For the first time in five years, my once-friend Richard,

I listened to a song that always reminded me of when we first decided to become friends.  It was on rock radio all the time back then, Wings of a Butterfly by HIM.  I loved it and downloaded it, so I listened to it all the time while reading your posts and e-mails and researching Orthodoxy.  So it attached to you.

Because our friendship was important to me, the song became a symbol of that, and special to me as well.  But I never told you about this.

For five years, I have avoided that song like the plague.  Took it out of my playlist, skipped past it on MP3 players and CDs.  Because it made me sob.

I think today was the first time I tried to listen to it again.

And it didn’t bother me.

Heck, I listened to it twice, because I missed it so much.

A whole slew of songs used to remind me of you for various reasons, but this was the last holdout, the last one I still could not listen to.

And now my life is full of new and old friends, various church activities, and clubs.  I no longer need you to stave off the loneliness.

That’s what happens when you nearly kill a child:

That’s what happens when you treat loyal, loving friends like crap:

That’s what happens when you refuse to apologize to and make peace with those friends:

They get over you.

Good-bye.

 

Why I post my abuse experiences

[This is already an often-read page along my sidebar, but I’m posting this for old readers who have not yet seen it.]

I post My Journey Through Recovery from Abuse.  I post college memoirs of how I’ve handled abuse/bullying in the past and risen above it.  I post the process of my journey from a recent, traumatic bullying experience, through the anger and pain, hopefully to rise above it through writing therapy.

I DO NOT NAME MY ABUSERS ON THE INTERNET.  That information is reserved for friends and family (and people in authority if needed).  The names used here are false.  I do not give addresses or post pictures of my abusers.  So revenge is out of the question.

This isn’t about holding onto pain or a “pity party.”  I don’t sit around all day brooding over how I’ve been treated in the long-past.

This was about analyzing what happened, fighting to understand, so that I could recognize patterns, weaknesses, and what could have driven my abusers to act in such a manner (without blaming myself, as they wanted to do).

One purpose of writing this was to get out all those feelings of anger, sadness and depression, to pull myself out of that deep funk, so that I could function again, enjoy life, pursue my dreams and interests, and have energy to give to others.

The blog is a journal to hold all those negative feelings so that my “real life” can be content–and so I have the strength to deal with what else comes my way each day.

In fact, most of the time, whatever incident you read about in these blogs, I barely think about anymore in my “real life.”  But I put it here not just to vent it out and heal, but to help others, as I explain below.

My own purposes in writing this have been fulfilled.  I continue to share this journal with you, my readers, to help you reach that stage of healing and contentment as well.

You can see every stage of my confusion, anger and grief, as I keep it up for you, along with how the abusers were able to entrap and keep me in their webs.  Through this, you can recognize your own experiences, and know that others have been there–yet survived.

I post my abuse experiences to help others recognize how abusers operate–and get out of that relationship.  I also post to validate and comfort other abuse victims, show them they are not crazy, that this happens to others.

I also post because two of my abusers have been keeping close watch on this blog since May 2012, and I want to prove to them (and myself) that they cannot intimidate and threaten me into silence–as I hope that maybe something I write will finally get through to them.  This is a safe way for me to confront them with what they have done, so that I can one day forgive them.

Abusers fear exposure, which is why they tried to threaten me into silence.  Oddly enough, by keeping up this blog despite threats, I seem to be keeping the abusers at bay.  Maybe because they know if they do anything else, I will post it–and that I am not afraid to go to authority figures for help.

I also post because I’ve been through some wacky and unbelievable stuff in my life, but it’s all true, it all really happened to me.  So I post it because I’m a born writer who just HAS to tell a good, wacky or tragic story when I have one.  Otherwise my writing would all be just boring, meaningless drivel.

I also post to raise awareness and understanding of abuse and how it affects people with social learning disorders (Asperger’s, NVLD).

I am joining the worldwide conversation on abuse.

[written 2014: ] I am stickying old posts to breathe new life into them, something bloggers often struggle with, especially old posts from before they got readers.  I am also revising a web-book (Tracy’s Reign of Terror) which I wrote from 2010-2012, and posting it here, to get more readers.  I’m also revising and posting my College Memoirs web-book, for the same reason.  These are, or include, stories of abuse and bullying.

(A 21-page version of the Tracy story is here.  A 4-page summary is here.)

In both web-books, since I wrote them about and/or during emotional periods in my life, there are passages which reflect this emotion.  But rather than take out all my anger, grief, etc., I will often keep those passages the way they are–even if I have long since moved past those emotions.  I believe this will connect more with my readers, especially those who are still in the midst of such emotions in their own struggles.

These web-books are for you my readers, after all, who can glean comfort, validation and lessons from my own struggles.  You can identify my mistakes and avoid them; you can realize you are not alone.  And, well, the college memoirs aren’t just about grief, but about fun times, too.  :D

I’m posting them quickly, though they are long and there are many, because I want to get them OUT of my system for good.  From the movie “The Help”:

God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it’s gonna be me.

 

 

Anti-Muslim and anti-black language is disgusting: There is a better way

Recently, the local newspaper reported on racial and religious/ethnic tension in the community.

And the response in the comments online, was to deny it.  To dig in the heels and refuse to see what’s going on.

For example, a black man moved here a short time ago, and was disturbed to see pickaninny statuettes.  He even had to remove pickaninnies from the wallpaper when he moved into his home!  He has also experienced racism in other ways.

I came to this city 20 years ago, having grown up in a larger city with many black friends; I knew those statues were racist.  I was shocked to see them around town, brazenly displayed as if the owners didn’t care what message they were sending.

Now, finally, the newspaper laid it bare.  I was glad that somebody finally addressed this problem.  (I did not know the owners of the statues, so I couldn’t do it myself.)  To my relief, the owner of one statue simply did not know it was racist.

Which amazed me, because how can you be so clueless?  I’ve known for decades that such images are racist.  But at least it was not malicious.

While some people in the newspaper’s online comments were glad to see this addressed, several made comments like, These people offended by statues must have huge chips on their shoulders and need counseling. 

Even one of my old college friends said this when I posted a link on Facebook.

I was floored.

Not everyone here is like this, of course.  I know people around town who are not like that at all.  And there were plenty of comments from people who recognize racism rather than denying it exists.  But I was surprised at what so many people wrote.  Openly.  On the Net.  With their names attached.  And no shame, just derision for the article and the man described in it.

Then we had a couple of articles this week about a local group which brought Muslims and Christians together for dialogue, study and fellowship.  It was led by Sisters from our St. Agnes convent, who are very much involved in social justice, and wonderful people.

The response in the comments: to spout off against how evil Islam is and, to the one person who defended the need for dialogue, the “left liberals” who are “anti-Christian.”

Floored once again.

Good heavens.  Still?  In 2015? 

I could’ve sworn I took a time machine back to 1960!

The comments, both about racism and about Muslims, were highly offensive and disgusting.

(Though this does explain how we keep electing politicians who are getting more and more extreme and wacky, with their crazy conspiracy theories.  Even our long-time and revered Republican Congressman, Petri, has been treated lately like he’s too “liberal”!  Once upon a time, I was a Republican, but cannot be in good conscience anymore.)

Because of my old college friend’s comment on the statues, and her Tea Party rants lately against anything I post that’s even remotely political, I have been considering dropping her from my Facebook.  Which would be sad.

But this, and her anti-children comments as well lately, make me understand better how she and my BFF Mike ended up parting ways back in 2010.

(This was the same time that I had to drop my supposed “BFF,” Richard, only to find that Mike and other college friends are my TRUE “BFF’s.”)

But this problem is NOT isolated to our little community.  It is all over the country.

Meanwhile, I hear about Muslims in Jerusalem celebrating Christmas, Muslims and Christians protecting each other from violence, and Muslims forming a line around a synagogue in Norway.

I recall the sweet, quiet Muslim lady who used to drop off and pick up her son at the same church where my son went to 4K.

I recall TLC’s reality show on American Muslims, which demonstrated how “normal” they really are–and how prejudice affects them.  But it got dropped before the end of the first year, while junk like “Honey Boo-Boo” stays on.

I recall that many practices of Muslims are shared by more traditional Orthodox Christians, such as headcoverings, onion domes, and prostrations.

And I note that my own religious leader, the Ecumenical Patriarch, signed a Joint Declaration with the Pope last November, which included this paragraph:

The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will, and so we also recognize the importance of promoting a constructive dialogue with Islam based on mutual respect and friendship.

Inspired by common values and strengthened by genuine fraternal sentiments, Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war.

Moreover, as Christian leaders, we call on all religious leaders to pursue and to strengthen interreligious dialogue and to make every effort to build a culture of peace and solidarity between persons and between peoples.

We also remember all the people who experience the sufferings of war.

In particular, we pray for peace in Ukraine, a country of ancient Christian tradition, while we call upon all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony.

 

Over the years, it has disturbed me to find so many Orthodox believers disparaging this Patriarch because of his work toward environmental and ecumenical causes. 

I see a true leader striving to further the ends of the Gospel through peace, love, tolerance, understanding, and protecting the world God made for us. 

The Patriarch was one reason why I became Orthodox instead of remaining in the liberal Presbyterian Church.  I saw in him that you did not have to be a liberal Christian to live out the tenets of the faith (described in the above paragraph).  Liberalism has many good traits but often goes too far the other way; now I had an alternative.

I, a lifelong Evangelical, fled and became Presbyterian in the first place because of what I saw taking over the conservative churches: intolerance, treating the Republican Party like God’s Own Party, fighting against Harry Potter instead of poverty, treating environmentalism like a lie from the pit of Hell.  Not everyone was like this, of course, but I saw even good people infected by it to some extent.  I myself was once infected by it.

