Why we should tell everyone we have been abused

[Note: This blog post was written in 2014 but back-dated to 2010 to fit with this series.]

Especially after Tracy told me not to “go crying to Jeff,” it was a relief to finally reveal to all my friends, using Facebook, that I had been abused for being an introvert.

It was a relief to post about the evils of jealousy, the traits of introverts and NVLD, and the abuses Tracy was guilty of. 

No more silence about how I had been abused for the past two and a half years by these narcissists: It was all coming out now.  (I also felt free to post whatever I wanted to politically.)

In e-mails to and chats with family, a Fond du Lac friend I had reconnected with, my college friends and, for the next couple of years, Todd, I named names and got into more detail about what went on.  Todd enlightened me on some things as well, and confirmed my suspicion that Tracy has BPD. 

That’s the advantage of two abuse victims of the same person talking to each other: They can compare notes, fill in missing details, and reassure each other, “No, it’s not you,” and “No, you’re not crazy.”

And having supportive friends and family, in general, has been helpful.  They know I don’t deserve this.  The Fond du Lac friend I gave details and names to, had also just broken up with a best friend who abused his girlfriend.  So we had something in common as well.

I posted a link to my blog post Fighting the Darkness, and got all sorts of positive feedback, as people tried to encourage me not to give up faith.  You can see some of this in the comments to that post.

When I discovered in September 2011 from the local newspaper’s arrest records that Richard choked his stepdaughter until she passed out, I also vented about this on Facebook.  It was just too appalling and shocking to keep quiet. 

I didn’t use his name, but everyone who had been following my updates knew it was about my ex-friend.

My friends were very supportive, saying things like, The breakup may have been painful but God was looking out for you.

We wondered why I saw him with the kids in between the charges and the trial.  One person feared they were the type who could manipulate a judge.

This is when Todd unfriended Richard on Facebook, disgusted at how much he had allowed Richard to influence him.

It was all extremely helpful, to know that I was not the terrible person Tracy tried to gaslight and brainwash me into thinking I was.

These were people I had known long before I even met Richard and Tracy on the Forum.  These included people who spent four years of college with me, day after day in each others’ company, and kept in touch after college.

These included people who grew up with me, and family.  These included people I went to church with.

They knew me and that I did not deserve abuse.

It was also helpful to discuss these things with virtual friends on online forums.

On Orthodox forums I could ask the religious questions this stirred up:

–how could this happen when God sent me this friend as an answer to prayer,

–how to stay in the faith and not become an atheist,

–how to deal with this,

–how to forgive,

–how to deal with seeing them at church.

We could share experiences of spiritual mentors who fell, and how this affected our faith.  I could ask for prayer.

I also consulted with my priest all through this: in July 2010, in August 2010, then again in October 2011 after Richard was convicted of choking his child.

In October 2011, I asked my priest if Richard could be ordained after choking his child, and he said no.  This was a great relief. 

I again went to my priest when Richard and Tracy threatened and began stalking me, even at church.  I also told all my friends and family again.

I found all sorts of blogs about abuse, such as Shrink4Men, Narcissists Suck, and various survivor blogs, which described the behaviors of narcissists, sociopaths, abusers and abusive borderlines.

They provided a chance to discuss what I went through and read about others’ experiences.  They helped me to define and sort out what had happened.

They helped me learn how abusers operate, far beyond what I had already learned from researching abuse between 1997 and 2010 (first because of Phil, then because of Tracy abusing Richard and the kids). 

They helped me learn that this is a psychological disorder, that how Tracy and Richard acted had nothing whatsoever to do with me.

I learned that no matter what the kind of abuser, their behavior is so alike that survivors keep asking, “Do they all have the same playbook?”

I discovered what a narcissist is, what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is.

And confirmed with Todd that BPD is indeed the most likely cause of Tracy’s behavior, because her mother has it and Tracy has the same traits. 

Though narcissism fits her behavior even more.  As I read Sam Vaknin‘s articles on abuse and the narcissist, the lightbulb went off in my head, not just for Tracy but–to my shock–also for Richard!

Somewhere around or before February 2012, I also made a few friends at my current church who were close enough to tell them more details about what happened, the abuse I suffered and witnessed from Richard and Tracy. 

They could support me as well.  This was incredibly helpful for my healing process, though it had not yet finished as of May 2012, and I was still in a risky emotional state.

But just having them nearby was emotionally supportive when Richard and Tracy began stalking me in May 2012, including coming to my church to intimidate and frighten me into silence and submission. 

One of the friends still goes there; we are like two peas in an introvert pod.

In the e-mail in the above link, Richard and Tracy claimed that I somehow threatened them, but this is a narcissistic lie pulled out of their backsides. 

