Three things that scare me…. (Posted on Facebook June 2011)

While the whole Weiner scandal is funny (and my son got into a giggle fit today when Jeff and I were talking about it and he heard the name Weiner), it has brought up some bad memories for me.

Two years ago this month, I was subjected to sexual harassment in an IRC chat (a bunch of people together in various channels in a Web chat).

They said foul, lewd, disgusting things to me and then told me to post a pic of something private [my genitals].  I refused.  I only stayed as long as I did because a friend was in there and you can only chat with people in IRC who you can find online at the same time as you.

The kicker: These jerks were *friends*, *friends!* of a couple that Jeff and I had befriended online and who came to Fond du Lac a few years ago to find a better life [Richard and Tracy].

Richard saw the whole thing.  Then Tracy came into the chat, I thought she’d chew them out, but instead she started laughing and joking with them!

They told her I was being a b**** because I wouldn’t post this pic; she said, “You know how hobbits are.”  (My Web handle refers to hobbits.)  Then she started planning with them a get-together at her house!

A year later, they still hung out with these people online, still occasionally brought them up in conversation, still talked about get-togethers with them.

I was disgusted by this, thought they should have cut ties with these people right then, but only asked Richard, my “BFF,” to stop bringing them up around me.

Not only did he say no in a nasty e-mail, but he complained about things like, “You mean my wife can’t mention J– in conversation?” etc. etc.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” I should “get over it,” “It’s on the Internet: It isn’t real! I thought you understood that!”

These jackasses are no longer our friends, not just because of this but because of other things they did [to me] that were so terrible I can’t believe anybody would do that to a friend.

But then I should believe it, because I saw them do the same thing to another friend [Todd] two years previous, someone Richard had been friends with for *6 years.*

The three things that scare me:

1) Richard wants to be an Orthodox priest.  He is a narcissist.  He refuses to listen to the other point of view.  He has no concept of what it takes to settle arguments and preserve friendships.

His wife is very abusive to her children, to Richard, and to many others.  She would be the priest’s wife if he gets ordained and assigned to a parish.

2) Their sweet and beautiful little girls are growing up in this environment.

3) My church and their church are both in dire straits, and discussing merging for the survival of both.  For months I have only seen them occasionally when one of them is driving past.  But this would mean seeing them.  Often.

I don’t know if Richard was always like this but presented me with a sweet, gentle, awesome front that made me think he was better than he really was.

Or if something happened over the last year of our “friendship” that changed him from my BFF to a horrible person who knew I’m very sensitive, yet allowed his wife to scream nasty accusations and horrible, filthy language at me over a *misunderstanding* over something that HE DID.

But I do know that I do not want him in my priesthood, and I do not want them to darken my door again, and I do not want them to be in my church again.

It was bad enough seeing him there at Christmastime and watching them take the Eucharist.  It made me want to puke.

Online sexual harassment IS real.  Narcissists are real and they can break you apart.

Sometimes the wrong people become priests, but they’re so charming that nobody realizes it until it’s too late.

I made this extra Facebook account so I could talk about these things among my closest friends without worrying that mutual friends of these jerks will see it.  Because I needed to hide away.

My church board is supposed to be making the decision about the church’s future very soon, if they haven’t already.  Let’s hope and pray they don’t decide on a merge.  I’m beginning to wonder if I should write my godmother and ask her to change the vote I made in a parish poll taken several months ago.

Jeff is waiting to hear back about a position in M–.  I told him that even though moving in this economy (we own a condo) would be a huge pain, it would mean I could get out of the city where these jerks live, and away from a church where they might one day start going every week.

I don’t have high hopes for this one anymore because we haven’t heard anything yet, but who knows.

Musings (Posted on Facebook June 2011)

Waiting to hear back on Jeff’s second interview at the M– job…..

This past week has given two reminders of why I wouldn’t mind moving to Sheboygan: We ran into the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy).  Twice, exactly one week apart.

Jeff and our son Daniel ran into them at the store last Sunday (and heard Tracy scolding Richard, as usual); then they came to Greek Fest.

I was following Jeff and Daniel through the main hall, on our way to the kitchen where I was going to wash dishes, and I practically ran into Richard.

I know he saw me; he couldn’t have missed me, because he was facing my direction and I was right in front of him.  I just turned and walked past him without saying a word.

I hope it sent a very clear message of how disgusted we are at what they have done, and that it includes him, too.

Betrayal from your best friend is not something you just excuse.

Of course, he’s probably glad to see that I’m not some drama queen out to make a scene, yelling and such….

Three months ago, I also reported these people for child and domestic abuse.

It was not out of revenge–heck, I resisted doing it for a long time after the breakup.

It was out of concern for the family, all the dysfunction and abuse that was going on all the time.

I got the impression that there was a lot more going on than I was ever told, hints of “drama” and the like, they did things right in front of me, and Richard even told me of things he had done and excused.

Privacy laws mean I can’t find out what Social Services did with the report, but I don’t see how it could have been screened out and ignored, with all the things I described.

And if they got details of the allegations, they probably know exactly who told.  Which means that when we encounter each other like this, they know I reported them.  AWK-ward.

But necessary.  I can’t stand the thought of those kids growing up damaged, to become abusers or abused, and me having done nothing at all to at least try to help them.

I also can’t stand the thought of Richard telling me how Tracy was verbally abusing him, even hitting him so much that he struggled not to hit back, of him saying that if she ever hit his face, he’d say, “You’re not a woman” and hit back–and me having done nothing at all to help him.

Especially when, shortly after I reported them, an abusive relationship turned deadly here in Fondy, resulting in a policeman and the shooter (James Cruckson) being killed.

Even if I am disgusted at the ex-friend’s betrayals, and the many things constantly coming to mind that show a pattern of his gaslighting, deceit and manipulation–I still couldn’t live with myself.

So at least it has been done.  Though they probably hate me for it, it had to be done…..

But at the same time I think how much I’d like to move away from all this, I would miss the people I know here, the people at church…..

“The Third Man” and having to report a friend (Posted on Facebook August 2011)

During our trip to Tennessee, I watched this movie, The Third Man, one evening with Hubby’s parents.

Martins discovers his best friend of many years, Lime, was committing crimes which caused children to die.  Lime’s girlfriend Anna also hears about these things.

Martins helps the police, but Anna calls him a Judas.  It’s a horrible choice, one in which morality and values contradict.

I connected with it personally because I also had to report my former best friend, Richard, for things he and his wife Tracy did and told me about (child abuse).

Even if you know you did the right thing, it still burns inside you….

 

THREE YEARS AGO: Losing Your Best Friend: Or, Narcissistic Webs?–Hoarder houseguests

Dealing with abusive friends: My Story of Psychological Abuse, Part 8

Part 7: Tracy’s irrational jealousy and need to control everyone

Hoarder Houseguests

Meanwhile, I felt pushed into letting them stay with us–and they were bad houseguests, complaining about the food and making it impossible for me to keep up the cleanliness of the house.

They brought their filthy habits into my house, such as dirty laundry constantly piled on my living room floor, and even brought cockroaches and lice.

For six weeks, I fought to keep up the place, and tried not to go crazy as an introvert with no place to go to recharge (it was winter)–while dealing with this jealous, hostile person in my house (Tracy) who complained about everything I did.

First Richard stayed with us for two months by himself, and that was fine.  But then one day he just sprang it on us that the rest of the family was coming as well.  He didn’t even have an apartment secured yet!

He didn’t ask either one of us, just said they were coming.  We had zero room for them, and it was extremely inconvenient to put them all up, with no spare beds, no spare rooms, and no spare money–while they gave us absolutely no money for their own upkeep.

Then Tracy began acting mean all the time to the kids, to Richard, and to me.  Tracy had the nerve to complain about the food we served, to say she felt “unwelcome,” and to become hostile to me.

Tracy was on very thin ice, bringing this filth into my house and treating me like crap.  So I almost threw her out, but it was a cold, harsh winter, and there were four small children as well.  Instead, I kept begging Richard to find a new place and get out.

Part 9: Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children

Index:

  1. That elusive bosom friend
  2. The evils of jealousy
  3. Tracy, the bullying, abusive wife
  4. Tracy: the narcissistic borderline abuser–and seeing her hang out of a van window
  5. The abuser refuses to feel remorse
  6. I hate being bullied for being shy and quiet
  7. Richard gets too friendly–then convinces me this is normal and natural
  8. Tracy’s irrational jealousy and need to control everyone
  9. Hoarder Houseguests
  10. Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children
  11. Tracy crazy-makes me
  12. Tracy refuses to allow cool-down period or apologize for verbal abuse
  13. Richard–though not the reason for the breakup–is also violent and volatile
  14. You say, “Shouldn’t you easily get over this a**hole?”–Here is why I could not
  15. Richard the Mafia thug, potential lady-killer, child beater and child choker
  16. Was he an abused, cringing husband–or a narcissist weaving webs around me?
  17. Struggling to get past the abuse
  18. Contemplating the evils of jealousy and abuse
  19. No epilogue of healing–yet
  20. Help from Shrink4Men

THREE YEARS AGO: Losing Your Best Friend: Or, Narcissistic Webs?–Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children

Dealing with abusive friends: My Story of Psychological Abuse, Part 9

Part 8: Hoarder Houseguests

Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children

In the weeks after they finally moved out, I kept finding their stuff and putting it in a bag with their mail, then asking Richard to pick it up.

Then one day, Richard told me that Tracy was fighting him “tooth and nail” just for wanting to come over for ten minutes and pick up their things!  Even though supposedly we were all still friends who kept having get-togethers, and even though it was their own stuff!

In April 2008, she even yelled at me for trying to get ahold of Richard when he promised we were going to make plans to do something that day!

Just the night before, we had been at their house, socializing like friends, while dropping off/picking up my son for babysitting, but now she was yelling at me.

Yet somehow, they both expected me to forget all that, accept it as my due punishment, act like she was a wonderful, sweet person, and befriend her, have long conversations with her, share secrets with her, etc.

And somehow, on 7/1/10, when Jeff tried to sort things out with Richard, Richard got into his face, raged at him, towered over him, intimidated him, and got furious with him for even suggesting that Tracy held some responsibility for our problems!

Either Richard is so entrenched in Stockholm Syndrome and the FOG that he can no longer see things for how they really are instead of how he wishes them to be (out of fear of being beaten)–or he is an a**hole himself and just hid it from me really well so he could get free food/babysitting out of me.

It’s exactly the same kind of enabling behavior that so angers him about Tracy’s family and her BPD mother.

If you think any of what Tracy did is somehow “okay” or “her right” (as she thought), then switch roles and think how you would see a man treating his wife’s friend this way.

Wouldn’t you think he was a controlling, abusive b**tard?  And wouldn’t you think the wife was behaving like a beaten-down, abused wife who thinks she’s to blame for everything he does?

And Richard knew what it was like to be in my shoes, because the wife of his friend Chris constantly fought Chris over being friends with Richard.  She fought him “tooth and nail” over going out for coffee with Richard, kept trying to separate Richard and Chris!

On March 22, 2009, I received an e-mail.  I won’t post the e-mail, out of privacy concerns for Richard, but it spoke of domestic disputes and child abuse, specifically using the terms “assaulting” the children with “verbal abuse.”

The conversation ended because right then, she came into the room.  She got upset with him for shutting down the e-mail, because she was jealous of his friendship with me (even though we never so much as kissed and had kept up boundaries), and felt she had the right to see anything he wrote to me.

(I was upset by this, because my husband respects my privacy, and I didn’t want this woman who liked to bully me, snooping into and reading my e-mails about my private thoughts, painful history, hopes, fears, etc. etc.)

He reassured her that it wasn’t about her, even though it was.  We were exchanging e-mails on a (now-defunct) online game, so I saw the green light go out that showed he was online.  I wondered what happened to him.

At first I was going to let this message vanish automatically, because private messages on that game vanished after a certain amount of time.  But then I realized it was evidence I might need some day, if Richard or Tracy were to go so far one day that the police became involved.

So I printed up the message and saved it, along with a record of the conversation Richard and I had the following day over the phone:

He told me that she hits him.  I had seen her smack his arm on a few occasions, but this apparently was worse.

I asked if it was slaps or punches; I believe he said punches.  It sounded like she’s been physically battering him.

He doesn’t hit back because she’s a woman.  But he says that if she ever hits his face, he’ll tell her, “You’re no longer a woman,” and fight back.

He says you never hit a man in the face, and that in our state, she’d be the one going to jail because she started the fight and male judges will recognize that she started the fight by hitting him in the face.

He says it goes in cycles, where things are fine for a while, then problems begin again.  Sounds like the classic abuse cycle.

This information was frightening.  But I was still forced to be best buds with her, or else.

Part 10: Tracy crazy-makes me

Index:

  1. That elusive bosom friend
  2. The evils of jealousy
  3. Tracy, the bullying, abusive wife
  4. Tracy: the narcissistic borderline abuser–and seeing her hang out of a van window
  5. The abuser refuses to feel remorse
  6. I hate being bullied for being shy and quiet
  7. Richard gets too friendly–then convinces me this is normal and natural
  8. Tracy’s irrational jealousy and need to control everyone
  9. Hoarder Houseguests
  10. Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children
  11. Tracy crazy-makes me
  12. Tracy refuses to allow cool-down period or apologize for verbal abuse
  13. Richard–though not the reason for the breakup–is also violent and volatile
  14. You say, “Shouldn’t you easily get over this a**hole?”–Here is why I could not
  15. Richard the Mafia thug, potential lady-killer, child beater and child choker
  16. Was he an abused, cringing husband–or a narcissist weaving webs around me?
  17. Struggling to get past the abuse
  18. Contemplating the evils of jealousy and abuse
  19. No epilogue of healing–yet
  20. Help from Shrink4Men

THREE YEARS AGO: Losing Your Best Friend: Or, Narcissistic Webs?–Tracy crazy-makes me

Dealing with abusive friends: My Story of Psychological Abuse, Part 10

Part 9: Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children

Tracy crazy-makes me

In June 2009, Richard said all his other friends could do all the things for which Tracy got mad at me.

