Month: September 2010

I suggest a six-month break

Now, again Tracy tried to manipulate, control and emotionally blackmail me by insisting on a “conference,” or I would continue to be forbidden from speaking to or e-mailing Richard, and his Facebook/e-mail accounts would remain blocked to us all.

I could not imagine what else she could possibly have a problem with, and wasn’t so sure I wanted to hear all her nitpicky little complaints.  I almost gave in, but Jeff was vehemently against it.

I could see nothing in it but an airing of grievances (her hurtful accusations yet again, my own list of grievances which was 6 pages long at that point, 30 pages now), a degeneration into yelling and screaming, and a friendship even more in tatters than it was already.

I wrote the list of grievances so I could discuss my own problems with them, rather than it being all “Let’s beat on Nyssa day.”  If Tracy thought it would be all her yelling at me about all my supposed crimes and me listening with nothing to say in my own defense, with nothing to say about her own many crimes–she had another think coming.

The list was supposed to be part of working things through.  But with each thing I wrote I grew angrier and angrier, with both Tracy and Richard.  I finally put down my pen and said to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I e-mailed to Mike at 1pm on August 2,

I just wrote out 6 pages of grievances….She still has more for me and I don’t know what they could be….I’m not sure if I can do this.

Mike wondered why I cared so much.  He said, “Honestly, these folks seem to be toxic, hurtful, not nice kinds of people.”

I said it was because not too long ago, Richard and I were very close, that we were dear friends and he was a kind of spiritual guide.

I then called my priest for advice on how to conduct this conference, but he said there should be no need for a conference after I’d already apologized.

I said I never hurt them intentionally.  My priest asked if I knew what I had done, other than what I apologized for and what she had already said.

I didn’t, just got some vague reference to things I had supposedly been doing all this time, that she hadn’t told me about yet, various ways my behavior supposedly had to “change.”

My priest said, “You can’t put your finger on it, can you?”  

He could see nothing anybody would find offensive in me. 

He said if there’s to be any relationship, Tracy must accept my apology and not keep going on about how I acted badly.

I saw it as being steamrolled yet again, like always, my thoughts and opinions having no weight, while she gets to call the shots in everything.

She didn’t follow my conditions for talking to them about reconciliation, that she not speak more abuse to me, so why should I follow her conditions and keep talking with her any further?

And the following Sunday, when I told my priest what ultimately happened, he said, “Friendship is not about conditions!  It’s about respect!”

I was sick to death of dealing with Tracy. 

Jeff’s blood pressure had spiked around the same time she came into our lives, and over the day or two we spent messaging each other the first days of August, he was furious with her.  

He was so angry and disturbed by Tracy’s hateful, controlling and manipulative attitude in these messages that he tossed and turned all night. 

It seemed to me that the only way to reconcile was to stop dwelling, forgive and move on, without re-hashing crap again and again.

I had tried to do this for two and a half years–even shredded the diaries, letters and e-mails I wrote about her behavior during the time they lived with us.

I even asked Richard to pray for me during Lent 2008 so I could squash thoughts which I did not describe to him, thoughts about how evil she had acted.

Heck, for those two and a half years, I couldn’t even clean the basement without thinking of how she had ripped on my “routine.”

She had to stop going on and on about me, and I had to rip up the 6 pages.

Jeff and I wanted to have a six-month break instead, an amicable break during which we could say hi at church and they could ask us for help if they needed it, and let everyone’s anger die down before trying to talk again.

My priest said this was wise, that a conference would do no good at all, that I apologized so why have a conference? that friendships should have no conditions, but respect for each other.  

(He later said her reaction to our offer of a break showed what kind of a friend she truly was.)

I explicitly wrote in my e-mail to her that we wanted an amicable break, in which we could say hi to each other and they could ask for help.  I wrote that Jeff and I wanted this.

One of my friends broke up with his best friend for abuse around the same time we broke things off with them.  He told his friend that they could meet again in “a year and a day” to talk it over.  The friend did not take this well, though when the year and a day passed, he was calmer and more pleasant.

I had this in mind when I wrote this e-mail to Tracy, because I wanted to have this chance to meet again when tempers had cooled, and try again.

I had grieved terribly over the loss of Richard and the children, and wanted them back in my life, but Tracy’s demands were impossible.

I wrote to Mike,

[Jeff and I] decided to take a break.  I don’t know how they’re going to take the idea, but I looked at the situation, Jeff’s anger, Tracy’s anger, my anger, and realized that a “conference” would devolve into shouting and more anger.

