Featured post

Tracy’s Screaming Was Like This and It Frightened Me

From Hannah’s post Verbal abuse of children caught on tape, Video number 2 made me think of Tracy, the way she goes off on people.  I’ve heard her scream at the kids like this, only around me she kept out the cussing; but I have it documented that she would cuss at them, too.  Sometimes it would frighten me; sometimes it would anger me.

This is what I mean by screaming, not “scolding,” not even “yelling.”  Screaming like this is indeed child abuse.

I’ve also heard her scream at Richard like this.  I’ve heard her scream at others like this, only with all that cussing included for adults.  Her online tirades, both to me and to Todd, were exactly like this.

In fact, this video is indeed triggering me a bit, as the blogger warns can happen.  Not just the tirades, but the hitting, because I’ve seen Tracy smack her kids around in ways that I do not normally see, and because Richard told me she almost killed me once.

I’ve heard other parents yell at their kids, but not like this.  My mother yelled on occasion, but she sure never sounded like this.  I do recall losing my cool when my son was a baby and apparently had undiagnosed colic, but I felt horrible, and fought to hold my temper so that would not happen anymore; I have not done that for years now.

It just is not right!  Screaming like this severely damages people, no matter how old they are, or what their relation to you.  And Richard tried to tell me screaming is not abuse!  And Tracy tried to tell me she’s “innocent” and not abusive and I’m lying about her!  And she tried to tell me I should just “grow up” and take it!  BULLSH**!

My husband misses the kids, but is very glad this family is out of our lives, does not want them back in it.

Well, sort of out.  They still stalk my blog weekly…..

The video is also here.

The batterer always blames the Victim for causing the violence. ..

The Victim should understand the hurtful and abusive things their partner may say, are not true. Most likely they are only attempts to avoid responsibility or are said to make it difficult for victim to leave

These are some of the common things abusers say:
  • You’re so stupid…
    If you tell anyone else about the abuse… you’ll be sorry / no-one will believe you / I’ll report you to social services as an unfit mother. “You don’t know who you’re up against.(He means: I’ll have the last word.)  –Sachin Samy, These are some of the common things most abusers say

Here a blogger summarizes an episode of Supernanny, the infamous “Davis Family” episode.

YES abusers tear down children as well. It would much harder to explain to them if they would ‘change themselves’ how the abuse would stop wouldn’t it? Think about the younger children – do you think they would get it when asked to change? He will always have no problem telling you WHY he is justified! Its truly a hard dynamic to change when they feel entitled to this behavior.  Part 3 of the series

It’s very hard when people are deliberately and defiantly non repentant and hard faced – turning up in church as if nothing is wrong and nothing has happened. Having to cope with your abusers turning up in church whilst deliberately sticking 2 fingers up at God is beyond the capacity of describe.

Having to cope with your abusers continuing to use the church as their cover story is beyond awful and beyond hypocrisy. Having them do all of that on that back of having lied and denied to prevent justice and to prevent exposure is disgusting and distasteful at the very least.

It is utterly appalling for me as a victim, for those who gave evidence against them to the police and for the church leadership who now know the truth about them.

It’s totally ghastly and repulsive to be brutally honest.  It is as if they have no conscience at all. Sometimes when people have lied and denied for long enough they actually believe their lies and denials to be absolute truth regardless of evidence to the contrary. Thus they worm their way out of it and can be incredibly and frighteningly convincing in their true lies….

Without confession, repentance, admission of guilt or other things which lead to closure surely it will always be there at the back of your mind. Having to watch your abusers behaving as if nothing untoward happened and all is normal fuels the fire.

When people have been so deliberately cruel to you and are so defiant when faced with the truth where can you go? How can such defiance be coped with, processed and gotten out of your mind. It is in reality and in all truth extremely difficult.

It’s almost impossible to forgive cruel people who lie, pretend all is normal and do all they can legally to silence you and keep their evil deeds secret.  –Princess Fi, BETRAYAL, DEFIANCE, LIES, DENIAL, INJUSTICE, FORGIVENESS ISSUES

Why is it that so many Christians don’t get that you can be a Christian and be in such a mess. Why is that?

Instead of coming alongside me, giving me space to tell my story and helping, it was oh just forgive, forget, move on, it happened so long ago, stop harping on about it, stop dragging it up from the past. WHY IS THAT? 

How can I ever forget 20 years of abuse and torture? It may have happened a long time ago, but I live with it every minute I’m awake and then in my nightmares when I do sleep. For me it’s not in the past but very much in the present.

How can I forgive when my abusers deny anything ever happened? How can I forgive when my abusers say anything bad that ‘might’ have happened was because I such a bad person, they did nothing wrong?

Why are churches and so many Christians so closed minded about the realities of living with past sexual abuse? Why are churches and so many Christians so closed minded about the realities of the deep damage of childhood abuse and the complexities of the healing processes?

Why do so many churches have systems in place to prevent abuse happening, but provide little or no support to REALLY help victims heal? Why is it that so many Christians tell you that as you are a Christian, you are a new person so your past is gone, so all the stuff from your past abuse should be gone too? 

Why is it that so many Christians tell you that you are doing something wrong if you aren’t healing from the damage of the abuse or if you don’t have joy etc? Why do so many Christians tell you that if you read your bible enough and pray enough you should be fine? Thereby implying that you cannot be reading your bible or praying enough because you are a screwed up mess!

Why is it that so many Christians think you don’t need counseling or anything; you just need to get over it, forgive your abusers and forget it? WHY IS THAT?  –Princess Fi, Spiritual + Religious Abuse



Featured post

An Abuser’s Lies Are Demonic

Whenever Tracy’s abusive lies start creeping into my mind again, what I need to do is repeat to myself, “Those are lies.  She does not define me.  She is toxic.”

These are some of the things she said to me which were so toxic, the ones I still remember, and the ones I care to post on the Web:

F– bombs
“What are you, stupid?”
“A 5-year-old child could understand.”
“You’re too stupid to understand!”

From my chapter on this episode–and, warning, it is cathartic and full of anger because I had to release it–which also shows my reader that I’ve been where you are:

“Instead, I found a horrid message from Tracy, telling me to f— off [which no one has EVER said to me before or since), which would be followed by other messages, full of foul language, the most baffling accusations, the most horrid things anyone had ever said to me, abusive, filthy, controlling, manipulative, demeaning, humiliating, and completely undeserved.  It was a bunch of deranged ranting, making her sound like some insane madwoman.  It came completely out of the blue, blindsided me, baffled me, mystified me.  I was horrified.  THIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.  THIS IS A NARCISSISTIC RAGE.  ABUSERS AND THE CLUSTER-B PERSONALITY DISORDERED DO THIS.

“This is when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was a crazy, abusive monster, just as bad as any man who beats his wife, with an irrational hatred toward me because I knew what she really was.  (This has also been proven by how she’s been acting ever since finding my blog, by threatening, stalking and trying to intimidate me.  You can follow the progress of her terror campaign on my blog, starting in May 2012.)  This was the last straw: I no longer wanted anything to do with her.  I began to remove my posts from Richard’s Facebook page, and later that day, blocked her on Facebook.

“Her accusations of me were all false.  Her justifications of raging were all false.  I prove that here, here and here.

“I was amazed that anyone could be so cruel and vicious to a friend, to someone who never harmed anybody but had done so much to help her.  I sat in shock for some time before I could even start crying.

“The friendship I had worked so hard to build, maintain and restore–was just gone in the blink of an eye.  Had slipped out of my fingers.  For something I hadn’t even done or said, but something that Tracy had intimated, had imagined, had put into that e-mail herself, subtext she read into it that did not exist, lines she had read between and found something that was not actually there, because she had been bound and determined ever since we first met to be jealous and treat me as guilty until proven innocent.  (Witness this incident a few weeks earlier, in which she went off on me for wishing them a fun trip!)

She told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff because we don’t need the headache.”

“Just like any bully on the playground, or any other kind of abuser: Don’t you dare go and tell anybody how I’ve treated you.  Don’t tell your mother I touched you like this.  Or don’t tell the police I’m slapping you around.  Or don’t go crying to your friends/husband/ boss/teacher about how I’m beating you down verbally or physically, because I don’t need the headache….Abusers of any stripe deserve to be brought into the light and their deeds exposed.

“I wrote to Richard, saying I don’t understand, saying he told me that hugs were fine, that we’ve always been brother/sister, begging him to get into chat and talk to me, give me the dignity of that much if this friendship is over, explain this to me, why was I being treated like a whore when we had never done anything wrong and he had told me that hugs are okay?????!!!!!!

“But she, acting like an insane control freak, refused to even allow that much, just took over all his messages and wouldn’t let him respond himself, wielded control over him, treated him like a slave or a child.

