The elusive bosom friend

Warning: The following summarizes and vents a period of narcissistic abuse and mind control.

To Richard if you find this: Why did you do it, man?  Wasn’t I always a good friend to you?  Didn’t I help you out of lots of jams?  Didn’t I support you and listen to your problems and believe your claims of abuse?  Didn’t I watch your kids at the drop of a hat?

Why did you betray me and throw me to the dogs?

[Update 7/17/13: I think the reasons are obvious: I believe he was a con man trying to get money and stuff from us, but the economy tanked and we had money trouble; they wanted to get political connections, but we were too “liberal” and not politically driven…

…I was his confidante of his wife’s abuses of him and the children, so she, who has a family history of personality disorders, smeared me to him to drive a wedge between us; and I spoke up against the way they both had been treating their kids.

He used to be a Mafia thug, and was easily provoked to violence.  He hypnotized me without my knowledge.

I thought I had found a religious and spiritual mentor in my search for the True Church, and a best friend here in my own town instead of far away, one who would always be there for me throughout life.

But I believe I fell prey to a con man who eventually decided my husband and I were of no further use to him and his wife.

So instead of addressing the real issues, they made me a scapegoat, made up offenses and kept me always jumping over hoops.

Then because we no longer had much money to give them, I started doubting Richard’s wild stories, and I had let them know they abused their kids, they started treating my husband and I both very badly.

They found an imaginary complaint to skewer me over, so we would break off the friendship in disgust, but they would still be able to claim that it was my fault and not theirs.

Richard threatened my husband with physical violence and intimidated him.  Then in 2010, I was proven correct about the abuse, when Richard choked his oldest daughter until she passed out.  He plea bargained and served a year of probation.]

———-

That elusive bosom friend

Some friends just drift in and out of your life.  Some hurt when they drift away, but you deal with it and move on.  Some may anger you so much that losing them doesn’t bother you.

Losing a friend is not easy in any case, but it’s far more difficult when it was that one extra-special friend, the kind that’s so rare.

All my life I have wanted the elusive bosom friend that Anne Shirley spoke of.  The friend who sticks with you for life, not a romance, not sex or marriage, which I already have, but a platonic friend.  Frodo/Sam.

I’ve made close friends, but then somebody moved away, or classes/lunch periods changed.  I wanted such a friend right here in my own town, not many miles away, separated for so many years that the friendship remains, but the closeness inevitably suffers.

I thought I finally found that friend when this one moved to my town.  I had just prayed for a friend a few months before.  “Jeff” and I both liked him and I thought he was that friend, an answer to prayer.

Gender makes no difference to me, never has, never will, and I believe that it’s ridiculous and old-fashioned to believe that men and women can’t or shouldn’t be friends.

Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs (Original Version)

[Originally a Facebook note, meant to explain to my friends (including mutual ones with my abusers) why it was so hard for me to just forget Richard and move on.  It turned into a much larger blog post when I began adding more and more to the note.  At that time, my blog did not have the details of my story publicly posted, as it does now.  Written Tuesday, December 27, 2011.]

Some friends just drift in and out of your life.  Some hurt when they drift away, but you deal with it and move on.  Some may anger you so much that losing them doesn’t bother you.  Losing a friend is not easy in any case, but it’s far more difficult when it was that one extra-special friend, the kind that’s so rare.

All my life I had wanted the elusive bosom friend that Anne Shirley spoke of.  The friend who sticks with you for life, not a romance, not sex or marriage, which I already have, but a platonic friend.  Frodo/Sam.

I’ve made close friends, but then somebody would move away, or classes/lunch periods would change.  I wanted such a friend right here in my own town, not many miles away, separated for so many years that the friendship remains, but the closeness inevitably suffers.

I thought I finally found that friend when this one moved to my town.  I had just prayed for a friend a few months before.  Jeff and I both liked him and I thought he was that friend, an answer to prayer.

I considered him my best and closest friend.  He’s the one who helped light my way when I searched for the True Church, the original doctrines.  He had already found it before I did.

We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches.  We could sympathize with each other about going through contemporary church services.

We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge and interest; we could discuss the meaning of original sin, or whether River of Fire is a good source of Orthodox doctrine;

we could discuss what it means to experience the Holy Spirit;

I could ask him about various things, such as why the English translations of the Latin and Greek versions of the Nicene Creed are so different, even the parts that come from the original Ecumenical Council that produced them;

I could share with him Orthodox writings, and give him Orthodox books and icons for Christmas or birthdays.

I could tell him what led me away from Western doctrines, without feeling judged for turning to “heresies.”  I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things, at least not from the same background, baseline knowledge, amount of interest and same denomination.

I asked him about difficult points of Orthodox doctrine or practices; I asked him how to forgive people who had hurt me years before; I lamented to him about Net Orthodoxy and its legalism.

He was my spiritual mentor.  He was the one I always wrote to with details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting.  Who else can I write these things to, who has the same level of interest?  I wrote to him about my church because he was the one who led me there.  And these things led to sharing about our life experiences and troubles.

I told him my secrets, and he told me his.  He was my counselor, as I poured out my heart to him about various issues I was dealing with, and details of how I’d been bullied growing up, and how I’d been used and abused by college exes, including private details which I did not normally tell anyone, because of their nature.  I told him these things because I trusted him completely, was comfortable with telling him.

I told him funny stories of things that happened day-to-day, or dreams.  I shared with him thoughts about movies I watched, books I read, life stories.  We talked for hours at a time.

He lived with us for a time, so became like part of the family, like an adopted brother, so I could tell him things I didn’t tell other people.  We could joke back and forth with each other and play off each other so easily that one guy once said, “I love it when you guys are here!”

