Prevalence of porn leading to teenage girls forced into anal sex

Warning: Not for children.  Though teenage girls should see it.

My heart weeps at the thought that many young girls are now being put through what I was 20 years ago by my ex-husband Phil:

Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition by Allison Pearson

Some quotes:

A GP, let’s call her Sue, said: “I’m afraid things are much worse than people suspect.”

In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to.

“I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”

Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress.

When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.

 

….[M]ore than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts, according to one of the largest European polls on teenage sexual experience.

Recent research by the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from their teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five boys harbouring “extremely negative attitides towards women”.

 

Mature women can generally make up their own minds about what they are and aren’t prepared to do in bed. That is a private matter among consenting adults, although I don’t know a single woman who thinks that a man insisting on anal sex is anything other than a depersonalising act of aggression.

For inexperienced teenage girls it’s a different matter. Their whole sexting culture sends them one crude, insidious message: buggers must be choosers.

I went through this with Phil, only unlike these girls, I refused to let him do this, knowing that I did not have to.

In response, Phil accused me of always needing to have my own way.  He tried punishing me through no sex at all for refusing anal.  He even tried an elaborate hoax to try to influence me into doing what he wanted.

Phil sometimes forcefully tried to turn me over.  Once in the middle of things, he pulled out and tried to get in the other way.  It didn’t work well from the top, but his attempt still qualifies as “rape” according to modern legal definitions in Indiana, where this happened.

He said maybe in other countries, THIS is considered the “natural” way.  He pointed to sex scenes in Clan of the Cave Bear, but didn’t seem to understand that the Neanderthals in that book were NOT having anal sex.

He told me one of his ex-girlfriends claimed it was the most pleasurable kind of sex for a woman.

And no, he never heard of lube.  The pain was excruciating the one time I grudgingly allowed it, and the pain keeps on giving: Bowel movements are absolutely horrid afterwards.

Yet somehow, I was the “bad” one because I wasn’t properly submissive to my husband, who expected obedience.

He even told his best friend how badly I treated him; the friend then turned around and scolded me.

And yes, Phil was into porn, particularly Hustler.

This was 20 years ago.  So this is not a new problem, but according to the above article, today’s Internet porn makes the problem far more prevalent–with girls who feel they HAVE to do these things.

A while back, I read a whole bunch of comments on some article online that claimed that lots of women love this kind of sex, and basically made detractors sound like prudes.

I’ve also read that the modern trend to be “clean-shaven” in unnatural places comes from the prevalence of porn.  I was once sexually harassed on the Internet by a guy who said he likes his women clean-shaven.  I never told him whether I was or wasn’t; he just attacked without provocation.

Yet my best friend Richard–friends with this guy–accused me of being “ridiculous” because, a year later, I still did not want to hear this guy’s name, and because “the Internet isn’t real [harassment].”

I’m teaching my son to NOT treat girls like this.  I tell him Girls are People, NOT TOOLS for guys’ pleasure.

My stories are hardly isolated.  So I keep them here on the Net to help other girls realize they don’t have to put up with this crap:

The story of Phil

Sexual harassment by Richard’s friend: Here and Here

 

 

 

When the Peanut Brittle House tried to kill me

Candyland was more than a game for me: It was a mystical land.

I imagined myself actually walking through it as I played the game, and I saw myself going into the houses.

The newer games, which came out after I outgrew Candyland, had different pictures, too cartoon-like and not as fun and mystical as the old pictures the game had in the 70s.

I made little people-shapes with my hands, probably not the traditional kind but my own “tiger-kangaroos.”

(The index finger was the head, the thumb and middle finger were arms, and the remaining fingers were legs. I invented these figures in Kindergarten–another story for another time.)

They walked along the spaces, sat on the ice cream floats (floating pieces of Neapolitan ice cream), and went into the various candy houses.

The Peanut Brittle House–oh, what a weird, sinister feeling that place had! I dreamed about it once, that I was inside it with my sister. I had at least one sister and no brothers in this dream, just the opposite of my real life.

She was working at the stove in an upstairs room by the window, making something in a saucepan.

It boiled up with lava and began to spill out of the saucepan.

We had to run away, because if it touched us, we would die.

We tried to run out of the house, but it wasn’t easy.

Ever since, I think of this dream whenever I see the old Peanut Brittle House.

I don’t feel that way with the new picture of it, though, because it just is not the same at all.

The old Peanut Brittle House which inspired this dream is below:

ClassicCandyland

Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse

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

Part 67: Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse

Here is a blog comment describing an article by Richard Skerritt (an article which I could not find on the Net) showing the difference between a disordered adult’s tantrum and that of an angry child.  It basically says that comparing the two is unfair to children, because the adult’s tantrum lasts longer and is far worse:

Usually, despite the anger etc. the reaction was the result of some easily understood stimuli, like taking a toy away or something. Whereas, the triggering of the disordered can come about as the result of something that, to a normal person, is completely innocuous.

He also pointed out that a tantruming child can be comforted, eventually and , once the tantrum is done, the child is soothed and reverts to normal.

But, the raging disordered person can not be soothed and continues to go ballistic even if the offender tries to remove the offending stimuli.

Anna Valerious writes:

But today’s thought is simply this: the narcissist/abuser has tender feelings that they coddle and caress and expect you to do the same for their poor little feelings. Conversely, they will trample, disregard and spit on your feelings.

This is a sign of their basely selfish and corrupt natures and isn’t your cue to capitulate. Expect them to be ‘hurt’ when you state reality. Expect them to look wounded to the core when you don’t perform properly your “duty” by them.

Remember ’til your dying day that the narcissist and the abuser are filled with the tenderest sympathy for themselves, but can spare none or little for you.

This is a grotesque reality you mustn’t pretend away. Stop the crazy bus and get off!

There is something seriously wrong with a person who has feelings only for their own pain. Period. Every psychopath has feelings for himself.

The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings. Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle.

Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?

And this is from an article about communicating with people with disorders which make it hard to understand others.  The article is about people on the autism spectrum, but some of the NVLD social issues overlap with Asperger’s and autism:

Presume honesty. We may fail to make eye contact because it makes us feel anxious. We may be nervous in social situations with new acquaintances.

Some may construe our symptoms of anxiety as related to lying, and may not believe or trust us. If anything, however, most of us are honest to a fault. ….

Tell us if we are making you uncomfortable. For example, if we invade your personal space, and you just move away, we may not understand why.

If you say something like, “I am not comfortable with someone standing that close, but six inches farther apart feels good to me,” we will generally be very willing to do that, and not feel hurt. —Learning Each Other’s Language: Strategies to Improve Communication Between Neurotypicals and Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

It’s ludicrous the way Tracy lectured me in the 7/1 and 8/1/10 e-mails about “proper” behavior, saying that I was “wrong” and how “everybody knows, learning disability or not” that you’re supposed to befriend the wife if you want to do anything with the husband (playful banter with, going for coffee with, etc. etc.). 

No, I was NOT “wrong.”

