Articles from September 2010

Left Behind: Assassins Review–Part 3

Previous parts

On page 205, we find Rayford and Leah going at it again.  (No, not that it.  Get your mind out of the gutter.)  The sexual tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife as they argue.

And of course, Rayford hates “her tone and her attitude,” as if she were an insolent child, despite realizing that he’s guilty of what she charges: never paying her any mind, even with her injured ribs, until he needs help finding Hattie.

Leah says, “I have been hurt by your avoidance of me, but I also realize that you have suffered many losses, including two wives in three years.”  Could she be adding in her mind, “And I’m about to be the third!”

The funniest bit is Leah saying on page 206: “And you people are so politically correct around here, no one’s even suggested I do anything domestic.”  Politically correct?  Since when are the Tribulation Force politically correct?

Page 209 has yet another of a common problem in these books: conversations which do not advance plot or character in any way, shape or form, leaving you to wonder, WHY did I have to read that?

Then further down on the page is an example of lazy grammar: “It had amazed him how difficult it was to find flights anymore.”  Aagh!  That is NOT how you use “anymore”!

Then we read that “The plague of smoke and fire and sulfur continued to ravage the earth, and virtually every aspect of life was affected.”  It’s about time the loss of billions of people (starting a few years before, no less) began to affect every aspect of life.

On page 236, Leon Fortunato (evil henchman of the Antichrist) says to our Trib Forcer David, about Buck: “You said yourself he was the best journalist in the world.”

Best journalist in the world?  LOL  Well, I suppose it’s possible, now that billions of people have been Raptured or killed since the Rapture, since Buck’s competition is much smaller than it used to be….

On page 237, Rayford is really starting to get on my nerves, doing such things to Bo Hanson (a non-believer) as blackmailing him, and saying “What an idiot” when he sees Bo (who is out of gas) trying to flag down help.  What about the saying of Christ:

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.  And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.  But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22)

Ray gets upset with his new friend T for putting gas in his tank–you know, being kind to his enemy, as Jesus commands–and thinks T is in league with Bo.  So it’s a great relief on page 239 when T calls him out on his actions:

What you’re supposed to think, Ray, is that Bo Hanson is not likely long for this world.  He’s going to die and go to hell just like his buddy Ernie did the other day.  He’s the enemy, sure, but he’s not one of those we treat like scum to make sure they don’t find out who we really are.

He already knows who we are, bro.  We’re the guys who follow Ben-Judah and believe in Jesus.  We don’t buy and sell guys like Bo, Rayford.  We don’t play them, lie to them, cheat them, steal from them, blackmail them.  We love them.  We plead with them.

Bo is dumb enough to have given you what you needed without making him think his ship had come in and then sinking it for him.

I’m not saying I have the answers Ray.  I don’t know how we could have got the information another way, but what you did sure didn’t feel loving and Christian to me.

I’d rather you had bought the information.  Let him be the bad guy.  You were as bad as he was.

Well, I said more than I planned.  You play this one however you want, but keep me out of it from now on.

It’s also a relief to see Rayford repent after T’s scolding.  However, he still is on a self-destructive path of anger, as we shall see.

On page 252, we read about how Dwayne and Tru Tuttle ended up left behind while all their sons were Raptured.  The sons started going to church together, and tried to get Dwayne to join them.  As Dwayne says:

But they gave me a hard time, see?  They were never mean, but they were pushy.  I told ’em it was all right with me, ‘slong as they didn’t expect me to start goin’ to church with ’em.

Had enough of that as a kid, never liked it, bad memories.  Their type a church was better, they said.  I says fine, you go on then but leave me out of it.  They told me their mom’s soul was on my head.

That got me mad, but how do you stay mad at your own flesh and blood when, even if they’re wrong, they’re worried about their mom’s and dad’s souls?…

They kep’ after me. They got their stubbornness from me, after all.  But I was good at it too.  And I never caved.

Sounds like these guys were using the push-and-annoy style of evangelism.  Their type of church is better–than what, exactly?  And–Mom’s soul on Dwayne’s head?  Agh!  That reminds me of the Letter From Hell video.

On pages 262 and 265, the authors indulge the series’ phone fetish some more:

Rayford dug through his bag and used his ultimate phone–Mac’s term for David’s hybrid because it could do anything from anywhere.  The number was ringing when Dwayne noticed the equipment.

“Now that there is what I call a phone!  Uh-huh!  Yes, sir, that is a phone and a half.  I’ll bet that’s got whistles and bells I’ve never even heard of and–”

…Dwayne turned the phone over and over, hefting it in his palm.  “Heavy sucker.  Probably does everything but cook your breakfast, am I right?”

“It’ll even do that, unless you want scrambled.”

“Ha!  Tru, d’you hear that?!  Oh!”  He put his hand over his mouth when he saw his wife was sleeping.  Then he whispered.  “Is this one of them that’ll send or receive from anywhere, all that?”

Rayford nodded.  “Best part is it’s secure.  It uses four different channels a second, so it’s untraceable, untappable.  Lots of goodies.”

Oooh.  When Dwayne turned the phone over and over, hefting it in his palm, I hope he remembered to use lotion.