He and I went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy.  And he and I also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres, 80s, New Wave–and yet knowing some of the same Christian artists as well.  He had actually been a Goth, while I was interested in Goth culture, did as much “Gothyness” as I could do in a small city in the Midwest.

Because of our similar backgrounds, we both knew about the Thief in the Night series, Left Behind, and other such things.  We were even the same age, so had the same nostalgia for TV shows or movies we grew up with.  We both liked watching EWTN.  We were both interested in paranormal investigations.

It just seems impossible to replace him.  These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to his friendship.

Every time something comes up that before I would write in a quick e-mail to him, I wonder, Is there anyone I can tell this to?  Sometimes I can, but many times, I can’t.  So I start wishing I could write that e-mail to him, because nobody else would understand, or nobody else is privy to those things.

Where else am I to find someone like this?  I try to remind myself of all the violence, the self-seeking, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else, as if he were a car or a computer that can just be exchanged for something new and better.

And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship.

That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to my husband and me, ready to abandon the violence and arrogance that pushed Jeff and me away, ready to start anew.

That’s why I’m filled anew with grief every time I see him at church, he says not a word to me, and I feel I must avoid him, push him away, because of his violence and betrayal, because I can’t trust him.

I barely make it through the service without collapsing in a puddle of tears.  Trying to keep in Orthodoxy, also, has become very difficult, because everything about it reminds me of him.  Sometimes I’m tempted to just give all of it up.

Nobody can help me because the friendship I had was so rare, so hard to find again, and not something you ever get over.  You can’t just go out and find another one just like it; it takes time and coming across just the right person at just the right time.

And I don’t even know if he misses us or regrets what happened, if he only keeps away because he’s (justifiably) afraid of my husband’s anger at him over all the things he did, or if he just doesn’t care.  If he truly misses us, or just misses playing D&D with Jeff.  If he remembers all the kind things we did for him.

And the most tragic thing is, I have no clue what happened.  The winter of 2009-2010, everything was fine between us all.  I don’t recall much bullying of me going on at that time, I was led to believe that the wife had long since stopped holding her inexplicable and irrational grudges against me, and everything was fine. 

But somehow, over the spring of 2010, for no reason I ever knew, they just both started being mean to me.

But as for him–I don’t know that I’ll ever get over what he did, unless he stops justifying his behavior and comes to me, and repents.  Forgive perhaps, eventually, but lose the hurt feelings?  Stop feeling betrayed by my best friend?  Stop wishing that he would do the right thing?  Probably never.

For the time being, I feel like I’ve gone back into the shell which I had been emerging from, afraid to share too much, afraid that I’ll make new friends and love them only to find that they’re abusive as well, afraid about every move I make because maybe they’ll think I’m horrible for being so quiet, or they’ll accuse me of stalking or being annoying or some other horrible thing.  I didn’t use to be so scared of these things.

And I’m also afraid every week of seeing Richard and/or his wife at church, because they do show up on occasion, leaving me nervous, shaken and afraid of what rumors they might try to spread, or of them wanting to make some sort of confrontation. 

Church used to be my refuge, but because they are so close to it, I fear they will show up in my life again some time in the future in some way.  I stay away from their church, and wish they would stay away from mine.

Every day, I’m haunted by the memory of how they bullied me, how a trusted and beloved friend betrayed me, the abuses that I witnessed.

[This blog post eventually turned into this, the version which my abusers saw when they discovered my blog.  Because of the length of the new version, and because my 2010/2011 blog archives now contain the full story, I moved it to a page instead of a post.]

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

 

 

Fighting the Darkness: Mutual Friends with the Abusers

[This is an outpouring of grief and anger I felt shortly after discovering that my former best friend was convicted of choking his child, and in the process of recovery from severe psychological trauma inflicted on me by this person and his wife. 

[The grief and anger were so difficult to contain or deal with that I took to writing about it, especially as I would get continually triggered just by seeing a mutual Facebook friend respond to something they wrote. 

[In italics are additions and explanations I have put in while revising this in following years.

[Directly below is an index to this post.  Click on the links if you want to skip to some section in particular.]

Do our mutual friends know the identity of my abuser?

When you have been abused by a friend, or when you have discovered that your friend is a narcissist, or when you have discovered that your friend has a dangerous personality disorder such as narcissistic borderline, mutual friends may or may not believe you.

I have posted on Facebook and my blogs what really happened, that Richard and Tracy abused me, abuse their children and abuse each other, and that Richard has been convicted of choking his daughter.  But I didn’t use their real names in these posts.

[I did NOT mention my blogs or include the extensive detail of my blogs in these Facebook posts.  I did not say who I meant.  E-mails to close friends and other private conversations had more detail.  It just did not feel right to use names etc. on Facebook with mutual friends reading. 

[My motives for posting on Facebook were twofold:

[1. I put friends and family on my Facebook, and desperately needed the support of all of them together as a group in this difficult time of grief and PTSD-like symptoms, and no money for professional therapy.  I didn’t want to talk to a therapist, anyway: I wanted my friends and family to know what happened. 

[2. If the mutual friends did figure it out, I hoped they would intervene by talking to Richard/Tracy about the abuse, that it is abuse and wrong, and to get them to lighten up on me.  But I couldn’t just come out and ask them to get in the middle.

[Also, on the day of the breakup, Tracy began posting snarky and exulting comments on Facebook about how she was having a GREAT day because she was yelling and screaming her foul, untrue, and Satanic rage at me.  I feared what kind of slander and smear campaign she was carrying on on Facebook against me after I unfriended her, having seen her already do this with Todd in an online game.]

