Month: September 2010

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

 

Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse

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.

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

Schumacher cites the rapid phases this kind of woman goes through when she’s not getting her way or feels she’s losing control. For example, when you challenge her or threaten to end the relationship, she probably exhibits the following emotional states in quick succession:

  1. Angry and agitated. (You’re treated to a rage episode and/or nasty commentary, blame and accusations.)
  2. Panicky and apprehensive. (She exposes fleeting vulnerability as she tries to “feel you out” in order to see how and if she can regain control. She may worry that she’s gone too far and is testing the waters before gearing up for another control maneuver.)
  3. Agitated and threatening. (Because anxiety is ego dystonic–i.e., painfully uncomfortable–she quickly reverts to form and begins to bully you and issue ultimatums and threats of punishment.)
  4. Depression and despair. (When all else fails, she becomes sullen and withdrawn and suffers a temporary identity crisis.)

At the very least, I know she was going through phases 1 and 3.

From Forcing Submission on the blog Narcissists Suck:

All narcissists do this in one way or another: they don’t merely abuse, they FORCE SUBMISSION TO ABUSE. This makes them God, whose punishing wounds we are to shamefully accept as our fault.

We are not to resist: we are to simply hang our heads as deserving of them…   What Makes Narcissists Tick pgs. 104-105

Notice that what is required for this to work is for the narcissist to completely disarm their victims. No right to self-defense is allowed!

This is what they must strip you of first before they can go on to pretend that you are submitting to them of your own free will. Like they deserve such submission and like you’ve freely given it.

…Knowing that a narcissist is driven by their need for power over others, and knowing they are always in search of this headiest drug which is absolute power over others, then you’ll also be aware that they must force your submission in order to feel powerful over you.

All this leads straight to the fact that a narcissist must deprive you of your right to defend yourself to accomplish this.

They will always do this by fraud, lies, and threats. They will bring in their proxies [Richard] to help them get you to submit to that which no one should ever have to submit to.

They want to be able to pretend that your forced submission is a real submission…and this can only be done if they successfully deprive you of your ability to defend yourself.

Can you see how incredibly important it is to be fully aware of your right to NOT submit to abuse? I am convinced that no one breaks free of the power of a narcissist over them until they are able to claim for themselves the right to self-defense.

…It is important to mention here one very tricky sleight-of-hand that a narcissist does to disarm someone from self-defense. This is accomplished by intentionally mislabeling your defensive behaviors as being “retribution” or “vengeance”.

They accuse you of hurting them. They pretend to know your motives and lay the accusation that any efforts you make to defend yourself are actually coming from your desire to hurt them.

If they can convince you that you are being vengeful, or at least if they can convince you that others see you as being vengeful, then they can shut you down. Force your submission once again.

This happens very often when a victim of a narcissist goes into no contact. The pious howling of the narcissist contends that your cutting them off is itself abusive and is therefore coming from a spirit of malice and revenge on your part.

Your act of “no contact”, which is as mild and non-reproachful of a way of dealing with a serial abuser that there is, becomes conflated to be proof of your cruelty, malice, and vengeance.

Don’t fall for such insane logic! Don’t let someone convince you of having motives you don’t have! Don’t let the narcissist disarm you that easily!

I used “no contact” as merely one example of self-defense that can be mislabeled by the narcissist. Any type of self-defense can be characterized this way by the narcissist and will be. Expect it. Be prepared for it. Don’t fall for it.

It was amazing how, after Tracy let loose with these deliberately hurtful words on 7/1/10, she accused me of hurting her again and again over the years–when I had tried so hard to be kind to her and bite my tongue at her snarks, despite all the inner pain and turmoil it caused me to be kind to an abuser.

As if her abuses of me, her snarks and various punishments, were somehow not to be noted at all.  It was pure, narcissistic hypocrisy.

This blog post also describes how Anna Valerious’ mother flew into rages and pounded their butts several times a day, forcing them to put out their hands instead of shielding their butts with them.  She writes:

I have no doubt now as I look back on this scene repeated so many times over in my life that my mother could pretend I believed I was deserving of every ounce of her rage and punishment because I would cooperate by bending over and not in any way resisting my punishment.

She taught us from our earliest moments that if we ever attempted to run away from her when she came for us that it would be punished with overwhelming force.

