Month: January 2012

Why I could not get over this a**hole

You say, “Shouldn’t you easily get over this a**hole?”–Here is why I could not

You’d think what I previously described would be enough to make me wash my hands of Richard.  But it doesn’t help that I considered him my best and closest friend.  That he was the one I went to about religion.

He’s the one I found to help light my way as I searched for the True Church, the original doctrines.  He already found it before I did.

We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches.  We could sympathize with each other about suffering through contemporary church services.

We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge and interest.  We could discuss the meaning of original sin, or whether River of Fire is a good source of Orthodox doctrine.  We could discuss what it means to experience the Holy Spirit.

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 could tell him what led me away from Western doctrines, without feeling judged for turning to “heresies.”

I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things, at least not from the same background, baseline knowledge, amount of interest and same denomination.

I asked him about difficult points of Orthodox doctrine or practices.  I asked him how to forgive people who had hurt me years before.  I lamented to him about Internet-Orthodoxy and its legalism.

He was my spiritual mentor.  He was the one to whom I always wrote details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting.

Who else can I write these things to, who has the same level of interest?  I wrote to him about my church because he was the one who led me there.  And these things led to sharing about our life experiences and troubles.

I told him my secrets, and he told me his.  He was my counselor, as I poured out my heart to him about various issues I dealt with, details of how I’d been bullied growing up, and how I’d been used and abused by college exes–including private details which I normally told no one, because of their nature.

I told him these things because I trusted him completely, was comfortable telling him.

I told him funny stories of things that happened day-to-day, or dreams.  I shared with him thoughts about movies I watched, books I read, life stories.  We talked for hours at a time.

He lived with us for a time, so became like part of the family, like an adopted brother, so I could tell him things I didn’t tell other people.

We could joke back and forth with each other and play off each other so easily that one guy once said, “I love it when you guys are here!”

We went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy.

We also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres, 80s, New Wave–and yet knowing some of the same Christian artists as well.

He had actually been a Goth, while I was interested in Goth culture, did as much “Gothyness” as I could do in a small city in the Midwest.

Because of our similar backgrounds, we both knew about the Thief in the Night series, Left Behind, and other such things.

We were even the same age, so had the same nostalgia for TV shows or movies we grew up with.  We both liked watching EWTN.  We were both interested in paranormal investigations.

It just seems impossible to replace him.  I found these elements of our friendship especially valuable and important, especially appealing, making me so attached to his friendship.

Every time something comes up that before I would write in a quick e-mail to him, I wonder, Is there anyone I can tell this to?

Sometimes I can, but many times, I can’t.  So I start wishing I could write that e-mail to him, because nobody else would understand, or nobody else is privy to those things.

Where else am I to find someone like this?

I try to remind myself of all the violence, the self-seeking, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else–

–as if he were a car or a computer that can just be exchanged for something new and better.

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 my husband and me, ready to abandon the violence and arrogance that pushed Jeff and me away, ready to start anew.

That’s why I’m filled anew with grief every time I see him at church, he says not a word to me, and I feel I must avoid him, push him away, because of his violence and betrayal, because I can’t trust him.

I barely make it through the service without collapsing in a puddle of tears.

Trying to keep in Orthodoxy has also become a struggle, because everything about it reminds me of him.  Sometimes I’m tempted to just give all of it up.

Richard is also violent

Richard–though not the reason for the breakup–is also violent and volatile

Warning: The following summarizes and vents a period of narcissistic abuse and mind control.

But even though Richard was not the main offender, he did threaten my husband for sticking up for me, and tell him he gets “physically violent easily if triggered.”

All because one day (shortly before the blowup that ended the friendship) I confronted Richard with how he had been bullying me of late, telling me what to think, etc.

I’d tried already to get him to talk with me about various issues for the past couple of months–

only to get nasty e-mails back from him that blamed me for being upset, accused me of not addressing the problems properly (even though I was trying to deal with them in a reasonable, adult fashion), and didn’t allow me to have legitimate concerns.

He instructed me to be blunt with him when he did something wrong.  So I followed his instructions to a T, even though I preferred to use diplomacy.

Even though I did exactly what he told me to do, he sent an e-mail to Jeff claiming that I “bit hard.”  Jeff replied, “You’ve been biting hard yourself lately, and I’ll give examples if asked.”

So Richard wrote a threatening e-mail of what would happen if Jeff gave his opinions/examples.

Once again, I was the one apologizing, and this time Jeff was as well.

