Articles from March 2012

Triggers

I still deal with triggers all the time.  These triggers bring me straight back to the narcissistic rage and tirade of Tracy on 7/1/10.

When I’m learning the Greek phrase for “I don’t understand” on my language learning software, it’s hard to type the words because I begin hearing, “You’re too stupid to understand!”

When someone says “F–k off” to some other person, that’s a trigger to Tracy telling me to f–k off, which I did not deserve.  Which was she herself being a b**ch and not bothering to find out the truth before raging, and not bothering to even try to be diplomatic to the person who had gotten her out of financial and other jams time and time again.

“Oh baloney” because when my husband stuck up for me and said that Richard had kept saying different things all the time and it was very confusing to me, she said, “Oh baloney.”

“So be it” because that was her response to taking a break, followed by “Have a nice life,” rather than, “Oh, what a good idea.”

“99%” because she and Richard both claimed that 99% of people would react even worse than she did, that she was somehow going “easy” on me.

Cthulhu references bring it back because Richard had this online Cthulhu persona for games.

“Harsh words” because Richard minimized Tracy’s foul, outrageous, filthy, abusive words to me as “some harsh words.”

It was horrible, horrible, and such innocuous words and phrases bring it all back again when I’m trying to move past the pain of being ripped to shreds for no reason, with no justification, and of my own best, closest, most trusted friend, stabbing me in the back.

It wasn’t physical violence, but it was psychologically, emotionally and verbally just as violent as any beating.

The gaslighting, control and psychological bullying come back again because of so many triggers.  I don’t know how the heck to disable these triggers.

They also make me very angry because I wouldn’t have these triggers if Tracy had acted like a decent human being instead of an out-of-control witch, if Richard had acted like a true friend instead of a fake, cover-your-own-butt friend.  Yet people don’t understand why it’s so nervewracking to see them show up at church or some other place.

The worst part is knowing they probably think they have the moral high ground.  I certainly sensed it reading Tracy’s messages to me.  It just makes you want to scream at them,

NO!  YOU DO NOT HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND!  ABUSE IS WRONG!  I DID NOT DESERVE ANY OF THIS!  WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME IS WRONG!  HOW YOU TREATED ME IS WRONG!

I mean, how can they have the moral high ground?  Not only did they bully me, but Richard now has a criminal record in this state for abusing one of the kids.

But of course, try to say any of this to an abuser, and you won’t get what you wanted.  Just more abuse, probably.

By the way, you can tell how badly this has affected my psyche by the use of profanity (even blocked out) in these blog posts.  Profanity is so highly uncharacteristic of me that I can only bring myself to post it blocked-out.  But all the crap I’m dealing with is so soul-crushing that euphemisms just don’t cut it.

Blogging the Parasite out of my Head: Writing about the abuse

[Update: The full web book is here: The Darkness Engulfs Me: Abuse by Two Narcissists–and Betrayal by a Best Friend and Spiritual Mentor.  A summary is here.]

 

The narcissist blames others for his behaviour, accuses them of provoking him into his temper tantrums and believes firmly that “they” should be punished for their “misbehaviour”.

Apologies – unless accompanied by verbal or other humiliation – are not enough. The fuel of the narcissist’s rage is spent mainly on vitriolic verbal send-offs directed at the (often imaginary) perpetrator of the (oft innocuous) offence.

The narcissist – wittingly or not – utilises people to buttress his self-image and to regulate his sense of self-worth. As long and in as much as they are instrumental in achieving these goals, he holds them in high regard, they are valuable to him. He sees them only through this lens.

This is a result of his inability to love others: he lacks empathy, he thinks utility, and, thus, he reduces others to mere instruments.

If they cease to “function”, if, no matter how inadvertently, they cause him to doubt his illusory, half-baked, self-esteem – they are subjected to a reign of terror.

The narcissist then proceeds to hurt these “insubordinates”. He belittles and humiliates them. He displays aggression and violence in myriad forms.

His behaviour metamorphoses, kaleidoscopically, from over-valuing (idealising) the useful person – to a severe devaluation of same. The narcissist abhors, almost physiologically, people judged by him to be “useless”. —The Soul of a Narcissist by Sam Vaknin

I hope this will be cathartic, get the truth out, so that I can heal from what has emotionally and spiritually traumatized me.  I hope to make it (and my private account) a repository for all the hurt, pain, anger and bitterness, so that I can transfer it out of my heart.