On page 263, Rayford goes to a guy named Albie, a devout Muslim who was against Carpathia “and one of few Gentile non-Christians who also steadfastly resisted Enigma Babylon One World Faith.”  (Does that mean he’s for Christ since he’s against the Antichrist?  Or is he still going to burn in Hell?)

He provides “anything for a price,” and Rayford wants a weapon.  This is not just any gun, but uses fuel injection and hydraulic vacuum, “propels a projectile at two thousand miles an hour,” 48 caliber, high speed.

A formidable weapon, meant for the Antichrist.  Because Christianity is all about assassinating your enemies.  Oh, wait, that doesn’t sound right….

On page 270, we see more of Buck’s wonderfully persuasive mode of evangelism:

The question now is what you do with what you know?  What do you do with Jesus?  He has staked a claim on your soul.  He wants you, and he has tried everything to convince you of that.

What will it take, Chaim?  Do you need to be trampled by the horses?  Do they need to suffocate you with sulfur, set you afire?  Do you have to be in terror for your life?…

Doctor, let me be clear.  Life will not get easier.  We all missed that bus.  It will get worse for all of us.  But for believers it will be even worse than for unbelievers, because the day is coming—

Sign me up now!  I need a life insurance policy!

Later, Buck says, “Sir, if only I could trade places with you!  Do you not know how we feel about you, how God feels about you?”  Who talks that way, especially in the younger generations of which Buck would be a part?

To be continued….

Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it

I believe Tracy’s husband should have taken swift and decisive action to end her verbal and physical violence at home,

because by staying with her and not forcing her into counseling or some other thing,

he essentially taught her to believe it was okay for her to assault people and expect them to jump to her demands, accept her assaults, and not demand an apology or kindness from her.

That’s part of the trouble with Stockholm Syndrome.  How he can stay with someone who not only verbally but physically abuses him, and claim to still love her, I do not know.

How he could tell me that he deserved the way I saw her treat him during the weeks they lived with us, I do not know.

How he could blame her jealousies and rages on hormones, stress, or whatever, and not walk away, I do not know.

How he could endure all this crap from her, see the crap she threw at me, see what she did to the kids, and still call her “awesome” and “sweet,” baffles my mind.

How can he not be scared of her?  How can he not find her meanness a huge turnoff?  I didn’t even want to be in the same room with her most of the time!  Why would he want to be anywhere near someone like that?

I just don’t understand it, because if a man ever hit me, I’d lose any attraction and love I felt for him, real fast.

I was once with a guy who was emotionally and verbally abusive with the threat of physical abuse to come; we were together for less than a year, and it took only several months afterwards for me to realize he was no good, to move on and find somebody better.

But then, I should take care not to blame the victim, since Stockholm Syndrome is quite common among abuse victims.  Also, men especially have trouble with leaving or reporting abusive women because society, the police and the courts tend not to believe the man is the victim of domestic abuse.

Richard kept telling me how he was trying to get her to stop, how she’d act sorry and talk about changing; he kept telling me it was pregnancy hormones or whatever else was going on with her at the time.

But I saw this cycle going again and again, even when she was not pregnant.

And then for her to treat me like, my wanting to be buddy-buddy with her was a test to prove how trustworthy I was with her husband–it was just ridiculous.

I just don’t understand how Tracy can be so cruel and abusive to another person, then blame that person and shun her at church for ending the friendship.

Or how she can treat it all like it’s all about her and her being offended, when the truth is, Jeff and I both threw up our hands, decided that she and Richard were both being too violent and ridiculous, and apologies were not forthcoming from them, so we had to leave to protect ourselves.

For me it was finally a reason to stop being obliged to hang around with an abuser, someone who bullies everyone around her (except for the ones on her “approved” list) until they either leave or cower in submission.

(Before, our two families were so intertwined that I saw no way to extricate myself from her.  Forget the usual advice to just see your friend without the spouse if you don’t get along: She wouldn’t allow it!)

My husband and I finally decided we were better off being alone and lonely than having ungrateful and unkind friends like these.

I just don’t understand how she can live with herself, let alone take the Eucharist.  You’re supposed to confess at least occasionally–has she confessed these things?

And if so, then why doesn’t she try to make amends with me and be kind instead of carrying on this ostracism of me from her family?

Why doesn’t she come to me and apologize for all the things she’s done? the barbs, the false accusations, the knee-jerking, the ridicule, the ingratitude, the verbal abuse, the threat of physical violence?

I never even got so much as a thank you from her for providing her family with shelter and food despite great inconvenience to us.  I tried so hard to be nice to her, even while breaking off the friendship, but got venom back from her.

I said as little as possible to her during the breakup to try to avoid arguments because I knew I was no match for her abuse, but her angry words just kept coming and coming.

It’s hypocrisy like this that turns people away from the Church, and even I with all my strength of faith have had to struggle to hold onto it–and not abandon the Church completely–while dealing with this.

Richard, after all, had much to do with me finding my way.  He was my spiritual guru, my spiritual idol with clay feet, someone to look up to.  I thought he could show me the way to religious enlightenment.