Mutual friends have seen some of the Facebook posts, but only one has acknowledged figuring out who I was talking about.  That one, Todd, already knew what Tracy was really like, having been her target two years previous.  When he found out about the criminal case and saw the proof for himself, he dropped Richard on Facebook.  So somebody believes me!

The others–I don’t know if they even know who I mean.  Richard and Tracy are still on their friends list, so even though I can’t see the blocked posts, I can see the mutual friends responding to their posts.  If they do know who I mean, do they believe me?

One mutual friend dropped me from Facebook almost a year ago now, with no word at all of why; this was Chris, my replacement as Richard’s BFF when I kept thinking for myself instead of following everything Richard said about politics and everything else.  [Chris re-friended me in 2014.  Shortly before 2015, he appears to have deactivated his Facebook.]

Websites often warn that you can lose mutual friends after being abused and/or being caught in the web of a narcissist.  They’re still caught in the web, and don’t believe this person could do what you say he’s done.  Maybe one day they, too, will come to the truth about the narcissist, but for now they think you’re crazy, bitter, whatever.

I wonder how the mutual friends can possibly not know who I mean, since I haven’t posted on the walls of Richard and Tracy for a year and a half, when I used to post there all the time.  (These people are connected via Internet and don’t live near each other.)

The mutual friends may occasionally respond to my posts of what happened, but they don’t acknowledge knowing who I mean.  They never ask for proof of my assertions that Richard has been convicted of choking his little girl, and is now on probation for it.  But if they only asked, I would give them three links which would prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m telling the truth.

These are three publicly available links; one is from the website of the local newspaper, and two are free, public, state-run websites, one with court cases and the other an inmate/community supervision locator.  All the information is on those three links, including mug shots, name, birthdate, addresses, what happened over the course of the case, details of the choking incident.

Yet they never ask; they keep Richard and Tracy on their Facebook; apparently they are in denial.  Maybe they’re afraid to face the truth, that their friends are abusive, violent people who have hurt many and who have already lost many friends, both individually and together.  Yeah, well, the truth is right there if only you want to face it, the proof is all on the Web that he’s not the amiable, big-hearted person he pretends to be.

[Update: In 2012, one of these mutual friends did, indeed, ask for these links, and was convinced.  But this was on a private Web forum, not on Facebook, where I felt free to discuss Richard and Tracy’s criminal actions (stalking and threatening me, choking their kid) using their names, thanks to another mutual friend paving the way.]

Do they believe me?  Do they have any clue these people are child abusers?

It’s hard for me to deal with this.  I avoid poking around too much in the posts of mutual friends, for fear that I’ll see them reply to Richard or Tracy, because I get a sour feeling in the pit of my gut when I see that.

There is still too much grief; there is still too much disbelief that Richard is a narcissist, even though I see the proof in his mug shots, the lack of remorse, the contempt instead of shame.

There is still too much anger at the injustice of Tracy’s projection of guilt onto me, at her abuses of me, at her gaslighting and vicious, nasty behavior.

Hubby wants me to no longer care what she thinks of me, and that’s what I want, too, but the anger and feeling of injustice still burn hot.  But when I do accidentally see a mutual friend responding to a post that is blocked from me, as I did last night, I start wondering,

“Are Richard and Tracy acting like nothing has happened and they’re just normal, healthy people who wouldn’t hurt a fly?  Is Richard pretending to all his friends that he never got charged with choking his child, never got convicted?

“Are they pretending to all their friends that Social Services is not involved in their family, even though it says right there in Richard’s signature bond agreement that he was ordered to cooperate with Social Services?

“Or do the mutual friends know all this, but not care that Richard and Tracy claim to be Christians but are severely lacking in morals, just as Richard kept being friends with the creeps who sexually harassed me in 2009, and got upset when I suggested their morals were lacking?

“Do they believe Richard or Tracy if they say that I’m the crazy one?  Does Tracy still post things like she did on 7/1/10, when she posted on Facebook that she was having a GREAT day because she no longer had to sit back and be quiet and nice, that she finally got to say what she wanted to say?”

(My husband said to that, when I told him yesterday about her post, “Say about *what*?  When was she keeping quiet and nice, and about what?”  Which is what I wonder as well, because I really don’t know.  I tried to be polite and kind to her all the time.)

I wonder, “Is Tracy still staying with Richard even though he almost killed her daughter?  Is Richard still staying with Tracy even though she hits him and he once told me he had to hold himself back, but if she ever hit his face, he’d tell her, ‘You’re not a woman,’ and hit her back like she was a man?

“Doesn’t Richard realize that this never ends well, that if he doesn’t get out now, the violence will escalate over time, until one day he’s beaten her up or even killed her, and the law won’t care who hit first, and will throw him in jail?  Especially now that he already has a child abuse conviction against him!”

I’ve done all I can.  I told Social Services what I witnessed and what Richard told me.  I told my priest what happened, and though I did not tell him Richard’s identity, I believe he’s figured it out.  I’ve tried to tell my friends the truth, whether mutual friends believe me or not, or even know who I mean.  I suggested to my husband that he report the threat Richard sent to him back on June 28, 2010, but he doesn’t want to.

The rest has been done by their oldest daughter, who had the amazing courage to report her own step-father to the police, and by law enforcement and Social Services.  I really should let myself rest with that, but I keep feeling like there’s something else I need to do.  But what else would there be?

What if my abusers join my church??!!

Richard’s church and mine are both very small and in financial trouble; the archdiocese has suggested they merge.  The two churches don’t want to merge, since they’re in different counties, and somebody would have to move.  But the option is still on the table.

If the churches merge, I will have to go to the priest with my concerns, and show him the proof that Richard is a convicted child abuser, to establish my credibility and prove that he is violent.

