[This is an outpouring of grief and anger I felt shortly after discovering that my former best friend was convicted of choking his child, and in the process of recovery from severe psychological trauma inflicted on me by this person and his wife.
[The grief and anger were so difficult to contain or deal with that I took to writing about it, especially as I would get continually triggered just by seeing a mutual Facebook friend respond to something they wrote.
[In italics are additions and explanations I have put in while revising this in following years.
[Directly below is an index to this post. Click on the links if you want to skip to some section in particular.]
Do our mutual friends know the identity of my abuser?
When you have been abused by a friend, or when you have discovered that your friend is a narcissist, or when you have discovered that your friend has a dangerous personality disorder such as narcissistic borderline, mutual friends may or may not believe you.
I have posted on Facebook and my blogs what really happened, that Richard and Tracy abused me, abuse their children and abuse each other, and that Richard has been convicted of choking his daughter. But I didn’t use their real names in these posts.
[I did NOT mention my blogs or include the extensive detail of my blogs in these Facebook posts. I did not say who I meant. E-mails to close friends and other private conversations had more detail. It just did not feel right to use names etc. on Facebook with mutual friends reading.
[My motives for posting on Facebook were twofold:
[1. I put friends and family on my Facebook, and desperately needed the support of all of them together as a group in this difficult time of grief and PTSD-like symptoms, and no money for professional therapy. I didn’t want to talk to a therapist, anyway: I wanted my friends and family to know what happened.
[2. If the mutual friends did figure it out, I hoped they would intervene by talking to Richard/Tracy about the abuse, that it is abuse and wrong, and to get them to lighten up on me. But I couldn’t just come out and ask them to get in the middle.
[Also, on the day of the breakup, Tracy began posting snarky and exulting comments on Facebook about how she was having a GREAT day because she was yelling and screaming her foul, untrue, and Satanic rage at me. I feared what kind of slander and smear campaign she was carrying on on Facebook against me after I unfriended her, having seen her already do this with Todd in an online game.]
Mutual friends have seen some of the Facebook posts, but only one has acknowledged figuring out who I was talking about. That one, Todd, already knew what Tracy was really like, having been her target two years previous. When he found out about the criminal case and saw the proof for himself, he dropped Richard on Facebook. So somebody believes me!
The others–I don’t know if they even know who I mean. Richard and Tracy are still on their friends list, so even though I can’t see the blocked posts, I can see the mutual friends responding to their posts. If they do know who I mean, do they believe me?
One mutual friend dropped me from Facebook almost a year ago now, with no word at all of why; this was Chris, my replacement as Richard’s BFF when I kept thinking for myself instead of following everything Richard said about politics and everything else. [Chris re-friended me in 2014. Shortly before 2015, he appears to have deactivated his Facebook.]
Websites often warn that you can lose mutual friends after being abused and/or being caught in the web of a narcissist. They’re still caught in the web, and don’t believe this person could do what you say he’s done. Maybe one day they, too, will come to the truth about the narcissist, but for now they think you’re crazy, bitter, whatever.
I wonder how the mutual friends can possibly not know who I mean, since I haven’t posted on the walls of Richard and Tracy for a year and a half, when I used to post there all the time. (These people are connected via Internet and don’t live near each other.)
The mutual friends may occasionally respond to my posts of what happened, but they don’t acknowledge knowing who I mean. They never ask for proof of my assertions that Richard has been convicted of choking his little girl, and is now on probation for it. But if they only asked, I would give them three links which would prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m telling the truth.
These are three publicly available links; one is from the website of the local newspaper, and two are free, public, state-run websites, one with court cases and the other an inmate/community supervision locator. All the information is on those three links, including mug shots, name, birthdate, addresses, what happened over the course of the case, details of the choking incident.
Yet they never ask; they keep Richard and Tracy on their Facebook; apparently they are in denial. Maybe they’re afraid to face the truth, that their friends are abusive, violent people who have hurt many and who have already lost many friends, both individually and together. Yeah, well, the truth is right there if only you want to face it, the proof is all on the Web that he’s not the amiable, big-hearted person he pretends to be.
