic music in class.  When we did, there was little else for us to do except listen.  Helene said to me once, “Dr. Bard should notice how uncomfortable people get during the music, and maybe play it in the background while we’re doing other things.”  We liked the music, but it would be more pleasant to listen to it that way.

At least several people in the class were Christians like us.  One girl, however, was vehemently anti-Christian.  She was bad-tempered and seemed to like nothing better than to sit there and rip on Christians.  She spoke of a Christian couple who used to live next door to her when she was a child, and treated her awfully.  We Christians wondered what they had done to her, and wished she’d realize that one couple did not represent all Christians or Christianity.  When a group of Wiccans spoke to the class, she was intrigued and asked many questions.  But religion should not be about running away from or rebelling against another religion.  It should be about true beliefs.

We learned about the head-cult of the Celts, that they displayed the heads of defeated enemies and sometimes even drank out of their skulls.  Dr. Bard also told us that the one who came late to a revel (or meeting?) got his head chopped off.  I looked at Catherine, and we joked that if we lived back then, we would be dead before we reached age 21.  I drew a stick-figure cartoon about this: First there were the feasters, then some guy came late and got his head chopped off, and then the feasters went back to their revel.  I wish I could find it now.

On the 16th, three speakers explained to us the modern-day Wiccan religion as it relates to the Celtic nature religions.  I wasn’t sure what to think about them at first because at least one of them wore a black T-shirt and an upright pentacle on a chain around his neck.  This one also had long, dark hair, and looked to be no older than his 20s or 30s.  (I knew nothing about the pentacle other than its supposed “Satanist” associations.)  The other two were a married couple, not yet middle-aged, who were Christian Wiccan.  Dr. Bard had invited them.  (I have no idea what Dr. Bard’s religious beliefs were, by the way.)

(For the truth about the pentacle and pentagram, click here.)

They gave fascinating information about Neo-Pagans and their beliefs, and how Celtic nature religions fit into the Middle Ages.  The class took notes.  The speakers said the Church Christianized certain holidays to help keep new, formerly pagan converts from turning back to their old ways.

Now, since then, I’ve heard various theories about why holidays and pagan deities were Christianized.  This is one; another is that the pagans-turned-Christians themselves made deities into saints and pagan holidays into Christian ones because they didn’t want to give up their beliefs.  Another view is that the Christian missionaries were wise and adaptable in incorporating the local festivals rather than just forbidding them.  And, of course, a view you commonly hear is that the Christian church just wanted to steal everybody else’s religious practices.  I reject that view wholeheartedly.

The speakers said some Wiccans, like them, actually believe in both Christianity and Wicca, and are called Christian Wiccans.  They also explained some of the magic they use, that it’s a science, that it isn’t always so much casting a spell as it is positive thinking and changing yourself to get what you want, just as a businessperson might wear power suits to be more successful.  They also explained other kinds of magic that actually used spells and the powers of creation.  They said love spells weren’t charms, but learning how to change yourself and your traits to be more attractive to the person you love, so he/she will want to date you.

One of the traditional students, a girl, her religion unknown to me, said, “But if you have to change yourself to be more attractive to this person, aren’t you better off finding someone else who appreciates you the way you are?”  She was right, of course, though I don’t remember what, if anything, the speakers said in reply.

One day, on Catherine’s request, a friend of hers from the SCA, Ayesha, came to speak to the class.  (I can use her name because she has long since passed away.)  She was about 35, with short, dark hair.

I’d just heard about the SCA, or Society for Creative Anachronisms, a medieval re-creation group, over Christmas.  A couple met in the South Bend SCA group, then the Shire of White Waters, and had an SCA wedding ceremony.  The South Bend Tribune ran an article about it.  I thought the SCA sounded neat.

Though my friends apparently knew all along, I had no idea that Catherine used to go to SCA meetings when we were freshmen.  Ayesha was a member of the Catherine’s group, which I later discovered was a certain shire, based in S– and M–.

After Ayesha spoke to the class, I went with Catherine as she helped Ayesha take her speech props back to her car in the Jubilee parking lot.  They tried to talk me into joining the SCA, and I thought about giving it a shot.

Catherine told me there were “hot guys in the SCA, and they love to flirt with you.”  This attracted me: Now that several months had passed since the breakup, the Vampire train had derailed, and neither of my crushes were interested, I felt ready to find a new man or two.