1. It’s ludicrous because she knows absolutely nothing about what it’s like for people with NVLD or Asperger’s to struggle with social rules.  For example, until my mother explained it to me when I was maybe 11, I had absolutely no clue that you’re supposed to say “hi” back when somebody greets you in the hallway.  I had no idea I was offending people this way.

Social rules had to be explained to me or I would not know they existed.

2. It’s ludicrous because it’s not true: There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.

I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.  Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.

Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.  No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.

Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

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

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.

I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.

I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first?

And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.

If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.

After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.

This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Also, throughout our marriage, my husband has had many female friends whom I did not know, but I had no objection to him going to SCA events alone, chatting with them, wandering off to chat with them when we visited, e-mailing them, meeting them for coffee, that sort of thing.

TRUST IS NECESSARY in a marriage, or it will degenerate into suspicion and controlling behavior, which ultimately will drive you apart, the opposite of what you intended. 

Also, I want to be friends with people because we get along and have things in common, NOT because I am or she is forced into it because of whom we’re married to.

3. It’s ludicrous because Tracy focused so much on what she demanded of other people, but gave them nothing, gave me nothing, gave no apologies for nasty behavior, no acknowledgement of how her husband is charming and easy to be friends with, but she turns people off from friendship with her.

4. It’s ludicrous because it violates my own rights to choose my friends, choose my confidantes, put up boundaries against people like her, and be able to tell for myself when someone is not good to be around.  

5. It’s ludicrous because–from Richard’s own words–she did not live by the same rules which she imposed on Richard and everyone else.  She did NOT befriend me before chatting with, playfully flirting with, or going to a concert with my husband.

Richard did NOT require that all her friends be friends with him as well, nor did she impose such a rule on herself.  Only Richard’s friends had to follow this rule.

6. It’s ludicrous because it takes the focus off the true offender–her, the one who abuses her husband, children, and anyone else she chooses–and puts it on a scapegoat.  

I knew just a few weeks into her rooming with us that she was a bad and emotionally dangerous person.  She was also bigger than I am and violent.

Forcing me into friendship with her was bullying and controlling behavior from both her and Richard, from the very beginning.

So when I think back, it’s not at all surprising that I dug in my heels and refused to go beyond polite hellos and responses to her comments or questions.

Jeff thinks one reason for her jealousy was that she knew I could easily steal away Richard, just by being nice and sweet to him, hanging on his every word and laughing at his jokes, a huge contrast to Tracy’s treatment of him.

But Jeff feels the real reason for her seeing me as a threat to her marriage, was not as a potential affair-partner, but as a confidante, someone who could open Richard’s eyes to just how badly Tracy was treating him and the kids, especially since I didn’t keep my mouth shut about it.

But of course, Tracy wouldn’t want to admit to this, so she conveniently fell back on the “moving in on my husband!” angle.

After all, Richard flirted with lots of people, who also flirted with him, but she didn’t seem to mind that.

And also, after she spouted on Facebook that she finally got to say what she wanted to me and no longer sit back and be “quiet and nice” (she doesn’t even know the meaning of “quiet and nice”)–

Which is far more socially acceptable, far more likely to get the approval of her friends and family: saying I was the person most likely to convince Richard that she’s abusing him and the kids, and that for his own safety and his kids’ safety, he needs to get out NOW–

or saying that I was “violating boundaries” and “moving in on” him?

I found this in Dear Abby on April 11, 2012:

DEAR ABBY: My sister, Beth, and I are very close, but a constant source of contention is her boyfriend, Brody. Beth and Brody have broken up several times, and each time it happens, she fills me in on every horrible thing he has ever done.

They always seem to get back together, and then Beth expects me to like him despite everything I know. Does the fact that she forgives and forgets mean that I have to do the same? –TOO MUCH INFO IN OHIO

DEAR TOO MUCH INFO: No, it doesn’t. But you should be civil, even if you’re not warm and friendly. Then cross your fingers and hope your sister recognizes less drama is healthier and the relationship ends soon.

See?  Even Dear Abby says you don’t have to be more than civil with your friend’s abusive significant other!

And I was always civil with Tracy, always polite and kind, saying hello and good-bye, responding to her questions, occasionally asking her things or paying her a compliment, occasionally chatting with her, giving her things, smiling at her, even biting my tongue when I had to, not mentioning the state of the house, not complaining when she snarked at me.

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 

 

 

NVLD: I just don’t understand people

Sometimes I have to cut out advice columnists for a while, just as in the 90s I had to cut out talk shows (such as Montel), because they can be triggering.  (I had bad experiences in college which these talk shows occasionally reminded me of.)

However, this is almost impossible because my newspaper runs an advice column, and you can’t help but read it with the comics.  Because the advice column often has bad advice, I feel forced to go elsewhere–usually Carolyn Hax–for some sanity again.

So until newspapers stop running these things, or I stop reading newspapers, I guess I’ll keep getting triggered now and then.  Just as bullies and abusers in my life tried to tell me I deserved their abuse, I’ll read what seems to say, “You deserved to be abused!”

This is why I had to drop a forum back in 2008, because people who knew nothing about the situation made it sound like I deserved to be bullied and abused.

I’ll read somebody else’s letter in an advice column and the responses, and it feels like over again, somebody is telling me, “You deserved to be abused!”  Even though it’s somebody else, and usually the situation is very different, I get shaky and distressed, like it’s all happening to me all over again.

With NVLD (nonverbal learning disorder), which is sort of like Asperger’s (though not the same thing), I just don’t understand people.

I was reminded of this again last night while reading a recent Carolyn Hax column and the responses from readers:

I read the letter writer’s complaint at face value.  When she said it was “perfectly natural” to discuss work with a co-worker, I thought, yes, of course it is.

I could agree with her that the girlfriend seems possessive and insecure to get all upset over work conversations between her boyfriend and the letter writer.

So when Carolyn and even the many commenters, on Facebook and on the Washington Post page, started ripping into the letter writer, I was shocked.

I just plain don’t get it.  I get excluded from conversations ALL THE TIME.

Nobody does it on purpose; it’s just that I’m an introvert with NVLD, and most people are extroverts without NVLD.  So they’ll be going on and on about something I don’t know a thing about, or that bores me, or somebody else makes my comment before I have a chance to.

I don’t whine about it; I only notice because often somebody turns to me and says, “You’re so quiet!”  That annoys me.  If you want to include me in the conversation, ask me a question; don’t criticize me and make me feel like a freak.

It happens in cars, just like with the letter writer and her two friends.  The other two will be in the front seats and I’ll be in the back, which automatically excludes you from conversation.

They’ll chatter on and on and I can barely hear them; if I can hear them, either I have nothing to contribute, or nobody hears me when I do.

Richard and Tracy used to do this all the time, too, when they’d drive me someplace, and they’d be up front talking on and on about their right-wing politics or some other thing, and I’d be quiet in the back seat.

