Ever since we first decided on plans for him to stay with us (the original plan was that he’d crash for a couple of days or weeks while looking for a job and apartment), he began telling me things about his wife that made me uncomfortable at first.
First there was the filthy living. He even wrote in his public Myspace blog that what would be between him and his wife, remained to be seen.
I won’t go into all of the details here in my public story, or everything that happened while he was here, but things between them were very bad. Jeff and I were there for Richard, supporting him emotionally through all this, putting me on a constant, exhausting emotional roller coaster.
He said she abused him emotionally, that emotional abuse is as lethal as physical, because of the stress.
He complained she was mean to him over the phone. His family was there at the time; when they scolded her for it, she scolded him for not sticking up for her! Say what?
(My ex Phil did the same thing to me after embarrassing me to my friends–then getting a different response from them than he hoped for.)
I witnessed a screaming fight that scared and shocked me. They argued over the phone all the time.
At first, his wife and children stayed with her family. He said that without him there to keep her in check, she and her mother both verbally abused the children.
He said Tracy screamed at the kids all the time. He kept asking her on the phone, “Why are the girls crying?” He explained how each girl reacted to abuse, such as one who comforted the abused one.
Her family was very narcissistic and abusive. Todd called them all “nuts.”
Tracy’s father was a con man and molester. Richard told Todd that her mother had borderline personality disorder (BPD) and multiple personalities.
Richard hated her mom and how she got coddled for all the crap she kept pulling.
He told me that Tracy and all her sisters were like their mother to varying degrees, though Tracy was the “good” one who didn’t have as much of it.
He told Todd, too, that Tracy had many of her mother’s traits. However, Todd told me she actually has all the traits, but Richard puts her on an undeserved pedestal.
Richard called Tracy a mean girl and queen bee.
One time, he said he deliberately married a mean girl because she was different from the subservient women he usually dated.
Yet another time, he said he married her because she believed in wifely submission. He said he’d jokingly tell his other girlfriends to submit, and they’d say, “In your dreams!” (An example of his baffling doublespeak.)
I wondered why on earth Tracy took the girls to stay with her parents with that kind of history, especially her dad. I cheered when she finally escaped and took them to Richard’s mother’s house.
But I didn’t realize she soon would bring all this–the kids, the drama, the abuse–into my own house for six weeks instead of staying with her in-laws.
Even though Richard had been with us for two months already, I didn’t mind him staying longer. My husband felt crowded, but I loved the company. I also felt needed, nurturing my best friend through a difficult time, doing all I could to help him so he could get back on his feet–and back with his wife and children ASAP.
As a shy introvert with NVLD, it’s hard to hold conversations with most people, but with him I could talk freely and easily, like an extrovert. For someone like me, this is a rare gem, while for extroverts it’s Thursday.
It had been a long time since I had a friend like this in my own town. And ever since 2010, I’ve had no one here in my town with whom I can talk like I talked with him.
I do have some friends and family with whom I can talk like that, but they live far away.
With him, I could talk this way every day, for hours, on all sorts of different subjects, especially Goth music, Orthodoxy and religious backgrounds! Even with some of my best, longtime friends, I struggle to talk like this.
It was fun having him here. We got along great.
His mother, unlike her mother, is a great person, from what I hear. She also had a huge house with lots of room. The family could have been fine living with her.
The original plan was for Tracy and the kids to stay out in their original state with Richard’s mother, until a new apartment was secured and all their things were moved in.
But then one day, Richard just sprung on us a change: Tracy bought plane tickets that were on discount for a limited time. She and the three children were coming to stay in my house!
This was never part of the agreement, because we lived in an 1100-square-foot house, had no spare bedroom or beds, and already Richard slept on the couch!
Instead, they all got stuck in this little place. I felt forced into this, like I had no say in the matter. I had no idea how long they would stay.
I wondered why she didn’t stay with his family until he saved up enough money for a security deposit on an apartment, instead of coming up here where there was no place for them to live.
It also caused them some issues that never would’ve been a problem if she had waited.
I said it would be too crowded, too noisy, and I’d have nowhere to go to get peace. It was going to disturb the peace and quiet, our settled routines and ways of doing things.
We did not have the room or resources; Richard already taxed our pocket book.
I told Jeff she screamed at the kids, and I didn’t want this in my house, or the arguing. My loyalty and protectiveness for friends emerged.
But Jeff saw it as an adventure, Tracy was determined because of fare rate increases, and Richard was anxious to see his girls again.
So did anybody listen to me? Noooo….Even though it was my house and not theirs, I felt I had no say in the matter, especially since Jeff didn’t seem to mind.
Richard wanted his family to discover the serenity of my house. He didn’t think things through, obviously: How can you bring another adult and three little children into this tiny house and still have serenity?
I didn’t even know these people! I had been friends with Richard for two years already (online and on the phone) when he came to stay with us, but I had never met the rest of the family except online.
Nobody knew how we would get along. We had no place for all these people to sleep, no privacy at all.
But nobody listened. Richard and Tracy just went ahead and did what they wanted to, and Jeff was easygoing and didn’t see the problem, so I was overruled. Which was odd, since Jeff felt crowded with just Richard staying there.
So I grabbed some apartment listings and tossed them to Richard, asking him to please find something ASAP.
Around January 1, Jeff said I was very perceptive and brilliant, and he should have listened. (Now, in 2012, he tells me that he thought I had approved it! So if I didn’t, and he didn’t, then who did?)
“Surprise, we’ve decided to bring the family and stay with you for the weekend.” Anyone anywhere on the -vert spectrum could find such a declaration objectionable, but it’s more likely to bring an introvert to a boil, according to Nancy Ancowitz.
Introverts count on their downtime to rejuvenate their resources; an extended presence in their homes robs them of that respite. —Laurie Helgoe, PhD, “Revenge of the Introvert”
Tracy and the kids flew in on December 4, Richard went to fetch them to a hotel, and they arrived here the following day.