[Update: In 2012, one of these mutual friends did, indeed, ask for these links, and was convinced. But this was on a private Web forum, not on Facebook, where I felt free to discuss Richard and Tracy’s criminal actions (stalking and threatening me, choking their kid) using their names, thanks to another mutual friend paving the way.]
Do they believe me? Do they have any clue these people are child abusers?
It’s hard for me to deal with this. I avoid poking around too much in the posts of mutual friends, for fear that I’ll see them reply to Richard or Tracy, because I get a sour feeling in the pit of my gut when I see that.
There is still too much grief; there is still too much disbelief that Richard is a narcissist, even though I see the proof in his mug shots, the lack of remorse, the contempt instead of shame.
There is still too much anger at the injustice of Tracy’s projection of guilt onto me, at her abuses of me, at her gaslighting and vicious, nasty behavior.
Hubby wants me to no longer care what she thinks of me, and that’s what I want, too, but the anger and feeling of injustice still burn hot. But when I do accidentally see a mutual friend responding to a post that is blocked from me, as I did last night, I start wondering,
“Are Richard and Tracy acting like nothing has happened and they’re just normal, healthy people who wouldn’t hurt a fly? Is Richard pretending to all his friends that he never got charged with choking his child, never got convicted?
“Are they pretending to all their friends that Social Services is not involved in their family, even though it says right there in Richard’s signature bond agreement that he was ordered to cooperate with Social Services?
“Or do the mutual friends know all this, but not care that Richard and Tracy claim to be Christians but are severely lacking in morals, just as Richard kept being friends with the creeps who sexually harassed me in 2009, and got upset when I suggested their morals were lacking?
“Do they believe Richard or Tracy if they say that I’m the crazy one? Does Tracy still post things like she did on 7/1/10, when she posted on Facebook that she was having a GREAT day because she no longer had to sit back and be quiet and nice, that she finally got to say what she wanted to say?”
(My husband said to that, when I told him yesterday about her post, “Say about *what*? When was she keeping quiet and nice, and about what?” Which is what I wonder as well, because I really don’t know. I tried to be polite and kind to her all the time.)
I wonder, “Is Tracy still staying with Richard even though he almost killed her daughter? Is Richard still staying with Tracy even though she hits him and he once told me he had to hold himself back, but if she ever hit his face, he’d tell her, ‘You’re not a woman,’ and hit her back like she was a man?
“Doesn’t Richard realize that this never ends well, that if he doesn’t get out now, the violence will escalate over time, until one day he’s beaten her up or even killed her, and the law won’t care who hit first, and will throw him in jail? Especially now that he already has a child abuse conviction against him!”
I’ve done all I can. I told Social Services what I witnessed and what Richard told me. I told my priest what happened, and though I did not tell him Richard’s identity, I believe he’s figured it out. I’ve tried to tell my friends the truth, whether mutual friends believe me or not, or even know who I mean. I suggested to my husband that he report the threat Richard sent to him back on June 28, 2010, but he doesn’t want to.
The rest has been done by their oldest daughter, who had the amazing courage to report her own step-father to the police, and by law enforcement and Social Services. I really should let myself rest with that, but I keep feeling like there’s something else I need to do. But what else would there be?
What if my abusers join my church??!!
Richard’s church and mine are both very small and in financial trouble; the archdiocese has suggested they merge. The two churches don’t want to merge, since they’re in different counties, and somebody would have to move. But the option is still on the table.
If the churches merge, I will have to go to the priest with my concerns, and show him the proof that Richard is a convicted child abuser, to establish my credibility and prove that he is violent.
Because Tracy has bullied and verbally abused me as well, I will have to also show him an article I found on a contract one church drew up with a member who had been charged with molestation, a contract which was meant to help the member find redemption, but also consider the needs and fears of the victims. We could modify it for our own needs.
If Richard comes to my church again, my husband and I will have to address the elephant in the room (his unrepentant attitude for hurting me, and the conviction), and confront him with the child abuse case, tell him we know what he did and he can’t keep coming here, intimidating me and bringing up all my feelings of grief and anger all over again while I’m trying to worship God.
