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

 

Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone

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.

Tracy vilified, demeaned, cussed at, humiliated, and belittled me for something I had not said, had never said–and then blamed me for her behavior.

(A month later, she even accused me of needing to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings for actions [her verbal abuse] caused by my behavior.  This is classic victim blaming!  She has only herself and her temper to blame for the end of the friendship, but of course she blames me.)

Then she turned it around on me when Jeff said that throwing around F-bombs was not helpful, saying that I somehow had been “hurting” her for “the past two and a half years.”

Hurting her???  All I had done was be myself and go about my usual routines and live day by day and try to be polite and nice to her and try to maintain a friendship with my BFF!

Maybe it was because I didn’t just shut up and pretend that her behavior was perfectly normal and justified.

But I have never been one to sit and be quiet while my friends are being bullied: I keep putting myself into the fray, setting myself up for fire to come at me, by sticking up for my friends/husband.

I didn’t talk directly to her about her abuse, which would be dangerous, but I was honest with Richard about it, and she overheard me telling Jeff about it.

It was extremely insulting: I am not and have never been the type to go messing around on my husband.  I had never, ever propositioned Richard or touched him in anything like a sexual manner.

Yet I was being treated not only as if I had done so, but as if I had always been doing so.  It was a strange reality shift that made me feel like I was in an alternate universe.

All I did was remind Richard of something he himself had done to express his thanks and platonic caring, something that was completely innocent and perfectly fine for platonic friends to do–

At least, that was how I perceived it, since this was what he told me after he found out I first thought he was making the moves on me.

No, hands never went to where they shouldn’t.  These hugs were completely nonsexual, no kissing, nothing.  Just things that you could do with a sister.  I saw him give this very same kind of hug to one of his daughters.

He never said these hugs were somehow verboten now.  In fact, he had said more than once that while it was no longer okay to use each other’s shoulders as pillows, hugs were fine.

Through these hugs, he expressed the thanks that I never got from Tracy for taking her in despite having this sprung on us, for not kicking her out despite all the crap she pulled, for feeding and sheltering her family for six weeks of strained resources, dwindling money, no room, messes and noise all over the house, constant work and the stress of having a hostile person living in your house.

She never thanked me for any of this, and got furious with Richard and/or me for the way he thanked me.

These hugs reassured me of his friendship after all the crap that had gone on, all the drama that Tracy had brought into my house for six weeks.  This reassurance of his friendship was badly needed after the six weeks Tracy had lived with us.

And it was badly needed now in July 2010 after all the crap that had been going on, all the ways he had cut me down and made me feel like a whiner when I complained about how he was treating me lately.

I reminded him of the hugs, describing them so he would remember them, so that I could find out why he had stopped doing them after he moved out.  Had he just forgotten?  Was his friendship for me declining?  What was it?  I didn’t express these things, but they were questions I had.

I had brought up the hugs once before; not only did he not freak out as if I had propositioned him, but he remembered them and said that he was holding off (same as I was at that time) because in those days Tracy had been acting very jealous.

But those days had long since passed, and we had been hugging freely in front of her and others for a long time.  They just hadn’t been like the ones I now reminded him of, the ones he gave me to express our friendship and thank me for all I did for his family, the ones I also saw him give one of his daughters.

At least, that was how I understood them at the time.  As I explained them to Jeff that evening, I said, “At least, that’s what he told me,” because I began to realize that maybe Richard had meant more with those hugs than he’d let on.  

Why else would he let Tracy treat me like this instead of explaining to her the truth, that it was much ado over nothing?  

I began to feel tricked, lied to, used, manipulated, exploited because of my naïveté and a gullibility which I had unwisely brought up in our conversations once.  

I began to feel angry not just with Tracy for her insults, but with him for his duplicity.

But anyway, let’s back up to the time before Jeff got home from work.  Tracy had told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff because we don’t need the headache.”

Um….EXCUSE me?  And you are WHAT authority over me?  Talk about violating boundaries!  Talk about a control freak, trying to control even what I tell my own husband about her abuse!

This, by the way, is yet another thing that abusers do, try to silence their victims.

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

Right after she wrote me this, I saw a message in the corner of the computer screen that Jeff had a new e-mail–from Tracy.  So I copied it to Jeff:

She sent him an e-mail labeled “sigh” that said–as if I were this whiny little tattletale–

–that I probably already told him what was going on,

–that they “valued our friendship” (HA–You value our money!),

–that we were going to have a “conference” after she got home from work where she would tell me things I wouldn’t like but supposedly “needed to hear.”

Notice she didn’t bother to ask about our own plans before making this decision: Our son had a T-ball game that evening.

Since I never intentionally harmed her, since I tried to be polite and nice to her at all times, this was ridiculous. 

Whatever she was going to say, I’m certain that I did NOT “need to hear” ANY of it.  

I won’t let an abuser who probably has borderline personality disorder and/or is a clinical narcissist tell me how to behave “properly.”  She doesn’t even know how, herself.

So: Tracy raged at me, demeaned, cussed at and humiliated me, insulted me again and again, treated me like a naughty child who needed to sit and take whatever she threw at me, accused me of needing to “grow up” (August 1) for standing up for my dignity.

Then she told me not to go “crying” to my husband about what she was saying “because we don’t need the headache.”

And then to top it all off, she posted on Facebook to all her friends and family that she was having “a GREAT day” because she no longer had to “sit back and be quiet and nice.”

(If she thinks that she was being “quiet and nice” before, then she’s not just Borderline Personality Disorder, she’s Delusional Disorder as well!)

To an abuser like Tracy, 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. –Kathy Krajco, The Rewards of Befriending a Narcissist

It was all I could do to hold myself back, not respond in kind, since I knew that it would just make things worse, yet she just kept getting worse anyway.

I did say a few angry words, because she had pushed me too far this time, but still held back on what I could have said.  But of course, I was not allowed to defend myself.

Then she e-mailed my husband in calmer, “adult” words and talked about discussing this like adults–

Yeah, lady, all you have to do is ACT like an adult and then we can discuss it like adults.

I was certainly not the one acting like a child–that was all on her.  I barely said a word to her.