We don’t need to keep airing grievances; we need to forgive and put it behind us.  That’s what my priest said as well.

I hope that time will do the trick, time and prayer and talking with spiritual fathers.  As soon as I wrote the e-mail asking for a long break, not permanent and not as enemies, I felt some of the stress begin to lift.

But Tracy saw it as yet another offense.  She told me off with words like, we threw their olive branch back in their faces, “Have a nice life” and “You know where we live if you decide to GROW UP and stop feeling hurt over the consequences of YOUR behavior.”

(Amazingly horrid, isn’t it, how she deflects responsibility for her abuse onto other people?)

Um, no, you know where we live if you decide to grow up and realize that abuse is wrong and that what you did was wrong.  

(Especially since they’ve moved several times since 2010, and I no longer know where they are.)

But of course, I couldn’t say so because she immediately blocked me on Facebook, where we were having this conversation.

So she can dish out abuse but can’t take criticism.  LOL

And she speaks like such a child.  That’s the child’s way of arguing: low blows and hurtful comments wherever possible, throwing mud at someone as they walk away from you.

I wrote to Mike, “Just no willingness to look at her own behavior as being nasty and contributing to the problem.  We’re sick of dealing with her.  Done.”

On August 7 I wrote to Mike, “The more Tracy acts this way, and the more Richard allows her, the more they push us away.”

What I should have written in reply if she hadn’t blocked me, since obviously diplomacy was going nowhere:

Dang, Todd was right: You ARE a horrid person, AND nuts.  You are jealous, possessive, controlling, verbally and physically abusive to everyone, ungrateful, spiteful, snarky and bullying, truly evil and downright nasty.

That’s why I never liked you, so don’t get some idea in your head that it was about wanting to “move in” on your husband.

You haven’t yet recognized the consequences of YOUR behavior are that you and Richard are losing one friend after another, and you don’t recognize that YOUR behavior has been the source and cause of all this trouble over the past few years, that things were going great until you decided to be suspicious, possessive and controlling.

But I doubt you ever will, unless and until you decide to get help for your personality disorder.

So good riddance to you, I hope I never see you again as long as I live, and don’t ever come near me again.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have written that if given the chance.  In fact, I was still in “catch more flies with honey” mode and was going to write something much kinder when I discovered she’d blocked me.  But it is how I felt, and it feels good to vent it out here on my blog.

Apparently, it was wrong of me to say things that accidentally hurt her feelings (when she eavesdropped as I complained to my husband about her many abuses), but I should just accept it as my due if she said things that deliberately hurt my feelings, so I could hear her.

Even though what I said was privately to my husband in an attempt to figure out what to do about things as a united front, or privately to Richard hoping he would help get her to stop her hurtful behavior,

while what she said was directly and deliberately said in order to hurt, to belittle, to demean, to humiliate me.

Apparently, during this whole thing, for us to consider her deliberate verbal assault, deliberately hurtful words, to be an insult that could not be resolved, an offense worth ending a friendship over, especially with her lack of apology for it–over my unwitting and unintended offense that was made while trying to patch up a dear friendship which I feared was slipping away from me for no known reason–

–was a terrible insult to her and somehow childish.

Apparently, wanting to cool down for a while, give her venomous anger a chance to go away, and offering to still be friendly and help them out during the break, was somehow an insult and childish.

Apparently her mind, formed in an extremely abusive environment itself, could not fathom that verbal and physical assaults could go too far, that such assaults are the true childishness, that the adult thing is precisely what Jeff and I were doing.  

Someone who throws tantrums like a 2-year-old, doesn’t get to tell me to grow up.

She complained that we threw their olive branch back in their faces–hogwash.  (As my priest said, “What olive branch?”)

Um, no, I’m the one who extended an olive branch, they dug in their heels, and then she threw it back at me.

Me submitting to her abuse or else, and not being allowed to have a voice or opinion of my own, is her idea of an olive branch?

She was certainly playing the victim.  Did she or Richard honestly think that ANYONE would remain friends with them after such treatment?

But of course, Tracy blames me for everything, thinks I’m being childish, thinks I’m the reason the friendship is over, told me to “have a nice life” because I refused to restore friendship on her tyrannical terms.

The consequences of her behavior are ended friendships, time and time again, yet she just doesn’t get it.