“She said, “You’re too stupid to understand!”  THIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.

“She told me she was taking over his Facebook, said I couldn’t speak to him, and when I tried to defend myself and not listen to this screaming harpie and get him to give me the respect of talking to me about this, she called me stupid for trying to talk to himTHIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.

“Basically, I had been tried, judged a whore, and sentenced to jail without a chance to defend myself.  It was ridiculous.  It was overblown.  It was nasty.

“Jeff noted the e-mail was perfectly fine when you knew the context, which Richard knew very well and should have explained to her, especially since I was referring to things he had done.  It was truly ridiculous because if she’d waited to get the context before reacting, as Jeff did, she would’ve known there was nothing to get upset over, and our friendship would have continued.  But she wouldn’t even allow Richard to call me and sort things out, and ranted and raved at me in an outrageous rage episode every time I tried to e-mail Richard or get him into Facebook chat to discuss this ridiculous crap and what the freaking HECK was going on.  More of her power play.

“But no matter what Jeff or I tried to say in my defense, whether apologies or explanations, she wouldn’t listen to any of it, so trying to explain the e-mail was useless.  (You know, like it was when she raged at Todd for something he hadn’t even done, but refused to believe his intentions had been to help her.)

“From her crowing on Facebook, she obviously didn’t want to believe that I was innocent of her charges, because she was getting far too much perverse pleasure from beating up on me.”

Even the most benevolent act can be turned into its opposite by the assignation of bad motives. The narcissist reserves to themselves the right to determine your own mind for you. They will tell you what was really motivating you in order to take away from you the truth, reality or rightness of whatever you have done. It can be an amazingly effective sleight-of-hand. –http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.com/2007/10/thought-crimes.html

When they are angry for something that they have imagined or misunderstood, you can try to prove the facts to them, you can drag in a hundred witnesses, present undisputable evidence — they will still not change their mind. –http://joyfulalivewoman.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/behaviors-and-attitudes-of-the-narcissist/ 

 Just a day or so before this person she was addressing had emotionally abused her for an hour over the most unpredictable and irrational thing until HE felt better. Nothing she said or did could assuage him. He simply had to abuse her until he started feeling better. –Do They Have Feelings?

They inflict pain on others and actually enjoy doing it. –http://joyfulalivewoman.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/behaviors-and-attitudes-of-the-narcissist/ 

“Both Richard and Tracy–first Richard when Jeff spoke to him, then Tracy in the e-mail to Jeff–claimed that 99% of everyone else in the world would have reacted even more fiercely than Tracy had done during the “incident” which ended the friendship, to the e-mail I had written.  What kind of horrid, abusive people do they normally hang out with, anyway, to think this?

“Also, note that here, as before when Richard told me that 90% of the world would disagree with me that the man is not responsible for all problems in a marriage, Richard and Tracy were now claiming that most of the world would agree with them–as if somehow this made their view right and mine wrong.  But what about the way men in much of the world think women should be treated, with women subservient, so any problems in the marriage can be solved by the man asserting his dominance and swacking her over the head?  What about the tyranny of the majority?  And how do they know most of the world disagrees with me?  Have they done a poll?

“This is typical of abusers, claiming that their abuse is kind compared to what other people would have done to you for your “crimes.”  The appeals to these hypothetical “others,” the Grand Society who would treat you far worse for what you have supposedly done, to make you think you should be grateful for the “mild” way he’s abused you.  The minimizing, rationalizing, and justifying of the abuse to make the victim seem like the abuser, or too sensitive, or too immature to accept responsibility for her behavior.  (Ironic, isn’t it?)  He’s “only” yelled and screamed at you.  Or “only” hit you.  Or “only” cussed at and belittled you for your horrible behavior.  The slaveowner in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl did exactly this to Linda, telling her other masters would have killed her on the spot for saying she despised him.

Don’t you dare go and tell anybody how I’ve treated you.  Don’t tell your mother I touched you like this.  Or don’t tell the police I’m slapping you around.  Or don’t go crying to your friends/husband/ boss/teacher about how I’m beating you down verbally or physically, because I don’t need the headache.  (That’s what Tracy wrote to me: “Don’t go crying to Jeff about this because we don’t need the headache.”)  Don’t tell your teacher or the police that I nearly choked you to death.  You deserve what you got….THESE ARE LIES!

“Abusers of any stripe deserve to be brought into the light and their deeds exposed.

“Both of them were, basically, blaming me for Tracy’s actions.  But the responsibility for Tracy’s behavior is on Tracy, not me.  She could have chosen to step back, calm down, and then find out what was REALLY going on, before (over)reacting.  This would have led to her getting the truth, (hopefully) accepting it, and then the preservation of the friendship.”

“This is wrong!  People have the right to express themselves.  They should not be living in fear about what they discuss or share with others or what they post on the internet. Living in this kind of fear of what they can or cannot say publicly or privately is an extension of the spiritual abuse – - – and it is happening to former congregants who left the church months ago and even years ago.” --Julie Anne Smith on the lawsuit against her and anyone from her former church who commented on her blog about being abused there, Two Important Issues For Me

There it is, the whole evil abusive rage episode, which, from what I’ve researched, is typical of Cluster B personality disorders (narcissism, borderline, histrionic).  Or even abusers in general.

And then the shunning which Tracy immediately instituted to force me into submitting to her abuse, accepting it as my due–or else–a common tactic of cults, I might add.

The trouble with such rage attacks, is that they get into the mind of the abuse victim.  If they’ve succeeded over time, an abuser can get you to believe that you deserved all this, the lie which Tracy tried to get me to believe in her comment that I needed to “grow up” and “stop feeling hurt over the consequences” of my “behavior”–which was not true at all, because none of my behavior/actions deserved this.

All of my actions were based in innocence and good intentions–and on the knowledge of abuse which I had witnessed and which she did to me over and over again.  And this lie, that you deserve abuse, is the most demonic lie of all.

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so. Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly. It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical.  –Your Most Fundamental Right

And of course the narc later makes excuses, saying he was just retaliating against some perceived offense. Narcs are pathological liars, duh, and everyone knows it. So, what kind of fool believes them when they say this without evidence to back it up?

What’s more, they lie to themselves as much as they lie to others, so they probably repress knowledge of what they’re doing, twisting things to rationalize their unprovoked attacks on others. Only in moments of unwanted self-awareness do they know better. But they instantly repress such knowledge the moment it surfaces.  –What Provokes a Narc Attack

Oh, yes, I recognized this as bullying.  In e-mails written way back in 2007, I called her treatment of me “bullying” and “abuse.”  I wrote that very day of 7/1/10, “I’m SICK of being bullied, sick of it, sick of it!”

In reading the spiritual abuse blog of Julie Anne Smith, I found in the comments to this post about shunning, Julie Anne wrote,

See, those messages that were sent to you were LIES and in your 2nd paragraph you get caught in the trap of believing THEIR LIES. That shows how powerful and destructive they not only were in your life, but still are in your life.

I wish you could just grab all of those ridiculous lies and dump them in a heap. Essentially, that’s what you need to do – replace the lies that you replay in your mind with the truth.

I think we all believe lies about ourselves to some extent or another and it especially happens in abusive environments.  Here’s something that has helped me with that: when I acknowledge a lie has slipped in my brain and is sucking me in, I try to bring a truth from God’s word to hush it up.

I think I would keep a running list of those lies and then find as many verses that you can find to counter them and keep reading them over and over again. Ask God to help solidify the truth in your mind.

Ever since 7/1/10, any time I hear the term “I don’t understand,” my mind starts replaying, “You’re too stupid to understand!”  It’s been especially tough when studying Greek, when I come across the phrase, “I don’t understand.”  Then katalavaino.  Δεν καταλαβαíνω.  “YOU’RE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND!”

These “echoes” are what happen to abuse victims, a kind of flashback.  They are poison, meant to kill your spirit through your own flashbacks.  I’ve also heard Tracy call her daughter stupid.

This is why, when Tracy claims they “did nothing wrong,” that, too, is a lie straight from the pit of Hell.  Satan himself put it in her mouth (or fingers, since it was typed).

All of Tracy’s lies are straight from Satan; he is the one trying to destroy me, using her as his instrument.

Whether you believe in Satan or that Satan is the personification of our own human evil, it still works in your own abusive environment.  Because that is what abuse is: evil.

And if Richard truly agrees with her statement, then he, too, is the instrument of Satan, sent to destroy God’s child.

Attacks from Satan are common to all Christians.  I was warned that when I came to Orthodoxy, because of its connection to the very first Church, Apostolic Succession and the power in the Eucharist, I could be subjected to attacks from Satan far worse than I’d ever had.  One person wrote about all the exceptionally rough things that happened to him when he converted.  I forget them now, but I believe they included an accident right when he was to be chrismated (anointed with oil and accepted into the church).

It’s true.  I’ve been through many different trials in my life, have been abused and bullied by many different people, including my own brother, who even choked me and–I’m told–tried to kill me when I was a baby.

But never, ever had my faith been anything but a comfort to me in all of this.  Never had I lost faith in God’s existence.

Now I don’t even know if He’s real or just invented by man, because when I asked for a friend, He sent me Richard.  When I searched for the true doctrines of the Early Church, he sent me Richard.  When I found the church I was looking for, had searched for for so long, it became tainted to me, because everything about it reminded me of the one who had betrayed me.  And now in that same church, I’m constantly at risk of seeing my abusers again.

It’s actually kind of funny that Tracy claims they “forgot” all about what happened.

As my husband says, “That’s because we didn’t do anything to them!”

Oh, sure, that’s because what I did wasn’t all that bad, while they were both the abusers, Tracy verbally abusing me and Richard verbally abusing and intimidating my husband for sticking up for me.

They aren’t the ones who have crap to forgive and forget.  No, we’re the ones who have crap to deal with, and we have not forgotten.

To an abuser, raging is basically the equivalent of a satisfying bowel movement: Once it’s over, you feel much better, and forget the pain you went through getting it out.

And the abuser expects you to just “grow up” and “get over” being crapped all over, thinks there’s something wrong with you if you don’t.  But don’t believe this lie of the abuser, either: The responsibility belongs to the abuser that you got hurt, not to you!  You are not responsible for someone abusing you!


So they attack just because this is a golden opportunity to dump a load of projection and projective identification on someone. It’s a golden opportunity to feel powerful by having a powerful effect on someone. They feel great afterwards. They not only relieve their moral constipation by dumping their load on you, they get high off the power rush in trampling you or tearing you to pieces.

And what’s to restrain those urges? Any morals? Any conscience?

So, if this has ever happened to you, you probably just had a close encounter with a malignant narcissist. Be glad that you had to serve as her toilet only once in your life. –The Rewards of Befriending a Narcissist


I must do as Julie Anne suggests, and replace Tracy’s lies with Truth.  She cannot win.  Satan cannot win.

Is it necessary for me to state that I saw clearly that it would be a dishonour to myself to continue even an acquaintance with such a one as you had showed yourself to be?  –Oscar Wilde, “De Profundis”

 It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors. They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You ‘made’ them treat you badly. In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance.  –Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies

If you live with an abusive narcissist, you cannot forgive him or her. Why? Because they deny what they do to you, let alone that it is wrong. They show no remorse. The don’t promise to stop. In fact they make a virtue of doing it and show that they fully intend to keep right on. That is an offense in progress. You cannot forgive it.Forgiving the Abuser

The lies abusers tell you, are corrosive, are acid, are poison.  You wouldn’t just let a venomous bite course through your veins, would you?  You’d try to get it out so you don’t die, maybe suck it and spit it out.  Don’t let abusive lies destroy you.  Replace them with the truth!

I try hard to do just that.  It’s hard because people like Tracy know just how to get to you.  But we mustn’t be sheep who just sit back and let the wolves eat us: We have to fight back.

In the post linked above, Julie Anne speaks of shunning by her former congregation of anyone who leaves, as ordered by the pastor.  She tells how people get so sucked into their spiritually abusive environment that they believe this shunning is right–even if they shun family or close friends who are like family.  That is Stockholm Syndrome.

Just as we have experienced shunning, they are too.  I’m sure it aches their hearts when they see us in town and must turn away from us, avoid all eye contact with former friends with whom they were so intimately connected. –Two Important Issues for Me

Try to imagine having a relationship with a close family member and then it is stopped immediately.  No explanation.  No closure.  Holidays that were traditionally spent together are now without that loved one or family.  No more birthday celebrations together.  No more camping trips, impromptu coffees, etc.  

Death would be easier because there is something final, you can move on.  This is heart-wrenching because you know they are alive.  

It’s always at the back of your mind reminding you of what once was, what should be, and what you cannot have.  You wonder if they think of you, what they are told about you, you remember those precious times together, but you can’t have it.  

If this happened to me, I think I would go crazy.  I’d probably drive by the house, hoping to see family.  I’d drop off gifts.  I’d frequent places I knew they would go to just to “happen” to run into them.  I don’t know what else I’d do, but family is so important and I’d probably do anything to break through that wall.  

Good grief, I cannot even type this without getting teared up again.  You guys have got to get a sense of what this does to families, relationships and how destructive it is.  And it is a complete FARCE – totally made-up rule only benefitting ONE person.  Outside Family Members: Why Are They Shunned?

Ah, yes, Julie Anne, you get it!  I don’t do the “stalking” like actions she describes here (LOL); no, I keep a firm distance between us, not wanting the pain and anguish of seeing Richard and Tracy.

But the rest of it is exactly how I feel about the friendship with Richard and his children being ripped from me all of a sudden, because I had adopted him as a brother and his children as nieces, because we were intimately involved in each other’s lives, attending baptisms and marriage dedications and birthdays, giving rides.  But he has been suddenly forbidden from speaking to me and blocked to me, my husband and my son on Facebook for more than two years, as punishment until I agree to submit to Tracy’s abuses (rather like that BGBC church discipline of shunning).

And all for no reason at all except for a sudden rage attack over nothing, just a baffling, out-of-nowhere rage.

Tracy’s control tactic of isolating me from Richard is the same as what the BGBC does.  You could say this blog is my attempt to “break through that wall.”  As long as they’re going to keep reading, I’m going to use it.

This next creepy control tactic pattern to discuss is a biggie.  This is one that separates families and friends,  possibly forever.   If you haven’t personally experienced this, please think about it carefully.  Imagine going to church with your best friend of 20 years.  With a 20-year history, you may have gone to each other’s weddings, may have started families at the same time, gone on family outings together, shared meals and had many hours of fun, fellowship, trials, and joys.  

And then imagine, out of the blue, you are told you are no longer to have any contact or relationship with this person, in an instant, just like that.  Zilch.  NO RELATIONSHIP.  You may not call,  you may not connect via Facebook (in fact, you have to “unfriend on FB), no e-mails, etc.  

All relational ties are severed immediately.  You do not even get a chance to say good-bye, it is OVER.  BAM!  DONE!  FINISHED!  

This is happening all over the world in creepy abusive churches and it is done in my former church.  It is disgusting.   It is an abuse of power over church members, controlling their personal relationships and destroying them in an INSTANT.

The sheep of this pastor’s church who remain are in the system pretty good by now and are convinced that this is a man of God whom God has placed over their care.  They are convinced that he has their best interest at heart, even though this “trial” is burdensome, they may be told God uses this to purify His remnant; they are being refined in this trial.  They follow without question, like good obedient sheep.  

The pastor convinces them that this is for the best for you, for the other person, and for God’s church.  Other scriptures are to be used to show how good it is to keep the church pure, and clear from divisive people, people with Korah-like behavior who wage war with God and His church. –False Teachers Who Mark and Avoid Church Members


Now you’re under control
And now you do what they told ya!

–Rage Against the Machine, “Killing in the Name”

Some things I’ve found while reading Julie Anne’s blog about her former church, and the progress of the lawsuit brought against her for it by her former pastor: 

And sometimes it is because they worry about this issue of possibly being sued by their former church or pastor. I have even had current members email from time to time, who bring up the thought that I could be sued by my former church organization for things I write on the website. They don’t scare me and I am not afraid of such threats.

I don’t believe there is a fine line between sharing what happened and defamation. Defamation and slander/libel are not things one does unknowingly or accidentally.

I don’t believe former members of unhealthy churches need to feel like they have to walk on egg shells when they share. As long as they are telling the truth, they should be free of this fear.

Some may have felt she was crazy for doing so, but Julie Anne Smith continued to use the words “wolf,” “creepy,” “spiritual abuse,” etc. in her blog after the lawsuit was filed against her. Why? Because those things are her opinions about her former church and pastor and by law she is free to express them. 

Look at it this way. Unhealthy pastors and current members are free to call people like myself backsliders, reprobates, rebellious, witches, evil (yep- I had a current member call me evil once and we later became friends), lost, and much more. Think about it. They are free to do this and yet we should be fearful of speaking up?

Do we run around filing lawsuits against them for these things? Would we win if we did? If these people are free and protected by law to openly say such things about us, why should we feel hindered in saying that we believe the church to be unhealthy, etc?

