Articles from September 2010

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



About Richard justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse because I am shy and quiet

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.

So now he’s downplaying and defending her verbal abuse of me as well, when he only just told me he blamed himself for everything?  Jeff and I both consider this ridiculous, ludicrous and appalling.  (And it’s yet another example of some rule I broke without knowing it existed.)

It’s more offensive to stop talking to someone who’s lately, and without explanation, been bullying you for everything you do or say, online or off, than for them to scream abuse at you?

Who even took your good wishes for a trip as some sort of pass at her husband?

Who got snarky with you for a Facebook comment you made about a church function, so snarky you had to delete it because it assumed some ignorance which you did not possess?

So Tracy can be just as much of a bitch to me as she wants to be, while I’m supposed to be her fawning friend no matter what?

Just keep talking to her, treating her like she’s the bee’s knees–even when her constant, nasty and unprovoked treatment of me makes me want nothing to do with her?

What on earth kind of people are these two, anyway?  

I bet she somehow found some way to justify how she treated me.  Yet I did NOTHING to bring it on. 

They tried to make it sound like I was somehow treating her badly, so she treated me badly. 

But NO.  THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED.  I tried my dangest to be nice to her and forgive her, while she turned around and was nasty to me and abusive to others.

And Richard wants to be a priest or psychologist?  I wouldn’t go to him for spiritual advice!  Not anymore, like I used to!  I used to think Richard had good character, but now I think I must have been wrong.

I stopped talking to Tracy on Facebook on purpose because I was sick of her snarks.  I stopped liking her posts, stopped commenting.

But that was only maybe a week or two before 7/1/10, probably when she raged at me for posting “Have a nice trip.”  I talked to her no less in person than I normally did, but we saw little of each other in the month of June.

What kind of people are you two, anyway, Richard and Tracy?  I thought Tracy was the horrid one–apparently Richard is horrible and horrid as well!

How could I have been so deceived by him?  Some people are very good at seeming to be angels of light, or sheep, when the reality is quite different.

He did not specify which month and a half I didn’t say two sentences together to Tracy, so I’ve only been able to speculate.

I don’t even remember, since I don’t keep track of how many sentences I say to a person in a row, so I don’t know when this was or the reasons why.  It’s yet another time they didn’t communicate a thing with me.

The last month and a half before 7/1 seems most likely, except that I must have said more than two sentences to her during the May birthday party and at the Memorial Day get-together, and I must have spoken to her during the D&D games we did after that.

Once again, here is echoing: Even though I never deliberately tried to hurt Tracy and had no clue what she was even talking about, while she deliberately said and did hurtful things and ripped me to shreds with her words, what I did was worse than what she did, and justified it????

I could not believe that Richard, whom I once sheltered and thought was a very dear friend, whom I clucked over like a mother hen, whom I told my secrets to, whom I looked up to as a spiritual guide, would say such horrible things and condone abuse of any kind.

Let’s get real. Narcissists think they have a right to punish you just for being the way you are. Think, don’t you have the right to be the way you are? Do you have to be some character in the narcissist’s fiction that conforms to his or her specifications?…

Being late with dinner is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you. Being “too this” or “too that” for his taste is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you. Demanding decent and respectful treatment is no excuse for the narcissist to attack you.

I don’t care how “threatened” any of that makes the poor, twisted narcissist feel. His perverted feelings are HIS problem, not yours. Like Osama bin Wanton, he will never run out of twisted excuses to irrationalize his attacks on you, so get off the guilt trip. His perversity is not YOUR vice.

Narcissists attack you just to do it. You are therefore 100% innocent of your victimization. Blow off this absurd “It takes two to Tango” crap. –Kathy Krajco, Blaming the Victim of Narcissism

Yes! This four-year-old has learned the art of Behavior Modification! It’s childsplay, ain’t it? His happy face is a carrot to reward you for good behavior, and his mad face is a stick to punish you for bad behavior.  Now notice how similar this is to an adult narcissist’s rages. They are exactly the same thing.

Whenever you aren’t behaving the way they want, they throw a fit. Like that brat in the grocery store, they don’t think they should even have to ask for what they they want.

They think you should be so attentive to their desires that you just offer it to them. It would be beneath them to ask for anything.

So they throw a “Don’t-go-there!” tantrum whenever you aren’t playing the part they’ve assigned to you in the stageplay of their life. –Kathy Krajco, How a Narcissist Trains His Victims

Eastern cultures see introversion as a value and give it much esteem. Western cultures prefer extraversion. For a balanced, safe, and caring world, we must learn to value both. —The Happy Introvert, Elizabeth Wagele

For years I made the effort to be polite, to say hi, to speak up, to talk more about myself.  But my efforts were NEVER rewarded by more outgoing people who still wanted to harp on how quiet I was!