I have dealt with previous abusive situations in this way, putting them into writing and then posting them on the Web, and it has been largely successful in helping me move on past those times.

I feel that if I just make it vanish, hide the story, it will do no more good than it did with my previous abuse stories.

For example, right after college I began writing College Memoirs, which were a combination of good things and life during that time, and the terrible things that happened with guys who used and abused (I hesitate to refer to them as “men”).

I was going to publish them, but feared libel suits, so I began putting the stories into my fiction instead.

But since the demands of fiction are that you don’t put your own life stories into your stories exactly as they occurred, or else your stories will appear pieced together like Frankenstein, I didn’t feel like my stories of abuse were quite dealt with yet.

I also read an article in Writer’s Digest about writing and publishing abuse stories, and the healing it can bring:

Harrison told her editor that she wanted to write a nonfiction book about her relationship with her father. Because the editor had published Harrison’s autobiographical first novel, she asked if she was sure she wanted to do that.

Harrison was sure. In fact, she’d been trying to write about her father in an essay but felt she was trying to do too much in too short a space. Feeling as if she’d betrayed herself and her story by first writing about the affair as fiction, she had a compelling need to set the record straight.

…“One of the solaces that art can offer you is the chance to make something out of what’s hurt you. You can objectify an experience, put it on paper, craft it and shape it. There’s perhaps an illusory control over it. But it is significant.” –Sandra Hurtes, Spilling Secrets

So I posted a public version of my College Memoirs, first in e-mails to friends, then on a Myspace blog, then on my website.

Even though they don’t get many hits, the stories have been read by some, and in the past several years, I feel myself finally moving past these things that happened 15-20 years ago.  They are on the Webpages now and don’t have to be carried around inside me.

I also have a full account of what happened in this new case, but it is so personal and private that I keep it locked away from anyone but myself.  Just as with the College Memoirs, I have a personal and a private version.

My hope is that this blog will have the same effect as those public Memoirs.  It has been said many times that the abused need to get their stories out into the open, not hide them for fear of “airing dirty laundry,” because that just victimizes them further.

I’ve been revising a full account of the abusive situation with Richard and Tracy–book-length–which I wrote before I wrote these smaller summaries and blog posts.  I intend to post a link to it when I’m done, because it’s far too long for a blog post.

[Update 1/22/14: It’s been up since May 2012, and now I’m revising it again, and putting it in small chunks on this blog as well.]

As I work on it, it answers questions that come up.  For example, I was starting to feel like Tracy was right and the disagreements were my fault.  But as I reviewed the details of the time we lived in the same house, I began to remember:

No, what really happened was that I saw her behavior as a mix of jealousy and abuse, of control, and it was part of a full picture of abuse, not just about her objecting to a couple of things I wanted to do.

It was about all the crap I saw her doing to Richard and the kids every day.  It was about a battered man defending his battering.  It was about her smacking his arm and giving him looks so full of anger and threat, that he looked scared.

It was about her overhearing me telling my husband not just about her jealousy, but about her abusive behavior of Richard and the children.

It was about her starting a smear campaign against me, deliberately to drive a wedge between Richard and me.

Because it was never about me being a woman friend of her husband (he has lots of those), but about me recognizing that she is indeed a domestic abuser and violent.

Jealousy was just her red herring, the thing she seized upon so she could make Richard and anybody else think it was all about me behaving “inappropriately.”

Even though the things she objected to were all perfectly harmless, and Richard’s idea to begin with, she twisted them around to make me look bad, because she couldn’t let anybody think that she is abusive, controlling and possessive.

The things I wanted to do were perfectly harmless, and there was nothing wrong with me wanting to do them.  Richard does them, my friends do them, people do these things with their friends.

She actually accused me of disrespecting her by wanting to go out for coffee/ice cream with Richard, but that’s ludicrous BS, as anyone can see.  As long as the wife knows you’re going out for the coffee/ice cream, that’s all you need for it to be perfectly “respectful,” so she knows her husband isn’t sneaking around having an affair.

No, she had to put the spotlight all on me with all her ridiculous “rules” which I couldn’t possibly meet–

–so she could continue doing her bad behaviors in the darkness–

–so that Richard would never break free of her control.

The trouble is, she so successfully convinced Richard of her smears, and so successfully turned things around on me, that on 7/1/10, she still made it all about me, still tried to insist that I was the one in the “wrong”–

–not because I was actually wrong–

–but to take the focus off her and her own abuse and bad behaviors.