Here is the e-mail verbatim, and I’ll highlight the parts you especially need to notice:

I typed this out three times now, and it would be best if you said to me nothing about your opinion.

I do not want to hit you with a brick the next time I see you, as for some reason I am racing with adrenaline right now like back when I worked for the INS and was ready to open fire on the lineup with rubber rounds.

I am pumped and psyched out at the moment, ready to fight, verbally and physically.

I have to admit I have not felt this for years, and if could apply it to working out I just might get my metabolism back in line, which would be a good thing.

Problem is I get physically violent easily if triggered.

It’s no excuse and wrong, I admit. Hence why it would be best if you not say anything.

I am going to jog this off right now. Cheers! Contact me this week, and let’s drop the subject.

I cleared it up with Nyssa already anyways. But you already know.

That last sentence was a rip on me confiding my problems in my own husband.

Over time I began to realize just how dangerous Richard is.

He also blamed me for and minimized his wife’s abuse, enabled her abuse, which was baffling and heartbreaking.

I saw him do the same thing to mutual friend Todd two years previous, the one whom Tracy raged at and chased away because of an Internet game.  (I go into more detail about this in the full version of the story, which is here.)

Richard seemed to have a confused sense of morality: Bad was often good, good was often bad.  Some examples:

  1. He thought assaulting a person for cheating with your wife was justified.
  2. He had no problem with hating his political enemies.
  3. He posted a picture online for his horny IRC buddies of his wife’s breasts.  Only the lower parts with the nipples were covered.
  4. He’d post that he was “sexing” women in the chatroom.
  5. He often ran a music webcast.  One evening, he knew I was listening, along with his IRC buddies, because we were all chatting at the same time. Yet he started faking an orgasm–well beyond the bounds of good taste, especially when he knew I was listening.  But he complained when I complained.  (Yet jokes I made, which were extremely tame compared to these things, sometimes got strange reactions from Richard and/or Tracy.)
  6. He called me a prude for not liking gory movies.
  7. He considered it my problem that I got upset that he kept saying he’d call, or bring the family and come visit our family, or whatever, and then stand me/us up.
  8. When he told me his wife had been punching him, he said he would hit back if she hit his face, and no judge would convict him–something he’d been researching!  What he should have done was get out of that situation, not put her at risk of death and him at risk of jail.

And all sorts of evidence has piled up that he has narcissistic tendencies, including his claim that he hypnotized me without my knowing, manipulated me into saying things when I resisted saying them.  (I still have a printout of the chat in which he told me this.)

He also manipulated me in other ways, then allowed me to be the scapegoat.  If I told him he did something that hurt me, he put the blame on my shoulders, saying he wasn’t responsible for my feelings (which is an a**hole thing to say).

He was charming and arrogant, constantly bragging and telling some amazing stories that I had no way to verify.  Even my husband noted that Richard lacked empathy for my social struggles.

He began to seem like a chameleon, behaving differently around different people, or behaving differently according to which handle he used on the Net.

For example, one handle was gentle and pious, one was pious but occasionally argumentative, while yet another handle was downright mean.

He acted one way with me.  But eventually I noticed him behaving differently–more crass and less like a pious man–with friends who were crass and of dubious morals.

He did complain about “pampering” me, but not until several years had passed, making me wonder how much of what I knew of his personality and character, was even real.

This was before I suspected him of narcissism.  “Narcissists are empty vessels; they reflect back your personality so as to attract you” (Adrian Tempany, When Narcissism Becomes Pathological).

Then there was the way he’d pull me in, tell me how awesome I was, want to spend time with me–

Then another time he’d devalue and discard, treat me like I was annoying him, disrespect my time and feelings, ignore my e-mails, poke fun at or criticize everything I did in real life or on Facebook, make me feel like a stalker for saving all my letters or wanting to spend time with him.

(Odd–Shawn also expressed “concern” once that I wrote in my diary everything he did with me.  Is there fear of exposure?  I have no worries about people writing in diaries about me or saving all their letters to/from me!)

Then he’d start treating me like a close friend again and want to chat with me.

This is classic narcissistic behavior, make someone feel very important to him, then devalue and discard the person; the cycle played out again and again.

You’re always kept on your toes; I always wondered where I stood with him, but he called me paranoid.

He used to call me all the time, want to chat with me all the time.  Then he barely called at all except when he wanted something.

I also saw him begin to replace me with another friend, a bright new shiny friend, who agreed with all his wacky politics.