Something about a threat to “go public” to “members of the church and community.”

Say what?  I never made such a threat, and as you can see, I had already told all my friends, family and priest what had happened, and written the blogs.

In the blogs I changed names, because that was public, and because I–having read Writer’s Digest for years–happen to know a little something about libel.  Everything I did was well within my rights of free speech, and I never, ever threatened to go beyond that.

This is yet another example of abusers trying to gaslight and frighten their victims into silence, the actions of thugs. 

We have to fight this, because that makes us into survivors, not victims.  It makes us strong, not weak for bullies to pick on. 

I stood up to my bullies, and they backed down, though they still stalk my blog constantly.

Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

I wrote this webbook and the related blog posts because I could not afford or trust a therapist,

I am a writer and deal with my worst emotional upsets through writing,

and like many abuse victims I needed to tell the story and talk about my pain over and over until it was gone–which I could not expect my friends/family to listen to.

In blog posts, I could perseverate as much as I needed to, without annoying anyone (except Richard and Tracy, who have been stalking my blog).  And fellow abuse victims can read as much or as little of this as they choose.

Meanwhile, I don’t keep my story or the process of my healing journey under lock and key, where it only benefits me.  I know from my own searches all over the Web, that abuse victims want to read stories like theirs.

So while Richard and Tracy tried, yet again, to threaten me into silence in May 2012, it was too late, because my friends and family–including some in town–already knew all about it. 

And it all falls within my First Amendment rights.  Their threats are meaningless and illegal.  You can see in the e-mails I copy here in my webbook, that my story is consistent.

On October 31, 2011, I even sent this letter to the editor of the newspaper:

I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.

An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers.

Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies. But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.

How can this happen with such a despicable act? Is that child being protected?

Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.

And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates.

People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically. Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.

I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse.

Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.

Abuse victims need to quench their fear of the abusers and break the silence.  This also breaks the control of the abuser over the victim. 

Abusers usually threaten their victims into silence, but I am surrounded by people who support me and protect me by their very presence. 

TELL!  TELL HOW YOU’VE BEEN ABUSED!  Gather supporters to yourself!  Your best protection against bullies is friends.

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

 

Part Four: Their DARVO lies lead us to break off relations with our abusers

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

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?

Meanwhile, Jeff reacted very differently.  Do remember that he is Tracy’s counterpart, therefore the one to whom I compare her behavior.

The very same things that threw Tracy into furious rages, Jeff barely even raised an eyebrow about.  

What I actually did, did not deserve even half of the reaction it got.  To this day I look back on the “shoulder thing” and the hugs and I’m baffled at Tracy’s reactions.  Does she live in a bubble where no one can touch anyone with kindness and caring unless they’re family?

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.

The major tactics we use in maintaining our denial are minimizing, rationalizing, and justifying. The effect of these tactics is to redefine what happened, what is acceptable, and what is harmful in such a way that ultimately any act, no matter how hideous, can be carried out.

Minimizing distances us from the damage we caused by claiming that the damage wasn’t as bad as it actually was. “I didn’t beat her up, I just pushed her.”

By minimizing the damage we have caused, we can then blame the victim for “exaggerating” the abuse or accuse the victim of simply making the whole thing up, depending on the nature of the evidence we face.

If there is enough evidence to prove that we have done something wrong, we can use partial repentance: “I’ll accept the responsibility of anything you can prove I did, and nothing more.”

Rationalizing is lying to oneself about what was done to make it seem acceptable — telling ourselves rational (sounding) lies if you will.

“She’s lucky I only hit her once. Anybody else would have beaten the crap out of her.”

This lying becomes more and more practiced until we can convince ourselves of anything — particularly when the pain of admitting the truth of what we’ve done becomes larger and harder to deal with.

Justifying is explaining why it was okay to do what was done. “It was okay for me to tell her that I would kill her (justifying) because she was becoming so upset and she had to shut up before she disturbed the neighbors (rationalizing) and I didn’t really mean it anyway (minimizing). She knows I could never hurt her.”

Part of the reason for maintaining denial is that when we are abusing others we are frequently incapable of separating ourselves from our behavior, and therefor to admit that the behavior is bad is to make us bad as well. Nobody wants to think of themselves as bad, so we don’t think about things that way. —Denial

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 DARVO, or deny, attack, and reverse victim-offender.  This is abusers trying to silence their victim.  Classic abusive behavior.

Despite the verbal barrage I received from Tracy over many e-mails on that day and on 8/1/10 (in the next chapter), I did my best to remain calm, make my own apologies, and be mature.

