They Believe What?–The NonVerbal Cues Argument: Alan Eisenberg started his own blog to share his stories of childhood bullying, but it grew into a crusade.

Here, he questions the argument that kids get picked on because they miss nonverbal cues.  While this may have some truth to it–I come across this all the time when researching NVLD–Eisenberg makes a very important observation: This does NOT excuse the bullying:

While there may be truth to the study, to say that the victim has brought on the bullying by their inability to read non-verbal cues is equal in my eyes in saying a woman who is raped should have been able to predict this based on the way they behaved with the rapist.

Part of Tracy’s bullying was–according to what she and Richard said–because I didn’t pick up on her cues to start conversations, and apparently other cues may have been missed as well.  Their response was to excuse her bullying and hound me to pick up on the cues.  Which doesn’t work if you’re missing the cues….

I don’t know how long the long-term effects will last for me.  But I do recognize these traits which have sprung up in me because of the Tracy situation:

lingering feelings of anger and bitterness,

difficulty trusting people (as much as I want to make healthy and lasting friendships),

avoidance of social situations to some extent,

drifting into being a loner again,

wondering if I’m somehow easy to victimize or overly sensitive,

thinking of myself as a worm or a tramp even though I know I’m neither.

It’s just stupid to give into such negative thoughts, especially since I know they’re not true.

I’d like to think that if she knew I felt this way, Tracy would repent, apologize and become a better person, a true friend to me.  But I fear the reverse is true, based on how she reacted when we broke off the friendship abruptly after she verbally abused me.

[Update 4/27/14: I was correct about this, as proven by the stalking and intimidation campaign she started when she found this blog two years ago, and which continues to this day!]

Even a month later, she still blamed the abuse on me and claimed that I should “grow up” and just accept it as a consequence of my own actions.

But I call BS.  If I told her how her bullying and abuse has affected me, she’d probably just sniff and think I was being stupid or childish, that she has nothing to apologize for or repent of.

[Update 4/27/14: Once again, I was correct.  See here.]

This is probably how she feels about her children crying when she abuses them, too.  And this is why she has been booted from my life, why she is blocked from my Facebook profile, no matter what she might think.

It doesn’t help that I have this aspie trait: “Perseveration and the Broken Record.”  For more information on how it applies to me, see here.  [This blog post by Aspie Teacher no longer exists, but I think it may have been moved here.]  Pertinent quote:

I especially have trouble derailing myself when I am having trouble processing something. This can cause me great stress. I can feel that I have gotten stuck in a feedback loop.

My husband has been known to get very irritated with me when this happens. This only makes it worse, because I end up feeling guilty, stupid, and helpless that I can’t do anything to break the feedback loop.

Since receiving my official diagnosis over a year ago, my husband has tried to think of better ways of helping my brain switch gears when it gets stuck. Usually I just need to talk and have him listen without him judging me or trying to solve any problems.

I have come to realize that verbalizing what in in my head helps me process it, but this is not always an easy thing for me. I can’t always find the words to convey what I need to say.

Writing has become my voice. It helps me process the chaos that can develop in my brain. I also have found that what I need is understanding and encouragement. These two actions can do so much for a person.

Another blog post by someone diagnosed with perseveration:

Sometimes it happens when I am trying to diagnose a problem and I keep barking up the same solution.  Other times, it happens  emotionally.

My brain can get stuck on something emotionally and I keep going over it again and again.  Ruminating over past incidents becomes a bit of a tape that gets played over and over again.  I find I can ruminate over unhappy or unfair things a bit excessively. —The Broken Record of Perseveration

The thing is, I don’t think I did anything all that terrible.  I just wanted to spend time with, have fun with, and confide in my BFF (“best friend forever”), just like everybody else does.  I just wanted my BFF to know I cared, same as everybody else does.

I didn’t violate my personal beliefs or principles.  I don’t believe I crossed any boundaries.  (For that matter, someone who abuses others verbally and physically, does not get to lecture me about boundaries.)

So I refuse to let her get the upper hand or cuss me out or make me feel like a whore just because she’s insecure.