Because Tracy has bullied and verbally abused me as well, I will have to also show him an article I found on a contract one church drew up with a member who had been charged with molestation, a contract which was meant to help the member find redemption, but also consider the needs and fears of the victims.  We could modify it for our own needs.

If Richard comes to my church again, my husband and I will have to address the elephant in the room (his unrepentant attitude for hurting me, and the conviction), and confront him with the child abuse case, tell him we know what he did and he can’t keep coming here, intimidating me and bringing up all my feelings of grief and anger all over again while I’m trying to worship God.

Realizing my former friend is truly a narcissist

I thought, the last time he came, that he was showing signs of repentance for what he did to his little girl.  I hoped again, hoped he was cooperating with Social Services, hoped they were making him go to anger management and parenting classes, hoped he was working on those violent tendencies that drove him to tell me he was going to kill the lady who evicted him in 2009, to want to hit his wife, to choke his little girl until she passed out just because she wasn’t cleaning up after herself.

Those violent tendencies that drove him to tell my husband that he’s easily provoked to physical violence, that he was ready to fight verbally and physically, that because my husband was sticking up for me against Richard’s bullying, Richard felt angrier than he had felt in years.

I hoped that Richard now realized, thanks to his conviction and nearly killing his daughter, that he needed help desperately.  I hoped he was full of shame.  I hoped he would finally come to Hubby and me, and try to make things right.  I hoped that good side I thought was there, would finally get him to do the right thing, and this grief would end, I would get my friend back….

But then I saw the five mug shots taken a few weeks after he came to my church, and they were full of contempt.  Hubby says Richard also looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.

There are also the many things he himself told me which show him to be a narcissist: using conversational hypnotism to get me to open up to him, his boast of arrogance, his boasting about all his past women and getting them fighting each other, telling me that his exes would sit around at the same table talking about how evil he was, joking about his big ego, faking speaking in tongues to his congregation while preaching (many years ago)….

There were so many things he told me which painted a distinct picture of narcissism in his youth.  But he had led me to believe that he had turned away from such things, respected women now, was being saved by the Orthodox Church.

I had this image of him, this friend, that may never have truly existed.  In 2009 or 2010, he complained about having to “pamper” me, even though I never asked him to, said that Tracy actually got angry with him for not saying things she knew he wanted to say while I was visiting.

This makes me wonder, WHAT things?  How much of what I believed was his personality and character, was real?  Was it all an act?  Did the person I saw as my friend–Did he ever even exist, or was he just a persona invented by Richard to lure me as his narcissistic supply?

I’ve been a victim of narcissists in the past; now I was vulnerable because I’m very shy, have trouble making close friends, all my close friends were living so far away that I hadn’t seen them in some time, and I have always wanted one of those platonic friendships like Frodo/Sam, Bill/Ted, Anna/Clarissa, Anne/Diane, Gus/Shawn….

After all, in one of his favorite chat rooms, the other people were very surprised to hear that he wanted to be a priest.

I have every reason to believe that Richard is truly a narcissist, that I’m not just making up some idea in my head to make myself feel better.  The proofs are at least as clear as the proofs of Tracy being a malignant narcissist and/or borderline personality disorder.  The biggest proof is the look in his eyes in his mug shots.

I thought he had changed from the violence and “dog” days of his past, was now gentle and sweet, especially because he wanted to be a priest and we were always talking about theology, the Church and God.

But now I see him as just as much a predator as he was in his younger, “dog” days, just more subtle.  After all, why should I believe him anymore that he’s changed in this way, when he also claimed to have changed in other ways–turning away from violence in general, no longer abusing his kids–only to be proven a liar when he planned to kill that lady in 2009, threatened my husband in 2010, and choked his daughter a few months later?

I’m very disappointed in Richard, very disappointed to have to let go of the belief that he could still be saved from himself.  It’s very difficult because for all this time, I’ve hoped that the good in him would one day win out and I would have my friend back.

Even at my angriest, I’ve been sad over having to give up his friendship, and hoped it was only temporary.  It had been such an important friendship to me, and I had thought for so long that it was important to him as well, that he didn’t want to lose my friendship or my husband’s.

So why won’t he man up and talk to us, why won’t he fight for our friendship, apologize to us?  Why did he plead no contest and still show, in his pictures, contempt for law enforcement, which is only doing its job protecting our weakest citizens?

Somehow I must accept that I now have proof of his narcissism, that he’s not the man I thought he was, and somehow I must stop longing for his friendship back.  But I don’t know how I’ll do that.

When I speak of new evidence I’ve found for Richard’s narcissism, my husband doesn’t sound surprised at all.

I keep remembering things that make me think Richard really does have a good heart, but my husband keeps remembering things about Richard that rubbed him the wrong way, made him think that Richard is actually heartless, such as his politics, or that he lacked in empathy and wasn’t a good, caring friend, such as when Hubby tried to explain to him why I resisted Tracy and how I was being unfairly treated, but Richard did not listen.

My giving nature keeps looking for the good in Richard, despite all the evidence in front of me, or how angry I am with him.  But Hubby seems to just nod whenever I have some new revelation.  For example, when I showed Hubby the mug shots taken a month after the conviction and a couple of weeks after Richard seemed repentant and humble at church.

For him to act this way at church but act contemptuous while dealing with law enforcement over his despicable acts–I was shocked and dismayed, but Hubby didn’t seem surprised at all.

He saw Richard as complaining about his lot in life but unmotivated to do anything about it; he saw Richard as believing himself to be good, and having a superiority complex (that Tracy has one as well), having to be better than everyone else, smarter, knowing secret things, having the right religion, etc.