I thought he was devout, but instead he was violent.  I thought his violence was in the past, tamped down by religion, but it was still there, waiting dormant.  I saw the verbal violence arising in political comments he made on Facebook.

(You’ll note from what happened to Congresswoman Giffords that such political verbal violence leads to crazy people carrying out physical violence.  This article has a disturbing resemblance to Richard drawing a middle finger on a letter he received from our senator Feingold, then returning it to him.  Is that any way for a Christian to act?)

With the way Richard and Tracy both are about politics, actively working with their favored parties, and Richard’s attitudes to the opposition (actually using the word “hate”), and how upset I am at what is going on in Wisconsin since the last election put their people in power–

–how all the things I love about my state government are being yanked away and civility is now dead–

–I think being friends with them now would have been impossible anyway.

I think they would have been unbearable, that they would have looked down on Jeff and me for disagreeing with them, called us “sheeple” and “socialists,” all that crap going around these days which is making me start to look at their parties as the Enemy because they have acted out of anger and set up my side as their Enemy, rather than working together.

The following clip from a website of personal abuse stories, reminds me of Tracy telling me I needed to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings from her verbal abuse (according to her, caused by my behavior), rather than breaking off relations with her, and of Richard telling me that saying little to her was somehow worse than so-called “harsh words”:

After I confronted her about her having no right to lay a hand on me and my fear of what she would do to our future children, she replied, “if you’re going to get your tiny feelings in a bunch over a little slap, you need to keep going to therapy TO WORK ON YOUR PROBLEMS.”

I bet Tracy says this to her children and husband as well when they get zinged by her for stepping out of line.

This sounds very much like how Tracy acted at the end–and Richard was getting this way as well near the end, which is where the problems between him and me started.

I am so fed up with all the cattiness, abuse and bullying Tracy has thrown at me over the years in return for all the ways I’ve helped her and her family (sometimes at great personal trouble).

I am so fed up with how I was expected to just take it and try to befriend her, and if I complained about how she treated me and her husband and children I was a horrible, horrible person who was “biased against” her and didn’t “respect” her and interfered with how she dealt with her husband (because I didn’t think she naturally had the right to treat him like property and act jealous) and was too lax with my son and wanted to steal her husband.  (I have a good one of my own; why would I want hers?)

I tried so hard to quell my resentment, to do nice things for her, to spend every Lenten period trying to forget it and her lack of apologies.

Meanwhile she just kept nursing her grudges and the things I had done that were supposedly so horrible, and saying things to Richard like, “Did you just spend a couple of hours chatting with that woman online?”  (What?  Since when were we not supposed to chat online?)

While blaming me for not being all open and outgoing with her, she kept ignoring the crucial things that would’ve changed everything: her apologies, her changing her own behavior not just with me but with Richard and the children.

I could never be close friends with a child abuser, a spouse abuser, an aggressive person, a mean girl.  Yet Richard complained to me that he couldn’t go get coffee with me, as if it were my fault.  Jeff was very angry with Tracy, and often got annoyed with Richard as well over the whole thing.

Three unexplained incidents happened.  I will present only the facts so you can draw your own conclusions.

The first incident, was the five disappearing e-mails.  We were all on the same forum and I would often send Richard private messages that way, about life or issues or books or movies or whatever.

He hadn’t been on the board for a while, so there were five messages waiting for him from me.  This was in early 2008.

I had gone to visit Richard and Tracy; I told him the e-mails were getting backed up and had been waiting for weeks so please check them.  Tracy was sitting next to him at the time.

A day or two afterward, I went on my account and the e-mails had vanished.  They were not in my sent box.  There was no trace of them in the message tracker, which would tell me if they had been read.  Richard said he never got them.

I feared my account had been hacked, and changed the password.  The owner-administrator, Todd, didn’t know what happened; we figured maybe it was our usual board stalker/troll, who had a bug in his butt about Todd and kept causing trouble.

But this guy would get blamed for everything that went wrong there, and I knew of one case (the forum hack) where he was blamed for something Richard did.

Tracy and Richard were both admins on that board.  Richard never got the messages….From what I recall, the messages were about books and some other things, nothing that would cause a wife alarm.  And I never heard of e-mails or any online communication being forbidden, never had any reason to think this.

The second incident, at the end of May and the beginning of June 2010, which was also right after Memorial Day, when Tracy was snarky with me about my backpack, and then in the following few weeks she continued to be snarky in response to posts I made on Facebook, and also there was lots of drama between her, Richard and the children whenever Jeff and/or I would visit–

All of a sudden, Richard’s Facebook account had blocked me and hers had unfriended me.  I don’t remember if Jeff had been unfriended by her account, but he was not blocked from either.

I kept trying to send her friend requests, but they didn’t seem to be getting through–some weird glitch, I thought, due to Facebook doing a major change in privacy settings.

I’d see “Awaiting Friend Request” keep changing back later on to “Request as Friend.”  So I kept re-sending them.  I certainly had no reason to think she was denying my requests.

Richard told Jeff he certainly wouldn’t have blocked me, and he couldn’t find my account either, so I should look at my account to see if there’s something weird on my privacy settings.