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

 

How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism

Secondary Arguments. If you decide to withhold raising the white flag, you will find your battlefronts broadening in scope as you engage in “topic warfare.”

The topics of conflict will stray far from the original infraction. Every problem you have encountered since the beginning of your relationship will come up.

Any sensitive information you have shared with her will be misconstrued against you. The attacks become very personal in nature.

You don’t make enough money. You’re a lousy lover. Every relationship she has ever had is better than this one. It goes on and on until she gets a very pivotal reaction I call the “nugget.”

The nugget is any bad or politically incorrect reaction on your part. Heaven forbid if you defend yourself or call her a name.

Unknowingly, you have just been read your Miranda rights. Anything you say can and will be used against you. As soon as she gets the nugget, this theater of operation is over. –Dr. Tara, High-conflict phases of abuse, blame-shifting, distortion, rage and manipulation diagram

Narcissistic Rage is something you, as the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, will no doubt have experienced.

Narcissists hate being challenged. Because they’re such superior, perfect people, how dare you, a mere nobody, challenge them in any way?

This is why Narcissists react out of all proportion to the smallest slight, or perceived slight.  Or even, to the slightest request for better treatment.

Any challenge threatens their wellbeing. Their persona is so fragile that it cannot withstand any challenge whatsoever.

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

There are no limits to what they’ll do or say in the throes of this rage.  They’ll eviscerate your personality, your very Self.

It’s like soul-annihilation. It’s so destructive and vicious. It’s a self-esteem destroyer.  Sometimes this Narcissistic Rage can turn physical, but even if it remains at being verbal, it’s terrifying. —Narcissistic Rage

Perceived Insult. It is easy to think of this as the “trigger.” Problem is, this is no ordinary trigger. It is a hair-trigger.

Anything that portrays her as less than perfect or holds her accountable will trigger her for sure. You need to evaluate what triggers your partner.

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

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

If your infraction is deemed serious enough, she is most likely to use nuclear weapons first. Don’t be surprised if you are subjected to flying objects, yelling, divorce threats, and false 911 calls. There will definitely be memories that last a lifetime!

Defensive / Retaliation. This is basically a scaled down, less violent version of the previous phase. Cluster bombing comes to mind.

She has done nothing wrong! You are wrong! It’s just that simple. Anything you say is wrong. Even an apology would be wrong.

Your recollections of the events are inaccurate. Nobody has ever treated her as poorly as you do.  She claims that all of her friends, doctors, therapists, parents and the mailman agree with her. They all know you are an abusive jerk.

She claims she will continue to do whatever she wants. You will pay for your infraction. She is the judge, jury and executioner all in one. You are not able to get a word in edgewise at this point. All you can do is hunker down and let the bombs fall.

Submissive Route. As previously noted, if you are willing to accept her phony apologies and “drink the Kool-Aid”, you can take a shortcut to the Cloud phase.

Just remember, there is no amnesty granted. You still caused her to act poorly in the beginning. You are basically on parole. If you violate your parole, the conflict will immediately pick up where it left off. —High-Conflict Phases of Abuse, Blame Shifting, Distortion, Rage and Manipulation Diagram

When they are angry for something that they have imagined or misunderstood, you can try to prove the facts to them, you can drag in a hundred witnesses, present undisputable evidence–they will still not change their mind. —Behaviors and attitudes of the narcissist

This blog post on the dangers of apologizing to a narcissist, is just what happened here.  In summary,

Narcissists always have to be right. This makes it your job to be wrong. The trouble is, you’re actually often not wrong.  This annoys the narcissist you know immensely.

The narcissist hopes and prays that you will make mistakes more often, and they can’t wait for you to have to admit it to them.

They look forward to this day “The Day You Will Finally Have To Admit You Were Wrong” just like a little child waits in eager anticipation for his or her birthday. Like an addict craves a fix.

This makes the thought of apologizing to a narcissist feel awful.  What’s most likely to happen when you do apologize?  Well, it’s not generally very good stuff…

Apologize to a non-narcissist, and you’ll probably be forgiven. Apologize to a narcissist, and the most likely result is smug, victorious expectations of more subservience, more apologizing from you, more admissions of inferiority and more demands to please the narcissist.

These actions are all driven by their massive egos, and their egos must remain convinced the narcissist is superior.  You’ve finally admitted what they’ve wisely known since meeting you–you’re completely inferior to them. It took a long time to teach you this, so there’s no way they’re going to let the lesson go un-reinforced.

