Seeing abuser again: Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later

[Edited since first written]  It’s been a few years, but from what I can recall, after the sudden appearance on August 1, 2010, Richard and Tracy came to my church once more.  Maybe twice, but this is the time I remember:

I came to my church’s Christmas service in 2010, and sat in my usual spot.  I heard a voice like Tracy’s, saying the hymn on the handout was all in Greek.  But I didn’t turn to look, and just assumed it was somebody else.

I wasn’t able to partake in the Eucharist because I was not aware one was offered during the Christmas service, being a new convert.  So I had not properly fasted from all food and drink, which you have to do for many hours.

As I stood waiting for the communion line to go through, I happened to look to see who passed me, as I often do absent-mindedly.  My usual spot is right next to the aisle.

There, right next to me, was Richard and Tracy!  In disgust, I drew myself up and turned away.  Just who I did NOT want to see while celebrating the birth of Christ.

The anger and bitterness filled me, especially as I saw Tracy, that unrepentant abuser, that bully, take the Eucharist without ever having lifted a finger to apologize for her disgraceful, unChristian actions against me.  She was the worst hypocrite I had ever known.

I felt, basically, the same way so many other abuse victims feel when they see their abusers again, especially their abusers pretending to be good Christians.

Fortunately, they all cleared out of there so quickly after the service that they were already gone when I left my pew.  So I did not have to encounter them yet again.

Why did they do this?  Why did they keep coming to my church without even trying to make peace?  How could they violate my right to be left alone by them?

Heck, Tracy forbade Richard and me from even talking to each other unless I allowed her to scream all my “offenses” at me, so why would she take him anywhere near me?

How could she tell me I’m so horrible, treat me like a whore, treat me like a stalker because I made the horrible “offense” of sticking up for myself against her rages, then come to my church?

How could they so transgress every rule for dealing with your fellow Christian, yet still take the Eucharist as if they were in good standing?  You’re not supposed to do that without trying to make peace, because the Bible actually warns that you’ll bring condemnation on yourself for partaking in “an unworthy manner.”

They had listened to the still, small voice of Satan, and tainted the Eucharist with their actions, so it’s a good thing I did not share it with them.  (Whether you believe Satan is a person or the evil within humans, it still applies.)

[The following was written, some of it taken from e-mails to my mom, between June 19 and 30, 2011.]

I doubt that Tracy would have acted the way she did if she thought I was ugly or plain.  This thought does make it easier to start forgiving her, as it makes her seem less like a monster and more like a deeply flawed and scared human being.

But extreme jealousy is still wrong, and recovering from abuse is still a long and hard road of anger, hurt and pain.

It also makes our decision to break off the friendship seem ever wiser.  We were caught up in a bad situation, with two people in a tumultuous marriage.  Being involved with them just drew us into their own quagmire, and we couldn’t help them at all.

I never had a problem with Jeff being friends with beautiful women, even though I know people will look no matter how happily they’re married.

You just have to accept that your husband will look, and realize that getting upset and jealous will annoy him and make him feel like he might as well do the thing if he’s being punished for it anyway.  I feel secure in our marriage and trust him implicitly.

It must be horrible and exhausting to feel like you have to keep vigilant with your husband to make sure he never strays, but I have far too many and far better things to do with my time.

I hope that one day Tracy learns how to trust Richard–before he finally loses his resolve and she pushes him into the arms of another woman.  Or at the very least, out the door.

Jeff saw Richard and Tracy at the store on June 12, 2011, almost a year after the Incident.  He knew this would happen eventually, since they and Jeff go there a lot.

They said nothing to each other, but Jeff did make sure the kids knew this wasn’t about them: He saw the three younger children in the store’s daycare, hugged them and talked with them, and let our son play with them.

Then he went off to find the items we needed, passed the adults and the oldest child (who quietly and secretly waved at Jeff), and nobody said a word to each other.

Jeff did not want to speak to these people, gave them the cold shoulder on purpose.

The oldest child was sitting with Richard while Tracy went off and got some stuff.  [This became a lot more shocking after I learned that Richard had been charged with choking this same child.  But that’s for later.]