(He also believed Tracy envied me for having a better life and better husband, and couldn’t stand that.  I know she envied my husband because Richard told me how often she wished hers did as much around the house as mine did.  There was also the time when Hubby promised to rub my feet, and she said, “Can we switch husbands?”)

I saw Richard as practically a saint, a wise counselor, a fount of knowledge on the True Church.  I was the perfect narcissistic supply.

Realizing that I, too, stayed friends with these narcs after they were cruel to a mutual friend

You will note that I stayed friends with Richard and Tracy even though I knew they were both being asses to Todd.  Of course, Richard told me enough things about Todd to make him sound like a horrible person in general, even though he’d been close friends with Todd for years, so I began to disregard the crap being slung at Todd over the game.

So maybe it’s not so surprising that Richard’s other friends are still with him, even though I’ve exposed the abuse.  If they’re still caught up in his web, they may not realize just how badly he’s acted, even with the evidence in their faces.  I still stayed with Richard even though I knew he almost assaulted that lady.

As one person on the Forum (where we all used to post) wrote to Todd about Richard after finding out about the court case, “He always was an a–hole, but you were his friend and didn’t notice.”  Several people on the Forum also said that Richard is a narcissist.

How the narc made me feel inferior and deficient

As the loyal supply, there were times when he would tell me I was somehow deficient in some way, and I would object, but then strive to live up to his expectations.

For example, when I tried to explain that it upset me when he kept standing me up, he made me feel like I was being clingy, so I apologized and tried to not be clingy.

For another example, one day while his whole family lived with us, I was sick of looking on my living room floor and seeing the whole family’s dirty laundry, all in a huge pile.  So I asked him to please pick it up.  He said, “You’re pushy!”  So I said, “Sorry if I seem pushy.  It’s just–It’s my living room and I want it clean!”  Then he laughed at me.  Apparently, calling me pushy was some kind of joke.

Just as he called me a prude for not liking gory movies, I got very upset by this, he kept calling me a prude over the months because I don’t like gore, then one day he told me he was just teasing me.

Or another time when he lived with us, I kept giving him strong hints every other day that he needed to take a shower, and because I showered daily, he said something about how in Roman days, I’d be spending all my time in the baths.  Basically, he made me feel like I’m obsessive about showers just because I shower daily like most Americans, and don’t like how badly he smells when he doesn’t.

But then months later he told me he was just teasing me, that growing up he was actually quite clean, and was just trying to spare my water while he lived with us.

The narc and his loyal followers–whom he could drop and now they’re scum of the earth

And he sure did crave that narcissistic supply.  After he moved in, I noticed that his cell phone was constantly ringing, even though much of the time he’d put off whoever was calling so he could continue chatting with me.

Also, after he moved out, I also began realizing that he was far more into befriending people than anyone I had ever known: Instead of online friends staying online friends unless they happened to be in the area for a meetup, he would get phone numbers and call all his online friends, making them phone friends.  And since he was into all sorts of games and forums online, there were lots of people he befriended like this.

When I tried to chat with him online, he would tell me that ten other people were also chatting with him, and that’s why his responses were so slow.  Or we’d be having a heart-to-heart, and his responses would be quick–but then he’d tell me he’s also on the phone having a heart-to-heart with his ex-girlfriend.

Then of course, there were people he met in real life: He would talk the ears off pretty much anybody, and make them into friends.  He also still regularly talked to friends he’d made many years before.

I began to wonder when he’d ever have time for his BFF with all these other friends, when we could ever have a decent online conversation, how I was to have a phone conversation when his call waiting kept beeping.  I wondered how he could possibly maintain so many active friendships.

Most people, by the time they’re married and have a family, simply don’t have the time to be actively maintaining every single friendship they’ve ever made, including online ones.  These were the days before Facebook, when you could maintain long-distance or old friendships simply by posting on a Wall.

Now I realize that this is probably an indication of narcissism, that he had to get all that narcissistic supply, surround himself with followers.

I noted that he had several heterosexual guy friends, including Chris, who were just as loyal to him as I was, craving to be with him, calling him up all the time, wanting to move to the area just so they could be with him.

So his charisma could inspire that in anyone, not just females.  I don’t know how he did this.  But somehow Richard had woven such a spell that I would soon want nothing more than to be in his company, chatting with him or giving him a big hug.

Todd was one of those loyal friends, even though they lived far apart, and when he stayed with Richard on vacation, he wrote on the forum about how much he loved being with Richard, wanted to move in with Richard for good, was actually planning it for a time.

But then, a couple years later, the blowup and fallout happened, and he began to come out of the spell.  Now, he’s the only other friend of Richard I’m aware of who no longer wants a thing to do with him because of the choking incident.

If I had still been friends with Richard when it happened, I wonder if somehow he would have convinced me that he was being persecuted by the guvmint, and I would have stayed friends with him, even though he had done a despicable act that goes against everything I believe in (choking his kid).

Even though, during the time he lived with us, he made me feel like we had bonded and had a very special friendship, that I was standing in for his beloved sister since she was so far away–now I felt like just one of many.

He was my BFF, the one I confided in about everything, the one I most wanted to see, but I felt like he wasn’t confiding in me about much of anything anymore, like he wanted to see all sorts of other people at least as much as he wanted to see me.  I didn’t feel special to him anymore, like I had to fight for his attention, which probably fed into his narcissism even more.

Who will they hurt next?  Where can I find peace of mind?

Mutual friends, face the truth, or you’ll be next.  Richard and Tracy are both unstable people, and without me around, they need a new target.  Face the truth, try to get them to face the truth, do something!