Realizing my former friend is truly a narcissist
I thought, the last time he came, that he was showing signs of repentance for what he did to his little girl. I hoped again, hoped he was cooperating with Social Services, hoped they were making him go to anger management and parenting classes, hoped he was working on those violent tendencies that drove him to tell me he was going to kill the lady who evicted him in 2009, to want to hit his wife, to choke his little girl until she passed out just because she wasn’t cleaning up after herself.
Those violent tendencies that drove him to tell my husband that he’s easily provoked to physical violence, that he was ready to fight verbally and physically, that because my husband was sticking up for me against Richard’s bullying, Richard felt angrier than he had felt in years.
I hoped that Richard now realized, thanks to his conviction and nearly killing his daughter, that he needed help desperately. I hoped he was full of shame. I hoped he would finally come to Hubby and me, and try to make things right. I hoped that good side I thought was there, would finally get him to do the right thing, and this grief would end, I would get my friend back….
But then I saw the five mug shots taken a few weeks after he came to my church, and they were full of contempt. Hubby says Richard also looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.
There are also the many things he himself told me which show him to be a narcissist: using conversational hypnotism to get me to open up to him, his boast of arrogance, his boasting about all his past women and getting them fighting each other, telling me that his exes would sit around at the same table talking about how evil he was, joking about his big ego, faking speaking in tongues to his congregation while preaching (many years ago)….
There were so many things he told me which painted a distinct picture of narcissism in his youth. But he had led me to believe that he had turned away from such things, respected women now, was being saved by the Orthodox Church.
I had this image of him, this friend, that may never have truly existed. In 2009 or 2010, he complained about having to “pamper” me, even though I never asked him to, said that Tracy actually got angry with him for not saying things she knew he wanted to say while I was visiting.
This makes me wonder, WHAT things? How much of what I believed was his personality and character, was real? Was it all an act? Did the person I saw as my friend–Did he ever even exist, or was he just a persona invented by Richard to lure me as his narcissistic supply?
I’ve been a victim of narcissists in the past; now I was vulnerable because I’m very shy, have trouble making close friends, all my close friends were living so far away that I hadn’t seen them in some time, and I have always wanted one of those platonic friendships like Frodo/Sam, Bill/Ted, Anna/Clarissa, Anne/Diane, Gus/Shawn….
After all, in one of his favorite chat rooms, the other people were very surprised to hear that he wanted to be a priest.
I have every reason to believe that Richard is truly a narcissist, that I’m not just making up some idea in my head to make myself feel better. The proofs are at least as clear as the proofs of Tracy being a malignant narcissist and/or borderline personality disorder. The biggest proof is the look in his eyes in his mug shots.
I thought he had changed from the violence and “dog” days of his past, was now gentle and sweet, especially because he wanted to be a priest and we were always talking about theology, the Church and God.
But now I see him as just as much a predator as he was in his younger, “dog” days, just more subtle. After all, why should I believe him anymore that he’s changed in this way, when he also claimed to have changed in other ways–turning away from violence in general, no longer abusing his kids–only to be proven a liar when he planned to kill that lady in 2009, threatened my husband in 2010, and choked his daughter a few months later?
I’m very disappointed in Richard, very disappointed to have to let go of the belief that he could still be saved from himself. It’s very difficult because for all this time, I’ve hoped that the good in him would one day win out and I would have my friend back.
Even at my angriest, I’ve been sad over having to give up his friendship, and hoped it was only temporary. It had been such an important friendship to me, and I had thought for so long that it was important to him as well, that he didn’t want to lose my friendship or my husband’s.
So why won’t he man up and talk to us, why won’t he fight for our friendship, apologize to us? Why did he plead no contest and still show, in his pictures, contempt for law enforcement, which is only doing its job protecting our weakest citizens?
Somehow I must accept that I now have proof of his narcissism, that he’s not the man I thought he was, and somehow I must stop longing for his friendship back. But I don’t know how I’ll do that.
When I speak of new evidence I’ve found for Richard’s narcissism, my husband doesn’t sound surprised at all.
I keep remembering things that make me think Richard really does have a good heart, but my husband keeps remembering things about Richard that rubbed him the wrong way, made him think that Richard is actually heartless, such as his politics, or that he lacked in empathy and wasn’t a good, caring friend, such as when Hubby tried to explain to him why I resisted Tracy and how I was being unfairly treated, but Richard did not listen.