Then Richard finally signaled me in late 2009/early 2010 that all these restrictions of the past had been removed.  This made me believe that I had finally met her requirements and anything I did was perfectly fine with her now.

To explain, because it would be too embarrassing to keep asking if I had met them yet, I asked him to signal me that I had.  The signal was to ask me to coffee/ice cream/etc., one of those things that had been forbidden.  I told him the signal would mean that I was allowed to do all the things all his other friends could do.

He wrote back that “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.”  Basically, everything that was okay for him to do with other friends, such as hugs, he could do with me.

Then one night, he asked me to go get sushi with him.  I wasn’t able to because it was frickin’ midnight.  But he would not have done this if it were still forbidden.  I told him to (except for such a late hour) just give me a day/time, but he apparently forgot about it.

It was a huge relief, and made me jubilant to know that I had finally satisfied all her requirements and could do all the things with him that any of his other friends could do, with her blessing. 

We could hug, we could go out for coffee, whatever; it was all okay with the wife.  And I have it in writing.

So the way she acted in late spring/early summer 2010 (snarks, jealousy, narcissistic rage over hugs) just came out of nowhere, and was obviously her trying to make me crazy.

I got the strong impression that Richard had never explained the truth to her.  That even in July 2010 (the day of the blowup/breakup), he preferred to let her rage at me over an e-mail about something which (he convinced me) had been harmless (the hugs of gratitude), rather than tell her the truth and get raged at himself.

Either that, or she was engaging in gaslighting and classic crazy-making behavior, with which abusers are okay with something one day, then the next they get mad at you for it.

In any case, I don’t really know anymore what to believe, because I see my SCA friends doing exactly the same things and everybody thinks it’s perfectly fine.

And Richard really should not have done/asked me to do things which Tracy would not approve of, and then told me not to worry about his intentions.

Richard told me numerous times that hugs were perfectly fine with her.  We hugged in front of her many times because of his reassurances.

On July 1, 2010, she now raged at me over the hugs of gratitude.

The hugs I referred to in my e-mail to Richard, were done out in the parking lot for all the neighbors to see.  I thought for sure that Jeff saw us out the kitchen window.

I felt no shame from the hugs, no need to hide them from anyone, because they were purely platonic expressions of friendship, platonic love and gratitude.

In fact, I kept expecting that one day Richard would give me one of these hugs right in front of Tracy and she would be perfectly fine with it, because he said hugs were okay with her.

There was absolutely nothing wrong or illicit in what I wrote in my e-mail to Richard, no professions of passionate love, nothing to justify how she reacted.

It was all her own imagination, reading things in that were not there, because of her insecurity and possessiveness.

My e-mail was part of a series of e-mails Richard and I had been exchanging since an argument several days previous, and we were now patching things up.  I was trying to remind him of how nice he used to be, because he’d been so mean to me lately.

I expected the e-mail to make him happy, that he would reply with an “Awww, yes, I remember that.”  I often say sweet things like this to friends, male and female, and normally it pleases them.

But even Richard noted previously that Tracy was a jealous person in general, and how it affected him and lost him friendships.

In her rage over this e-mail, Tracy went on and on about how I should have known better than to do various things without “befriending” her first.

But once again, she obviously considered me a friend now or Richard would not have asked me to get sushi with him.

And they were all things that Richard had first done with me, several times for each thing (sleeping on my shoulder, going out for ice cream, hugs of gratitude), with no indication that they had to be cleared with her first.

But she made them out to be my idea from the beginning, treated me like some whore for even thinking of doing them, and gave Richard no responsibility at all for any of them.

Even though he influenced me with his smooth talk into thinking he did nothing wrong.

She twisted these things beyond recognition into some kind of dirty, sneaky cheating.  She screamed about how I did not understand “boundaries.”

Um, I think you need to say this to Richard, not me.  I’m not the one with the boundary problem.  I merely followed his lead as he reassured me what he did was perfectly okay and not cheating at all.

But he threw me under the bus, allowing her to rage at me and even telling Jeff she was going “easy” on me.

When he knew DANG well that he was letting her tear into me over something that had been his own idea, something that he himself convinced me was perfectly innocent.

When he himself had committed two gaffes that I knew about, one of which had caused at least as big of an uproar, something he said or did that had been completely misunderstood by an ex-girlfriend.

His betrayal left me reeling.

I was now being falsely accused of something I had not and had never done, yet she refused to believe otherwise.  In fact, as I said, Richard himself had done these hugs I referred to.

If she had only behaved like an adult and inquired into the truth before blowing up in a narcissistic/borderline rage like a toddler throwing a tantrum, she would’ve found this out.

Borderline personality disorder leads to seeing offense where there is none, and volatile behavior.  So she saw things I did in innocence, without meaning to offend her, things which had nothing to do with her normally, as offensive to her.  And she blew up in irrational, manipulative rages.

I can say this because I am not the only one.  She has done this to Richard–and I have witnessed her doing it.

Two years earlier, I and an entire forum witnessed her blowing up at mutual friend Todd.  She refused to believe that he did not do what she accused him of–even though it was quite plain from the original chat logs and forum posts that she completely misunderstood what he actually did.

She probably did this out of spite because he, too, saw her as abusive and avoided her.  In those chat logs and forum posts, others also grew exasperated as they tried to intervene and reason with her.

Add that to:

  • her very obvious overreaction to my wishing Richard a fun trip etc.
  • her smacking a tiny 3-year-old hard on the back of her head
  • her screaming at one of the kids for tucking her pantlegs into her snowboots (poor girl only did what you’re supposed to do in this climate)
  • her blowing up at the kids just out of nowhere one day, and yelling and grabbing and spanking them for no reason at all
  • and her hanging half out of a moving vehicle going 30 miles an hour one day

–and I have every reason to believe that her reaction to what I did was that of a narcissist or borderline.

Especially since my own husband saw nothing wrong with what I did, and got furious with her for how she treated me over it.

Note that borderline can co-exist with narcissistic personality disorder.  While a borderline who is not narcissistic can recognize his or her own bad behaviors, and apologize and work to change them, a borderline who is also a narcissist is more likely to abuse you without remorse.

