On April 26, 2010, I posted on my Facebook, “is shaking her head in amazement at some of the conspiracy theories she’s running across lately….”

Richard replied, “If you look for them you will find them.  Any reason you are looking for conspiracy theories?”

I wrote to my husband, “Since he was the reason–I saw on his wall that he’s into a couple of howlers these days–I didn’t reply.  lol”

Then I wrote to Richard, “You don’t even have to look for them to find them.  I see them just reading my FB news feeds.  😉  ”

Then I wrote to Jeff:

He sent me an e-mail saying I might be interested in a certain website.  I went to it; it was your typical nutjob website, explaining that whole thing about the military vs. civil flags.  I wrote back not to put any stock in it, and showed how just a few minutes of digging refuted it.

Then I saw–either on his wall or in my news feed–that he had joined a FB group that refuses to pledge allegiance to the flag.  Wondering why the heck anyone outside Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jihaders would do that, I checked out the group.

I saw the flag website posted there, along with another website telling how the pledge was written by an evil Nazi socialist who had people seig-heiling to the flag and that’s where the Nazis got it.

Just two minutes of Googling brought up a page which simply described the life of the writer: He was a Christian socialist, decades before the Nazis came to power, who loved his country, and he got the so-called seig-heiling from the same place the Nazis did: the Roman Empire.  Apparently lots of countries did it back then.

Like the swastika, lots of people used it until WWII and the Nazis made them into symbols of hatred.  Then they were dropped in favor of other things; in the pledge’s case, putting your hand over your heart.

Two wacky conspiracy theories that get me shaking my head at why anybody comes up with these things–unless, of course, they hate our country. It sounds like the sort of thing an enemy of the US would come up with to rally the suicide bombers.

I noted that the friends Richard was still kind to, that the other people on his Facebook, that the new BFF who seemed to have taken my place in Richard’s heart (Chris), were political conservatives.

They could be sexual harassers and abusers like the filthy creeps in the IRC chatroom, and harass the person who had done his family so much good, given them money, given them a place to stay, given them food, given them other stuff they needed, listened to and sympathized with all his troubles–and he would still be better friends with the creeps on IRC because they vote conservative!

It was quite all right to abuse and bully that same friend who did so much for them, because she sympathizes with liberals on many things, because she does not think socialism is inherently evil, because she thinks anarchy is dangerous, because she looks on the TEA Party with distrust, because she does not think unions are the Antichrist, because she does not like guns or believe in spanking kids so hard it hurts.

It’s disgusting.

I also notice, from the arguments of various conservatives during the current political climate of 2010-2011, that they’ve begun calling people “victims” for looking at where the problems came from and saying that what’s going on is not right.

It sounds remarkably like Richard calling me a “victim” for believing NLD is the source of my social, driving, athletic and other issues!  (More on this later in the chapter.)

Many months earlier, Richard told me that he hates Democrats.  He also grumbled about compromise and ethics as if these virtues were somehow vices.

I tried to tell him that many Democrats are God-fearing people, including a friend of mine who is a very conservative Christian–but that didn’t sway him.  He said after the 2008 election that he didn’t want to hear about anybody voting Democrat, and made noise about voting to kill babies.

It’s ridiculous to vote against one party for one issue, and vote for a party which allows all sorts of oppression against the poor through letting corporations do whatever they like to make a profit.

I had been an Independent for as long as he knew me, with Democratic leanings on some things and Republican on others.

I suppose if our friendship had lasted beyond July 2010 and into the crazyness of 2011 politics in Wisconsin, when Republicans seemed to declare outright war on the Democrats, it still would have ended, because he and Tracy would have been on the side of the TEA Party and the crappy things the Republicans were pulling, while I would have become a Democrat.

Which would mean, to him, that I was somehow voting for killing babies and removing freedoms, when to me it was about voting for the poor and disadvantaged.

You know, people like him.  I voted Democrat to help people like him in a much larger fashion than I could help one such person (or family) at a time.

I wondered how he could be so hateful toward the police and toward political opponents.  I wondered how he could reconcile this with his religious beliefs–

and noticed that he rarely discussed religion with me anymore.

Whenever he called, he kept talking politics with me.  And he began calling less and less, except when he wanted something.

I missed my religious friend.  We were both on the same religious forum online, but he seemed to be using it for political arguments nowadays; he hadn’t even been on it for a year, according to his profile, which tracks such things.

Some post or profile he had somewhere–probably on Facebook or Todd’s Forum, where Richard returned for a time early in 2010–stated that he was taking college courses, but they seemed to contradict his claim that he was heading for the priesthood.

You see, he told me he still wanted to do that, but why would he need to major in Business to be a priest?

