Some thoughts on my sociopathic stalkers as I revise an old post….

newpostI’ve been revising old posts and putting them on my front page for a time, so more people can see them–and so I can take care of formatting issues in an orderly manner.  This website has nearly 1000 posts and pages.  😮

While revising this one to sticky-post last night, I found a note:

[Update 10/22/14: About six months ago, at least one of my stalkers began using a new device and connection.  I thought it was a new fan, until they gave themselves away, probably Richard.  He seemed particularly interested in this post for some reason.]

As I revised the post and thought about that weeks-long obsessive stalking campaign a year ago, I began adding the following as an update–which seems like it should also be a new post as well, about how to deal with blog stalking sociopaths:

Since the time described in this post, when I moved to WordPress.org and could now block them effectively, Richard and Tracy switched Internet Service Providers and began stalking my blog with different IPs.

(For people who don’t know what that is, IPs are your computer’s “address.”  Some are temporary, some are fixed.  They are easily obtained by many website hit trackers, and can also be blocked when you have access to your website’s root files.)

They occasionally use somebody else’s IP, whether belonging to a business wi-fi or to a friend.  Once, the IP belonged to a hotel.  They hook up their smartphone(s) to an Internet connection, or use their wireless plan.

But their usual IP has been the same since September 2013, so I could block them at any time: I just choose not to.  Well, except now and then, when I want to mess with them.

Nowadays, instead of bothering me, I find their antics on my blog highly amusing.  Such as in the above note from October 2014, describing when they came on from an unexpected place in April 2014, began obsessively and hilariously stalking my blog and probably raised its Google ranking, and then sent a little “guess who” in my blog stats.

They knew I would catch their little message.  When I called out these obsessive little buggers, they made a PDF copy of that post.  This stalking campaign went on for hours a day for weeks, making me wonder where they found the time.

They searched my blog for posts on stalking, for hours at a time.  I even took their search terms and made new post categories out of them.  :)  (You can see a few of them at the bottom of this post.)

I describe this all here.  And in that post, I also wrote,

Ah, Richard or Tracy, I will block and unblock you at will, because it’s fun.

But don’t think I fear you anymore.

On the contrary, this is highly entertaining.  Bring it on.

That particular stalking campaign stopped abruptly after they read that.  I guess they wanted me to be scared by it, not amused.  LOL

These antics also make me almost certain that they deliberately drove by me a second time back in January 2013 because they wanted to spook me.  (I know they know it was me, because I heard their little girl call my name when she first saw me.)  Because if they can do this, they can do that.  It fits their modus operandi.

These antics prove that they’re sociopaths beyond any lingering doubt.  “Normal” people don’t behave like that: They’d either try to make things right or go away eventually, not carry out a campaign of intimidation and obsessive blog-checking.  “Normal” people have better ways to spend their time than trying to terrorize people.

(Well, okay, Richie on The Slap did that to Hector.  But he’s a teenager who mistakenly thought Hector raped his BFF, and it only went on for a short time, leading to Richie’s repentance.  Oh, yeah, and he’s also a fictional character.  😉  He’s not a real-life 42-year-old with a family, who claims to be a Christian.)

This really is a terrible example to set for one’s children.

I’ve also encountered other sociopaths before them.  One, the webmaster of a group we belonged to, e-mailbombed and carried out a smear campaign against my husband for daring to say, “Hey, you need to make some changes to the website.”

Another, a girl who constantly carried out smear campaigns against other people on a computer bulletin board system back in 1994.

And no, neither of these sociopaths ever admitted to wrongdoing, as they terrorized others.  I don’t know what ever happened to the Avenger, but the old webmaster eventually ended up in jail at least two or three times–and on the sex offender registry.

These antics prove Richard and Tracy are sociopaths, and they do this because I’m one of several people who have seen through their masks and know what they really are.  I’ve seen before how Tracy can go after perceived enemies, how ruthless she is, even as the target protests his or her innocence–especially if the target tries to tell.

But they’re amusing sociopaths at least.  If you can laugh at sociopaths, their power over you is gone.

 

Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 43

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

Part 43: Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house

On June 10, 2009, I was still smarting from the sexual harassment, and thought relations between Tracy and me had long since been resolved.

This was a rough couple of weeks:

  • On June 1, I learned that Richard (claimed to have) hypnotized me while he lived with us.
  • Probably between the 1st and the 5th, the sexual harassment occurred.
  • On June 5, I learned that Richard used to be a Mafia thug.
  • On June 6, he told me they were about to get evicted again, and he was plotting to kill his apartment manager in retaliation–then called back and said his wife told him not to.

I believe it was also around June 6 when I discovered Tracy’s old restrictions on me were back up again, and I had no idea how long they’d been back up. 

I didn’t even know that going out for coffee was verboten again, until Richard now told me on the phone that it was–and that, as he fervently put it, “I want to go out for coffee!”

(This did come up once during the fall or winter of 2008/2009, when I wanted to do something and Richard said he couldn’t.  I forget what it was.

(Exasperated, I sighed and said we could make sure the kids were with us so we weren’t alone–but he said, no, it was NOT about me, but because Tracy was pregnant and hormonal–and would have the same reaction to him doing the same thing with ANY woman.

(Basically, no, the restrictions were NOT back up on me: He couldn’t do this with anyone during her pregnancies or she would get jealous.  That was a relief.)

Now on June 6, however, he told me the restrictions were up.

Again?  Not only that, but the way he talked, it seemed like they never had been taken away.

???!!!

He said something about Tracy wanting to have a certain kind of conversation with me.  It’s hard to remember his words now, but basically, a kind of easy back-and-forth conversation–which is notoriously difficult for both NLDers and introverts. 

I believe the next day was my church’s name-day celebration; they attended that and the reception afterwards.

I carried on such a conversation with her, because for once there was something to talk about (her hair color change)–and things naturally flowed out of that.

I later asked him how I did; he said I did well–and she told him we never had a conversation like that before.

But that was another lie, because we had such conversations back in December 2007, before she turned on me.

So–

What the heck was WITH this woman????!!!!

Now I know this is a common trait of narcissists and abusers, called gaslighting or crazy-making.  Because yeah, it’s meant to make you feel like you’re crazy.

He said that if they couldn’t find a place, they’d go back to their previous state.  I couldn’t bear the thought of my BFF Richard leaving, so I offered to let them stay with us, but done differently this time:

I told Richard I would be a better host and treat Tracy differently.