I sent him messages through Jeff’s account, saying that nothing was amiss in my settings.  I also tried setting up a new account with my business e-mail, on June 2, but even then I could see that Richard had an account, but I couldn’t look at his public profile or send him a friend request.

Then a few days later, he discovered he accidentally blocked me somehow, unblocked me, and my latest friend request to Tracy finally resulted in re-friending.  I thought it was because FB changed settings, but I did not have this problem with any of my other FB friends.

The third incident, on September 26, 2010, a few months after the 7/1/10 Incident, my innocent little boy went into Tracy’s cafe on Cafe World on Facebook.  He did stuff to help her out like people can do in their neighbors’ cafes, even after they’ve blocked your account.  (This time, not only was Richard’s account blocked from all three of us, but hers was too for a while.)  The game left traces of my son being there.

The following day, September 27, my son’s account was suddenly shut down.  The message said he was too young, but did not explain how they found out, who told them.  (We kept track of his account, who he friended, his privacy settings, so he was in no danger.  He was there so he wouldn’t keep using his daddy’s account to play Cafe World and the fish game.)

It hurt to hear my little boy cry.  🙁   (I later discovered that this was 6 days after Richard choked his eldest child, and 5 days after that child reported Richard to the police.)

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


Grief over being falsely accused

Losing friends can be particularly difficult for introverts because we don’t surround ourselves with people. We prefer a few intimate friends to lots of less-intense friendships, and deep discussion with one person to a party full of festive chitchat.

For us, losing one good friend can leave a larger hole in our lives than it might for an extrovert with 25 best friends. –Dr. Irene S. Levine, The Inside Scoop on Your Introvert Friends

The really sad thing is all they had to do was apologize.  I already apologized for hurting them because in no way did I mean to hurt anybody by anything.

All I needed from them was to admit to going over the top with the expressions of anger, acknowledge misinterpreting my e-mail, listen to what I really meant by it, admit to having been abusive–and that abuse is never justified, no matter what the offense, whether intentional or not.

I needed Richard to recognize that by throwing me under the bus instead of explaining to Tracy what my e-mail was really all about, he had implicated himself and declared himself guilty–that by demonstrating to her my innocence, he also would’ve demonstrated his own.  

Then we could’ve sat down and talked like adults.  

But because they dug in their heels and justified what they did, and Tracy just kept spewing out more and more abuses at me, the friendship is over.

Even the Bible says to have nothing to do with the unrepentant user or abuser (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).  

There is no way to restore a friendship without mutual forgiveness and apologies, and there cannot and will not be any sort of friendship between us until the abuse stops: the abuse of her husband, the abuse of her children, the abuse of me.

I will not be friends with people who justify abuse of their children.  

I will not be friends with a woman who justifies abuse of her children and of her husband.  

I will not be friends with people who justify bullying not just of children, but of grown adults, to get their way.

This quote sounds exactly like Tracy in our e-mail exchanges during the Incident and a month later on 8/1:

Like many abusers, this woman didn’t even mind it if the things she said made her sound like she had mental problems and I wound up thinking she was just nuts, as long as she could still delude herself into believing that she “won” the argument.

These strategies are referred to as “crazy-making” because they are used to make you think YOU’RE the crazy one.

But they usually have exactly the opposite effect as you start to think the abuser would have to be mentally ill to come up with the wacky, outlandish, completely ridiculous things she says, and to say them with all seriousness.

It is at this point that many victims and bystanders decide that they’re not running a mental institution for abusers, and it’s time to cut bait and to run for the hills.

Although she was attempting to get me to “see things her way”, absolve herself of any wrongdoing, and have me validate and agree with her, what this abuser actually did was to make herself look far worse.

Once the phony mask of righteousness dropped off, no preconceived notion that I may have held about her was anything close to as bad as she really was.

While trying to justify her point of view, she gave away many clues as to her true nature, inadvertently revealing an unloving heart controlled by envy, pride, resentment, bitterness, competitiveness, jealousy, and hostility–and all masquerading in the disguise of a “good Christian woman”. –Rev. Renee, The “Christian” Abuser: Twisting God’s Word to Justify Abuse

It’s so frustrating because they kept pointing to me and saying I needed to respond to Tracy trying to start a conversation with me.  Tracy kept complaining to Richard that I wasn’t responding to her attempts.

But I never noticed her doing it; most of the time she said very little to me.  I kept hearing she felt snubbed; I had no idea when.  Even Jeff never noticed me being rude with her, never noticed her trying to start conversations with me.

It’s especially frustrating because I’ll look over websites on abuse that say, “Abusers will tell you they have no idea what you’re talking about, say the incident never happened.”  But I’m not saying this to be abusive or gaslight anybody!  I truly have no clue what Richard and Tracy are talking about.

So even if we had the “conference” Tracy was asking for, her yelling and screaming at me would have made no difference, because I still would have acted the same–not out of stubbornness, not out of rudeness, not out of a desire to snub her or be unfriendly, but because they treated my pleas as excuses and did absolutely nothing to help me know she was trying to start a conversation with me.