But sure enough, Richard was getting henpecked again, for who knows what reason.  Jeff hated the sound of Tracy’s criticizing voice: “Bark bark bark bark RICHARD!”  Jeff wondered how Richard can stand that.

Exactly one week later, I ran into them at my church’s Greekfest.  Almost literally.

I didn’t go to their church’s Greekfest and hoped they wouldn’t go to mine, but there they were.  I was passing through the crowd to get to work in the kitchen, at a distance behind my son and Jeff because I had to throw away our lunch trash.

Because of the crowd, I didn’t see Richard and Tracy and the kids until I was right upon them.  And suddenly, there was Richard, just inches from me. 

Though I couldn’t look in his eyes, he appeared to have seen me.  I had heard that you should coldly nod at your enemies in passing, but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that.  All I could do was pass by without saying a word.

By the way, I had only just checked with Social Services to make sure they got my letter about Richard and Tracy’s child abuse.  They reassured me the letter had been received.  So that was on my mind as well.

There was no shrinking away as if I were ashamed–no, I kept my head up, and may have changed my expression to one of disgust, though I’m not sure now.

There, Richard, that is what snubbing is.  It’s not about being quiet around Tracy.  A real snub is this.  And it has been done to you because of what you’ve done to me.

[Note written 5/3/12: This was after the choking incident and after Richard was formally charged and posted bail, but before I heard about it.]

Is it necessary to view the narcissist as evil in order to go no contact? Is just seeing the situation as being a case of incompatibility enough rationale to make an escape?

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog….

If someone doesn’t call the narcissist’s so-called good what it really is…evil…then there is likely little hope of helping the victim out of their victimhood.

They will continue on believing that the evil is centered in themselves, that they are the one who is crazy, that they are the problem. You know, all the lies the narcissist has taught them to believe in order that the narcissist can escape accountability….

If someone was able to just cite “incompatibility” as a rationale for leaving the situation do you think they’d need to come to my blog for insight? People who come here are suffering. There is a reason for their suffering and I’m not afraid to name that reason. —Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Life Line?

I hesitate to call Richard “evil” or even a full-blown narcissist.  Perhaps the evil he’s done has been because of Stockholm Syndrome, not narcissism.  Maybe he has narcissistic tendencies but not full-blown NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

But Tracy is the reason I began Googling to find out what the heck was going on here, first in 2008 to research abusers and jealousy because of her treatment of Richard, then in 2010 and 2011, to find out how anyone can be so cruel to the same person who had put herself to great financial and personal trouble to help Tracy find a better life.

I do not hesitate to consider Tracy “evil,” a malignant narcissist, maybe even a psychopath.  Who portrayed me as the evil one and herself as the offended, virtuous one.  While Richard was the lackey doing the bidding of the narcissist, and also doing sneaky things of his own.

If this had been of the more common variety of disagreements between friends, even breakups between friends, I would have had no need to Google it, as noted in the above quote from “Narcissists Suck,” and I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to write such a long memoir about it.

Most of the time, it really is a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion, nothing “evil” that can’t be resolved either by not being close friends anymore, or by dropping the subject and moving on.

But Tracy has a history of blowups and ended friendships, of “wars” with people.

If I saw her as a basically good person with whom I had a difference of opinion, this could’ve been resolved, especially with the amount of guilt and reflection I’ve dealt with over the past year [July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011].

I’m willing to deal with my own issues, and tried very hard to do so all through this relationship.  My apologies were sincere, and I tried to mend what I could.

But it has to go both ways, and Jeff and I both saw nothing but more pain and fighting in our future if we didn’t write her off and go no-contact.

Well I was there and I saw what you did, 
I saw it with my own two eyes 
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been 
It’s all been a pack of lies 

–Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”

You wear a Sunday suit and tie
Everybody thinks you’re such a guy

You’ve got the glow, a shining face
Respectable man with holy taste
Got that family pew reserved
When the hymns are sung your voice is heard

But late one night you got your plan
You’d be religious on demand

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, it’s a mask you wear to hide
Got a notion God’s a potion and it works most every time

I really think you do believe
Yet you use religion to deceive

–Whiteheart, “Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian”

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Left Behind: The Mark Review–Part 2

 

Part 1

On page 142, we read in one of Tsion Ben-Judah’s missives to the world:

While the messianic prophecies were fairly straightforward and, indeed, led me to believe in Jesus as their unique fulfillment, I prayed earnestly that God would reveal to me the key to the rest of the predictive passages.