She said the meetings would suit me because they were always late and laid-back.  They’d go on for hours, constantly getting sidetracked, and then someone would say, “Hey, isn’t Star Trek:TNG on?” and turn it on.  (She hadn’t been to a meeting for some time, so neither of us knew they’d become more businesslike and boring.)  These SCA people were also like Catherine and loved to hug.

I wrote a story for my presentation, which was in place of a final.  I sat down with paper and my Iona (Christian Celtic) tapes, made a list of Celtic names I found, and wrote a story about a girl named Gwyn Duncan.  I thought Gwyn was a girl’s name, but later found out it was probably male.  The story was short and simple, with a few sets of lyrics and a typically Celtic, unhappy ending.  It was about a girl taken by the sidhe, or fairies.  It took a few hours to finish, and once started and put into a Celtic mood by Iona, I didn’t want to break the spell for anything.

Here it is, including my pictures.

I later revised the story, typed it up, and decorated it with various Celtic-style pictures.  I read it in class on the 27th.  As I read, I tried to forget myself and just read, because if I remembered I was reading in front of a classroom full of students I’d get nervous and self-conscious.

When I finished I passed it around before giving it to the teacher, so everyone could see the pictures.  I didn’t know what people would think of my story, and feared they’d think it was stupid, but this wasn’t the case at all.  Dr. Bard liked it and gave me 50 points out of 50, along with this note: “A good story integrating much Celtic terminology and imagery.  I enjoyed reading it.  Good work!”

Helene complimented me on it and its simplicity, though she didn’t like Bri marrying Elva at the end.  I think one reason for the sad ending was my own cynicism about love at the time.  Another reason was to make it seem more Celtic, since Celtic stories were typically depressing.

I’ve made a few minor changes: Gwyn Duncan became Goewin daughter of Duncan, the tin whistle became a flute–basically, grammar fixes and things which fit better historically.  I also added short definitions, since the story was originally written for a class familiar with the Celtic terms.

One of the non-trad women in the class made a variety of Celtic foods for her presentation.  She feared she hadn’t made them right, but I told her they were delicious.  There were different types of breads, including one that was called barmbrak or something like that, and there may have been other kinds of food as well.

Remember the girl who detested Christians?  She did a Celtic pre-battle ritual.  She even passed around a real, human skull full of sparkling grape juice.  She said it was clean, but I passed it on without drinking from it.  Ewww!  Catherine and Helene also took a pass.  But Dr. Bard took a big swig.

Brigitte did her presentation on her clan’s history (she had a Scottish last name).  She discovered that it was related to Kenneth MacAlpine.  After class I told her we were probably related, because my own ancestry goes back to MacAlpine through Duncan I.

Some people said Brigitte had a crush on James, whom she knew from Circle K.  James was sure popular that year!  He wasn’t a handsome stud, either, so you can’t blame it on that.  Some men don’t have to be handsome to be desirable.  I heard that she was amusingly obvious about her crush, and asked James to take her places all the time.  She succeeded, and the latest Roanoke alumni book shows that James married her and moved to Green Bay.

Dr. Bard showed us beautiful medallions his mother made, which were painted with figures of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John from the Book of Kells.  They had metal loops at the back so they could be strung onto necklaces.  He told us we could buy them for about $3 (if I remember correctly).  I couldn’t get mine until at least Wednesday, February 15, after Winterim was already over, and he was afraid I would never buy it, but I was just in time to get the St. John.  I chose that one because I liked the eagle, and it was the prettiest.  Catherine bought the St. Mark.  (Anyone who knows us personally knows why this is ironic and funny.)

I strung the medallion on a spare chain.  Maybe it belonged to one of my old watches, or maybe it was a chain my Irish penpal sent me for Christmas 1991.  Later, Cugan cut me a leather thong for it instead, making it more “period” for SCA events.  (More about him later.)

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)


When our abusers get honored: Dang newspaper tells me about my abusers

Recently, the newspaper told me Tracy graduated college, and her major.  I’ve also seen her back in town recently, right in the same parking lot I pulled into.  From various IPs linked conclusively to them, It looks like one of them has been in town this whole past year, even while she went to college on the other side of the state–even though her IP location came from a city near the college for much of the year.

Her main IP address is screwy, because the locations keep changing even though the IP does not.  Sometimes she’s in Eau Claire, or Madison, or Rochester MN….And now the same IP shows up as Fond du Lac, then Madison, then Fond du Lac, then Madison…. Other local IPs from that ISP, including mine, always show as Fond du Lac.  She recently used one other IP that showed Missouri, but it was identified by my stat trackers as her cell phone–and she used that same phone on my blog a short time later, from Fond du Lac.  And sometimes I get hits from Texas, someone who has used Richard and Tracy’s unique search terms.  I have no clue what’s going on.  All I know is that now she’s graduated and was in Fond du Lac again back in June.