I saw her do the exact same thing to Todd, speaking to the general forum in “adult” words after having raged on him like a screaming banshee, while he tried to respond in a more adult fashion.

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized. The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people.

In fact the sociopath is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case.

They don’t care that they damage and destroy other people’s lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want. —How to Recognize a Sociopath

A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt.How to Recognize a Sociopath

The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The sociopath cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person.

Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage. —How to Recognize a Sociopath

And all this after we had done all sorts of things to help them out and be there for them until they could get back on their feet, even went way out of our way to help them, even begging friends for money for them so they wouldn’t be evicted, out of a simple generosity that wanted nothing back but friendship.

It was all quite disgraceful.

They inflict pain on others and actually enjoy doing it. —Joyful Alive Woman, Behaviors and Attitudes of the Narcissist

Narcissists are addicted to the high they get from harming others. Yes, they DO act out of malice, because they will to hurt you.

That’s no accident: they hurt you on purpose and as much as they can. But only because hurting you makes them feel good. –Kathy Krajco, Malignant Narcissism and Evil

She also called me too stupid to understand, just because I said “I don’t understand” to Richard and tried to find out what the heck this was all about, rather than just rolling over and saying, Oh hey, I deserve all this you’re giving me.

When I saw what Tracy posted about me, it disgusted me that she would actually ENJOY hurting somebody.  That’s sociopathic.  So I blocked Tracy.

“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm” (Michele Moore, Happiness and Evil).

“He thrived on intimidating me.  He derived pleasure from causing me pain” (Tina Swithin, Taking Pleasure From Pain).

Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic.
 
…They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You

I posted on Facebook, publicly for all to read (since I might as well if Tracy was going to post nasty crap about me for all our mutual friends to read), a few posts about losing my best friend because of jealousy, how they were telling me the friendship wasn’t over but it was, because “I’m SICK of being bullied, sick of it, sick of it!”–and how this was the thanks I got for being there for his every need, emotional and financial.

No, I didn’t say who I meant.  Yes, this was visible to Richard, who I saw go online around this time, leaving the usual “scat” on my newsfeed from his Facebook games.

But he said nothing, too beaten down and emasculated by Tracy to do anything not okayed by her.  And because playing stupid games was more important to him than salvaging a friendship.

Posting on my news feed was the only way to get any messages to him at all, now that Tracy had taken everything over.  So during that afternoon/evening I posted messages about being gravely misunderstood, about jealousy destroying a dear friendship, things like that.

It was not just to get emotional help from my real friends who would never do these things to me, but to send messages to Richard that this was not right, not right at all, that I was SICK of Tracy’s bullying, that it was indeed bullying, and that I wasn’t going to take it anymore.  

This was what I got for believing all his stories of abuse, even though society finds it laughable that a woman can abuse a man?

One of my friends responded,

I have known you, although admittedly not well, for quite some time, and I’ve never known you to get this upset. Truly, this doesn’t seem to be within your character. Something really serious must have happened.

My brother sent me a message, asking who I’m not friends with anymore.  I said, “My friend Richard.  His wife has gone into a jealous frenzy.”

My brother’s wife said, “be careful, keep your distance let them cool off for awhile.”

I said, “They can have all the time in the world to cool off.  I’m sick of the crap I’ve had to put up with from her over the years.”

Sometime around this time, I also blocked Tracy on Facebook, disgusted by her posts about having such a wonderful day because she was abusing me.

These posts came before mine, making me feel like–since we shared several friends on Facebook–I had to do damage control, show that there’s another side to the story, that Tracy wasn’t as justified or in the right or reasonable as she wanted to seem.

No, I didn’t reply to her posts directly, because that would’ve told everybody she knew–including her family and complete strangers to me–whom she was referring to.

And, of course, responding with something like, “The fact that you’re having so much obviously orgasmic pleasure from ripping me to pieces for NOTHING is proof that you are a nasty, horrid, abusive person who I don’t want in my life anyway”–would have only led to a Facebook flame war.

So even though Tracy was telling me the friendship wasn’t over, even though her words sure made it sound like it was–I was saying that yes indeed, it was over.

I never wanted to be her friend in the first place after seeing how she treated Richard and the children, wanted nothing to do with her after the way she treated me while living with us, only tolerated her for Richard’s sake,

and now even Richard wasn’t worth the price I had to pay to have her in my life.  He was proving to be a very bad friend, disloyal and deceitful, willing to throw even dear and loyal friends under the bus for the sake of peace in his house.  (I was hardly the first one.)

I wanted nothing more to do with this drama queen Tracy.

I was sick to death of every move I made, everything I said, everything I wrote, being interpreted by her through green-colored glasses.

I was sick to death of her histrionics, of having to explain myself, of having to apologize to her, but her not apologizing to me.

I was sick to death of being told I was somehow offending and hurting her again and again, just by being my natural introverted self, or by wanting to spend time with my BFF,

while she didn’t seem to care one bit that she was hurting and offending me constantly and deliberately.

What I initially thought was her decision to end the friendship, became my own.  But I was e-mailing Jeff at work about what was going on; he told me, “Ok: stay low, stay out of sight, and don’t rile her.  Let Richard &  I deal with it.”  He said we had no time to be doing some “conference.”

I wrote to him just before 2pm,

She’s screaming at me in messages about inappropriate behavior and crap.

After all the crap going on the past few weeks, I just felt the need to remember the hugs Richard and I used to have. Just to make him go “aww.” Somehow she saw it and went ballistic….

I’ve been trying to deal directly with him, but she keeps intercepting and yelling at me for it….

I’m so stunned by it all that I can’t even cry. I just don’t understand. I don’t know what’s going through Richard’s head because I’m not allowed to talk to him.

She’s talking about “inappropriate behavior” over the years.

What? I told him to tell me if something makes him uncomfortable. And I see how he jokes around with other people, male and female, and feel that must be in the bounds of “okay” for him.

I just don’t get it. And she calls me stupid for not getting it. And crows on her FB page about how happy she is right now.

She talks about preserving the friendship, but screw this. I’m not going to be friends with either of them anymore. They’ve both caused me so much freaking drama over the past few years that I’m sick and tired of it.