But, like the various cyberbullies I’ve come across on gaming forums and in chat rooms, there was no reasoning with her.  

Her rage just kept going and going, even a month later by which time most reasonable people would have calmed down and seen their own contribution to the problem.

She didn’t care about my feelings or hearing me out; as Jeff said, she just wanted to yell.

In fact, when I think back over the years I knew her, she never did want to hear me out about anything, never cared about my side of things.

A true friend would care, would cut you slack, try to get the full story, not treat you like a worm every time you did something she didn’t like, but she never even bothered to ask me.

A true friend would let you be yourself, but she criticized me for being naturally quiet and introverted.

She went on and on about me somehow hurting her again and again over the past couple of years, but Jeff and I both had no idea what she was talking about: Ever since they moved out, I had stopped doing the things that I knew bugged her, had been nice to her!

I joked with her at times, and held my tongue when she kept poking and prodding me with her snarks.  Yet I was somehow hurting her?

She blamed me for things which had been Richard’s idea, and even when we found out they upset her and stopped doing them, it was as if they had been all my idea and as if I kept doing them.

And of course, she wouldn’t allow me to defend myself or find out what the heck was going on, by replying to these e-mails.

She talked and acted as if it were horrible, selfish, disrespectful (to her and Richard), and stalker-y to respond to these e-mails, to defend myself, to find out what was going on and why I was being treated this way, and, later, to send Richard a good-bye e-mail that explained our decision and accused him of duplicity.

Then she later on used this as her excuse–er, justified reason, she would say–to block me from Richard’s Facebook and e-mail accounts, and forbid him from e-mailing or speaking to me.

It was truly BIZARRE behavior from her, and yet more evidence that she is a narcissist/sociopath.  Truth made no difference to her at all.  As Jeff said, “She just wanted to yell.”  As Anna Valerious writes,

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

Let’s take a look at this line that narcissists aren’t really bad, that they lash out at you because they feel “threatened.”  This idea begs the question “Threatened in what way?” and “Threatened by what?”

If you’re the victim of a narcissist, you know that this “threatened” excuse is a farce, because the narcissist attacks precisely when you are anti-threatening him or her.

Like when you are trying to please them, when you are saying you love them, when they are already mad at you and you are trying to appease them, when you try to get them to listen to you.

WHAM–you expect the normal reaction to these friendly behaviors, but what do you get instead? The PERVERTED reaction of an attack. It’s a shock tactic that takes you aback and makes you have to pinch yourself.

What on earth have you done to “threaten” the poor narcissist?  Let’s look at the last example–trying to get her to listen to you.  By doing that, you ARE “threatening” her, I’m afraid.

Yes.  Correction: No, you are not threatening her; you are threatening the imaginary her, the bogus “her.” You’re threatening her delusions of grandeur.

ANY honesty or reality does.

Remember that she is a mental child playing Pretend, and she wants all her playmates to play along. That means you are supposed to follow her script.

You are supposed to act unworthy of her attention or regard. When you don’t play that part, she stomps her little foot at you and gets mad, throwing a temper tantrum to be so obnoxious that you give in and do what she wants.

…But when your motive is to destroy the other, the other party backing down or trying to appease you has the opposite effect. Then it’s a sign of weakness that just emboldens the attacker to pour on the attack more furiously than ever.  –Kathy Krajco, The Poor Narcissist Feels Threatened

So after she sent that horrible e-mail to Jeff in response to his attempts to calm her down, which I saw before he did, I made up my mind that it was OVER. 

I couldn’t go to the game because I was too upset to see people.  When Jeff got home from the T-ball game, I told him, “I just can’t deal with that woman anymore!”

Jeff read the e-mail, then came back upstairs and asked me, So we’re going to break off the friendship?

He was on board with it now, now that he had full confirmation that Tracy was a nasty, horrible person who would never lighten up on me no matter what we said or what I did. 

He wanted nothing more to do with either one of them. 

He planned to watch the kids on the weekend, and at first didn’t want to back out on his word.  But after what Tracy wrote to him, he didn’t even want to do this. 

You know it’s serious and that he’s furious, for him to break his word. 

Screw Richard/Tracy and their plans for that weekend: If they couldn’t find another sitter and had to stay home, it was their own fault and their problem.  You just don’t treat friends the way they treated us, and expect those friends to stick around.

My husband and I had been so patient, so nice with them for so long, but after this, we finally had enough of their crap.

Tracy had made it clear that I was not allowed to speak to Richard–whether by phone, e-mail, Facebook, etc.–until we had this “conference.”  Basically, emotional blackmail.  I elaborate on this here.

Bullies find your weak spot, the thing or person that means the most to you, and keep it from you unless you give in to their demands.