Or we’d be in my house or their house, and they’d start going on about things I wasn’t interested in, or politics I did not agree with, or people I didn’t know, or make comments I found appalling, so I’d just sit quietly and wait for the conversation to change.

(Which is why her complaints of feeling “snubbed” have always baffled me.  Nobody was snubbing anybody, and if it’s “snubbing” to talk about things she doesn’t know about, then she “snubbed” me all the time. 

(It was just the normal, natural progression of conversation, and if, when other people were around, I got a chance to talk to Richard about something I actually knew about and was interested in, it was so rare and wonderful that I was darn well going to take it.  Everybody else did it to me all the time in their house; it was my turn, dang it. 

(This is also why I preferred one-on-one conversations with him, because we had a rapport and interests that could keep us talking for hours, which is highly unusual for me except with a few people. 

(Because it is so unusual for me, I see it as a rare treat, a delicacy, the caviar of friendships and social interaction.  While extroverts apparently see it as Tuesday. 

(But unfortunately, Tracy had such strict control that it was hard to see him without her, except on occasion, so when we got together, I wanted some of that rapport again for 10 or 20 minutes.  The rest of the time, we usually all socialized together, playing a game or something.)

But back to the main point.  It happens when more than two people are sitting at a table and the others inevitably steer the conversation toward subjects I cannot contribute to, or maybe I could but I can’t get a word in edgewise before the topic changes.

Or they talk about something I have no interest in, or about people they know but I don’t.

That’s why I prefer one-to-one conversations, because I can finally get a word in edgewise and talk about things I can contribute to, by helping to steer the conversation, instead of other people doing it.

Or sometimes I prefer the larger conversations because I don’t know what to say, and this takes the pressure off me to contribute.

Especially if I make a friend who I can actually talk to easily, I like the chance to just sit and chat with this person.

Introverts are like this: We don’t do well in group conversations, and just end up watching and listening.  But one-to-one, we can do a lot better.  Well, can.  I don’t always.  Often with one person, I still just sit there not knowing what to say.

But sometimes “magic” happens that I can’t explain, and I can chat easily with this person, probably because of similar interests and temperaments.

As for getting excluded–I get excluded when sitting at a meal with a group of people.  Happened all through school.  My college friends would go on and on every day about choir or their sorority, neither of which I was in.

Happened in the SCA, especially if they went on and on about something like sewing or SCA stuff (I was a newbie) or some bit of medieval knowledge that I know nothing about.

Happens every time I go to a social event and people chatter about things I don’t know about.

Happens at church every week, especially since I go to a Greek church and the people my age often talk in Greek with their relatives and older friends.  If I go to the English-speaking table, they’re mostly 30 or 40 years older than me and I can’t relate to the conversation.

And you know what?  That’s just frickin’ LIFE. 

I know people don’t do it on purpose.  You just frickin’ deal with it and don’t tell people what they can or can’t talk about, unless it’s something harmful, like making fun of someone or bringing up topics that are painful to you.  That’s being controlling and self-centered. 

(Heck, the one time I asked Richard not to talk around me about some guys who sexually harassed me, he said no.)

I think that people generally expect you to fend for yourself in conversations.  If you don’t, you just sort of disappear.

The only thing that annoys me is when people turn to me and complain that I’m so QUIET.

So I’m baffled by the Carolyn Hax column, why people have so jumped on the letter writer and accused her of all sorts of horrible things for doing the SAME THING THAT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WOULD DO TO ME WITHOUT THOUGHT IF WE WERE ALL SITTING AROUND A TABLE TOGETHER.

I just don’t understand people.  This is why I “hermit” so easily.  Why I “hermited” so much as a kid, but actually enjoyed going up into my bedroom when the house was full of relatives, or being alone all day at home during summer break.

Because people don’t make sense to me.  Oftentimes I had/have to deal with bullies, too.

Just when I think I have people figured out, they confuse me again.  Cats are easy: Pet them and give them a warm lap, and they’ll be devoted to you for life.

The researchers found that the brains of children with nonverbal learning disability responded differently to the social interactions than the brains of children with high functioning autism, or HFA, suggesting the neural pathways that underlie those behaviors may be different. —New light shed on learning disorders

UPDATE 2:02PM:

Going through the comments some more, I am greatly relieved to see at least two people who DO get it and don’t understand why the letter writer is being vilified.  They are introverts and social misfits to whom exclusion in conversation is perfectly normal and just something you tolerate.

One extrovert scolded that they may not want to participate in the conversation, but extroverts do, so it hurts them.

Er…Excuse me, introverts WANT to participate, same as extroverts.  We just get naturally shut out, which is frustrating. 

But we do not rage about this or treat them as if they did it deliberately, because everybody does this to us.  Our circles are small enough without chasing away all the extroverts we know.

One introvert, justaguy22, even sees the girlfriend as possibly abusive, possibly trying to control her boyfriend’s friendships and conversations, especially if she won’t let her BF see the LW without her, where they could talk shop!  That’s how I might see it, too–especially if the boyfriend uses the “we must pacify her” tone.

In my case, I got a lot of “Tracy’s jealous,” “She screams at the kids,” “She has to approve my friends,” “She’s emotionally abusive to me,” so seeing her reaction as controlling and possessive came from that.

I saw it myself when we were roommates for six weeks, and saw her become very hostile toward me as well, just out of nowhere.  I had no clue why.

And I was given a whole litany of things I did “wrong” around her that I could not even remember.

I said I needed help, such as her using words so I’d know when she wanted to converse with me, because I could not recognize it.

But no changes or help came from their side to help me change on my side, so I was continuously in the dark.  She continued to be displeased with my behavior, but without telling me at the time what I had done, so I had no clue.

I did not monopolize the conversation when she was in the room, mostly letting them carry it; if he and I sat next to each other, I might chat with him for a while, but usually my husband was there for her to talk to, or she was on the computer or doing some other thing.

She did not start conversations with me.  She did not even try with me, but instead expected me to come up with conversation when I have trouble with this in the best of social situations.

Most of the time there was something else going on in the room, or she was talking to everyone or to somebody else or screaming at a kid, so I didn’t see it as a time for starting conversation with her.

She criticized everything I did.  She refused to accept that I was a shy, quiet introvert with probable NVLD, who had always been that way and always would be, that making conversation with her–especially with someone who bullied me and whom I had maybe just witnessed verbally abusing her husband, kids or somebody else–was practically impossible for me until she stopped the abuse and accepted me for who I was.

Feeling pressured actually closes my throat and cuts off my thoughts.

Even then, I needed to be accepted as a quiet person who will not say much most of the time, even among my best friends.

I tried to explain all of this to Richard, hoping that he would explain it to her and they would help make it easier for me to relax around her.  But nothing ever changed, while I got blamed for everything and continuously punished for not being extroverted.

Also, after we broke things off with her, I had symptoms similar to PTSD.  As I wrote in one of my webpages on the situation, I was afraid to make new friends, constantly felt on-edge, like people were judging me harshly for being quiet.

It was always a huge relief to be among people who did not even mention my quietness, did not call me horrible for it, did not keep their husbands from being friends with me for it.