But the Patriarch knows all too well what it is like to be persecuted, truly persecuted, not just from ridicule, but from a government which suppresses your religion.  He, more than anyone, is qualified to speak of the necessity for tolerance, even for the religion of your oppressor.

And note that both he and the Pope agreed to this Declaration, both spiritual leaders of millions of Christians in the oldest Churches on the planet.  These churches are as “conservative” as you can get.

But so many–at least in America–speak against the Patriarch, sounding like the far-right political fanatics who try to further the interests of corporations and Big Oil, deny the truth of climate change, sabotage the progress made in protecting our world, and promote bigotry, war and hate.

They defame our Patriarch by saying he does not further the Gospel, that he is too “politically correct.”

On the contrary, the Patriarch is fighting for Christ, carrying out Christ’s commands, a true prophet for our times.

Those who deny this, will be left behind in the dust bin of history.

The same as those who fought to keep the slaves in chains.  And those who fought to keep blacks under a reign of terror in the South, and suppressed and oppressed in the North.  The ones who are to blame for many ills still suffered by generations of blacks, long after the Civil War and the end of Jim Crow.

I do not agree with the Patriarch on everything.  My church still opposes gay marriage, for example.  But to most things I read of and from him, I cheer inwardly.

Such as his book, Encountering the Mystery.

Which I highly recommend.  It is prophetic and beautiful, all about how we are to live out the words of Christ in today’s world, promoting peace, love and environmental harmony.

These words are hard and forceful because bigotry and hatred are evil and the sources of most evils in this world.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 27

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

Part 27: E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children

I have already described some of Tracy’s abuse in chapters one, two and three.

On December 17, 2007, I wrote in an e-mail to my mother,

I already heard that Tracy can be hard on the kids at times, and I’ve seen some of it.  It seems her mom was emotionally abusive, her dad was abusive in other ways, and when she and the kids stayed with them the past few months, she started acting like her mom.

Richard and I really hope that being away from there, and around Jeff, Richard and me, will influence her away from that.  Poor Richard tries to get her to stop doing something, then gets an earful.

But I’m trying to look past that and remember that he loves her, he married her, so I can’t just judge her and reject her.

[Proving that I also made a good-faith effort to befriend her.]

 

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

The next day I received a phone call, and took notes.  I saved the e-mail and the notes in case Richard needed me as a witness one day.

It is a smoking gun which proves I was not imagining abuse, or imagining his complaints of it.

It proves that Tracy went in cycles, which matches not only the cycle of abuse (“honeymoon” periods followed by abuse), but also borderline personality disorder.

Some of the things he described, I also find described by victims of abuse from BPD wives.

It was, finally, written proof that she had indeed been verbally and physically abusing him and the children, and its effects on him.

It is my proof that I am not lying, not “crazy.”  I hold fast to this e-mail as my anchor, so their gaslighting does not get into my head and make me doubt myself.

This is important because Tracy threatened me a couple of years ago, tried to make me think it was all in my addled head, and Richard has even been helping her in her intimidation and cyberstalking campaign against me.

Over the years, I witnessed things, and Richard told me things verbally and by e-mail.  This chapter is a summary of the abuse I know about.  If any of it is incorrect, blame the source for deceiving me: I have made a good-faith effort to make it accurate.

Considering how Richard had told me I should spank my son harder, and I simply could not spank hard enough to please him because it hurt my hand and I did not have enough strength–Just how hard was Tracy spanking the kids that even he said it was too hard?

She hit him.  I saw her smack his arm in anger on a few occasions, but when I wasn’t around, she punched him.  It sounded like she’d been physically battering him.  

He didn’t hit back because she’s a woman.

But he said if she ever hit his face, he’d tell her, “You’re no longer a woman,” and fight back.  He said 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 would recognize that she started the fight by hitting him in the face.

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

I saw her give him intimidating looks, treat him so that I caught him looking at her warily as if she would beat him (verbally at least) if he did something “out of line,” and verbally abuse both loved ones and perceived enemies.

I heard her scream obscenities at the ex over the phone, and once, while talking about him on the Forum, she called him a n***er–that horrid word most decent people can’t even say.

She comes from a very dysfunctional and extremely abusive family.

I caught Richard lying to me–in church–because of her.

She’s jealous, possessive, controlling; she was angry with me for thinking so, but she did everything in her power to prove me correct.

She nagged and nitpicked and ordered him around.

As for Richard saying that no judge in our state would convict him if she hit him in the face–What, had he been asking about this? considering whether or not to hit her back?  With his large size, he could kill her!

A quick online check of our state laws reveals that self-defense only allows him to use what force he needs to defend himself, not go beyond that.

One night while they lived in our house, I saw her hit him with an open hand–not in play the way women often do, the way that men like and laugh about, but an angry hit.

I often wonder if I’ll hear about them on the 6:00 news one of these days, if they’ll end up like another couple which recently ended with the girlfriend Josie raped, and James Cruckson dead of self-inflicted wounds, after shooting a policeman dead and severely wounding another.

Like her mother before her, Tracy broke her children’s spirits, though–unlike her mother–she didn’t do it on purpose.  

She would banter her children into a screaming frenzy, then scream and cuss at them, and spank them too hard. 

Then when Richard told her to STOP, she turned her ire on him: She used the excuse that he had abused them before, so she could do it, and (even though he no longer did the things she referred to) went on about how oh, he’s so perfect.

This practice is called echoing: Basically, the abuser finds a way to accuse the victim of doing what the abuser is doing, then uses it as license to continue the abuse:

Another very destructive habit which I have identified in my relationship I refer to as “echoing”. This habit takes two distinct forms. The object is to feel whatever the partner feels whenever an “attack” is detected by the abuser….

The second form is to accuse the partner of whatever the partner accuses them of.

Scenario 2:

Partner: Please don’t raise your voice at me.

Abuser (Screaming): You’re the one that’s yelling.

or

Partner: Please stop cutting me off and let me finish my sentence.

Abuser (angrily): You’re the one who cuts me off all of the time.

When the conversation is discussed later, the abuser quickly takes the opportunity to first accuse the partner of the infraction and seize the high ground.

The abuser will then take every opportunity in the future to accuse the partner of doing what they do saying “See, you do it too.” This is generally viewed by the abuser as a way out.

Anytime they accuse you of an action similar to one of their destructive actions, that is viewed by them as a license to do it at will and a “win”. –Abused Judge, An Analysis of the Abuser’s Language

Also: “Are you an abused man?  Three Questions.”  Quote: “My wife thinks I’m being abusive and controlling when I tell her her behavior is hurtful.”

Sounds familiar: Tracy told Richard he was being controlling when he told her she was behaving very badly to the children one day (he used the word b**chy when talking about it to me, but I don’t think he used it to her).

This article sounds like Tracy:

Have you ever wondered why your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex blames others, makes excuses or rages when you question her behavior?

Does she often act like an out of control child? Does arguing with her seem like a losing battle? Does she have a comeback for everything you say that pushes your buttons? When she’s angry, does she say “not fair” and that nothing’s her fault?

Does it feel like she sets traps for you during arguments? Have you ever wished you could put her in a timeout chair just like you would a toddler?

Men who are in relationships with abusive women often say that they feel like they’re dealing with a child in an adult’s body in regards to their wife, girlfriend or ex.

Like many others in the same situation, Richard thought that loving her would change things.  But from what I saw, this did not work.  In 2010, I witnessed her cycling yet again.  His love could never be enough to change someone that damaged: She must want to change herself.

The drama started to wear him down.  This may explain why he betrayed me later: to get peace, because he was so beaten down by her that he had been betraying his own friends, first Todd and then me.

On April 2, 2009, I wrote to Jeff:

Yesterday, Carolyn Hax ran a column with a letter from a guy who’s been verbally abused constantly by his wife for the past three years…It has stirred quite the debate!…

I’ve been especially interested in light of what Richard told me [in the above e-mail/phone conversation], and encouraged by those who say it can be changed, and sometimes the marriage can even be salvaged in the process.

I have hopes for them, especially since they have 3 children and a 4th on the way. Though he told me things that make me seriously hope they don’t end up on the 6:00 news some night…..

He said it’s a power play. There should be no power plays in a marriage. That’s how you end up like Todd vs. Tracy on [the online game] last year…..

Jeff wrote back,

All behavior can be changed if the person in question wishes it, and no behavior can be changed externally.

If change is to take place, Tracy must be confronted about the matter, convinced of the destructive nature involved, so that she will buy in to the process of change.

If Richard submits to the abuse and bends to whatever Tracy wants, then the behavior is positively re-inforced. If he simply doesn’t fight back but rather becomes passive-aggressive, then the behavior is mentally justified.

Behavioral change comes when the subject (A) becomes aware of the need for change, (B) actively chooses to change, and (C) develops a means of supporting and encouraging change.

Just wanting to change isn’t enough: there must be something  providing internal and/or external leverage to empower that change.

In order for others to participate at all, changed behavior needs to be observed and promptly rewarded.  Negative re-inforcement, even if the individual is attempting change, does not benefit morale and therefore is not encouraging.

All behaviors are fundamentally based in positive re-inforcement. If Tracy is abusive, it is because it somehow makes her feel good.

That desire to feel good is fundamental, but must be given a different path to progress on.

See? I think about this kind of stuff – *a lot!*

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 

 

ONE YEAR AGO: More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 28

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

Part 28: More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children

I’ve described the squalor they lived in.  This is no way for kids to live.