In my case, it was my friendship with Richard, with all the privileges his other friends had; she always held it up like a carrot, always out of my reach, sometimes letting it down enough so I could nibble it for a while, then yanking it back up again.

Well, I was tired of dancing for Tracy, always at risk of her blowing up at me the way she did to Todd.  It was degrading.  That’s why I’m gone. 

“Best friends forever” phbbt–If Richard were really my friend, he never would have allowed her to manipulate me like this.  Instead, he tried to pull me into her quagmire and then beat me up emotionally when I was down.

I wasn’t going to sit and listen to an abusive witch lecture me on how I was behaving so “badly,” when she refused to recognize that she’s an abuser and a bully. 

I wasn’t going to let her go on and on about how I deserved her abuse. 

I was sick to death of getting lectured over and over again for being a quiet introvert with NLD, of everything I did being interpreted in the worst possible way and as a horrible offense against her,

while she got away scot-free with all the snarks and other abuses that she did constantly for the past two and a half years I had known her!

Now that I know about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I see that the BPD was coloring everything I did in her eyes, making it into an offense where none existed, and that it was nothing I actually did. 

But back then, I had never heard of BPD.  All I saw was a crazy woman. 

And whatever the cause, she was extremely abusive and cruel, not the kind of person I wanted for a friend.

BPD may be a reason, but no excuse for abuse. 

I didn’t have to put up with this.

I knew very well that I deserved none of her abuse. 

That I had done nothing wrong. 

That I had done NOTHING over the past two and a half years to hurt or offend her. 

That this was all a bizarre game she was playing to make me think I did things I didn’t do, deserved abuse I did not deserve. 

And for some unknown reason, Richard was playing along with it–probably so she wouldn’t beat HIM next and make his life miserable with her tirades.

The following quote describes her exactly and explains what she was doing with me:

Another highly effective device abusive women use to control you is denying approval and acceptance.

It’s natural to want to be liked and admired—especially by the person you love. Being criticized, demeaned, rejected and told repeatedly, “not good enough,” “you don’t measure up,” or that you’ve “failed again” is demoralizing.

It also spurs you on to try even harder to please her and herein lies the problem: These women are never satisfied. Nothing you do will ever be good enough. She will never bestow upon you the kind of love and acceptance you seek.

Why does your wife’s/girlfriend’s/ex’s approval mean so much to you? Do you actually respect her and the way she conducts herself?

A woman like this is an abusive, entitled and incredibly self-serving bully, so why do you care what she thinks?  Seeking approval from someone who takes pleasure in cutting you down is a recipe for disappointment and pain.

You’re perpetuating a sick dynamic by seeking approval from someone who’ll never give it to you. Why? Because these women experience giving approval to others as a psychological and visceral loss.

To tell you, “nice job” or “I appreciate you” somehow makes her feel less than and, as you well know, these women won’t tolerate that for a second. –Dr. Tara Palmatier, How Emotionally Abusive Women Control You: The Fear of Loss and the Need for Approval

I have speculated on why, and come up with probable reasons for their behavior: Richard was going into right-wing extremism while I was turning liberal, we had been financially generous but the economic downturn left us short of money, I spoke up against the way Tracy treated her husband and children. 

All of these are very plausible reasons why the two of them would conspire to carry out this gaslighting campaign against me, trying to convince me I was a bad person doing horrible things, when it was actually THEM doing the horrible things.

This is one of the ways that narcissists and abusers twist with your head.  You see it all the time when abused spouses say, “I deserved it.  I talked back/burned the dinner/talked to that person/etc.”

It’s called Battered Wife Syndrome.  And well, my mind was too strong for anyone to convince me that I deserved abuse.  I resisted it with Phil, and I resisted it with them.

I wasn’t going to let them bully me into submission, force me into believing that my natural temperament was somehow horribly offensive. 

These were bigots, not just your normal extroverts who don’t understand introverts, but bigots and bullies who set out to destroy you just because you’re an introvert with NVLD

I could not believe how loony, bizarre, fierce and overblown they were over such a small thing. 

The justification they later gave was connected to my being a quiet introvert–and is behavior not at all unusual for a person like me, and completely benign. 

With most people except for Richard, I don’t even like talking on the phone, even with my best friends, because it’s hard to find something to say. 

Which is another reason why I look at them now as con artists who no longer saw us as useful to them–because of our lack of money, moderate politics, lack of political connections and willingness to speak up when they were abusive–and had to latch onto some reason to make us believe I was the problem, not them. 

Then we wouldn’t notice how they kept siphoning money and other things from us while treating us like crap.

