Month: June 2011

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.

Musings

[This was originally a Facebook post.]

Waiting to hear back on Jeff’s second interview at the M– job…..

This past week has given two reminders of why I wouldn’t mind moving to Sheboygan: We ran into the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy).  Twice, exactly one week apart.

Jeff and our son Daniel ran into them at the store last Sunday (and heard Tracy scolding Richard, as usual); then they came to Greek Fest.

I was following Jeff and Daniel through the main hall, on our way to the kitchen where I was going to wash dishes, and I practically ran into Richard.

I know he saw me; he couldn’t have missed me, because he was facing my direction and I was right in front of him.  I just turned and walked past him without saying a word.

I hope it sent a very clear message of how disgusted we are at what they have done, and that it includes him, too.

Betrayal from your best friend is not something you just excuse.

Of course, he’s probably glad to see that I’m not some drama queen out to make a scene, yelling and such….

Three months ago, I also reported these people for child and domestic abuse.

It was not out of revenge–heck, I resisted doing it for a long time after the breakup.

It was out of concern for the family, all the dysfunction and abuse that was going on all the time.

I got the impression that there was a lot more going on than I was ever told, hints of “drama” and the like, they did things right in front of me, and Richard even told me of things he had done and excused.

Privacy laws mean I can’t find out what Social Services did with the report, but I don’t see how it could have been screened out and ignored, with all the things I described.

And if they got details of the allegations, they probably know exactly who told.  Which means that when we encounter each other like this, they know I reported them.  AWK-ward.

But necessary.  I can’t stand the thought of those kids growing up damaged, to become abusers or abused, and me having done nothing at all to at least try to help them.

I also can’t stand the thought of Richard telling me how Tracy was verbally abusing him, even hitting him so much that he struggled not to hit back, of him saying that if she ever hit his face, he’d say, “You’re not a woman” and hit back–and me having done nothing at all to help him.

Especially when, shortly after I reported them, an abusive relationship turned deadly here in Fondy, resulting in a policeman and the shooter (James Cruckson) being killed.

Even if I am disgusted at the ex-friend’s betrayals, and the many things constantly coming to mind that show a pattern of his gaslighting, deceit and manipulation–I still couldn’t live with myself.

So at least it has been done.  Though they probably hate me for it, it had to be done…..

But at the same time I think how much I’d like to move away from all this, I would miss the people I know here, the people at church…..

Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well

This movie, Narrow Bridge, has its faults, but it’s an engaging story.  (Turns out the production values are because it was done by a film student with few resources.)

Not only do we get to see a sweet love story and be immersed into the Orthodox Jewish practices of the protagonist, but he has a terrible secret as well:

As a child, his rebbe, someone he looked up to and loved like a father, his spiritual mentor, the one who taught him to love his religion, molested him.

It has caused him to question his faith, despite sticking to it.  Now he needs to face up to what happened, do a mitzvah–good deed–by doing something about it.

Apparently the Jewish community has had to deal with the same problems as the American Catholic Church.

This movie depicts the struggles of someone who, like me, has to deal with some sort of betrayal or abuse by the very person who led him to truly believe in and love his faith.  [Written April 7, 2011.]

I’m trying to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.  The trouble is I’m afraid to really open up to anyone except for old friends and family.

Just as I did back when I had a few traumatic romantic breakups in college, I start thinking, “Will this wonderful new friendship one day end in a nasty breakup and I’ll look back at these great new memories with sorrow?”  I wonder if I can truly trust anyone unless they’ve proven themselves over many years already.

This is because not only did Tracy bully me, but Richard–the one I trusted and told my secrets to–allowed the bullying, then eventually began snarking at me, embarrassing me publicly on his Facebook page, and yelling at me as well.

I want to feel safe enough to hug friends, but instead feel closed-off and physically reserved.

On the one hand I’m afraid I’m doing too little to establish friendships; on the other, I’m afraid of doing too much and smothering people.  On the one hand I want to have friends; on the other, I want to hide in my house from the cold, cruel world, full of unreasonable, jealous spouses and abusive people.

I still cringe when I hear Tracy’s name, or jump when I see their vehicle driving past me as I walk along the sidewalk.

I’m far more leery of speaking to a mutual friend, such as Chris; I’m afraid that what I say will get back to them, that Chris will tell me things that will hurl me back into my depressed, nearly suicidal state right after the breakup.