Shortly before April 15, 2009, she and Richard spent the afternoon in the state capitol, getting the TEA Party started.  Richard didn’t tell me what they were doing right away, just hinted about possibly doing something “illegal” or getting arrested.  But nobody was arrested.

Anyway, they left the kids with me.  When they returned and picked them up, just minutes later, Tracy screamed at her children at the top of her lungs!

I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill yelling, but Exorcist-like screaming! 

It was so loud and hysterical that I heard her from my door as they pulled out of the parking lot!

And this was just minutes after picking up the children!  After an afternoon of being separated from them!  How on earth could anyone get so flustered so fast by even the naughtiest of children?

This was shortly after I received the e-mail in the above section, so I heard for myself what Richard complained about.  I felt bad for the kids, and wondered what the neighbors must think.

Early in 2010, I saw Tracy–right in front of me–pop her tiny three-year-old in the back of the head so hard the girl’s tongue flew out.  I go into more detail about this below.

In June 2010, I sat on the couch watching the two oldest girls dancing in the living room.  They did absolutely nothing wrong, and looked sweet and happy.

But all of a sudden, Tracy went from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds, flew over, and began screaming and whacking fury at them.  

I had no idea what on earth the kids could have done wrong.

They didn’t say a word or fight back, just seemed to go limp.  Even their faces were blank.

Yet Tracy grew madder and madder, screamed louder and louder, yanked their arms around, and whacked spanks every which way! 

Like a human tornado, striking without reason or cause or humane feeling.

It wasn’t even at me, yet it left me nervous and scared of her for the rest of the evening!  I go into more detail about this and Tracy’s various other abuses that evening, in chapter 7.

I felt gaslit because if Richard told me she was abusing the kids or him a certain way, or that she was screaming at them all the time, he’d acknowledge it as abuse.

But if I saw with my own eyes what she was doing to him and the kids, he’d tell me everything was fine and she was being nice to him and slapping your kid on the back of the head is fine and screaming keeps them from being spoiled etc. etc.

Another way I felt gaslit: Tracy did these things right in front of me, as if daring me to call Child Protective Services.  It was truly bizarre.

Since Jeff wasn’t around or wasn’t looking, I began to wonder if it was on purpose, so I wouldn’t have a witness to back me up.

But when we visited, Jeff did hate walking into yelling.  He says our son was afraid of her, and that always ticked him off.

I heard her picking fights, and screaming at Richard (in my house) in louder and louder tones, while not listening to a word he said, while he tried very hard not to argue back.  

I saw her smack him on the arm in fury and give him intimidating looks.  

I heard her pick at her kids for petty things and make them feel like idiots, sometimes screaming at and belittling them for little things.

Several times, I heard her belittling and humiliating the eldest child.  One time I remember was in 2010, when she started ridiculing the poor girl one evening.  I remember feeling indignant, that it was blatant verbal abuse.  She called the girl stupid!

Around that same time, when the third child was 3 or maybe 4, Jeff and I saw her sucking her thumb.  We thought it was cute and smiled; Jeff said, “Did you get that from [our son]?”

Then Tracy started screaming her head off at the poor toddler, saying, “Are you a baby?” and not to do that.  It was so ferocious and belittling that the girl began to cry.  It infuriated me.

When the middle child was 3 and potty training while living in my house, Tracy threatened to spank her if she peed her pants!  I believe the child had only just started potty training in the past couple of months, yet Tracy accused her of doing it on purpose!

It’s only natural for young children to have accidents.  Even my son’s 4K teacher requested every child bring a spare pair of underpants to school, because it is so common.

I recall Tracy chewing out the oldest for sulking for “not getting her way”; are you so sure the sulking wasn’t actually anger over being treated like crap by her mother?

Proper discipline requires the parent to act like an adult and be in control of herself, not act like a child!  If the girl sulks, ignore her!  When the girls are good, praise them!  They do what brings them attention, whether good or bad attention.

Once, in 2010, Tracy started tickling the middle child–not ordinarily an abusive act–but she kept going and going despite the child’s screams to stop.

Everyone kept laughing–except me: I heard fear and pain in the girl’s voice. 

When Tracy stopped, the poor child ran into the bathroom to cry.  

But somehow, I was the only one in the house who saw this as wrong, while everybody else laughed.

This horrified me, so the next morning as I walked my son to school, I reminded him of what happened, and told him to never laugh at someone like that.

How on earth can you like a woman who constantly verbally abuses little children right in front of you?  How on earth can you get beyond simple pleasantries and become besties?

Was I supposed to become a fake, two-faced friend?  Would that please her?

(My college friend Catherine has her own version of a Tracy, whom she tolerates because she’s friends with her “Tracy’s” husband.  But her friend apologizes to Catherine for his wife’s behavior!  Wouldn’t that have been nice from Richard, instead of constantly looking the other way when she pulled crap, and treating me like the problem was all mine!)

She chewed out her husband in front of me time and again for little things–I don’t want to see your domestic disputes!

It was so bad that Richard often joked, “I love her, but wanna kill her!”  I knew he didn’t mean it literally, but it wasn’t funny: It was a symptom of how bad things were.  She also joked that she’d never divorce him: She’d kill him instead (making him not want to drink the coffee she just made for him).

Richard said he needed to be around to protect the children from Tracy’s rages, to keep the abuse under control.  This article echoes him:

Some men stay because they believe they’re protecting their children from abuse or acting as an ‘abuse buffer.’

According to state law, he is obligated to stop the abuse or be subject to prosecution himself, to remove the children from his abusing spouse and notify authorities.

I keep hoping he will do just that, because there’s only so much I myself can do, especially since they didn’t listen to me and I’m no longer around them.  I have no way of finding out what CPS might have done about it[This section was written before July 2011, when I discovered Richard was also dangerous to his children.]

Richard also said that the middle child was very sensitive, and would try to comfort the others.

This article sounds like Tracy, from various sources: what I witnessed, what Richard told me, what others told me.  She did these things with me, with him, with others.

One form of “isolating behavior” listed here is to argue in front of others to make them uncomfortable around the two of you–which she did with Richard right in front of me, many times.

Because I saw Tracy–a large and tall woman–smack a tiny three-year-old girl–small for her age–on the back of her head…because I was shocked and appalled to find people on the Internet say that it’s not abuse to do that…

When researching this behavior, I specifically looked for information on the effects of smacking small children on the back of the head, or anywhere else on the head for that matter, such as the face.

(You have to be careful in research like this because “smack” means “spank” in many countries, and I’m not concerned about light, quick spanks to the well-padded butt.)

I’m less concerned about the effects on older children or teenagers (though I don’t condone that, either) because their heads are more developed and teenagers are practically fully-grown.

But smacking small children is especially risky because of their lack of physical development, small size, and the risk of sending them into a table, TV or other piece of furniture.  Toddlers have been killed this way (I found articles about this, but forgot to link them, and couldn’t find them again).

Here is an article about a toddler whose mother “slapped the child, causing him to fall and hit his head on the coffee table,” which then caused the child to suffer severe head injuries and permanent brain damage.

Here is an article about a man who slapped his toddler against a high chair repeatedly, killing her with traumatic brain injury.  Also see my blog posts on the subject:

Hitting kids upside the head is ABUSE (my 6th most popular post)
Child Abuse
Examples of child abuse
…Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE!
Slapping kids upside the head causes traumatic brain injury (my 2nd most popular post)

Tracy and Richard also thought it wrong to even notice and praise a child for doing a chore, as if it would somehow spoil her (then wondered why they couldn’t get their kids to do chores).

I don’t want to describe what the children did on the Web, but a couple of incidents sounded like classic “acting out” behavior, which abused children often do.

Children act out what they see; their demonstration of violent behavior can be a manifestation of their exposure to domestic violence (The Silent Victims of Domestic Violence). –Jessie Brown, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Acting-out behavior can also include bullying, drugs, risky sexual behavior, or shoplifting.

When children observe their HAP parent acting in an anti-social and aggressive manner over an extended period of time they often pick up on a number of these behaviours and over time, consider them to be socially acceptable.

Children are a product of their environment and do learn what they live. Children living under the influence of a hostile-aggressive parent may become themselves, selfish, self centred and have growing anger management difficulties as years pass on.

Children who are being physically abused or yelled at constantly by a HAP parent will begin to deal with their own problems in the same manner, often lashing verbally and physically at siblings or schoolmates.

Many of these negative behaviours are often observable at the child’s school. HAP behaviours picked up by a child from the HAP parent will, in many cases, seriously affect a child’s development and interfere with their ability to lead a normal and balanced life.

Some professionals may misdiagnose the child as having a conduct disorder and prescribe medication but, in reality, these professionals fail to realize that the child’s own parent is instilling these types of negative and anti-social behaviours into the child. –Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Tracy thought that if her children were happy, loved her, etc., she wasn’t abusing them.  But this isn’t a proper gauge:

In many cases, it is not unusual for a child to exhibit signs of affection and love towards a HAP parent at some times which can be very confusing to the occasional or untrained observer who may see the child showing affection to the HAP parent at some particular time.

Psychologists have recognized for years that even children living under the care of abusive caregivers, often will have deep seated loyalties to those who may be physically and emotionally abusing them.

Most children often long for the love and approval from their caregivers so it is not uncommon for a child who is being abused by an HAP parent to be seen showing affection at some times to their HAP parents. –Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Richard wasn’t blameless, however.  He had repented of past abuses, but didn’t acknowledge that he still condoned abusive behaviors.