It seemed like for them, whatever efforts I made were never good enough.

Well here’s a breaking news bulletin: some people are shy and quiet and that’s just the way it is. They are not being rude just because they are not exactly like you, Mr. or Mrs. Extrovert-Without-a-Clue. —The Shytrovert, “I Hate Shy People?  WTF?  Really?!”

For extroverts who derive their self esteem from constant social stroking, the shytrovert is a hated foil. We make them feel uncomfortable, and they’re not used to feeling discomfort in the company of others, so they lash out at us.

We’re wrong, flawed, conceited, aloof, cold, unfriendly, and so on.  WRONG.

It occurs to me that only a jackass could hate a meek soul who is doing nothing but keeping to his or herself. —The Shytrovert, I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK, OK?

If there’s anything that gets under a shytrovert’s skin more it’s the phrase “you’re so quiet” or its equally annoying variant, “why are you so quiet?”

I mean seriously! Not only are these questions rude, but they’re like asking someone “why are you so red headed?” or “why are you so black/white/Asian?” —The Shytrovert, “I’m So Quiet?  Well You’re So Rude!”

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


Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church

A month to the day after the blow-up, August 1, 2010, I went to church expecting a normal Sunday.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I thought I saw Richard get out of a van, but pushed away the thought: I expected they’d never come near me again, after blocking me on Facebook, and certainly wouldn’t come to my church ever again.

But then Jeff said, “They’re here.”

!!!!!  It really was them!  The whole family, at my church!

I wondered, are they here to torment me or to make peace?  Why are they here when they prefer their own church?

The oldest kid started saying, “There’s Jeff!” and getting all excited.  Jeff told me later that Tracy seemed to yell at her for this.  Richard waved at Jeff, but Jeff ignored him.

I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, especially since Jeff was going to his own church and I was there alone, without Jeff or my son as moral support.

I shook so badly that I feared I’d start a fire lighting my candle.  I trembled all through the service.

I spent it in torment, nervous, anxious, shaking, wondering what they were thinking, wondering if I’d make it through without fainting or crying, praying to God and Mary for help.  (We fast all night and morning before Eucharist, hence the fear of fainting.)

My emotional state was so bad that I had to go to the bathroom at least once, to deal with how my nerves were affecting my body.

Just a few days before, I dreamed the children came up to me somewhere and started begging me to come see them, but I was sad because I couldn’t.

And now here they were, in real life.  The kids avoided me and said nothing to me, looking very subdued, and it almost killed me.

In the lines going up to receive blessed bread from the priest, which were two lines coming from either side of the church, Richard and I ended up across from each other, at the head of our lines, receiving bread from the priest at the same time.

I looked at Richard, to try to transmit–at the very least–a silent message of no hate, but he avoided my eyes.  I knew it was on purpose.

I called Jeff to pick me up as soon as the service ended, told him I couldn’t take it much longer, and went to coffee hour to spend the ten minutes or so it would take for him to get there.

They came to coffee hour.  I can still remember that it was strawberry cake.

None of them spoke to me except for one or two of the children.  They said very little to me though, which made me wonder what their parents had told them.  Usually they jumped up and ran over to greet and hug me whenever they saw me, but now they were subdued.

It broke my heart.  I wondered if the parents were angry at me, or if they were actually waiting for me to make a move, when I’d been waiting for them.

Coffee hour was in the basement, such a tiny basement that I could sit on the opposite side and still hear every word they said.  I heard Richard say he’d been told the floor was brand-new; I thought, “Yes, because I’m the one who told you!”

The elderly lady next to me said how nice it was to see kids in the church, referring to Richard and Tracy’s kids.  (Nowadays, you see many children coming to this church again.  But back then, there were few.)  I just quietly agreed, saying nothing else, hiding my true feelings from her.

And the whole time, I kept one eye out for Richard to go off by himself, away from the shrew.  You see, ever since I sent the apology e-mail, I wondered if I should have Jeff say something about it if he ran into Richard at the grocery store, which was bound to happen eventually, and did on occasion.  I would have no peace unless I made sure he actually got it.

Finally, Richard went over to chat with some young men, one a member of the church and the others his friends.  So I went over and quietly asked, “Did you get the apology I sent you?”  He had not.

The others soon drifted off, as if realizing we had to talk privately.  I wondered if one of them, an altar server, had overheard the talk I had with my priest a few weeks before about this.  (In any case, I did eventually tell him everything, in I believe February 2012.)

