Month: June 2011

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

 

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