I’m sick of being afraid to run into them at church or on the street, for fear of what they’ll do.  If Richard doesn’t take his conviction seriously, if he keeps complaining about police states and the police and how we need to defend our own homes and get rid of the police and fight CPS–one day, he’s going to be the one shooting his wife or killing one of his kids.

Or Tracy will be the one killing him, because she’s violent, too.

Or at the very least, those kids are going to be so screwed up.

I don’t want to see that happen, but I’m so afraid that with the light sentence for the choking incident (one year probation), they’ll somehow fall through the cracks and the dysfunction will continue.

After all this time, I still worry like a mother hen over what will happen to Richard, what will happen to the children.  And now that he can no longer be a priest, and any political aspirations are no longer possible because of his criminal record–what will he go after next?  Will he be like Elmer Gantry and just move on to the next thing?

How can I fill that narc-shaped hole?

I feel like a shell of my former self.  Yet another sign that I’ve been targeted by narcissists.  That and the persistent feeling that I’m missing something, that Richard has to bring it back to me before I can be complete again.

It doesn’t help that he was the one I went to about religion.  He’s the one I found to help light my way when I was searching for the True Church, the original doctrines.

We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches.  We could sympathize with each other about having to go through happy-clappy modern services.

We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge; I could ask him about various things, such as why the English translations of the Latin and Greek versions of the Nicene Creed are so different, even the parts that come from the original Ecumenical Council that produced them; I could share with him Orthodox writings, and give him Orthodox books and icons for Christmas or birthdays.

I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things; most people at church seem more interested in church functions and light conversation than with theology, and while I can discuss them with my priest, it’s not the same as discussing it for hours on the phone with a friend.

Richard was the one I always wrote to with details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting.  Who else can I write these things to?  He and I went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy.  And he and I also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres.

No other friend matches this.  It just seems impossible to replace him, even with his disagreeable violence and narcissism.  These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to him.

Where else am I to find someone like this?  I try to remind myself of all the violence, the narcissism, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else.

And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship.  That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to us.

But that saintly version of the narc is not real

Except that this perfect friend, the image I had of this person, which was molded over the two years of online/phone friendship and the two months he alone stayed with us, diverges so much from the way he acted, and the things which came out about him, and the way he treated me, over the two years after that, that I wonder how much of this image was real, and how much was a carefully crafted persona used to attract me.

The image I had in 2007, was not the kind of person to joke about “sexing” his wife’s friends, or plan to kill a landlady, or laugh about helping the Mafia in his younger years, or defend the abusive behaviors of a wife, or be abusive himself even of little children, choking one and then acting contemptuous of the cops who charged him with it.

The image was not the kind of person who betrays friends, pushes them into questionable behavior, bullies them, or threatens them with violence.

The image was not the kind of person who puts politics and conspiracy theories higher than friends, or above the peace and serenity found in religion.

Yet that’s what he turned out to be.

Just as my ex Peter–so I was told a few years later by two guys who didn’t realize I had dated him–tailored his personality to fit the girl he was trying to attract.

Just as my ex Phil wove a web of deception which made me think he acted out his dreams, that his “subconscious” was coming out during sleep to talk with me.

Just as Richard himself once pretended to a girl that he believed in her religion, just so he could get into her pants.

Was any of it for real?  The Richard I knew in 2007 would never have choked his own child.  Yet there it is, plain as day, something he truly did.

My mind has been like the robots on the Harry Mudd episode of Star Trek, going in an endless loop between the truth and what I thought was the truth, until it finally blows up.

Before, I wondered why he stayed with Tracy, since she is so evil; now I also wonder why she stays with him after he nearly killed her child.

He was my idol with feet of clay, the saint who turned out to be a sinner.  And I’m left with this gaping hole in my life and heart where my idol, my perfect friend, once stood, with no clue how to fill it up again.  Nobody can help me because the friendship I had was so rare, so hard to find again.

And I don’t even know if he misses me or regrets what happened, if he only keeps away because he’s afraid of my husband’s anger (he must know I’d tell my husband what really happened), or afraid of Tracy beating him up if he talks to me.

Or if he’s the kind of narcissist who doesn’t care once a used-up supply is gone.  If he moved on from religion to politics and no longer wants friends who disagree with his views on, say, unions or Obama.

I hope he’s not so far on the narcissistic spectrum as to have the full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Then there’d be no hope for him at all.

Alice was unable to persuade either her mother or husband to seek proper diagnosis. But while Romero-Urcelay and Vaknin caution against self-diagnosis, Alice is extremely intelligent, and has spent many years researching her ordeal.

“It’s a huge comfort to know it’s NPD,” she says. “You realise it’s not you that’s the problem. It’s like being reborn” When Narcissism Becomes Pathological.

[Update 7/20/12:]

There may be minimal value in trying to explain their behavior to an abuser’s allies who’ve never seen it–and who wouldn’t believe it anyway. However, there is no reason to hide it either when the subject arises.

But be prepared when you do this because as I mentioned, abusers typically have an entire small city of allies (friends, coworkers, neighbors, church members, etc. who they show their pretentiously wonderful “public” persona to – and those people will never believe he’d ever do or say the nasty things he does to you (and only you).

If you try to tell them, then you may just look bad in their eyes and in their own ignorance, they’ll stick up for Dr. Jekyll because they think he’s so “wonderful” and nice. And he is nice, to THEM. Remember they only see his “nice” side – his “outside” self. Only you see Mr. Hyde – his “inside” self.