I came up with ways to make things run more smoothly, such as pooling laundry and setting up a makeshift room in the basement.

You see, I didn’t just say everything I did before was right and Tracy just had to suck it up: I felt bad about the past, and said I would do better.

On June 10, I called Richard to ask what he thought about my ideas and offer.

That’s when he shocked me with the revelation that Tracy spit on my hospitality: Even with all the offers I made to make things easier on everybody, and saying I would be a better host, Richard said Tracy refused to do this because of how “badly” I supposedly had behaved to her before.

This is when I discovered that Tracy spit on my hospitality because I hadn’t spent all my time chattering away with her instead of keeping up with the house and getting time to myself.

(See here to find out what really happened, however.  At this distance, away from the FOG machine, I see more clearly–and believe that they finally gaslit me into thinking I had been the problem, when they actually had been horrible guests, taking advantage of us and manipulating us.)

Richard told me some revelations that floored me, that devastated me, that overshadowed the sting of sexual harassment which I was still dealing with.

These things went all the way back to the time they stayed with us–

things they never told us–

things that would have made a huge difference, if only we had known and had a chance to discuss them as a group–

things that explained why Tracy had turned so hostile to me.

Yet they had decided to mention none of them to me!

One of the revelations was that she eavesdropped when I vented to Jeff.  I always thought this was a private conversation.

Richard said she “heard every word.”  This wording and his tone were like she caught me lying.

She even told him I was “manipulating” Jeff.

Note that she was the one listening; she then told Richard what she heard.

Which tells me now, very clearly, that she actually lied to Richard about what I said to Jeff, just as she lied to everyone in the game forums about what Todd did a year earlier. 

Every word I told to Jeff was the truth.

I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT MANIPULATE HIM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

Especially since my husband is the type to resist and resent any form of manipulation.  And he says that no, I did NOT manipulate him.  The very accusation offends him, because it’s his JOB to listen to my complaints.

As you can see if you click on this link, what I really told Jeff, then and at other times during those few weeks, was how Tracy had been abusing everyone, including me, and how it made me feel.

He then, like a man, came up with a way to help the situation.  I probably hoped he’d lay down the law with our offensive houseguests, but instead he suggested a way to make things better.

This and the following revelations prove to me now that Tracy had motive all this time for psychologically abusing me, manipulating me, constantly changing her rules, and giving me permission/taking back permission to be friends with her husband:

Her motive was that I saw her for the abuser that she was. 

So she had to destroy me, had to drive a wedge between me and her husband–

so I couldn’t wake him up to the truth of her abuse. 

But in June 2009, I didn’t yet recognize this, did not yet understand the mindscrew capabilities of abusers and narcissists.

Apparently they thought it was somehow wrong of me to even talk to Jeff about what was happening!  So, of course, I objected about that to Richard.  (How dare they tell me not to tell my own husband how they were bullying me!)

Richard and I had long, revealing talks on the phone that made tears of remorse run down my face, that made me shut down and be quiet and thoughtful all evening long, until finally our son was in bed and I could tell Jeff something of what had happened.

This is when I discovered how they reacted to what I told Jeff and the solution he came up with.

Yet they never mentioned it to us, never got it out into the frickin’ open,

just dealt with it passive-aggressively instead, through Tracy’s constant punishments of me and remembering what I “did.”

(Yet somehow Jeff wasn’t punished for this at all, even though it had been his idea and I just passively went along with it.  Why is that?  Just how badly did Tracy paint me when she misrepresented me to Richard, I wonder?)

Now I discovered that she knew full well that I overheard the snarks she made on the phone to her mother about me–and that this was why.

So it was on purpose!

This is when I discovered that she almost killed me one night–

which made me shake and wince, every time I saw someone on TV get beaten up, at the thought that it could have happened to me–

and over something which was nowhere near worth this reaction.

Over and over again the following year, I imagined her fists coming at me, Jeff coming into the room (whether from the basement or his bed), screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.

Me going to the hospital (or grave).  Her going to jail.

All because I, who was very sick and very sleepy, desperately needed a nap but couldn’t sleep on that crowded couch until I found a soft shoulder.  Heck, I did the same thing one night while she was right there on the couch, but she said nothing then!

Also, at some point–I’ve long forgotten when–Richard wrote to me in a chat that he’d tell Tracy I was just shy, and she’d say I wasn’t shy because of sleeping on his shoulder.

Um…

  • For one thing, I am indeed extremely shy, but why on earth would I be shy with my besties?
  • For another, I know people who do things like this with their friends.
  • And for another, HE TAUGHT ME that sleeping on shoulders is perfectly innocent and appropriate among friends.
  • And for yet another, ever since I learned in January/February 2008 that it upset her, I NEVER DID IT AGAIN.

But this was not enough for Tracy, who refused to ever let me live it down–

or stop reminding Richard of it, since Richard told me she’d bring it up periodically to him–

which you can see was meant to smear my character to him.

Now, hearing that she actually wanted to kill me over it, the depths of her violence troubled me greatly, and I told him it was probably impossible for her and me to ever be close friends.

He was surprised to hear that I was scared of her.  (Why would that surprise him?)

He said that he was telling me these things because he now felt he could be more open with me.

This shocked me, because for the last year and a half, I thought he could be open with me about anything!

I was open with him about everything, after all, and encouraged him to do the same.

During the two months he lived here by himself, we bonded; he opened up his heart about all sorts of things, even things that scared me.  Also, whenever he told me a complaint about me, I listened.

As I later told him, I may get upset about it at the time, but I need to hear it, and afterwards I would think it over and try to make changes.

But now he said he’d been keeping things from me this whole time? that he didn’t feel he could be open with me?

It felt like our entire friendship for the past year and a half had been a lie! 

That he treated me like some China doll instead of being honest with me, and I had no clue WHY, when I always tried to be the person he could talk to about anything!

Unlike narcissists, normal people are willing to acknowledge wrongdoing, and get distressed at the thought of hurting somebody.  Through Richard’s smooth words and manipulation of this natural tendency, he got me to feel like a horrible host, when in reality they had been horrible guests

I believe they used and abused my hospitality, were freeloaders taking advantage of my generosity–not just when they stayed with us, but for the following two years–then used these weasel words to make me think I was the problem, not them.

When I caught their narcissistic FLEAS and did something I shouldn’t have (the solution Jeff came up with), to them it was somehow far worse than all the insults and bad behavior they were themselves guilty of.