When he and his wife were both together, they would gang up on me and make me feel like everything I did was somehow “wrong” or “creepy” or whatever.  For instance, he called me a stalker and she made fun of me because I save all my letters to and from friends!

Or she would rip on me or make some snide comment and he would just ignore it.

Or the time she exploded on me in a jealous rage publicly on Facebook for saying I would miss him on his vacation.

“I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!” is exactly what I said.

Meanwhile, he just let her go off on me for that statement, leaving Jeff to have to stick up for me.

But then another time it would just be Richard and me chattering away, and I’d feel like a very important person to him, someone he loved like a sister and wanted to spend time with and confide in or talk with about religion.

It was crazy-making behavior, and gaslighting.  But during the good times, I very much felt like he valued my friendship, wanted me around, considered me one of his closest and dearest friends.

But when he was my friend, I didn’t see the narcissism.  I thought he was gentle and bighearted, and too hard on himself.

Tracy refuses to apologize

Tracy refuses to allow cool-down period or apologize for verbal abuse

Warning: The following summarizes and vents a period of narcissistic abuse and mind control.

Making a complete, permanent break was rough on me because I missed Richard.  Though Jeff and I made the break ourselves, I was miserable, constantly crying and dragging through the days.

My solution was to take a six-month, amicable break, and come at things after we all had a chance to cool down.  But this wasn’t good enough for Tracy.

This was a full month past the breakup, when they came to my church, and I took this as a possible sign they wanted to make peace.  I discussed things for a bit with Richard, and it looked promising.

But in discussions later on with Tracy, I discovered that a month was not long enough for her to cool down one iota.

Now, most people would probably regret quick tempers and yelling at good friends, and apologize after a month.  But not Tracy.

Apparently she wanted to have her chance to yell at me for being different from her, for being naturally shy and quiet, for believing her to be an abuser and a bully instead of a sweet, wonderful person surrounded by flowers and bunnies.

Well, Jeff wasn’t about to let that happen.  He was sick of her abusing his sweet wife.

My priest said the idea for a break was very wise.  Jeff was also on board with it.

But instead of taking the break, Tracy replied with a nasty e-mail saying,

“Have a nice life,” that I threw their “olive branch back in our faces,” and that I know where they live if I decide to “GROW UP and stop feeling hurt over the consequences of YOUR behavior.”

Essentially, making it clear:

  • That I was not allowed to object to her nastiness and false accusations or have an opinion of my own.
  • That she felt no regret whatsoever for abusing and bullying me.
  • That she still blamed her lack of self-control on me.
  • That I was not even allowed to be friends with Richard until I capitulated to her demands and agreed with her.

Essentially, she was extremely manipulative.  My priest said that her response proved the true nature of her friendship.

My priest also said, “WHAT olive branch?”

Um, I’m the one who extended an olive branch, they dug in their heels, and then she threw it back at me.

Forcing me to submit to her abuse or else, and not letting me have a voice or opinion of my own, is her idea of an olive branch?

So even a month later, she still showed no signs of repentance, no acceptance of responsibility for her own part in things, no connection of our breaking off the friendship to her own rage episode.

All I saw was that she threw a huge temper tantrum and then, when Jeff and I reacted like grownups–breaking things off rather than engaging in a long, drawn-out crap-slinging fest–she accused us of having the tantrum and needing to grow up.

Say what?  Have I toppled into Opposite Land?

In fact, both of them minimized her rage episode and pointed their fingers at me as being to blame for her lack of control–

as she took no responsibility whatsoever for her own bad behavior, and he enabled her abuse.

I was dismayed at her lack of repentance, but so desperate to regain my friendship with Richard that I almost gave in.

When at first she thought she was going to get victory and control over me at last, her sadistic pleasure was so obvious you could almost taste it.

But then I suggested the break, and she lost her control–and what remained of her composure.

She accused me of needing to “GROW UP” because I didn’t just roll over and say, “Thank you, ma’am, may I have another?”  It was absolutely bizarre–and classic abusive behavior.

The only way to pacify her and satisfy her was to:

  • beg forgiveness for all the “bad” things I supposedly did (even though they really weren’t so bad)
  • accept all her abuse of me as deserved
  • and become a totally different person who is never shy or quiet, and turns a blind eye when she abuses others.

I’d have to break down the shell I put up to protect myself after seeing her rage against others–and hearing how she raged about me when I wasn’t around.