If you saw the way she’s been abusing me in her messages….

She’s talking about some sort of conference tonight.  We’re supposed to have a [T-ball] game tonight.

I don’t want to sit in some sort of conference with the one who you know has been so mean to me over the years.

She ripped on everything I ever did or said, and I don’t want to listen to more of it just because she thinks I “need to hear it.” 

I’m disgusted with Richard for letting her treat me like this.

Todd saw my posts and guessed who it was about, having been through this himself.

At first, I wasn’t going to tell him.  But then I realized that he and I had this in common, and he was the best person for me to talk to.

He knew what it was like, what Richard and Tracy were really like, and how it felt to be Richard’s close friend but suddenly jilted because Tracy went all psycho-b**ch on you.

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 One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges

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.

INCIDENT or “Acting Out” phase

–Any type of abuse occurs
–Physical
–Sexual
–Emotional
–Or other forms of abuse as found in the power and control wheel. –hidden hurt, The Cycle of Abuse

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 felt 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 NEVER snubbed her, but they tried to make me think I did it all the time!  I was always polite and kind to her, holding my tongue even as she was rude to me, yet she accused me of snubbing her. 

Sometime in just the past few weeks, I gave her a lily from my garden, and sent her an e-mail telling her she was gorgeous last time I saw her, and asking for a recipe for that wonderful dish she makes.

I NEVER tried to steal her husband away, but she talked and acted as if I were some slut ho-bag after her husband.

It sounded like my e-mail would have been perfectly fine with her if she had approved my friendship with Richard and I had met all her requirements. 

But I HAD met all her requirements, I HAD been approved as Richard’s friend, and I WAS allowed to hug him, banter with him, go for coffee with him, as I prove here–but now they pretended that this never happened.

Richard told me himself that “the hugs and the whatnot” were “all good” with Tracy, but now they pretended that they never were–and told Jeff that the hugs etc. would have been fine if I had met requirements that I never met.  Even though the proof I give here shows that I had met her requirements a year previous.  !!!!!!

This is also proven by the exchange I reproduce here, which came just a few months previous to July 2010.  In it, he stated that her getting mad and restrictions on him calling me were “over with a long time ago.”

Does it sound confusing?  Because it is!  Does it make no sense?  Because it makes no sense!  More gaslighting!  And also proof that the e-mail itself was not the problem, and that Tracy was deliberately trying to confuse (gaslight) me.

Also, the e-mails I posted here prove this to all be one big lie which Tracy told to justify her rage episode. 

These e-mails are all more evidence that her true reason had nothing to do with what she claimed here, but with her desire to drive me away before I either called CPS on her or got Richard to admit she was abusing him. 

(Actually, he admitted this back in 2007 while by himself, but conveniently forgot after she arrived, apparently sucked into the FOG machine.)

Or maybe they both used this as an excuse to drive me away, because I was turning Democrat and openly said their actions were child abuse.

Also note that one of Richard’s exes, a longtime girlfriend, sent him a passionate e-mail back in 2007.  It overtly said that she wanted him back as her lover. 

For the time being he put her off, but a couple of years later, she was back, calling him this time. 

He once spoke with her at the same time he carried on an IRC conversation with me. 

YET HE WAS NOT FORBIDDEN TO TALK TO THIS OLD GIRLFRIEND. 

Also, after Tracy came here, she discovered he talked to some old friend which she did not like.  They were never lovers, and this girl made no romantic overtures. 

YET TRACY WAS FURIOUS THAT HE SPOKE TO THIS OLD FRIEND.

Yet more evidence that this was not all about jealousy, but about control, weeding out Richard’s friends who saw her as abusive.

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!) 

The neurotypical (normal) practice of reading subtext into things is far more trouble than it’s worth, so I’d rather stay literal-brained.

And of course, borderlines are quick to take offense where it does not exist.  If it weren’t this, it would’ve been something else I did or said eventually.

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.

And yet she had the audacity to write, “No, the friendship is not over.”

Um…after what you just said to me?  You do realize you’re not the only one who gets to decide if this friendship is over?

What kind of frickin’ DOORMAT do you think I am?

Maybe Richard coddles your abusive crap and lets you get away with this,

maybe your kids have no choice but to let you get away with this,

but I am allowed to cut my own arm off if necessary (what it felt like to give up Richard) to get away from you.

I felt betrayed by Richard as well, Richard, who after all these years, knew I didn’t deserve things like this.  Richard, who had called me “sweet, innocent and nice.”  Richard, who had said I was “very dear” to him.

The one whom I had poured out my heart to, my secrets, my fears, my religious musings, all the thoughts I’d have over books and movies, the one who had stuck up for me on Internet forums.

And now he was allowing his wife to flay me alive over something I hadn’t even done, when he knew full well what had really happened.  

I had only just re-read Gone With the Wind, watched the movie the night before, and felt like Scarlett and Ashley being treated like adulterers over an innocent hug.  (That’s where the comparison ends, by the way.)

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. –Anna Valerious, Thought Crimes

I have a history of saying things to people that sound entirely different from what I actually meant.  It’s caused me much grief because I can’t seem to forget what I said or how it affected them, so years later I’ll still beat myself up.  This, or at least the long memory, may be from NLD or Asperger’s.

Anyway, it happened yet again: Apparently some rule had been broken yet again, some rule I was not aware of, one of the many little rules that I thought–as soon as Richard sent me the “signal” by inviting me to sushi–had long since been set aside because she had finally accepted me, with full friendship benefits.

I did absolutely nothing wrong here.  Richard had always reassured me that hugs were okay with Tracy, and I even have an e-mail from him saying so.

Also, he had let me know that things were fine between Tracy and me, the previous winter.  In the spring, when I said I got concerned when he ignored my calls that Tracy was upset, he said, “No, that was over with a long time ago.”

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our hugs, or with my reminding him of them or remembering them fondly, because I was friends with him and Tracy.

But now, Tracy decided for some unknown reason that I wasn’t friends with her, had never been, and for that reason, the hugs were not okay.  ????

This tells me that it had nothing to do with the hugs or the e-mail, but that it was all about my telling them their actions were child abuse. 