The other trouble is that abusers can so worm their way into your head, that even though a part of you screams that you’re not the one in the wrong, you’re not the one behaving badly–another part of you keeps thinking, “What if she’s right?  What if I really am the one behaving badly?”

I’ve been fighting this for years, not since 7/1/10 or the e-mails she sent me 8/1/10, but since January 2008.

It gets imbedded so deeply that it almost seems impossible to get out.  It’s like a parasite.

Blogging is helping me to get it out, finally, because:

  • not only can I write about what happened,
  • but I have all sorts of private writings which I can look back at later and see what I wrote,
  • and I also have this foundation already written, on which I can build with more memories and insights as they come to me.

I thought maybe I shouldn’t blog about this, just keep it under wraps.  But now I see that it must come out, that silence is just what bullies want out of their victims.

And if Richard or Tracy sees it, so be it.  This is what Richard and Tracy are truly like.  I am not lying. 

And I have online court records and newspaper reports to prove that I am telling the truth about them. 

[Update: They found it just two months after I posted this, and both accused me of lying and threatened me, as you can read here.]

I must keep blogging to get the parasite out of my system once and for all, so I can be free at last of Tracy’s influence.

Step 1

Learn more about the dynamics of what happened to you by reading the personal accounts of victims recovering from similar abuse. When you find out that you are not alone and how others are coping with the same type of abuse, it will assist your recovery progress significantly.

With severe abuse, often the abused individual is locked into a fixed and rigid perspective about what has happened to them and what will happen because of the abuse.

From the personal stories of other similar abuse victims in the recovery process, you will begin to unlock your perspective of things and see your abuse from other new and important perspectives.

This simple change of perspective and seeing new perspectives has amazing healing powers.

These personal stories are not professional “How to” recovery manuals. They do what professional abuse recovery manuals simply cannot do, because no matter how expert the professionals are (unless they were also similarly abused), they cannot see the specific abuse experience from the complex inside dynamics as only another abuse victim can.

For example, at FACTNet we suggest that an individual who was sexually abused as a child by a cult that condones the sexual use and abuse of children should read the stories and recovery debriefings of other victims of that cult or similar cults who were sexually abused. Read and heal! –Lawrence Wollersheim, How I healed the psychological injuries from my abuse in a cult

I have all parts of this story now up and running.  Here it is, the whole ugly story, here for various reasons:

  • to defend myself and my innocence
  • to break the silence which abusers want their victims to keep
  • to get Tracy’s parasite out of my head
  • to have peace and remove Tracy’s destructive poison through this surgical removal (ie, writing about it) out of my heart and onto the [digital] page
  • to warn others about how narcissists and other personality disordered persons can work
  • to sympathize with those with NLD, Asperger’s and introversion who are bullied by those who do not understand them
  • to stick up for all abused and bullied people
  • to provide help for those abused people who feel driven to read the abuse stories of others

I recall how hard it was to find stories of people who had been abused by friends or spouses of friends rather than by family, co-workers, classmates or significant others; this adds one more.  I know what it’s like to constantly search the web looking for stories of other people, in various stages of their healing journey, who have been through abuse in some way.

They may rage at their targets in verbally and emotionally abusive ways. Yet they have the gall to blame the target for the abusive language and emotions they are showing. This is known as projection.

It seems they want to distract from their own questionable behaviors, so they will blame somebody else for doing worse. And they love to play victim of imagined hurts and spites from their targets.

Borderlines are often very controlling, frequently while accusing a victim of theirs as being controlling or uncaring.

Using emotional blackmail and threats of false reports to the police or others who might be duped into taking their side are some of the ways they establish and maintain control.

The discussion is primarily about them and their inner emotional turmoil, not so much about the target. They are upset and somebody else has to be blamed for it whether it’s accurate or not.

Imagine living with these kinds of exchanges on daily basis. The frequent unpredictability, jabs, blaming sessions, and insults make you feel insecure and cut down your self-esteem over time. You’re being abused, but are at the same time are being falsely accused of being the abuser.

This is particularly difficult for men to handle as they are socially conditioned to try to take responsibility for fixing problems. Yet BPD is not a problem a significant other can solve. –Rob, Talking with a borderline

My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.

That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to.  But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.

It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits.  As the author wrote on the main page,

Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect.  The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….

Why would I want to put such a personal document online?  There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD. There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.

Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it.  When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”

Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue.  My wish is to give hope to others.

Like me, the author changed names and identifying details.  This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.  Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, former female friend.