In the legal documents submitted by Julie Anne Smith’s attorney, she sites case after case where people’s statements were not considered defamation in a court of law. I think it would be good for people to take the time and read these legal documents. The first five are posted online here: http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/beaverton-grace-bible-church-v-smith#description at the bottom of the page. Download them and digest what has been shared and then better understand why the judge rightfully dismissed the lawsuit.

Be empowered with knowledge of the law, so you cannot be bullied into silence!–Lois in the comments of The News and My Thoughts


Bottom line is I did not lie. But also what you need to understand is the meaning of defamation. The burden lies on the plaintiff to prove that I intentionally lied (I did not), and my words showed intent to harm (malice). That also cannot be proven.

They could not prove that I intentionally lied (first level), so they didn’t even need to look at the second level (malice). Bottom line, this case was thrown out very early on. My words were clearly not defamatory.Julie Anne in the comments of Judge’s Decision

Good riddance to Tracy and to all the lies.  They cannot torment me any longer, because I know them to be false.

The Victim should understand the hurtful and abusive things there partner may say, are not true. most likely they are only attempts to avoid responsibility or are said to make it difficult for victim to leave

These are some of common things abusers say:
  • You’re so stupid…
  • If you tell anyone else about the abuse… you’ll be sorry / no-one will believe you / I’ll report you to social services as an unfit mother. “You don’t know who you’re up against.(He means: I’ll have the last word.)  These are some of the common things most abusers say


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Why I Blog About My Depression–Even While Watched by the Ones Who Caused It (My Blog Stalkers)

My blog stalkers seem to have backed off on their threats some time ago, though they still show an avid interest in what I write.  I’m not real sure why they’re so interested.  But I don’t want to restrict what I write just because they’re watching: Where is the catharsis in that?  No, I can, instead, hope that somewhere along the way, I may be getting through to at least one of them.  And in the meantime, it is actually reassuring to know that I’m not “talking behind their backs.”  No, I want them to see it, too.

What I went through was a very traumatizing experience, being caught up in somebody else’s abusive marriage, and then chewed up and spit out because of it, catching quite a bit of abuse myself along the way, shattering my trust in the good nature of people in general and shattering my faith in God.  (The story is here.)  And such trauma does not resolve itself overnight.

My blog is for venting, a safe place to go where people don’t feel they have to come up with something to say or comfort me, where I don’t hear people’s trite little phrases that do nothing to help, but only hinder the victim’s healing, as the victim starts thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”  Nothing’s wrong with you: You just have a lot of work to do and there’s no magic pill (except maybe Prozac) to fix it.

When discussing with colleagues this idea of “blogging as therapy,” a common reply was that this really is nothing new. For as long as people have been writing, they have used it as a form of cathartic self-expression. Personal diaries and journals are a good example. Psychologists and other mental health professionals also have long noted the value of “bibliotherapy” in which people specifically use writing exercises to address and resolve problems in their lives, or simply to enhance their personal growth.

But there’s an important difference between blogs and bibliotherapeutic writing. Blog communities actually combine features of personal journaling and support groups. People write to express themselves and their problems, but they also read and react to others who are doing the same. The blog enables much more social interaction than a diary, which traditionally is a strictly private, self-reflective affair.  Blogs as Therapy

It’s true.  I should probably be less concerned about what I write and how people might perceive it.  Nobody has to read every single post.  Most people just read one or two that fit with their keyword search.  Even my blog stalkers don’t read every single post.

No, this is not just therapy, something to lock up in a diary and put in a drawer.  I didn’t want to just leave my story in a drawer, any more than I wanted to leave my college memories sitting in private journals.

No, it’s a chronicle of pain, depression and clawing one’s way out of it, the good days and the bad.  And as such it may have use for others, just as I use the blogs of others who have dealt with abuse and narcissists.  I think I hamstring myself and my healing when I think too much about whether or not I should post something.  Even my bad days could be of value to others.

By allowing writing to be a cathartic act, you are taking the first step to better introspection. Posting this writing in a blog, knowing people will read your words and react to them helps you get past your own judgments and work towards better self-awareness. Blogging is one way to ease up on yourself, not be so harsh on your shortcomings, and instead see them in a more objective light.

Blogging can be a truly revolutionary act, because it can allow you to better know yourself. Blogging has become popular because it has allowed many people to work through their problems through the written word in a public forum. Why We Love to Blog: Blogging as Therapy

In the abuse blogs, one blogger–mulderfan–says her therapist recommended she blog about her experiences.

Blogging Seen as Good Therapy

[Update 8/24/14:]

As written by Brighter Than Before,

One of the purposes of writing this blog has been to document my recovery, and to recognise the ups and the downs. I’ve tried my hardest to write honestly and openly, and while this has been made more difficult by the knowledge that [my abuser] reads my blog, I have tried to put that fact out of my mind and move forward on my own terms. I’d be lying if I said it had no impact- who really wants to share their struggles and vulnerabilities with their abuser? But regardless, I have made up my mind to continue to do what I set out to do.



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This Blog is Shut Down.

I’m being cyberstalked and stalked in real life, and must shut down this blog, at least for now.  My apologies to my readers.  [Posted May 29, 2012.]

[Update 8/24/14:]

This lasted only for a short time, when I realized I must be strong and face my fears by keeping the blog up.  I believe this is what led to my stalkers, Richard and Tracy, finally backing down, and no longer stalking me in real life (though they still check my blog an average of once a week).

But if anyone doubts that I was frightened, I was very frightened.  I shut down this blog and even used an alias when posting on other blogs about abuse.  I unfriended all mutual friends on Facebook because I didn’t know who to trust.  It was a dark time.  I could not sleep; until I had a chance to speak to a police officer and then to my priest, I could barely function.

Todd, another of their victims, was irate with Richard and Tracy.  His fervor frightened me because I feared he would get me into trouble.  But he didn’t, and now he comforts me by being on my side through all of this.

I tried re-starting this blog with new addresses and names.  But they got no traffic, while this one–after being around for three years–had finally begun to receive traffic.  This wasn’t just about abuse, but a place to write about all sorts of things, and I wanted my writing to be read, to have an impact, whatever the subject.  And brand-new blogs don’t get read.

I said, “It’s my blog, and I’ll do what I want!”

I needed to prove to them that they could not intimidate me into silence.  I needed to put the blog up because, so many times throughout my life, people had abused or harassed me without me sticking up for myself.  Abusers like a quiet victim.  I needed to stop letting people victimize me.

So I put it back up.  It felt like jumping a car which is frozen and won’t start.  But the hits came back.  And kept growing and growing.  I also freely wrote on Facebook the truth about what they were doing.  I began naming names.  (My Facebook wall is set to private.  I do not name names on the Internet, not just about this but about other personal things.  But my friends and family have every right to know who it is, especially if they could potentially encounter these people.)

And I was terrified.  It did frighten me for some time to see them on my blog all the time.  Especially since they obviously enjoyed frightening me, being sociopaths.  (I am almost certain that this was done on purpose and meant to scare me.)  But instead of giving in to the fear and intimidation, I shouted to the rooftops about everything they did and continued to do.

Now I see other people reading my posts, sharing my posts, liking my posts, subscribing.

And the fear of Richard and Tracy is gone.

One of the purposes of writing this blog has been to document my recovery, and to recognise the ups and the downs. I’ve tried my hardest to write honestly and openly, and while this has been made more difficult by the knowledge that he reads my blog, I have tried to put that fact out of my mind and move forward on my own terms. I’d be lying if I said it had no impact- who really wants to share their struggles and vulnerabilities with their abuser? But regardless, I have made up my mind to continue to do what I set out to do. –Brighter Than Before, Hope, and Where I’m At

I have the right to write what I wish online, without fear of being harmed for it.

If I want to write my memoirs, or write about my abuse experiences and the process of recovery, millions of people can potentially be helped by what I write.  Why should I keep it under lock and key for fear of my abusers?


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A Good Day for Healing from Abuse

Today was a good day, good for healing from abuse.  I work in the library at my son’s school for an hour each week.  Today there were no books to shelve, so I was given the job of folding programs for the Christmas program tomorrow.  Another volunteer worked with me, and we had a good chat.

Then afterwards, even on such a cold day as this, I found the two other parents in our “kaffeeklatch” talking outside, “Melissa” and “Brad.”  Brad has a daughter at this school, and Melissa has a son.  Melissa lives in the complex down the block from mine, and whenever the weather is really bad, she drives my son to school.  (Normally, he walks, and I don’t have a car.)

We like to either grab the one park bench, or stand some place while our kids play after school.  We seem to be the only ones who do this, considering the jokes made by teachers who come by.  Things like, When our kids leave that school, they’ll have to put a memorial plaque on the bench.