While a personality disorder can explain why a person behaves a certain way, abuse can be perpetrated by anyone, and must not be tolerated, no matter what the reason.  Especially if the abuser feels no remorse.

I never noted a hint of remorse from Tracy for her abuses.

And also note that it’s very common for abusers, after they’ve abused you, to claim that they somehow went “easy” on you and that everyone else would have treated you much worse for your “misdeed.”

And to feel pleased and relieved that they have abused you, and act like it was nothing.

Linda’s owner, in “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” did this to her.

Richard and Tracy made that very same claim about Tracy’s overreaction and verbal abuse to me, saying “99%” of people would’ve reacted worse, even though I did not do what she pretended I did.

But when Jeff asked some friends how they would have reacted to the same thing, they all said they would merely have teased me mercilessly and then moved on, because that’s what friends do.

I certainly refuse to be lectured about “boundaries” and “appropriate behavior” by someone who constantly violated my boundaries and constantly behaved inappropriately to me.  She talked as if she had never approved anything, even though she obviously had or Richard would not have asked me to go get sushi with him!

Right before the blowup that ended the friendship, Richard tried to tell me that I don’t have NVLD because NVLD=Asperger’s and I’m not autistic–

Dang it, NVLD is not autism!  NVLD is also not Asperger’s!  Asperger’s and NVLD are similar in many ways, but they’re not the same!

Then on the day of the blowup Tracy started ripping on the NVLD as well as if I were just making it up and had no actual social issues.  This is bullying!  It shows a huge lack of empathy on both their parts, and a refusal to even consider another point of view to their own.

Jeff’s response to Tracy’s behavior through all this: “No, Tracy does not get her way!”

Part 11: Tracy refuses to allow cool-down period or apologize for verbal abuse

 

Index:

  1. That elusive bosom friend
  2. The evils of jealousy
  3. Tracy, the bullying, abusive wife
  4. Tracy: the narcissistic borderline abuser–and seeing her hang out of a van window
  5. The abuser refuses to feel remorse
  6. I hate being bullied for being shy and quiet
  7. Richard gets too friendly–then convinces me this is normal and natural
  8. Tracy’s irrational jealousy and need to control everyone
  9. Hoarder Houseguests
  10. Details of Tracy’s abuse of Richard and the children
  11. Tracy crazy-makes me
  12. Tracy refuses to allow cool-down period or apologize for verbal abuse
  13. Richard–though not the reason for the breakup–is also violent and volatile
  14. You say, “Shouldn’t you easily get over this a**hole?”–Here is why I could not
  15. Richard the Mafia thug, potential lady-killer, child beater and child choker
  16. Was he an abused, cringing husband–or a narcissist weaving webs around me?
  17. Struggling to get past the abuse
  18. Contemplating the evils of jealousy and abuse
  19. No epilogue of healing–yet
  20. Help from Shrink4Men

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fighting the Darkness: Stockholm Syndrome?

Part of my trouble dealing with this issue is the question of, how my best friend could turn on me like Richard did.  Stockholm Syndrome can explain it.  From a blog by Jennifer Kesler about the Hillary Adams video:

If you’re wondering how a woman could get to the point of helping her husband beat their child, you need to understand this: when you’re living with someone who gets that violent anytime anyone stands up to him, you don’t stand up to him.

You either become very passive, or you become his collaborator in hopes of mitigating the damage. That’s what we’re seeing here – a mitigating collaborator.

The mother calmly agrees with every argument the judge makes, because arguing with him would only escalate his temper. She takes over the beating not because she enjoys it – that’s clear from her demeanor – but because she’s hoping it will lessen his anger and protect Hilary from his more painful lashes.

Several times she says “That’s en…” and stops herself because that constitutes standing up to him. As hard as it is to stomach, this is clearly a woman doing the best she can under circumstances that are as FUBAR as any war situation. –Hillary Adams: child abuse on film

There’s also the FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) in which spouses of abusers are often kept.  Richard’s betrayal of me, even his intimidation of my husband for sticking up for me, could be seen as all part of trying to pacify his raging wife.

So I do hope that one day, he’ll come out of that FOG and realize just what he did, and come to us to make amends.  But there would still be the separate issues of threatening my husband several days earlier, which had nothing to do with Tracy, and nearly killing his daughter.

Hubby and I don’t know what we’ll do if he does come to us trying to make amends.  We decided we would just play it by ear.

There has been no church for a couple of weeks as my priest has been on vacation, so there have been no more surprises, no anxieties.  But this weekend, church starts up again, and as I do every time I go to church, I’ll be checking the parking lot for Richard and Tracy’s vehicle.

The initial shock, dismay and sadness stirred by seeing Richard again, has dissipated, and once again I feel anger at him for his abusive behaviors.  I want him far from me; I feel calmer.

I want to fight for the end of abuse of all kinds, of child abuse, of domestic violence; I read articles on people who did far less to their kids, but still ended up with jail time, or five years probation, and wonder, Why isn’t Richard in jail???!!!

I don’t want him to show up again like he did a couple of weeks ago and put me back in that dark place of depression and missing him.  I don’t want to miss him.

I want to remember him as a narcissist, Svengali and child abuser who duped me into believing all sorts of things that weren’t true, not as my BFF and spiritual mentor.

Seeing him brings it all back again and rips open the wound.  And if he had any sensitivity at all, he’d realize this.

The simple fact of the matter is, vaguely saying he blames himself for everything does not count as an apology for his violence or his betrayal, especially since right after he said this, he blamed me for Tracy’s verbal abuse, and lied to me, twice.

There are many who say that forgiveness is for when the offender asks for it.  When has he ever asked for it?  When has Tracy ever asked for it?  If they do not seek forgiveness from me, then I want them out of my life completely, leaving me in peace.

It is often easier for outsiders to see what’s going on because they’re not caught in the disorienting and invalidating mists of an emotional FOG.

To a mom, dad, sister, brother or best friend, it can be as clear as day, but when you have your mouth wrapped around the exhaust pipe of the Crazy Fogger 3000 night and day, it’s no wonder you can’t see the forest for the trees.

For anyone who’s ever walked or driven in atmospheric fogs, you know that being in a fog can play perceptual tricks on you.–Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, More Thoughts on FOG, Hoovers and No Contact When Ending a Relationship with a Narcissist, Borderline, Histrionic and/or Sociopath

The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended.

In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence.

The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive.

At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.–From “Love and Stockholm Syndrome” by Dr. Joseph M. Carver, PhD

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fighting the Darkness: Healing can take a long time (Healing from abuse)

I thought I’d never see Richard at my church again, but there he was on Sunday.

A wound I thought was healing has been ripped open again, gaping and oozing.

It’s hard for me to even get myself up and going to church on Sunday mornings, for fear that they will be there.