Richard said, “It’s all good.  I blame myself for everything.”

I said skeptically, “You do?”  But this was promising.

He hadn’t gotten the e-mail.  He made it sound as if it had been lost among hundreds of political e-mails he’d been getting, and many e-mails about stuff that was going on in his family.

I had no idea he was actually lying through his teeth, in the church basement–and easy as you please. 

That in reality, he had blocked my e-mails. 

That his wife had made it impossible to even make peace with him. 

That she had his balls in a vice, controlled his every move with us, and he couldn’t even do the right and Christian thing by Jeff and me without her approval.

I said, “If you want to make peace, all you have to do is say so.”

I meant this as, if they wanted to apologize, but later realized he may have taken it as us apologizing, when it was no such thing.

He told me to call them later about it, and to re-send the e-mail so he could read it.  Which makes his lies even more infuriating, because he knew it was blocked, so why tell me to send an e-mail he can’t receive?

I told him I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had spoken to me.  This is when he made the ludicrous and appalling remark, described here, “Are some harsh words as offensive as not saying two sentences together to her for a month and a half?”

WHAT?  (“Harsh words” is extremely understated!)   WHAT month and a half? 

And I don’t count my sentences! 

What, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about? 

To this day I have no clue WHAT month and a half this was. 

I am naturally shy and quiet, always have been, and even when I’m not shy with someone, I still tend to say very little in common conversation. 

When we were in the same room, I behaved with her the exact same way I behave with most people, friends and strangers. 

This had not changed one bit in the past month and a half, or whenever the heck he was talking about. 

So I was being falsely accused and blamed for Tracy’s verbal abuse.

And he knew very well, from a conversation we once had, that this was my natural state:

Some time between 2008 and 2010, I told him my aunt just revealed that she always thought my father or brothers must have sexually abused me, because I am so quiet.  I said nothing like that ever happened.

Richard asked if I behaved then as I do now, “Never speaking except when spoken to?”  I said yes.  So he has no excuse for treating me this way and blaming me for Tracy’s abuse, because he knew this was my natural temperament and not meant to offend.

So being naturally quiet was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?

What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This was yet more proof that my e-mail was not the problem. 

That it wasn’t about me violating Tracy’s rules. 

That it was actually because they are prejudiced against introverts and people with NVLD

They couldn’t plead ignorance, because I made it very clear how my brain worked, how my socializing was, and what I needed, but they didn’t listen. 

In July 2010, August 2010 and probably for some time after, I shared a lot of articles on Facebook about how introverts are maligned and misunderstood, and posted that my ex-friends bullied and abused me for being an introvert.

But back to August 1.  Richard invited me to sit at his table.  I saw Tracy there and said, “Is it safe?”  He said, “She’s not a monster.”  He also said–showing that he obviously did get my good-bye message on Facebook–“She never hated you.”

I beg to differ.  I have to go by Tracy’s actions, not Richard’s lies.  And her actions made it very clear that she hated me for the past two and a half years.

But I reluctantly decided to trust him.  Big mistake.

I tried to be pleasant with Tracy, ask how her summer was going, relay a funny story about my son at T-ball.

She seemed pleasant, smiling and such, which I should have approached warily, but instead I saw it as a good sign that she was ready to apologize for her actions.

The kids were happy to see me and chat with me and the like.

Then Jeff showed up, very surprised–and displeased–to find me sitting with them.  He said nothing to me about it there, but he was very gruff, very reserved with Richard and Tracy.

Richard told Jeff his D&D character (Friday campaign) was “fighting monsters in the void.”  (He said nothing about our characters in the other campaign we’d been doing, with my character Phoena.)

It makes one wonder if he expected us to “come to our senses” and come back, so he kept the character waiting in the wings, rather than coming to us and apologizing.

Oh, no, an apology would be beyond him, because he’s a narcissist….

Jeff hugged the kids, since we missed them and they weren’t a part of this.  Richard told Jeff to give them a call later.

I complained to Richard for blocking us on Facebook, said the apology e-mail was sent three weeks ago but he never responded.

He said something about blocking us because he didn’t want a flame war, and the blocking being temporary until everyone cooled down.

Another lie, but I didn’t know this at the time, that the truth was Tracy had him by the balls and made him do this.

I had seen it as a sign that he didn’t want to speak to us, so we should leave him alone.

He told me we should let them know when/if we want to sit down and talk.  Then Jeff and I quietly left; I don’t remember saying good-bye.