(In reality, the solution seemed okay to me because Jeff had already been doing this on his own–

his own idea, which he told me about AFTER he started doing it–

as I describe in earlier e-mails to my mom.) 

This is a form of gaslighting which narcissists and abusers are good at.

These revelations made me feel like a horrible person.  I did not yet see how they were manipulating and gaslighting me into thinking the problem was all mine, and that they had behaved above reproach. 

When I could finally bring myself to tell my husband what they said, he could see this better than I could, and got angry again. 

But I was so into a remorseful funk that I could see nothing but my own sins, that I was nothing but a worm who deserved to be punished for what I did, that I was lucky they were so graceful and forgiving with me so far as to still be friends with me.

When a non-personality-disordered individual (Non-PD) begins imitating or emulating some of the disordered behavior of a loved one or family member with a personality disorder this is sometimes referred to as “getting fleas”.

Sometimes, when a person has been exposed to an abusive situation for a sustained period, they will look for ways to escape – and sometimes they will experiment or resort to behaviors which are not characteristic but serve as a mechanism to demonstrate their anger.

These behaviors are often destructive and counter-productive and rarely get the abuse victim what they want. These behaviors usually result in regret, shame and apologies from the abuse victim towards their perpetrator.

Some perpetrators may seize on such incidents as justification for their own abusive behavior or as a diversion from it. Lie Down with Dogs & You’re Bound to Get Fleas

I wrote down some things I was upset about, my side of things, for a later conversation, because we weren’t able to finish before he had to hang up.

More on this here.

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

 

 

Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 44

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

Part 44: Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse

I wrote these drafts of an e-mail to Richard, after the phone conversation I describe above, which was not quite finished–and left me with all sorts of complaints:

You said you’d talk to Tracy….Did it do any good?

It’s ripping me apart inside but it feels like the efforts I have made have been forgotten, the nice things I did for her and little things I said here and there and conversations I had with her….

I was hurt deeply by many things that happened, but for your sake I tried my hardest to get past them and forget them.

It hurts not only that these things have been forgotten but also that you seemed to believe so many bad things about me, too, or think anything she did to me was in any way justified.  I thought you knew me better than that.

I KNEW something was up but you kept insisting I was just paranoid.  I have lost so many hours and so much sleep to this issue.

Nothing I do is ever good enough.  I am not this evil person she seems to think I am.  I would never snub her.  I would never manipulate Jeff into anything.

To be honest, I haven’t cared about “going for coffee” or “going to the Bar & Grill” or whatever the point of contention is, for some time.

I care only about being trusted and not fearing my head’ll get bitten off.  I don’t think it’ll ever get better.

You seem to have forgotten various details which will put that overheard conversation into perspective.  Especially if you think you were working too hard to “keep the peace.”

I’m not sure you’re aware of all the abusive behavior I’d been witnessing for some time before I had that conversation [with Jeff]. My primary concern was not myself but how you and the girls were being treated. Also, I felt like the abuse was beginning to get directed toward me, and I had no clue where that was coming from.

I think you’ve also forgotten the series of letters I used to try to talk things out with you, because I wasn’t allowed to talk with you one-on-one.  

It wasn’t about going out for coffee, it was about not being allowed to discuss important things with you in private.  It was about feeling cut off and forgotten, like my best friend had been taken away from me.

Jeff was well aware of all of this; he had already comforted me as I sobbed over how it felt like I was being pushed aside.

[On the day I spoke to Jeff about everything and Tracy overheard] It wasn’t me manipulating him into it; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt;

[Jeff’s suggestion to show Tracy a movie so I could watch a movie with Richard for once] was his fix-it response to a problem [and he had already done this a few times before we had this conversation].

He never would’ve done it if he thought it was some sort of manipulation to get a man alone with his wife [for nefarious purposes]–are you kidding?

[This shows how I was guilted and manipulated as my/Jeff’s actions were twisted way out of proportion into the worst possible interpretations–same as they did to Todd in 2008.] 

He trusted us both enough to leave us alone for long periods of time.  He did it deliberately.  He was happy I had found a friend.

As for the shoulder thing–You and I had those conversations already [Richard had started the practice and taught me it was perfectly innocent and appropriate];

we both knew it was completely innocent; we had established firm boundaries of what was and was not acceptable.

And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

[He told me that she got upset over the “shoulder thing” because she didn’t know me, but that if a certain other friend did it, Tracy would think it was cute, and join in.

It was also distressing to hear about this yet again, because I hadn’t done it since January 2008, because it upset her so much.  Yet it kept getting brought up over and over and over!]

I KNEW things weren’t quite right.  I got worried when you didn’t call me [whenever he promised to].  I thought a number of things: You were being yelled at, you thought I was acting weird….

You told me I was just being paranoid…told me you were trying to find the right time is all….Now come to find you were getting yelled at because it was “THAT woman”….Like I was the one with the problem.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  Jeff says he would’ve ended the friendship a long time ago, that he would have exploded by now.

In later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.

My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I already felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

Jeff was already aware of this.  I wasn’t manipulating him into anything; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt; it was his fix-it response to a problem.

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done it if he thought we were going to do something we shouldn’t?

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done what he did without the best of intentions?  He wanted to befriend Tracy!

And about the “incident”–You and I had those conversations already; we both knew it was completely innocent, that Americans are too uptight; we had established firm boundaries.  And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

Things we both did [either Richard and me, or Jeff and me, not sure which] with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts [Tracy almost killing me] is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d even think I’d be deliberately rude.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

Even later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

I merely told Jeff what was going on and how I felt.  He responded by trying to fix the problem.

Various things we both did with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d ever think I’d be deliberately rude, or that you’d let these things build on themselves without talking with me about it first.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine and the past was left in the past, have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

I think I know what she meant about being too worried about “keeping the peace.”  If you knew what Jeff was doing (and I remember telling you about it) and it bugged you, you should’ve said something.  Now it’s festered.

If you knew about an “incident,” [her seeing the shoulder sleeping one afternoon when I was sick and desperately needed a nap] you should’ve told me.

You also should’ve told me, “It’s not okay right now, even when she’s out of the room, but it’ll be perfectly fine once she gets to know you.  I will tell you when that day comes, so you don’t have to guess.”  All I remember hearing is something about jealousy.