Like for example, he refused to believe that screaming at children all the time was abusive.

He even told me you should let a husband lose his temper once in a while, that he and Tracy had been blurting things out and yelling at each other and it was somehow “good” for their marriage.  (More on this later.)

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 

ONE YEAR AGO: Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 25

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

Part 25: Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager

I knew bits and pieces of Richard’s past, which I thought were all behind him now, tamped down by religion.  But other things came out that showed his own violent streak, appalling ideas of what is “justified” behavior in certain situations, things that violated Christian principles, violent things that made my hair stand on end.

One thing was, that if his wife ever cheated on him, it was okay for him to assault the guy.  We watched The Apostle, during which he said that if his wife cheated on him, he’d take a baseball bat to the guy just like Sonny did.  This statement chilled me to the bone, and I told him he should never do such a horrible thing.

Another time, we were chatting on the phone and he made comments to the effect of, if he found his wife in bed with another guy it would be okay to commit murder.

I was amazed that a pious Orthodox Christian who wanted to be a priest, would say such incredibly wrong things.

According to the Annies in their March 11, 2011 column, threatening to kill guys who sleep with your wife is controlling and manipulative.

Also note what the Highlander said about this issue in the sixth-season episode “Justice”: A man (Armando) killed his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together.  The wife, Elena, was the adopted daughter of an Immortal, Katya, who now wants revenge because Armando was acquitted at his trial.

Duncan says to Katya, “Killing’s not the answer….The emptiness you feel won’t be filled by anger.  Or revenge, or hate.  Armando’s death will just leave you feeling emptier.”

In another scene, when Armando says he loved Elena, Duncan says, “So much that you killed her?”

Armando says, “You weren’t there.  You didn’t see them!  Castillo was my protege.  He was like a brother to me.  With my wife.”

Duncan says, “So they had to die because you got your feelings hurt.”

Armando: “No.  There was no thought.  No plan.  The courts understood.  It was a crime of passion.”

Duncan: “It was murder.  And you beat it.”

This episode may be fiction, but the lesson it teaches is real: Crimes of passion are still crimes, still murder.  And no one has that right, not even a wronged husband.

This is what Orthodoxy teaches.  Anyone who claims such a right has no right to be an Orthodox mentor, whether as a spiritual father, informal mentor and friend, or priest.

There were a lot of revelations the first couple of weeks of June 2009.  On June 1, I learned about the hypnotism.  A little more than a week later, we had the revealing talks that both shocked me and (I thought) fixed everything.

In the middle, on June 5, I learned that, some 20 years ago, Richard’s girlfriend and best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels.  They made him their “goomba.” 

He hung around with goombas, or thugs, who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information “in a not-so-friendly way.”

The Russian and Italian mobsters had nicknames for him, which I won’t name here for safety reasons.

Since it involved jewels, not drugs, he felt he did nothing criminal–or which should be criminal, according to the Constitution and free market principles.  He never “killed” anyone while doing this goomba stuff.  

He ran these jewels between L.A. and Las Vegas.

Not only that, but he openly and freely shared it, did not see it as a secret.  He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.

He didn’t seem at all repentant about helping the Mafia

The Mafia! 

Dangerous people, the kind who would kill a toddler!  Especially being involved with them as a Christian:

In Sicily, the birthplace of Mr. Rizzuto’s Mafia, some Church leaders have called for a tough stand. This summer, Bishop Antonino Raspanti said convicted mobsters would be refused a funeral, declaring:

“Being a Christian is incompatible with having links to Mafia organizations.”National Post

Richard justified it by saying his mother knew about it and didn’t seem to care, he did this while at Bible college (!), and he did worse things when he worked for the government.  He said Clinton’s government did terrible things that nobody knows about (which I won’t divulge here without proof other than his word for it).

But there were these hints at illegal activities when he was a Mafia thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.

All this was in an IRC conversation, most of which I printed (the first part, unfortunately, vanished before I could print it).  I like to remember what I can about my best friends, save Internet chats and e-mails, as a personal diary.  I used to print up ICQ chats with friends.

However, I did not see this as cool, like I did the hypnotism: It was startling, shocking, baffling.  How could he not see this was wrong?  Still, it was part of my BFF’s history, and worth remembering.

Now, I see it as proof that I did not imagine this conversation.  In 2012 I thought maybe Richard was pulling my leg–but then Todd spoke of Richard’s past as a “mobster” and “mook,” gave me more details.

The next day, Richard called and said they were being evicted, that he was furious with the apartment manager.

He made it into a personal offense, and had some ideas about why.  But it was probably because they trashed the place, left cigarette butts all over the yard in front of their apartment, were unreliable with the rent, and kept having domestic disputes.  

(He told me a couple of months before that they had been “at each other’s throats” for more than a month; somebody could very well have reported this to the manager or the police.)

He said he was going to kill the apartment manager while she was in her office, do it so she’d never see who it was, “And I’ll make it look like I was never there.”  Because of his past as a Mafia thug, he knew how to do this.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wha–Wha–WHAT?

This pious, righteous guy who wanted to be a priest, whom I saw as my spiritual mentor, was telling me all this???!!!

I cried, “It’s my duty as your friend to talk you out of this!”  I tried and tried, and begged, “Talk to your priest before you do this!”

He chuckled and said, “I’ll talk to my priest after I do this.”  Then the kids did something, or his wife wanted something, so he had to hang up.

While I was still reeling from this and thinking what the–

He called back again. “My wife won’t let me do it,” he said.  She told him to use his words to persuade, which he’s so good at doing.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  If he had gone through with this horrible deed, I’d have to call the police.  It was my duty to warn the police before he did it, or legally I’d be an accomplice, and that woman’s blood would be on my hands.

I thought these things were in his long-ago past, that he was sorry for his past violence, that he was now sweet and gentle and wanted to be a priest.  But this…?

It was quite baffling the things both Richard and Tracy either said to me or did in front of me, apparently confident that I wouldn’t call the police or CPS:

Richard told me things like this, and violent things his wife did.

Tracy whacked her little toddler on the back of the head right in front of me, began spanking and screaming furiously at two children who did nothing wrong, right in front of me!  Didn’t she realize I could’ve called the police on her for this?

Didn’t either of them realize that when Richard told me he put his children in the closet once, that when Tracy abused her children right in front of me, if I couldn’t convince them these things were wrong, I was honor-bound to report them to Social Services?

If they did these things in front of me, what did they do when I wasn’t around?  Since I lived behind closed doors with them for a month and a half and Tracy controlled herself well enough not to punch Richard, but he told me she whacked and punched him about a year later, this showed she could control herself around me.

Richard became so closed-off about his life, that it’s entirely possible–or probable–that things were much worse at home than he ever told me.  I’d see them once a week or so, getting cutesy with each other, being mostly controlled–though not controlled enough, because Jeff and I both noticed things that looked very wrong.

But I knew very well what I had seen and what Richard told me.  I kept hearing over time that things were hidden from me.  It makes you wonder what else was hidden.

Not only were they hiding things from me, but my own family had done this as well, hiding a huge chunk of my parents’ life from me while my brothers knew all about it.  When the truth finally came out, it was devastating, shattering the image I had always had of my father, of the values taught in my family.

Now here it was being done again, with Richard and Tracy hiding things from me.  How could anyone not turn paranoid in this situation?

(The incident involving my father was also a bonding experience for Richard and me, as far as I was concerned.  Even though I e-mailed my college friends about everything ever since I left college, instead of talking to them, I called up Richard and told him everything that was going on, all the secret things that I didn’t feel I could tell others.  He and my priest were my two confidantes outside the family.  This was during Lent 2007, before I even met Richard in person.  That’s how close we got before we even met.)

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 

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 26

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

Part 26: Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like

I felt singled out as a terrible person because I simply could not do the social gymnastics Tracy expected me to do.

I must have missed nearly all her cues to start conversations, because I’d go for months thinking I’d been perfectly fine socially with her, then find out she was still offended and mad at me because I wasn’t “befriending” her or making conversation.

To this day I could not tell you what cues I was missing, or when, or any specific details about times, dates, places, words spoken, or what I did to offend her.

Richard would say he saw me do this this and this, but I’d think, WHEN?  I remember NONE of this! 

If she used hidden meanings or subtexts in her speech, I couldn’t tell you that, either, though I recently read that women often do that.

I was fine socially with Richard, but he was a special case: that rare individual with whom I could relate like a socially normal person.  It helped that as a man, he was more likely to say things directly instead of expecting me to read his mind.

I could even “read” him nonverbally quite well, at least for the first couple of years, before he started getting hard to understand.  He seemed to think I could be that way with everyone, when in fact I was only that way with him, my husband, my child and my cats.  (It probably has to do with familiarity.)

I find making conversation with most people to be an exhausting chore.  Most of what I “read” is from the words spoken and a few standard, obvious body language indications.

More subtle body language trips me up, such as–for example–I recently discovered that breaking into a conversation with a group of people is accomplished through eye contact and other subtle body movements.  I had to read this in an article, because I didn’t know it instinctively.

No wonder I’ve always had so much trouble breaking into conversations with a bunch of chattery people!  Usually somebody talks over me when I barely open my mouth, and then somebody else replies while I wait for that person to complete the thought.

Small talk is trouble because I just don’t know what to say, and saying “how are you” over and over seems too repetitive and dull.  I’d much rather listen and wait for someone to bring up something I can contribute to.

I wasn’t being passive-aggressive, promising one thing and then doing another: No, I kept telling Richard that I couldn’t be close to Tracy because of all the crap she kept pulling, that I couldn’t open up to someone who treated me like an enemy, that I had to choose my own confidantes.