At home, I re-sent the apology e-mail, cutting out the bits about reconciliation being impossible, maybe tweaking one or two things.

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


Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex

The letter to Mike continued:

I pray every night, trying to remember the prayer my priest gave me.  Of course, the prayer he gave was so long and detailed that I can’t possibly remember it all, so I go with the main ideas.

It’s a prayer for softening of hearts, forgiveness, peace, blessing.  I can only hope that my former friend’s priest has given him a similar prayer, that one day he will realize that fierce anger, the belittling his wife did of me, and refusing to apologize or listen to another’s point of view are the wrong things to do if you want to preserve a friendship.

Just before I spoke to my priest–it was more than a couple of weeks ago, now–I sent an apology e-mail.  I hope and pray it actually got to its destination and was read, because I couldn’t think of a better mode to use.

Calling seemed dangerous because SHE might answer and rip me a new one.  If I sent a letter, the wife would probably rip it up without even letting him read it.

But the e-mail was sent; it’s out there….Unfortunately, the only response I got was to get blocked on Facebook.  Looks like Jeff and I are both blocked.

It’s weird because the wife has not blocked either one of us.  I would’ve thought it would be the other way around.  Jeff says he doesn’t want to even try to figure them out.

He also says they weren’t good friends, to do what they did.  That they weren’t grateful, since we’ve done so many things to help them out the past few years.

He says we do have other friends, good friends, NICE people, and shouldn’t think we’re so desperate for friends that we’d keep bad ones–It’s just hard to get together with them these days.

My little boy is very sad because my former friend has four young children who loved to play with him.  He’s lost friends because the adults couldn’t get along, and it just isn’t fair to him.

It makes me wish I could change things for his sake, but there’s nothing I can do–other than become the sacrificial lamb who must submit to verbal abuse to satisfy the wife’s long-held grudge.

A year ago I was told that she kept calling me “that woman” and bringing up a mistake I made way back when we were all living together.  She just didn’t let go.  I thought we settled this a year ago.

In the interest of burying hatchets, I decided to Facebook friend the pastor of our old Evangelical church, even though we had problems there that made us resentful.

And Jeff, evaluating his own behavior compared to the wife’s, decided to give a certain SCA person a second chance.  He realized that just because their personalities clashed, doesn’t mean this SCA person was a bad guy.

I also think back to old exes.  I had bitter estrangements from Peter and Phil, lots of hurt feelings and anger, and also from Shawn, who was not exactly an ex but not exactly not an ex. (Friend with benefits, you could say.)

And yet–Two years later, Peter called me out of the blue and befriended me again.  Then he “warned” Phil about me, which put me on the outs with him again, but we became friends again later on.

In 1996 we had an e-mail argument over religion, but a year or so later, I apologized and we reconciled.  I forget who befriended whom on Facebook, but a couple of months ago he chatted with me online–his idea.  The old bitter past is long in the past.

Same for Phil: I still don’t want to be friends with him, but we’re no longer enemies.  A while back I found him on one of the alumni websites, and apologized for some stuff.  He apologized as well.

And get this–He said that he shouldn’t have let me go.  He was going through a divorce at the time, and thinking of me.

Even his mom said I was the one girlfriend he should’ve held onto.

Of course, I let him know I was happily married, so he wouldn’t try to start anything again.  That was more than 3 years ago, and I haven’t e-mailed more than once since then. But the bitterness is over.

Shawn started calling me again, a couple of years after he made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me.  He had a breakdown which made him want to hold onto the friends he had.  He called once or twice after graduation as well, and we also e-mailed each other about 6 years ago.

There are also people who teased me in elementary/middle/high school but were friendly at the 10-year reunion, and also those who friended me on Facebook and apologized for teasing me.  So I do know that time can heal even bitter estrangements and make people reflect on what they did to contribute to the situation.

I’ve already sent my apology to help things along, so I’ve done my part. I can do nothing more except pray and try to move on.  Everybody says that’s all I can do, that the ball is in their court now.

Our conversation continued into the weekend, and I spoke of needing to confess to my priest on Sunday.

I spoke of Richard and Tracy sniping at each other.  I said that I vented on Facebook because I wanted to counteract whatever our mutual friends might be hearing from Richard/Tracy or seeing on their Facebook walls.  But I felt guilty, and removed the posts.

Mike had his own struggles with forgiveness of toxic people, so I wrote, “You tell me to forgive and let go, I can tell you to forgive and let go, but actually doing it is a huge struggle.  We can help each other keep from giving into the dark vortex.”

On Saturday night, July 31, I saw Boondock Saints for the first time.  This movie becomes significant later.

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