Reading this column was like, after all that, people were saying to me, “You deserved the abuse!  You deserved PTSD!  You deserve to be lonely and sad!”

I don’t know, maybe it’s just that the Carolyn Hax column is an entirely different situation from mine, and far simpler than what I dealt with, so the letter writer’s actions get a different response from the public.

I know that my husband–who is allowed to disagree with me and give the other person’s side–saw Tracy as controlling, too.

Maybe this letter writer is monopolizing the conversation, while I generally sit quiet in a corner.

I’m not sure it’s so hard to talk about something other than work, but maybe it’s the only thing she can think of at the time.  We don’t really know from one letter what all’s going on, and every letter that gets written to an advice column can get completely misinterpreted.

It happens, as we discover when somebody writes in with the “rest of the story,” whether from the original writer or from somebody else.

I believe I will now edit the full story of Richard/Tracy some more.  Apparently readers need to be more educated on introversion and NVLD, and told up front that I did try to do what I could to not “snub” her but I’m a timid person who was very intimidated by her aggressive manner.

Otherwise, people will just assume you are well-versed in social rules, an extrovert, can read subtle cues, etc. etc., and judge you unfairly.

One of the commenters on the advice column, who is used to being around geeks, complained about this, because of how people remarked on the letter writer.

Someone may have suggested Asperger’s; if she honestly cannot think of anything else to talk about, that is a possibility.  Aspies can easily fall into talking about their obsession even when you’ve already told them not to, but it’s not meant to hurt you.

Maybe I should incorporate this post into the introduction.  This is what people all over are dealing with in social situations, not just me.  All we ask for is understanding instead of vilification and writing us off.

Too many changes all at once….

Just to vent and hopefully pull out of this funk….But then, will I, considering what I’m facing?

First, my husband’s job starts threatening monthly layoffs throughout the rest of the year because of lack of income from a sucky state economy (thanks, Walker).  I have found a way to make it through, but it’s painful.  We don’t have a clue if this will be a couple of months or the rest of the year.

Then my priest retires.  He’s old and tired and needs the break, but he was my spiritual father.  I told him all about my spiritual struggles/conversion to Orthodoxy, the problems with my parents in 2007 that shook up the family, my reaction to the changes at my church, and the abuse and stalking that Richard and Tracy put me through.

I told him everything about Richard’s criminal case, as well, showed him the mug shots, so he could help protect me from them at church when they started stalking me in 2012.

He would whisper to me what I was supposed to do during special services when everybody lined up to kiss crosses or icons.

He recently praised me for my behavior as a Christian and parishioner, words which I hold in my heart.

He is a good man, was a good priest, and he helped me with my conversion.  He never got into federal/state politics in the church, just focused on spirituality and salvation.  He knew me, so I could feel safe telling him my struggles with Richard and Tracy, and asking him for prayer.  As my husband put it, it’s like my Daddy has left.

Then I hear that my real dad–who has cancer in remission–now has a new cancer which is probably not treatable.  So he may be around for a year at most, and I live two states away.  And can’t afford the tolls to travel there much.

I’ve been thinking about going back to work eventually.  For years I have pondered this, and seem to have a good plan figured out: I scan the classifieds for the jobs I want in the meantime, in case I find one which is nearby and will train.

But failing that, when we get some money together, I go to the local tech college to get my skills updated.  I’ve been out of the workforce for 12 years, and employers want skills I never used or which are sorely out of date.

Yet people keep trying to rush me off in a different direction, which would disrupt my plans and make things change abruptly.

I do not like abrupt change, as an NVLDer.  I don’t see what’s so bad about my current plan.  It leads to updated skills, and more opportunities and confidence for me after all these years.  This is especially helpful because of the limitations of NVLD.

The church found a new priest, but he does things differently.  When I came to church today, I was very confused.  He’s probably a good man, too, a good priest, etc., but the changes are confusing and overwhelming.

Then tonight my best friend tells me he’s thinking about leaving the church to go to one closer to him.

And it all just seemed to crash down at that point.

Maybe it’ll all look a bit better in the morning….

 

 

 

Huge Site Restructuring: Recent story of abuse moved

After moving my old HTML website here to WordPress in September of 2013, I had to fix the formatting issues that caused.

Then I upgraded to the 2015 WordPress theme last December, which caused new formatting issues with the quotes: Bolded text no longer showed up as bold, and quotes were often rammed together.

I also tended, as a baby blogger, to write HUMONGOUS paragraphs because I just kept adding and tweaking over time.  That had to be fixed.

The older pages also needed updated links and major revisions.  Some were ten years old and hadn’t been touched in years.

Because my site has about 1000 posts and pages (!!!), and because I actually have a life outside of the computer to run, it has taken me TWO YEARS to fix all of this.

But it’s finally finished.

YAY!

Now, while doing this, I recently realized that this series of posts–Tracy’s Reign of Terror–needs to be moved.  It’s so huge that it clutters up the first several months of 2014, shoved in there with a bunch of College Memoir posts as well.

Also, it was actually written between 2010 and 2012, only revised in 2014.  It reflects all sorts of anger, anxiety and pain which filled me between 2010 and 2012, but which no longer spend much time in my heart or head.

This series took my webbook, Tracy’s Reign of Terror, and broke it into blog-post-sized chunks, just as I did with my College Memoirs, which are also their own webbook here.

Basically–

–to better show a sense of flow through time, from anger and pain to healing, and

–to reflect the time period in which these things were actually written,

I wish to change the publication dates to 2010 and 2011.  This will take 109 posts and spread them out over a period of time when I posted very little on my blog, but during which I wrote thousands of words on my HTML website.  You could say it WAS a blog, a diary of my pain, so it fits well in that part of my blog.

This post is to explain this to newcomers who may get confused, because sometimes I refer to the Tracy’s Reign of Terror posts in 2014 as being written.  Yet now they will show as having been written already, in 2010/2011.  Because, well, they were.

 

 

I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana

Richard said he wanted a friend like Sam was to Frodo on Lord of the Rings, so I told him I would be.  Finally I had a close friend in my own city whom I could see often, talk to often, someone who could get my normally quiet self to talk for hours, someone to understand me.

We had deep discussions, not about the weather but about music, religion, life experiences, movies, subcultures such as Goth (which he’d been heavily into while I had been interested in it), cultural attitudes, all sorts of things.

Because of my shyness, introversion and NVLD, and moving far from friends or family, it has been hard for me to make lasting friends in this city.  I used to make geek friends through local BBS‘s, but the Internet rose and the BBS’s died.  I changed jobs and churches; friends had squabbles and I became collateral damage.

I had always wanted a friend like Frodo/Sam or Anne/Diana or Bill/Ted, that one bosom friend who is closer to you than any other platonic friend, who wants to be with you all the time, but who is NOT your spouse or in any way a sexual partner.  Finally, I found that Friend.