And you know what?  Finally refusing to give in to her, to chuck everything rather than keep dealing with her constant covert and overt bullying and abuse–That was my declaration of freedom.

I began to breathe more freely, felt greatly relieved to have her out of my life.  No longer was I made to feel like an evil witch simply because I am shy, quiet and refuse to let dangerous people into my confidences and inner circle.

Her insistence on this “conference”–my mother called her manipulative.  I have found references to the very same thing in reading this blog on emotional blackmail, and reading about people who have left spiritually abusive churches, but are told they have to attend a meeting with the elders.  They know they will be subjected to more abuse.

Tracy’s behavior and demands exactly match the abusive practices of these cult-like churches, as I describe here.  As for the blog on emotional blackmail, it describes a man being forced by his son to endure the son’s verbal abuse if he expects to see his grandchildren.

Jeff went straight over to their house with a borrowed book and a necklace–a gift to his hostess–that Richard gave me when he first moved in.

The book was the classic Orthodox work I had wanted to read, and that he had finally given to me a few weeks before, The Way of a Pilgrim.  I hadn’t even finished it yet, and was getting so much from it.

But I had to give it up.  I still haven’t read it.

In fact, I have blocked out the memory of it so much over the past four years because of its association with Richard, that I blanked on the name, and still didn’t recognize it even though I found it after Google searching.

That necklace, a tiger-eye bought at the mall, meant a lot to me, and I wore it all the time.  Once, I thought I had lost it, or that my son had lost it, and tore up my room looking for it until I found it.

It was a symbol of our friendship–which meant that it was a LIE.  I’m starting to tear up just writing about this, four years later.

Jeff said to Tracy, “Any hurt Nyssa has caused has been by accident.  But you, you’re being deliberately hurtful!”  He ended things right then and there while I watched over our son at home, not wanting to be near Tracy for obvious reasons.

I hoped to hear when he came back that Richard and Tracy were sorry for blowing up like that, that they valued our friendship as much as Tracy said they did, that they tried to apologize and change his mind.

But no, all they said was “I understand” (Richard) and a petulant “Give him the stuff you borrowed, Richard, so we can get back to our MO-vie” (Tracy).

I have found sources which say narcissists will often let you go like that, like you never meant a thing to them.  Because, well, you didn’t.  Richard had claimed to Jeff that he wanted to preserve the friendship, but this was obviously yet another lie.

Jeff brought back books I had lent to Richard, an Orthodox book on mystical theology, and Kafka’s The Trial.  We had seen the movie together when he lived with us.  They had also just used our cat carrier that day, so it still had a tape with the cat’s name on it.

While the book I returned to him was in pristine condition, mine were all covered in dried spaghetti sauce, which Jeff and I both had to scrub off!

Jeff came home and went on and on about how Tracy’s behavior was “just AWFUL!” and how she had to get down on her knees and apologize to me, and how glad he was to no longer have to go back to “that HOUSE” with its filth and “that SMELL!”

Then Richard posted a video on Facebook as an expression of what happened that day, “Birth School Work Death” by the Godfathers.

I won’t link to it, because that would require finding it, and while it’s an awesome song, it’s triggering.

That’s all Richard wrote about it, though Tracy had posted far more about what a GREAT day she was having (before I finally blocked her Facebook account that afternoon).

Jeff said, “They weren’t good friends,” and “Do you feel used?  I do.”

For days and weeks, I kept waiting and hoping for an apologetic phone call, but none came.

Jeff said I was sweet and everything that Tracy was not, and that was the real reason why she hated me.  

So after all Richard’s claims of how awesome a person I was and how dear my friendship was to him and how much he liked Jeff and me, he just let us go with a simple “I understand,” and he never called us even once after that to try to get us back.  Not even once!

Yeah, now I see how much his friendship was truly worth.  A real, true friend would have tried to call at least once, and not let us go so easily and then blocked us all on Facebook.

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”

I wrote to Richard that evening on Facebook, giving him a chance overnight to respond to it.  But he wrote zilch back, so I unfriended him in the morning:

Goodbye

This is the only message I’ll send. I’ll just say that I bear you no ill-will and certainly never meant any trouble.

You know everything was innocently meant. We were having trouble and I simply wanted to go back to how things were before we started having any problems.

I’ve said before that I’m not comfortable being friends with someone whose wife hates me.

I certainly can’t be friends with you when your wife thinks such horrible things about me.

It’s ripping my heart apart to lose my best friend and brother and favorite theological conversationalist, but it’s probably for the best.

That night, I dreamed that Jeff was helping me escape an abusive husband.  We were running through an airport, down an escalator, to get away from him.  When I woke up I knew it was about Jeff helping me escape Tracy.

