Can we destroy something God put in place?

[Written in a comment to this post on February 13, 2011:]

The whole situation with Richard and Tracy demonstrates the danger of expecting perfection out of your spiritual guru. I keep going back and forth: badly wanting apologies and reconciliation, then remembering that I couldn’t stand the things I saw going on all the time, and realizing I’m better off sticking with my kinder, gentler friends.

I simply can’t condone the things that these people did, or respect anyone who would do those things and excuse them. If I objected to something that was done or said to me or to someone else, I was treated as if I had no right or cause to complain.

I was objecting quite a bit shortly before the incident of the betrayal and verbal abuse, because all of a sudden quite a bit was going on right in front of me to object to….

But it’s so hard to close the door on it forever when it seemed like God was working in so many ways to form the friendship.

It’s a question that applies in many different contexts: If you see the hand of God everywhere in a project, decision or relationship, so much so that you’re convinced the Holy Spirit is driving it, yet it all falls apart–How is this to be explained??

Can people destroy a good thing even if God is driving it? Or if we’re mistaken that God was behind it, how can we tell that something with so many evidences of God’s handiwork, is not of Him after all?

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

An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends

I found my old high school friend Becky on Facebook in February 2011.  On the 2nd, I sent her this message:

What a year it’s been.  I actually saw a friendship crash and burn last year because of Facebook posts and messages.

I had a very close, dear friend, R., who I met on an Internet forum about 5 or 6 years ago.   I was searching for a spiritual home, a church which I could believe in, and he helped me find my way, so he became my spiritual mentor.

A few years ago he needed to find a better life for his family, and couldn’t stand [old states] anymore, so he came to stay with us for a while until he found a job around Fond du Lac.

We were getting along great, he finally found a job, but then somehow the rest of his family followed and ended up staying in our tiny condo before he had the means to get an apartment lined up.

I don’t remember okaying it; one day he just told us they were coming, though it wasn’t part of the agreement.   Wife and 3 little kids.

So we’re talking 4 adults and 4 small children in one 1100-square-foot condo.  Who don’t clean up after themselves.   For a month and a half. !!!  And the wife, T., turned out to be abusive of her family and very jealous of me.  Argh!

I kept wanting to toss her out on her ear for the things she said and did, but instead I was stuck with her 24 hours a day for weeks.   I didn’t want anything more to do with her, but didn’t want to give up my friend R., either.

It had been so long since I had a good friend right in town to talk to.   That, and my son loved playing with their kids, and Jeff loved playing D&D with them.

So I tried to tolerate her, even though she kept bullying me for being quiet and shy.  The more she bullied me, the less I was able to speak to her.

But eventually, I thought everything was finally sorted out.  Then early last year, R. started getting snarky with me on Facebook, especially over politics, and T. even more so; he and I had some arguments via e-mail.

Just when I thought he and I finally had things sorted out, T. saw something I sent him and completely misinterpreted it.  (Remember the bit about her being jealous.)

The resulting fallout led to Jeff and me saying that’s it, we’re through with her drama, and we’re not too happy with R., either, for throwing me under the bus.

You’d think she’d be happy to have me gone, but no, she got mad at us for breaking things off and had quite a few choice words to say about it.   I don’t get her at all.

Both of them seem to think that I should just roll over and take all the verbal abuse she threw at me, even though when I tried in a far more polite way to discuss the problems I had with him, he talked as if I should just shut up about it or leave him alone.  It’s a huge double standard.

And after all we’ve done to help them out, too….

It’s been 7 months now and I’m still trying to recover from it. 

It’s affected me spiritually as well because R. had so much to do with me choosing the Orthodox Church, and now I get so cynical about religion at times, especially when I see T. going up for communion without ever apologizing for the things she’s done to me.

(I’ve apologized to her, because I know I did some things wrong as well, but never got [an apology] from her.)  When I met R. online I thought he was a different person from what he actually turned out to be.  I thought he was pious, but it’s like he never quite left his old life behind….

I just keep hoping T. will realize her own part in things and apologize, but Jeff says it’s not likely.  Until she does, the friendship is over….

Then while I was still reeling from that, one of my old high school friends suddenly remembered who I was.  When I first friended him on Facebook, he didn’t recognize my name because it had changed.   But then he figured out, “Oh, it’s YOU!”

Turns out he had this major crush on me senior year.  We talked every day in class, but he never said a word about it, so I thought we were just friends.  He tried to find me after graduation, but didn’t know how.

It makes me wonder how many other guys had a thing for me but never said anything.  And I keep thinking that the summer of 1991 could’ve been like Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court (Say Anything)…..

Seeing me on Facebook brought it all back.  He was going through a separation from his wife, so he didn’t have a stable marriage to keep him grounded.

He couldn’t deal with the feelings, since I’m happily married and can’t return them, so he finally unfriended me.  It was very sad, surprising, shocking….I miss seeing his posts in my news feed…..

I had told him about the problems I had with R. and T., and he said, “Don’t take it personally.  You’re beautiful and intelligent and any woman would consider you a threat.”