But I was kind to her, for his sake.  I paid her compliments, sent her links to a local women’s forum so she could make friends, gave her a flower, changed diapers for her, asked for recipes….

I just wasn’t going to be “besties” with her.  I had to keep my boundaries up or be subject to all sorts of hurt and pain from a mean girl.  And, though I didn’t voice this, I wanted to be there for him and believe him whenever he told me about her abuses of him and the children.

From the horrible things she said to me when I ended the friendship, Tracy apparently thought I was being childish somehow (comments about me needing to “grow up and TALK”), or that it was deliberate.

In fact, when she behaved like a normal, decent person there was nothing deliberate about it: I’m quiet with most people, especially with more than one person at a time.  I’ve always been quiet even with my longtime friend Catherine, usually letting others carry the conversation until I have something to contribute.

Whenever I saw Tracy behave well, I sighed with relief that this time, I had nothing to object to.

But whenever she started abusing her children, snipping at Richard or making fun of me, that’s when I just plain did not want to speak to her.  I think most people would be the same, unless they’re good at faking pleasantries.

I tried to ignore her bullying because I’d always heard that’s what you should do, that bullies want to get a rise out of you, but she kept doing it anyway.  I couldn’t read her at all except when she showed hostility.  Even then, I didn’t know what the hostility was about.

So she was like a ticking time bomb.  Usually, if she smiled I thought things were okay and maybe she liked me finally.

This blog post on intolerance and its comments resonate with me, because I tried to tell Richard time and time again what was really going on, explaining every reason I could think of for whatever incident he described (though not actually remembering it), and he’d supposedly tell Tracy.

But he would reject it as an excuse, and she would reject it outright because I wasn’t shy with him.

But that’s because I was very comfortable with him in particular!  Being shy or quiet doesn’t mean you are that way with every single person on the planet, including your mother, children, husband, roommate, and best friend!

Also, this page sounds very familiar.

I believe she deliberately set me up to fail, and that the standards she sets for Richard’s friends are ridiculous and meant to weed out anybody she doesn’t like, especially ones who don’t see her as this wonderful person–as a means of controlling him, keeping him under her thumb, cutting him off from his support group who recognizes the abuser.

Our mutual friend Todd did not talk to her, just him, she said (like me).

Richard said Todd was wary of her (like me).

Todd is an introvert (like me).

He has been abused before (like me).  I think people are more likely to recognize toxic people when they’ve been abused.  He saw many of the same things in her that I did.

So in 2008, she made up an imaginary offense by Todd against her, refused to believe it did not exist, and smeared him with lies all over a game forum.  So he broke off relations with her and Richard both, because Richard let her do it and eventually joined in.

This is very familiar….. More on this below.

So it wasn’t just about Tracy being afraid of other women stealing Richard, even though Richard did tell me about her jealousies of other women.

And who knows who Richard betrayed before us, since we weren’t the only friends he lost?

Richard told me one day that people would come up to them, say, “We’re sorry, but we just can’t deal with Tracy anymore,” and break off relations with them both.  I don’t know how many have done this.  He said this with her in the room listening, so I know it was true.

I wonder what she did to tick off those other friends so much.  What kinds of things come up that make her so nasty to so many of her husband’s friends that they dump the friendship with him to get away from her?

They must have broken off relations with both of them because Tracy insisted on being friends with Richard’s friends.

Another friend was “at war” with her, told him (before they married) that Tracy would bring him trouble.  Tracy got furious when she discovered that during the two months he lived with us, Richard had been talking to her.  (How controlling!)

Another friend kept clashing with her, as well, and left.  These are the ones I know about.

Todd hoped that Richard would wake up to how she was “driving all his friends away.”

Most people call me sweet, nice, innocent, kind, caring, loyal–but she eavesdropped and knew I found her possessive, controlling and abusive, so I was on her sh** list.

Meanwhile, if she got along fine with his other friends, she acted perfectly normal with them.  See a pattern here?

If I treated Jeff and his friends that way, he’d complain to high heaven.  Her ways lead to strife and lost friendships; our way leads to peace and contentment in the marriage and with others.

Why should I submit and say she’s right and I’m wrong?  That would be a lie!  Our way is innocent-till-proven guilty; none have been guilty, though many have been flirty and a few have offended me.

Tracy’s way is guilty-till-proven innocent.  Look for guilt and you’ll find it, even where it doesn’t exist.  Going further, treat a man like a cheater and he will cheat.

This video (by Sam Vaknin, himself a malignant narcissist, with insights into how they think) sounds like Tracy.

While Richard told me things Tracy was doing, Tracy–when Jeff drove her places–told him the bad things Richard was doing: lazy, unmotivated, etc.  

She was upset that Richard wasn’t doing chores–

–while Richard was upset that he cleaned all the time but got yelled at for not cleaning, that she never did a thing to help out, that when he told her he needed help with chores she’d fume and pout for days.

Todd stayed with them a couple of times, and could vouch for Richard’s complaints.

It has been suggested that we were used as pawns by these people in their own power struggle.

Jeff also thinks that Tracy saw me as a threat to her marriage, but that it wasn’t about a potential affair, rather about me being Richard’s confidante.  

He thinks she wanted a confidante, but didn’t want Richard to have one.  He thinks she was afraid I’d convince Richard that he and the children were being treated badly, and he would leave.

Now, I never told Richard he should leave her.  I did, however, say what I thought about how she treated him.  Jeff kept his mouth shut, and he thinks that’s why he got along with her better.  But now he wonders if he should have spoken up more.

Tracy yelled and screamed and cussed at any person who upset her, throwing tantrums–over a game–even at Todd, a family friend of six years.  When he did something on an online game which she took as a power grab, instead of

  1. seeing it as just a game after all,
  2. calling Todd on the phone to ask what’s going on while giving him the benefit of the doubt, or
  3. refraining her temper because it was after all a friend–

–she cussed at him and accused him right there on the game forum for all to read.

I saw the whole thing, because my husband was in that game, so I used his account to read the forums.  Todd also opened up the private forums so we could see how the argument originated.  From what I saw, it went from civility and Todd trying to help her, to Tracy all of a sudden freaking out over nothing.

It’s not at all surprising that Todd–who also has a fierce temper–got defensive instead of working with her.  He asked a couple of people to help with talking to her, but they said she had “a stubborn as a rock mentality.”  Richard, too, called her “immovable,” not just then but in general.  (More on this incident is on the next page.)

Sometime during this whole mess, came allegations against Todd in his personal life.  I won’t post them because I have no idea if the allegations were true, or if they were all part of the smear campaign against Todd, since they ended up on the forums.

But the next day, Jeff and I went to visit; Tracy gleefully said Todd needed to “grow up.”

Her smile was vindictive and happy, malicious, the cat who swallowed the canary, smiling lips but dangerous eyes–what I now know as a sociopathic smile or sociopathic smirk.

Which was yet more indication to me, during the 7/1/10 “incident” described later, that further discussions with her would be useless.

Todd couldn’t take it anymore and broke off the friendship with them both.  Even months later, Tracy said she wanted him “at the bottom of the sea.”  More details of this story are here.

She put the responsibility for her anger and abuse on others, but accused others of being “childish” and needing to “grow up.”  She wouldn’t respect others, but demanded respect from them.

Being allowed full friendship benefits, however, was like a carrot constantly dangled above my head.  Just whenever I thought I finally caught it, it was yanked away again: emotional blackmail.

It soon became very clear that my quiet, shy, introverted temperament was somehow a personal offense to her, that she expected me to turn into an outgoing extrovert, which is impossible.

I was supposed to participate in conversations with her just like an extrovert would, or someone who is not shy, but that is neurologically impossible for me, except with a few select people.

I felt like I was being forced to jump through hoops in order to be a normal friend with my best friend, hoops that kept getting placed higher and higher while I was constantly blamed for not making them.

Tracy was very manipulative of me through Richard, very manipulative and controlling of Richard, with all her threats and intimidation.  Whether it was marriage or childrearing, I began thinking, “What would Tracy do?”–and doing the opposite.

They strategically plan how to break people down and hurt them or make them weak. This is done in either a surreptitious manner, an overt manner, or both.

They are a control freak.  If they know something is important to you, they will use it to punish or control you, or try to prevent it from taking place (such as an important goal you are working toward)….

If they know something is important to you, they will in some way try to deprive you of it or make you jump through hoops for it. –Joyful Alive Woman, Behaviors and attitudes of the narcissist

 

It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.

They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly.

In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD, 7 Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies

If you know a narcissist’s history, you will usually see a track of mysterious upheavals in his life. He suddenly up and moves to a different school or job in a different town every few years.

That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged.

In one narcissist I know of, these upheavals began with one in the eighth grade. “What Makes Narcissists Tick” pg. 79

…This history of past upheavals can be more subtle than the narcissist having to physically pull up stakes and move to a new place….

As I look back over [my mother’s] life for the last four decades it is very evident that she indeed does defecate all over her Pathological Space requiring her to abandon particular social circles with predictable regularity. This has been repeated over, and over, and over again….

If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party–you are witnessing a “history of past upheavals” and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist.

Moving about geographically is only one outward sign of past upheavals. High turnover in social circles and relationships is the subtler sign.

In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of….–“What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79

This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.

Unfortunately, most people out there in the world…are far too quick to judge what they don’t know. They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong.