Perhaps I had no idea what to say next: This happens to me quite often when someone speaks to me.  It’s not rudeness: I just have nothing to say.

Maybe I don’t know enough about the subject.  I’ve heard of extroverts or neurotypicals “faking” knowing a subject for the sake of conversation, but I could never do such a thing.  If I don’t know about it, I’m not going to fake it.  I wouldn’t know how to do it even if I wanted to.

But I have no idea if this is it, because I don’t remember her doing anything most of the time that would seem remotely like starting a conversation.

[2014 note to demonstrate this: I had a similar problem at work once.  I was a secretary for an insurance agent, but I was not licensed, so I was not allowed to give advice.

[However, one day my boss complained that I should be giving advice, even “fudging” answers to people who call, like he overheard from the secretaries for the other agents in the building.  This made me extremely uncomfortable, so I didn’t do it.

[Not only was this illegal, as I later learned, but it was impossible for me to do this.  Not only do I resist lying, which this would feel like, but it’s neurologically impossible for me to “fudge” answers I do not have.]

All Tracy’s badgering, all this hearing long after the fact that I’ve somehow annoyed her but having no idea when or where, all her punishing me for something I couldn’t notice or do anything about–It made me loathe her.

Richard complained, during our arguments in June 2010, that I told him about things I had trouble with long after they happened, so he couldn’t remember them.

This complaint baffled me.  I told him my problems with him, right away.  I only waited once, and only because I had to resolve within myself whether I was the one with the problem before bringing it up.  I had to see if it happened more than once, while normally I would try to bring up a problem as soon as possible.

But Richard and Tracy constantly waited till long after the “offense.”  Tracy kept quiet until July/August 2010, then came out with it–but I already heard it all from Richard and stopped what she hated a year or two previous, so I don’t know what the point was of rehashing it.

While Richard kept scolding me for some way I “snubbed” Tracy long after it happened, so I could remember none of it.  It was very hypocritical of him, obvious projection of their problem onto me.  

All I knew was that I had not snubbed her on purpose.  Heck, I see websites on how to spot a liar that say a liar uses too many words, saying “honestly” or “truly,” etc.  But I use many words here and other places to explain myself, not to be deceitful, but because I’m trying to make a person understand that I am telling the truth.

Many of the tips on spotting liars actually pinpoint behaviors that people with NLD and Asperger’s do naturally that have nothing to do with deceit, such as using a lot of words, not making eye contact, twitching, etc.

I can certainly tell you that I have always had a lot of trouble with eye contact.  It’s taken a lot of time and work to get to the point of being able to look someone in the eye while they talk to me.

And still it feels far more comfortable to look away.  It’s far less distracting from their words, if I don’t have to keep thinking, “Now look in the eyes, but not too long or they’ll think you’re staring.  What is that on his face?”

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


Left Behind: Assassins Review–Part 2

Part One

On page 168, I’m troubled by Charismatic ideas, and clichéd phrases: Tsion feels that “the Lord suddenly impressed deeply upon my heart that I should pray for someone in danger.”

Any such talk of “impressions” immediately makes alarm bells go off in my head, after the time I spent deceived by Charismatic ideas.

Then we read Rayford’s two prayers, which contain the clichés “I covet him for the kingdom,” “I agree with my brother in prayer” and “your supernatural hedge of protection.”  Do we really need to read these prayers?

By page 170, the spirit steeds have been killing for some time now, snorting the plagues of smoke, fire and sulfur which are poisoning many.  We read,

In their wake, the leonine steeds left bodies.  Some jerked spastically before freezing in macabre repose.  Others writhed ablaze until death brought relief.  Or so they thought, Mac mused.  In truth, the victims passed from one flame to another….

Even from behind and far away, Mac found the horsemen and their mounts dreadful.  They hovered inches off the ground but galloped, trotted, stepped, and reared like physical horses.  Their riders urged them on, stampeding people, buildings, vehicles, wreaking destruction.

I’m getting tired of reading about all the death and destruction.  Yet on page 167, our heroes Mac and Abdullah (two believers in the Tribulation Force) hope the horses stick around long enough for Mac to see them.

Earlier, we learned that Christians who did not believe in the Rapture ended up in the One World Faith.  Now, on page 172, we learn from Tsion’s latest Web posting that

While many have come to faith after being convinced by that horrible judgment [the demon locusts], most have become even more set in their ways.

It should have been obvious to the leader of the Enigma Babylon One World Faith that devotees of that religion suffered everywhere in the world.  But we followers of Christ, the so-called dissidents–enemies of tolerance and inclusion–were spared.

On pages 173 and 174, we see that the symbolism of Babylon in the ancient prophecies has been lost on the authors, who take it as the literal geographical Babylon.  However, Babylon was a ruined city long before Revelations was even written, and it was likely a veiled reference to the Roman Empire.

Pages 174 to 175 make you wonder how on earth the world survived before the Christian era, how any societies managed to keep law and order.  Apparently, the loss of all the premillennial dispensationalist Christians will lead to unbelievers who

will insist on continuing worshiping [sic] idols and demons, and engaging in murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft.  Even the Global Community’s own news operations report that murder and theft are on the rise.  As for idol and demon worship, sorcery, and illicit sex, these are actually applauded in the new tolerant society.