My giving nature keeps looking for the good in Richard, despite all the evidence in front of me, or how angry I am with him. But Hubby seems to just nod whenever I have some new revelation. For example, when I showed Hubby the mug shots taken a month after the conviction and a couple of weeks after Richard seemed repentant and humble at church.
For him to act this way at church but act contemptuous while dealing with law enforcement over his despicable acts–I was shocked and dismayed, but Hubby didn’t seem surprised at all.
He saw Richard as complaining about his lot in life but unmotivated to do anything about it; he saw Richard as believing himself to be good, and having a superiority complex (that Tracy has one as well), having to be better than everyone else, smarter, knowing secret things, having the right religion, etc.
(He also believed Tracy envied me for having a better life and better husband, and couldn’t stand that. I know she envied my husband because Richard told me how often she wished hers did as much around the house as mine did. There was also the time when Hubby promised to rub my feet, and she said, “Can we switch husbands?”)
I saw Richard as practically a saint, a wise counselor, a fount of knowledge on the True Church. I was the perfect narcissistic supply.
Realizing that I, too, stayed friends with these narcs after they were cruel to a mutual friend
You will note that I stayed friends with Richard and Tracy even though I knew they were both being asses to Todd. Of course, Richard told me enough things about Todd to make him sound like a horrible person in general, even though he’d been close friends with Todd for years, so I began to disregard the crap being slung at Todd over the game.
So maybe it’s not so surprising that Richard’s other friends are still with him, even though I’ve exposed the abuse. If they’re still caught up in his web, they may not realize just how badly he’s acted, even with the evidence in their faces. I still stayed with Richard even though I knew he almost assaulted that lady.
As one person on the Forum (where we all used to post) wrote to Todd about Richard after finding out about the court case, “He always was an a–hole, but you were his friend and didn’t notice.” Several people on the Forum also said that Richard is a narcissist.
How the narc made me feel inferior and deficient
As the loyal supply, there were times when he would tell me I was somehow deficient in some way, and I would object, but then strive to live up to his expectations.
For example, when I tried to explain that it upset me when he kept standing me up, he made me feel like I was being clingy, so I apologized and tried to not be clingy.
For another example, one day while his whole family lived with us, I was sick of looking on my living room floor and seeing the whole family’s dirty laundry, all in a huge pile. So I asked him to please pick it up. He said, “You’re pushy!” So I said, “Sorry if I seem pushy. It’s just–It’s my living room and I want it clean!” Then he laughed at me. Apparently, calling me pushy was some kind of joke.
Just as he called me a prude for not liking gory movies, I got very upset by this, he kept calling me a prude over the months because I don’t like gore, then one day he told me he was just teasing me.
Or another time when he lived with us, I kept giving him strong hints every other day that he needed to take a shower, and because I showered daily, he said something about how in Roman days, I’d be spending all my time in the baths. Basically, he made me feel like I’m obsessive about showers just because I shower daily like most Americans, and don’t like how badly he smells when he doesn’t.
But then months later he told me he was just teasing me, that growing up he was actually quite clean, and was just trying to spare my water while he lived with us.
The narc and his loyal followers–whom he could drop and now they’re scum of the earth
And he sure did crave that narcissistic supply. After he moved in, I noticed that his cell phone was constantly ringing, even though much of the time he’d put off whoever was calling so he could continue chatting with me.
Also, after he moved out, I also began realizing that he was far more into befriending people than anyone I had ever known: Instead of online friends staying online friends unless they happened to be in the area for a meetup, he would get phone numbers and call all his online friends, making them phone friends. And since he was into all sorts of games and forums online, there were lots of people he befriended like this.
When I tried to chat with him online, he would tell me that ten other people were also chatting with him, and that’s why his responses were so slow. Or we’d be having a heart-to-heart, and his responses would be quick–but then he’d tell me he’s also on the phone having a heart-to-heart with his ex-girlfriend.
Then of course, there were people he met in real life: He would talk the ears off pretty much anybody, and make them into friends. He also still regularly talked to friends he’d made many years before.