So, there were no chases around that bed or the house. No, every vestige of resistance was removed before she would commence pounding our asses.

I have no memory of her ever spanking me while my hands were still covering my backside. She waited as long as it took to get the total compliance that must have made these sessions such a pleasure for her sadistic torture of her children.

My mother removed all other of my rights to self-defense as well, but the above is the most literal example of her demanding that I “bend over for it.”

My mother has for most of her life gotten most of her narcissistic thrills from the children in her power which included other people’s children that were entrusted to her care. (How well do you know your daycare worker, hmm?)

She worked tirelessly to ensure that I didn’t try to defend myself psychologically from her predations as well. All signs of resistance were squelched with ferocity and swiftness.

As I read this, I can just imagine Tracy having the same triumphant reaction as the blogger’s mother did when she got the children to put out their hands.  This reaction would have come when I began capitulating to Tracy’s demands over the course of those two or three days starting 8/1/10.

I was once in an emotionally abusive relationship (Phil) that had the elements of physical violence being very likely in the future.  My friends and family all grew to hate him, but I didn’t know why.

Yet I kept trying to hold it together, even debased myself by begging him to come back when he–disgusted with my refusal to just sit back and take his abuse without protest–left me.

When he came back again two weeks later, it was to a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.  He seemed like a different person.

After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex, which disgusted me, but which he constantly insisted I do.

I kept saying no before, so now that he had me broken and submissive, afraid he would leave again, he pressed his advantage:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants.  He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not.

I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t.

But a few days later, I did one thing wrong in his eyes, and off he went again.  This abusive relationship lasted nine months, but the baggage lasted for years.

Now it was happening again, as a desperate grief, longing to have my BFF and spiritual mentor Richard back again, and loneliness, led me to be that broken, submissive person all over again.

Tracy was emotionally assaulting me the same way that Phil did, forcing me to bend over and do whatever she wanted, if I wanted to be friends with Richard.

Yes, Tracy, you and my abusive ex Phil are exactly alike.  I see in you all sorts of things that he did to control and abuse me.

But fortunately, those 6 pages of grievances I wrote in preparing for a conference–and my conversation with my priest–forced me to see that this was not going to work.  I stopped capitulating and began defending myself again.

This broke Tracy’s power over me, so she became angry (angrier).

And this was the thanks I got for all the things I did for them, for her: taking in the whole family to our own financial detriment, expensive damages, and cockroach and lice infestations; putting up with all her crap; putting up with Richard’s lack of consideration for other people; giving them money; giving them Christmas and birthday gifts; providing them with free babysitting and use of the computer when theirs was offline; giving them food; treating them to dinner on game nights or their anniversaries; and another thing which I do not want to describe here, but that was major.

All we wanted for these things was kindness and consideration.  Instead, I was abused and gaslighted, and blamed for the abuse of me, for two and a half years, accused of “moving in on” Richard, and treated like my simple requests for consideration of my time and feelings, or to simply spend time with or chatting with my best friend, were unreasonable, “paranoid,” even ghastly fauxs pas.

It’s enough to put me off ever offering my home to any other homeless people, because it shows that no good deed goes unpunished.  It shows that we were not seen as their friends after all, but as people to use whenever they needed a babysitter or a taxi service, and abuse whenever they no longer needed us for a while.

And Richard sure sold me a bill of goods.  He kept saying that everything would be fine once she accepted me.  

But even though she did finally accept me, as proof of which he invited me to sushi (which had been forbidden before she accepted me), she took it all back again at some unknown point when she decided I wasn’t behaving properly again.  

Even though I had already been informed through that sushi thing that the “trial period” was over, here she was throwing me back into it again without even saying so or saying why, and then punishing me for every little thing I did that she decided to misunderstand.

Shortly after the August 1 attempt at peace, one of the people who came over for their Friday night D&D game, sent Jeff a message through Facebook to call her: She had lost her cell phone somewhere in Richard and Tracy’s house.  (Uh-oh.)

This was during the Friday night game, which Jeff no longer attended.  When he called, she asked, “What happened?”  They talked about it a little, but he gave no details.

She didn’t actually play the game, but was there with her husband each week, and watched the children (who really should’ve been in bed at that late hour, 9pm-1am, but weren’t).  Then she said, “They all miss playing D&D with you!”