(2011 update: Of course, as of early 2011 that’s moot anyway, as he’s vanished from my Facebook friends list and hasn’t responded to my friend request.  I only have contact with him through Facebook, since he moved out of state.)

Old friends are finally starting to come out of the woodwork, thanks to Facebook reconnecting us.  I often chat with old friends and family on Facebook, as well, sometimes till the wee hours of the morning.

It’s comforting to the soul to read what people I’ve known throughout my life, say about me on Facebook or via e-mail: should be more people like me, a sweetheart, a nice person who deserves to have friends who are kind to me, etc.  No one is making them say these things, so I believe they are sincere.

It’s comforting to hear from one of my oldest and dearest male friends (Mike) that his wife is not jealous, doesn’t care to read his chats to his friends even if they’re female, doesn’t go through his cell phone, doesn’t care to friend his friends on Facebook just because they’re his friends, etc.

I know I have faults, and my missteps haunt me for years.  I constantly go back over things that happened even in college to examine and analyze them for my own faults.  But that doesn’t make me a bad person.

No, deliberately hurting people and being evil, not caring how you affect others, that makes a bad person.

This Memorial Day [2011], it was a great relief to have over to our house old friends, who did NOT snark at me for stupid stuff, who did NOT make fun of me, who did NOT make me feel like a jerk because of my quietness, but who instead gave me good, long hugs and understood that it’s just my way.  (Note the contrast to Memorial Day the previous year!)

It’s also good to go on Facebook and feel free to post political statements which are much different from Richard’s or Tracy’s.  To not hear from Richard how he hates Democrats, doesn’t see them as real Christians, etc.  To agree with the views of the opposing party without fearing that Richard will put me in the ranks of his political enemies.

It’s good to not hear him rail against things that do not actually happen: He thought the government would force his kids to get swine flu vaccine, and he said he would refuse even if his own daughter got sick from swine flu and died.

It never happened, and the swine flu vaccine is not in any way the danger the conspiracy theorists told him it would be.  My family took the vaccine and did just fine.

He said the credit card companies would raise their interest rates in the following year (2010) to 90%; it never happened.

Chris, a Constitutionalist, talked about a coming economic collapse that would be so bad that we would all be scratching out our livings from the land, and acted like I was being naïve for not believing this; it never happened.

It’s good to not hear Richard railing against NBC or CNN and how they must be boycotted.

To not hear him proclaim that his children will refuse to say that socialist pledge of allegiance if the schools try to force them into it.

To not see Facebook posts from him that seem to praise anarchistic militia groups, or treat unions and soldiers and policemen like they’re all universally evil (my brothers were soldiers), or claim that the flag is actually a military flag so the country is secretly keeping us under martial law by making us think it’s the correct flag….

When he sent me a link explaining this, I debunked it in in two minutes via Googling and told him so.  This was maybe a couple of months before the Incident, and about the time I noticed he wasn’t calling anymore except when he wanted something, had turned distant and sarcastic, even when we hung out in person.

I began to partially blame his wacko politics for him distancing himself from me and turning into a jerk, since it seemed like the way he began treating me and others, was behavior that was quite common in his political circles.

He didn’t use to post this tripe on his Facebook, but now he did, and treated me like crap for the things I posted in response, said people were complaining to him about what I was posting!  His posts used to be about more normal things, but he turned his personal Facebook account into a political platform, and even promoted anarchy!

I didn’t watch The Daily Show or Colbert Report much before, but in the past year I’ve been watching them faithfully, as a relief, a balm to the soul, a release from the angst of spending about six months to a year of dealing with Richard’s wackier and wackier political ravings.

Occasionally I post clips on Facebook from those shows; imagine the backlash from Richard if he were still on my friends list!

Imagine how he might have responded to my posts while our state was going through serious political infighting several months ago (thanks to the evil new governor, Walker)!  I’m almost certain we were on diametrically opposed sides during that time.  [This was written around the middle of 2011.]

It’s good to not hear his extremist views anymore, wondering how someone of such high intelligence can fall for conspiracy theories, how a religious person can tout such heartless and extreme changes in government and society that would cause chaos and suffering for years if they were actually put in place–and which would harm his own family….

It’s a relief to talk with the very same dear, old male friend (Mike) whom Richard called an “idiot” (for, incidentally, having the same views I did on the president and how well he’s doing his job), and hear sensible things from him about life, dealing with people, and politics.

Richard, on the other hand, was getting so clueless lately, seeing apologies as capitulation, acting as if he or his wife should be allowed to bluster all they wanted and their friends should just deal with it and take it….