They’ve surprised me a few times at church, or at my church’s Greek Fest, since the breach, even though I rarely ever saw them there before.  (They go elsewhere.)

It felt like they were doing it on purpose to terrorize me.  Every time I saw them, I’d barely make it through, feel like collapsing, have to fight to keep from trembling.  Only anger at all the abuse could give me strength to get through.

This time, Hubby Jeff and I saw their vehicle in the parking lot, so Jeff stayed to give me moral support.  (He has his own church and normally just drops me off at mine.)

(See Narcissistic Webs for reasons why I’d be scared of Richard: his huge size, his choking one of his kids, his past as a goomba, his almost physically assaulting a lady and saying he’d leave no trace that he was ever there, his threatening my husband with physical violence and saying he’s very easily triggered to it.

Also, he told me violent things about his past.  He said he’d been arrested more than a hundred times, but I have no idea for what, or if he was acquitted; it was before he lived in my state, which has a public-access website with details of court cases.

And his wife Tracy is also a very scary person, much larger than I am, violent physically and verbally.  Richard told me that once, in my house, she almost killed me over something, and I had no idea. 

I have no idea if he meant it literally or as hyperbole, but for months afterward, my mind kept going to that, imagining what it would have been like to feel her fists, wondering if Hubby or Richard would have pulled her off me in time, imagining Hubby calling the cops.  Just sitting and watching That 70s Show, one kid would hit another kid, and I’d flinch.

And yet I was expected to “befriend” her, be buddy-buddy with her, without so much as an “I’m sorry” from her, or else I was to “blame” for all the crap she threw at me.)

This time, it was just Richard and two of his kids, not the one who was choked.  It was all very quiet, no scenes or anything.  He didn’t even take communion.

During coffee hour, my son played with the two kids.  One is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens.  She’d pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug.  Just the sweetest, most adorable little girl.  The other one is 7, and upset at Jeff and me for not coming around anymore.

Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Jeff and my son had already gone out.  I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes.

She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”  Jeff also got her scolding eyes earlier.

My heart broke right there.  I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the reasons.  I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the abuse, how Tracy had verbally eviscerated me over a misunderstanding and had no remorse, how her father had done a terrible, evil deed to her sister, how he had once planned to do a terrible, evil deed to a lady who had upset him two years ago, and made me afraid of him, afraid of what horrible deeds he could do to me.

I couldn’t explain to her in a way that she could understand it had nothing to do with her.  All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry.  I’ve been miserable ever since, missing her and the other children.

I just kept hoping during coffee hour that Richard would come to Jeff and me and apologize for all the things he’d done to us, and was very disappointed when he didn’t.  I still keep hoping.

I hope that, because of the criminal conviction, he’s using his probation as a second chance to change things around.  I hope that one day things will be different, that his abusive home environment will become healthy and good, that he will come to us.

Websites on abusers keep saying, “Don’t hope for change.  Let go of the hope for change.  Accept that this is the way they are and will always be.  Don’t listen when the Church says they can change.”

But in my heart I just don’t believe that.  I was angry.  I tried to hold onto my anger to distance myself from Richard and all the pain.  But it’s all just vanished and sadness has returned.

When he came to our city four years ago, I had no idea things would turn out like this.  I gave them so much of myself, trying to help them, because Richard’s friendship was so important and special to me.  He never said anything about an abusive homelife, not until then.

One person on an Orthodox message board noted that I sound emotionally and spiritually traumatized.  This is certainly true.  If you are religious, please pray for me and this whole situation, which affects not just me but four innocent children.

And if you are Richard and somehow found my blog, please, PLEASE work on yourself and get rid of the violence.  For me, for Jeff, for yourself, for your children.  And then feel free to get in touch with us.  (It’s impossible to send any of these things directly to Richard because his wife is insanely jealous.)  But these are the things you must do and say:

1) Assure me that you are not going to go all goomba on me.

2) Apologize for the things that went on the final week of our friendship:

  • a) Threatening Jeff with verbal and physical violence for sticking up for me on 6/28/10.
  • b) Throwing me under the bus when Tracy went ballistic, rather than explaining to her the truth of what happened and what I meant by my e-mail.  Letting her go off on me.  Giving in to her so I was not even allowed to explain and exonerate myself.  You knew very well that I was referring to a sisterly/brotherly hug of gratitude, and that it had been your idea.
  • c) Getting into Hubby’s face and intimidating him for sticking up for me.

3) Apologize for, a month later, justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse of me, blaming me for it, then lying to me about why you hadn’t seen my e-mail and why you blocked us on Facebook.  Being so deceitful that I actually thought Tracy was going to finally apologize, when instead I was opened up to more verbal abuse and accusations from her.  Treating me like this was all my problem that I had to get over, rather than admitting that Tracy had been bullying me and getting you to do her dirty work.

4) Admit to your violent tendencies and demonstrate that you are working on them, that you will not threaten us again, will not choke your daughter again, will stop lecturing us on how to discipline children.  Take anger management courses, study the Philokalia and Ladder of Divine Ascent, take parenting classes.

As for Tracy–I don’t want to hear from or see you again.  Don’t come to my church.  Don’t call me on the phone no matter what you see my son doing.  Unless, of course, you’re ready to forgive me for being naturally shy and quiet, and acknowledge your own share in the problems, your own abusive behaviors.

Why do you come here
When you know it makes things hard for me ?
When you know, oh
Why do you come ?

ONE YEAR AGO: Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 15

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

Part 15: Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye

The rest of the family had gone to their new apartment, while Richard finished packing the car.  Before he left, Richard gave me three bearhugs–hugs which I took as being in friendship, in gratitude, in platonic love and caring, as a huge “thank you for all you’ve done for my family.”

Jeff was there in the house during the first two.  The last was right out in the open, by the garage.  The line of garages faces the front doors and windows of our condo building.  I saw my husband in the kitchen, and thought for sure he saw us through the kitchen window.  There was a streetlight nearby.

The neighbors could easily see us, yet I did not fear what they thought, because we did nothing wrong or inappropriate.  I think I even told my mother about these hugs.  Hugs just like the ones he gave me good-night numerous times while he lived here alone.

But he had reassured me his actions were all in platonic friendship, so that’s how I took these hugs the day he moved out.  They were sweet, special, and treasured in my heart.

One day, I saw him give the exact same hug to one of his little daughters.  She was small, so he cuddled her in his lap, which, of course, he never would’ve done to me.  But he gave her a long bearhug and nuzzled the top of her head.

It was cute and sweet–and the proof I needed that this was just a loving and affectionate kind of guy, who probably gave this exact same kind of hug to his mother, his sister, his female cousins, his platonic female friends.  That it never had a hint of romantic feeling, and was totally appropriate.

(It also made me believe that he never could hurt one of these little ones.  So it was a shock to learn that he later choked one of them.)