The contents of the web-book:

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

 

Finding out people you love have a dark side

Finding out someone you loved (romantically, or friendship, or family member) is not what you thought they were, brings a unique pain.

First, there were two guys I loved in college.  I thought they were wonderful; as it turned out, one (Peter) was apparently pretending to be more religious than he really was, and the other (Phil) was a manipulative, deceitful abuser.  But they were exes, and it’s expected that exes will let you down and leave your life eventually.

But when it’s a friend or family member….

First, in 2007, I found out that my family had been hiding things from me about my father for my entire life.  He had a whole secret habit that I knew nothing about, that I had always been taught was sinful, but everyone but me knew about it.

Then the same day I found out about it, my mom thought he had left her, and considered divorce.  That turned out to be a misunderstanding, but the secret was out, and I had to deal with discovering that my dad was not what I always thought he was.

Then there was my former best friend Richard.  I just got an e-mail today from a forum we used to go on together to defend Orthodoxy.  I couldn’t stand getting these reminders anymore from a forum we haven’t been on for nearly three years, so I went to try to delete my account.  However, there is no way to do that.

It reminded me of how religious and righteous he always seemed to be, and how the truth was that he’s showing traits of narcissism, that he’s a violent man who did an evil, evil deed, nearly killing his 9-year-old daughter by choking her to unconsciousness.

Then there was finding out what my former boss did.  I thought he was a good person, despite his temper, and I liked him.  But no, he’s so violently abusive that he went to jail for 9 months, drove away the wife he loved, and lost custody of all his children.

I’m still mourning for him and for Richard, as if they had died, because the person I thought I knew, is dead–or never existed.

How do you get past finding out that people you love, are not what you thought they were?  That they’ve been deceiving you, or that they’re actually evil?

And how do you stop wishing they would come to you and apologize for what they’ve done, or prove that they’ve changed so you can be friends again?

I suppose there are many people out there who feel the same pain: former mates of narcissists, abused spouses, people who were mentored by priests who turned out to be molesters.

Can you ever get over it?

 

Who’s the Neanderthal here?: On Jealousy and Opposite-Sex Friends

Just read the latest Annie’s Mailbox and the comments made by readers.  That poor woman, Betty–sends an old friend and co-worker a nice Christmas card, trying to get back in touch, and now people who don’t even know her are saying such things as,

HE IS OBVIOUSLY IS 5CREWING AROUND WITH THIS 5TINKING VVHORE.  ANYONE WHO THINKS OTHERWISE IS  BLIND, RETARDED NEANDERTHAL. (commenter on the Arcamax link [now removed])

People are saying things like, the note was too personal.  One commenter said,

Sorry I don’t know any woman outside of a formal requirement who would send a card to a married man she wasn’t plowing, missed plowing, or was wanting to plow for exactly the reasons listed here.

I feel sorry for this poor Betty.  For one thing, it’s been three years and, from what she wrote, it sounds like they haven’t seen each other in those three years.  We have nothing more to go on than a jealous wife’s claims–and even her children are telling her to let it go, already.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Fortunately, most of the commenters on these two sites are far more reasonable, and modern, and see this as an innocent note which the wife is blowing way out of proportion.  They’re far more concerned about the husband’s actions.

But as has also been noted, while his actions could be those of a guilty party, they’re also likely to be those of a guy who knows he’s innocent and doesn’t want to get into a fight with his jealous wife.

An affair is not at all the only reason why some people hide things from their spouses: Some people will fly off the handle about things that do not deserve it.  So either way, Bill and his wife need counseling.

I mean, geez, I send notes like that to people all the time.  Maybe a Christmas card, maybe a letter, Facebook post, an e-mail.  Male, female, married, single, it makes no difference.  And I’m a respectable woman who does not go around trying to “plow” anybody but my own husband.

My husband, too, looked at the column, and said that Betty did nothing wrong.  He said it’s quite likely that “Bill” just feels like he’s doing nothing wrong, does not want to be forced to drop an innocent friend–especially if he’s feeling lonely and missing his old co-workers–and doesn’t want to get into an argument over it, so that’s why he hides it.  And note that he did try to display the Christmas card; why would he do that if Betty were his mistress?

It just burns me up that there are still people who think that jealousy without actual cause (this card from Betty is hardly cause) and trying to control their spouses is somehow “right.”  That people are accusing this Betty of things that she probably was not doing.

