Jo meets the Bowersock family where parents Jenniffer and Thad are having trouble with their three kids: 7-year-old Madeline “Maddie,” 6-year-old Hayden, and 4-year-old Lily Grace.
Jenniffer’s form of discipline is smacking, spanking, yelling, and even washing her kids’ mouth out with soap which shocks Jo.
Thad works as a juvenile corrections officer and when he gets off of work, he heads to the gym leaving Jenniffer with the kids.
The Bowersock kids disrespect their parents and show Jenniffer no respect whatsoever. Jo discovers Jenniffer’s abusive childhood and teaches her how to break the cycle with her own children. Can Jo help this family?
Yet Jennifer says in the intro, “I’ve never once felt bad for the way I discipline my kids.” And herein lies the problem: abusers not feeling bad about what they do!
Richard and Tracy are an example I have seen firsthand of a family like the Bowersocks. For all the screaming and grabbing and hitting I saw going on, those kids still wouldn’t do as they were told. Richard would brag that they did, but I’d see different.
Children imitate their parents: If the parent is out of control, the children will be as well. Richard said that boys who are not screamed at, grow up not respecting women. But how can a boy respect women if his chief example is a screaming, hitting harpy?
In the early days, when I had trouble dealing with my little boy who liked hitting, I used Richard’s advice on how to discipline. I had first tried no spanking, only to find it didn’t seem to work on him. Richard advised three spanks. This was before I knew what Richard’s own household was like, so I listened.
In person, he advised to spank harder, said I was doing it too lightly. I thought with three children he knew what he was talking about, and he seemed like a decent, gentle person, so I listened. Of course, I still couldn’t spank very hard because I just don’t have that kind of upper body strength. Yet it wasn’t hard enough for Richard.
But when Tracy and the children moved in, weeks passed, and I began seeing how Tracy dealt with them–I began to distrust the advice he had given. How could I have been so naïve as to take advice from someone I had never actually seen parent?
The more I saw of their ways of doing things, I took a few things that seemed to work, but the mother Tracy was out of control–and so were the kids.
She even said they wouldn’t praise the kids for doing their chores, seemed to think I was silly for suggesting such a thing, yet their kids weren’t doing their chores, while mine does his chores every day. Screaming at the kids wasn’t working.
My own son, who is not being raised in such an environment, is as well-behaved as you can expect from a little boy, listens to his teacher, does well in school. He does get naughty at times, but I now follow the advice of experts that one quick, light spank will not cause lasting damage.
But I avoid even that much, looking for other ways to discipline. Jeff and I have not been perfect parents, but we try our best to recognize when we make mistakes and look for better ways.
But we got the strong impression that while Richard did recognize his mistakes as abuse once in a while, Tracy just kept justifying her harshness and thinking she’d done nothing wrong.
Once, Richard said Jeff was spoiling our son, that the problem was that Jeff didn’t want to make our son fear him. He said maybe Jeff had been afraid of his dad and didn’t want the same thing to happen to his son. Which was true–but the trouble was, Richard said Jeff should make our son fear him! What is the point of that? How is that good?
You’ll often find people saying that kids today don’t behave because they’re not whacked or yelled at. But this isn’t true, because I’ve seen in Richard and Tracy’s household that kids were constantly yelled at and whacked, and yet the kids still kept acting up in various ways all the time.
Don’t you see they’re imitating the parents? That’s not being the adult and taking control, that’s acting like a child and losing control to punish the children. They pick up on that.
I remember being a child vividly: Kids want to behave for kind and gentle people, and want to misbehave for mean people. They want boundaries, but they also want to be able to tell the difference between a kid and an adult.
You tell them don’t hit, but then beat them for not behaving. You tell them to quiet down, but yell and scream at them. You tell them to behave, but yell and scream at each other. How is smacking them around going to get them to act like adults? How is whacking the 3-year-old on the head going to teach her not to act aggressive?
Yet, especially while Richard and Tracy lived in our house, they kept complaining that my child was being spoiled, ruling the roost, not being properly disciplined–while he’s growing up to be a well-behaved boy.