I don’t say much myself as the other ones chatter away, but sometimes Melissa will leave and Brad will stay, and we’ll talk for a while.  But even if I don’t say much, I listen, and gather up all sorts of information which I store in my memory banks.  (Maybe that’s why I occasionally hear “I don’t know you that well” from people I know quite well.)

It’s little things like this that help in healing, as I feel less alone, more connected to the outside.  It may not be a big deal to most people, but it is to people like me.


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Wife Vs. Secretary: Musings on Jealousy

I recommend the movie Wife Vs. Secretary  (also here, here and here), which I just watched tonight for the second time since 2008, as an example of how jealousy can ruin a perfectly good relationship.

(I’m especially interested in this movie because I was a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home mother.  The wives of my two bosses never showed any sign of worry, even though I was young, slim, etc.  Apparently times have changed.  But imagine if they’d been jealous of me–that would’ve caused a lot of trouble, and potentially jeopardized a job I needed!)

The secretary, Whitey, is attracted to Gable’s character, Van, and if he never noticed his secretary’s charms (since she is, after all, played by Jean Harlow), you’d have to check his pulse.  But their relationship is strictly business, never once becoming improper: Van’s character loves his wife passionately, and his secretary–who has brains, not just beauty–also has good character.

Yet people begin talking.  Though Myrna Loy’s character is initially very modern-thinking, all this talk makes her suspicious–leading to all sorts of trouble which never would’ve happened if only she’d ignored all the talk.

She thinks a hush-hush business deal, is actually an affair between Van and Whitey.  Her jealousy practically drives Van into Whitey’s arms.  Van says, “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says if you want to keep a man honest, never call him a liar.”

Meanwhile, Whitey’s fiancé, played by Jimmy Stewart, is also jealous of Van, which estranges Whitey and her fiancé.

As Jimmy Stewart’s character says at the end of the movie, “Gosh, all the fighting and worrying people do, it always seems to be about one thing: They don’t seem to trust each other.  Well, I’ve found this out: Don’t look for trouble where there isn’t any, because if you don’t find it, you’ll make it.  Just believe in someone.”

I noticed during the dancing scene that nobody looked at the wife funny for dancing with other men, but everybody looked at Van funny for dancing with Whitey.  It also annoys me that Whitey’s fiancé objects to her job, telling her that her having a career she likes (even after marriage) is somehow “unnatural” and works against having a home, marriage, and kids; and pushing her to quit so they can marry.

It’s also sexist to assume that a beautiful secretary was hired because of her looks.

I am very anti-jealousy.  I was raised, and socialized in, very open environments which accepted opposite-sex friendships/working relationships/church relationships as the norm.  In college, if I had objected to my boyfriends having female friends, I would’ve been dropped like a hot rock; they had female friends, I had guy friends, it was accepted whether we knew each other or not.

My friends are usually like this as well, especially my SCA friends, who see open and playful flirting as normal no matter what your marital status.  I also tend to pick up behaviors from the people I spend my time with, so I follow their lead of what is acceptable, start to open up a bit on things I was more reserved on before.  (The exceptions are things I morally object to, such as smoking or drugs or getting drunk–or cheating, which normally I don’t see my friends doing, anyway.)

The only friends of my husband whom I ever objected to, were women he’d slept with before we met.  I didn’t even object to friends of his who didn’t seem to like me for some reason, since it seemed very inappropriate to tell him who his friends should be.

So when I encounter jealous people, I don’t understand them, don’t know what makes a person want to be that way.  Wouldn’t they rather just relax and trust and enjoy life instead of wasting their time and energy being angry, suspicious and vigilant?  Wouldn’t they rather be the person their spouse can’t wait to come home to, rather than making his/her life miserable?

If you’re providing a warm, comfortable, happy relationship for your spouse to come home to, then other women/men should not be a threat.  And if they are a threat, then your spouse is a cad/caddette whom you’re better off without, anyway, so let him/her leave.  I have written about this subject at length here.


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From Emerging From Broken: Why Setting Personal Boundaries is Not as Easy as it Sounds

By Darlene Ouimet:
Why Setting Personal Boundaries is Not as Easy as it Sounds


When I was defined as “not good enough” or “not worthy” by the actions of others in my life, it is understandable that I believed that definition of “me”. And as long as I believed that the definition of me was correct, I didn’t believe I had a right to HAVE boundaries.  I didn’t believe that I had a choice in my own life about what kind of treatment I had to accept. I didn’t understand that I was being treated badly and that I had a right to say no to that treatment….

Here is the link to the website that I mentioned earlier. I don’t recommend you reading this website other than to see the typical ways that we are encouraged NOT to look at the truth of this stuff but instead are encouraged not to place blame or hold people accountable because somehow it is better for us to skip that part. I got stuck there for many many years.

It didn’t take me very long to achieve all my recovery goals when I stopped trying not to place blame where blame belonged and I live my life today free of emotional pain and resentment. I am free of depression and dissociation. I set healthy boundaries. I have wonderful relationships based on equal value for all parties in the relationship. I sleep great and I laugh often and I know how to love and accept love.

Her linked website is actually one I looked at when pondering how to set boundaries with both Tracy and Richard, after Tracy had ripped into me one day in April 2008, and because of Richard’s tendency to cancel plans at the last minute.  I decided my boundary was that I would not get close to Tracy because she was too emotionally dangerous.  Unfortunately, Richard and Tracy treated me like I had no right to set such a boundary.

When you implement boundaries and provide consequences for violating them, BPDs/NPDs will often escalate their abusive behaviors, manipulations, hoovering, etc. They hate boundaries, but look out if you cross one of their boundaries.  –Dr. Tara Palmatier, comment on http://www.shrink4men.com/2012/06/11/the-new-face-of-borderline-personality-disorder-mary-richardson-kennedy-abused-her-husband-and-children-and-committed-suicide-as-a-final-act-of-revenge-for-perceived-abandonment/comment-page-2/#comments



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You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: Wrong Tree

Upsi, who runs a blog about her experiences with her narcissistic family, ended up much in the same boat as I am, when her family found her blog.  I find comfort in reading about this, as she tried to go no contact but her family kept trying to argue with her over how they were portrayed.

[Update 8/24/14: Upsi's blog no longer exists.]

From Upsi’s blog You Don’t Have to Dance for Them, the post “Wrong Tree“:

Sent today, after hearing back from FF on my first response: Dear Family Friend, I find it presumptuous that you hold yourself out as …

You think I’m a dupe?  That I’m living in a victim role and should have moved on by now?  Is it time for me to shut up on my own blog and put on a happy face?  You’ve got all the answers, huh?  I’m the problem, I’ve got to change, everybody else is just fine and dandy?

Telling the truth does not mean that I am seeking revenge, and discovering myself is no more an intentional humiliation of my mother than needing distance from her is abandoning my family.  Did you two have a heated chat on Sunday and you just had to reach out to me to parrot her perspective?  My mother can stop reading my blog any day.  That’s her choice.  I am leaving her alone, it is she who won’t leave me alone.  It is she who wants me to change, wants me to accept her bad behavior.


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You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: The Beauty of Blogging

Upsi, who runs a blog about her experiences with her narcissistic family, ended up much in the same boat as I am when her family found her blog.  I find comfort in reading about this, as she tried to go no contact but her family kept trying to argue with her over how they were portrayed.

You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: The Beauty of Blogging: When I started this blog, I was a girl with a story.  I wanted to tell it for people who might be interested.  I wanted to be anonymous, to protect the “real lives” of all involved.  When NM found the blog, it changed.  It had to, because of the nature of the story.  She FOUND it…..


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Hemorrhage and excruciating pain after first time: My Secret Marriage to Phil, Part 2–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1994, Part 6

A bunch of us planned to go to a Choir (Christian alternative band) concert that evening.  I wanted to finally get my own copies of Pearl’s Choir CD’s.  My friends and I rode in a car to the place of the concert.  They were Pearl, Mike, probably Sharon, and probably Tara or Astrid.  They had no idea I was now a married woman.

The place was an hour and a half away.  When we got to the place, it was deserted: no concert, no sign that there ever was to be one!  We were confused, especially Pearl, who had read about the concert in her CCM magazine.  The others decided to go to a movie, rather than just coming out all that way for nothing.

I wasn’t entirely convinced that our marriage was real and not just playacting.  So in my heart I felt that if we were delayed that night, if I got back very, very late, it was a sign that God did not actually consider us married, that He was trying to keep us apart.

I believe I started to feel this way before we found out the concert wasn’t there.  Then I thought God most certainly did consider us married, because I would be back far sooner than I’d expected.  But then my friends decided to go to a movie.  All during the night I said nothing when they made plans, because I felt I should let the results of the test be whatever they were supposed to be, and not tamper with them.