It seems that no other religion is capable of keeping such things in check, not even Judaism or Islam.  Or any of the multitudes of religions which teach its adherents to be kind to others.  I can just see that: sorcery, idols and illicit sex rampant in Saudi Arabia.  Or Buddhists turning into raping, killing machines.

On page 176, Tsion says, “If you think it is bad now with millions having disappeared in the Rapture, children gone, services and conveniences affected, try to fathom life with half of all civil servants gone.”  What services and conveniences are affected?  He still has electricity to post his blogs, there are still hospitals, grocery stores….

Ending his blog, he writes,

I would not want to be here without knowing God was with me, that I was on the side of good rather than evil, and that in the end, we win.  Pray right now.  Tell God you recognize your sin and need forgiveness and a Savior.  Receive Christ today, and join the great family of God.

Receive Christ today or you will die horribly!

On page 179, we meet Dwayne Tuttle, a Christian–er, Tribulation Saint–pilot who briefly confronts Fortunato.

Mac had called for a Mayday after an assassination attempt, to which Dwayne responded; Abdullah and Fortunato are with Mac.  Dwayne makes it clear that he believes Nicolae to be the Antichrist.

He says to Fortunato, “But I don’t mind tellin’ ya, I feel like I’m aidin’ and abettin’ the enemy.  Personally, I’d leave you to die, but God’s gonna get you in the end anyway.  Read the Book.  We win.”  Later on, he says, “Much as I’d like to kill a couple of your staff, I promise I won’t.”

???  What happened to helping and loving your enemy? the Good Samaritan?

On page 187, Buck needs a new identity to help him travel to Israel without getting caught by Global Community forces.  So he goes to see Z, who has been helping local Christians get fake IDs.

Z has a file full of information on various people who are now dead.  He finds this information by sneaking off with the wallets of people killed by the “smoking horses,” before GC gets to them.  Vultures!  And what does he do with the money and credit cards?

On page 197, Chloe tells Rayford, “[The Tuttles are] going to handle a huge South Sea area for us.  That they were close enough to hear Mac’s Mayday is nothing short of a miracle.”

Rayford replies, “It’s a contact straight from God.”

Yep, deus ex machina for sure.  Which works great in real life, but strains believability in fiction.  Unless, of course, it’s an ancient Greek play.  (Actually, even then it got critics.)

On page 203, we finally begin to see more of what’s in the Antichrist’s head–not just manipulative strategies, but his connection to Satan–as he prays,

O Lucifer, son of the morning!  I have worshiped you since childhood.  How grateful I am for the creativity you imbue, O lion of glory, angel of light. I  praise you for imaginative ideas that never cease to amaze me.

You have given me the nations!  You have promised that I shall ascend into heaven with you, that we will exalt our thrones above the stars of God.  I rest in your promise that I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.  I will be like the Most High.

I shall do all your bidding so I may claim your promise to rule the universe by your side.  You have chosen me and allowed me to make the earth tremble and to shake kingdoms.  Your glory will be my glory, and like unto you, I will never die.  I eagerly await the day when I may make plain your power and majesty.

Okay–either he’s reading a scripted prayer such as you might find in a prayer book for Satan worshippers, or he’s speaking this way off the cuff.  And who the heck talks like that these days?  Apparently Satan’s minions speak just as stiltedly as the Christians–er, I mean, Tribulation Saints–in these books.

To be continued.

Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason

[Written 1/27/14-4/17/14:]

For a long time after the breakup, I was a shadow of myself: often crying, barely sleeping, doing my daily chores/church like an automaton.

Something about Saturday and going to the store brought on the tears before I could even get back home, then after putting things away, I’d escape and weep in my room.

In the middle of the night, I’d leave my bed to sob where no one could hear me.

When I could sleep, I’d dream that everything was resolved–then wake to find it wasn’t true.  I kept longing for the phone to ring with their apologies.  I prayed every day that they would repent and reconcile with us.

I asked the Theotokos and Richard’s patron saint for help.  I asked my son to pray for reconciliation.

I posted on Orthodox forums about this, asking for prayer and help figuring out how this could happen, help with dealing with it.

Once, shortly after the breakup, my son told me Richard had called.  I was shocked–but soon discovered he was mistaken.  It was either Jeff or some other guy leaving a message, but wasn’t Richard.

It wasn’t Tracy I missed at all, but Richard, though I did want her to be sorry for her unconscionable raging and bullying, and stop falsely accusing me.

I was furious with her, but not at all sad to lose her.  It was, in fact, a huge relief to finally dump this crazy lady out of my life, no longer have to deal with her or see her on my Facebook wall.

If it were just her I lost, I’d be ecstatic.

But it was also Richard and the children: Them I missed.  They were the reason I even tried to make things up.  Without them, I wouldn’t have bothered.

In fact, after spending the month of July not having to deal with her at all, trying to deal with her in August felt like I had finally dropped a mountain off my back, rested and gotten used to the freedom of not having it there anymore, then took it back up again.