This he did in a most understated way.  He simply impressed upon me to take the words as literally as I took any others from the Bible, unless the context and the wording itself indicated otherwise.

Note that we’re not told how exactly God “impressed” this upon him.  We’re just supposed to take his word for it.

In other words, I had always taken at its word a passage such as, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Why then, could I not take just as straightforwardly a verse which said that John the Revelator saw a pale horse?  

Because the Bible is made up of all different kinds of genres: poetry, narrative, apocalypse.  You wouldn’t take every word of poetry literally, would you?  Why should John have seen a literal pale horse when he’s writing apocalyptic literature, NOT narrative?

Must we read the Bible as if we had a literal brain that thinks that when you say, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” cats and dogs are actually falling from the sky?

Yes, I understood that the horse stood for something.  And yet, the Bible said that John saw it.  I took that literally, along with all the other prophetic statements (unless they used phrases such as “like unto” or others that made it clear they were symbolic).

Prophecy is meant to be ambiguous.  You don’t apply the same rules to an apocalypse that you do to, say, a history.

My dear friends, the Scriptures opened to me in a way I never dreamed possible.

That’s funny, I always found the prophecies to be much harder to understand when literal, than when I began to read them metaphorically.  Nothing in Revelations makes sense when you take it literally!  I finally began to understand it when I discovered the symbolic readings.

Also, the Scriptures opened to me in a way I never dreamed possible when I began reading it with an Orthodox Study Bible that explained how everything fit together.  Things that had been lost in Protestant literalism and sledgehammers making the Bible read how different denominations wanted, now became clear with the Orthodox reading.

For example, James and Paul now work together rather than opposing each other on works vs. faith.  Another example is, I had no idea that when Christ was baptized in the Jordan, he redeemed the waters of the world and made them useful for Christian baptism.

On page 144, Tsion refers to Revelation 13:11-18 as a “clear prophetic passage.”  Yeah, clear as mud!  Check out this passage for yourself.   We’re supposed to take this as completely literal?

It makes far more sense to me to see it as, say, a metaphor for a Roman emperor who got too big for his britches (another metaphor we can’t take literally).  If the mark of the beast is money, printed with the emperor’s face, then it makes perfect sense to say that you can’t buy or sell without it.

And are we to believe that the Antichrist is a literal beast with two lamb horns on his head, coming out the ground, and speaking like a dragon?  After all, there is no “like unto” there!  But even LaHaye and Jenkins don’t give Nicolae two literal horns!

On page 1711, the Orthodox Study Bible reads:

The early Church was convinced the Second Coming was near (Acts 2:16, 17; Heb. 1:1; 1Jn 2:18).  John’s vision was first of all a reminder from God to the churches not to give in to their adversaries, but to hold fast to their faith.

The book can also be seen as prophecy addressing a time far distant from its era of composition, predicting actual future events; or as an exposition of the ongoing relationships and conflicts between God and His kingdom, humanity, and Satan.  These three approaches are not contradictory but complementary; all are valid.

While seen as canonical and inspired by God, the Revelation is the only New Testament book not publicly read in the services of the Orthodox Church.  This is partly because the book was only gradually accepted as canonical in many parts of Christendom.

In addition, in the second and third centuries Revelation was widely twisted and sensationally misinterpreted, and the erroneous teachings brought troublesome confusion to Christians–a trend that continues to this day.

As for the number 666, which The Mark references on page 145, and the mark of the beast, let’s see what the Orthodox Study Bible says on page 1733:

The mark is a parody of God’s seal in 7:3, alluding to both the Hebrew phylactery of Deuteronomy 6:8 (God’s Law kept on the forehead and left hand) and to chrismation (when the new believer is marked with a cross by holy oil on the hands and forehead, among other places).  This is not necessarily a physical or visible mark, is “gained by worshiping the beast,” and “is required to do business.”