Or that we no longer had the money to keep giving them handouts, while Tracy now had a full-time job, so they no longer needed us. 

Or that I was turning Democrat.  Or all of the above. 

But she had to gaslight me into thinking I had done something wrong, to justify her narcissistic rage episode and abuse. 

And God help Richard if he doesn’t go along with her, though he knows full well that I’m innocent and have done nothing wrong.

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.

I think now that she also was getting perverse pleasure from believing that every woman is after her husband and that she must defend the household from attack.

She just doesn’t understand that letting your husband be himself and befriend whomever he likes and express himself to them however he likes (within reason), is the way to freedom, joy and peace in your marriage, rather than constant vigilance and stress.

I would post her e-mails to show you just how bad they were, since I still have some of them.  But that would require me to go back into a bad place, a dangerous place, and I just can’t do that yet.  Not even five years later.

I wrote to Jeff at 1:06pm,

Tracy has just gone ballistic on me.  I don’t know why because she won’t let Richard even talk to me.  I’m afraid the friendship is over with because I can’t deal with jealous spouses anymore.

I also sent him a copy of an e-mail Tracy sent him, because I saw an alert for it in the corner of the computer screen.

I won’t go too far into these e-mails because there are bombs (ie, copies of Tracy’s e-mails) in there, and I just can’t deal with that again.  You know, like anyone who has been traumatized.

But I explained what was going on, and he said,

Ok: stay low, stay out of sight, and don’t rile her.  Let Richard & I deal with it.

I’ve since learned, after reading an article in probably early 2011 about Aspie women having trouble understanding other women who use subtext, that people with neurotypical brains read subtext into everything.  She and Richard both seemed to read a subtext into the e-mail that did not exist: I, being literal, mean what I say and say what I mean.

I said nothing suggestive because I meant nothing suggestive, meaning just what I wrote: only that the hugs were sweet and meant a lot to me.  Why shouldn’t they mean a lot to me?  They were given in friendship and caring!  I took them as being meant in friendship and caring!

Yet somehow Tracy apparently read something suggestive into the e-mail, just as she did when I posted a simple “I’ll miss you dearly.  Have fun!” a few weeks earlier.

I still don’t know where she got it from, in either case.  Even Jeff, who doesn’t seem to have my neural problems, can see where she got it from in the Incident e-mail, but nowhere did I state or imply anything about romance or sex or passion or romantic love, so I don’t know where she got it from.

Basically, Jeff had to explain to me that it came across that way, because I was completely baffled at her reaction and Richard allowing it.

I had expected that when Jeff went to talk to Richard, he would find that Richard was upset at Tracy’s reaction, knew the truth, remembered the hugs and what they were really all about, but was afraid of angering Tracy further by countering her.

I did not expect to hear the things that Richard actually did say, the ways he reacted to Jeff.

But I still don’t know why or how the e-mail came across that way: I never even said “I love you,” and expressed only platonic caring for a dear and close friend. 

I certainly would’ve expected Richard, of all people, to know that any suggestive “subtext” was not there, because he was the one who gave me the hugs.

I expected him to explain them to Tracy and reassure her, that this would calm her down and make her realize that she was misreading and misjudging, that there was nothing to worry about or get mad about.

You don’t treat friends the way they treated me: You give them the benefit of the doubt and ask them for the truth before freaking out, especially with e-mails, which are so easily misunderstood, as everybody knows.

But then, should I expect any different from the same people who freaked out on good friend Todd over a game? from the same person who went into rage episodes and started ripping Todd to shreds over a game?

As Todd said, she doesn’t try to change anything herself, just keeps yelling at other people to do it.  And I was told by both Todd and Richard that people keep breaking off friendships with Richard because of Tracy.

So should I expect any different from her toward myself?  And why should I take any of her criticisms or accusations to heart?

Heck, in June 2009 I had e-mailed Richard, regarding a discussion on a Christian forum we were both on:

As for other kinds of love, I want [my son] to be able to say it freely, that he loves his friends, loves his family, loves his fellow workers at whatever task.

[My pastor friend Mike] once brought up how reluctant people are to say it.

On the one hand, I see the wisdom of saying “philia” when referring to how you feel about friends.

On the other hand, I want to be able to say “I love you” to a guy friend without having to qualify it with “philia” or “But not in THAT way,” especially when they might have a crush on you or there’s a spouse who might misunderstand.

So much is tied up into that one word in our language that it has so much baggage.  But if you use a different word, like “philia,” it doesn’t feel like you’re saying what you mean, because it comes from Greek, not your native tongue.  You know what I’m saying?

To you and to Mike I’ve signed letters/e-mails saying, “In philia.”  But it didn’t “feel” like what I really meant.  I want to freely say “I love you” just as I would to, say, [my female college friends].

It’s the same emotion and loyalty to each.  If Mike [or various female and male friends] were to die, I would be devastated.  If I had to, I would stick up for any of them, and occasionally I have done so.

But in this culture, you start fearing the wives will freak out if they read a note saying “I love you,” or your friend will misunderstand and think you’re professing your undying passion, and freak out.

How did Americans end up so screwed up, anyway?

Mike once wrote in an e-mail to friends that he wants to break down our society’s barriers that make people think they can’t say “I love you” to friends or colleagues without making people uncomfortable.  That he’d told a colleague in a staff meeting that he loves her, and she just sat in uncomfortable silence.  I loved the concept.

An NLDer on a support forum I frequent, recently had to deal with his father reading subtext into something he said, when he had meant it literally, no subtext–and he got into trouble for something he had not even said.

It seems to me that while subtext may be considered “normal,” it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and having a literal brain is much safer.

Even neurotypicals misunderstand each other’s subtext all the time, especially by e-mail and on Internet forums.

Somewhere recently I read an article by a guy who assumed a friend was sarcastic in an e-mail to him.  This greatly offended him so much that he didn’t speak to this person again for months–only to find the friend wasn’t being at all sarcastic, and was actually paying him a compliment.

Subtext can more easily be read and understood in person, but over the Internet, everyone becomes “Aspie” or “NLD.”  It’s dangerous to read subtext into any e-mail or Internet post.