In the beginning Richard had seemed so sweet and gentle, but now he was turning into a jerk.  While my other friend, the one he called an “idiot,” had always been sweet and gentle, and never changed from that over all the years I’ve known him.  Sure he has his moments of temper, but he realizes that apologies are necessary.  And he doesn’t let politics or a devotion to capitalism overrun his heart, his compassion.

It’s good to not have to interact with Tracy anymore.  Losing her from my life has not broken my heart.  

It’s good to not sit and watch/listen as Tracy verbally abuses Richard, picks on the eldest child, calls her stupid, ridicules the children, gets upset at the children for acting like children, smacks the little one upside the head, screeches at the kids, or goes off in fury on two of the children.

I noticed that when the little one was still a baby, she was a happy child, treated well by her parents.  But when she got a bit older, maybe around 3, she began getting the same abuses as the older ones, and even began acting out.  She and the oldest both were acting out in ways that I don’t want to post here.

While Richard couldn’t figure out why, I held my tongue, because I knew exactly why: because of the way Tracy was treating them.

Now there’s another baby, who also is being treated well, but I just know that in another year or so, she’ll start getting it as well–unless, of course, the actions I took to change things, are having a positive effect.  [This was written before July 1, 2011, when I learned about Richard’s criminal charges.]

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

 

 

Richard’s lack of action made him a passive abuser

I thought that Tracy was the abuser, and Richard the long-suffering victim.  In many cases, he did note Tracy’s abuse of him and of the children, and did try to stop it.

But as I’ve already shown, he excused far too many of her abuses.

He excused her jealousies toward him, said that she would get jealous because of pregnancy hormones or abusive because of stress,

excused her bullying of me because I wasn’t being social enough for her (as if she’d ever be satisfied),

excused her smacking their tiny 3-year-old on the back of the head,

sometimes got mad at her for screaming but at other times excused screaming as somehow necessary in raising a respectful child,

excused her verbal abuse of me and even got upset with Jeff for objecting.

He already knew she was never satisfied, since a family member had noted it, so how could he expect me to ever satisfy her demands of me?

He was right there as she bullied me again and again with snarky comments, yet he defended her verbal abuse of me as somehow “justified” because I was pulling back from her to avoid more snarks.

(Why shouldn’t I stop posting on her Facebook if she twists everything I write?  Why shouldn’t I avoid talking to someone who ridicules me just for putting sunscreen and bug spray in a backpack and taking it into the backyard?)

So even though he may not have been abusing the children or me himself directly, he became an abuser by excusing the abuse:

When I was forced to admit by dint of my father’s letters to me over the summer and fall of 2005 that his sympathy was all for my mother I labeled him an abuser from that point onward.

This is because of the bedrock reality that those who excuse abusers are themselves abusive.

No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature — if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified.

In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive.

His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother’s abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right,

his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account…all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself.

Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse.

Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves. —They DO Have Empathy…Just Not For You

[Note written on 5/2/12: This turns out to be true.  I wrote this section before learning that Richard is indeed an abuser himself, that in September 2010, he nearly choked one of his daughters to death!]

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

 

 

Grief felt today over loss of friend

Maybe it’s not about me or my prayer at all.  Maybe it’s actually about them.  God wants to redeem every single person on this planet, and these two, like anybody else, need a lot of redeeming.

Maybe he did this to break them, not me, and mold them into what he wants them to be. Maybe Richard hadn’t yet lost enough friends to show him the error of his ways.

Maybe it took someone who was “sweet, innocent and nice,” someone who gave so much to help his family–rather than the other ones I’ve heard of who had some huge character flaw, such as being abusive himself, or a negative woman who wanted to be queen bee and be right (as I saw on her own forum)–to show him that the problem doesn’t lie in just the others who broke things off.

Maybe they need to see that their behavior is truly hurtful and that most people won’t tolerate it.  I don’t know.

But I do know that God won’t honor my prayers for reconciliation as long as they are the way they are.  So I have to bide my time and accept that it may never happen.

Once you’ve decided to exile the malignant narcissist from your life do not fall prey to fanciful ideas of his reformation. Time will not render him the wiser for his ‘confinement’.

Like Diane Downs he or she will persist in their rationalizations and justifications to the bitter, ugly end.