You may just end up hurting your own reputation trying to convince his allies he’s abusive. They may think you are the “crazy” one. So don’t try to convince them. Just calmly and flatly state that he’s an abuser or alcoholic or whatever the problem is, and leave it at that.” –Olivia, http://myemotionalvampire.blogspot.com/2012/07/un-masking-abuser.html

Also see It’s Perfectly Normal to Dread Seeing Abusers Again, Seeing Abuser is Rough for Abuse Victims, Especially When Abusers & Enablers Blame the Victim: Annie’s Mailbox, Fighting the Darkness: Seeing the abuser again, and Needing to Feel Safe: Going to same church as abusers.

 

Trip to San Francisco–June 1999–Freaks and Buzzards

I went with hubby “Cugan” and his brother M–, who won our plane tickets there.  (We could never have afforded it on our own.)

The houses in Union City, where we stayed with family, had bad spider and bug problems, like the lakeside houses in our own Wisconsin city.  At least we didn’t see many bugs inside the house, but it still looked like more than the usual in Wisconsin.

It would get cold at night, and bayside was often cold and windy, probably reaching the fifties before the day was done.  So if you go to San Francisco, even in the summertime, take a heavy jacket!  Also, there were old VW bugs everywhere, lasting forever in that climate.  Did they belong mostly to aging hippies?

We liked staying with family rather than in an expensive hotel, where we would just sit around feeling bored at the end of the day.  And I could sit on the couch and read Dangerous Liaisons while Cugan and M– watched the VCR or cable.

The neighborhood in Union City looked strange to me: It didn’t have the usual grassy strip between the sidewalk and the curb.  (In Wisconsin, it’s called a terrace, though I don’t think it’s called that in Indiana, where I came from.)  You’d find everything from street signs to trash barrels (on trash day) sitting on the sidewalk, and have to walk single file around them.

The houses were narrow, though long, the yards were tiny, and the streets were lined with lots of cars, so it felt claustrophobic.  But the Spanish-style houses with their double doors and pastels were pretty, and they, and the extensive landscaping people did, made up for that.  There were flowers everywhere.

The first night, Cugan, M– and I went to see Phantom Menace.  It was M–‘s first time and our second.  (Yes, we did actually like the movie and wanted to see it again.)  It was in that newfangled digital sound, but I noticed no difference between that and regular sound.

The 25-screen, new theater didn’t even have enough parking, so we were forced to park the rental car on a treacherous obstacle course made of bumpy dirt which was being used as a second parking lot.  Go too far one way, and you fall in a ditch.  We were glad to have a midsize car, because a smaller one might not have been able to handle the terrain.

When we saw a trailer for the new Austin Powers movie, some guy in the row in front of ours said, “I’ll need to have a few drinks before watching that one.”  Cugan and M– applauded, and we laughed.  (Yet M– ended up loving the movie.)  This guy said the same thing about another movie, I think the South Park movie.

I was shocked to see a trailer for a new movie version of Anna and the King of Siam.  Having seen the 1940s movie again after reading the book, I was shocked at how the movie twisted history around; The King and I wasn’t much better.

I longed for Hollywood to come out with a new version, maybe one that was closer to the book.  (For one thing, Anna and King Mongkut did not fall in love, as far as I could tell.  He was far too cruel for someone with her soft heart.)

Unfortunately, this new movie version was even worse than the rest.  And now people were saying that even the book was practically fiction!

Monday, we rode the BART, a transit train, to San Francisco, where we rode a Powell-Hyde Street cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf at the end of the line.  These cars were cool.  They weren’t used just for tourists, either.

Even the brakes were wooden.  Everything looked about as primitive as it probably was when they were first used, which made it all the more exciting.

Cable car is the only way to travel on the steep hills of San Francisco, but plenty of people still tried to share the streets with them and park on the hills.  I thought those people must be crazy.  We figured brakes must not last long around there, and that trolley brakes must get replaced every day.

The driver would put on the brakes going down a hill and take them off again to climb up another one.  When the trolley would get to one end or another of the track, a few strong men were needed to turn it around.  They would push it onto a wooden wheel in the street, pull a rope in the ground so the wheel would move, push the trolley around on the wheel to line up against the track facing the opposite direction, then roll it along on the track a little ways to the pickup point.

Long lines formed waiting for these cars; in the morning, it took about half an hour to finally get on a trolley.  (Maybe that’s why people would still drive cars.)   Along the way, individuals would stand at cable car stops or walk into the street, waving a hand so the car would stop and let them on.  Sometimes there would be too many people at a stop and the driver would say, “Go on down the street to the next one: You’ll have better luck.”

He pointed out all the sights to us along the way, something our evening driver didn’t do, probably because he was the evening driver and we’d seen it all before.

Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and nearby streets were full of shops and panhandlers.  Many panhandlers got creative.  One young man with spiked hair sat in front of a sign that said, “Get your picture taken with a freak.”

Three guys on the streets dressed up in suits and stood like statues or moved like robots on blocks.  One was painted gold, another silver.  I had to ask Cugan if they were real people.

Some guys had signs saying, “I’ll be honest: this money’s for beer/weed!”  I gave them no money, of course.  I’m willing to help out the hungry as far as I can, but not those who want money for drugs or beer.

We toured the bay on a ship for an hour, and saw the Golden Gate, the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and sea lions sleeping stretched out and looking like our cat when she slept.  We also toured an old submarine, the Jeremiah O’Brien.

We walked part of the way across the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was cold and windy and I had a sore throat, so we didn’t go the whole way.  There were phones here and there on the bridge to use for crisis counseling, to keep people from jumping off the bridge.  Cugan had M– pose for a picture, his hat on backwards, reaching for one of the phones as if he were on his last rope.

In a chocolate shop, I got a tin of chocolate and two truffles, and had to get some of the truffles which were made to look like cats, mice, bears, lions and pigs.  I could only get four, but they were almost too cute to eat.  I still ate them, however, to Cugan’s surprise and amusement.  He laughed when I would show him one or two each night, say, “Isn’t it cute?” and then bite into it.