The Dirty Laundry List 
When you apologize, sometimes narcissists will launch into a list of all the other things you supposedly need to be extremely sorry about. Things you did last week, last month, last year…the list is long, and they are fuming.

You are vastly and immensely wrong on a regular basis, and they’ve been such a good person, never bringing it all up!  But…now that you mention your shortcomings…come to think of it, while they have you, there are PLENTY of other things you need to get oh-so-very-sorry about!

They figure they’ve gotten a few drops of blood out of you, so they feel encouraged–why not try for a gallon and see just how far down they can make you hang your head?

She did make sure to throw in there phrases like, “You were wrong!”–about something I still do not feel I was wrong about.

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 1

Assassins by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 0842329277, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

Plot summary: here.

In the beginning of the book, we find that we are 38 months into the Tribulation and that hey, Chloe is a CEO (of the International Commodity Co-op, that is)!  Of course, she’s able to do this job from home, so I suppose that’s how she got away with it, you know, being a married woman with a baby and all.

Rayford is in a tailspin of “murderous fury” (p. 2), giving into it more and more as time goes on, until finally he decides to buy a formidable weapon and attempt to assassinate the Antichrist.  “He believed it his destiny” (p. 2).  Careful, Ray, this is probably how terrorists think.

On page 4, he reasons, “If it cost him his life, so what?  He’d reunite with loved ones, and more would join him later.”  Oh, so he thinks that assassinating is an automatic ticket to Heaven?  Is he also expecting 70 virgins?

Fortunately, I don’t think Rayford is meant to be sympathetic here.  Even his fellow Tribulation Force believers wonder what the heck is going on with him lately, though he doesn’t confide in them.  Rayford thinks on p. 5,

That had to be what had produced such hatred, such rage.  Rayford knew Carpathia was merely a pawn of Satan, really part of God’s plan for the ages.  But the man had wreaked such havoc, caused such destruction, fostered such mourning, that Rayford couldn’t help but hate him.

…Carpathia has fostered such mourning, but nowhere near as much as the plagues have done.

Pages 5 and 6 explain that in this book, the “Great Tribulation” is the last half of the “Tribulation.”  I always heard differently, that “The Tribulation” and “The Great Tribulation” are interchangeable.  This is yet another example of how wide a variation exists in the supposed interpretations of these prophecies, so the idea of anybody having a handle on the true interpretations is ridiculous.

On page 12 we read what the Tribulation Force does with its time, shut up in that house.  But something is missing: Who does the housework, cooking, shopping and laundry?  The guys are excavating, Hattie is exercising every spare moment to build her strength back up, Tsion is ministering, Chloe is busy with the baby and running her International Commodity Co-Op via the Internet.

With the disruptions in society, what do they use to clean, are they limited in what they can cook?  Is the water and electricity running, and if so, wouldn’t it give away their position to pay the bills?  Or does everything just go along its merry way as it did before the Rapture, even after that massive earthquake that led to them taking up residence in their new hideout?

Since this is the future, is the work done by robots?  Is Chloe using paper or cloth diapers?  How does she get diapers, considering that this is supposed to be a secret hideout, and they don’t want the Global Community forces to find out where they are?

On page 14, I have to wonder how many unbelievers the authors actually know.  We read that “Hattie was the only unbeliever [in the safehouse] and understandably selfish.  She spent most of her time on herself.”  As if all unbelievers are selfish jerks and all believers are completely unselfish!  I know from personal experience that this just isn’t so.

On page 50, we hear about a computer which runs New Babylon, “contains so much information about every living soul,” and is called–duh duh duh duh–The Beast.  However, David says, “But we both know the Beast is no machine.”  So–is the Beast the computer or the Antichrist, or both?

Floyd, the doctor who’s been treating Hattie, was infected with the cyanide that almost killed her; he, unlike her, died from it.  On page 61, Rayford tells Hattie, “Floyd loved you, Hattie.  You treated him like dirt, but he loved you….Cared deeply for you, wanted to tell you.”

…What?  Didn’t you just tell Floyd that it wasn’t actually love, just some adolescent physical infatuation?

What Tsion says on page 90 is crazy–arrogant-crazy:

For centuries scholars believed prophetic literature was figurative, open to endless interpretation.  That could not have been what God intended.  Why would he make it so difficult?

I believe when the Scriptures say the writer saw something in a vision, it is symbolic of something else.  But when the writer simply says that certain things happen, I take those literally.  So far I have been proven right.