Her gaslighting and scapegoating of me was sometimes subtle, but constant; I saw her do it to others as well.

The friendship breakup was because of her, not because of Richard.

It’s because of her that I had to leave to repair the psychological damage and restore/protect myself, because of her that I can’t go back.

Good riddance to her!  I don’t miss her one bit, don’t regret having her no longer in my life.

If this were just about her, I’d have been over the grief a long time ago, would merely be working on the complex post-traumatic stress disorder that she caused.

If this were just about her, I’d shake off her poisonous words and move on.

Her friends may not want to believe it, because she can turn on the charm when she chooses, but she is indeed a predator.  I witnessed her rages against me and against others far too often.

I will never let her back into my life: It’s hard enough trying to undo all the damage she’s already done, without letting her do more of it.

Tracy crazy-makes me

Tracy crazy-makes me

Warning: The following summarizes and vents a period of narcissistic abuse and mind control.

In June 2009, Richard said all his other friends could do all the things for which Tracy got mad at me.

Then Richard finally signaled me in late 2009/early 2010 that all these restrictions of the past had been removed.  This made me believe that I had finally met her requirements and anything I did was perfectly fine with her now.

To explain, because it would be too embarrassing to keep asking if I had met them yet, I asked him to signal me that I had.  The signal was to ask me to coffee/ice cream/etc., one of those things that had been forbidden.  I told him the signal would mean that I was allowed to do all the things all his other friends could do.

He wrote back that “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.”  Basically, everything that was okay for him to do with other friends, such as hugs, he could do with me.

Then one night, he asked me to go get sushi with him.  I wasn’t able to because it was frickin’ midnight.  But he would not have done this if it were still forbidden.  I told him to (except for such a late hour) just give me a day/time, but he apparently forgot about it.

It was a huge relief, and made me jubilant to know that I had finally satisfied all her requirements and could do all the things with him that any of his other friends could do, with her blessing. 

We could hug, we could go out for coffee, whatever; it was all okay with the wife.  And I have it in writing.

So the way she acted in late spring/early summer 2010 (snarks, jealousy, narcissistic rage over hugs) just came out of nowhere, and was obviously her trying to make me crazy.

I got the strong impression that Richard had never explained the truth to her.  That even in July 2010 (the day of the blowup/breakup), he preferred to let her rage at me over an e-mail about something which (he convinced me) had been harmless (the hugs of gratitude), rather than tell her the truth and get raged at himself.

Either that, or she was engaging in gaslighting and classic crazy-making behavior, with which abusers are okay with something one day, then the next they get mad at you for it.

In any case, I don’t really know anymore what to believe, because I see my SCA friends doing exactly the same things and everybody thinks it’s perfectly fine.

And Richard really should not have done/asked me to do things which Tracy would not approve of, and then told me not to worry about his intentions.

Richard told me numerous times that hugs were perfectly fine with her.  We hugged in front of her many times because of his reassurances.

On July 1, 2010, she now raged at me over the hugs of gratitude.

The hugs I referred to in my e-mail to Richard, were done out in the parking lot for all the neighbors to see.  I thought for sure that Jeff saw us out the kitchen window.

I felt no shame from the hugs, no need to hide them from anyone, because they were purely platonic expressions of friendship, platonic love and gratitude.

In fact, I kept expecting that one day Richard would give me one of these hugs right in front of Tracy and she would be perfectly fine with it, because he said hugs were okay with her.

There was absolutely nothing wrong or illicit in what I wrote in my e-mail to Richard, no professions of passionate love, nothing to justify how she reacted.

It was all her own imagination, reading things in that were not there, because of her insecurity and possessiveness.

My e-mail was part of a series of e-mails Richard and I had been exchanging since an argument several days previous, and we were now patching things up.  I was trying to remind him of how nice he used to be, because he’d been so mean to me lately.

I expected the e-mail to make him happy, that he would reply with an “Awww, yes, I remember that.”  I often say sweet things like this to friends, male and female, and normally it pleases them.

But even Richard noted previously that Tracy was a jealous person in general, and how it affected him and lost him friendships.

In her rage over this e-mail, Tracy went on and on about how I should have known better than to do various things without “befriending” her first.

But once again, she obviously considered me a friend now or Richard would not have asked me to get sushi with him.

And they were all things that Richard had first done with me, several times for each thing (sleeping on my shoulder, going out for ice cream, hugs of gratitude), with no indication that they had to be cleared with her first.