I began to wonder when he’d ever have time for his BFF with all these other friends, when we could ever have a decent online conversation, how I was to have a phone conversation when his call waiting kept beeping. I wondered how he could possibly maintain so many active friendships.
Most people, by the time they’re married and have a family, simply don’t have the time to be actively maintaining every single friendship they’ve ever made, including online ones. These were the days before Facebook, when you could maintain long-distance or old friendships simply by posting on a Wall.
Now I realize that this is probably an indication of narcissism, that he had to get all that narcissistic supply, surround himself with followers.
I noted that he had several heterosexual guy friends, including Chris, who were just as loyal to him as I was, craving to be with him, calling him up all the time, wanting to move to the area just so they could be with him.
So his charisma could inspire that in anyone, not just females. I don’t know how he did this. But somehow Richard had woven such a spell that I would soon want nothing more than to be in his company, chatting with him or giving him a big hug.
Todd was one of those loyal friends, even though they lived far apart, and when he stayed with Richard on vacation, he wrote on the forum about how much he loved being with Richard, wanted to move in with Richard for good, was actually planning it for a time.
But then, a couple years later, the blowup and fallout happened, and he began to come out of the spell. Now, he’s the only other friend of Richard I’m aware of who no longer wants a thing to do with him because of the choking incident.
If I had still been friends with Richard when it happened, I wonder if somehow he would have convinced me that he was being persecuted by the guvmint, and I would have stayed friends with him, even though he had done a despicable act that goes against everything I believe in (choking his kid).
Even though, during the time he lived with us, he made me feel like we had bonded and had a very special friendship, that I was standing in for his beloved sister since she was so far away–now I felt like just one of many.
He was my BFF, the one I confided in about everything, the one I most wanted to see, but I felt like he wasn’t confiding in me about much of anything anymore, like he wanted to see all sorts of other people at least as much as he wanted to see me. I didn’t feel special to him anymore, like I had to fight for his attention, which probably fed into his narcissism even more.
Who will they hurt next? Where can I find peace of mind?
Mutual friends, face the truth, or you’ll be next. Richard and Tracy are both unstable people, and without me around, they need a new target. Face the truth, try to get them to face the truth, do something!
I’m sick of being afraid to run into them at church or on the street, for fear of what they’ll do. If Richard doesn’t take his conviction seriously, if he keeps complaining about police states and the police and how we need to defend our own homes and get rid of the police and fight CPS–one day, he’s going to be the one shooting his wife or killing one of his kids.
Or Tracy will be the one killing him, because she’s violent, too.
Or at the very least, those kids are going to be so screwed up.
I don’t want to see that happen, but I’m so afraid that with the light sentence for the choking incident (one year probation), they’ll somehow fall through the cracks and the dysfunction will continue.
After all this time, I still worry like a mother hen over what will happen to Richard, what will happen to the children. And now that he can no longer be a priest, and any political aspirations are no longer possible because of his criminal record–what will he go after next? Will he be like Elmer Gantry and just move on to the next thing?
How can I fill that narc-shaped hole?
I feel like a shell of my former self. Yet another sign that I’ve been targeted by narcissists. That and the persistent feeling that I’m missing something, that Richard has to bring it back to me before I can be complete again.
It doesn’t help that he was the one I went to about religion. He’s the one I found to help light my way when I was searching for the True Church, the original doctrines.
We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches. We could sympathize with each other about having to go through happy-clappy modern services.
We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge; I could ask him about various things, such as why the English translations of the Latin and Greek versions of the Nicene Creed are so different, even the parts that come from the original Ecumenical Council that produced them; I could share with him Orthodox writings, and give him Orthodox books and icons for Christmas or birthdays.
I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things; most people at church seem more interested in church functions and light conversation than with theology, and while I can discuss them with my priest, it’s not the same as discussing it for hours on the phone with a friend.
Richard was the one I always wrote to with details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting. Who else can I write these things to? He and I went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy. And he and I also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres.
No other friend matches this. It just seems impossible to replace him, even with his disagreeable violence and narcissism. These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to him.
Where else am I to find someone like this? I try to remind myself of all the violence, the narcissism, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else.