Yes, he’s been proven right because the authors want him to be.  But in real life, he’s going up against the work of many Early Church Fathers and other theologians of the church who have wrestled with biblical prophecy–teachers who have the benefit of recognizing many things in Revelations because they lived in the Roman Empire and worshipped like the heavenly worshippers in Revelations–working together under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

He’s going up against them with his own one-man interpretation machine.  And he’s the one who ends up being right?

Which leads up to page 91, when he says, in answer to Buck’s comment that he really doesn’t know how to interpret the prophecy of 200 million horsemen,

Yet I feel a great responsibility for the readers God has entrusted to me.  I do not want to get ahead of him, but neither do I want to hang back in fear.  All I can do is to be honest about how I am tussling with this.  It is time many of these believers start interpreting the Scriptures for themselves anyway.

Good gosh, no!  That’s how we ended up with so many different denominations in the first place, individuals with limited knowledge thinking they themselves can interpret the many nuances of Scripture without the Church’s guidance.  And how we ended up with premillennial dispensationalism, the source of these books!

Rayford is always ripping on the woman he once wanted to bed.  You know, the person he almost had an affair with, but not really.  On page 99, Hattie was supposedly on a plane which has now gone down.  Since Carpathia tried to kill her and she now wants to kill him, she is hiding out.  Rayford and Chloe have figured out that she didn’t actually die on that plane.

Rayford says, “The question is where she is.  She’s not smart enough to get any thinking person to believe she went down in that plane.  Could she still surprise Carpathia?”  Gee, no wonder she didn’t stick around in the safe house or become a believer herself, if the people there are just going to keep treating her like an idiot.

There is a new person staying in the secret hideout of the Tribulation Force: Leah.  Instantly, she and Rayford go head-to-head, as he calls her obnoxious and she calls him sexist.

Then on page 114, after she has just seen the spirit horses riding to wreak terror and death throughout the world, she trembles and cowers on the floor of her garage.  They have sneaked in there to fetch her money, but have to lie low in case the GC forces find them.

She says, “I won’t be able to leave.  You’ll have to bring the car for me.”  Rayford thinks to himself, “He hadn’t expected her to be this high maintenance.”

Oh, hey, Ray’s found another woman to be condescending to!  Good for Ray!  Now that Hattie’s gone, he must have SOMEbody to abuse.

And oh, the cringe when I read the bottom of page 122: Rayford helps her from a high place to the floor and she says, “I suppose you think that makes you a gentleman.”  He replies, “Only if you’re a lady.”  Argh!

We see more romance on page 156, as believers (and workers at the New Babylon headquarters) David and Annie have a little lover’s tiff.

Annie has just been locked in a utility room during the latest plague of fire, smoke and sulfur.  Annie says he should’ve told her she could get locked in the room, while David says she should’ve read the procedure manual, etc.

We read, “David fought to attribute her sudden unattractiveness to claustrophobia and frustration.  ‘I love you even when you’re ornery,’ he said.”

What?  “Unattractive?”  Is he the only one allowed to be ornery, then, since they’re both doing it?

To be continued.

 

The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues

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.

Before we were to call, I wanted him to read the e-mail and respond.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I got the idea to suggest a movie night to Tracy through Facebook, as a peace offering, and expected a kind reply.

However, though I told Richard that if we were to work on reconciling, I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had done a month earlier, and though she seemed pleasant enough that day when face-to-face, via Facebook message the monster returned in complete disregard of my feelings:

She said she’d blocked my e-mail address from his, so he never even got my apology!  She said he consented to this, which showed that he out-and-out lied to me in the church basement!  (What was the point, then, of him telling me to re-send it?)

That she made him block his Facebook from our entire family, not just me but Jeff and our little boy as well!

Then she justified it because during the Incident, when she used his Facebook to send me her raging e-mails, I had tried to defend myself and find out from him what the heck was going on!  She said this made her “sick.”

Well, her saying this, makes ME “sick.”  That sick you get when you see something repulsive, disgusting, horrendous.

Somehow this made her think she should treat me like some kind of stalker–even though we broke things off with them!

You see how bizarre her thinking is?  It also fits what Sam Vaknin writes here:

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

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

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

It also matches what Anna Valerious writes here:

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so.

Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly.

It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical. —Your Most Fundamental Right

I never had any intention of stalking Richard, was blocking him out of my life: I took out Firefox bookmarks for a couple of forums he used to run.