Table of Contents
- Bullying of an introvert and probable NVLDer
- My NVLD in a nutshell
- Richard dismisses my experiences
- Summarizing this story
- Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk
- I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana
- I finally find my Frodo–who moves in
- Discovering they live in squalor
- Richard reveals his wife’s abuses
- Houseguests From Hell
- Tracy turns jealous of and hostile toward me because I’m an introvert with NVLD
- Tracy’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard–and Richard reveals his own abuse
- Tracy’s control-freak behavior–to me, in my house
- Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance
- Verge of nervous breakdown as houseguests from Hell abuse our hospitality
- Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye
- Tracy’s smear campaign and emotional blackmail begin full-force
- I almost break off the friendship because of Tracy
- Tracy’s unreasonable jealousy even as I take pains to be above reproach
- Their doublespeak and double standards
- Tracy snarks and Richard nitpicks
- The emotional vampires suck me dry–and accuse me of being too sensitive
- My Friend Richard, the Narcissist
- Richard says he hypnotized me without my knowledge
- More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare
- Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager
- Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like
- E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children
- More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children
- Early 2010: I speak up about Tracy’s child abuse–and ponder reporting her to authorities
- Early warning signs of Tracy’s abuse and volatility
- I get an inkling of Richard’s own abuse of his children
- How to Bully an Introvert–and Assets of NVLD
- Two Narcissists Tag-Team Bully an Introvert with NLD
- Tracy is nasty to me on the phone
- Fed-up, I decide to end the friendship if Tracy does not stop bullying me
- Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard
- I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out
- Now Richard Screws with my Mind
- Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign
- I discover the restrictions are still up after 7 months–and ponder ending the friendship
- Tracy tells Jeff a different story: I have already been “approved” as Richard’s friend
- Richard gaslights me into thinking I’m a stalker
- Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house
- Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse
- We seem to have things sorted out–and they seem to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)
- E-mails proving my innocence, that Tracy lied in 2010, that I respected boundaries, and that I asked for a “signal”
- Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes
- Without warning or explanation, tensions build as Richard and Tracy both begin acting like lunatics
- I begin to wonder if the Richard I know–is real or a fake persona
- Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party
- Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics
- Richard grows distant and Tracy’s insane jealousy flares up
- Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake
- I feel increasing coldness from Richard and Tracy as I “unfriend” their Republican candidates and “friend” Obama and Feingold
- Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud
- I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband
- Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs
- Part One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges
- Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone
- Part Three: Jeff’s WTF moment: Judas (Richard) knows I’m innocent, but psychotically rages at Jeff
- Part Four: Their DARVO lies lead us to break off relations with our abusers
- Why we should tell everyone we have been abused
- E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months
- 1. To Mike and my mother
- 2. E-mails describing pain of breaking up with a close friend
- 3. E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends
- 4. E-mails to Todd describing what happened
- Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse
- Why I refused to “confer” with Tracy–and how Richard betrayed me
- Tracy refused to accept the NVLD and introversion–but they are real
- Resolving conflict: The difference between friends and frenemies
- I send an apology–and we’re all blocked on Facebook
- Struggling to process what the F**K just happened
- E-mail to Mike: processing my pain
- Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex
- Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church
- About Richard justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse because I am shy and quiet
- The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues
- How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism
- I suggest a six-month break
- I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail
- Tracy blamed others for her abuse
- Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse
- Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason
- Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused
- Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it
- Written 2010/2011: I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman
- Written 2011: Grief that my abusers kept coming to my church but not apologizing to me
- Blog Post for my friends: Fighting the Darkness (Written in February 2011)
- Can we destroy something God put in place?
- An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends
- The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me
- I start doubting Tracy was ever truly a Christian–so it’s okay to separate myself from her fellowship
- Grief felt on 6/12/11
- 2011 Facebook post: Original form of Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs
- Describing Richard’s narcissism
- Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t
- Was Richard’s betrayal driven by Narcissism–or Stockholm Syndrome?
- Tracy: a woman who abuses a man
- Richard’s lack of action made him a passive abuser
- Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well
- Written early or mid 2011: working through the grief, pain and anger
- How Richard and Tracy’s views on parenting are wrong
- Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later
- Introduction to this section: Richard’s Criminal Charges
- UPDATE 7/26/11: Richard is charged with abusing his daughter; I report them to CPS
- UPDATE 9/14/11: I learn that Richard choked his daughter
- UPDATE 10/4/11: Richard is convicted of choking his daughter
- UPDATE 10/23/11: After his conviction, Richard comes to my church