But she made them out to be my idea from the beginning, treated me like some whore for even thinking of doing them, and gave Richard no responsibility at all for any of them.

Even though he influenced me with his smooth talk into thinking he did nothing wrong.

She twisted these things beyond recognition into some kind of dirty, sneaky cheating.  She screamed about how I did not understand “boundaries.”

Um, I think you need to say this to Richard, not me.  I’m not the one with the boundary problem.  I merely followed his lead as he reassured me what he did was perfectly okay and not cheating at all.

But he threw me under the bus, allowing her to rage at me and even telling Jeff she was going “easy” on me.

When he knew DANG well that he was letting her tear into me over something that had been his own idea, something that he himself convinced me was perfectly innocent.

When he himself had committed two gaffes that I knew about, one of which had caused at least as big of an uproar, something he said or did that had been completely misunderstood by an ex-girlfriend.

His betrayal left me reeling.

I was now being falsely accused of something I had not and had never done, yet she refused to believe otherwise.  In fact, as I said, Richard himself had done these hugs I referred to.

If she had only behaved like an adult and inquired into the truth before blowing up in a narcissistic/borderline rage like a toddler throwing a tantrum, she would’ve found this out.

Borderline personality disorder leads to seeing offense where there is none, and volatile behavior.  So she saw things I did in innocence, without meaning to offend her, things which had nothing to do with her normally, as offensive to her.  And she blew up in irrational, manipulative rages.

I can say this because I am not the only one.  She has done this to Richard–and I have witnessed her doing it.

Two years earlier, I and an entire forum witnessed her blowing up at mutual friend Todd.  She refused to believe that he did not do what she accused him of–even though it was quite plain from the original chat logs and forum posts that she completely misunderstood what he actually did.

She probably did this out of spite because he, too, saw her as abusive and avoided her.  In those chat logs and forum posts, others also grew exasperated as they tried to intervene and reason with her.

Add that to:

  • her very obvious overreaction to my wishing Richard a fun trip etc.
  • her smacking a tiny 3-year-old hard on the back of her head
  • her screaming at one of the kids for tucking her pantlegs into her snowboots (poor girl only did what you’re supposed to do in this climate)
  • her blowing up at the kids just out of nowhere one day, and yelling and grabbing and spanking them for no reason at all
  • and her hanging half out of a moving vehicle going 30 miles an hour one day

–and I have every reason to believe that her reaction to what I did was that of a narcissist or borderline.

Especially since my own husband saw nothing wrong with what I did, and got furious with her for how she treated me over it.

Note that borderline can co-exist with narcissistic personality disorder.  While a borderline who is not narcissistic can recognize his or her own bad behaviors, and apologize and work to change them, a borderline who is also a narcissist is more likely to abuse you without remorse.

While a personality disorder can explain why a person behaves a certain way, abuse can be perpetrated by anyone, and must not be tolerated, no matter what the reason.  Especially if the abuser feels no remorse.

I never noted a hint of remorse from Tracy for her abuses.

And also note that it’s very common for abusers, after they’ve abused you, to claim that they somehow went “easy” on you and that everyone else would have treated you much worse for your “misdeed.”

And to feel pleased and relieved that they have abused you, and act like it was nothing.

Linda’s owner, in “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” did this to her.

Richard and Tracy made that very same claim about Tracy’s overreaction and verbal abuse to me, saying “99%” of people would’ve reacted worse, even though I did not do what she pretended I did.

But when Jeff asked some friends how they would have reacted to the same thing, they all said they would merely have teased me mercilessly and then moved on, because that’s what friends do.

I certainly refuse to be lectured about “boundaries” and “appropriate behavior” by someone who constantly violated my boundaries and constantly behaved inappropriately to me.  She talked as if she had never approved anything, even though she obviously had or Richard would not have asked me to go get sushi with him!

Right before the blowup that ended the friendship, Richard tried to tell me that I don’t have NVLD because NVLD=Asperger’s and I’m not autistic–

Dang it, NVLD is not autism!  NVLD is also not Asperger’s!  Asperger’s and NVLD are similar in many ways, but they’re not the same!

Then on the day of the blowup Tracy started ripping on the NVLD as well as if I were just making it up and had no actual social issues.  This is bullying!  It shows a huge lack of empathy on both their parts, and a refusal to even consider another point of view to their own.

Jeff’s response to Tracy’s behavior through all this: “No, Tracy does not get her way!”

 

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