I’ve heard of people leaving town to get away from their abusers, but that’s not possible here: We own this house, and were in this town long before they were.

The other day, I open up the newspaper and it tells me that Tracy got some kind of honor at her college.  A couple of years ago, it said she was in an honor society of some kind.  I did not want to see that.  She does not deserve honors after the way she has treated so many people over the years.  But unfortunately, academic-based honors often have little to do with the kind of person you are, and are based solely on grade point averages, so even sociopaths and various forms of abusers can get degrees and honors.

Abuse victims want justice.  We don’t want our abusers getting accolades.  Just ask the daughter of Woody Allen what that’s like:

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime.

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away.

But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Just ask any girl who’s been raped in college, but her abuser went on to get a degree.  Even a degree seems too good for our abusers.  This does actually happen, as a victim’s concerns are minimized and the rapist is allowed to graduate:

Woman is accused by college of harassing her rapist

A graduating senior at Central College who was found responsible for “non-consensual sex” with a fellow student was given a choice: be expelled a month before graduation or stay in school with the conditions that he not walk in the ceremony and allow the college to notify a future employer and other schools that he’d violated the code of conduct….

A year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that students deemed “responsible” for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. –Lee Rood, Central College lets rape suspect select punishment


Scott is a graduating senior, so some people may wonder why I care anymore. He’ll be gone soon enough, so what if the school didn’t do anything? When he was first found responsible, I was told that the purpose of these sanctions was to help him learn from this. It is clear to me he hasn’t learned anything, and that scares me. When he gets his diploma, he will officially be a representative of what Macalester stands for, and I fear that he will represent my school as a place that protects rapists at the expense of the people they victimize.

If I return to Macalester for my senior year in the fall and get my diploma next year, I will also be representative of Macalester. For better or worse, I will be tied to Scott forever. I will also be tied to what I see as a pattern of survivors of sexual assault who are forced to watch their school choose to protect the future of criminals over their own safety. My fear is that if I stay, I will become a silent accomplice to rape. Not just to my own rape, but to the future people I believe Scott will victimize. –Anna Binkovitz, Sharing a degree with your rapist

Just finding out that my ex Phil is a math teacher or professor, makes me cringe.  Him, molding young minds?  The guy who psychologically abused me and even tried to sexually assault me several times?  And of course, to be a math teacher, he had to get a couple of degrees.  Years ago, I told people I hoped he would become a monk, so he could not hurt more women or, as a priest, advise married couples.  Instead, he went on to marry, have two kids, and get divorced, making me wonder how that woman and her children have been abused.

My bullies, Richard and Tracy, denied the truth of what I wrote in this blog about their many abuses of me and others.  I had already told Social Services about the abuse in their home.  They threatened to sue, and began to stalk me at church for a while, then by keeping tabs on my blog.  And that’s despite the fact–or maybe because–Richard had been convicted of choking one of his kids, proving I wrote the truth.  I kept my blog up despite all the hell they put me through, because the truth needed to be told.  I told my friends and family about it, too.

The Forum we all used to belong to, was convinced of my credibility when they saw the facts of Richard’s case on the state’s and newspaper’s websites.  Yet still Richard and Tracy imagined they could somehow threaten and scare me into believing I was a liar.  Apparently they were the only ones who did not see Richard’s conviction as proof I was telling the truth about domestic violence in their household.

Yet I opened up the paper yesterday and read that Tracy had received some sort of honor at college this past school year.  I previously learned that Richard, while convicted, plea-bargained and got merely a fine and year’s probation.  So he’s out walking free despite nearly killing a 9-year-old girl, and I still see the kids with them both despite Tracy’s verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, despite my detailed report describing how Tracy had been tormenting the children and exposing them to her domestic violence against Richard.

I want these people in jail for abusing their kids and terrorizing me.  I want Richard to have gotten the sentence he deserved: many years in prison, which he would’ve received if he hadn’t plea-bargained.  I want Tracy put in jail for punching Richard.  I want them to either shape up or get their kids put with better parents.  I want them to apologize to me on their knees.  I do NOT want them moving on with life, getting honors, manipulating and abusing other people, being told how wonderful they are, continuing to physically abuse and psychologically torture and scar their children.  (They have hurt a lot of other people besides me.)