Of course, I had never thought of myself as a threat, but far too shy and reserved for that.  I certainly never had problems with friends’ wives before this.

Becky responded on the 9th:

This whole thing with the friend is horrible!  I think you are so much sweeter than me because the minute the rest of the family would have showed up … they all would have been dismissed and your friend would have received a full lesson on proper boundaries and etiquette.

You are very gracious because his wife sounds like a manipulator and he sounds like a mess so you are actually better off without him.. because he sounds like he was a manipulator too and he was using you and your husband.

I am surprised your husband didn’t throw them all out and I really can’t believe he let a man come live with you guys.  Most men would never allow that.  I am amazed.  He is either just a very nice guy or he trusts you completely or both.

You have always been shy and kind and it is nothing to be ashamed of.  Those are very rare qualities -especially in today’s world and you should not feel bad about that.

I replied:

Yeah, Jeff’s parents told him he shouldn’t have let things go so far, that as soon as I started hearing T. complain about the food etc., we should’ve politely shown them the door.

I remember getting Jeff alone in a spot on the stairs while they were in the basement one night, and telling him everything that was going on.  He was so upset that I thought he was going to kick them out, but instead he just put on his mad face to them and said nothing….

After that I started overhearing some really catty remarks about me while T. would be on the phone….It was a year and a half before anybody told me she overheard my conversation with Jeff and got furious.

I noticed these last few years that I was always supposed to suck up to her and befriend her and such or else I wouldn’t be allowed to do much of anything with R. that his other friends could do with him.   But she never apologized for her own behavior or admitted that it was in any way wrong….

She was mean, a bully, catty, crass….If it weren’t for R., I would’ve wanted nothing to do with her at all.  But he had wrapped himself around my finger somehow and kept saying I was a very dear friend to him.

Yes, Jeff is both very nice and very trusting of me.  He’s also used to SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) culture, where people crash at other people’s houses all the time when going to events far away from home.

At first he did wonder, Wait a minute, I’ve never met this guy and I’m letting him stay here with my wife and child?  But after the first meeting, he decided he was harmless.

And at the time R. seemed very sweet.  We’d talk for hours upon hours about life, religion, music.  He was planning to become an Orthodox priest.

But over time it seemed like conspiracy politics started taking over his good sense, and he’d tell me things that showed a violent underside…. He gave me every reason to believe when he lived here that he had conquered it, but it started coming back out again.

I’m torn because on the one hand I keep hoping they’ll try to work things out with us.  I keep dreaming about it.  I keep missing R.

On the other, I just can’t stand T.! I never could. And she won’t allow R. to have friends who don’t like her.   She made him block Jeff and me (and even our son) on Facebook and blocked my e-mail from him as well.

The thought of making nice with her to be allowed access to him again, just turns my stomach.

I’ve been writing all this stuff down [on my website] and trying to process it.  I’ve been trying to determine, should I pray for reconciliation or decide I’m better off?  The religious part is especially hard.  I read some articles about narcissists and thought, dang, he’s a narcissist cult leader.  lol

He was so integral to my conversion to Orthodoxy that everything about it reminds me of him, but I came here looking for what I didn’t find in any other church.  I can’t just leave because of him.  But my heart in it has gone, making it hard to pray or anything else.

The other thing is that twice since the blowup, his family has shown up at my church for a service.  AND my church is dying, his church is dying, and our two churches have been discussing merging to survive.   Or sharing the work at Greek Fests.   (We live in the same city, but he prefers the church in A—.)

So the possibility of seeing them at church again in the future is rather high.  I would prefer some sort of peace to come about, instead of the whole family completely ignoring me. The kids aren’t even allowed to speak to me, though they do look.

I feel sick when I see T. go up to the Eucharist, after she bullied me, humiliated me, and made me feel like a wretched whore.   Somehow I have to keep from losing my faith no matter what happens….

Becky’s reply got me thinking that maybe Richard was a liar and manipulator, never actually my friend:

If you want my honest opinion Nyssa.. I believe you are better than them and I don’t think R was as good of a friend as you think. 

I am an outsider but from reading the situation and between the lines, it sounds like you were a very good friend to them and they used and betrayed that friendship to get where they wanted and then made you feel bad after you gave so much and that is called SIN any way you turn it hon.

If it were me, I would ask the Lord to send someone genuine and true to replace that friendship you had with R…. You can appreciate the good things that came from you befriending R and let go of the poisonous things….

I would also suggest ignoring them but be polite to the children if they ever cross your path because T does not deserve your friendship or respect.  You are special and scripture also says you do not have to cast the pearls (of your friendship, concern, or kindness) before swine, and she acts like a pig so if the shoe fits… you know the rest.

I also understand how your husband could allow that now that you explained about the SCA.  I think maybe from now on you will have more wisdom in these situations with these type people so at least you can look at this as a learning experience you know?

In my reply, you can see the wheels turning as I pondered the possibility of Richard being deceptive:

When I think about it and the fact that I do know other people who know them, I don’t think R. was out to get us or use us up or anything.  [This changed the more I pondered it, however, now that Becky got the wheels turning.]  (T., however, I don’t trust in the slightest.)