Should I put up with her crap just so I can have an active social life?  Of course not!

She’s the kind of person who has, time and again, driven me into isolation from others so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.  It happened in elementary school, middle school, my first job out of college with all the drama llamas who kept taking everything personally and treating work like it was supposed to be social time–and here it is happening again, me feeling the pull back into isolation.

As Klank says, I don’t need no friends like that.

Jeff is so furious with both Richard and Tracy that he feels used and wishes he could get something–vengeance, a pound of flesh, money for damages (broken couch, broken futon) and other money we spent on them (food, utilities, something else later on).

(Though this memoir is not about vengeance.  It’s about expressing what I’ve been through, finding healing and release through my usual manner–words, and helping other abuse victims.)

Jeff hears about–

How Richard kept pushing the boundaries with me [with my NVLD gullibility], and then reassured me that everything was innocently meant and we didn’t have to stop doing it.

How I got treated like a slut for believing him, but then he seemed to conveniently “forget” that he’d been the instigator.

How the lines for what was “okay” for me to do were constantly shifting and I was somehow supposed to know where they were now.

How Richard used to be a dog with women (which neither of us knew about until Richard stayed with us and started telling me these things about himself).

How Richard and Tracy both would push the limits of flirting beyond what we were used to even in the SCA, online and off–then keep moving the lines for what was okay for me to say to Richard, making the lines far tighter for me than they were for Richard and Tracy….

And Jeff doesn’t believe that Richard was acting innocently with me.

Richard says that Tracy trusts him, but Jeff says that’s not true at all, as we saw, or she wouldn’t put those restrictions on him.  And that he himself would not have allowed Richard so much freedom with me if he knew that Richard used to be a dog with women.

I feel like such a fool.  Jeff and I don’t have a problem with friends being attracted to each other, since such things happen when you spend a lot of time with someone and get close to them.

Jeff and I don’t have a problem with the occasional light flirting, but there are certain lines you don’t cross–but Richard crossed them with me and used his persuasive powers to convince me they were perfectly fine.

The whole situation was a freaking mind game which both Richard and Tracy played on me.

Maybe he used that hypnotism he claimed to be able to use.  He never told me what he got me to say using it.  I don’t know if he used it to get me to do or believe anything.

I know that he formerly used it to get girls to dance with him, not just to get me to open up, and that this very same type of hypnotism is used to attract women.

Richard also convinced me that he was a pious man of God, a righteous man who had put his dog days and his violent days behind him–only to begin showing them again.

Saying you’re going to assault the woman who was just doing her job and probably had good reason to evict you, and that you’re going to make it look like you weren’t there…

excusing and defending abuse of your children

excusing and defending abuse of the person who has been your loyal and close friend for five years…

excusing and defending abuse of Todd, who was your loyal and close friend for six years…

then hacking into Todd’s beloved Forum, screwing it up, and letting Todd think that the resident troll did it….

That is no man of God.  That is a Pharisee.  A narcissist.  I never want him to darken my door again.

I also recall, a year or two before Richard moved here, watching online as he went to the forum of a female friend–where he was an administrator or moderator–and posted a message to the posters there.

Considering the nature of the forum, a place to delude yourself into thinking you’re descended from mystical beings who don’t even exist, most of it appeared to be deserved.

But there were also judgments of the characters of the posters which make me wonder how he could possibly know if they were true or not.

The friend was so offended that that friendship, too, ended–the post removed, Richard and Tracy booted from the forum.

She wrote on our Forum something to the effect of, he was the leader and we were the worshipful followers in lockstep doing whatever he wants.  (I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the gist of it.)

It basically sounded like she was accusing him of being like a narcissistic cult leader.

Todd also complained that he didn’t get a fair hearing during his falling-out with Tracy, because everybody listened to Richard.

So you see history repeating itself with Richard, again and again–and more support for the idea of narcissism.  My husband, too, sees him as narcissistic, refusing to see other points of view, not just during our falling-out but in politics and other things.