People need to lighten up already.  The circles I’m used to, are far more relaxed about opposite-sex friends.  I’ve even been accused of keeping my husband on a “long leash” because I didn’t want him to share a hotel room with one of our female friends for an out-of-town medieval recreation (SCA) event.  (I’m still scratching my head over that one, but it shows the general mindset of faith and trust of the people I’m used to being around.)

Faith and trust leads to long marriages.  If your spouse still cheats on you, it’ll all be on his own head, not yours for being a shrew who drove him away.  It’s often been noted that jealousy can actually drive your spouse into the arms of somebody else.  Be the one he wants to come home to, not the one he wants to get away from.

As commenter #76 stated, and as I have stated myself in the past, marriage does not equal ownership.  You’re not the jailer keeping your spouse under lock and key, only letting them do what you okay.  You are two partners, and two individuals.  Jealousy is actually the number one indicator of a potentially abusive marriage.

See here for Carolyn Hax’s view on the subject.  Control is also a crucial element of spousal abuse, as is isolation from family and friends.  Controlling your spouse’s friendships, having to “approve” friendships, is a huge indicator of abuse.

Imagine Bill being in the place of the wife; would jealous behavior seem so appropriate if his wife had received this card from a friend?  Of course not!

And imagine if it had come from a same-sex friend.  The wording is exactly the same, but now it seems perfectly innocent.

People are reading in subtext when they should be looking at the actual words, not their imaginations.  Subtext gets you into trouble–as is evident on Internet forums when people often start getting into fights over things that nobody actually said.

A few commenters had a much better idea: The wife should be pleasant about it all, ask to meet the friend, maybe make a day of it while she goes off shopping afterwards and lets them catch up for an hour, then wife and Bill go see the grandkids.

Being aware of a friendship is perfectly fine; you don’t have to be best friends with the person yourself, but it’s good to know what’s going on, and to meet the person.  If Bill balks at that, then you can smell trouble.

Besides, it may turn out that Betty is older than him, or hasn’t aged well.  Or even if she’s young and pretty, maybe she has zero romantic interest in a guy old enough to be her father, sees him as a father figure or mentor, and misses their long talks about her problems with her boyfriend/in-laws/abuse/etc.  Or maybe she’s a lesbian.  Or very plain.  You can’t tell just from one card.

If it’s a mirror you want, just look into my eyes
Or a whipping boy, someone to despise
Or a prisoner in the dark
Tied up in chains you just can’t see
Or a beast in a gilded cage
That’s all some people ever want to be

If you love somebody, set them free

You can’t control an independent heart
Can’t tear the one you love apart
Forever conditioned to believe that we can’t live
We can’t live here and be happy with less
So many riches, so many souls
Everything we see we want to possess

If you need somebody, call my name
If you want someone, you can do the same
If you want to keep something precious
You got to lock it up and throw away the key
If you want to hold onto your possession
Don’t even think about me

–Sting, If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

If you never give him room
You’re gonna lose.
He’s feeling like he’s tied up in a knot
Ev’ry time he comes home late he’s on the spot.
Trust him to be the kind of man he wants to be
You aren’t gonna keep him long if you give him
The third degree.

Let him go
Let him go
Do the things he’s got to do

Give him the freedom that he needs even though it worries you.
Let him go
Let him go
Have the faith that he’ll be true
It’s the only way you can be sure he’ll come back to you.

You want your life with him to work so well
You forget the love you need to give yourself.
I understand your desire to keep him near
But you poison love when you mix it up with fear.
Trust yourself to be the woman that you want to be
If you both have room to grow
Then you’ll live in harmony.

–Animotion, Let Him Go

 

My boss of 4 years was a narcissist, too, and wound up in jail

Checking CCAP to see if people I know are on there, is not something I normally do.  Most people I know are normal, law-abiding citizens, and I have no interest in poking around in their divorce or parking ticket information.  But now that I’m aware of this resource, there are people in my past with questionable characters whom I wonder about.

A while ago, I checked to see if my abusive and malignant narcissist ex-fiancé, Phil, had ever done anything that got the attention of the law.  Turns out he did, back when he was married.  There are no details, but there was some sort of disorderly conduct in 2003.  There was a victim who gave an “impact statement.”  He had to fulfill a deferred prosecution agreement, which then got the charges dismissed a year later.

Then I thought, You know, my former boss, an insurance agent, did have questionable character, and lately I’ve been thinking he was probably a narcissist.  He wasn’t my main boss, but gave me supplemental income with 2-5 hours a week if I would do his changes and filing.