Everyone must be willing to recognize that misunderstandings happen by e-mail, and calm down and accept explanations of misunderstandings as being valid.  In fact, we are told this again and again by moderators who try to calm people down on forums and e-mailing lists.

(I do seem to use a kind of subtext, but it’s basically using an explanation to communicate why something can or cannot be done.  That message is included in the explanation.  It drives me nuts when my husband keeps asking a question I’ve already answered, and then says I didn’t answer it.  But this is not emotional subtext, the kind women supposedly use.  I try not to presume an emotional subtext in e-mail because e-mail is so easily misunderstood, even among neurotypicals.)

Narcissistic Rage is something you, as the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, will no doubt have experienced. Narcissists hate being challenged.  Because they’re such superior, perfect people, how dare you, a mere nobody, challenge them in any way?

This is why Narcissists react out of all proportion to the smallest slight, or perceived slight.

Or even, to the slightest request for better treatment.  Any challenge threatens their wellbeing.  Their persona is so fragile that it cannot withstand any challenge whatsoever.

This is why they go on the attack so viciously.  They really are fighting for their life, or it feels like it to them.

There are no limits to what they’ll do or say in the throes of this rage.  They’ll eviserate your personality, your very Self.  It’s like soul-annihilation.  It’s so destructive and vicious.  It’s a self-esteem destroyer. 

Sometimes this Narcissistic Rage can turn physical, but even if it remains at being verbal, it’s terrifying. Narcissistic Rage

 This type of individual has dysfunctional problem-solving skills. Instead of holding herself accountable for her bad behavior and making positive changes, she tries to solve problems by shifting blame, making excuses, verbally attacking others, vilifying others and fighting or fleeing.

In her reality, these are problem-solving techniques. To a rational adult, these behaviors create the majority of the problems and conflicts in a relationship. –Shrink4Men, Blame and Rage: What Abusive Women Call Problem-Solving

Perceived Insult. It is easy to think of this as the “trigger.” Problem is, this is no ordinary trigger. It is a hair-trigger. Anything that portrays her as less than perfect or holds her accountable will trigger her for sure.

You need to evaluate what triggers your partner. If you were the one that actually triggered the response, it will be easier to identify. However, sometimes it wasn’t your finger on the trigger. More on that later.

Disproportionate Rage. This phase could easily be labeled “shock and awe.” You will be in awe because in your mind the perceived insult will not warrant the level of rage you receive.

If your infraction is deemed serious enough, she is most likely to use nuclear weapons first. Don’t be surprised if you are subjected to flying objects, yelling, divorce threats, and false 911 calls. There will definitely be memories that last a lifetime! –Shrink4Men, High-Conflict Phases of Abuse, Blame Shifting, Distortion, Rage and Manipulation Diagram

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

 

Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs

This is jumping the gun a bit, but here’s an e-mail I wrote Jeff on July 22, 2010, after I finally read the threatening e-mails for myself:

Actually, near the end of “The Burning Bed,” I was suddenly inspired to go into the e-mails and find out just what Richard wrote you on Facebook on about 6/28, when we were arguing about NLD and such.

I saw 3 messages he wrote to you that night, including the one about hitting you with a brick and not having been that mad in years and being easily provoked to physical violence.

It was…scary.  It was hard to say if he was actually threatening you, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse. 

I mean, WHY?  What about what you wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

It reminds me, also, of how Tracy blew up a few days later, and that when she was living at our house, there was a time when she got so mad at me that she, according to Richard, almost killed, or could’ve killed me…I forget the exact wording. I don’t know if he meant it literally or verbally.

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.”  Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.  I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her.  And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

These are violent people. And something seems to have been stirring them up, because I don’t know what we could’ve done to inspire the verbal tirades we were getting those few days.

Or what I could’ve said in my e-mail to him, near the end of March, about [the Creeps on IRC], because that also provoked him to write a rather nasty e-mail (the final draft of many).

All I know is that for the past year, I’ve really struggled with getting friendly with Tracy because on some night that I can’t identify, she could’ve attacked me in my own house–for something that seemed to me perfectly innocent.

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times.

I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.  Me going to the hospital.

This has gone through my mind many times for the past year, since it was a year ago that Richard told me about this.  And yet, somehow, *I* am painted as the one who has just been too stubborn or mean to treat Tracy right.

Right now, rather than wishing to have my friend back, I just feel this weird sense of having escaped but still dealing with the traumatic fallout…..

But back to the evening on June 27th, 2010.  All this came while I was reading the last few chapters of Gone With the Wind, which are dark, surreal and depressing.  As I wrote in my review for Mysteries of Udolpho,

It amazes me how, lately, the books I’m reading keep matching my mood.  I read the last chapters of “Gone With the Wind” on the night of a terrible e-mail argument with my former best friend.  I apologized and we tried to patch things up, but it left a pall over the evening, and the next few days as well.

(Incidentally, in an attempt to finally fix things and restore our friendship to the kind and sweet way it used to be, several days later I sent an e-mail–which, unfortunately, got taken wildly out of context and misunderstood, and left me vilified and the friendship in shambles, much like Shirley Sherrod without the later apologies [from Obama].)

At the same time, in between e-mails that evening, I was reading about Scarlett’s devastating last night before Rhett left her for good.

First Melanie dies, just as Scarlett realizes she loves her and Melanie has been her strength.  Then she finds out that Ashley was only infatuated with her, that his true love was for Melanie.  Then she realizes that her own true love is Rhett, and she’s been terrible to him.

She goes out into the night, which is foggy and appears supernaturally terrifying.  Her long walk finally leads her to her safe place, Rhett–only Rhett is fed up and leaving her.

I didn’t know yet about the threatening e-mail Richard sent Jeff.  I didn’t want to lose my BFF, my Frodo.

It seemed the only way I could get anywhere with Richard was to apologize–even though that meant my complaints were tossed aside as if I had no right to make them, while Richard made petulant little remarks to Jeff that we had resolved things, but Jeff already knows.

I was getting the distinct impression, from this and other times, that I was not supposed to confide in Jeff, my own husband, about my problems with them.