This was one reason why I asked for a six-month break, because I missed the freedom of her not being around, and could see a huge difference in my mood.

I could also see a huge difference between her last Facebook message, which showed up on my list of messages, and other messages above it from other friends.  Hers was so nasty, while theirs were so cheerful and friendly.

I would do nothing intentionally, especially not with a young child depending on me.  But I longed to get into an accident or find out I had some terminal illness, so I would die and the pain would cease.

The only way I could get through the day was to do housework and take care of my son.  There were also some people I could hang out with at school when I went to drop him off/pick him up.

When he had a T-ball game, I went, but just sitting there with little to occupy my mind was torment.

And being an introvert, it was impossible to get away from my thoughts for any length of time, no matter what I did: TV, chores, the daily trek to the school (a mile and a quarter, always on foot because I don’t have a car and don’t drive).

I avoided anything and everything that reminded me of Richard: Cthulhu, the music he liked, anything Goth because he’s a Goth, the songs that reminded me of him, Lord of the Rings (he was my Frodo)….

I could not avoid church or Orthodoxy without spiritual and household disruption, but I scaled back on my fervor because I just could not bear it.

All I could hear during services was Richard’s voice in my head, telling me over the phone of the church’s “mysteries.”  I could barely get through a service without tearing up.

Even an ode to friendship made me sad.  Or anything having to do with marriage, because jealousy caused the breakup.  In fact, I felt just like Stan in the You’re Getting Old episode of South Park, which aired on June 8, 2011.

I didn’t mind making new friends and re-connecting with old ones, but I wanted Richard back along with them.  Otherwise, everything just felt empty.  There was a Richard-shaped hole in my heart.

I felt lost and alone.  I was devastated; nothing could make me happy; I was torn to pieces, and questioning everything about myself and about our decision to end the friendship.

I’d read about Orthodox forgiveness, and it sounded like I was supposed to repent and beg for forgiveness even though I had done nothing wrong, even though it’s very wrong to require the victim of abuse to debase herself to her abuser.

Then there were the tracks: The train that kept running around and around in my head, constantly tormenting me as my mind tried to figure out what happened and who was to blame, what I should do, was I really a whore.

Everything I saw, everything I did, every movie, every song, even my faith, reminded me of Richard or of Tracy’s accusations, so I could not get away from them.

The slightest trigger sent my brain into a constant spinning of wheels, like a mechanized track it had to follow until it worked its way back out again to a conclusion: I had to remember, ponder, figure out.

Then I’d get a question all sorted out as I remembered everything that happened–but some snatch of conversation, a situation on a comedy, a letter to an advice columnist, or just a memory or song–and off the train went again on its track, around and around, never stopping.

I think it took about a year for these tracks to stop, probably around the time I finished writing my account in this web book of what happened, and could just re-read it if I started on a track again.  The process of writing and revision took from late 2010 to May 2012.

I felt like I did not deserve friendship, was not worthy of happiness, until Richard and Tracy forgave me and snatched me off the track.

I trusted only the people I already knew, constantly afraid to make new friends, because they might turn out to be just like Tracy, or rip out my heart as Richard did.

I feared what people must think of me, because Richard and Tracy had so bullied me for being shy and quiet that I now felt like everyone must be judging me and secretly cruel.

I feared that I’d make new friends, only to find that they were also narcissists, also abusive, and all my sweet new memories with them would turn sour just as they did with Richard.

I feared that old friends would turn out to be narcissists after all these years.

In short, I was scared of people.

I even had terrible migraines that didn’t go away.

As they say, I felt like the life had been sucked out of me and nothing was left to keep me going.  And it wasn’t just because of him, since I had two narcissists preying on me, him and Tracy.  It’s no wonder I was still processing it two years later.

I could not stop talking about the situation with a few of my friends.

In fear and anxiety, I kept looking for Richard and Tracy’s van or Tracy’s work car on the street or in parking lots.  I did see them occasionally, because they lived nearby and the Republican party headquarters was on one of the main arteries.

I could barely stand to hear political talk, especially from the TEA, GOP, Libertarian or Anarchist parties.

All that extreme right-wing foaming-at-the-mouth deceitful rhetoric and hysteria I’d been hearing lately from Richard, was filling the airwaves and reminding me of Richard, constantly.

It also reminded me of Tracy, who worked for the Republican Party, as I remembered her gleefully thinking that Global Warming had been proven wrong.

(Say what?  Um, no.  Global Warming is very real.  Anything that says it is not, is fake science meant to delude people, so businesses don’t get regulated into more environmentally friendly practices.  Meanwhile, the human race gets more and more at risk as people deny the truth and refuse to change their ways.)

The lying crap coming out of the Republican Party made me sick.  (It still does, especially after digging to find it all goes back to wealthy industrialists trying to make more money for themselves.)

I used to be fine with the Republican Party, but the influence of the TEA Party and the GOP’s tendency to go along with Bush’s atrocities, made it unconscionable for me to have anything more to do with it.

Even our local Republican congressman, who’s been in office about as long as I’ve been alive, is now being called too “moderate,” with people in his own party planning to run against him as being more appropriately “conservative.”