I’d never heard of the movie The Paper and the movie poster didn’t interest me, but my friends wanted to see it.  I ended up loving it.  These are my impressions of it:

Yes, as they said in the beginning, the whole world can change in twenty-four hours.  After all, all of a sudden I was married!  I hadn’t expected that when I got up that morning.

I had no idea what the movie was about, especially when I saw the opening scene with two black teenagers finding horrors.  I feared it was one of those gross action films, but it was not.

I watched Henry and his wife Marty interact, and thought, They’re married, and now so am I!  And one day, we’ll be about to have a baby, too!

Alicia telling her extramarital lover that “This is the last time” reminded me of Shawn (see index below for his story), who said that often.

The movie was wonderfully loony, with “Let Marty talk to her husband,” Robin the green, fourteen-year-old photographer (I didn’t know that was legal), and “A bullet came out of the wall–why did the bullet come out of the wall?”  (Our group loved this and began reciting it.)

Pearl cried out in dismay and shock, which I also felt, when Marty found blood instead of water on the floor when she was near her time.  I wondered if Phil and I would ever be in that situation, with me nearly dying from hemorrhaging during a pregnancy, and how we would deal with it.

These thoughts and my own marriage made the movie both significant and special to me, yet Phil preferred to make light of it and pointed out a movie review that said it was bad.  We never did see it together.  But my friends and I all loved the movie.

On the way back to Roanoke, maybe an hour or two earlier than we’d originally expected, I sat on the right side of the car and watched the moon.  It was midnight blue behind the clouds.  It was so beautiful that night, the perfect end to a perfect day for a wedding.  I kept silent and thoughtful, thinking of my new, secret status as wife.

Rather than go directly to Roanoke, the others decided to go on to S– and have a snack at Country Kitchen.  I had something with hot fudge and ice cream, and maybe a Dew or Root Beer as well.  The others spoke of staying up all night and watching the sun come up.  I don’t remember if they actually did it, but I said I didn’t want to do that this time.  (I had a husband to get back to.)  It began to rain hard.  I don’t remember how long we stayed there, but we finished our snack and the time finally came for us to go back to Roanoke.

At Roanoke, I forget where exactly I found Phil, but he was standing outside–and soaked.  He was angry at me 1) for not coming home when I said I would, and 2) for not saying anything to the others to hurry them along.  But you can see my reasons for not doing that.

He was also mad at me for something that was his fault: that he’d been standing in the rain, waiting for me!  I couldn’t believe he had done this.  When I got back, I expected to find him warm and dry in either the Phi-Delt suite or Krueger.  If no one was in the Phi-Delt suite to let him in, he could have picked up the phone outside Krueger and called Clarissa to let him in.  He knew the number, and there was a directory by the phone in case he forgot.

Failing that, he could have waited in the minivan, maybe parking it near Krueger or the suites so he could see me get home.  By the time I got home Clarissa would certainly have been in the room, and she could hear the phone even when her hearing aid was out and she was in bed.  If she was in bed, she could have opened the door and had him sit in the lounge.

Or he could’ve gone in the suite laundry room, which had a door open to the outside 24/7, or stayed on the ground floor of the suite building, where the upper walkway made a huge frickin’ overhang.

But he did none of these things, and it’s hardly unusual for people to come home from a social event much later than planned, especially one with a long drive.  (Which seems odd now, because I noted above that we were way ahead of schedule.)  Yet he was mad at me as if it were my fault somehow!  Now I see it as yet more controlling behavior by an abuser, another red flag of abuse which I missed, an element of narcissism to blame you even for things that are beyond your control.

This was hardly the wedding night I had expected, or that I had always wanted.  Phil arguing with me when we had been married only several hours?  Once we got to his room, he also got mad about my test, saying I was “testing God.”

But “testing God” means to live a life of selfishness and sin and throw it up in His face.  I was just laying out a fleece, something my dad had taught me about, so I figured it was perfectly fine.  It was simply an indication of whether or not God considered us married.

It was late, and I wondered if that meant we weren’t really married, but Phil didn’t put any stock in that.  In fact, over the next several months, whenever I doubted our marriage was real in God’s eyes, he would tell me we were definitely truly married…only to change his tune completely in September when he wanted to break things off.

Looking back, the anger and the refusal to consider my concerns, were huge red flags that he wanted me in his control–listening to his guidance on whether or not we were truly married in God’s eyes, so that I would be his subservient wife and willing sex partner.

Somehow we got through the arguments, however, and got ready for bed….I don’t want to go into detail, but it was…awkward, didn’t go the way it was supposed to, because we didn’t know how (despite all his fancy sex-ed education).  I mean, we knew some basics, but neither of us knew the vagina was separate from the urethra, and no, I had never used a tampon…..

The morning after the wedding, Phil said to me as we lay in each other’s arms, “Good morning, Mrs. O’Hara” or “How does it feel to be Mrs. O’Hara?”  It felt wonderful.

The next night, we tried again, with a little more knowledge this time of how things were actually supposed to work.  But because we found the correct way, I was in intense pain the whole time, and couldn’t wait until he finished.  He felt bad about it, but nothing stopped the pain.

Some say that you only bleed a little bit, but when I went to the bathroom I found lots of blood.  I just got over my period on probably Sunday, yet had to wear pads again.  They say it only bleeds the first time and that you only have pain the first time, yet I bled and felt pain for days.  (I had just finished my period, so it wasn’t that.)  I could barely sit down, which made Advanced Writing the next morning particularly uncomfortable.  At least the seats there were cushioned!

After the pain went away a bit we tried again.  But for days or weeks afterward, sex hurt, and this was very scary.  But because the marriage was secret, and we didn’t want anyone to think we were having premarital sex, I had no one to talk to.  I really could have used a website like this, but we had no such thing back then.  Also, from what that site says, I should’ve seen a doctor for my excessive bleeding, but I don’t believe this ever occurred to us.


After the marriage, I told Phil about a picture I once saw in a Bride magazine back when my brother married his first wife: It was part of a black-and-white ad, and showed a newlywed couple lying in bed.  The husband had his arm around the wife, who nestled her head on his shoulder as they slept.  It was sweet; I waited years for that to be my future husband and me.  Phil did this to me, and nearly cried, since he was so happy to fulfill that dream for me.

Now, when he’d have arguments with his parents, probably over me sleeping over so much or him going home with me for the summer, he’d say to me, “You are my wife!”  He wanted to tell them I was his wife and didn’t deserve such remarks, but he couldn’t.

I’d look at the family pictures on the basement wall and think, “Now I’m a part of that family and married to him,” while looking at Phil’s childhood pictures.

I didn’t know until maybe a year or two later that Catherine wrote a poem one day when I came in late to class.  I believe she noticed me wearing the same clothes I had on the day before, or maybe it was just because I was late.  In the poem, she wondered what we had done the night before, and if we were just using each other.

I marked the date of the marriage and the date of the true consummation with hearts in my day planner.


I used the rhythm method for a while, not knowing much about natural family planning, and because Phil was Catholic and believed artificial birth control was a sin.  He did a paper in high school about natural family planning, and wrote that if done correctly, it’s about 99% effective.  I knew that a woman was supposed to be fertile around the 14th day of the month, but didn’t know that people with irregular periods, like mine, might be fertile on a different day.  But for the first month of our marriage, I didn’t get pregnant, so I must have been doing something right.

Starting in the second month, I knew about taking my temperature, so I avoided my fertile days and didn’t get pregnant.  Phil assured me once or twice that if I did get pregnant, we would push up the legal, public wedding.  However, I got very frustrated with the rhythm method, since I didn’t know what to do and had to abstain for five to ten days mid-cycle.

Probably around May 4, which I marked with a diamond (it was probably day 14), I got upset and told Phil I wanted to use birth control.  You would think he’d agree, since birth control is much safer than the rhythm method, but as a Catholic he said, “Then I wouldn’t be able to sleep with you.”

He said he would be too conscience-stricken, even if I used the Pill and was the only one using the birth control.  He would feel that he contributed to my sin–even though, as a Protestant, I didn’t believe birth control was a sin.  Eventually he said that he couldn’t force me not to use birth control, and that I could if I wanted.  I think he even said he would still sleep with me.  But I would have felt bad for putting his conscience in such a position, so I decided to stick with natural family planning.


Soon after the marriage, as we went through the Burger King drive-through (maybe getting French toast sticks for breakfast or something), I had misgivings: Is my money now his, too?  Have I lost my independence already?  Am I really ready to be married?  Yet it’s too late now to turn back: I already am married.

I told him not to call me “wifey,” like before he called me “fancy,” because somebody might overhear like before.  Phil wanted it kept secret from everyone, even my best friend back in Indiana.  He didn’t want somebody to tell our parents, and he feared she would tell mine.  He didn’t want our parents to find out and get angry, maybe even try to keep us apart.