One consolation is, while Richard wanted to become an Orthodox priest, my priest tells me that’s impossible because of the child abuse conviction.  And a friend who sometimes has to help hire people, was directed to screen out anyone with domestic abuse on their record, because of the nature of the job.

It boggles my mind (and my husband’s) that Tracy got a degree in business management.  HER, a MANAGER?  She can’t even manage her own household or temper!  I fear for anyone who, in the future, is put under her supervision–just as I fear for her children under her supervision.  I pray for her children’s safety nearly every day.

And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this.  I see the same frustrations, anger at the injustice of it all, permeating other abuse blogs.  For example, this one, because this woman, a PTSD sufferer, was spiritually abused by a predatory pastor, then reported him–yet now he’s been made senior pastor at a new church:

Just found out that Pastor Andrew Allison has been promoted to Singleton Baptist Church

I am really angry and I have a right to be. It is righteous anger.

Her backstory

Allison also occasionally checks up on her LinkedIn profile, which is creepy.  Yes, those of us who have been abused know how creepy it is to be “checked up on” by our abusers!  I get “checked up on” every week or so by mine!  Keeping my blog up has required a lot of courage, and has earned me a strength I did not have before.

Then there’s Alex Grenier, who has spread the word about his father’s severe physical and sexual abuses, yet Bob Grenier continues in his Calvary Chapel position.

This kind of thing happens in our churches, and it should not.  It’s not just a Catholic problem.

It’s also not just a Christian problem:

Narrow Bridge, movie addressing problem of Jewish leaders who are predators

Hopefully the more we spread awareness of these things, through our blogs or other means, the more things will begin to change.  Already there is an outcry about abusive pastors going on to other churches, or keeping their current posts.  Abuse victims of all kinds are spreading the word that this evil exists, so that hopefully society can begin to stamp it out.  “Narcissist” is becoming a household word, and Cluster B (abusive) personality disorders are becoming better-known.

Talk hard!



Blog Recommendation: Why are women so mean to each other?

This has been helpful in dealing with and trying to understand female bullies/malignant narcissists/sociopaths like Tracy and the “Avenger“:

Why are women so mean to each other?

This blogger also writes about dealing with bullies in the church:

How to handle church bullies


Reblog: Wisconsin Soapbox on Common Core State Standards

More on Common-Core State Standards

Joe Liebham Scrambling Again–This Time on Education

Really, We’re Going to Have This Fight AGAIN? Gov. Walker Now Calls For CCSS Repeal

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Common Core, such as that it’s a government takeover, Obama was involved, some weird paranoid crap about biometric screening….This writer goes into what the facts are, vs. the scare-tactics used by extreme right-wingers, such as the Tea Party.



Wondering just how many of Richard’s stories were lies….

Sometimes narcissists tell you all sorts of stories to make you think they’re the most interesting person in the world.  But a little digging proves them to be false, or taken from other people’s lives.

I have spent the last 6 years combing the Net for verification of Richard’s wild stories about his past.  (Yes, even while we were still friends, I doubted them.)  If they are true, they would reveal corruption in high places.  But if they are false, they would have been meant to make himself look more awesome in my eyes while brainwashing me into becoming anti-liberal.  Because after all, liberal presidents were doing horrible things while conservatives fixed them.

And, well, it provides some amusement when I’m bored.

Doubtful story #1: That his brother invented a car which runs completely without gas, which was about to be introduced publicly with the help of Bono, but Al Gore blocked it.  But for years I have searched the Net and found absolutely nothing to support this.  Rather, I discovered that such cars have been in development for decades, publicly–and without Al Gore blocking them.  Also doubtful because his brother supposedly would have a large salary because of this, but when Richard needed a large sum of money, I asked why his brother didn’t give it to him–and he said he didn’t have that salary yet.  This was two years after he told me his brother had been offered this salary.  This is one of the reasons I now highly suspect Richard of running a con job on my husband and me.

Doubtful story #2: That Obama changed policies dealing with a certain tribal group that plundered its wealth.  But research I uncovered told a different story in a tribal newspaper, that Obama had resolved this issue some time ago, to the tribe’s satisfaction.  I don’t go into more detail here, to hide identities, so sorry if this is too vague.  Also, apparently some tribal members were getting jailed for speaking out about this.  This violates human rights if true, but is it true?