I keep hearing “you ignore it when she tries to start a conversation,” but I have no clue what you mean because all I remember is being kind and pleasant and smiling where appropriate and occasionally saying something.  If you see something happen, come to me and say, “THAT’s what I mean.”  Then I can say, “What?  I had no idea!” and be more watchful.

In my childhood, I had absolutely no clue that I was supposed to say “hi” and “bye” when people said it to me, until my mom and aunt pointed out that it was rude not to.  I think I was something like 10 or 11 by then.  Here I had no idea I was ticking people off for all those years, so I started forcing myself to say it.  Of course, it was still many years before I started initiating the “hi/bye,” but at least I knew to say it back.

In my teens, I had no idea that I was supposed to thank a person for a ride until a girl in my youth group chewed me out.  While it was embarrassing and I felt bad, I was also grateful to her for pointing this out.  I became a very gracious ride-taker after that.

I also didn’t see the point of saying “thank you” to a waitress because she was just doing her job, not a favor.  But in time I began to see how  much better it is to do so.

I am not intentionally rude.  I just never picked up on some of the social rules that other people figure out instinctively.  If nobody ever points it out, I miss it completely.

I don’t want to be chewed out, just have it gently mentioned.  Now Jeff never heard of the “compliments starting a conversation” rule, either,  so it may very well be a difference between [their region and our region] culture.

I didn’t actually send this e-mail because I spoke to Richard on the phone between the last draft at 3pm and an e-mail to Jeff at 4pm.  But I wrote it because our talk got interrupted before it could be finished.

So you see, old stuff was being drudged up again that I thought had long since been put to bed because nobody was doing them anymore, and because Tracy had made it very clear back in August of 2008 that the old restrictions on me were gone!

But when I called him about it after 3pm, I said I was tired of the whole thing (had been for a while, in fact).  I said I had a list of defenses but wanted to just drop the whole subject, and he said he did as well.

(The only one who actually kept the subject going in the first place, was Tracy.  Richard and I had wanted to drop it a long time ago.)

I told him I was sorry for my own part in things, and said so, to him and in an e-mail to her, which she accepted.  It sounded like he and I had so resolved things that their misunderstandings of me were cleared up.

More on this here.

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

 

We *seem* to have things sorted out–and they *seem* to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 45

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

Part 45: We *seem* to have things sorted out–and they *seem* to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)

But then an hour after the last draft I wrote of the above e-mail, I wrote to Jeff,

I *finally* got to finish that talk with Richard.  I had things all written down to say, then when I got the chance to say them, realized I was sick of the whole thing and just said maybe one or two things and that “nobody meant any harm.”  He noted that our two families just do a lot of things differently.

From what he says, it sounds like there’s been a LOT of miscommunication going on that has fueled everything, things that would have made a difference if I knew about them at the time.  Like, I was being protective of him at times, thought he was being mistreated, and had no idea he agreed with Tracy.

I told him that what Tracy overheard was not the whole story; I reminded him how he scolded me later, how I told you about it and we both relented on some things.  He says that things are now coming out in the open that should make a huge difference in how everybody interacts.

I told him I’m often clueless on social matters and to PLEASE let me know when I screw something up, that I might get upset but I’ll be better for the hearing.

He also says they’re going to go look at a duplex.  Here’s hoping!

Then I sent this to Richard on June 13:

(By e-mail since it’s probably far too busy this weekend for you to be taking another phone call.) I can’t help feeling this enormously icky feeling over some of the things we did that you guys were offended by….

I start thinking, “And all this time he felt this way and I had no clue. I hope he didn’t think less of me because of it, or that I was any less dear to him.”

It makes me feel like a huge heel even though we never, ever, ever meant anything the way that these things apparently came across. I guess we just were blinded by our emotions (I was feeling mistreated and pushed aside, Jeff was upset that his wife was upset) and didn’t think things through.

So I’m sending an apology to you as well. Oh, and you also have my permission to launch something soft and fuzzy at me (pillow, stuffed animal) if I miss a conversational cue.

In response Richard wrote,

There is nothing to fret about. No need for an apology and nothing to worry over. Both you and Jeff are Godsends who extended arms of love and support for a family down in the dumps.

If anything we apologize for causing drama. Our only excuses for any drama is that we lived in [old region] far too long to get it out of our systems before coming out here. 😛

So have no worries, luv.  Stop dwelling! No more worrying!

I wrote,

[happy cry]

I will try to stop dwelling/worrying.  It’s hard for me to do.  😛  One of the introverted traits: We ruminate.

One of the NVLD traits: We tend to latch onto something, like an interest or a hobby or a situation, and it won’t leave our heads for days no matter what we do.  (If you doubt it, just look at the size of my “Orthodox Theology” file.  Now it’s broken; I think I need a box….)

So I get hit with a double-whammy.

But knowing that we are *OKAY* will be a tremendous help.  Hopefully I will be able to latch onto something else soon–say, trying to get through Sho-Gun at last.  Less than 300 pages left!

I do have a problem, though: I can’t go to confession, at least with my own priest, for weeks.  He’s gone for two weeks, and when he comes back, the first Divine Liturgy will be at the site of Greek Fest.  No confessions there, not in the Rec Center with no Jesus icon and people already banging down the doors and milling in for the good eats.

Now I see why confession is so important: Even with the best of intentions, you can still hurt people.  I long to hie myself there ASAP.

It seemed like all our problems were now resolved, like they had FINALLY taken responsibility for causing this drama, instead of always putting it on my shoulders.  Now that I finally got my apology, I felt I could move on.

You also see that I took much of the responsibility on myself.

At some point, I told him I hoped it wasn’t the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.  I thought it was the end of the beginning.

You’d think that was the end of it.  I had also sent an apology to Tracy, despite Richard telling me I didn’t need to.  I decided not to listen to him anymore, and just do it anyway.  I asked if we could start over, and we did.  Next time I saw her, I felt the wall was gone, and chatted with her easily.

But a year later–after I had been led to believe for some months that Tracy’s restrictions on me were all dropped again (more on this later)–I discovered this “apology” was a lie.  That it *was* the beginning of the end. 

I discovered that Tracy refused to drop her grudges no matter what I said, no matter what I did, that nothing I did ever satisfied her. 

That this was all a big con game she played to screw with my head and drive me insane.

It made me wonder if, when he said “we apologize for bringing drama into your house,” by “we” he meant “I.”  If she even knew he had written this.  If I could consider it to be an apology from her, or just from him.