I often doubted that we were really married in God’s eyes, but Phil would say that yes, I was his wife, and yes, we were married: He had no doubt of it, he said.

What we did was a type of marriage: We bound our hearts together and spoke the same vows legally married people speak.  Over the summer, we shared the same house and food.  Also, some people have secret, legal marriages and yet don’t live in the same house or share the same food, so that isn’t exactly a perfect way to tell whether or not two people are truly married.

One day, Phil asked if I wanted to do as the advice column advised and register our marriage at the courthouse.  It was tempting, but I finally said, “If we do, our parents might find out, and I don’t want mail for Nyssa O’Hara to be coming to our parents’ houses.”  I also may have feared problems on our official wedding day.

Basically, even though we would be legally married, we still wanted the marriage kept secret.  I don’t know if these were good reasons or not, but they were good enough to me at the time.  For one thing, I didn’t know that before you got mail addressed to your new name, you had to officially change your name with Social Security and many other places.  If I had known that, then maybe we would have actually gone to the courthouse and registered our marriage.

And maybe Phil would have taken the marriage as seriously in September as he did in April, and not divorced me.  And I would have been terribly unhappy as time revealed him to be a bad husband, an emotional and potentially physical abuser–and I would’ve had to go through the courts to divorce him.


The song “Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base came on around this time, and I’d listen to it as Phil and I sat at the computer at his house.  We often listened to WIXX while sitting at the computer and playing games or working on homework, and those were happy days.

Some of the lines were, “Don’t turn around–I don’t want you seeing me crying.”  It was about a woman whose boyfriend had just broken up with her, and though she was devastated, she didn’t want him to see what he’d done to her.  I’d hear this and their song “I Saw the Sign” (about a woman who finally realized her ex was not the one for her and she could find the one who was), and be glad that–since we were married before God–the song would never apply to me ever again as long as Phil and I both lived.

There was yet another Honors Convocation on Friday, April 29 at 6:30pm.  Phil and I were both honored in it because we were both in the Honors CORE program.  It was odd to be honored for something that basically amounted to being in one Studies class instead of another.  Tables were all set up and covered with cloths in Bossard, and our parents all came, taking this chance to meet each other.  Little Taylor came along as well.  We met them at the Campus Center at 5:50, and the banquet was at 6.  It was funny that our mothers had the same name.  Our parents seemed to get along really well.

And through it all, they didn’t know Phil and I were already married.  This must have been how Romeo and Juliet felt around their parents after their secret marriage.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)


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My Secret Marriage to Phil, Part 1–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1994, Part 5

One day, I saw in the glass display case by the mailboxes, an article from the S– newspaper about one of our Latvian students.  After graduation, he eventually became First Deputy Prime Minister of Latvia, then after that, head of the Latvian president’s office.  (I’m not kidding.)

This tall, cute guy was married, and said that he and his wife had married without thought for finances or school.  Things were different over there than in America, where people try to finish school and get their finances together before marrying.  I longed to be able to do the same, and marry Phil right away.

Some of my favorite songs from that time: God by Tori Amos, Dreams by the Cranberries, Cantaloop by US3, Spoonman by Soundgarden, Thunder Kiss ’65 by White Zombie, Sober by Tool.

In probably April, my roommies-to-be and I went down to the new apartment buildings, which were built but not yet finished, to see what they’d look like inside.  We went into what we already knew to be our apartment, which at that time was sawdust and bare wood and insulation.

It looked so tiny then, but we were to find that, after carpeting and furniture were put in, the rooms seemed larger.  We thought we wouldn’t fit, but in the fall we all fit in there quite easily, thanks to lots of well-placed cabinets and wire stacking drawers.  (More on that is in the September chapter.)

I thought I’d leave the apartment about halfway through the year, get married, and move into another one with Phil, as we wanted to do, but I didn’t mention this at the time.

I used to love the song “Loser” by Beck, but during Hell Week, the Pi-Kapp pledges had to sing it to the actives every day at lunch.  They’d put their hands on their hips and move their torsos around while “singing” at the tops of their voices.  It was part of a song they put together about the actives and/or about themselves, which to them was funny but to the rest of us was just plain annoying.

I once thought pledges were funny during Hell Week, but now I found the antics annoying, from the Pi-Kapp pledges walking around wearing menu signs to the yelled greetings pledges had to give the actives.


Phil and I were burning with lust, and didn’t want to wait to marry when we were so sure we belonged together.  But Phil’s mom didn’t want us to marry until after he graduated–at least a year and a half away.  So on Sunday, April 24, we married in secret.

It may be hard for many to understand, in this 21st-century world, why I was so anxious to get married.  These days, sexual relations outside of marriage are considered normal.

But in religious circles, you aren’t supposed to have them until you get married.  If you do, you are considered to be in grave sin, at risk of eternal damnation, as well as the ire of your parents–especially if you get pregnant.  Oftentimes, you’re not even allowed to satisfy your urges yourself.

And while this practice of no sex before marriage, has been a common custom throughout history and across cultures/religions, before our time, teenagers would marry in the middle of their raging hormones.  Nowadays, even 18 is considered too young for marriage; kids are expected to wait until they’re done with schooling; many don’t want to marry until far into their 20s or 30s.

If you’re in a sex-saturated culture where it seems everybody else is doing it and enjoying it, and you’re not supposed to have any kind of sexual relations before marriage (even alone), imagine how anxious you will be as a teenager to get married so you can have them without guilt or fear of punishment!

I couldn’t stand having to wait to marry Phil, when we already knew we were going to be married, and that we were only waiting for us to finish college.  Then I remembered two things:

One, an advice column I’d just read about spiritual marriages.  I’d never heard of such a thing.  The column, in a Christian magazine, advised against such marriages, because they were basically private commitments, and not recognized by the law or by the church.  He said if you’re waiting to finish school/make money before getting legally married, then that is coming before your commitment, and you’re not ready to be married.  But instead of being turned away from the idea, I wondered if the columnist was right or wrong about it not being a real marriage in the eyes of God.

I also didn’t know how common it actually was for people to do this.  Some states still recognize common-law marriages, which have no legal ceremony.  In time, I began to hear stories like this a lot, and not just in Christian magazines.  In one magazine, which I read a few years later, one couple wrote that they considered their anniversary to be not the day they married in a church, but a day just before that when they exchanged vows while alone in the woods.  I also read the story of Brook Kerr in TV Guide, who had a nonlegal marriage for years.

I didn’t know yet that my friend Anna considered such a marriage more real than one which has a legal piece of paper, yet doesn’t connect the hearts (though she still didn’t think we did the right thing).

In the 90s, such marriages popped up on soap operas.

As we head into 2014, the Internet is now full of websites and forums threads asking if such marriages are “real.”  There are also many people now who commit to each other without a legal ceremony: gay couples, straight couples who don’t want legal entanglements, straight couples standing in solidarity with gay couples until gay marriage is legal.  It even happened on The Crow!

The second thing I remembered: In the Middle Ages, all you had to do was exchange vows to be married.  I wondered if the same thing might apply to our hearts, even if legally we wouldn’t be considered married.

Phil said the advice columnist was wrong about such marriages being fake, that it didn’t apply to our situation.  He later said he was convinced that yes, we were truly married, and that he did plan to be there for me in sickness and health and riches and poverty and such.

He said that just because we had to wait for school to end didn’t necessarily mean that we put it first, but that it was something we had to do.  We were going to marry in a church in a little while anyway, and that would just make it official in everyone’s eyes.  But back to how we got married in the first place.

We followed a time-honored custom, called verbum or clandestine marriage in the Middle Ages, handfasting in Celtic days and days of itinerant priests, common-law marriage in the pioneer days when ministers were itinerant or absent, and common-law or spiritual marriage in modern America.

Handfasting only lasted a year and a day, but I haven’t heard of time limits on the other kinds of marriages.  The wedding would take place, with or without witnesses, and be binding before God; eventually, if possible, it would be made sacramental as well.  Only in modern times are such marriages not legally recognized.

We didn’t know the term handfasting, but probably would have used it if we did, because we intended to cement it with a legal, public ceremony in the summer of 1995–not go on with a clandestine or spiritual marriage forever.  Eventually, we even signed a simple statement that we were married.  My research paper on such marriages is here.

Here is a website which would declare our marriage valid, even though it was neither legal nor public.   I especially find this part interesting:

I specifically read about an older, Catholic couple, where the man was living one a rather pathetic pension, and the woman was getting a tiny amount of money from her deceased husband’s funds. If she remarried, not only would she lose her first husband’s money, but her new husband would lose a portion of his money as well. They could not survive like that.