Jeff told me afterwards that he didn’t want to hear that Richard and Tracy miss playing D&D with him.  He wanted to hear that they miss me.

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

 

Tracy blamed others for her abuse

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.

 

Perhaps one of the most disturbing moments you will have in dealing with a personality-disordered person is their near-telepathic ability to sense the exact basis of your aversion to them. For example, if you consider them “toxic,” somehow you’ll soon find yourself being called “toxic”–by them. –Dr. Tara, Predator detection and the devil of plurality: personality disorders and the nature of good and evil

Yep–the things she herself was guilty of, the things I saw her doing, the things that even my mother said about her, she accused me of over the years: manipulation, lack of respect, childish behavior, needing to grow up, not respecting boundaries.

I understand and keep boundaries just fine, thank you very much, despite her accusations.

Richard, however, crosses boundaries with people all the time, which he himself admitted to, when he first moved in with us:

He made Jeff uncomfortable by pretending to be “after” him.

He made me think he was trying to start an affair with me.

He posts things on the Web to other women that are far beyond anything he ever said to me, such as “Richard is sexing [Internet name of some online woman].”

And Tracy herself constantly crosses other people’s boundaries, including mine, by her nasty behavior, and by expecting them to just shut up and take it.

Just as she accused Todd of a “power grab” and being “childish” and a “baby” when she herself was doing these things, and blamed him for getting upset over how she treated him.

She complained about me getting upset over the “consequences” of my “behavior,” while she herself was getting upset over the consequences (lost friendship, loss of free rides, loss of occasional free money or food, loss of free babysitting) of her own behavior (nastiness).

While it is good and right to accept constructive criticism, and ponder one’s own contribution to a problem, an abuser does not do this, and will use your own tendency to do so, against you.  Your apologies will be seen as capitulation, as her being “right,” as her winning the war, as an excuse to continue beating you over the head for your “crimes.”

Constructive criticism comes from someone who wants to work with you and preserve your relationship.  Blaming from an abuser is her against you, her needing power, her needing to win, her needing you as a punching bag and scapegoat.

Todd also said that Tracy yells but does nothing to help fix a problem.  I never saw Tracy help to fix the problems between us.  Rather, she got Richard to tell me how I needed to change, how I kept doing everything wrong.

In all those printouts of their argument, I never saw evidence of Tracy trying to resolve things with Todd, but only blaming him for everything.

The issue of her not helping out with chores kept coming up again and again and again, while she nagged Richard to clean the house.  Even Todd noticed this.

A person has to learn how to distinguish constructive criticism from blame, or else s/he could end up mulling things over and over again (as I did throughout the friendship and then for many months afterward), trying to figure out what s/he did that was so wrong, being puzzled, feeling terrible without cause.

Just as a writer needs to learn the difference between a helpful critique and suggestions which would damage her piece, a person needs to learn the difference between needing to accept responsibility for a shortcoming or wrongdoing, and being scapegoated by an abuser.

You will note that no matter how nasty Tracy behaved toward me over the years, I was always the one who ended up apologizing, as she threw the blame on me and took none on herself.

I was always blamed for her inability to let Richard be himself and trust him.  I was always blamed for every nasty word she said to me on other issues, every snark, every jab.

Even Richard joined in and blamed me for her nasty behavior the day of the Incident, and therefore showed that he expected me to apologize for her behavior.

And I was sick and tired of it.  I was sick and tired of being blamed for her nasty behavior because I’m naturally introverted and quiet, and because I naturally withdraw from mean people.  I was sick and tired of being blamed for Tracy’s desire to keep a tight rein on her husband and control his every interaction.

And her deciding that Richard had to block me on Facebook and by e-mail and not speak to me at all until she okayed it, because she didn’t like me sticking up for myself and objecting to her nastiness,

was the last straw, the proof that there was no way to reason with this person because she’s driven by emotion and does not know the meaning of “reason.”

It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.

They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly.

In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara, Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies

Narcissistic mothers are masters of invalidation. It’s part of their gaslighting armoury. They dismiss and undermine your feelings and emotions to make you feel only what’s acceptable to them.

This means that they get to treat you the way they want, and maneouvre the situation so you don’t get to feel the appropriate responses.