And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship. That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to us.
But that saintly version of the narc is not real
Except that this perfect friend, the image I had of this person, which was molded over the two years of online/phone friendship and the two months he alone stayed with us, diverges so much from the way he acted, and the things which came out about him, and the way he treated me, over the two years after that, that I wonder how much of this image was real, and how much was a carefully crafted persona used to attract me.
The image I had in 2007, was not the kind of person to joke about “sexing” his wife’s friends, or plan to kill a landlady, or laugh about helping the Mafia in his younger years, or defend the abusive behaviors of a wife, or be abusive himself even of little children, choking one and then acting contemptuous of the cops who charged him with it.
The image was not the kind of person who betrays friends, pushes them into questionable behavior, bullies them, or threatens them with violence.
The image was not the kind of person who puts politics and conspiracy theories higher than friends, or above the peace and serenity found in religion.
Yet that’s what he turned out to be.
Just as my ex Peter–so I was told a few years later by two guys who didn’t realize I had dated him–tailored his personality to fit the girl he was trying to attract.
Just as my ex Phil wove a web of deception which made me think he acted out his dreams, that his “subconscious” was coming out during sleep to talk with me.
Just as Richard himself once pretended to a girl that he believed in her religion, just so he could get into her pants.
Was any of it for real? The Richard I knew in 2007 would never have choked his own child. Yet there it is, plain as day, something he truly did.
My mind has been like the robots on the Harry Mudd episode of Star Trek, going in an endless loop between the truth and what I thought was the truth, until it finally blows up.
Before, I wondered why he stayed with Tracy, since she is so evil; now I also wonder why she stays with him after he nearly killed her child.
He was my idol with feet of clay, the saint who turned out to be a sinner. And I’m left with this gaping hole in my life and heart where my idol, my perfect friend, once stood, with no clue how to fill it up again. Nobody can help me because the friendship I had was so rare, so hard to find again.
And I don’t even know if he misses me or regrets what happened, if he only keeps away because he’s afraid of my husband’s anger (he must know I’d tell my husband what really happened), or afraid of Tracy beating him up if he talks to me.
Or if he’s the kind of narcissist who doesn’t care once a used-up supply is gone. If he moved on from religion to politics and no longer wants friends who disagree with his views on, say, unions or Obama.
I hope he’s not so far on the narcissistic spectrum as to have the full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Then there’d be no hope for him at all.
Alice was unable to persuade either her mother or husband to seek proper diagnosis. But while Romero-Urcelay and Vaknin caution against self-diagnosis, Alice is extremely intelligent, and has spent many years researching her ordeal.
“It’s a huge comfort to know it’s NPD,” she says. “You realise it’s not you that’s the problem. It’s like being reborn” When Narcissism Becomes Pathological.
There may be minimal value in trying to explain their behavior to an abuser’s allies who’ve never seen it–and who wouldn’t believe it anyway. However, there is no reason to hide it either when the subject arises.
But be prepared when you do this because as I mentioned, abusers typically have an entire small city of allies (friends, coworkers, neighbors, church members, etc. who they show their pretentiously wonderful “public” persona to – and those people will never believe he’d ever do or say the nasty things he does to you (and only you).
If you try to tell them, then you may just look bad in their eyes and in their own ignorance, they’ll stick up for Dr. Jekyll because they think he’s so “wonderful” and nice. And he is nice, to THEM. Remember they only see his “nice” side – his “outside” self. Only you see Mr. Hyde – his “inside” self.
You may just end up hurting your own reputation trying to convince his allies he’s abusive. They may think you are the “crazy” one. So don’t try to convince them. Just calmly and flatly state that he’s an abuser or alcoholic or whatever the problem is, and leave it at that.” –Olivia, http://myemotionalvampire.blogspot.com/2012/07/un-masking-abuser.html
Also see It’s Perfectly Normal to Dread Seeing Abusers Again, Seeing Abuser is Rough for Abuse Victims, Especially When Abusers & Enablers Blame the Victim: Annie’s Mailbox, Fighting the Darkness: Seeing the abuser again, and Needing to Feel Safe: Going to same church as abusers.