One of the first two truffles got smashed in the bag before I could eat it, so Cugan and I went into the candy shop again later to replace it.  The same cashier was there who had been there before; she remembered me and smiled at all the chocolate I’d bought.  (It didn’t seem like much to me, but local prices were so high that it cost about $20!)

Dogs were huge in this area.  I saw maybe one dog that was smaller than a Rottweiler, and it was tiny.  Two of the dogs were mastiffs.  One panhandler had a black dog he called a “puppy,” but it was huge and looked like a wolf.  Cugan figured people had the big dogs for protection, especially the panhandlers.

As we waited for a trolley for about an hour in the cold wind of evening, after the fog had begun rolling in, a street musician entertained us with his guitar and his own songs.  When we got close to him and could hear the words, he sang a funny song about the blues of waiting for cable cars in the cold, and sang, “I’ve been waiting here longer than you.”

Also, the trolleys were piling up, and we thought the operators must be deliberately spacing them out for some reason, though they didn’t do this before.  This is why it took so long.  As we watched some guys turn around one of the trolleys, Cugan and M– sang the hard-labor tune, “Oh-WEE-oh.  WEE-oh!”  One of the guys smiled at them.  Cugan’s aunt later told us that they’re used to strange people.

Both times in the cars, I sat on a bench at the end facing forward, Cugan sat next to me, and M– held onto a pole in front of me.  I got neck-aches from watching where the car went.  You also had to be really careful if you stood by a pole, because if you hung out too far, you could hit something.  Cugan’s family had been there before; once, his mom got hurt and had to get stitches because she hit some yellow poles that stuck up a little ways out of the street in one intersection (probably track markers).

We wandered the streets of Berkeley.  We saw a bunch of young people with spiked hair and spiked leather jackets (not a common sight at home at that time).  We saw the sand dunes near Monterey Bay, and drove through mountains to get there.  Monterey was just as cold as San Francisco.  At a seafood restaurant, as we read the menu posted outside, one of the waiters (I guess) came out and told us to come in, the food’s good, trust him.  It was.  🙂

We saw the Monterey Aquarium, with its new Deep Sea exhibit.  Outside we watched a sea lion sleeping on a rock, a cormorant sitting beside it, and an otter playing in the nearby kelp beds.  By one glass wall was a small holding tank for otters, blocked off by small, rocky caves.  The otters showed off for us and played.  Two of the otters, females, slept for a while in a nook, lying on their backs in the water and holding up their front paws as if they were praying.  One, the closest, kept looking at us.

Later we went down part of the 17-Mile Drive, which had more sand dunes and a beach.  Otters played in the water.  One floated on his back and kept thrashing a rock against sea urchins, trying to smash the urchins for his dinner.  A wave would splash over him, you’d see his head poking up, he’d apparently lose his rock or want another sea urchin, and he would dive and come back up again.  Cugan wanted whatever he was having, because he wanted to get that excited about dinner.

Instead of center lines and lane lines, California streets and roads have yellow and white reflectors.  The streets often have bike lanes on the right.

The roads to and from Muir Forest and Muir Beach were mountain roads, narrow and twisting.  Cugan, the only registered driver for the rental car, didn’t like the roads and didn’t want to drive back at night.  We joked about how easy it would be to fall down the ditch on one side or the drop on the other, since there were no guardrails in most places.  On the way to the forest, we saw what might have been a buzzards.  M– took on a Latin accent and and a husky voice and said,

“Emilio, we will feast well tonight on fat Wisconsin tourists!”  (Not that we’re fat.)

Cugan said, “Isn’t it nice that they (humans) come in prepackaged boxes (cars)?”

M– said, “And that they have seatbelts, so they won’t go very far!”

We saw the redwoods of Muir Forest, and wandered the trails.  The famous walk-through tree had fallen before I was even born.  Since this was caused by people walking around the tree and destroying the root system, the trails were now fenced off with wooden railings to keep people from disturbing the other trees.  But one was set up with concrete walkways around and in it so you could stand inside its little cave.

Many of the trees had nooks and crannies, many of them big enough to fit at least one person side.  Once, M– pointed to a felled tree and said, “There are probably a lot of bugs and termites in there.”  Then a woman nearby said to a man who was trying to get inside a nook near the trail, “Did he say bugs and termites?”  We saw a Steller’s blue jay and a Sonoma chipmunk, both cute, though the blue jay had nearly finished a piece of bread and Cugan wondered if it could fly after that.

Muir Beach wasn’t so much fun for me.  It was cold and windy, and we went up a trail on a hill so steep it was hazardous to go back down.  The guys disappeared over the top of the hill, and I couldn’t stay up there in the cold, so I had to go back down by myself and wait for them.

Cugan’s aunt and uncle had their own sense of humor.  One night, Uncle Y– told Aunt A– that he had an invitation that said nothing about bringing wives.  A– said,

“That’s because L– wants to steal you away from me.  You should hear the things she says to her sister about you!”

For the next hour or so, until they left for a gradation party, Y– kept asking what L– said about him.  A– kept saying,

“You’ll have to ask her sister.  I’m not telling you.”

M– called in to work once or twice to check up on things, hoping for brownie points with his bosses, and one of his co-workers asked,

“You didn’t have soup in a bread bowl, did you?”

M– said, “How’d you know?”

It was a sourdough bread bowl in a fish ‘n’ chips restaurant on Pier 39.  The co-worker said he was doing the typical tourist thing, but Aunt A– said we might as well, since I had never been there before.

And here ends the travelogue.

 

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