I even deleted my posts from his Facebook wall and pictures on July 1 before sending a good-bye message and unfriending him on Facebook the morning of July 2.

I only sent one e-mail–the apology–to find some peace and close the book, and he never even got that.

In fact, from what I recall, I deleted his e-mail from my computer address book (but then put it back so I could send this e-mail), and deleted their numbers from my cell phone.

Was she projecting onto me what she herself would have done?  

Based on her behavior toward me described in this linked post, I believe she was indeed projecting.

So blatant lies–in church–from him, and more ridiculous and overblown behavior from her which, of course, she said I deserved.

Insult piled upon insult!

She pulled her claws out again and petulantly said that “YOU were the ones who ended it and unfriended us on Facebook, not US” [the YOU being Jeff and me and the US being her and Richard], that THEY didn’t want to, and that Jeff “stormed into” their place and broke things off–

–Um, as opposed to her “rational” behavior, I suppose?

I tried very hard to restrain myself and speak to her kindly, in hopes of turning away her wrath in the way prescribed by Proverbs.  I sent her a copy of the apology e-mail, hoping that it would calm her down, show her the misunderstanding, and inspire her to apologize for her overreaction.

But she wrote all sorts of things that showed not only did she not care about my feelings or trying to break things to me gently, but she was still steamed over things I had long since apologized for and/or stopped doing.

Richard had told me he blamed himself for everything, so I knew if it were just him, we could work things out.

But Tracy was another story.  She seemed to pay no attention to the things I actually wrote in my e-mails, but twisted them into what she wanted them to say, so she could feel justified in raging.

She went on and on about things I had supposedly done that were so horrible, saying “you were wrong” about things that I still do not feel I was wrong about, that I should’ve known this or that was wrong or against convention (when no, I hadn’t, and had seen no evidence of such conventions among friends).  I go into this in previous chapters.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry for offending her, no matter how kindly I wrote to her, no matter how much I bit my tongue and how little I said, no matter how much I refrained from defending myself or telling her how badly she had been behaving all through this–it made no difference, put no chink in her rage armor.

I couldn’t think she was right and I was wrong when I found plenty of blog posts, forum posts, articles and the like which actually sided with my way of thinking.

Expecting me to act the same way she did in the same situation, when no, I think about these things entirely differently than she does, haven’t reacted like she did in similar circumstances, or wouldn’t react like she did.

How could I possibly have known that she thought befriending the wife before doing stuff with the guy friend was a form of showing respect for the wife, when I didn’t demand such things from my husband’s female friends?

She said everyone knows this, learning disability or not–er, no, NOT everybody knows this.

I do not know this, never required it from my husband’s friends, never expected it, never even would’ve thought that she would require it until she started treating me like a slut and getting enraged at every little thing I innocently and obliviously did that she didn’t like.

For me, respect from Jeff’s friends simply means they’re not mean to me; I do not require them to befriend me as well!

It was impossible to tell if she was completely wrong about this being a convention that “everybody knows,” especially with the way so many of the old conventions were done away with and people started doing their own thing in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s–or if this was yet another example of people telling the NLDer, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”

I also go into this here.  But now, after a bit more experience added to what I already had, I see that no, Tracy was wrong, though she tried to tell me I was:

There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.

I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.

Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.  Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.

No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.

Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.

I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.

If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.

After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.

This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Apparently Tracy knows absolutely nothing about NLD if she thinks she did anything here but prove my assertion of NLD!  Apparently she has no concept of how NLD and Aspergers affect the brain so that even common social conventions, things that people can intuit without being told, are unknown to the NLDer or Aspie.

She talked as if I couldn’t blame this on a learning disorder, as if I were just being stupid or stubborn or malicious or “moving in on” her husband, when the reality was I could very easily blame it on a learning disorder!

Not only that, but more and more, I am finding officially diagnosed NLDers who identify with what I write about my experiences. The more she argued against my NLD, the more ignorant she made herself sound, yet she probably thought she was winning the argument.

And not only that, but the things I wanted to do, for two months Richard had freely done these things with me, and never gave me any reason whatsoever to believe that they were in any way “inappropriate,” so I had absolutely no reason to think that they had to be cleared with Tracy first.

Such as, the way he and I would talk for hours, or going out for coffee/ice cream.  This is crazy-making behavior from Tracy, more of her obvious borderline personality disorder/malignant narcissism, no matter how much she may try to spin it into somehow being her “right.”