It is cruel beyond measure. Of all the abuses heaped upon daughters of narcissistic mothers, this might be the worst. If you can’t even trust and own your own feelings – well, what have you left?…

Because of this invalidation daughters of narcissistic mothers can grow up believing that they are abnormal or twisted.

This is because our totally natural and normal feelings are told to be wrong (either in as many words, or by implication), and so we absorb the message that we’re wrong to have them.  This is totally head-wrecking stuff. —Invalidation

I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.

People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking. The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times!

The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”. The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.

Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better. It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system.

I have observed through my nearly half-century of life that those who are capable of being cruel and abusive emotionally to someone they ostensibly “love” are the exact same people with very tender regard for their own feelings.

They are so easy to offend unintentionally by a look or a word. Keep in mind as you continue reading that I’m talking about those whom we find ourselves time and again unintentionally setting off.

That is a red flag. Someone who is easily offended for reasons that are never clear to you at the time.

…Let me say it another way. The more self-involved someone is, the more hyper-sensitive their feelings become.

Many teens are a good example of the combination of insecurity and immaturity which makes it very easy to step on their feelings before you realize what you’ve done.

Adults who are emotionally arrested at their teens will continue to be very easily offended and will often justify being at least occasionally abusive to those close to them.

Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors.

I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off.

Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things.

Narcissists often pretend to be offended in order to steer the behaviors of those around them to suit their purposes. It is a manipulation tactic to constantly be looking for reasons to be offended as the narcissist does.

But, in addition to the intentional offense that narcissists take over what would never be perceived as a slight by a normal person, the narcissist is easy to offend in actuality.

Pop their grandiosity bubble, fail to reflect their illusion of themselves back to them as they want you to, remind them of reality in any way they have chosen to ignore, fail in any way to give them what they want even if they haven’t told you what they want, and you’ll find yourself dealing with the intensely offended narcissist.

Most times you’ve unintentionally done it. That never gets you off the hook.

…Do you find yourself flagellating yourself when you “hurt” the feelings of someone who regularly abuses you and your feelings? What is up with that???

Why would you waste one more moment telling yourself you’re a mean, “bad” person when you see that hurt puppy-dog look in your abuser’s eyes? —Do They Have Feelings?

After all, what is so “offensive” about me being a naturally quiet and introverted person, that she felt I was somehow hurting her by being me?

Through my life I have made many friends who like me just fine and accept that I’m quiet!  Maybe one-on-one with them I can get into long, deep conversations.

But in groups, even small ones, I tend to be very quiet, even if I’ve known and been comfortable with the people for years!  They just accept this as “my way.”

But to Tracy, it’s such a horrible offense that I can’t even get coffee with Richard and I deserve her verbal abuse for it???  “Hyper-sensitive” is right!  And Richard called me very sensitive?  (There he was acting like the abuser in the quote above.)

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 refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail

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.

It had to be Tracy’s way or no way.

She tried to force me to allow her to scream her narcissistic/borderline fury at me, to accept all her abuse as my due and grovel before her, or else I could never be friends with Richard, be friends with him on Facebook, e-mail him, contact him, etc. etc.

This was emotional blackmail, so I refused to go along with it.  My mom said Tracy was being very manipulative.

This meant I could not be friends with Richard, but the price was far too high.  I could not give in to her, could not sacrifice my self-respect to her, could not let her break my spirit the way she tried to break the spirits of her children.

Brian denied that he needed any help.  He thought he was fine the way he was and he had good reasons every time he exploded.  It was everyone else’s fault that he lost his temper, and they deserved what he said or did to them.

He told Carl clearly that if Carl didn’t do what he wanted and didn’t endure the attacks, Brian wouldn’t allow Carl to see his grandchildren.  There it was; not only attacks but also blackmail.

…So what did Carl do?