The malignant narcissist easily believes the whole world wrong and themselves alone right rather than risk a confrontation with the opposite reality. Hence, introspection = anathema. —Absence of Introspection

This blog goes into the question of confronting your abuser.  Also note the comment about hypnotizing, which sounds very familiar:

Exposing ourselves to our ex pathological leaves us WIDE open to be sucked in again. Remember they have the ability to hypnotize us and place us in a trance-like state VERY quickly. Confronting our ex-pathological leaves us wide open for re-victimization.

Part B has already shown itself to be true in the dealings I’ve had with Tracy, so no, confronting her again is not on my to-do list:

I thought about it for a long time after our conversation and even before talking to my therapist about it, I decided that it would only feed It with negative supply and could have no value for me whatever.

The fact that confronting a pathological can’t have any value is part of why there is NO closure from a relationship with a pathological.

The outcome will inevitably leave us more frustrated at their inability to empathize with what they’ve done – and remember empathy is an impossibility for these people.

But after discussing it with my therapist I realized that confronting It can do nothing but put me in REAL danger in two specific ways:

A: Exposing ourselves to our ex pathological leaves us WIDE open to be sucked in again. Remember they have the ability to hypnotize us and place us in a trance-like state VERY quickly. Confronting our ex-pathological leaves us wide open for re-victimization.

B: Psychopaths absolutely HATE to be exposed face to face. Confronting our ex-pathologicals puts us in danger of severe wrath and retribution at the hand of someone who has absolutely no empathy for anyone and who is prone to rages. Very dangerous!

[Note 4/27/14: This is exactly what happened when Tracy found my blog, proving I was right about her narcissism.  See here.]

Another post by this blogger, Laura Kamienski, is also very familiar, especially the part about others not understanding why you don’t just “move on” when it’s “already been a year!”: Finding new pieces when you can’t pick up the old ones

Losing Narcissistic Friends by Lisa E. Scott is helpful.

At my lowest point I couldn’t eat or sleep. I couldn’t go to work or socialize with people. My friends and family couldn’t understand the depth of the pain I was in and thought I should just “snap out of it” or “get over it!”

I would have loved to be able to just “get over it!” But this was one of the most difficult challenges life had brought my way….

It wasn’t until one of my few friends I had left referred me to a psychiatrist who believed I had been in a relationship with a narcissist, that my desolate world began to have meaning.

I could finally at least understand why I was feeling the way I was. I finally had somewhere to go with this. I finally understood that I was not crazy as I had come to believe I was!

…Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a journey. It is a path back to the self. Those who have been abused by narcissism have slowly lost themselves. They have given pieces of themselves away bit by bit until there was nothing left to give.

It is usually at the moment of one’s greatest sense of depletion that the victim experiences the horrible devaluation and discarding by the narcissist in their lives….

Most victims, which I chose to call “survivors,” or “thrivers” find themselves at their all time lowest lows once the relationship ends….

You would think that when the relationship officially ends, would be a time where victims can get their energy back and get on with their lives. But it never quite looks like this.

Instead one ends up feeling as if she has been kicked almost to the point of death and left to die in her own pool of blood while the one who has kicked her goes off to live happily ever after with someone who is young, beautiful and full of life.

As survivors we struggle to stay alive and although we know the narcissist is NOT good for us, we become obsessed with him. He becomes our link to life and to our sanity. –Kaleah at Narcissism Free

For every spouse abused by a narcissist, there are several children of narcissists abused by them. And, in most situations, the narcissist has had the power to get co-workers fired and/or to destroy careers, so the narcissist also leaves a trail of these victims in his or her truculent wake through life.

And then there are the friends. People who once were friends of the narcissist and all of a sudden one day found their guts hanging out in a narc attack, to be left wondering forever afterwards what they did to make the narcissist so mad that he or she ripped them to shreds and refused to see or have any contact with them anymore….

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had a friend who suddenly blew up at you one day and spoke just viciously, tearing you to shreds, to the point of tears, and then refused to see or talk to you again? Still bewildered by it? If so, stop wondering what you did….

This is one of the most difficult facts to face about malignant narcissists: they are predators. They need no reason to attack: they need a reason NOT to attack.

Therefore, when it’s the last time they’re going to see you, there is no longer a reason not to attack you. There won’t be any adverse consequences.

So they attack just because this is a golden opportunity to dump a load of projection and projective identification on someone. It’s a golden opportunity to feel powerful by having a powerful effect on someone.

They feel great afterwards. They not only relieve their moral constipation by dumping their load on you, they get high off the power rush in trampling you or tearing you to pieces.