Jeff then discussed the e-mails with me, though I did not see them myself for nearly a month.  To calm him down, he sent Richard an apology.  On the morning of the 28th, Jeff wrote to me,

( He tells me that an apology wasn’t necessary.  He says he wants to hit me in the head with a brick, but I don’t have to apologizeI trust when he talks about “Drama”, he’s talking about *himself*. )

It was unbelievable.  It also shows another way that NLDers need to be careful in choosing friends, because if your friend arrogantly dismisses your NLD without knowledge, tells your husband that you just need to push yourself harder, warns you not to mention the NLD to his wife because it could be dangerous, and dismisses your explanation of what you need to help you socially, then this “friend” is no good for you.

Especially if he’s married to a very abusive person who could turn around and rip you a new one because of these social problems which you could not help being born with, which she took personally.

Who could demean, humiliate and belittle you with filthy language and unChristian words for having social problems with her that you could not help.

Leaving you with a huge, gaping wound emotionally, lasting for years because people with Asperger’s or NLD tend to ruminate over things long after other people have moved on.

It was always me who went crawling back.  It was always me who was contrite.

There was no winning with H–not that I was the one making it a competition…far from it.  Rarely did she acknowledge that I had wisdom or insight.

Occasionally we would spar when I began to push back on her superior attitude.  More and more often, there were periods of estrangement, yet there was always that “makeup session” followed by a brief “honeymoon period.”

Yes, those “makeup sessions,” where everything was glossed over or more often simply ignored altogether, never to be discussed!

Those “honeymoon periods,” during which our respective motives for being in the friendship were quite dissimilar–even though a trained therapist would probably conclude that at the time, I was an Invert Narcissist and Codependent–therefore possessing some of the same characteristics as H.

Recently I came across a comment on a message board:  “Sometimes I believe a Narcissist can almost cause these other defects in people who fall for them.”  How true that is!  How insidious it is.  It’s called FLEAS.

Neither of us understood the extent of our dysfunctional relationship, nor did we want to.  We had many things in common.  We had a history together that was unique.

We had many long and deep discussions about spirituality, various esoteric methods, and the history and intricacies of our spiritual community. We had similar music tastes.  We had children the same age. 

We were both married to men who eschewed the spiritual life.  We needed each other (she would probably deny that).  Still, there was an ever-present undercurrent of tension and conflict. —Joyful Alive Woman, “My former [platonic] girlfriend, the cunning abusive narcissist”

But after the apology, it seemed that we were starting to make headway.  I thought he wanted to take a break from me for a day or two, and didn’t say much to him, though I missed him terribly.

Then I pinged him, wondering if we were still “estranged.”

He was surprised and said that was over with already.  We had a conversation that demonstrated that we were still good friends and that he wasn’t angry with me anymore.

He sent me a link to a video, since we often shared music videos with each other from the genres we both liked.  I sent him a heart and a rose on Facebook as a demonstration of goodwill:

After thumbing through my Language of Flowers book and reading that white roses stand for innocence and purity and in no way mean romance or passion, I sent him a white rose for peace.

To show restoration of goodwill, I sent a simple friendship heart, one of those Facebook hearts that people were constantly sending to their friends and family at that time.

(By the way, I have never sent these flowers or hearts to anyone since, when I used to send them all the time to my friends and family, because they were now associated in my mind with Richard.)

I don’t know if he saw the white peace flower, but he posted the heart on his wall saying, “From me Nyssa [sic].”

Then the following morning, July 1, 2010, I woke up happy that our friendship issues were finally resolved, happy for the first time in weeks.

When he lived with us and the day he moved out, he gave me some sweet bearhugs which I took as being meant strictly in friendship, and in gratitude for what I had done to help out his family in their distress.

Therefore, there was no harm either in mentioning them, or in doing them again, including in front of others, including Tracy. 

Especially since a year earlier, Richard wrote to me, “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.” 

I thought Jeff or the neighbors had seen these hugs, as well, and I had felt no qualms about this, because the hugs were completely innocent.

I always wondered why Richard hadn’t hugged me that way since.  Once, in maybe late winter or early spring 2008, I asked him online about them, and he said he’d been holding off because of how jealous Tracy had been acting.

But that was long since in the past, we had been sharing quick hugs in front of Tracy for the past two years, and in that e-mail a year earlier, he said the hugs and “whatnot” are good with her. 

Also, through a signal I had asked for in late 2009, he showed me that Tracy was completely fine with me doing all the things his other friends could do with him. 

In some old posts to friends on a web forum, friends whom I believe he knew in person, he asked them for and they offered “huggles,” showing me that he’s just a “huggy” type of guy.

Yet he still had not hugged me like he did in November 2007 and January 2008, making me feel like our friendship had lost that bond.

I desperately needed reassurance that our friendship was still like it was back in 2007, which I think you can understand after all I’ve described.

His friendship was so special to me because he was my spiritual mentor, my “brother from another mother,” the Frodo/Diana/Ted/Gus I had always wanted.  I was scared of losing his friendship.

Those hugs were like a symbol of our special friendship.  You can see this in the e-mail I wrote him a year earlier, which said,

“Yes, I’ll hug you and such on IRC and you’ll just sit there or scream, when I was hoping for a bearhug back, etc.  You know, signs that despite everything that’s gone on, our friendship is intact.”

So I wrote a Facebook message to him the morning of 7/1/10, reminded him of those specific hugs and said they had meant a lot to me.

I was happy after sending the message, because I knew he would say something like “Awwww, how sweet.  Yes, I remember those hugs” or–like he did to an e-mail I sent him a few months before about how much his friendship meant to me–“You’ve made me cry–like a chick!”

Since he gave me those hugs many times,

and since we had already spoken about them without him acting like there was something wrong with me bringing them up,

and since he had never, ever said they were “verboten” now, and

since he talks like that with his friends all the time,

and since he specifically told me many times that hugs are okay with Tracy,

I expected this to be a perfectly fine topic for an e-mail.

I went on about my day, exercising, doing housework, and the like, expecting the day to be absolutely wonderful, full of caring and friendship.

Then maybe a couple of hours later, I checked Facebook, hoping to see some wonderful little message from Richard.