He told me he was majoring in Psychology as a precursor to seminary.  The profile said he was also majoring in Business.

I asked Jeff about this, and it was very confusing to both of us.

He also was telling me so little about his life now, that it seemed I had to find things out via Facebook or forum posts or IRC posts to other people–and what he said would surprise me.

One day in late 2009, on IRC I asked him how things were, he said he didn’t want to talk about it, then I went away for a bit with the IRC window still open.

I came back, scrolled back over what had gone on while I was away from the keyboard–and discovered something quite shocking and devastating was happening to his family.

Something he told these people on IRC, whom he possibly had never even met in person–

but not to me, his devoted friend, who was right here in town and–as it turned out–was able to help him and stop the devastating thing from happening.

Basically, I started to get a strong impression that I just didn’t know the guy anymore, if I ever really had, despite all the long, revealing conversations we used to have about our lives and opinions.  

Strange or shocking things he said to me over time, and things he said to others online, began to reveal a huge disconnect between who I thought he was and who he really was.

It seemed like he wasn’t telling me anything at all about his life anymore, his opinions, anything.

While I kept sending him long e-mails about my own life, things that were going on, funny stories, my hopes, my dreams, my past, church, my opinions on religion and movies and such….

We used to talk all the time about all sorts of things, and he told me all about his life and opinions and such.  You know, like any intimate friendship or family relationship.

Now we were talking about very little.  I didn’t even see him on Facebook chat or IRC, when I used to see him there all the time.

He didn’t call anymore, except when he wanted something; if I answered the phone, he might chat with me for a few minutes, then ask if we could babysit the kids tonight or bring over a cat carrier….

But Richard’s increasing distance was not the only problem.  Tracy was also acting jealous again, just out of nowhere, for no reason:

She ranted and raved at me publicly on Facebook in early June 2010 in a jealous rage because I posted to them, “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!”

She posted that they hoped to visit their former state in September, if they could get the money together.  She made no mention of how long it would be.  It would either be all of them, she said, or Richard and the kids.

So I posted, word for word, making no mention of whom I meant, just meaning it generally, “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!”

I expected an “oh, how sweet!” in reply from one or both of them.

Richard posted, “Um, it’s only for a week,” which I thought was not only a strange and disappointing reply from my BFF, but rather rude.

Especially considering that these were close friends we saw all the time either in person or online, not distant friends living in some other city or state whom we were used to not seeing, a week could seem like a long time.  So I wrote, “What difference does that make?  🙂  ”

Which doesn’t seem like a terrible thing to post.  Or even at all odd.

But then Tracy started scolding me in a wall-o-text diatribe for “making a fuss” over a “man going on vacation with his family for a week,” saying you make fusses over missions trips, other long trips, etc., but not over that!

Wait–WUT?

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY INSANE.  TRACY, CRAP LIKE THIS–

TAKING A COMMON PLEASANTRY AND TWISTING IT INTO A DIRTY PASS AT YOUR HUSBAND–

CHEWING SOMEBODY OUT FOR WISHING YOU A FUN TRIP–

IS WHY I CONSIDER YOU CRAZY.

Especially after finding the same wording used on sites supporting victims of abuse.

Shrink4Men calls an abusive woman “the crazy.”  For example, Crazy B**ch the Musical! The Abusive Woman’s Script and Why She Won’t be Different with the Next Guy.  Words like “crazy” and “deranged” are used quite a bit on that site and others to describe abusers.

This is how we victims of our Cluster B abusers, look on our abusers.  If you don’t want us to call you deranged, then don’t act deranged.

But back to the story.

I, who got off Facebook before she replied, was completely oblivious, expecting my comment to be happily received by Richard and Tracy.

I was watching TV when Jeff told me she snarked at me and he stuck up for me.

Before I saw it, I thought for sure she was just making some tongue-in-cheek joke, because that’s the only thing that made sense.

But when I read it, it was so ridiculous and possessive and obviously not a joke that I–rather than post right there publicly what I really wanted to say, and bring on more trouble–removed my pleasant well-wishes from the thread completely.

Jeff stuck up for me, posting, “But we make a fuss over you guys all the time!”

I wanted to say, “Fine, have a terrible time, then.  See if I care!”  But I figured that wouldn’t be a good idea….

Meanwhile, I saw another friend on Facebook post on another friend’s wall, “I’ll miss you dearly [on your week-long trip].  Have fun!”  And the friend responded, “Aw, how sweet!”  GAH!  I KNEW I DID NOTHING WRONG OR UNUSUAL!

Tracy’s behavior was just so BIZARRE. 

With this combined with all the other rages she kept flying into around that time, was she going off the deep end? 