I figured this was common where he grew up, which was thousands of miles away, and supposedly a more laid-back and open culture.

(I recently read an abuse blog by a woman over there, whose male friend also gave her hugs like this.  He had no romantic interest in her; the hug was for support because of her abusive marriage.)

Richard made it sound like over there, flirting is more blatant even when it’s innocent and just being playful, and people put their heads on the shoulders of their friends to go to sleep….

Also, unless you’re a pervert, you don’t do anything “romantic” with your own daughter, so those hugs he gave me, had to be perfectly innocent and appropriate.

I also have SCA friends who do things like this, while being faithful husbands.  One in particular can get very huggy and nuzzly with you, but his wife is right there, laughs, and makes it clear that this is as far as it goes.  :)

(I also just found a blog post by a girl with a platonic male best friend; he has a girlfriend, and they don’t think of each other romantically at all, but they will chat for hours, each with an arm around the other.)

So I have been in both very reserved and very open groups of friends/family.  I am typically more reserved, but my friend Catherine–another very huggy, flirty and cuddly kind of person, despite being a faithful wife–has always wanted me to open up.

I see nothing wrong with it, and wanted to be more open like she is.  I didn’t want to be the one with Asperger/NVLD reserve, the odd one out, because it seemed so lonely and cold in comparison to what my extroverted, “normal” friends did.

But I had no clue that Tracy would one day use these hugs as justification for a hysterical narcissistic rage episode.

I did absolutely nothing wrong here.  Richard had always reassured me that hugs were okay with Tracy, and I even have an e-mail from him saying so.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our hugs, or with my reminding him of them or remembering them fondly as a sign of our close friendship and his gratitude.

But Tracy was so entrenched in the idea that I must be destroyed at all costs, especially after I began speaking up about their child abuse in 2010 (and I must have shown obvious shock and distaste the few times she abused the kids right in front of me in 2010), that she used anything she could grab ahold of as justification to bully and verbally abuse me in May, June and July 2010. 

So on July 1, 2010, she had her revenge.  (More on this in chapters 7 and 8.)

She did the same thing to Todd, as I will demonstrate later, because–according to the story told to me–he once beat her (or nearly beat her) at Risk.  He also preferred talking to Richard instead of to her, was wary of her.  So one day in June 2008, she had her revenge by publicly humiliating and smearing him.

As I have explained above, I believe this is all because she is abusive and wants to isolate her husband from anyone who could point that out to him.

But more on that later.  Back to January 16, 2008.

I was depressed not just since they moved in, but for at least two weeks after they moved out, because I got used to Richard being around all the time, and missed him dearly.

I was also distressed because of how Tracy treated people, and how she had twisted a good, pure friendship into something dirty.  I could no longer listen to a couple of CD’s which I got while Richard was here alone, because those two pleasant months were now tainted with Tracy’s suspicion and abuse.

After they finally moved out, a day or two later Tracy stopped over to get something.  My son saw her, thought she was moving back in, and curled up into a whimpering ball.

Coincidentally, when she stopped over, I happened to be blasting “Let Him Go” by Animotion.  I had no idea she was coming, and she may have walked right in, so I found this quite ironic, considering the anti-jealousy message of that song and how badly she needed to hear it:

Let him go
Do the things he’s got to do
Give him the freedom that he needs even though it worries you.
Let him go
Have the faith that he’ll be true
It’s the only way you can be sure he’ll come back to you.

I understand your desire to keep him near
But you poison love when you mix it up with fear.
Trust yourself to be the woman that you want to be
If you both have room to grow
Then you’ll live in harmony.

 

For a short while after that, Richard kept bringing Tracy along when he came to visit.  Jeff would be at work.  I felt like they were ganging up on me, ripping on me, telling me what I should or should not be doing (potty training, meals, whatever), making fun of me, helping each other do that.

Memories of the hugs and other signs of his friendship, I held close to my heart, hoping he would do these things again, and stop joining in on Tracy’s bullying.  It was a strange disconnect between how he acted while here alone, and how he ganged up on me and criticized me with Tracy around.  It hurt deeply, and confused me.

When Richard was by himself (whether on the phone or online or here with his kids), I relaxed.  He was pleasant and fun, or empathetic, or supportive as I dealt with religious questions, or whatever.  But Tracy kept tagging along, and I hated that because of her nasty attitude and their ganging up on me.

The same thing happened online as well, with them starting to pick on me.  I have often wondered if–the times I talked with just him in a chat room–his moods depended on whether she was nearby.

Even though this situation was forced on me, even though I was forced to be hostess to people we had no room for, even though I was never asked if I wanted to host them, I was accused of not being properly “welcoming.”

Looking back, Jeff and I wish we had been more assertive.  Friends and family tell us we should have been more assertive, that these were freeloaders using us and only pretending to be our friends.

But we thought it our duty as Christians and friends to be obliging and let them stay instead of kicking them onto the street in the bitterly cold, snowy, northern winter.

No, we never got a thank-you from her.  Ever.  From him, but not from her.

Something I read on 1/5/14 which made me go hmmmmm:

To draw you closer, the psychopath creates an aura of desirability—of being wanted and courted by many. It will become a point of vanity for you to be the preferred object of their attention, to win them away from a crowd of admirers.

They manufacture the illusion of popularity by surrounding themselves with members of the opposite sex: friends, former lovers, and your eventual replacement. Then, they create triangles that stimulate rivalry and raise their perceived value. (Adapted from “The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene).

Psychopaths, like most predators, seek power and control. They want to dominate their partners sexually, emotionally, and physically. They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities.

This is why they love-bomb you with attention and flattery in the beginning of the relationship—because no matter how strong or confident you are, being in “love” makes you vulnerable by default.

Psychopaths don’t need physical aggression to control you (although sometimes they do). Instead, relationships provide them with the perfect opportunity to consume you by manufacturing the illusion of love.

This is why it’s so damaging when bystanders say: “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” You never entered a relationship with the psychopath expecting to be abused, belittled, and criticized—first, you were tricked into falling in love, which is the strongest human bond in the world. Psychopaths know this.

…The psychopath’s ability to groom others is unmatched. They feel an intense euphoria when they turn people against each other, especially when it’s over a competition for them.

Psychopaths will manufacture situations to make you jealous and question their fidelity. In a normal relationship, people go out of their way to prove that they are trustworthy—but the psychopath does exactly the opposite.

They are constantly suggesting that they might be pursuing other options, or spending time with other people, so that you can never settle down into a feeling of peace. And they will always deny this, calling you crazy for bringing it up.

….The final triangulation happens when they make the decision to abandon you. This is when they’ll begin freely talking about how much this relationship is hurting them, and how they don’t know if they can deal with your behavior anymore.