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

 

I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband

On June 15, I wrote to my pastor friend Mike,

I finally got my friend [Richard] to talk to me [in Facebook chat].  I was waiting for him to ask what was wrong, since the last message I got from him made me think he’d yell at me if I brought it up again.  But I couldn’t stand waiting and wondering any longer….

I won’t go into boring details, but we talked. He apologized for hurting me [being so mean to me in his e-mail response when I had simply asked to talk with him about something that was bothering me], and we had a long discussion about what was bothering him, and how I felt about such things as what an apology is for.

Turns out his Facebook political messages are part of some political platform thing he’s doing.  For some reason, he made this seriousness part of his personal account, instead of making a separate, “professional” account to go with his position in the local Libertarian party.

AND he never told me.  I, naturally, assumed the same thing Jeff did: that whatever he posts on his personal account is fair game for anything anybody might want to say.

Agree, disagree, tease–as long as you’re not nasty, everything is fine.  Same as on anybody else’s Facebook account.  I find it very confusing and suggested he make a separate account for the political stuff, not go mixing it up like this.  But for some reason, he doesn’t want to.

Another problem is that he is very much the stereotypical guy in how he relates to women.  Jeff taught me that apologies are necessary and not an admission of wrongdoing.  My friend was taught that apologies should be made as little as possible.

And he also prefers bluntness and actually gets upset if somebody doesn’t use it.  He thinks it’s a bad approach, not “assertive.”

I prefer diplomacy, “I” expressions, not putting someone on the defensive, which IS assertive according to the reading I’ve done.  Not being assertive would mean either aggressiveness (treating people like crap to get your way) or passiveness (being a doormat and never saying what you want).

Jeff sometimes helps me with diplomacy, and I figure, he’s a guy so he should know how to talk to guys.  So I was amazed when my friend told me to stop being delicate and be blunt instead, even rude.  To talk to him even if he’s been nasty to me, hit him with a brick.

I just don’t understand why he thinks that’s better and my way is “wrong” or somehow annoying.

Anyway, our friendship is salvaged.  The other things are still annoying, however: the mansplaining, being “right” on pretty much every topic (not just politics), the stereotypical behaviors that make me sometimes wish he were a woman. 

And I don’t know what’s up with his wife.  Normally I get along just fine with wives, but this one is hard to get along with.  (Not just for me, either.  She has a history of not getting along with some of his friends.)

We see so much going on when we’re at their house lately, that I wonder what goes on when we’re not there.  My friend mentioned that when I tried to talk to him on Friday, he was tired of the drama going on in his own house and didn’t want to deal with any more.

I’ve seen so many of my friends get divorced in the past 10 years that I don’t just assume anymore that everything will turn out fine.

It certainly makes me glad to have the marriage I have.  My husband has flaws, but is not afraid to acknowledge them.  He doesn’t understand everything about women, but he knows how to deal with me pretty well. HE has no problem with diplomacy, and even encourages it.

And my son seems to be turning out okay, even though [contrary to Richard] I don’t believe that constant hard spanks or screaming is a good way to raise a child.

(As my mom said once, I shouldn’t be getting any more child rearing advice from Richard.  😛  Or marital, either, for that matter.)

Mike replied the next day,

What one says professionally speaks what they believe personally.  What one says politically speaks what they believe personally.

He knows that he gets more bang for his buck if he posts things on his personal account. On a professional account it would only be likeminded people reading his stuff.

By posting it on his personal page he gets to have people who disagree with him read his stuff too, which I am sure gives him some sort of thrill.  He wants you to become upset and comment on his postings.  It gives him a cheap thrill to know that he has gotten under your skin.

Being blunt is one thing, being rude is another.  Yes, there is a time for being blunt.  If I constantly were making sexist comments, or I was making rude comments about orthodox folks all the time, you might need to say, “Mike, I don’t appreciate it.  Please stop.” [Bolded because I used this approach in my e-mail to Richard later.]

I agree with you and Jeff though.  Assertiveness is speaking the truth with love.  It’s using I statements. Don’t assume that Jeff will know how to talk to guys….There are different species of men.  Jeff and I are one species….Another species is the kind who are aggressive and rude.

Richard told me his political friends were complaining about my posts.  This was ridiculous, because it’s a personal account, and I wish he would’ve stuck up for me instead of blaming me for something I had no way of knowing was a problem.

Making a separate page connected to your personal account is ridiculously easy and free to do, as I later found out when connecting a page to my Facebook for my books.  Yet he refused.

We seemed to have resolved the issues we had up until then, though I didn’t go into how Tracy had been treating me.

That night, I spent eyestrain-causing hours scouring my books and the Web on how women and men relate to each other. 

Most sites and books are annoyingly about love relationships, not friendships, so I had to wade through all the lovey-dovey stuff.  But I gleaned what I could.

On the 27th, after the events of this section, I wrote to Mike,

I keep feeling frustrated….Last night my friend wrote me e-mails that I found very distressing.

He used to be the one I turned to (other than Jeff) who could be the most comforting in times of trouble.  I started confiding all sorts of things in him, deep secrets, that sort of thing, believing he was safe, and hoping to help him understand me better.

But instead I find that he’s gotten these ideas in his head, opinions of me and my behaviors and opinions, which he refuses to deviate from no matter what I say.

Basically, he’s right in everything.  He’s right about politics, childrearing, the habits of introverts, life issues, etc. etc., and he won’t consider my opinions.

He greatly misjudges me in various things and what he wrote in his e-mails last night, was alarmingly OFF.

I spoke with Jeff about these issues, and he assures me that no, I’m not what my friend thinks I am.  I’m amazed because I’ve told Jeff most of the same things, along with many other things that have happened over the years, things which I never told my friend about–yet Jeff has a vastly different opinion of me.

After all the confiding I’ve done in my friend, I find this extremely disappointing and heartbreaking.

It’s hard to know what he’s thinking oftentimes because for whatever reason, he doesn’t respond to e-mails that often, and it’s often hard to get him on the phone.

I had been so looking forward to summer and having more time to call him and get our kids together to play, but now I just can’t bring myself to do it because I’m so disheartened….