It seemed that with both her and Richard, I was dealing with a couple of nutcases, Richard politically and her emotionally. 

It drove me crazy, and now both of them were snarking at me and bullying me so much online and off that I didn’t know what the heck was going on.

Richard kept telling me how I should live my life, so I identified with this June 1 letter to Annie’s Mailbox:

Dear Annie: Why do people feel the need to offer advice that is unsolicited and unwanted? Isn’t that completely out of line?

A friend of mine sends me e-mails telling me that nearly everything I do is wrong. I have not asked this person for their opinion.

I am not hurting or offending anyone, and I do not welcome the criticism or want her input.  Ultimately, it is insulting. Why does she know better than I do? — Ft. Wayne, Ind.

In the comments on Annie’s Mailbox webpage, you may note that one person said, When a friendship is harder to maintain than a marriage, it’s time to let it go.  That comment resonated in my head after I read it that day.

I posted on June 13 that my church was doing GreekFest, and

I do have some raffle tickets; unfortunately, because of the post office’s crackdown on a federal law nobody knew about, I can’t send them (or collect money) through the mail. So if anybody wants them, we’ll have to meet up in person.

Tracy replied as if we were morons, poking fun at us for not knowing about this, because the Post Office had been publishing this information on the radio for weeks.

???

Aaaaaaaand…..we’ve known about it for weeks.  The Post Office informed us directly, as it did every other fundraising organization in town, since for decades nobody in town ever heard of this law.  Even the Post Office was not aware of it until now, but sent out letters as soon as they found out.  Your point???

How on earth did her comment even logically relate to what I wrote?  Nowhere did I say that my church only just learned about this today, because it wasn’t true at all.  I merely said nobody (meaning, nobody in the entire town) knew about this before.  As in, during past raffles. 

Is she just reading crap in wherever she wants to so she can make a snark, even when it is totally unrelated to facts or anything a person even said?

It’s also kind of weird because Fond du Lac has no decent radio stations for the under-50 set.  I don’t listen to local stations at all.  It seemed like her snark was mostly directed at me, so–

You can’t expect to reach everybody simply through radio, and it’s pretty stupid to treat someone like an idiot for not hearing ads on stations she never listens to.

I deleted her post, because if she was going to delete my well-meaning posts on her page, which she kept doing, I was going to delete her snarks from mine.

Also, I decided to refrain from posting ANYTHING to her wall–whether replies to posts, “likes,” or anything at all–if she was going to respond to everything I wrote with snarks, no matter what I said or what the subject.

Richard had been posting very insulting messages to me on political posts, as well:

On June 7, I complained on Facebook that I discovered the school sprayed its lawn with pesticide the same day all the kids had a festival outside.  My son told me they were on the grass there at the school.

When a lawn is sprayed, you always see warning flags to stay off it, because it’s toxic.  If it weren’t toxic, there wouldn’t be flags telling you to stay off it. 

And there were flags on the school grounds.

Also, when my condo association sprays our lawns, they send out notes to warn us to keep kids and pets off the grass.  Because it’s POISON.

Other people reacted the same way I did.

Tracy’s response seemed condescending, but surprisingly helpful, and for once Richard’s was worse.

Richard was very condescending, as if talking to an idiot, such as, “I smell paranoia?” and talking down to me, then taking things into his own hands, saying he’d do something I obviously hadn’t done, and calling the school about it.

I resented him pushing himself in like that.

As it turned out, the school said the kids were not on the grass, though this contradicted my son, so I’m not sure who to believe.  Tracy said the school would’ve used a nontoxic kind.  I never heard of a nontoxic pesticide.  Okay, this may be true.

But the condescending and snarky tones they both took with me in response, rather than behaving as FRIENDS would by kindly reassuring me and calming me down, were absolutely insulting.

Also, Richard made comments about dandelions being worse than pesticides, something about splitting a garage floor–even though nobody used pesticides when I was a kid, and people survived. 

I am against pesticides, because dandelions are useful and nutritious herbs, NOT WEEDS,

while pesticides are making lawns more dangerous and hurting the ecosystem.

Seriously, bees are DYING OFF because of this crap.  Monarch butterflies are DYING OFF.  And I can’t let my kid or cat play on my lawn when the condo association sprays it.

Richard could’ve been a lot nicer about it than he was, being reassuring rather than condescending and insulting.  I deleted that entire post.

I was appalled at how they were now both treating me.  

These things also showed, when Jeff and I looked back in July, that it didn’t matter what I did, that Tracy was just looking for an opportunity to go off on me.  

If the 7/1/10 “incident” didn’t happen, something else would eventually have set off her verbal abuse.

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