But then his wife got jealous of me and within a few years, it all fell apart.  I thought Richard cared enough to have my back, since he said I was very dear to him, and showed in various ways that he loved me like a sister.

But in many things, he didn’t seem to want to understand me.  He let his wife tease me for being different and bully me for being quiet.  He refused to listen when both Jeff and I tried to explain my shy, quiet, introverted personality, that he was too hard on me.

In the moment of testing, he let me down.  Majorly.  He became my Judas.

So here I am alone again, wondering if I’ll ever have a friend like (I thought) he was again, someone who doesn’t live two or three hours away.  It may have to be a socially inept or shy person, like I usually befriend, rather than an outgoing extrovert like Richard, the type who thinks that everyone can be just like him.

I hope it’ll be a woman, so I don’t have to deal with a jealous wife again, but finding a woman who’s into the same music I like, is into Orthodox theology and has grown up in the Fundamentalist/ Evangelical subculture–that could be hard.

No, I don’t want to hear about the evils of opposite-sex friendships, because it’s a bunch of BS.  We’re liberated Gen-Xers; trust is a virtue.  I treat the topic in greater detail here, along with flirting, displays of affection between friends, and jealousy.

My husband was perfectly fine with our friendship, was glad whenever I got a chance to chat with Richard for more than a few minutes, and Richard had all sorts of female friends, with whom he innocently flirted (guys, too).

People put far too many rules on their friendships and on each other, when they should just let things be.

Tracy was abusive verbally and physically to Richard and their children.  I spoke up about it to him and shied away from her aggressive personality.

Instead of realizing she’s far too abusive and aggressive and needs to change herself, she tried to force me to accept her behavior as okay and twist mine into something it wasn’t.

She insisted on approving his friends, that she had veto rights; I know this because they both told me so.  She said so in a forum post, calling it “respect” to give up friends your spouse does not want you to have.

While he told me at various times about the rules his friends had to live up to, that she had to meet them, approve them, be friends with them too.  He said even his male friends were under this initial scrutiny, subject to her approval.

While he only wanted to meet her male friends before they went off to some political conference together.  (He just wanted to know what they looked like so he could beat them up if they tried anything.)

He had to live by far stricter rules than she did, you see.

(12/19/13: Tracy also felt entitled to read Richard’s e-mails and chats, and got mad at him once when she found someone she hated in his cell phone records.  Just tonight on Facebook, an old school friend asked,

If you are in a relationship does that mean that you have no privacy?  Does that mean that your significant other is entitled to go through your phone, check your text messages and Facebook messages?

The response: a resounding NO!  The various responders said you must have trust and privacy, and if your SO does not respect that, you’ve got major problems ahead. 

One said if he doesn’t stop this in its tracks, it’s going to get worse; one said “STALKER”; one said he’s going to have female and she’s going to have male friends, so you have to trust each other; another said, Get out, run fast!)

As soon as I learned this, red flags sprang up because of my abusive ex Phil, and all the research on abuse I did while writing about him in 2006.  As I explained above, Phil also tried to separate me from my best and dearest friends.

So I already knew about jealousy and control as forms of abuse.  I did even more research because of Tracy, and began posting links and comments on jealousy and abuse on this page and this page.  (They did not know about these pages.)

During this time, I also read a forum thread in which a woman described her abusive marriage.  She said, “He had to approve my friends.”

Instead of becoming the kind of person Richard’s friends would like, Tracy treated them like creeps if they didn’t like her, thereby driving them away as one after another of Richard’s friends ended the friendship, or she forced him to end friendships, showing a huge lack of trust in him and his judgment.  There was Todd; there were at least two more whom I know of.

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

Projection and projective identification play a part in her controlling behaviors. She maps her feelings onto you and controls you by inducing these feelings within you.

Her controlling facade masks her true internal experience. Deep down she feels frightened, out of control, incompetent and helpless.

Les Parrot (The Control Freak) writes, “People who want to exert control over everything can make those around them feel inadequate, insecure, nervous, angry, anxious and physically sick. Their message is: I don’t trust you to be able to do it right; I don’t respect your judgment; I don’t think you are competent; I don’t value your insight.”

Whether or not this woman is aware of it, this is how she feels about herself. Once you recognize the defense mechanisms at play, it becomes a little easier to take her hurtful behaviors less personally. She’d be like this with anyone.

My awkwardness in social situations can lessen around kind people, even if I don’t talk much.  But it becomes far worse in the presence of a hostile person, which Tracy is not just to me but to many people.

Instead of doing her best to draw me out and be kind, Tracy just kept punishing me and sending hostile waves at me for being unable to open up to her, which pushed me further into my shell–yet she and Richard both blamed me for it.

This all made my husband furious, especially when Richard finally allowed Tracy to vent her fury on me in such horrible language and words (such as “f— off,” which nobody has ever said to me before) that made me wonder how any Christian woman could justify this treatment of any other person.

Jeff and I told others what she said; they were flabbergasted that anybody would cuss me out like that.  Jeff and I finally threw up our hands and tossed her out of our lives for good.

Unfortunately, this meant Richard was tossed out as well, even though–at long last for me, who had been starved of good local friends for years–Richard had been my dearest and closest friend for 5 years.

He had been my spiritual mentor, the one who led me into the Truth I’d been searching for, the one who helped me decide on Orthodoxy and thirst for the Eucharist.  He helped me find love for God and my faith once again.  He helped open up the Scriptures for me, by leading me in the right direction.

But then he turned on me and betrayed me, threw me under the bus, letting Tracy tear me apart instead of giving her the key piece of information which would have proven to her my innocence.

Then, a month later, he said that not saying two sentences together to Tracy for a month and a half (WHAT month? and I don’t count my sentences! what, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about?) was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?  What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This makes me struggle to keep in the same faith as him and Tracy, and even causes me to doubt the very existence of God (who seemed to place him into my life just as I prayed for a friend, and to cause our families to be there for and bless each other).

After their abuses of me, I also struggle to make social connections with anyone else who isn’t already in my circle of friends (friends I mostly keep in touch with via the Internet).  I’m afraid of what’ll happen if I open up to anyone else the way I opened up to Richard, that they’ll hurt me like he did.

The problem first started with Tracy misunderstanding me, and me not having a clue about it until she was already digging in her heels and treating me badly and I had no idea why.

I noted over the years that she responds to problems by snarking at and being mean to the supposed offender, which she never so much as apologizes for.  This offends the offender and leads to nothing but arguments and bad feeling.

I complained to Richard about it and then, finally, started hearing what she was so upset about.  But trying to clear up the misunderstanding did no good at all because she was apparently determined to think badly of me.

Nobody informed me of a test I had to pass for Tracy to let me be friends with Richard, or what I was expected to do or know, until long after I already failed.  And after that, it seemed that no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough to make up for it.

In fact, it reminds me of Hell Week during my short-lived stint pledging a sorority: having no idea how I’ve offended the actives or what rule I’ve broken until I see a roster that’s already in the hundreds below zero.  And each day, more points are taken away, finding my points down in the negative thousands with no idea what rules I broke and no hope of getting back up.