They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us. This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing:

Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags: History of Past Upheavals & Hated for Mysterious Reasons

 

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 

 

THREE YEARS AGO: Blogging the Parasite out of my Head: Writing about the abuse

 

[Update: The 20,000-word version of my story is here: Losing Your Best Friend: or, Narcissistic Webs?–Dealing with Abusive Friends.  The full web book is here: Tracy’s Reign of Terror–True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.  A 4-page summary is here.]

 

The narcissist blames others for his behaviour, accuses them of provoking him into his temper tantrums and believes firmly that “they” should be punished for their “misbehaviour”.

Apologies – unless accompanied by verbal or other humiliation – are not enough. The fuel of the narcissist’s rage is spent mainly on vitriolic verbal send-offs directed at the (often imaginary) perpetrator of the (oft innocuous) offence.

The narcissist – wittingly or not – utilises people to buttress his self-image and to regulate his sense of self-worth. As long and in as much as they are instrumental in achieving these goals, he holds them in high regard, they are valuable to him. He sees them only through this lens.

This is a result of his inability to love others: he lacks empathy, he thinks utility, and, thus, he reduces others to mere instruments.

If they cease to “function”, if, no matter how inadvertently, they cause him to doubt his illusory, half-baked, self-esteem – they are subjected to a reign of terror.

The narcissist then proceeds to hurt these “insubordinates”. He belittles and humiliates them. He displays aggression and violence in myriad forms.

His behaviour metamorphoses, kaleidoscopically, from over-valuing (idealising) the useful person – to a severe devaluation of same. The narcissist abhors, almost physiologically, people judged by him to be “useless”. –The Soul of a Narcissist by Sam Vaknin

I hope this will be cathartic, get the truth out, so that I can heal from what has emotionally and spiritually traumatized me.  I hope to make it (and my private account) a repository for all the hurt, pain, anger and bitterness, so that I can transfer it out of my heart.

I have dealt with previous abusive situations in this way, putting them into writing and then posting them on the Web, and it has been largely successful in helping me move on past those times.

I feel that if I just make it vanish, hide the story, it will do no more good than it did with my previous abuse stories.

For example, right after college I began writing College Memoirs, which were a combination of good things and life during that time, and the terrible things that happened with guys who used and abused (I hesitate to refer to them as “men”).

I was going to publish them, but feared libel suits, so I began putting the stories into my fiction instead.

But since the demands of fiction are that you don’t put your own life stories into your stories exactly as they occurred, or else your stories will appear pieced together like Frankenstein, I didn’t feel like my stories of abuse were quite dealt with yet.

I also read an article in Writer’s Digest about writing and publishing abuse stories, and the healing it can bring:

Harrison told her editor that she wanted to write a nonfiction book about her relationship with her father. Because the editor had published Harrison’s autobiographical first novel, she asked if she was sure she wanted to do that.

Harrison was sure. In fact, she’d been trying to write about her father in an essay but felt she was trying to do too much in too short a space. Feeling as if she’d betrayed herself and her story by first writing about the affair as fiction, she had a compelling need to set the record straight.

…“One of the solaces that art can offer you is the chance to make something out of what’s hurt you. You can objectify an experience, put it on paper, craft it and shape it. There’s perhaps an illusory control over it. But it is significant.”–Sandra Hurtes, Spilling Secrets

So I posted a public version of my College Memoirs, first in e-mails to friends, then on a Myspace blog, then on my website.

Even though they don’t get many hits, the stories have been read by some, and in the past several years, I feel myself finally moving past these things that happened 15-20 years ago.  They are on the Webpages now and don’t have to be carried around inside me.

I also have a full account of what happened in this particular case, but it is so personal and private that I keep it locked away from anyone but myself.  Just as with the College Memoirs, I have a personal and a private version.

My hope is that this blog will have the same effect as those public Memoirs.  It has been said many times that the abused need to get their stories out into the open, not hide them for fear of “airing dirty laundry,” because that just victimizes them further.

I’ve been revising a full account of the abusive situation with Richard and Tracy–book-length–which I wrote before I wrote these smaller summaries and blogs.  I intend to post a link to it when I’m done, because it’s far too long for a blog.

[Update 1/22/14: It’s been up since May 2012, and now I’m revising it again, and putting it in small chunks on this blog as well.]

As I work on it, it answers questions that come up.  For example, I was starting to feel like Tracy was right and the disagreements were my fault.  But as I reviewed the details of the time we lived in the same house, I began to remember:

No, what really happened was that I saw her behavior as a mix of jealousy and abuse, of control, and it was part of a full picture of abuse, not just about her objecting to a couple of things I wanted to do.

It was about all the crap I saw her doing to Richard and the kids every day.  It was about a battered man defending his battering.  It was about her smacking his arm and giving him looks so full of anger and threat, that he looked scared.

It was about her overhearing me telling my husband not just about her jealousy, but about her abusive behavior of Richard and the children.

It was about her starting a smear campaign against me, deliberately to drive a wedge between Richard and me.

Because it was never about me being a woman friend of her husband (he has lots of those), but about me recognizing that she is indeed a domestic abuser and violent.

Jealousy was just her red herring, the thing she seized upon so she could make Richard and anybody else think it was all about me behaving “inappropriately.”

Even though the things she objected to were all perfectly harmless, and Richard’s idea to begin with, she twisted them around to make me look bad, because she couldn’t let anybody think that she is abusive, controlling and possessive.

The things I wanted to do were perfectly harmless, and there was nothing wrong with me wanting to do them.  Richard does them, my friends do them, people do these things with their friends.

She actually accused me of disrespecting her by wanting to go out for coffee/ice cream with Richard, but that’s ludicrous BS, as anyone can see.  As long as the wife knows you’re going out for the coffee/ice cream, that’s all you need for it to be perfectly “respectful,” so she knows her husband isn’t sneaking around having an affair.

No, she had to put the spotlight all on me with all her ridiculous “rules” which I couldn’t possibly meet–

–so she could continue doing her bad behaviors in the darkness–

–so that Richard would never break free of her control.

The trouble is, she so successfully convinced Richard of her smears, and so successfully turned things around on me, that on 7/1/10, she still made it all about me, still tried to insist that I was the one in the “wrong”–

–not because I was actually wrong–

–but to take the focus off her and her own abuse and bad behaviors.

The other trouble is that abusers can so worm their way into your head, that even though a part of you screams that you’re not the one in the wrong, you’re not the one behaving badly–another part of you keeps thinking, “What if she’s right?  What if I really am the one behaving badly?”

I’ve been fighting this for years, not since 7/1/10 or the e-mails she sent me 8/1/10, but since January 2008.

It gets imbedded so deeply that it almost seems impossible to get out.  It’s like a parasite.

Blogging is helping me to get it out, finally, because:

  • not only can I write about what happened,
  • but I have all sorts of private writings which I can look back at later and see what I wrote,
  • and I also have this foundation already written, on which I can build with more memories and insights as they come to me.

I thought maybe I shouldn’t blog about this, just keep it under wraps.  But now I see that it must come out, that silence is just what bullies want out of their victims.

And if Richard or Tracy sees it, so be it.  This is what Richard and Tracy are truly like.  I am not lying. 

And I have online court records and newspaper reports to prove that I am telling the truth about them. 

[Update: They found it just two months after I posted this, and both accused me of lying and threatened me, as you can read here.]

I must keep blogging to get the parasite out of my system once and for all, so I can be free at last of Tracy’s influence.

Step 1

Learn more about the dynamics of what happened to you by reading the personal accounts of victims recovering from similar abuse. When you find out that you are not alone and how others are coping with the same type of abuse, it will assist your recovery progress significantly.

With severe abuse, often the abused individual is locked into a fixed and rigid perspective about what has happened to them and what will happen because of the abuse.

From the personal stories of other similar abuse victims in the recovery process, you will begin to unlock your perspective of things and see your abuse from other new and important perspectives.

This simple change of perspective and seeing new perspectives has amazing healing powers.

These personal stories are not professional “How to” recovery manuals. They do what professional abuse recovery manuals simply cannot do, because no matter how expert the professionals are (unless they were also similarly abused), they cannot see the specific abuse experience from the complex inside dynamics as only another abuse victim can.

For example, at FACTNet we suggest that an individual who was sexually abused as a child by a cult that condones the sexual use and abuse of children should read the stories and recovery debriefings of other victims of that cult or similar cults who were sexually abused. Read and heal! –Lawrence Wollersheim, How I healed the psychological injuries from my abuse in a cult

I have all parts of this story now up and running.  Here it is, the whole ugly story, here for various reasons:

  • to defend myself and my innocence
  • to break the silence which abusers want their victims to keep
  • to get Tracy’s parasite out of my head
  • to have peace and remove Tracy’s destructive poison through this surgical removal (ie, writing about it) out of my heart and onto the [digital] page
  • to warn others about how narcissists and other personality disordered persons can work
  • to sympathize with those with NLD, Asperger’s and introversion who are bullied by those who do not understand them
  • to stick up for all abused and bullied people
  • to provide help for those abused people who feel driven to read the abuse stories of others

I recall how hard it was to find stories of people who had been abused by friends or spouses of friends rather than by family, co-workers, classmates or significant others; this adds one more.  I know what it’s like to constantly search the web looking for stories of other people, in various stages of their healing journey, who have been through abuse in some way.

They may rage at their targets in verbally and emotionally abusive ways. Yet they have the gall to blame the target for the abusive language and emotions they are showing. This is known as projection.

It seems they want to distract from their own questionable behaviors, so they will blame somebody else for doing worse. And they love to play victim of imagined hurts and spites from their targets.

Borderlines are often very controlling, frequently while accusing a victim of theirs as being controlling or uncaring.