They will usually mention talking to a close friend about your relationship, going into details about how they both agreed that your relationship wasn’t healthy.

In the meantime, they’ve been blatantly ignoring frantic messages from you. You’ll be sitting there wondering why they aren’t chatting with you about these concerns, considering it’s your relationship.

Well, the reason is that they’ve already made the decision to dump you—now they’re just torturing you. They only seek advice from people they know will agree with them. That “friend” they’re talking to is probably their next target.–Torture by Triangulation

If you take away the focus here on marital relationships, and adapt it to friendship, the same thing applies.  Richard’s relationship with me was a platonic friendship, but the same dynamics were at work:

The first couple of months he stayed with us, his cell constantly rang with all sorts of friends.  He’d ignore them to talk with me, or answer and then say he was in the middle of a conversation, and get back to me.

He’d tell me about all the women he had to fight off–not just in his single days, but after getting married.

After this love bombing phase ended, the criticism began and I was discarded for a month.  I could do nothing right, and he didn’t want to spend time with me anymore.

Then he gave me special hugs–throwing me a bone to keep me thinking that things would be as they were at first.

But after that, despite the occasional bone-throwing (kind words etc.), he kept me off-balance.  Other friends constantly clamored for his time, and I became lower on the totem pole than they were.

Then a new friend, Chris, came along, and got all the attention that I used to get.  They’d go out and do things, talk, etc., and I would be the one sitting at home, or abandoned at the picnic table while they went walking along the beach.

(It sure wasn’t about Richard getting less drama by spending time with a male BFF instead of female, because even though they were the same sex, now Chris’ wife caused trouble with her jealousy and controlling behavior, trying to separate them.  She behaved the exact same way with Richard, as Tracy did with me!)

The last part also reminds me of mid-2010, when I could feel things were going wrong.  But when I tried to discuss it with Richard, he shut me down, made me feel paranoid.  He also told me his political friends were messaging him on Facebook complaining about the things I posted on his FB threads.

This article also makes me wonder how much of the whole situation was Richard manipulating me to make Tracy jealous, to keep her from leaving him.  If he played each of his friends, family, spouse, the way he played me, on purpose to control us all.

I think back and remember little things he did, which individually may not mean much, but taken together make one big picture of him playing people off each other.

He did once say that being fought over gave him a big head.  Another time, he deliberately skewed what I said to make Tracy jealous:

Somebody on TV used the phrase “love on.”  It’s a new Evangelical phrase which sounds soooo wrong, but they’ll say, “we’ll love on you.”  I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I think it’s about showering people with agape love.

I commented on how weird it sounds, and said, “I don’t say ‘love on you,’ I say ‘love you.'”  Then Richard turned to Tracy and said, “She just said she loves me!”  So Tracy started hissing at me.

??!!

I think it was a joke, but I’m not entirely sure.  Or if she knew it was a joke.

I also remember him complaining to me privately about her jealousy over women friends, at various times over the years.  He complained to me about her jealousy over another friend when she first moved into my house.

But while sitting on the couch with both of us, he’d tell her the jealousy was sexy, a compliment.  Meanwhile, she drove me crazy with her jealousy toward me in my house.

He complained to me about her being mean, then in front of her would tell the kids that he married her because she’s mean.

Individually these things may not seem like much, but taken all together, they become a big picture of control and manipulation, playing people off each other to gratify his ego.

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 

 

 

TWO YEARS AGO: On Lost Friendship, God, Hell, and Repentance

(I posted this on my Facebook about Richard back in 2011.)

I understand now more than ever what it means for God to love us all, but turn away from the ones who hurt and destroy without repentance.

Because they have done wrong and do not repent, He must turn away.

But if only they will turn from hurting and destroying, and decide to do right, He will snatch them up in His loving embrace, even from the pits of Hell.

I know how it feels to turn away from someone I love because I must.  But if that person ever repented, I would take that person back to my fellowship in a heartbeat.

Never think that God turns His face away out of hate; His eyes are full of tears.

 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Crazy For God Review

Crazy For God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0786718919, available anywhere:

More information about this book is on Frank Schaeffer’s website.

He, like me, grew up in the evangelical sub-culture, only to later leave for the Orthodox faith.  He says that he and his father helped form the Religious Right.

Schaeffer’s parents ran L’Abri in Switzerland.  Founded as a mission, it became a kind of hostel for spiritual seekers, from everyday students to rock stars.

The Schaeffers were Calvinists; in the early days they had restrictive rules, in the days of the hippies these rules were relaxed, but in the 70s and 80s, they became strict again.

Frank Schaeffer still is pro-life despite turning politically liberal, and you can see that in his indictments of how extreme the pro-choice crowd got in the 70s and 80s.

He notes that if the Democrats had taken the pro-life believers as seriously as did the Republican Party, the Democratic Party would have become the party of choice for Christians.  Instead, secular media and the Democrats just ignored religious media and the pro-lifers for the most part in those days.

The pro-choice crowd was so offended in those days by the pro-life crowd that they went to ridiculous extremes which essentially made the pro-life argument for them: Who could see these people as reasonable or compassionate?

But while fighting for the pro-life cause which impassioned him, he also noted that American Christianity had turned ridiculous.

He made documentaries with his father, Francis Schaeffer, which are still being used in churches today, such as “How Should We Then Live?”  (I saw an episode of this on Youtube, and it does appear to be well-done.)

He went on speaking tours, wrote books, went on The 700 Club.  But even in the middle of it, he and his father kept thinking, “These people are idiots.”

His father had a classical education and knew a great deal about classical music and art.  Frank was raised in Switzerland; while his education was spotty and he had dyslexia, he went to British boarding schools, and learned about art and music from his dad.

He spent all his young life in Europe, not in the American evangelical sub-culture.  His first exposure to American Christianity was on these speaking tours as a young adult, yet he kept stirring people up with speeches and books about how the liberals were ruining America–an America which he didn’t really know and couldn’t speak about from any position of authority.

You may know how silly American evangelicalism can get.  He had to deal with youth pastors trying to influence their youth groups into abstinence with silly songs and Sesame Street puppets; “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs by sub-par singers; poor editing standards which got him used to whipping up a first draft of a book, sending it off to the publishers, and letting them clean it up.

He knew what art really was, but he didn’t take the time to actually craft his work, whether film or scripts or books, because the evangelical publishers let him be lazy and he got used to it.

He also got to know evangelical powerhorses like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson; none of them impressed him.  He and his father saw Pat Robertson as a crazy guy who heard voices, Falwell as hate-filled, Dobson as power-hungry.

Even if you don’t always agree with him, this book is awesome.  This guy knows what it’s like to be raised under repressive rules, has seen the fakeness which has driven so many of us away from American evangelicalism, and has ended up in the Greek Orthodox church.

He freely admits to being a jerk to his wife and child in his youth and even occasionally today; he chews himself out for it and tries to do better.