As for 666, in Roman times when Revelations was written, letters were used for numbers (ie, Roman numerals), so you could calculate the numerical value of names. So 666 is the value of the name of the beast, who is a man.

“John may be purposefully enigmatic, using a secret code to protect against a charge of sedition.”  6 stands for “falling short, incompleteness, imperfection,” 7 for “perfection, fullness, completion,” 8 for “eschatological perfection, a superabundance of fullness.”

Sunday is the 8th day, the day of Resurrection.  Though “777” is used in evangelical circles to represent Christ as a counter to 666, “Jesus” in Greek is actually 888, while the Trinity is 777.

666 is “the epitome of created inadequacy.”  When transliterated from Greek into Hebrew, “Nero Caesar” equals 666.  Transliterated from Latin into Hebrew, it’s 616, which some Revelation texts read instead of 666.

If 666 actually refers to Domitian, “whom some considered to be Nero reincarnated, it would be safer to refer not to the present persecutor but to the one long gone.”  But still, only 100 years after John wrote Revelation, St. Irenaeus still “had no idea to whom John was referring!”

(Here ends the summary of the Orthodox Study Bible, p. 1733.)

Despite the first book, which showed that people could think they were Christians and still get left behind in the Rapture, Tsion now tells his cyber flock that they can know for sure they are eternally secure as Christians: “If you are already a believer, you will not be able to turn your back on Christ, praise God.”

But even in the real-life persecutions and martyrdoms in the early centuries of the Church, many believers turned their backs on the Church rather than be martyred in the many grisly, torturous fashions dreamed up by the Romans.

So how can these Tribulation Saints be so sure, just because they believe, that they won’t do the same?  It is dangerous for their souls to tell them they won’t.

Here we read about the many who lapsed from the faith to avoid martyrdom, and the controversy in the Church over letting them back in later on.  If so many couldn’t stand up for their faith in the face of terrible death, how can Tsion be so certain that all believers will be able to stand up for their faith in the face of the guillotine?

Are you a Calvinist, Tsion, once saved always saved?  What about the many people who were left behind after the Rapture, thinking they were saved?  Don’t give your flock such false security!

We find no such teaching in the New Testament, to trust that we won’t fall, rather that we are to be vigilant, to stay steadfast, lest we fall away.

 

To be continued.

 

Left Behind: The Mark Review–Part 1

The Mark by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 1414334974, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

In Book 8 of the series, you’d think the series would have hit its stride by now, but no, it’s still slow as molasses.  So many of the writing and theological problems of the older books are still around, that it would be too repetitive to list them all.  So these reviews may end up being shorter.  Or maybe not.  We shall see.

Hey, here’s some good news: “Buck was struck” made a reappearance, after disappearing for so long, on page 72!  Well, that is, if you’d call that good news.  At least it’s something interesting.

On page 2, we read,

Should David be able to see evidence that the man was now indwelt by Satan himself?  The body, the hair, the complexion, the look were the same.

But an intensity, an air of restlessness and alertness, flowed from the eyes.  Though he smiled and talked softly, it was as if Nicolae could barely contain the monster within.

Controlled fury, violence delayed, revenge in abeyance played at the muscles in his neck and shoulders.  David half expected him to burst from his suit and then from his very skin, exposed to the world as the repulsive serpent he was.

I hope this indwelling changes this Antichrist into a more formidable opponent.

On page 73, Chaim’s jaw is wired shut for reasons I’ve forgotten because these books are just so dang long and unmemorable.  Yet he sure is saying quite a bit just the same, full sentences and paragraphs in a conversation with Buck and Tsion.

On page 74, Buck tries to convince Chaim that Chaim’s memory (from the first book) of a conference–a conference with the heads of the countries at which Nicolae shot Stonagal and Todd-Cothran–is wrong.  If you take out the dialogue, however, the body language becomes much more interesting, thus:

The old man put a quivering hand on Buck’s knee….[Chaim] Rosenzweig began to shiver until his whole body shook.  He pressed his hands against his tender face to stop the quivering of his lips.

Ooh la la!  What is it with the men in these books touching each other’s knees?  I thought in American culture that means you want sex!