Using emotional blackmail and threats of false reports to the police or others who might be duped into taking their side are some of the ways they establish and maintain control.

The discussion is primarily about them and their inner emotional turmoil, not so much about the target. They are upset and somebody else has to be blamed for it whether it’s accurate or not.

Imagine living with these kinds of exchanges on daily basis. The frequent unpredictability, jabs, blaming sessions, and insults make you feel insecure and cut down your self-esteem over time. You’re being abused, but are at the same time are being falsely accused of being the abuser.

This is particularly difficult for men to handle as they are socially conditioned to try to take responsibility for fixing problems. Yet BPD is not a problem a significant other can solve. –Rob, Talking with a borderline

My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.

That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to.  But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.

It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits.  As the author wrote on the main page,

Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect.  The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….

Why would I want to put such a personal document online?  There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD. There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.

Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it.  When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”

Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue.  My wish is to give hope to others.

Like me, the author changed names and identifying details.  This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.  Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, former female friend.

The contents of the web-book:

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 

 

  • Explaining my posts…..
  • Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know
  • Toxic Love: Understanding Narcissistic Rage

TWO YEARS AGO: Seeing Abuser is Rough for Abuse Victims, Especially When Abusers & Enablers Blame the Victim: Annie’s Mailbox

 

From No Gifts From Her Abuser, 2/10/13:

Dear Annie: I am 39 years old. For the past 20 years, I have had ongoing therapy to recover from the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. My abuser was my half-brother.

When I finally said something at the age of 13, my family did not believe or support me. Since then, family gatherings have been especially difficult because my family expects me to attend when my abuser is present.

I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to be around him. The flashbacks are unbearable. Five years ago, with the support of my counselor, I decided I didn’t need to subject myself to that kind of torture and stopped going to these family functions.

The problem now is that no one mentions the abuse, especially to his wife and two daughters.

His wife, who is clueless, sends me Christmas and birthday presents, which makes me extremely uncomfortable, especially when I see his name on the card.

Is it OK for me to ask her to stop? I don’t want to insert myself into their lives or cause problems, but I can’t deal with this. — Still Healing

Comment #3, from Shasta:

You should inform her right away about what was done to you and then stay clear of that family from this point on.

People who protect, defend, ignore, or (God forbid) blame the victim are just as bad as the abuser themselves. They are justifying evil, which makes them evil too.

Also see It’s Perfectly Normal to Dread Seeing Abusers Again, Fighting the Darkness: Seeing the abuser again, Needing to Feel Safe: Going to same church as abusers, and Fighting the Darkness: Mutual Friends.

 

THREE YEARS AGO: Left Behind Review: Remnant, Part 2

 

Part 1

On pages 310 to 312, we find, once again, a rip on churches that are not the kind the authors like.  We read the testimony of Lionel Whalum, a black believer who wasn’t into church as a kid like his “emotional and showy” mama and aunties; when he got married, he and his wife only occasionally went to church, a

higher sort, if you know what I mean. Very proper, subdued, not demonstrative.  If my people had visited that church, they would have said it was dead and that Jesus wouldn’t even go there.  I would have said it was sophisticated and proper.

Gag!  This reminds me of the “Jesus Camp” documentary, with the little brainwashed girl saying that God doesn’t like churches where people just sit there and don’t do/say anything.

And of course, Lionel’s church “fit our lifestyle” (which, oddly enough, is how people often describe those “relevant” churches these days, where people–in the suburbs–dress in shorts).  Lionel and his wife could dress the same way they did for work or socializing!  (I’m not sure why this is considered so wonderful or convenient, since most churches are the same.)

We saw people we knew and cared about.  And we definitely were never hollered at or insulted from the pulpit.  Nobody called us sinners or hinted that we might need to get something right in our lives.

I’m not sure what churches actually avoid any kind of preaching about sin.  I’ve been in many different kinds of churches–Nazarene, Pentecostal, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian (USA), Orthodox, UCC, Anglican–and I don’t recall there ever being a hint that we’re all fine just the way we are and nobody needs to learn how to treat others in love.

But here, and in the following passages in which Lionel’s kids end up in the kind of church he grew up in, then start begging and pleading with him to get saved (since, apparently, he’s not saved because he goes to the “wrong” church), we get a very strong message that the “right” church is a Pentecostal church, “emotional and showy,” with pastors “hollering” at you from the pulpit.  Every other kind will send you to Hell…..

Um, really?

Oh, yes, and then there’s the Bible study, with the leader laying out how to become a born-again Christian and trying to get Lionel and his wife “saved,” even though they’re already churchgoers.  Because, you see, they’re not in the “right” church, and they don’t have the “right” teachings about how to be saved.

On pages 314-16, we have such examples of stilted language as someone in the crowd calling to Chaim, “If the leader will not beseech us to stay, why should we stay?”  Who talks like that anymore?

And, yet again, as with the manna and various other things, we find the Old Testament Exodus being brought into the End Times without any biblical justification, as the ground opens up and swallows people who argued with Chaim and Tsion.  But this is no longer part of the order of things since Christ came!

Then a false prophet begins performing wondrous miracles for the people who come to his show near Petra.  He makes the weather hot or cold by moving clouds in front of the sun, makes the mike stand into a snake, causes a spring to gush out, imitates the feeding of the 5000, even strikes people dead and raises them again.

Tsion says, “That man was not even human.  Surely he was a demonic apparition.”

But can a demon have this kind of power?  From what I see in this article by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, I see nothing about demons being able to do things like this.  They can delude and influence, yes, but move clouds and imitate the feeding of the 5000?  This is giving demons too much power, when we should be learning to not be afraid of demons!

On page 343, we read about a believer, Luis, who, at the time of the Rapture,

had had enough exposure to campus ministry groups that when he returned to Argentina and suffered through the disappearances, he knew exactly what had happened.

He and some friends from childhood raced to their little Catholic church, where hardly anyone was left.  Their favorite priest and catechism teacher were gone too.

But from literature they found in the library, they learned how to trust Christ personally.  Soon they were the nucleus of the new body of believers in that area.

Yet another slam on the Catholics!  You’ll note that even though Luis was Catholic, and had been through catechism training, he did not know about the “truth” of the Rapture except through campus ministry groups (presumably Protestant) he was exposed to in high school and college in the US.

Because, after all, the Catholic church does not teach the “truth” of the Rapture because it’s just wrong.

And you’ll also note that most of the people in that church back home had been Raptured–but probably because of the “literature” in the library about “how to trust Christ personally.”

So sure most of the Catholics in this church were Raptured, but only because they found this literature in their library, not because of Catholicism.  Luis went to the same church, even went through catechism training, but apparently nobody told him “how to trust Christ personally,” so he was not Raptured.

On page 351 is some humor, funny but not in the way it was intended. Mac sees a man by the river, which is full of blood as is all water at this point.  Abdullah, who is not a native English speaker, says, “I don’t see him, Mac.  Maybe this is one of your cowboy marriages.”

He meant “mirages,” but I couldn’t help thinking of Brokeback Mountain: You could call that a kind of “cowboy marriage.”

Turns out the man is an angel; when Mac comes back, Abdullah says, “So what was it, pod’ner? A marriage?”  Considering the angel is a guy–It is Brokeback Mountain!

On page 371, Buck says to Chloe, “How bad is it with Leah and Hannah?  I don’t know either of them that well, but Leah would get on anybody’s nerves.  She still pining for Tsion?”

I’m not sure why they keep picking on Leah about Tsion.  I’ve seen nothing at all demonstrated to explain why they do.

All I’ve seen are some snarky remarks about her “stalking” Tsion or wanting to go to Petra to be with him, but no indication that she’s actually doing anything that would qualify as “stalking,” not even in the modern broad usage of the term (which seems to include everything anybody does who cares even an iota about some other person in any way other than behaving like an unfeeling robot).

Not even anything about how much she likes him–no mention of pictures on her wall, or obsessive chatter, or anything at all to suggest she likes him any more than anybody else does.  Just a few snarky comments.

And what was wrong with her wanting to go to Petra?  It just makes no sense at all, and for the reader to take these snarks seriously, we need a lot more to go on than this. Otherwise, it just looks like people picking on her for no reason, accusing her unjustly.

And as for her getting on people’s nerves–Sure, now that Hattie is gone, let’s pick on Leah!

I’m not even sure how she gets on people’s nerves.  It seems to me more like, she only gets on their nerves because they’re hypersensitive, and that it’s usually Rayford the chauvinist who has trouble with her.

On page 393, more people and animals, and even plants and fish, die because of heat so intense that it burns people to death.  There’s just so much carnage in these books that it’s hard to stand, and not only do “sinners” die, but so does everything else.

On page 400, we read that the temperature has gone back to normal–no more blazing hot sun burning people and things to ashes–but now there is a plague of darkness.  The sun, moon, stars, electric lights, flashlights, emergency signs–everything that emits some sort of light, is now dark.  At all hours of the day or night, it is impossible to see anything.

People screamed in terror, finding this the worst nightmare of their lives–and they had many to choose from.  They were blind–completely, utterly, totally, wholly unable to see anything but blackness twenty-four hours a day.

We read how desperately people begin trying to find or make light of any kind:

Find a candle!  Rub two sticks together!  Shuffle on the carpet and create static electricity.  Do anything.  Anything!  Something to allow some vestige of a shadow, a hint, a sliver.  All to no avail.

As if this weren’t bad enough, “Chang wanted to laugh.”

Wait–What?