The “shoulder thing,” as Richard termed it, hadn’t been done for more than two years because it upset her, yet here she was bringing it up yet again, as if we had never stopped doing it, as if I needed to be lectured again and again on how evil this was–even though at the time it had been done innocently of wrongdoing.  Jeff, too, was upset over how I was being treated over it.

I was already sick of hearing about it because it kept getting brought up by Richard all the time, even though it had stopped, and because Richard once told me how she kept bringing it up again and again with him as well as an example to him of how horrible I was.

She used it as a tool to defame my character to Richard, when I have never done anything even remotely like cheating on Jeff.  I found it horribly embarrassing and I just wanted her to shut the **** up about it, yet here it was yet again.

Did I mention I had only done it a few times, and only because Richard had done it first and taught me that it was perfectly fine and ordinary and innocent for platonic friends to do, and we hadn’t done it for more than two years?

I also have another friend who does this with his friends all the time, and right in front of his wife, who laughs.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems, making a mountain out of a molehill, so that I greatly resent being treated the way I was over it.

What about this was worth all the fuss?  The same behavior made Jeff shrug–and it had been Richard’s idea in the first place.

There is absolutely nothing sexual about it, or else I’d have to push my son off me when he does it.  There are far worse things that people do, things Richard and I did not do, and steered clear of out of respect for our marriages.

And I have no problem with anyone who wants to sleep on a friend’s shoulder.  I have no problem with a woman, maybe late at night around an SCA campfire, falling asleep on Jeff’s shoulder, even if I don’t know her.

Tracy assumed that I would, but I wouldn’t–and my husband wouldn’t, either, because he saw the same thing, shrugged, remembered all the faithfully married people he knows who do such things with friends, and went back about his day.

I have no problem with Jeff wanting to hug a friend.  I have no problem with Jeff e-mailing or online chatting or phone chatting with any of his friends, female or male, whether I know them or not.

I do not bother “approving” his friends, and find that to be very controlling and infantilizing.

Some people are reserved, and some people are touchy-feely, comfortable touching close friends, anybody they talk to, co-workers, whoever.

I always just stuck Richard in the “touchy-feely” category.  I saw him online and off, flirting with his male and female friends, and asking female friends for “huggles”; that’s just the way he is.

If he meant more by it than he let on, that’s not my fault, that’s his.

Just because my boundaries are looser than Tracy’s, does not make me wrong or a whore.  It just means I disagree with her, which I should be allowed to do without her verbal abuse.

In fact, I believe that more people should do what I did, that American society should be more open and free with affection for all loved ones, not just children or spouses or romantic partners.

I want to be more like this, myself, which I have trouble being because of a lifelong reserve, but I see people around me in the SCA being far more open all the time.  Caring gestures, hugs, sleeping on shoulders–I want to do all these things freely with my friends, male and female, and break out of that shell.

I find Tracy’s reaction to these things, her refusal to rest until I heard every little thing she considered to be “inappropriate,” her character assassinations of me, her insistence that I agree with her that they are “inappropriate” even though they in no way involve sex or groping–to be very offensive and close-minded, very backward-thinking.

I’d rather follow the philosophies of the Cuddle Party people, not the must-not-touch philosophy of American reserve!

So I will freely admit these things here, because I feel I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, or that Tracy has any right to make me feel as if I did!

If that makes me a hippie, so be it–I’ll fit right in in the SCA!

As Ayla felt in Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters” when thinking over her past, a Cro-Magnon girl being raised by Neanderthals:

She, too, had broken taboos and paid the harsh consequences, but she had learned from them.  Perhaps because she was so different to begin with, she had learned to question whether what she had done was really so bad.

She had come to understand that it wasn’t wrong for her to hunt, with sling or spear or anything she wanted, just because the Clan believed it was wrong for women to hunt, and she didn’t hate herself because she had stood up to Broud against all tradition (p. 259-60).

Also, on page 649:

He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so.

A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost.  In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

Since many social conventions seem like a waste of time to me, I’m not so judgmental of people who break them.  It’s a good brain for a writer to have. —Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability

Sociologists representing symbolic interactionism argue that social rules are created through the interaction between the members of a society.

The focus on active interaction highlights the fluid, shifting character of social rules. These are specific to the social context, a context that varies through time and place.

That means a social rule changes over time within the same society. What was acceptable in the past may no longer be the case. Similarly, rules differ across space: what is acceptable in one society may not be so in another. —Convention

I don’t need someone like you
Expecting me to share your views
‘Cos I don’t expect that what you see has anything to do with me
“Your Crusade” by Jesus Jones

I saw this very same disproportionate rage come out when Tracy raged at Todd over a game.