Because not only is she an abusive wife, not only is she an abusive mother, but she is also an abusive friend. 

She’s just as bad as any man who beats his wife or girlfriend.

The following day, Jeff wrote me this:

Well, just remember that it isn’t you. What they don’t seem to understand is that all friendship requires give & take.

When I considered how much I had to tolerate to maintain being friends with them, we more than earned a little tolerance and understanding from them.

Instead, while I drop off stuff, Richard is just “I understand”, while Tracy is barking to just give me your books so she can get back to her movie.

Oh yeah, they’re sensitive types and I can tell that my friendship just meant a ton to them.   🙁

I wrote back,

And all because we tried to be kind and give them a place to stay. Really turns me off on the idea of further hospitality for anyone else.   🙁 

I really felt that our good nature was being taken advantage of because it seemed like they just started planning for it and we had nowhere to put them.  🙁

He wrote,

The thought has occurred to me.  Through all our troubles, I put out an honest effort to be understanding of Richard and Tracy.

I spent a ton of time talking with you, trying to nurture understanding and tolerance in you to help smooth our relationships.

What was I thinking?

He later elaborated on how bad he felt about this, not putting more faith in what I was saying, because now he saw for himself that I was right about Tracy.

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

 

Part Three: Jeff’s WTF moment: Judas (Richard) knows I’m innocent, but psychotically rages at Jeff

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

When Jeff went over to talk to Richard alone after work, Richard claimed that Jeff didn’t know the half of how he and Tracy had been “bending over backward” for me–and Jeff considered this a load of BS.

If that’s what Richard and Tracy consider to be “bending over backward” to be nice to somebody, then I hate to see what they’re like when they’re not trying to be nice.  (Oh, wait, I did.  Dang, these people are evil.)

What happened to Richard reading the Philokalia? the Ladder of Divine Ascent? books which describe the Orthodox way of treating people kindly and with respect?  I’m sure those books don’t describe what Richard and Tracy were actually doing: demanding respect and kindness from others while showing no respect or kindness to them!

Is it really so hard to be kind and decent that you find it such an imposition? 

Is it so awful to accept that some people are naturally quiet and introverted, and that it has nothing to do with trying to tick you off? 

Is it so horrible to let your friends have their own ideas of what is proper behavior?  Yet another sign of sociopathy! 

Everyone else has to be nice to you, Richard and Tracy, but we’re supposed to let you treat us like crap!  Because treating others with respect is so frickin’ hard for you that you call it “bending over backward”!

Richard also acted in such a manner during the face-to-face conversation with Jeff–repeatedly getting up and into his face, raging, using his much larger height and girth–that Jeff felt very physically intimidated. 

This infuriated Jeff, especially after the threats he received from Richard in that e-mail several days earlier.

And why did Richard rage at him?  Because Jeff told him that there are two sides to this issue, that they kept putting all the burden and blame on me when there was plenty to go on Tracy’s shoulders.

So–No side is worthy of a hearing but Tracy’s?  No side is legitimate but Tracy’s?  I had been listening to her side and Richard’s side all these years, but they wouldn’t do the common decency of listening to MINE?

As for intimidating Jeff–It’s bad enough for schoolyard bullies to make you afraid, but for someone who’s supposed to be your friend–that’s unconscionable.  

Jeff finally yelled at him to STOP intimidating him and SIT DOWN.

Also, Jeff says that he tried to say things like, we needed to get into a circle and listen to each other, that all that swearing and verbal abuse was making things worse, but Richard would start hissing and getting angry.

Jeff left with a very bad taste in his mouth.  As for Richard, what a jackass.  And he wants to be a priest or a psychologist with an attitude like that?

If you don’t listen to any side but your own, not even when it’s your own friends,

if you defend your wife using swearing and ad hominems against your own friend, against someone you say is very dear to you and whom you know to be sweet, nice and sensitive–

–then you have no business counseling others on how to deal with relational problems or how to exorcise your own passions.

I gave him the Ladder of Divine Ascent; he said he read it; but did he really comprehend it?  Did he really comprehend why monks in the Divine Ascent icon are falling into Hell?

Jeff says Richard is like the Pharisees, that he doesn’t listen to anyone but himself, has a superiority complex (that both Richard and Tracy do), thinks the world revolves around him, is indeed a narcissist.

Note how Richard’s reaction to Jeff’s remarks, match exactly the following about telling an evil narcissist the truth:

So today’s dose of truth and reality is this: Evil must mask itself with good in order for it to make a living. Evil must hide itself by hiding the truth of who and what they are.