But I was dealing with a woman who probably has borderline personality disorder and/or is a narcissist.

Richard himself said that she goes in cycles, fine for a while, then abuse starting up again.

I did my darndest to fight off bad memories and bad feeling, and forgive.  And for a while it worked.

But then at some point–I believe during the following winter (2009/2010)–she started cycling again, abusing the kids in front of me, snarking at me, sniping at Richard.  And it all went downhill from there.  But more on that to come.

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

Maybe this time the stalkers will stay away?

archives[Update 10/22/14: About six months ago, at least one of my stalkers began using a new device and connection.  I thought it was a new fan, until they gave themselves away, probably Richard.  He seemed particularly interested in this post for some reason.]

So the new blog has been up for several days now.  The old one is set up with an automatic redirect so my traffic transfers over here.

So there we have one point for me, because I don’t “lose” after all by “cutting and running” from the old Blogger blog to get away from my stalkers.

The redirect has been working quite well.  It doesn’t work so well on cell phones, unfortunately, but a message is posted stating that the blog has moved over here to WordPress.

Point two for me is that WordPress (the self-hosted kind) is far better than WordPress.com, with all sorts of options and control over your own blog (such as plugins).

It’s also far better than Blogger, where the only available block was third-party Javascripts that may or may not work.  Even if they do work, a person can still figure out how to defeat them.

But here, I can block users at the server level: supposedly a very powerful block, no stupid Javascripts.

Point three for me is that my stalkers have been stalking my old blog every day or every other day since I put up the new blog, yet they have not been seen over here.

They’re not getting redirected, since they use a cell phone.  The change of address is very clearly posted, and they must have seen it by now, yet away they stay.  Either they’re not bothering to come here, or the blockers are working fine.  If they do find a way around them again, I can easily block them again.

So basically, the beginning of Lent has been emotionally turbulent, as I face the hard reality that Richard just is not a good man, was never a good friend.

Come to think of it, he kept directly telling me that he’s not a good man, but I didn’t believe him.  I’d call him a good man and he’d say, “No, I’m not.”  I’d say he was a “teddy bear” and he’d say he was a grizzly bear.  He’d tell me the horrible things he’d done; maybe I just wanted to believe he’d changed.

Maybe he did think his friendship was genuine, but never really cared about me, just cared about how good my narcissistic supply made him feel.

I thought maybe he wanted to see if I was healing.  But when I tried to block them, when I posted that I wanted to pull the blog plug on them during Lent, cut off this last remaining contact with them, they began checking my blog several times a day! 

They took their cell phone all over town, using different connections, which you can do with Android phones.  Tracy even checked my blog from her college campus!  (Aren’t you supposed to focus on your studies?)

It proves that they don’t want me to recover from what they’ve done.  They want to keep me mired in the crap they flung at me!  They don’t want to let me go!

I’ve presented to them every bit of evidence (other than one e-mail/phone conversation which would lead to harm for the person who exchanged it with me).  I have proved my innocence and that their behavior to me was wrong.

If they still can’t see it, if they still justify what they did, it’s because they don’t want to see the truth.

And no amount of arguing and convincing can work with a person determined to excuse abuse; I have no desire to keep pounding my head against the wall.

Now I struggle, fighting down very human desires for revenge, focusing on justice instead.  I have always avoided revenge because revenge is evil.  Revenge means posting their names and calling in friends to help tear them apart.  That would be evil.

But justice is good.

Justice means that I keep up my blog, but without naming names.  My blog cannot possibly do them harm without names.  No one can Google their names and find this blog.  Employers cannot possibly find it and decide to deny them jobs.  It won’t hurt any businesses they might decide to start.

Justice means that if they decide to make my church their own, rather than staying at the one they like much better, then I must go to my priest for mediation

Justice means that if they send me another nastygram, I call the police (again), this time to press charges.

Justice would heal; revenge would cause me more harm than it would them.  Yet even my justice, they treat as if it were my revenge that must be stopped.

The TV series Once Upon a Time does an excellent job portraying narcissists/sociopaths/psychopaths.  For example, Regina has a heart, and is more narcissistic/sociopathic, while her mother, Cora, has no heart (literally) and is a psychopath.  Cora infected Regina with her evil; now Regina wants to infect Snow White with evil.

In the latest episode, Regina took out Snow’s heart (a magical ability which does not kill the person) and saw blackness forming in the middle of it, because Snow did an evil deed in order to kill Cora.  Regina cheered, gloating that pure-hearted Snow will now become like Regina–which means Regina will have won.

Not only does this reveal the heart of narcissists and sociopaths, but it demonstrates how easily good people can fall if we allow narcs to contaminate us with desires for revenge.  No, the best revenge is living well.

No, I’ve been steadily writing about this on my blog for about a year and a half.  From what I’ve seen of other abuse blogs, that’s normal.  Now I want to move on to other topics.  Still post about abuse/narcissism/bullying etc., since these things are important and people still need help.  But focus more on other things, getting back into the artistic side.

I have reviewed various websites and legal documents, and found absolutely no basis for their threats to sue for defamation, as you can read in Now I’m Being Stalked.  No, this blog is no more actionable than flame wars on forums.

I have also spoken to a policeman, the one who took my report about the e-mail in the above link.  He said that with changed names, I’m doing nothing illegal.  He also reassured me that they cannot sue me for talking to my priest about this.

Various abuse bloggers, themselves often threatened, have checked into this and found that they are safe from legal action as long as they do not name the person on their blog.

That message from my stalkers is so absurd–paranoid and delusional–as to be laughable.  My stalkers ranted and raged against imaginary threats which I never made: I have reviewed my posts again and again, and never once did I say I would name them publicly on my blog or try to push them out of their faith/community.  I only said (in a post written months before they found it) that I would go to my priest for mediation if they joined my parish.

You can’t sue a person for asking for help in a volatile matter between parishioners, and the policeman confirmed this.  But then, I have seen this again and again, Tracy imagining some slight or other offense, and then yelling and screaming at people for things they haven’t even done, while refusing to believe they haven’t done it.

I’ve already been to my priest for help in this matter, and I have not lied, whether to my priest or on these blogs.  Every time I look over what I’ve written, I find nothing but truth and opinion, which are both protected in this country.

So as much as I often wonder what they’re doing on my blog so obsessively, not letting up after 10 months!!!, if they do find some ambulance-chaser, the judge will throw it out of court as a frivolous lawsuit.  And Hubby will countersue for legal fees for wasting our time.

Now I can say what I want without worrying about what they think.

So far, so good.  The blog here is quiet.  I hope that I will soon be able to breathe more easily, and focus my efforts on my goal for Lent: transferring my rage and bitterness from my heart into the accounts I have already written.

I have already confronted my abusers; there is nothing more left to do.

Lent has just begun.  We have two services a week, in addition to Sunday services, for the first few weeks of Lent.  Easter (Pascha) is May 5.

[Update 4/18/15: Since that time, they switched Internet Service Providers and began stalking me with different IPs.  But their usual IP has been the same since September 2013, so I could block them at any time: I just choose not to.  Well, except now and then, when I want to mess with them. 

Nowadays, instead of bothering me, I find their antics on my blog highly amusing.  Such as in the above note from October 2014, describing when they came on from an unexpected place in April 2014, began obsessively and hilariously stalking my blog and probably raised its Google ranking, and then sent a little “guess who” in my blog stats. 

These antics also make me almost certain that they deliberately drove by me a second time back in January 2013 because they wanted to spook me.  (I know they know it was me, because I heard their little girl call my name when she first saw me.)  Because if they can do this, they can do that.  It fits their modus operandi.

These antics prove that they’re sociopaths beyond any lingering doubt.  “Normal” people don’t behave like that: They’d either try to make things right or go away eventually, not carry out a campaign of intimidation and obsessive blog-checking.  “Normal” people have better ways to spend their time than trying to terrorize people. 

This proves they’re sociopaths, and they do this because I’m one of several people who have seen through their mask and know what they really are.  I’ve seen before how Tracy can go after perceived enemies.

But they’re amusing sociopaths at least.  If you can laugh at them, their power over you is gone.]

 

A Conversation with Oscar Wilde–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 10

newpostAs part of my Lit mid-term, I was to write a dinner dialogue between myself and one of the twelve authors we studied.  I wrote,

I have invited over Oscar Wilde, have sent my time machine to him and brought him to my house.  We go to Country Kitchen, not because it’s the best food (not), but because it’s the “local hangout” and he can see bits of local society.

“I loved ‘Importance of Being Earnest,'” I say.  “It was so funny and so ridiculous.”

“Well, in my day, society is ridiculous,” Wilde says.  “Marriage based on how much money you have, your worth determined by what you do and what your connections are–I wanted people to see how silly they were being with these attitudes.”

We go on discussing the play for a while, not any others since that’s the only one by him that I know.  Then we begin to talk about contemporary issues–starting with marriage.

“Marriage these days is supposed to be based on love,” I say, “but we now have a 50% divorce rate.”

“We base it partly on love,” Wilde says, “or, rather, infatuation–and partly on economics.  Our divorce rate is low because people just don’t divorce.  But so many people are unhappy because they didn’t know their spouse well enough before marrying them, and now they’re no longer ‘in love,’ if they ever were in the first place.”

Somehow we end up on the subject of homosexuality; I admit I don’t agree with it, but I say that I think it was wrong for Wilde to be jailed for it.  “You shouldn’t be put in jail just because of the way you are, when you can’t always help it,” I say.

“I was put there for ‘corrupting a young person’ with it,” he says.  “I wish I’d never fought the Marquess; when he said I was homosexual, it was true.  Maybe people would’ve forgotten about it if I hadn’t sued, but now I’m in prison for a drive I have.  A drive I don’t know how to control.”

“You must admit, you were pretty–promiscuous there, and you do have a wife,” I say, which leads to AIDS–which leads to a discussion of the prevalence of syphilis in Wilde’s day.  Interesting, but not something I’d want to record here.

People look at us and wonder why Wilde talks the way he does and why he dresses the way he does.  But he notices that they seem less shocked at our topics of conversation than they are about him.

“It seems like you’re so much freer to talk, really talk, in your day,” he says.  We eventually leave, and I take him back to my house to spend the rest of the evening–wishing all the while that such a handsome man weren’t gay!

Actually, I’ve since discovered that he swung both ways.  And changed my mind about homosexual love being wrong.  But anyway, finding this test paper especially interested me after reading De Profundis (my commentary here) and a new biography of his wife.  There are details in the above conversation which, over nearly 20 years, I forgot I ever even knew.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

 

Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts? Or, how *should* we evangelize, then?

newpostAn amusing and scathing take on the value of criticism in the church–as opposed to saying, “You shouldn’t criticize praise music/popular writers/mega-churches/people doing the Lord’s work”: “Talk Hard” by the late Internet Monk

Moving New Religions from the Fringes to Mainstream shows that we must critique these things, since many trends damaging to the witness of the Church have been allowed to go on, unchecked.

For example, says the writer, Philip Johnson,

Laity and pastors alike seem to be enamoured with Christian fiction, particularly novels that cast new religions and alternate spiritualities in the role of an identifiable social and spiritual enemy.

This observation is supported by the massive sales for Frank Peretti’s novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, and the Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

He refers to the plots of such works as propaganda, morality tales, McCarthyism.  He says that depicting new religions as “the source of Antichristic power” leads readers to not respect the followers of those religions, which damages our witness to them.

He also is disturbed that the attitudes of readers toward these religions are being “powerfully influenced by pop novels.”

This page also addresses courses you find in evangelical churches these days on how to evangelize, discipleship, etc.

For example, he complains that many of these courses have apparently not been “road-tested” with non-Christians who are not influenced by churches.  The courses give answers to questions that are important to Christians, but often have little in common with questions people are actually asking.

He also says that Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life program is a product of “Southern California Christian culture,” and does not work so well in other cultures.

I know what he means, because I have experienced a few of these courses.  For example, one course gave a lot of pat answers to a list of stock questions a non-Christian might ask, but these answers may not always work in the real world.

One stock question was, “But what about people who sincerely believe in their religion?”  The pat answer was, “You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong.”

This might work on some people.  But there are many people in this day of cynicism and alternative religions who would say to that, “Well, how do you know that you’re not sincerely wrong?”

Or, “That’s arrogant!”

Or, “My religion calls that attitude, morally reprehensible.”

Or, “I’m a Pagan, and you’re focusing on the path rather than the ultimate goal of religion.  The kind of person your religion makes you, is more important than which religion.”