  • He and Vickie decided to tell Brian that they wouldn’t take the abuse any more.  They were going to create an Isle of Song for the rest of their lives.  Good behavior was required from anyone to get on that Isle; blood wouldn’t count.
  • They knew they’d said that before, but they’d always given in and had pretended that the bullying had never happened.  They knew also that Brian counted on that.
  • The next time Brian exploded at them in front of his 11 and 13 year-old children, Carl said publicly that they weren’t going to put up with that behavior any more.  They weren’t going to see Brian.  They’d love to see the kids but Brian probably wouldn’t allow that.  They wanted the kids to know who was responsible for the breach.
  • Carl told Brian they were taking a break from involvement with him for at least six months.  He’d have to make it on his own.  After then, if he wanted to resume contact he’d have to call and apologize and promise never to act that way again.  He’d especially have to apologize to Vickie.  Carl was going to protect his wife against all comers, even his son.
  • Even after that time, they were going to continue to withhold money because they wanted interactions to be based on fun, not need or greed. —How can we stop bullies if we’re compassionate?

Also see my blog post on emotional blackmail.

It seemed that apologizing to her got me nowhere.  She did not accept, did not respond with an apology for her own verbal abuse.

She kept going on about things which I had apologized for and/or stopped doing a long time before, things which she never forgot about and kept bringing up all the time with Richard (and he with me on occasion), so that I was embarrassed and wanted to hear no more about it.

She talked to me as if I were a seducing vixen who didn’t understand boundaries, when I had been careful not to cross boundaries.

After I showed Jeff the series of e-mails she sent me after my own apology on August 1, I said, “The things she wrote make me feel like such a whore!”  He said, furious with Tracy, “That stops NOW!”

What disturbed me further was when Chris–though he said Richard told him nothing about what happened–came on Facebook and started talking to me as if I had somehow been trying to start an affair with Richard!  I wondered where he even got this idea.

I wanted to tell Chris that Tracy’s complaint of me was a red herring, that there was no such thing going on, that the real issue was her abuse and bullying.  Instead, I told him that there was no attempt to have an affair with Richard, that I’m very much in love with my husband and he’s like my other half, that Richard was my spiritual brother.

I wondered if Chris had any clue about Tracy’s abuses, if Richard had ever told him what he told me, if Chris had any clue that Tracy was treating me, the same way Chris’ own wife was treating Richard.

Chris knew what it was like to have a wife who would punish him for wanting to hang around with a close friend whom she objected to.

I had hoped that Richard’s trouble with Chris’ wife would show Richard what it was like to be in my position, so he would understand me and stop making excuses for Tracy.  

But apparently–even though I made the connection during conversation with him one day–he just didn’t get it.

This little blurb sounds familiar because Tracy gave every indication of not being satisfied until she had her chance to go on and on and on about how horrible I’d been, no matter what apologies or explanations or white roses of peace I might give her:

Just a day or so before this person she was addressing had emotionally abused her for an hour over the most unpredictable and irrational thing until HE felt better.

Nothing she said or did could assuage him. He simply had to abuse her until he started feeling better. —Do They Have Feelings?

Though I can imagine that if I stopped biting my tongue and told her all the things on my own 6-page list of all the horrible things she and Richard had done, something like this would happen:

Yet, she makes this matter-of-fact statement and because REALITY sucked for him…his feelings were ‘hurt’. She told me in agonizing tones how horrible she felt immediately after saying it because she could see the ‘hurt’ in his eyes as he toddled off to his bedroom.–from above link

I was sick and tired of all these false accusations, of drama queens and know-it-alls, of people justifying jealousy, possessiveness and control.

I most likely have NLD or Asperger’s or both, but I can still tell when bad behavior is treated like good.  I can recognize injustice and hypocrisy.

So I was not allowed to be friends with Richard after all.  But then, after all that had happened, being friends with Richard again was not going to happen anyway unless Tracy had a complete and utter change of heart, mind and behavior.

I broke off the friendship with him for good reason, and wasn’t going to reconcile with him unless she did this.

But that’s a lot to ask of someone who just will not admit that her behavior is abusive, irrational, manipulative, but just keeps justifying it as her right and something you have to just accept.

Jeff doesn’t want to find me sitting with them in the church basement again.  Hopefully they won’t come to my church anymore unless they’re ready to apologize.  [Note: This was written in 2010 or 2011.]

I noticed before when Todd broke off relations with them, and now it was happening again, them being all mean and chasing off the friend, then complaining, “Well, you’re the one who ended it, not us.”

First time, Richard said it to the ex friend Todd; this time, Tracy said it.  What the heck?

And of course, guess who has to change, guess who has to apologize, for them to take you back: 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

 

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