Therefore, full truth (light) is anathema to evil.  You know this is true. You’ve tried to bring just a smidgen of truth to the table with the narcissist and you saw the hissing, spitting and reviling it invoked.

The extreme reaction is the narcissist’s attempt to get you to drop the holy water before he gets burned.

That is not the moment to fumble or drop the truth. Thrust that stake deep into his heart and then put him in the ground. Metaphorically speaking, of course. –Anna Valerious, They Hide from Truth Because Their Deeds Are Evil

Also, Jeff is offended that they treated me as they did, saying “don’t go crying to Jeff because we don’t need the headache,” for confiding problems in my own husband.  He says it’s his job to listen to my problems and be there for me.

It sounds very much like the schoolyard bully saying don’t tell the teacher or we’ll beat you even worse.

Or the sexual molester saying, don’t tell your parents about our little secret.

Or the spouse saying don’t tell anyone I beat you or I’ll kill your sister.

But then, after the bizarrely jealous and possessive rant Tracy made publicly against me on Facebook a few weeks before this, after I posted a simple “I’ll miss you dearly, have a nice trip” on one of her posts about a possible family trip out of state–

–can I really expect any less than such an overblown and verbally abusive reaction from her to that misunderstood e-mail?

I have made many comments to people in the past which were not meant as offenses, but were received that way (i.e. foot-in-mouth disease), yet in their angriest reactions, they never, ever spoke to me the way she did.

There were so many things she did that day and in the following month that were just bizarre, over-the-top, ridiculous, incredibly insulting.

All because of what she thought the e-mail was about, but it really wasn’t.

And Richard just sat back and let her do it, while she crowed on Facebook that she was finally allowed to.  She seemed to think she was entitled to do this because she’s the wife of Richard.

Yet based on what I’ve seen him do in other situations with other people, if someone did the same thing to her, Richard would be all over them for it, want to beat them up.

And just because you’re married to a person doesn’t mean you “own” them like some piece of property.  They’re not a dog or a couch or a house.  They’re a human being with their own rights to think for themselves and decide for themselves what is right and who they should be friends with.

Jeff and I were both disgusted with Richard’s behavior.  When I heard of it later that evening, I began to sob and said, “That makes me never want to see him again!”

Tracy judged and sentenced me without a trial, without giving me a chance to defend myself.

And Richard knew full well the truth behind my e-mail, but pretended to Jeff and Tracy that he didn’t, that I was making a pass at him, when he knew full well that I wasn’t–probably to avoid a beating from Tracy.

For all his claims that I was very dear to him and he loved me like a sister, he showed me then just how much his friendship was worth.

I find it rather telling that Richard–

–when he showed Jeff the e-mail in question, along with Tracy’s e-mails–

–rather than telling Jeff what he told me when I questioned the gestures he made while he lived alone with us,

that they were done in friendship only,

and explaining how the hugs had been meant in friendship and brotherly love rather than romance,

he said he’d been distancing himself from me lately.

(Distancing himself?  As of when?  And–WHY?  Was he ever going to tell me?  What kind of a BFF does that without a word?  Yet more lack of communication from him to me!)

Why didn’t he tell Jeff they were innocent gestures and that my e-mail was equally innocent?

Was it because he was lying to me when he said we were doing nothing wrong?

This makes it sound as if they were not innocent, that he had more in his head than he’d admitted to me, and had been backing off for that reason.

While I had put my full faith and trust in him for more than two years that he had meant the gestures solely in friendship and would do this with any of his closest friends and relatives.

I feel manipulated by him, betrayed, used, played for a naïve and gullible fool, toyed with.  I’m furious with him for all of this.

Richard’s allowing Tracy to go off on me like this, and then defending it, made him into Judas, so that I can never trust him again–

–and it also appalled and disgusted Jeff, who is used to true friends laughing off gaffes or waiting to get more information before blowing up.

Then a month later I caught Richard in an outright lie (more on this later).

As for the gaffe–Richard himself had made at least two gaffes of his own, just like this:

One was an issue with someone close to him, which I won’t get into because it’s private.

The other was when he was living with us and put his head on my lap and shoulder, called it “flirting” when he did it, and gave me some very affectionate hugs, making me think he was making the moves on me.

But according to him, both times, he was innocent of the charges, hadn’t been “flirting,” had been acting with me as he would act with relatives such as sister, mother, cousins, sisters-in-law, had been misunderstood, and these were things which platonic friends could safely and innocently do with each other.

Yet when I made a gaffe, when I was innocent and misunderstood, instead of explaining to Tracy what it was really all about (which he knew very well), or giving me a chance to explain first, he allowed his wife to tear me apart over it.