I could concede that some of her rules seemed reasonable enough in normal circumstances–but we were not in normal circumstances, we were sharing a house.

When you live together for weeks on end, when you must keep in the good graces of the host and hostess who are doing you a huge favor that few people would do, getting in a snit fit about things that go against your usual rules, makes no sense.

And it makes no sense to say you don’t “know” somebody when you live in the same crowded house for six weeks, and spend nearly every night socializing with that person for hours.

When we shared a house, both our families for six weeks, it was a disaster.  It was never part of the deal.

We lived in a tiny house, about 1100 square feet.  The spare room (a library, not a bedroom) was filled with the changing table and baby supplies, so already Richard slept on the couch.

It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, helping out a friend until he found a job and a place to move into with his family, NOT an indefinite address for the entire family.

 

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 

 

Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk

I keep putting up this story and taking it down again and putting it back up again.  I take it down because I wonder how much I really want to post on the Web.

Then I put it back up because the issues in here–child abuse, domestic violence, bullying, women who abuse men–are very important and need to be addressed.

It’s a risk which sometimes I do and sometimes don’t want to take, but there are many things in here that need to be said about modern society–and it’s hard to make a complete picture of what happened without posting all of it.  However, there are some private details which must be kept private.

1. This page is for NLDers, introverts, fellow bullying victims, fellow abuse survivors and friends of abuse victims.

2. I want to help raise awareness that women do abuse, too, not just men.  If the roles were reversed and Richard did the things I saw Tracy do and heard that Tracy did, nobody would question that he was a jerk and abuser and that she needed to get out.  But because the woman was the abuser, Richard kept trying to hold it together.

It takes great courage or stupidity to post this, because I’m scared the bully Tracy will find it and retaliate.  She is, after all, physically violent when she chooses to be.  (But then, she thinks I’m stupid anyway.)

There’s also still the faint hope that one day soon Tracy will regret the things she’s done, apologize and try to change.

But if she does find it, or Richard finds it–who knows, maybe reading this will show them just what they’ve done and that theirs are not the only opinions that matter.  Maybe it will inspire them to make amends and changes in their own lives.

If they just look and laugh and make no apologies, then that would be childish and prove they have no business coming back into our lives.  If Tracy beats me up, I’ll finally have physical proof of her true character.

[Update: The above was written somewhere between 2010 and 2011.  They did indeed find this in May 2012; see here.]

3. But I’ve read other people’s accounts of how they’ve been bullied and abused.

So my story burns within me to be told as well, expressing to the ether what happened, hoping other abuse victims will be helped by it and learn from it–especially people who deal with NVLD, Asperger’s or selective mutism, or who are introverts, and whose social understanding is hampered.

I have been betrayed and thrown to the wolves by the very person I thought had my back.

4. You will see that it’s useless to deal with someone who is jealous, controlling and/or abusive, but won’t deal with her issues properly.

You will hopefully learn that it just isn’t worth trying to pacify such a person, that it’s best to just cut them out of your life early–before they infect you with their emotional damage and leave you to deal with the pain, the post traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, the lies they spread about you, etc.  Even a dear friendship isn’t worth that.

5. I hope to demonstrate the evils of jealousy, to make a plea for all those who are judged by advice columnists and bloggers and the like as whores and “inappropriate” based simply on one side given us by an upset wife in a short letter.  There may be more to that story than you realize.

6. I hope to help NLDers realize their naïveté can make them far too trusting, far too easily taken advantage of.

7. As a writer, I am driven to tell stories, even and especially my own stories, whether positive or negative.

8. There’s a huge lack of stories, even on the Net, about the friends and families of people who are involved in domestic or child abuse situations; friends who are being abused by friends; the friends of friends who are being abused by friends.

You read about them, but mostly a sentence or two about how friends and family are driven away by the abuser and/or subjected to abuse as well, because they object to how the abuser treats their friend.

I searched and searched to find stories about friendship abuse, but kept finding very little (except occasionally in comments to blogs or advice columns).  There are plenty of survivor stories from people who were abused by parents or romantic partners.  The dynamics are obviously different, making it hard to relate if you’re the friend being abused.

So that’s another reason I put these stories here, because this is about a friend who sees her best friend’s verbally and physically violent marriage, objects, then finds herself subjected to abuse and accusations because she objected, until finally she cuts these people out of her life at great personal grief.

This story is for people who are abused by friends, or the spouses of friends, or who feel helpless as a friend or family member is domestically abused.  Perhaps you will see that while the abuse of me did anger me quite a bit, what angered me the most was how Tracy abused Richard, the children, and others.

9. I want to help raise awareness of different types of domestic abuse.

10. I want to help raise awareness of bullying and abuse in other contexts.

11. We need to get our stories out there so others learn how to recognize bullying and abuse–to get away from it, to stop doing it, to help others out of it.  Despite decades of attention, this problem persists.

12. I want to help others learn from my mistakes, of which you will probably find many.

13. I want to record my struggle with loss of faith and trying to hold onto it, after the most significant person in my conversion to Orthodoxy, became my betrayer and manipulator.  The fall of a spiritual mentor into some kind of sin does happen now and then, shaking the faith of the ones who looked up to him, so this story is universal.

14. I want to raise awareness for what it’s like to be an introvert, or to have NLD/Asperger’s/selective mutism, and how people like us are constantly bullied in today’s American society, which values extroversion and looks down upon introversion.

15. And, well, this story is true from my perspective (that last bit added for legal reasons).  I wouldn’t be so confident with a lie.

Here is another story of a woman abused by a friend, as seen through the eyes of another woman who eventually became subjected to abuse as well, for sticking up for the abused.  And here is what appears to be the story of the friend being abused.

Here is another story of a woman being abused by her female friend, who is a narcissist.  From what I have observed, Richard and Tracy both have narcissistic traits.  Note the following paragraph from this link, from JoyfulAliveWoman’s blog.  Note that her friendship was heterosexual, that there was nothing sexual about it, and yet this woman hooked in JAW so much that she wrote this:

I was under H’s spell. I couldn’t get enough of her. I became Codependent with her. It was pathetic.

No one else had that effect upon me, nor had they ever. My relationships with others were different.

That isn’t to say those relationships weren’t challenging, but there was a “hypnotic and obsessive quality” to the relationship with H (strong characteristics of a codependent, dysfunctional relationship).

H had her so enthralled that, even though she didn’t acknowledge that JAW had wisdom and insight of her own, and her own superior attitude sometimes inspired JAW to rebel, JAW was always the one to go crawling back, contrite, while her objections were swept under the rug.

It wasn’t like this in the beginning between Richard and me, not until later on, but it was always that way with Tracy and me.

Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults.

In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a “nice guy” and that he can be trusted.

It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). –Mel Stewart, The Fine Art of Grooming

I’ve described the Richard and Tracy story in little bits and pieces, interspersed here and there in my reviews of Gone With the Wind, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Mysteries of Udolpho.