The problem is getting into a logical argument over religion, which cannot be proved scientifically.  If you want an effective witness, then your life must be your most important tool.  Show that Christianity is different; don’t just use theological arguments, because a determined person can always find some way to disagree with them.

Here’s a more useful tool for witnessing to Pagans: “How to Share the Gospel with Pagans,” written by a Pagan.

DON’T use Chick Tracts.  The ignorance and paranoia in these tracts is appalling, as is the intolerance (see how Roman Catholics are treated).

They seem to have gotten their information about witches, Satanists, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.–

–from 700 Club episodes, Bob Larson, medieval propaganda, and various other questionable sources–

–rather than asking real, honest-to-goodness Wiccans etc.

If any of that depraved stuff described in the tracts does happen, it’s probably done by serial killers and rebellious teenagers who want to shock their parents.

It is not the practice of actual Wiccans to drink blood, sacrifice animals or babies, pledge allegiance to Satan, or any of that stuff.  For the truth, go here and here.

Also, some of the other tracts are, frankly, appalling: In the “Happy Halloween” tract, a child gets hit by a car and goes to Hell.  The tract about gays portrays ridiculous, stereotypical caricatures, and celebrates a child’s use of the word “queer.”  Various tracts about Roman Catholics say that they are going to Hell, too.

Any D&D gamer can tell you that “Dark Dungeons” has nothing to do with actual Dungeons and Dragons games.  They are not a “gateway drug” into real witchcraft.

How can you make an honest convert through fear and misinformation?

I was shocked one day to discover that we had one of these tracts in our house, the “Who, Me?” tract.  It seemed innocent enough, but its identity as a Chick Tract makes it worthy of Gehenna (the burning trash heap).  It was given to us by an evangelical minister as a tool.  I can only hope he was not aware of the more ridiculous Chick Tracts.

The Religious Tolerance site also has articles on practically any other religion you might think of, such as Satanism.  Articles on Satanic Ritual Abuse are here.  You can research the truth so that you can witness with knowledge and respect, such as the Apostle Paul did.

Evangelicals have gotten a bad name among the followers of alternative religions because many have tried to convert without knowledge or respect, trying to scare with Hell rather than appealing to one’s desire to connect with deity.  This hinders the work of Christ.

Here is an Orthodox perspective on the absolute necessity of religious tolerance, despite our belief that Orthodoxy is true.  The reason: We must not bring injustice on others.

My own feelings: We must be tolerant of and respect other people and their religious beliefs.  Tolerance does not mean that you must adopt other beliefs or say that they are correct.  It just means respecting that other people have the right to think differently than you, even if you believe they’re wrong.

Written between probably 2005 and 2006

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

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

Page 2:

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

Page 3:

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

Page 4:

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

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

Reading The Brothers Karamazov

archivesOn December 26, I wrote to a friend that I had just started reading The Brothers Karamazov.  I was on page 60 and I loved it so far.  The writing style, the humor–and all the Orthodox stuff! Icons, a monastery, even a starets (the elder, Father Zossima).  I already identified with Alexei Karamazov.

On December 31, as I wrote, I spent part of the afternoon reading The Brothers Karamazov, the first 100 pages of which are so wonderful I want to savor every word:

The rich characterizations, the humor of the narrator, the character Alyoshev (Alexey)–whom I identify with….

The father, Fyodor Karamazov, is a narcissistic sociopath….

The brothers and the people who visit the starets (elder), Father Zossima, have the same questions and concerns I do–the same overriding question, How can we prove immortality does or does not exist?  And the scenes from Russian Orthodoxy are very appealing to this convert….

On January 28, I wrote that my very same doubts and questions about God and immortality, are expressed in The Brothers Karamazov.  Though Dostoyevsky was a Christian and loved his Orthodox faith, he, too, suffered from doubts.  In the foreword of my copy of the book, written by Manuel Komroff, page xv reads,

The theme and philosophy of The Brothers Karamazov occupied Dostoyevsky’s mind for many years.  In a letter to a friend he writes:

“The chief problem dealt with throughout this particular work is the very one which has, my whole life long, tormented my conscious and subconscious being: The question of the existence of God.”

What if God does not exist?  Then for Dostoyevsky the world is nothing but a “vaudeville of devils” and “all things are lawful,” even crime.

I also found a lovely quote on jealousy: “One might wonder what there is in a love that has to be so watched over, what a love can be worth that needs such strenuous guarding.  But this the jealous will never understand” (p. 440).

As I wrote here,

In The Brothers Karamazov, the character Grushenka had been mourning for years for the love of her life, after he married someone else.  But the wife died, and he came back, wanting to marry Grushenka.

However, in the course of one evening, Grushenka discovered that this guy was actually a scoundrel and a con man, who only wanted to marry her because she had done fairly well for herself financially.

That evening was sufficient to break her of her grief, and make her wonder how she could have spent all those years mourning this guy who clearly did not deserve her love.  Then she was free to pursue her passion for Dmitri Karamazov.

It is the same when we mourn a narcissist.  I have grieved and waited for exes to come back to me, exes who lied to me, who abused me, then dumped me.  When it finally hit me just what I was grieving and waiting for, the grief began to go away.

I have grieved and waited for Richard to come wanting to restore a friendship with us.  Two and a half years I’ve waited for this!  But when the character of the narcissist becomes clear to us, we can finally stop grieving and move on with our lives.

I am now finished with the book.  I especially love how Orthodoxy is woven into the book.  So many things I understood instantly because of their connection to the faith.  Things that, ten years ago, before my conversion, I would have missed.

Such as, understanding why they were so devastated when the starets immediately began stinking after he died: They expected him to be incorrupt, because in Orthodoxy, many dead saints are discovered to be incorrupt long after burial, with healing myrrh streaming from their bodies.  Yet a little child who died did not decay after 3 days.

It was a huge crisis of faith for the town after the starets died and this happened.  Those who loved him, questioned their belief in God and miracles; those who hated him, were smug.

Alyosha is the mystic of the family, and very close to the starets.  Yet he does not seem to abandon his beliefs.

As I read in the foreword, Dostoyevsky was called by Turgeniev the most “evil Christian” he had ever met.  And yet I had felt such a kinship to him when I read the religious sections.  He wrote Alyosha so well for an “evil Christian.”

I sense from what I read here of his biography that if I knew him, I would not like him, because of his bad fruit: He was wicked, vicious, unfaithful to his wife, abusive to servants….

If only he had repented of these things and done as his faith required, the faith he loved so fervently.  If only he had been more like the righteous characters he created.