And what’s to restrain those urges? Any morals? Any conscience?  So, if this has ever happened to you, you probably just had a close encounter with a malignant narcissist. Be glad that you had to serve as her toilet only once in your life. –Kathy Krajco at The Rewards of Befriending a Narcissist

[Lots of good stuff in the comments section, too, such as, “The best thing though is to keep telling the truth. Stick with those who believe you and for those who don’t leave them to their fate with the N.”]

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

 

Tracy: a woman who abuses a man

[This was originally posted as a note on my Facebook on June 9, 2011.  The ending paragraph was moved here.]

Why I loathe feminism… and believe it will ultimately destroy the family by Erin Pizzey, is actually about abuse, not so much about feminism:

The point she makes is that women are just as capable of abuse as men, and many feminists were demonizing men and glorifying women.  She got abuse from both her mother and her father, different kinds.

I don’t agree that feminism will destroy the family.  But I post this anyway for the larger point it makes.

I post to raise awareness because too many men are succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome or feeling too scared to leave their abusive wives.  Then the abuse is carried on to the next generation.

I’ve seen this stuff firsthand, and how the abusers can screw up not only the lives in their own families, but the people orbiting around them.

We need to be there so that when the abused man or child escapes, they can also escape the destructive message of the abuser: “You deserve this!”

A year ago, I was ripped to shreds verbally, completely undeserved, by a woman, while both I and my husband were told that I should just accept it as my due.

We were treated like there was something wrong with us for thinking verbal abuse could never be justified.  We were treated like I should just take all the cussing and character assassination being thrown at me.

I was told I should “grow up” and accept “responsibility” for the abuser not being able to hold her own tongue and temper.

We were accused of throwing an “olive branch” back in their faces, an olive branch that never existed, because we preferred ending the “friendship” to staying with someone who refuses to acknowledge her own part in things and apologize for her harshness.

We were told that I somehow deserved it, had somehow done worse than she did, when all I did was keep my distance from someone who was constantly mean to me, who had gotten a lot meaner in the past few months.

We were told that 99% of women would react even worse than the abuser did.  We were told this not just by the abuser, but by her husband, who was supposed to be my best friend.

My husband was actually physically intimidated and threatened over the course of a few days by this supposed “best friend.”  And I got the impression that much had been held back from me over the years I thought we were “best friends.”

The emotional damage is devastating.  Imagine this happening to a child who can’t break up with her mother.  Imagine this happening to a man who feels societal pressure to stay with his abusive wife.

Help change society’s views so that men have a place to turn to!  He stays because he feels he has no choice, while the children grow up believing this is “normal” behavior in a marriage and in life!

Don’t let another generation grow up believing that tantrums and abuse are the way to solve problems!

Quotes from the above link:

Once again, she was unleashing her peculiar brand of emotional cruelty, and placing all the responsibility – and guilt – on me. It was a pattern of behaviour I would witness again and again among some of the women in my refuge.

But despite his clumsy, predictable form of macho brutality – born out of his being the 17th child of a violent Irish father – it was my mother’s more emotional, verbal form of abuse that scarred me most deeply.

She indulged in a particular kind of soul murder – and it was her cruelty that, even 60 years on, still reduces me to tears and leaves me convinced that feminism is a cynical, misguided ploy.

While I don’t agree with her about feminism, I do understand where she’s coming from, and I, too, resist any kind of feminism that portrays men as monsters and women as longsuffering victims.  It goes both ways.

I was, on reflection, following my mother’s unspoken orders. Remarkably, she had manipulated me to such a degree that I was now willing to murder for her.

It’s amazing how a narcissist can so twist you and manipulate you that you’ll do anything for him, believe anything he tells you, so you end up taking the fall for him, for his own deeds and lies.

By now, he was trying to force my mother to sign her money – she had received a sizeable inheritance from her father – over to him.

Week after week, in the local cottage hospital, she refused, and week after week, he ranted and raved at her while she writhed in pain. I begged the nurses to stop him, but they said no one could come between a man and his wife.

And that’s why people stand by and watch instead of speaking up: They think it’s not their place.  Or because when they did speak up, the abuse turned on them.

I only decided to talk about my traumatic childhood last week – on a BBC radio programme called The House Where I Grew Up – but I decided long ago I would not repeat the toxic lessons I learned as a child. Instead, I would become a survivor.

Harriet Harman’s insidious and manipulative philosophy that women are always victims and men always oppressors can only continue this unspeakable cycle of violence. And it’s our children who will suffer.

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