For more than two years I was bullied for being different by a grown adult, bullied by Tracy by proxy through Richard, verbally abused by Tracy only to have both of them act like what I did (basically, being shy, quiet and wary of Tracy, who bullied me, Richard and her children) was somehow worse than her bullying and abuse of me.

At first, Richard and I bonded over religion, music and Goth.  He was my spiritual guide.  He was my best, closest and dearest friend, the one I trusted so much that I told him things I hadn’t told anyone else.  We were like a mutual admiration society.  He told me I was the most awesome person he knew; I felt the same about him.  But he betrayed me.

The first thing is, you were born this way. It is in your nature, and thus cannot be wrong.  On average, one out of every three people is an introvert, if being quiet was wrong, that would make 1/3 of the total population born lesser. –serjicaladdict, Why are you so quiet?

16. [This part was written somewhere between late 2010 and early 2011.]  Another reason is to try somehow to understand this perplexing situation.  Only over the past several months, as I’ve been writing and adding to this story, have I started to see the whole picture and make connections and understand little bits of pieces of it.

I noticed the same thing over the past 15 years as I wrote memoirs about my life: Certain events that upset me greatly, long-term abuse and other such things, I wrote about as they happened, and put them into my memoirs several years later.  I began to understand, but not quite yet.

Then several years after that, I put these memoirs online in public versions.  As I did this, and did more research into abuse, I saw connections I never saw before.  Things began to make sense, how guys would manipulate me, and that sort of thing.

I see this happen now as I write about this horrible situation.  I see clues to what may have happened, that I didn’t see before.

All my life I’ve written diaries, letters, e-mails, journals, memoirs and other accounts describing my life, its various events, my emotions.  This may be related to NVLD, being confused by life, not seeing the whole picture for the details, and needing to journal about it to figure things out.

It may also be related to Aspergers, having a long memory, going over things again and again in your mind long after other people have forgotten about it.

Or maybe I simply want to be a modern Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick sounds to me very much like Tracy, and you will recognize various elements of it as you read my story, such as:

  • her being happy as she cuts you down
  • having to be in control (which she did to me, to Richard, to an ex-family friend named Todd)
  • histrionics I witnessed when she dealt with her ex
  • steamrolling me time and again, no compromise or concession, this coming back to bite her as people kept bolting from friendships or other relationships with her
  • two or three of the emotional states listed under “Losing Control” (when I challenged her for raging at me and she realized Jeff and I were ending our friendship with her).

Todd, who was friends with Richard for six years–from before Richard and Tracy got married–and stayed with them twice, for a month each time, said she yells at you but does nothing to work on her own part of the problem.

I witnessed a few arguments between her and Richard that got nasty, so I knew it wasn’t just me.  If she were this way with nobody else, I’d have to look harder at myself, but this was not the case.

17. Tracy did her hardest to make me think I was the problem, but I knew this wasn’t true, and wrote this to remember why.

As the above article states,

Yes, this woman is deeply troubled, but it is NOT your responsibility to tolerate, accept or change her. The only way to gain mastery over a relationship with this kind of woman is to end it. Otherwise, you’ll begin an endless replay loop of your own misery.

18. This article, and my story, should help you recognize such people in your own life, and that it’s not worth waiting around for change.  Take warning from what happened to me.

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

 

 

 

Graduation: Trapped at school–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–May 1995, Part 3

I decided to help Cugan move, which would be right after graduation.  This made him happy, because–except for one day when Bob and another guy helped–he had no one else to help him move the mountains of stuff he somehow fit into his claustrophobic apartment.

My plan was to stay with him until the W– shire had an event in June, then move back home.  There, I’d find a job, save money for a used car and computer, then move back to S–.

On one of our last days at school, probably Saturday, May 20, my non-graduating roommates and friends held a graduation party for us graduating seniors.  (Pearl and Sharon decided to add majors and take one more year.)

There was an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, with layers of vanilla and chocolate, and chocolate fudge.  The top was decorated in honor of the graduates.  It was delicious.

They gave us presents and cards.  Mine included a note paper cube depicting college students each year, and a purple warm fuzzy with a black graduation cap and gold tassel.

The cube depicted the same two students throughout their college years, one per side.  As freshmen, they were cleancut, bright, shining, happy students, the guy with a tie and the girl with a skirt and sweater.

Sophomore year, they had half-closed eyes, smiles not so wide but still happy, shorts, wild hair, earrings, and very casual shirts.

Junior year, they were “cool,” with sandals, messy clothes, more earrings, wild clothes, the guy’s hair long and the girl’s hair cropped, their eyes tired, their smiles dopey (the guy) or nonexistent (the girl).

Senior year, they dressed professionally, the girl’s hair long and the guy’s hair cut short, looking like businesspeople–except with bags under the eyes on their bright, shining faces.

When I started work at an insurance company right after July 4, this sat on my desk under a small length of chain mail that Donato or Cugan gave me.  The warm fuzzy sat on my computer.

My roommies and I promised to keep in touch with each other, which we did.  Remember, this is when everyone got e-mail, and in the 2010s, Facebook!

Saturday, May 20.  Graduation finally came, and all this was resolved: Phil, Peter, Shawn, trouble after trouble in other areas–all these things were history.  I had a good man.

In only a few months, I proved Dirk wrong about me, that I would not end up an old maid.  I did nothing he advised unless I’d already been doing it.  I was just myself.

I’d hear young people, such as soon-to-be high-school graduates, complain about Wisconsin and that they wanted to get away from it as soon as possible.

Yet I, on the other hand, came from out of state and wanted to go back to Wisconsin because it was fun and interesting to me.

This was not an indictment against Indiana or South Bend, which probably had more things going on than my new city or S– did.

Rather, I was fascinated by the differences in culture and accent, and would miss these things if I stayed in Indiana.  I just knew that any friends I made in Indiana would hear me go on and on about how different things were in Wisconsin.  And, most of all, I wanted to be with my friends.

On graduation day, I didn’t go to the morning breakfast or baccalaureate service, which weren’t required and were far too early.  But I did go to the lunch and, of course, commencement, and then the reception (which I couldn’t wait for.)

Graduation.  Maura, Phil’s mother, graduated that day, and sat near me because the graduates sat together.  She gave me a warm hello.  When her turn came to get her diploma, friends and family cheered.  One of them cried, “Way to go, Maura!”

Taylor was there, I believe.  I don’t remember if Phil was there, but even seeing his mother made me feel weird.  She didn’t seem to like me any less for what had happened, but I hadn’t seen her since September.  Seeing her again reminded me of Phil.

Rather than this graduation being one of my happiest moments, I was sick of school and couldn’t wait for graduation to be over.  (I’ve since learned that Cugan felt the same way at his graduation.)

I was nervous, though I didn’t let my one or two minor mess-ups bother me.  (I found them amusing, actually.  I forget what they were, though I might have gone the wrong way once or stumbled into a chair.)