Chaim finally remembers what happened at the conference.  Then he says, “Thank you, Jehovah God.”  But–why would a Jew say “Jehovah God”?  That is an error made by a Christian trying to figure out God’s name.  Here are the names which are far more likely.

On pages 92-94, Steve Plank shows up again–in a wheelchair, most of his face gone and covered by a mask, a new ID (Pinkerton Stephens), and a new status as a believer.  He takes off his mask to show Rayford and Albie his cross, so we get to read all the gory details of how icky his “face” (or lack thereof) now looks.

Though why the authors keep making things as gross as possible and describing everything, while virtually ignoring descriptions of characters normally–I don’t know.  I think the authors must love horror movies.

On page 101, Rayford and Albie discover Hattie on the floor after a botched suicide attempt.  Hm, Rayford gives Hattie mouth-to-mouth!

On page 108, Zeke explains to Buck that gasoline itself doesn’t burn, but the fumes.  But when he first tells Buck that the gas doesn’t burn, we read,

Buck felt stupid.  He had been a globe-trotting journalist, and a virtual illiterate was trying to tell him gasoline fires aren’t what they seem?

Er, way to be a patronizing, arrogant and pompous ass, Buck.  Especially since Zeke works at a gas station and should know what he’s talking about!

On page 118, Albie makes a little prayer for Hattie: “God, save that girl.”  Girl?  Isn’t she at least 30 by now?  Poor Hattie just doesn’t get a break.

On page 126, David’s love, Annie, has been killed by lightning brought down by Nicolae–or was it Fortunato?  I can’t keep it straight because it’s hard to pay attention to the details in such boring books.

Anyway, a little group of believers decides to gather around him and pray.  Mac lays a hand on David’s shoulder, while Abdullah reaches for his knee….

Er, his knee?  Geez, man, personal space!  Yet again, one man reaches for another man’s knee in these books.  They abound with unintended homoeroticism.

The other thing I find unbelievable is the sudden prayer Mac gives.  It seems so fake after they’ve just discovered that Annie is dead.  Would any of them even be able to speak for the sobs?

I find it interesting that, such as on page 128, the group of believers is using “Nick” currency, the GC-printed money named after the Antichrist.

Considering that the mark of the beast, which you can’t buy or sell without, is quite likely money printed with the image of the Beast (as I read once on a Catholic website), aren’t the believers buying and selling with the mark of the beast? making them subject to condemnation?

The scene on page 134 is rich with unintentionally erotic imagery. Check it out:

Rayford stepped out, and Hattie nearly lunged at him.  “Let me see, let me see!” she said, staring at him.  “I can see yours!” she said.  “That means you can see mine!  Can you?”

His eyes were still adjusting to the sun, but as she pulled him out of the shadow by the door, it hit him.  His knees buckled and he almost fell.

Dang, that door must have hit you hard.  Or was it from the sight of what Hattie is showing you?

“Oh, Hattie!” he said, reaching for her.  She leaped into his arms and squeezed him around the neck so hard he finally had to push her away so he could breathe.

“Does mine look like yours?” she said.

Hmmm.  If it does, then you must be a darn skillful transvestite, because nobody had a clue.

He laughed.  “How would I know?  We can’t see our own.

We can’t?

But yours looks like every other one I’ve seen.

How many have you seen, Rayford?

This is worth waking Albie for.”

A threesome!

“Is he decent?”

Not if he wants to be in this threesome.

“Sure.  Why?”

“Let me.”

Rayford unlocked the door and Hattie burst in.  “Albie, wake up, sleepyhead!”

I’ve got a surprise for you!

He didn’t stir.

She sat on the bed next to him and bounced.  He groaned.  

I bet he wouldn’t groan if you bounced nekkid….Or maybe he would.

“C’mon, Albie!  The day is young!”

“What?” he said, sitting up.  “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing will ever be wrong again!” she said, taking his face in her hands

HMMMM, what do you have in mind, Hattie?

…and pointing his bleary eyes toward her.  “I’m just showing off my mark!”

Er–What?  You’re showing off your BELIEVER’S MARK?  That’s what this is about?  Sheesh.  Bummer.

To be continued.

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