He says that his wife never, ever starts an argument, and that he’s glad his kids say, “Mom is always right” because she is.  That’s not because she’s stubborn (she’s not) or has to have her way (she doesn’t) or anything, but because she simply is right.

After all these years, he still sees her as some sort of angel fallen to earth.  They married in their teens because she got pregnant.  They could very easily have divorced a few years later, and people did wonder why the heck Genie put up with Frank, but they had a family support system around them that kept them together and counseled them.

This book is a memoir, starting from his childhood in L’Abri and going all the way through his life, highlighting his spiritual crises.  It is a revealing look behind the scenes of American evangelicalism.  I highly recommend it.

[Fall 2008]

 

Online Shenanigans–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 1

One day, Speaker offered to let me use his alternate screen name, Alone.  He didn’t let everyone know it was his account, so I could be incognito that way.  I think I was out of hours and he wanted to keep talking to me.  He even trusted me enough to give me his password.

While I was in teleconference with Speaker and Krafter and probably others, Nobody came in and began to troll, which is cyberspeak for stirring up trouble, giving out insults, trying to start arguments, etc.

He told all the people in tele how sad it was that they were on the computer on a Saturday, and to get a life.  (Yet he was in tele on a Saturday, too!  And I know I had a life, one that existed long before we got the modem.)

Pearl or Sharon was watching at the time.  I posted that he probably said all these things because he had no girlfriend.  He said to me, “And what about you, ALONE?”  But that didn’t bother me because I had a boyfriend.  Speaker wasn’t sure he liked my comment, though, because he had no girlfriend, either.

Nobody trolled some more, getting everybody mad, until all of a sudden he disappeared from tele: Krafter killed his connection.  He was now banned from TCB for a time, though he came on again soon with a new screen name (I believe he was Sub-Zero).

Along with my other usual online exclamations, I now included, “Purrr…<lick!>”  Guys weren’t always sure quite how to take that.  :)

I also “nuzzled” Speaker and Stimpy.  This was my own action word, made by typing “ga is nuzzling Speaker.”

The “ga” stands for “global action.”  Whatever you typed after “ga” showed up onscreen after your name, just as you typed it.  My ga showed up as, “Nyssa Of Traken is nuzzling Speaker.”  Misty also popularized this: “ga is innocent.”  This was especially funny because we knew he was not innocent.  I and others also liked to type “ga is innocent.”

Oftentimes in tele, I said I was Nyssie, the Loch Nyss Monster–“but a cute monster!”  Stimpy typed, “I’ll say!”

One popular expression among TCB users was “doh!”  It was generally used in Farwest Trivia when someone didn’t answer a trivia question for one reason or another.  I began to use it online after a while, and I think my roommates did as well.

My roommies and I helped each other out in Farwest Trivia.  Also, Ish told Pearl once that the answers to the music questions were generally the Bee Gees or the Beatles, and he seemed to be right.

Krafter paid for the first month on TCB ($5) for both Sharon and me.  Now that he was dating Sharon, he still paid for her, though I didn’t expect the same and paid my own fees.

****

Catherine and I went to lunch together every Wednesday and Friday after Chaucer.  Usually the first ones to get to the cafeteria, we’d talk about such things as Chaucer, the ridiculous sex scenes in the bodice-rippers she kept reading, Cugan, and Stimpy.

Charles often joined us later on.  Catherine flirted with him as if he were a stud.  He looked at her strangely because she was married.

But it was all just fun and games with her, lots of raunchy humor but nothing meant seriously.  She did this to all the guys, and enjoyed their discomfort.

I believe this was my first introduction to the concept that heavy flirting can be harmless even when you’re married.

With all the guys now in my life, I told Charles and Pearl once that I was having more fun now than I did when I was engaged.

Catherine wrote a story about Cugan and me in the style of her bodice-ripper romance novels: “The Coy Mistress.”  I couldn’t believe what she wrote.  Yes, there was a sex scene.  I can’t imagine writing something that explicit about my own friends.

****

One evening, Stubby drove Stimpy and me to his house for a Beavis and Butthead party.  Though I used to hate the show, Phil got me into it.  Now, watching it with Stimpy and attaching good memories to it, I liked it even more.  I also loved being the only girl in a room full of guys.

Stubby said he was engaged to a girl from Indiana whom he’d met online but never seen in person.  We thought he was crazy.  Stimpy said when he saw her picture, “How do you know this is really her picture and not her daughter’s or her niece’s?  How do you know she told you the truth about her age?”

Stubby was supposed to go meet her at some point.  I don’t know how the whole thing turned out, if he ever actually married the girl.

Once, Stimpy and I were in Teleconference, cuddling and kissing and all that, when all of a sudden, Crystal Dragon hosed us off.

One night, with Krafter, Stimpy and Randy at the apartment with all of us roommies, we watched The Lion King and my copy of Wayne’s World.  My youngest brother gave me World for Christmas a year or two before, but I’d been saving it, waiting to watch it when all my friends were together.  This was the perfect time.

Now that I could hear everything and had my friends around me, I could enjoy it and realize it actually was funny.  My first time was at the Zeta party, when I was uncomfortably shy and could not hear the words.  Several of my friends saw it in the theaters, so it was the second time for them, as well.

****

Stimpy was only nineteen.  I hadn’t dated someone that much younger before, unless you count Aaron in Sunday School when I was 5 and he was maybe 3 or 4.  It was only two years’ difference, but when you’re twenty-one, that seems like a lot.

Sharon was seeing Krafter, a whole five years older than she.  That was unbelievable.  Even the Vampire, at only four years older, seemed like an old man.  Charles seemed old, too, though not as much.

In college, just as in adolescence, even one year’s difference seems like a lot.  Cugan was twenty-seven, making him seem positively ancient.

****

People online joked about computer geeks, and I said, “I like geeks.”  I wasn’t one myself–I didn’t sit around talking about computer programming languages and the latest upgrades–but I liked geeks.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have liked Krafter or Stimpy, and I thought they were cool.

Ish Kabibble was a cool guy of about 33, generally regarded as the nicest guy online.  Even the trolls Avenger and Lima liked to talk to him.

One day, he said he found an obituary saying Ish Kabibble had died.  Now, for him, “Ish Kabibble” was some nonsense word that popped into his head when he chose his handle.  It turned out to be the name of a comedian.  It was weird to see his own obituary.  (The comedian died on June 5, after I left school, so this must have been a summer party or an online gathering.)

Turtle, a teenager and jailbait, had an obvious crush on him, and made passes at him whenever she found him online.  Ish, of course, didn’t encourage her, but it amused him.

Ish, on the other hand, met Pearl online and wanted to meet her in real life.  Pearl didn’t know what to think.  He was much older, and she didn’t know what he looked like or what he was like in person.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)