Get me outta here! I kept thinking.  I even felt this way as we filed out of the hall at the end.  All I wanted to do was be with Cugan and attend Mermaid’s, which I couldn’t because it was the same day.

I arranged with Pearl and Sharon, who were booked in that same apartment for next year, to use their storage room for a good amount of my stuff.  I gave them my dustmop, which I no longer needed.

I was to fetch the stuff later on after I got a job, got a car, and then moved back to S–, which I expected to do within the next school year.  Fortunately, this worked out, as I found a job, got a car, and moved to Fond du Lac less than two months later.

When all my things were packed in the car or stored in the storage room, and I had talked to and introduced Catherine to my parents, it was time to go.

The things in the car were to be loaded into a van belonging to Cugan’s dad, which Cugan took to Mermaid’s.

I called the Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) to check out, thinking it would just be a matter of telling her I was leaving, and then leaving.  I was only the first one to leave in my apartment, after all: Pearl and maybe the others would leave the next day.

But even though I was only the first to check out, RLC told me I couldn’t until all the furniture in the entire apartment was back in the original places.

!!!

I’d call her up and tell her things were ready, but she’d come over and say something still wasn’t right.

We were there for hours after the 4:00 reception (which was short and informal, and in the cafeteria).

I don’t remember how late we finally left, but it seemed like we never would.  We were pooped out and sick of it all, and just wanted to leave.  We also wanted dinner.

We feared Pearl wouldn’t be able to get around, since all the beds had to be set on the floor and not bunked, and the official arrangement was so impractical that it was hard even for the able-bodied to move around in the tiny bedrooms.

Pearl decided that she and her family would take care of the vacuuming the next day.

RLC found problems here and there to charge us all for, even though they were probably just normal wear and tear.

At long last, RLC okayed my leaving, so my parents and I fled.  We went to dinner (starving by now), then stayed overnight in a hotel.

I had no idea when I would see my roommates again.

The next day, my parents drove me to Mermaid’s, wondering who all the strange people were and what kind of group this SCA was, anyway.  (Mom feared they might be druggies.)  We found Cugan sitting with his tent, which I think he had taken down by then, and he looked happy to see me.  We loaded my things from the car and into his dad’s van, and then my parents left for South Bend.

Cugan, as autocrat, or the guy in charge, had to make sure the campsite was cleaned up properly by noon, when the event was officially over.  I helped sweep out cabins, and may have done other things as well, so I helped at Mermaid’s that year even though I didn’t even attend it.

Cugan found a lump in one of the beds in the dormitory–one of the college-age girls, still asleep.  He had hoped everyone was up and would be gone from the site by the time they were supposed to leave.

I later saw this girl by the horses in a long, white, flowing gown that reminded me of Melissa’s gown in Dragonslayer.  (Melissa was the first maiden shown being sacrificed to the dragon.  The name is only used in the novelization.)  This was my dream gown.

Cugan ran hither and thither and cleaned, wishing more of the shire members would help him.  Finally, cleanup was finished, everyone left the site, and his stressful time as autocrat was officially over.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

What is Worship?

This is a big question lately among evangelical groups and in popular Christian self-help books.  Is worship the music?  Is it the sacraments?

Is it raising your hands and having an emotional reaction to praise music?

Is it how you feel when you look at nature or listen to Iona (Celtic Christian band)?

Is it God-centered rather than man-centered?  Is it old hymns or poppy praise music?

Is it serving the poor/needy in the name of Christ?

Is it a praise and worship band at a concert leading an auditorium full of blissed-out Christians in the band’s newest praise chorus?

Here is the OrthodoxWiki answer:

Worship is faith in action. In the words of Georges Florovsky: ‘Christianity is a liturgical religion. The Church is first of all a worshipping community. Worship comes first, doctrine and discipline second.’

Orthodoxy sees people as liturgical creatures who are fully complete when glorifying God.

I’ve also seen it defined as the expression of Orthodox beliefs and Christian experience through the Eucharist.

The Orthodox Study Bible defines worship as,

Literally, ‘to bow down.’  In the Christian sense worship is the adoration of God through participation in the services of the Church, the highest act of a Christian (John 4:19-24).  See also LITURGY. p. 810

Liturgy is defined as,

The work or public service of the people of God, which is the worship of the one true God.  The Divine Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Orthodox Church. –p. 802

The Divine Liturgy is basically the Orthodox version of Mass.  The North American Antiochan church posted:

Worship is defined as: For Orthodox Christians, corporate worship is the sacramental expression of and participation in Holy Tradition, and is the indispensable foundation of ministry at all levels. Upon this foundation, we must cultivate a daily personal prayer life and reading of Holy Scripture. –Archpriest Joseph Purpura, “What is Worship?”

One benefit of Orthodox worship is that it preserves intact the doctrine and teachings of the Orthodox Church.

As quoted above, personal study of Scripture (and the Church Fathers) is highly encouraged.  But in countries in which Christianity is suppressed, and with the illiterate, such personal study is impossible, making the Divine Liturgy crucial to proper understanding by the Orthodox faithful.

Here is an online library of articles on Orthodox worship.

Fr. John Matusiak of the OCA also discusses worship here: Orthodox Worship vs. Contemporary Worship and The Nature of Our Worship.

Written probably in 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

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

Page 2:

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

Page 3:

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

Page 4:

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

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

Mourning the criminal conviction of my spiritual mentor, Richard

(Post on mourning anniversaries, originally published October 3, 2012.)


 

A year ago today, my former spiritual mentor and best friend, Richard, was convicted of battering his own child.  And until he worked out that plea bargain, I thought for sure he’d be a convicted felon, going to jail for many years.

The anniversary of the plea/conviction has suddenly hit me, causing a momentary melancholy………….Continue Reading “Anniversary of the Fall of a Spiritual Mentor”

One simple reason why screaming at children is not effective

I can still remember well what I thought as a child.  My parents didn’t scream at me, but they did yell, and I can remember how I felt when they did.  And that very easily translates to how a child would respond to screaming.

It was quite simple: The more they yelled, the less I complied.

I’d already be trying to hurry up and get ready, but with NVLD, executive functioning and time management are huge challenges.  I rushed around and tried and tried, but still ran late.  My parents would yell.

Did their yelling make me hurry up?  Heck, no: I moved SLOWER out of resentment.  After all, I was already doing my best to be on time, but treated like I was being deliberately slow.  So might as well be slow, if you’re going to be treated that way anyway.

If my husband comes to me respectfully with a problem, we can resolve it peacefully.  But if he yells at me instead?  Heck, no!  All yelling does is make me resentful.  It does NOT make me comply.

When Richard and Tracy criticized and punished me for being quiet and shy, I did not turn into the life of the party.  When they decided to use yelling, cussing and screaming to get me to comply, I slammed the door on their friendship.

When people yell at me or criticize me for being quiet and shy, I become EVEN QUIETER and more reserved.  I noted this way back in 1998.

This is how I respond to not being treated with respect.

And you can be sure children are responding the same way.  THIS is why yelling/screaming is counterproductive.