Eventually, we stopped sharing a house.  No apologies ever came from Tracy for the many insults and jabs she made.  When I begged Richard to get her to apologize and be kind to me, he talked like everything was somehow my fault and fat chance getting an apology from her, and I was just making a mountain out of a molehill.

Meanwhile, when I asked about making apologies to Tracy–because I felt bad about many things that happened during the six weeks they stayed with us, and wanted to try again–he told me not to, she only wanted that from him, it wasn’t necessary–and Jeff got the impression from him that it would actually be dangerous somehow.

I almost broke off the friendship right there and then, and once or twice afterwards, but Jeff dissuaded me from it and Richard didn’t want me to go.  My son loved playing with their children, Jeff loved playing D&D with them, Jeff had just as much trouble finding friends nearby as I did, and I loved Richard like a brother.

Since Richard claimed to care a lot about me, said I was “very dear” to him, said he loved me like a sister, I had hopes that somehow, the friendship could be salvaged.  Many times I got the impression it had been, that things were finally moving along at a nice, even pace.  But then something would come out that shattered my illusions, and made me feel like Tracy loathed me and would never accept me.

There were huge communication problems: I was open and honest with Richard about all sorts of things.  But Richard and Tracy constantly kept from me all sorts of things that I needed to know, such as ways I had offended Tracy, and then blamed me because we didn’t seem to get anywhere.  I couldn’t apologize or repent of something I did not know I had done.  We couldn’t resolve problems we did not talk about.

It was also exhausting, because I couldn’t just relax and be myself, and stop wondering if I’d done something to offend her yet again, or was she just joking.  I felt constantly on edge, on the spot, on trial around her, because as an introvert with NVLD (and possibly selective mutism) who had objected to her abuses of me and others, it was impossible to please her.

This made me feel resentful, especially since she never apologized for the things she did to me, or for her abuses and controlling behavior toward her husband and children–and I kept seeing her do more of these things all the time.

How could I be expected to forgive and forget when she not only did not repent of what she did, but kept committing more emotional crimes against me, Richard, the children, and others?

Yet I was somehow expected to make up for my “errors” and act just the way she wanted me to act, or else I’d be punished by losing the best friend I’d had in many years.

Except that I had no idea what the rules even were.  I’d think I was following them as well as I could, but many months later I’d find that she still wasn’t satisfied, that something I had always thought was perfectly fine with her, was ticking her off.  This was emotional blackmail.

I often trembled and shook and felt dizzy (panic attack?) before calling Richard, and had to psyche myself up to do it, unless I knew Tracy was at work.

Once, I called and left a message with her, and she was so nice and cheerful–rather than short or brusque–that I thought, finally, finally she likes me!  Then I found out later, to my disappointment, that it wasn’t her but the babysitter.

I told Richard once that I didn’t call him often because I didn’t want to annoy Tracy.  He said, “Go ahead.  Annoy her!”

He was my BFF, my best friend, so of course I wanted to do what best friends do, and talk with him often about everything.

I told Jeff everything, which inspired him to trust me, and if he had a problem or suspicion, he would’ve told me; he was okay with everything and didn’t mind.

So I was startled one day to learn from Richard that Tracy called me “that woman” when I wasn’t there.

And this despite the fact that our two families constantly did things together, them coming to our house, us going to their house, me babysitting their kids, us giving them presents at Christmas and birthdays, Jeff giving Tracy or Richard a ride, Jeff playing D&D with them–

So I was not some woman she barely knew and never saw socially.  No, I was a family friend.

I kept thinking things were hopeless, wondering if I should break things off, and told him straight-out one day in an e-mail that I didn’t feel comfortable being friends with a man whose wife hated me.

But Richard kept telling me things could be resolved, that she didn’t hate me.

In 2010, I sometimes wished he had ended things long before this, out of respect for his wife’s feelings.  While I was always out of the loop and clueless, always hoping and thinking that Tracy was now perfectly fine with me, he knew what was really going on in his own home.

Sometime in late January or February 2008 after they moved out, I discovered through a series of e-mails to Richard that–even though I thought for sure he could go get coffee with me–that he could not, that Tracy had restricted him from doing that with me, though he could do it with other friends.

See, I stopped asking to go to the bar and grill, because there seemed to be a stigma attached to going to a bar with him–even though it was actually a regular family restaurant with a bar, like Applebee’s, not a tavern.  Like there was something “affair-y” about going to a bar with a guy.  (Or, even more ridiculous, like there was something “affair-y” about going to a family restaurant with a guy.)

But I thought it was okay to ask him to meet me each week to get coffee and catch up.  Public place, and not a bar.

That’s when I learned that I wasn’t even allowed to go to a coffee shop with the guy!  What the–?

Restrictions kept trickling out little by little like this.

In August, I asked to meet him in a parking lot to talk, thinking that was a nice, safe place she wouldn’t possibly object to.  My husband had just lost his job, and I needed someone to talk to, preferably my BFF.

But no, even a frickin’ parking lot was off-limits.

Yet it was okay for him to visit me in my house by himself when the kids were along.  Like the kids were “chaperones.”  It was crazy!

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing