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

 

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