Doubtful story #3: That Clinton signed an executive order that Border Patrol guards were to shoot illegally crossing immigrants on sight, but Bush rescinded it.  I have combed the Net for years, especially recently as some Border Patrol controversies have hit the news.  I discovered that yes, Border guards have indeed been doing all sorts of illegal acts, such as shooting people without justification.  But this has been an ongoing problem for decades, NOT starting with Clinton, NOR ending with Bush.  And I found absolutely no evidence of Clinton issuing such an order.

On the contrary, organizations such as Amnesty International have been quite vocal for years about any sort of mistreatment of illegals by border guards, and I think they would’ve been able to uncover if such an order justified the guards’ behavior.  Rather, the Border Patrol is often criticized because these actions are NOT legal and they are not being properly screened/trained/disciplined.  There are even people (usually the more radical right-wingers) who say the Border Patrol is hindered because it never has been allowed to shoot on sight, but should be.  A certain story which Richard told me, must have led to an outcry from somebody, a disciplinary process, a report to Amnesty, something, because everything I find says that he was NOT allowed to do that.  So yes, some border guards do these things, but not with the president’s permission.


This is the most frustrating part of his stories: the lack of a means to verify them.  Some I can toss aside as some fanciful BS he told me to see how gullible I was, such as that story about the sweat lodge…. (I won’t go into detail, but he knows what I mean.)  And I can chuckle at the very idea that he would be somehow connected to, or have stories about, every single interesting person/activity on this planet.

Let’s see…he knows ghost hunters with pictures that prove ghosts/chupacabra…AND knives were thrown at his ghost-hunting party by a spirit…AND he was related to an guy in the Freemasons who could prove their link to the Illuminati…AND made a successful movie…AND wrote a movie that was nearly made by a huge director but Richard never got around to a rewrite…AND gave ideas to a friend who turned it into a popular movie, but conveniently kept Richard’s name out of the credits…AND knew practically everybody in Hollywood…AND was personally addressed by a demon during an exorcism…AND some guy sicced demons on him when he was a kid….

I can just figure he was either lying or taking stories of other people’s lives, because these stories strain credibility and I have no one to confirm or deny them.  The people he grew up with, are thousands of miles away from me.

Some stories I can verify through Todd, who either witnessed them himself, or Richard told Todd these things as well.  This is why I am reasonably confident that Richard was indeed in the Mafia and was once a preacher–and that his previous residence was far worse than I ever saw.  Some other stories I can reasonably believe because of things Todd and I both witnessed, ie, that Tracy’s abuses got far worse than what I ever saw, and that she and Richard have domestic disputes.

I don’t know what to make of his hypnotism claims.  Was he just putting me on, or did he really do this?  Or was he like my ex Peter, truly believing in his ESP abilities, but that doesn’t mean he really could do this?

But the above stories have more sinister implications about the government, and would be easier to confirm or deny through news organizations or blogs, and that drives me to keep searching.  SOMEBODY out there should know if they’re true or not, without having to be connected with Richard.

If anybody has concrete evidence about these things, I would love to see it.  No, it won’t turn me conservative, because my liberal ideals are based on my system of morals and much research.  It’s more for curiosity.  And no, I won’t approve political rants.

More on narcissists and their personas.




Alert: One of my readers, your abuser could be spying on your cell phone with StealthGenie

I just got this in my blog stats:


I clicked on the referring link, and it took me to this website:


What is StealthGenie and how does it work?StealthGenie is a powerful cell phone monitoring application that can be installed into any iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone where it works invisibly and uploads the phone’s usage information to StealthGenie’s online user area that can be accessed remotely from anywhere with an internet connection. To get more information on how StealthGenie works, you can visit our Quick Tour page.

Why do I need StealthGenie?You need this application to be able to effectively monitor the cell phone activities of your employees or loved ones such as your children remotely and without them finding out.

Will monitored phone user know StealthGenie is installed on their phone?StealthGenie works completely invisibly so the monitored phone user will not be able to see the name ‘StealthGenie’ (or anything similar) anywhere on their phone.

This service can tell the user everything about the cell phone he’s spying on: calls made and received, browser history, GPS tracking, e-mails–even record phone calls!

While I can see this being useful for parents or someone who’s being cheated on, it’s also extremely easy to use this to stalk people–particularly, abusers stalking their victims.  An abuser only needs access to the phone once to make this work.  Already, abuse websites often tell you to clear your browser history.  But apparently victims need to be careful about their cell phones, too!

Someone who clicked on my site recently, probably in New Jersey, please be careful!

PLEASE share this post: I have no idea whom this person is stalking, and maybe it will get to them.