He wanted to howl from his gut.  He wished he could tell everyone everywhere that once again God had meted out a curse, a judgment upon the earth that affected only those who bore the mark of the beast.

Chang could see.  It was different.  He didn’t see lights either.  He simply saw everything in sepia tone, as if someone had turned down the wattage on a chandelier.

Why, thank you for your Christian compassion on the suffering, Chang.

Because the annoyance does turn into physical suffering.  As we read on, we find that the extended darkness does not keep people from getting food and drink, but they can’t work, or talk about anything but the darkness.  And then they begin feeling pain: itches, aches, until:

For many the pain grew so intense that all they could do was bend down and feel the ground to make sure there was no hole or stairwell to fall into and then collapse in a heap, writhing, scratching, seeking relief.

The longer it went, the worse it got, and now people swore and cursed God and chewed their tongues.  They crawled about the corridors, looking for weapons, pleading with friends or even strangers to kill them.  Many killed themselves.

The entire complex became an asylum of screams and moans and guttural wails, as these people became convinced that this, finally, was it–the end of the world.

But no such luck.  Unless they had the wherewithal, the guts, to do themselves in, they merely suffered.  Worse by the hour.  Increasingly bad by the day.

This went on and on and on.  And in the middle of it, Chang came up with the most brilliant idea of his life.  If ever there was a perfect time for him to escape, it was now.

Again–Wait–What?

Chang is surrounded by all these suffering people, and instead of having an ounce of compassion, or wanting to help them in their suffering, he thinks only of his own skin?

Like a sociopath he laughs at their pain, and just thinks how the believers being able to see, while everyone else is blind, means he and his friends can get him out of there without obstruction?

He cares nothing for the people who are so miserable they’re committing suicide?  He can’t even try to comfort them or tell them that Christ can take them out of their misery?

On page 403, we read Chang’s thoughts about what a wonderful break this is for the believers:

Now, for as long as God tarried, for as long as he saw fit to keep the shades pulled down and the lights off, everything was in the believers’ favor.  “God,” Chang said, “just give me a couple more days of this.”

Is this the Christianity we’re supposed to emulate?  Is this the Christianity that would inspire unbelievers to believe?  “God, please keep everybody around me so miserable they’re chewing their tongues and trying to kill themselves, so I can save my own skin”?

Is this the ultimate result of Calvinism: Christians good, unbelievers so worthless they deserve everything they get?

[2/13/12-3/12/12]

Meeting the elusive Speaker–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 5

Catherine started planning a movie night, and we planned to play Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday the 11th.

Cugan called me to chat several times before then.  He had a musical phone number and a soothing, gentle, pleasant-sounding phone voice.  He said he liked playing D&D at about noon, but Catherine told him it was hard to get me up before then.  He’d been to Ireland; I was jealous.

Catherine also called me on the phone a few times.  When I told her Cugan had been to Ireland, she said, as one of the reasons I should go out with him, “He’s a world traveler.”  Then, “Just listen to how soothing his name is.”  She cooed, “COO-gan!  COOO-gan!”

At first, neither Cugan nor I said much to each other about dating, despite how pleasant and chatty our phone conversations were.  It was an unspoken understanding, and I was too nervous to bring it up.  But then Cugan said with a smile in his voice,

“Is Catherine pushing you as much as she is me?”

****

One day at lunch, Persephone and Phil sat with my friends and me.  I don’t know why Phil sat with us, since Persephone had broken up with him for good and none of the rest of us liked him.  Maybe he just wanted to stalk us.

Persephone and I sat across from each other, and somehow got on the subject of men.  I went on and on about Cugan and Stimpy, and how fun it was to date two guys at once.  We both laughed about it.

Phil said nothing at all to anyone.

Then, all of a sudden, he got up in a huff and left.  He didn’t come back.

?????!!!!!

I was both amused and mystified.

Why should Phil care who I dated?

It was five months now since he left me, and he made it clear he did not want to come back–even dating Persephone instead and telling her he loved her and wanted to marry her.

I sometimes wonder if he planned to get back together with me.  If so, this discouraged him.  But by now, I had moved on, and–with so many new prospects–no longer wanted to shackle myself to my abuser again.

****

On Tuesday, March 7, Stimpy and I went on a triple date with Krafter and Sharon, and Ish and Pearl.

This was the first time Pearl met Ish.  I think we dressed up a bit.  We went to Country Kitchen at 6pm.

We had fun, though Pearl wasn’t sure about Ish, and the guys all kept going on and on about computers.  Pearl thought Ish was too old for her (at 30).  Now, if Turtle had been in her place, you know she would have drooled all over him!  Darn statutory laws….

Soon after this, Pearl met W– online and agreed to go on a date with him.  He was between eighteen and twenty, probably more like eighteen, and a good friend of Flezter, who said, “Don’t hurt W–.”

After the date, however, Pearl came back complaining of the psychotic time she had.  I forget if W– himself was part of this, or if it was just the circumstances, but I think he was.

I don’t remember much of the details, but I do remember that near the end of the evening they stopped at his house, where he soon argued with his family over something.

That night or the next, W– said to Sharon online, “Should I talk to Pearl?  I’m afraid she thinks I’m psycho!”  I think Sharon encouraged him to.  Despite all this, W– did seem like a nice guy.

****

On or before Wednesday, March 8, Speaker ignored me whenever he came online.  I got mad at him for this.

Then in the late afternoon, just before dinnertime, he called Sharon.  We never spoke to him outside of TCB before, so this was quite an event.  Sharon wanted to give me the phone, but I grumbled,

“If he even wants to talk to me.”

He did, so I took the phone.  Speaker was surprised and, I think, amused that I was mad at him, and explained what had been going on.  (I think he was just playing around.)

He said I had “a cute Southern accent,” which surprised me because I didn’t have a Southern accent, just a mix of S– and South Bend accents.

Of course, my mom sometimes sounded Southern with her lower Michigan accent, so maybe some of that rubbed off on me.  South Bend is right next to the border, so there is a lot of intermingling, yet there is a distinct difference between the accents.  Michigan’s accent is “rougher,” more “country,” with the old folks saying “dinner” for “lunch,” “davenport” for “couch,” and “crick” instead of “creek.”

Speaker had a cute accent, himself, with a strong “o” in his “no’s,” even stronger than in the local accents.  I believe he was from M–.

I said I wanted to meet him, but he kept saying no, and “Why do you want to meet me?  You don’t want to meet me.”  He said it all playfully, making me wonder how serious he was.

I finally talked him into meeting me, so we decided on Wednesday at 6:30 in the Campus Center lounge.  We’d have dinner at Burger King, and then watch an episode of Doctor Who in my apartment.

I figured these things fit Krafter’s specifications for safely meeting a BBS user: a public place first, and my roommies would be in the apartment the whole time.  He said he’d be wearing a blue coat, not zippered; jeans; and a black shirt.  His hair was brown.

****

I went to the Campus Center lounge at that time with my Nyssa cup from Gypsy’s party, and waited for quite some time, watching the TV.  It was just me and the guy working at the information desk.

Had Speaker stood me up?  I got up to go back to the apartment and look for him on TCB.  On my way out, I saw a guy fitting his description right outside the Campus Center.  His hair was about shoulder-length and curly, and though he had unusual features, he wasn’t bad-looking.  (Don’t ask me for details 20 years later, especially with my NVLD.  But I believe his face was kind of pinched.)

He asked if I was Nyssa: To my great delight he was Speaker.  He said he was late because I thought he was from a different place, and gave him the wrong directions, so he had to stop and get new ones.  Oopsie.

We went to Burger King in S–, where we spoke of Avenger.  (The Big Flame War was just an embryo at the time.)  We returned to my apartment and watched the episode of Doctor Who, possibly “Paradise Towers.”

I gave Speaker one of my college senior pictures, which had just arrived, and said, “Have a picture of your Nyssie.”  I didn’t like the pictures, since I forgot to remove my glasses, but my friends thought they were good.  They were certainly better than the ones from junior year.

We got along well in person, and often flirted online, but he kept saying, “You’re Stimpy’s Nyssie” and acting like he didn’t want a girlfriend.

I told him Stimpy and I agreed we could date anybody we wanted, but that changed nothing: Speaker said he wanted to be single all his life, despite his complaints about no one ever wanting to date him.  He also didn’t like having to compete with other guys.

In those days my roommies and I still didn’t know why the vacuum cleaner kept spitting stuff out, so there were hairballs and dust bunnies all over the place.  Silly us, it wasn’t broken, just needed a new bag.  Argh….

Since all my life I have gone around in my stocking feet inside, I’d sit down and find blonde and brown hairballs sticking to my socks.  Speaker laughed.

****

InterVarsity had a Lock-In from 7pm on Friday the 10th to noon on the 11th.  It was supposed to be a sleepover in the Ley Chapel basement, but there weren’t enough people, so we made it a party in the apartment.  Krafter and Stimpy came.

At the time I thought I could handle dating two, three, even four people at once.  I felt no need to make a decision yet.  Other people were able to date around.  There was nothing ethically wrong with it as long as the guys knew they weren’t my one and only.

After what I’d been through with Peter, Shawn and Phil, I didn’t want to commit to one person and find out that, yet again, it was the wrong one: abusive, manipulative, deceitful, whatever.

However, I soon discovered that with Cugan I thought of Stimpy, and with Stimpy I thought of Cugan.  Then there was the other guy I wrote to….I felt pulled every which way.

Though even my mom said it was okay to date around, and even though this is the time-honored way to date, it still felt weird, like I was supposed to pick one guy to date and potentially marry.  Still, as I said, I was wary about commitment.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)