But fortunately, I only have to deal with his writings.  So far, I loved Crime and Punishment, and I love The Brothers Karamazov.

Converts to Orthodoxy also love Karamazov, mentioning it often on online forums, which is how I heard about it in the first place.  No, wait, I did read part of it in a college class, but did not remember where it came from.

In short, I recommend it.

The Care and Feeding of Shy People

This was originally a Usenet post, posted to a large SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, medieval hobbyists) newsgroup back in the spring of 1998.  The newsgroup was called the Rialto.

This was before the explosion of Internet articles and blogs about how introverts need respect, too, for the way they socialize (or not) and the way their brains work.

I expected a lot of criticism for going against what I kept hearing from the extroverts all around me.  Instead, I got an amazing response from all sorts of other shy people who agreed with me, and suggestions such as carrying around M&Ms to offer to people as icebreakers.

I also got a helpful critique from someone who was not shy, which helped me revise it into a better form.

The chronicler (newsletter writer, guy named Folo) for one shire (SCA group belonging to a city/region) saw it and asked to publish it in his shire newsletter.  So this has actually been published before.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to my copy of the newsletter, so can’t reference it.  But I do have an e-mail with the updated version which I agreed to have published.  It was specifically addressed to SCA readers, but applies to everyone.  Here it is:

Sometimes comments are made to shy people, especially to scared newbies or recent newbies who still don’t know many people very well, that are thought to be helpful but are really not.  For example, “Well, if you’re bored / If you don’t know many people, then you should talk to people.”  Or, “Do you talk?”  Or greeting a person not with a hello, but with a, “Don’t talk so much today!”

Such comments may be well-intentioned, even considered humor.  To the speaker, they may seem reasonable and easy to act upon.

But they sound rude to the recipient, and can actually be counter-productive.  Instead of talking or smiling more or starting conversations, the shy person may grow increasingly resentful, talk less, and, instead of doing the things he naturally does to start friendships, ends up not even doing that.

He grows more uncomfortable and self-conscious than he would have been.  In effect, an outgoing person telling a shy person to talk more is like a well person telling a sick person to get better, or a cat telling a dog to be a cat.

Instead, be more understanding of the shy person’s natural manner of making friends.  Some are not sure how to make friends, but some have already developed strategies that work for them.

Maybe a particular person is quiet at first, but more talkative after getting to know you. I  have found myself going from quiet to talkative in a matter of minutes with a person I’ve only just met, because we seemed to “click.”

But often, the thought of talking with a complete stranger can make a shy person freeze up.  Let him ask for help, and don’t just assume he needs it.

Another thing to do is, if he appears bored or uncomfortable, you could invite him to join your group at a meal or whatever your group is doing.  Then don’t persecute him if he doesn’t open up right away.

(Our reasons for keeping quiet in a group discussion are varied: we don’t know the subject at all, we don’t have anything to say, all our points are already made by others, or we just can’t get a word in edgewise until the subject has already changed!)

If he thinks he would like to get to know you better, he might, after this icebreaker, seek you out.  Or need to be invited once or twice more.  That would help a lot.  Ask him for his opinions on conversation topics, too–make him a part of discussion.  Remember, you have the power here, in the shy person’s eyes.

Crowds can also be intimidating.  A relaxed setting (meaning, no one’s pressured to talk), such as a game of pente or watching TV, with a handful of people is an excellent way to get a shy person to “open up.”

Those are my observations after years (inside and outside the SCA) of seeing what works and what doesn’t.  What works is to accept the shy person as shy and/or quiet; what doesn’t work is to try to change this without being asked.

Nyssa of Iona

 

A little thing about health insurance debates….

I was just reading some Internet comments and somebody wrote, Health care was already universally available before the Universal Health Care Act.

I also recently read that some Republicans want retirees to get stipends instead of Medicare.

Um….After hubby lost a decent-paying job and health insurance during the Great Recession, he had to take a string of contract jobs and then a low-paying job which only gave an insurance stipend.  Group insurance rates through employers are fairly standard; individual insurance plans required higher rates for our health issues.

So we could not afford health insurance at all.

For several years, NO INSURANCE because it wasn’t offered/we could not afford it.  Ridiculous rates for our health issues made it impossible even to buy it with a stipend.  At least, not if we still wanted to EAT and pay our mortgage/bills/condo association fees.  (We moved there before hubby lost his job, and selling a condo/moving was not an option.  Ever try to sell a condo–not easy–and have two mortgages or mortgage+rent until it sells?)

I’ve also worked for an insurance agent, and seen what kind of premiums come in for retirees.  As far back as 2000, I wondered how the heck retirees could afford those premiums, and how the people deciding those rates could live with themselves.  (Not the raters, because they’re just clerks doing what Corporate told them to.  I had that job once, too.)

And when you can’t get insurance–Ever try to get health care without insurance?  Hubby had high blood pressure yet struggled just to find a doctor after his own doctor switched practices.  He’d get the runaround whenever he tried to find one.

When he finally found a good job and we had insurance again, all of a sudden, it was easy to find doctors.

We began discovering problems which required surgery.  There’s no way we could afford that without insurance!

I just hear so much BS coming from the Republicans about this, and then they talk about repealing “Obamacare.”  I say, amend the problems in Obamacare (or go to a single-payer system), but don’t get rid of the whole thing!  Then we’re back to where we were before!

And, oh yeah, Obamacare was actually based on REPUBLICAN ideas until Obama went along with it as a compromise.  Then, all of a sudden, it became Evil.  So Republicans are basically saying their OWN PLAN is Evil and must be repealed…

My head hurts.  😛

 

 

To my subscribers:

The focus of this blog has changed to more diverse subjects, rather than narcissism/abuse.  I feel I’ve already written on that enough, and want to turn to other things.  But feel free to dig through the archives, or check the front page now and then: I’ve been reposting old posts.  :)

 

Welcome to visitors from–what, three reblogs now?

My post Catching FLEAS from Narcissists and Abusers is sort of going viral: Three blogs have now re-blogged it, bringing more traffic here.  It is also inspiring many favorable and grateful comments on Lucky Otter’s blog.  Welcome to visitors from those blogs!  :)

Here they are so far:

Lucky Otter

Galesmind

MarilynMunrow111

I am reassured and gratified to see the reblogs and the conversations they have inspired.  It makes this blogging business worthwhile.  :)