However, he has told me so many outlandish stories over the years that I had no way to verify, that I think he may be a habitual liar….I do see ways he could very easily have been manipulating me, whether to get us to help him or just to feed his ego.   He has a very big ego, after all, and his wife keeps beating him down….

T., on the other hand, struck me from the very beginning as someone I did not want to be around.  She’s chased off other friends as well, male and female, with her temper.

Here’s one of the strange things he told me: Some time after they moved out, he told me that during our talks while he lived here, he sometimes used hypnotism to get me to open up to him.

That he learned it from a hypnotist, it was something about eye tricks and psychology, and he used to use it to get girls to go out with him.  He said he would do it without even meaning to.  Then some time later, he told me he didn’t do it anymore.

So…he can control it, or he can’t?   Which is it?  When did he use it, and what did he make me do or say?  Was he some Svengali or Rasputin?   And is he telling the truth about hypnotizing in the first place?….

I have trouble believing that everything was a lie; I think there’s a good chance that some of it was genuine, at least from him.  (Not from her.) However, too much stuff just doesn’t add up. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to unravel it….

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

Fighting the Darkness (Depression After Abuse)

Times have gotten so dark lately…..

I used to be obsessed with studying my faith.

Now I don’t even have that anymore because the person who led me into the truth I’d been searching for, my spiritual mentor, the source of spiritual knowledge, wisdom and help–

turned around and betrayed me, and their spouse bullied and then verbally abused me (such horrid, horrid words) over misunderstandings–

and they both just kept excusing and justifying it, making me wonder what kind of people can excuse such things.

I haven’t had a moment of true happiness since it happened.

Due to my shyness and selective mutism, I have trouble making friends in real life, though online I have no trouble and I keep in touch with my old college group.

I remember praying in church one day, God please send me a friend right here in my own city and not far away, and this person came a few months later.

It seemed the Holy Spirit was leading us together, that we were meant to be friends, that our families were meant to be blessings to each other.

Then it all fell apart, they don’t seem to care if I’m alive anymore, my faith is in shatters, and I have these terrible headaches that just won’t–go–away!

How can God give me this friend in answer to prayer and use this friend to lead me into truth and then take the friend away again in such horrible circumstances?  How can this have happened?

Or is there no God to have done any of it?  Or does he just not care?  It’s hard to even get myself to pray or read my Bible.

I keep trying to make friends and extend invitations, but the phone doesn’t ring.  There is no story or novel burning within me to be written anymore, like there used to be.  There’s a whole slew of songs and albums I can’t listen to right now because of the memories they bring back about that person.

We struggle even to get basic health care because we don’t have a health plan through work or enough money to get something decent, our doctors have retired or changed practices, and new ones won’t take us without insurance.

I feel like it’s all falling out of my grasp until I have nothing left.

Ever since I came into Orthodoxy, the devil has been fighting harder than he ever has, to get me out of it.  So many things have happened.

My family (parents and siblings etc.) had a shakeup four or five years ago that almost ripped it apart.  My husband was doing well at work, promotion, salary increase, working with his best friend, then the economy hit, and he lost both the job and health insurance.

I hit turbulence inwardly as I began to fear death and wonder, can we really be sure there’s something after and we won’t just blip out of existence forever?  The thought of my hopes, dreams, memories, life, creativities all disappearing and me being nothing but a corpse, is too much to bear.

Then the trouble trying to find a decent, permanent position that pays enough for us to pay the bills and claw out of debt and provides a health plan.  My husband tries and does his best but he keeps being second pick.  How much more can one person take?–Oh, wait, maybe I’d better not ask that……

I know I’ve hit rock bottom when I constantly think, Maybe this headache is a brain tumor or aneurysm, or maybe I’ll get hit by a car taking my son home from school, and that will be that and my troubles will be over and my husband can use the insurance money to pay off the debts and get a housekeeper……

My bright spots are my husband and child and our serene household.

Please pray for me.

[Comment Added on : ]

(To those people if they read this: 6 months have passed, the break is now up, you’re allowed to call and make peace, but we hear nothing from you.

So that’s how much our friendship was really worth to you.  Is your ego worth more than peace?  Is your temper more important than apologies?  Were you just using us?)

[For an explanation of the backstory, see here.]

[I wrote this post after discovering that Richard’s friend Chris had unfriended me on Facebook without a word.  I had no clue why.

Three years later, he again–out of the blue–re-friended me, again without a word.  But at the time, he seemed to no longer want to be my friend, and I didn’t know why.

I feared that Richard and Tracy had been feeding him lies about me.  I was already in the midst of a deep depression, but this last straw sent me into a tailspin.

It was my first blog post on the subject, though I had been writing about it on my website for some time, in the “Abuse” section.  Sometimes I had the story online; sometimes I took it offline.

But this was the first time that I brought this subject onto my blog as well.  I didn’t write again for months, but it was the opening I needed to release the pain into my blog….

I posted a link on Facebook.  My friends read it, including one of Richard’s friends who had me on her blogroll, and maybe some other mutual friends.  They were all very supportive.]

 

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