The Priest who actually answered their letter, told them about the acceptability of private marriage vows in the Catholic Church. Since there is no certificate given, it is not a legal marriage, however the Church recognizes them as a married couple because matrimony is a sacrament that is bestowed upon the two people being joined and sealed by God, it is not performed by a Priest upon two people.

Even the Catholics don’t consider this living in sin, so why should anyone else?

If this were true, then Phil and I would have been truly married even in the eyes of the Catholic Church, even though, in September, when he changed his mind, he now decided we weren’t really married.  While this priest’s views are legitimate historically, the Catholic Church has required a priest and witnesses for centuries, because private weddings led to many problems.  I would like to see this letter, but the blogger gave no reference.

According to this page, if we had done this in Alabama, we would have been considered legally married.  A Texas website also states that it’s not illegal to consider yourselves married if you want to–so long as you don’t claim legal rights that only belong to legally married couples: “Any person can make any personal commitment they wish to another person.”

I told Phil my idea while we were in the basement, and asked if he thought it was a good idea to do like Medieval couples did and exchange vows now.  He said he didn’t think it was a good idea, but he still wanted to do it.

So we did so, trying to remember the vows we’d heard on TV and at real-life weddings all the time.  (The modern custom of writing your own vows was rarely done back then.  Even soap opera ceremonies used traditional vows.)

So even though it wasn’t a legal marriage, our vows were real.  A vow is a vow no matter what the setting, and we vowed to be together forever, no matter what.

During the vows, Phil prompted me in mine (even though I knew them quite well) and included “obey,” but I wouldn’t say it.  He frowned like he was hurt, but I just couldn’t say “obey,” no matter what.  It was a matter of principle.  He finally let it go with a smile.

To be more precise, and make sure there is no doubt, these are the vows we made: take as wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, love, honor and cherish each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, as long as we both shall live/till death do us part.  I think Phil even said, “I pronounce you man and wife.”

So you see, we actually said the words, we actually made the vows; no matter if you say it in front of witnesses or not, when you make vows like this to someone, you have to mean it.  It’s a real vow.  Whether or not the “take you as wife/husband” stands up in court, you still are vowing to be together until you die.  This is serious.

I said, “Now, this isn’t legal, mind you, and is easily broken.”

Phil said, “Is that a warning to me?”

No, I wasn’t warning him that I was going to divorce him.  I just wanted him to understand what we were getting into.  However, though it would be easy to break it legally, I felt that morally it would be very wrong to take back the vows we had just made: It would be a divorce, and that would be wrong.  Our religious traditions both said divorce was a sin and remarriage, adultery.

However, Phil didn’t want me to tell anyone about our marriage because he was afraid we’d get in trouble with our parents.  He didn’t want them to separate us.

April 24 was a beautiful day to get married.  It was sunny, and the weather had finally warmed up–80s, I believe.  The house was opened up to let in the fresh air.

Now it was time to consummate the marriage.  But just then, his mom flipped on the basement lights from the ground floor, and when he went up and opened the door she told him to clean out his minivan.  It had to be done now, meaning we couldn’t go through with the consummation.  I was to go to the Phi-Delt suite at 4:30 to go to a Choir concert.  It was too late for consummation by the time Phil got back from cleaning the van.

To be continued…..


Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)


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Castles in the air–including plans to live on a desert island–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1994, Part 4

The Enigma video “Return to Innocence” came out around this time, and Phil and I both liked it.  It showed a French couple’s life moving backwards from death through old age through middle age through youth, a time in a hayloft before they got married, their first meeting, their childhoods apart from each other.  It was beautiful.

One night on Melrose Place, Billy went to get an engagement ring for Allison, for the wedding that we viewers had waited maybe two years for.  I don’t remember them mentioning the two months’ salary rule–in fact, I don’t think I ever heard of it before I got my own engagement ring in 1996–but the ring salesman said, “The size of the diamond reflects how much love you feel for the woman.”

Clarissa and I both thought this was ridiculous.  The look of the ring, and the fact that you even have a ring, is far more important than the size of the diamond.  (The look of the ring is especially important because if she doesn’t like it, she might exchange it.  She’ll probably be wearing it for the rest of her life, after all.)

I watched Melrose Place faithfully every week, especially now that things were really getting psychotic.  It was a guilty pleasure, which it had never been before.  In time the show would start going down the toilet, with everyone sleeping with everyone else and everyone wanting to blow up the place, and by then I didn’t like it at all.  But for now, it was exciting.

Phil’s mom told him he could get an engagement ring really cheap–$300, I believe it was–from a certain catalog.  I believe the catalog was for a discount store or warehouse.  So this became our plan.

He told me to decide which state I wanted to live in.  He said the movie studios were in California, New York and Texas, and we’d go wherever I wanted.

I chose Texas because I liked it when I visited in 1983, didn’t want to go to some huge, crime-ridden, concrete-jungle place like New York City was in those days, and didn’t want to go to California where I heard all the crazies were.

Florida may also have been an option, but I don’t remember why I would have rejected it.  (I know why I would now: too hot, too humid, and too many huge bugs!  I also know that I don’t want to live anywhere but the Midwest.  Sure we have winter, but we have plenty of other benefits to make up for that, such as cooler summers, and the bugs dying or going into hibernation for several months each year.)

We talked about going down to Texas when we got married, and starting an adventure, me working while he found a job at a studio there.  Or staying in S– for a while, living at a certain large wooded park in a place we’d build (though I wasn’t so sure the park would let us), and using the stream there for water (his idea).  He wanted to build a place on his parents’ deck, but his mom wouldn’t let him.  (Yes, he had some odd ideas which no one can actually do in a city.)  He wanted to return to S– one day, though I didn’t want to.

We also thought of living in the woods or on a desert island.  At first he didn’t think I’d like to live on a desert island, but discovered to his joy that I would love to.  This was before I realized I hated camping.  It’s also before I realized how full of mosquitoes and other bugs the woods can be.  But I’ve always loved desert island stories, and wrote a few of my own.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)



Recovery from Abuse: A Fun, Peaceful Evening Spent with Real Friends

My husband finally rejoined a roleplaying group we’ve known for years.  Unfortunately, he fell out with one of them about 10 years ago, so she and her husband stopped coming around.  They made up about 6 years ago, but trying to rejoin the group has gone in fits and starts, especially since they live an hour away and would often game in the middle of the week.  But now it seems to have finally worked again.

Which means I can finally see them as well, at least once in a while.  And remember how easy it was to be in their presence.  I have missed them sorely because of the good times we all used to have, spending holidays together and practically every Friday evening, and going to SCA events together.

Sure they’re not perfect, and I did get miffed at them at times when they did not understand what I struggle with, because I did not understand, myself, why it’s so hard for me.  If I didn’t understand, how could I explain?  Now I know it’s a combination of introversion and NVLD and/or Asperger’s which causes these difficulties.

But they never rejected me for this or caused drama.  They accepted that it’s just who I am.  They were happy to see me again, did not pressure me into speaking.  One of them, Catherine, an old college friend, explained to a new (to me) person, that I’m quiet, so she would yell “HI NYSSA” at the top of her lungs every time she saw me.  (She still does it.)  LOL

Not only that, while Catherine sometimes has issues with the same person with whom Hubby had the falling-out, this person has never been mean to me.  And Catherine is friendly with her, so I feel no divided loyalty.  It’s peaceful, serene.

They know about how Richard and Tracy treated me, and about the e-mail I sent Richard which sent Tracy into a narcissistic rage, because Hubby told them back in 2010.  I also told Catherine myself about the bullying and abuse, and how Richard and Tracy continue to stalk me online.  Our friends said if I sent the e-mail to one of them, they would’ve teased me mercilessly and then let it go, because that’s what friends do.

There is no narcissism.  No personality or mental disorders that I’m aware of.  No abuse or bullying.

It’s good to be back.

It’s especially good because of a medical issue which is beginning to alarm me.  I have an appointment with the doctor.  It could be nothing, or it could be something.  I have already had two outpatient surgeries to keep cells from developing into cancer, so the risk is always there.  I don’t need leftover abuse issues causing more stress.

It’s especially good because I see alarming behavior from my husband as well.  It seems like he’s pushing away so many people, old friends, new friends, my friends, his friends, even his favorite cousin, through arguments on Facebook.  Like he has a chip on his shoulder.  Insisting on being right while saying they don’t respect his point of view.  Familiarity and safety in old friends is much needed now, not just for me but for him.  To get him to stop seeing everyone as another Richard/Tracy.  Maybe it will help restore him to equilibrium–so I can stop walking on eggshells.

In other words, current stresses are plenty without the old ones continuing to fill my heart.