I saw her disproportionally rage at Richard, or at her children, on many occasions.

Being told her rage over this was somehow justified, that most people would be worse–tells me that maybe Richard and Tracy have been spending too much time around other narcissists and have a perverted view of what’s “normal” or “justified” behavior.

Richard’s hints that he would assault and possibly kill if his wife ever cheated, are very telling.  Richard’s wanting to assault the woman who sent him an eviction notice, is very telling.

There were other things that I had apologized for a year earlier, by e-mail with her and over the phone (with tears) to Richard, that hadn’t been done since, yet here they were being brought up yet again.  During the conversations a year earlier, I felt horrible about the things I was told had been seen in my behavior.

Things came out horribly badly and, though they weren’t meant that way, I could see the problem, could see, for example, that a certain action had been manipulative; it had actually been Jeff’s idea, so I went along thinking maybe he knew best, so he felt horrible as well; I apologized and never did those things again.

For months I kept feeling horrible over them, even though they weren’t meant the way they were taken, even though I had confessed and been absolved by my priest.  For some months I had every reason to believe that the past was now over in her mind as well, and I tried to move on from the past.

But here, in August 2010, I was being accused all over again of things that had not been done for at least a year or two.

Over the month since the July 1 Incident, I had also reflected quite a bit over my own behavior, and repented to her now for some things (even though, on reflection, I wonder why I thought I needed to, and think it was her poisonous verbal abuse working on me).

But instead of pacifying her, it only seemed to spur her on to more verbal beatings and more descriptions of how horrible I had been.

It was as if she saw me as somehow unable to change from past offenses, that she had to beat me for them over and over again.  (Richard also complained that she treated him this way.)

Meanwhile, she treated her own offenses as if they did not exist, as if they were her right to do them, as if I deserved them, and I remember she got angry when she overheard me telling Jeff what she had done.

On the one hand Tracy claimed she knew I didn’t mean anything nefarious, yet on the other she treated me as if I did, playing with my head, pulling up things I had supposedly done which really weren’t so bad, but she had a way of making them sound bad.

I almost wish she had indeed tried to kill me when she had the idea: Jeff would have pulled her off and had her arrested, thrown her out of our house and into jail on a domestic abuse charge, and the friendship and our support would have been over right then.

But it was more than a year before I even heard about this, more than a year of wondering why the heck she refused to like me and I just seemed to be treading water with her, more than a year before I knew just how violent she could potentially be.

It confirmed that she was not the type of person I wanted to befriend.  But I was being forced to do just that.

On August 1 and for a day or two after, I showed her e-mails to Jeff.  He also thought they were over-the-top, nasty, blaming–and, at times (such as the “shoulder thing”), he’d say, “Oh, baloney!”  

There was no openness here to different points of view, no hint of conceding that she could have done some things wrong as well, no hint of apologies for her nastiness over the years or on Facebook or on the day of the Incident, nothing but wanting me to bow down and submit to her and say that everything she said was correct.

Yet with all this, she kept saying there was MORE to be said.  I didn’t know what on earth could be left to say: I had done nothing else!

All the things I could think of, were done more than two years before, and not again unless and until I was led to believe that it was safe.

And how was it such a terrible breach of boundaries, etiquette and respect for her, for me to want to speak privately with or go to a coffee shop with my BFF, after having already spent several weeks living with Tracy and getting to know her and telling her secrets?

It would not have been a secret meeting, but one I fully expected Richard to tell her about.

Isn’t living with someone the most effective and thorough way to get to know them, far better than small talk?

And didn’t I watch movies with her, joke around with her, have long talks with her, change her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, keep an eye on the kids while she walked to school to pick up the eldest?  Did this count for nothing?

I was being treated as if things I had no desire to do, were in my heart.  And I was sick of and disgusted with it.  It’s bad enough being blamed for things you actually have done, without being blamed for things you have not done.

And false accusations like this are common from abusers, especially insidious because they have a way of getting under your skin and making you think they’re right and you’re the one with the problem.

(I recently read a blog comment from a guy whose wife had so convinced him he was the one with the problem that he spent years in therapy getting nowhere, until he finally realized that she was sneakily abusing him, that she has borderline personality disorder.  He got out, but still struggles with feeling like he’s the one with the problem.)

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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