This would frustrate me to no end whenever Richard told me what I should be doing–food, taste in movies, sexual preferences, religious ideas regarding pews and ecumenism and such, the troubles with Tracy–and I’d try to explain my point of view.

Or when he’d tell me I was wrong about NVLD without really listening to why I believe I have it.

Or when he’d tell me kids should be screamed at and I should “let” my husband get mad or cuss more.  But I feel kids should be nurtured not tortured, that my husband should treat me with kindness and respect, and by the way, Jeff would rather get mad and cuss less, not more!

Richard seemed to think I was keeping my husband from watching “The Passion of the Christ” because of my aversion to gore and violence, and that he had convinced Jeff that it was a good movie to watch.

When in reality, Jeff has no desire to see it, for the same reason I don’t want to see it, and it has nothing to do with me keeping him under my thumb.  (I bet Jeff did a lot of nodding and “uh-huh”‘ing during that conversation, but didn’t actually say he agreed.)

Richard seems to have lots of ideas about what other people are thinking and feeling, but that doesn’t make him right.

The author has noticed how girls with Asperger’s Syndrome seem more able to follow social actions by delayed imitation. They observe the other children and copy them, but their actions are not as well timed and spontaneous. —Tony Attwood Answers Some Common Questions About Asperger’s Syndrome

The above certainly applies to me, since I kept copying what Richard did as a guide to what was okay for me to do, but then got treated like some kind of slut for it.

The trouble with so many articles about abuse and personality disorders is that they focus on romance.  So if you’re dealing with another kind of relationship involving abuse–such as friendship, colleagues or family members–you have to ignore the parts about dating and sex, and adapt it in your head to your own kind of relationship.

But so much of this sounds familiar (adapting the parts about romance to platonic friendships), that I wonder if what I thought was a close, meaningful friendship, was really Richard’s means of seeking attention, narcissistic supply.

If what I thought was philia and emotional openness was actually manipulation and using:

Telling me things were okay that weren’t.

Trying to get me to open up to nonsexual touching I wasn’t used to.

Telling me it’s prudish to wear a robe over my nightgown when he’s around. 

Telling me that Jeff and I are prudish.

Telling me the horror stories behind the Democrats and Progressives and how they’ve ruined his home state.

Molding me, shall we even say grooming me through charm, testing boundaries, making me feel special, instructing me–until the drama at home became too much, and he began to devalue and discard me.

If he noted my trusting nature and lack of social intuition, and exploited it.  Nyssa is a sweet, innocent and nice person, and I’m slowly corrupting her. (He said that to somebody online.  What did that mean??)

I’ll remember his claims of hypnotizing me to get me to open up.  Of course, as usual, I don’t want to think these things about him, but keep getting this nagging feeling, given what I know about him, and things Jeff, also, has noted about him.

I’ll remember his bragging about past women, about how he used lies and deceit to get women, about his sexual prowess, about women chasing him even now.  I wasn’t sure if he was lamenting or bragging that his exes would sit around talking with each other about how evil he is.

I’ll read articles about abusers, narcissists and borderlines (such as Sam Vaknin’s extensive archive), thinking of Tracy when I start–then begin thinking, “Hey wait a minute, that sounds like Richard–and that–and that.”

Apparently, it’s common for narcissists to end up with borderlines.  One guy on the Forum, married to a borderline, was familiar with such a pairing from his research, and expressed compassion for Richard and Tracy’s children.

I’ll also hear people talk about Richard’s “heart” being so big–but remember that I, too, thought the same thing while he had me under his illusions.

There were many times when Richard could seem like a great person to talk to, but so many times when he seemed not to care about my needs or concerns, contrasted to what it’s like to deal with my other friends.

In the beginning Richard loved chatting with me, in person or on the phone or on the Net, but later on it would often be hard to tell if he wanted to talk to me or not.

You’ll have Richard getting short and suddenly disappearing from Facebook chat, for no reason you can think of–but then another friend (Mike) saying, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” and chatting with you for an hour.

It makes you wonder if maybe the friends who live far away from you and you rarely see, are still far better friends than this one you see every couple of weeks.

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