He’s supposed to be studying psychology, on the way to becoming a priest.  But I feel he really needs to work on empathy if he’s going to do that.  😛

As you see above, Richard told me he didn’t like my diplomatic way of dealing with problems, that he didn’t want me sparing his feelings, that he wanted me to be blunt and “hit him with a brick.”

So when he sent me that e-mail about NVLD, equating it with Asperger’s, and accusing me of being a “victim,” I decided to honor his wishes and be blunt.  

On Sunday I wrote him an e-mail, and–using Mike’s recommended pattern above–told him I don’t appreciate it and to please stop.

I don’t remember exact wording because I later deleted the e-mail.

But I told him I put a lot of research into NVLD–researched it obsessively for many years, in fact–and to stop acting like he knew better than I did if I had it or not.

I said to stop telling me what to think,

judging me (because of the shy/quiet thing),

trying to change me (from being my own quiet self),

and scolding me for disagreeing with him on things (such as politics or NVLD or food choices).

The anger over these things had been building up for weeks as he kept yelling at me online even when I tried to bring up the problems we were having and how he was making me feel.

Since this was exactly what Richard told me to do, I thought for sure he would write back thanking me for finally “asserting” myself the way he wanted me to.  I thought he would be impressed and respect me. 

I know I felt released and relieved after sending this.

But even though he specifically told me to be blunt, he became furious at my bluntness. 

He denied trying to change me or judging me or calling me a victim or scolding me.  (What do you call saying “I want to strangle you for thinking you have NVLD”?)  

He said I had to get over my hurt feelings–essentially said I had to change my opinions of how he’d been acting–before talking to him again.

He sent an e-mail to Jeff about me “biting hard,” though he didn’t want to “dump” us “as friends,” nor did he want us to “dump” him “as friends.”

Since Richard brought him into this argument, Jeff responded that Richard himself had been “biting hard” of late, and he’d give examples if asked.

Richard responded with an e-mail, dated June 28, 2010, 12:22am, that sounded very much like a threat of assault, highlighted emphasis mine.  A policeman who reviewed it in May 2012, also said it sounded very threatening:

I typed this out three times now, and it would be best if you said to me nothing about your opinion.

I do not want to hit you with a brick the next time I see you, as for some reason I am racing with adrenaline right now like back when I worked for the INS and was ready to open fire on the lineup with rubber rounds.  

I am pumped and psyched out at the moment, ready to fight, verbally and physically.

I have to admit I have not felt this for years, and if could apply it to working out I just might get my metabolism back in line, which would be a good thing.

Problem is I get physically violent easily if triggered.

It’s no excuse and wrong, I admit.  Hence why it would be best if you not say anything.  I am going to jog this off right now.

Cheers!  Contact me this week, and let’s drop the subject.  I cleared it up with Nyssa already anyways.  But you already know.

He hadn’t been so angry in years as he was then?  That seemed ludicrous, considering all the things that happened to make him far angrier in those years than a friend disagreeing with him:

his wife smacking him around,

getting evicted,

wanting to kill the manager for evicting him,

the arguments with Todd.

It was scary.

It was hard to say if he was actually threatening Jeff, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse.

I mean, WHY?  What about what Jeff wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

Richard was incredibly unstable.  Todd also described him later as “unstable.” 

I already knew Richard had a temper problem, but up until now, he kept it in check around me.  Supposedly he was trying to “quell his passions” with the tools of Orthodoxy–but lately, it seemed that his temper and politics had become far more important to him than religion or friendship.

The past few months had shown an entirely different Richard: the old one, the pre-Orthodox one, the agnostic Goth, the Richard who called himself Rlyeh, the one I only heard about in Richard’s stories of his old life. 

I saw Rlyeh once before, maybe 2006, when he decided to stop being Mister Nice Guy and rip into some guys on the Forum, and changed his handle to Rlyeh–but then he turned back into the usual version of himself on the Forum.

However, by this point I had seen several of his online personas:

One, used on Orthodox forums, was pious and gentle.

One, used most often between 2005 and 2009, was middle-of-the-road, charismatic and charming, fun but occasionally biting, sometimes crass, Libertarian, Orthodox, the one I was taken with, the one who seemed larger than life across the Net.

One was a game persona, leader of a certain alliance, of which I was part.

One was purely political, the TEA Partier.

Now in real life he had turned into Rlyeh, the psychopath.

What is this, multiple personalities?  Now Richard was Sybil, too?

The narcissist acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally. This serves to demolish in others their carefully crafted worldview. They become dependent upon the next twist and turn of the narcissist, his inexplicable whims, his outbursts, denial, or smiles.

In other words: the narcissist makes sure that HE is the only stable entity in the lives of others – by shattering the rest of their world through his seemingly insane behaviour. He guarantees his presence in their lives – by destabilising them.

In the absence of a self, there are no likes or dislikes, preferences, predictable behaviour or characteristics. It is not possible to know the narcissist. There is no one there.

The narcissist was conditioned – from an early age of abuse and trauma – to expect the unexpected. His was a world in which (sometimes sadistic) capricious caretakers and peers often behaved arbitrarily. He was trained to deny his True Self and nurture a False one.

Having invented himself, the narcissist sees no problem in re-inventing that which he designed in the first place. The narcissist is his own creator.

Hence his grandiosity.

Moreover, the narcissist is a man for all seasons, forever adaptable, constantly imitating and emulating, a human sponge, a perfect mirror, a chameleon, a non-entity that is, at the same time, all entities combined.

The narcissist is best described by Heidegger’s phrase: “Being and Nothingness”. Into this reflective vacuum, this sucking black hole, the narcissist attracts the Sources of his Narcissistic Supply.

To an observer, the narcissist appears to be fractured or discontinuous.

Pathological narcissism has been compared to the Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly the Multiple Personality Disorder).

By definition, the narcissist has at least two selves, the True and False ones. His personality is very primitive and disorganised.

Living with a narcissist is a nauseating experience not only because of what he is – but because of what he is NOT. He is not a fully formed human – but a dizzyingly kaleidoscopic gallery of ephemeral images, which melt into each other seamlessly. It is incredibly disorienting. —Sam Vaknin

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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