The only relief I had was to flee to the Democratic Party, and watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert every night.  Our boys, at least, could refresh my politics-weary spirit with humor by skewering and laying bare the bullsh** that was coming out of the TEA Party and the GOP.

But still, every time I heard yet another Republican or TEA Party lie, it reminded me of Richard and Tracy and all their lies and abuse.

I know some of my readers will disagree with me on the politics, but in my mind it all went together with Richard and Tracy’s abuse of me and their children.  It seemed that the right-wing parties and Richard/Tracy had somehow merged and become the same:

The right-wing parties began saying that compromise is wrong, began calling the other side morons; Richard and Tracy did the same thing both politically and personally.

As the right-wing became more and more entrenched in refusing to give even an inch to the left-wing, Richard and Tracy refused to even remotely consider that they did anything wrong with Jeff and me.

As the right-wing started railing against things like food stamps, CPS or the growth of non-violent parenting, Richard and Tracy did the same.

As the right wing told lies about the left wing to sway the public, Richard and Tracy told lies–about Todd, then about me–to justify their abuse.

So fighting the right-wing became, to me, the same as fighting Richard/Tracy and all they believed in, because their attitudes on behavior, politics, childrearing, all came straight from the Evil One.  So it became the right thing to do.

…These many things fit many of the traits for PTSD.

Also, I have already written here and here about my lifelong struggle, as an NVLDer and introvert, to fit in and make friends.

I have also discovered, through various conversations with other “outsiders” and even a whole forum thread on the Web, that the town I moved to in 1995 (to be with Jeff) is very closed-off to new people.

Many in that thread disagreed, and gave their own experiences, which is okay.  But the ones who posted insults and diatribes against the outsiders, whom they don’t even know, accusing them of being the problem–I think I found the real source of the trouble!

Another thread is here, not just about that town but about the area and small towns in general.

Somebody on another thread wrote,

Some magazine even listed it as one of the toughest places to fit in in America.  Now, I don’t go out and try too hard to make friends.  But the fact I didn’t make one friend while I was here should tell you something.  There is a reason every outsider hates this town.  It is one of the most unwelcoming unfriendly places anywhere….

Making friends and connections is da*n near impossible.  These people will shut you out and do so fairly easily.  Trying to network with people about any thing is a total hassle.

I disagree with those who think the people are deliberately unfriendly or mean: I think it’s more of a cultural thing, the Upper Midwest combined with German ancestry.  The way people describe it on these forums, it sounds much like a cultural introversion.

People are nice and helpful here, not mean or nasty.  (If they were mean, it wouldn’t hurt so much to be alone.)

And I am married with a child, so I’m not sitting all alone in an empty house on New Year’s, so I don’t have that added incentive.  And I do have the introvert’s tendency to forget to reach out with invitations.  But it would be nice to get invitations from others, too.

As it has been explained to me and also on this forum thread, it’s a small city, everybody already knows everybody, their family is here, their BFFs from high school are all here.

They don’t mean to, but their lives are so full of friends and family that they don’t think to include the newcomer in their social plans.

I also don’t like bars, football or alcohol, so that cuts off a huge swath of social opportunity.  One person told me that she had to make friends with another newcomer like her!

My husband, who came here for work, has the exact same problem I do, and he talks more easily and is more extroverted.

I’ve tried to make friends, only they would make social plans right in front of me and not even ask if I wanted to join in.  I see people post on Facebook about get-togethers, and think, “Why didn’t they invite me?”

I’d change churches or jobs, and feel like the people I knew there, dropped off the face of the earth.

Sure we have Wisconsin friends, good friends, made through college and the SCA, but they live so far away that–especially with work schedules and children–it’s a hassle to get together often.

So after the breakup, when people tried to cheer me up with, “You’ll make new friends soon,” I’d think, “Yeah right!  I’m going to die alone because the only friends I could make in this town were outsiders I had to pull in myself, and they turned out to be narcissistic abusers who were only using me!”

Not only that, but how do you just go out and replace a five-year close friendship, and the depth of emotional intimacy, sharing and caring that goes along with that?

I did try to reach out more through Facebook, where I re-connected with some local people I’d lost touch with over the years.  But again, the same problem arises: You’re not part of the high school circle or family, so they keep forgetting you’re there other than to invite you to big parties full of strangers.

And you enjoy the parties, but you’d like to be the one they call when their car breaks down or somebody goes to the hospital or they need to vent about a problem.  But they have 10 other people to call, family or friends they’ve known for 30 or 40 years.

Richard inspired me to talk and keep talking, which is hard for me except with certain people.  Some of my old friends I can talk to like this; for some others, it’s hard.  This made his loss especially acute.

For years I’d missed having a confidante in my town (other than my husband); then I finally had one, had a social life like other people; then it was all ripped away again.

I’ve joined a writer’s club, so hopefully things will get better.  And I have other friends in other cities who have the same problem: Sharon, who’s lived in the same city her whole life but is an introvert, and Mike, an outgoing extrovert who keeps moving as a preacher, but finds it easier in some places and harder in others to make 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