Hypocrisy!  I bet he’d looove to find out what Jeff thinks of Richard’s “gaffe” with me after how he treated me over mine: Basically, he believes that Richard’s actions during the Incident reflected a guilty conscience.

Another time in the mid-90’s, you cried publicly on M.B.’s shoulder when you thought I had revealed something personal about your marriage in public (something about the possibility of your marriage breaking up).

It was stated offhandedly in a vague way, and no one had overheard it. You made sure that everyone–especially M.B.–knew I had committed a horrible gaffe against you, and you humiliated me in front of him and others at dinner.

(More traits of the Narcissist: payback for perceived slights; public humiliation for perceived slights; hanging on to excuses for committing character assassination.) —Joyful Alive Woman, “Abusive Female Friend”

I’d like to insert at this point that abusers will act like they care about your feelings. This is strategic, intermittent, and shallow.

Whenever the rubber hits the road, for all the times the abuser has acted concerned about how you feel, you find yourself once again treated like crap on his or her shoe when you most need a kind word or some concern.

They will sometimes, maybe even often, mouth words of caring and concern about you and your feelings, but it never seems to translate into something real when you most need them to give a damn.

Remember my maxim: when the words stand in contradiction to the behaviors you must believe the behaviors!  What we do (or refuse to do when action is called for) is the measurement of our character and our intentions.

Our words don’t mean jack if they are not followed through with and supported by our action. –Anna Valerious, Do They Have Feelings?

I’ve told Jeff the things that happened, how Richard kept pushing the boundaries, how I told him he was freaking me out,

then Richard said, Don’t worry, it’s all done in friendship, I do this with relatives, it’s not romantic, we didn’t “do anything,” we can keep doing it.  

I told him how persuasive Richard was.  

Then when Tracy found out, guess who got blamed?  Me.  Guess who got accused of not understanding boundaries?  Me.

But back to 7/1/10.  Jeff had earlier instructed me to say nothing more to Tracy for the time being, to lie low and let him deal with things.

After Jeff spoke with Richard, he sent Tracy an e-mail trying to calm her down and say that I was sorry for having done something stupid and didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, that apparently Richard had been very unclear on what was and wasn’t okay over the years.  He also said that “f-bombs” are not helpful.

In response, she sent him an e-mail full of the worst barrage of verbal abuse of me yet.

Richard once told Jeff that we shouldn’t mention the NVLD to Tracy, that it could actually be dangerous for me.

But now here she was, somehow knowing about it, and saying horrible things about me in the e-mail to Jeff,

because I believed that it

(and, though Jeff didn’t say this, a lot of doublespeak from Richard and double standards from them both)

was the reason I had trouble figuring out her social requirements, rather than me just being childish and deliberately hurtful and hateful.

It was humiliating, demeaning, belittling.  She even said that Richard told me things that a 5-year-old child could understand, basically making me into some stupid idiot.  

But I knew myself and I knew that I never deliberately hurt her, that when I was upset with her it was because of her own hateful behavior toward me, Richard and/or her children.

Tracy pounced on NVLD as yet another reason to vilify me and falsely accuse me.  She went on about a “self-diagnosed learning disorder” and how I needed to “grow up and TALK.”

To quote Klank, “You don’t know what it is to be me.”

Tracy doesn’t know what it’s like to have a brain that makes most social situations extremely difficult, if she thinks I can just change because she wants me to.

She also has no idea what it’s like to be an introvert, that we’re born this way, born being quiet and eschewing small talk.

This shows the huge bias against introverts among extroverts, thinking our lack of speech has anything at all whatsoever to do with our maturity level,

and also shows Tracy’s unwillingness to understand anything at all about me, that there are other ways of being than hers.

Also, Jeff complained to me during this time about Richard’s doublespeak, because Jeff also dealt with it all the time.  It frustrated him just as much as it did me.

The narcissist’s sense of self, which has not progressed past that of a very young child, they cannot deal with the reality of a mirror being held up before them.

Unlike the alcoholic who may in due course “see the light”, a narcissist simply does not have the emotional skills to step outside of themselves and glimpse the truth in the mirror.

The essence of NPD is that the sufferer lives in a bubble that can only accommodate themselves. Self-reflection is definitely not in the narcissist’s bag of skills and expecting them to be capable of doing so can court disaster.

Be prepared for rage and aggression to be aimed at you. Be prepared to not be heard.. Be prepared to have everything that you claim about them, to be reassigned to you. When and if you are strong enough to cope with this treatment, then you may decide to go ahead.

If you are hoping for recognition and a change for the better, more pain is in store. –Beth McHugh, Should You Confront a Narcissist About His Narcissism

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

 

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