I considered him a friend, liked him, chatted with him sometimes, thought he was funny–but he could also be an ass at times.  (No, there was no boss-secretary hanky panky going on; it was strictly platonic.  But, as I told my main boss, he was my “favorite person” at the office.)

One day, the office secretary told me he was in the hospital.  I was horrified, but it turned out to be something involving an ear infection that went bad.  It was probably something like mastoiditis or malignant otitis, not your typical ear infection, very serious but the doctors got it under control.

The office secretary said they were not going to send him flowers or a card, so I got the information from her and sent him a get-well card.  It included a little note about how boring the office was without him talking about nose hair etc. (referring to something he had recently said).  It was sweet, and I later saw it in his office, which told me that it meant enough to him to bring with him as a keepsake.

I did my best to get his files in order, which was quite a feat because they were a huge mess before I started working for him.  He had no secretary for a while, since his wife no longer wanted to do it for him, and he just threw papers into files without any regard for how home office wanted them organized, making it horrible to try to keep up with the policies properly.

I updated the computer, did his changes and applications, stamped and processed the mail from home office, even remembered to update his no contact list along with my main boss’s (the home office sent this list to all agents after the state No Contact List was established for telemarketers and business owners).

And I did all this in an office which was perpetually a disaster area, papers and things strewn all over the place.  He was amazed at how well I fixed up the files, and he’d tell me and clients about our little “team,” “You’re the brains and I’m the face.”

One year, he gave me a little Christmas present, a Santa candy jar.  I told him Santa “has a big ole’ butt,” and he laughed.  I still use that candy jar, and my son likes it.  When he was gone while I worked, I’d play Radio Free Abattoir, a Goth music webstream; when he was there, he’d assault my ears with blues or AC/DC played excessively loud, which annoyed the nearby secretaries as well.

But he also had a wacky sense of humor which nobody but me seemed to “get,” so I’d be chuckling while the other secretaries chided him (like when he complained about people with long nose hairs).  He was always running late, so his friends (who were also clients) would tell us they always told him an earlier time than they actually wanted him to be there.

Sure he had a temper, which got on my nerves occasionally, but I thought he was harmless, just an unmotivated goof.

But on the other hand, he was difficult to deal with, rarely paid me on time, kept docking my hours, occasionally yelled at me for nothing, made me clean his office.

Because he kept docking my hours, I often had a backlog of filing to do along with all his changes, which often didn’t have enough information, so I’d have to call him on his cell because he’d gone off again.  Because of the backlog in filing, the files themselves often did not have updated information.

But when I asked for more hours, he wouldn’t give them to me, saying they cost too much–even though he was only paying me $7/hour for two to five hours a week.

There were complaints from some of his clients about how they should’ve known better than to do business with a friend.  He had so little business that the office secretaries wondered how he paid his bills, and wished he would work harder to get more clients.  And he kept arguing with one of the underwriters, a lady who he felt had it in for him.

But it got even worse after he spent time in the hospital for an ear infection, and his temper seemed to turn foul, so that for months he was nothing like the fun-loving guy he’d been before.  He complained of constant headaches.  The ear infection was early in 2002.

I recall overhearing, probably in late 2002 or early 2003, sometimes while in his office and sometimes while out of his office, as he yelled and screamed on the phone at people in the home office.  I recall as he screamed “Merry Christmas” at some guy.

One day (whether before or after the ear infection I can no longer remember), he was trying to deal with a credit card company, but because it was under his wife’s name and not his, they wouldn’t let him do anything.  He actually asked me to impersonate his wife and talk to them.

!!!!

I said NO.

He said, “Nyssa, come on, please!” and acted like I was being unreasonable.

NO!

Then he called up the card company again, and began speaking in a falsetto voice, impersonating his wife himself!  And they bought it!

Also, after he’d been at war with an underwriter for weeks, in early 2003 she came to audit his files, and they weren’t complete because–even though I did my part and gave him all the information he needed to get his own work done, such as cost estimators and pictures of the various properties that were missing–he had not done his part.

I wasn’t there at the time, since I only worked a few hours a day and hadn’t come in yet.  But I was told there was quite a blowup, with him raging all over the office and finally quitting in a huff.

I gave him a note to try to get him to change his mind, but it was made up.  He was also in the doghouse with his wife over it, but one of the other secretaries told me that if he hadn’t quit, the office manager was going to fire him anyway because of things he’d been doing lately.

As for the note, it was an e-mail I sent to his work computer, but it had already been locked; he had no e-mail at home.  So I printed up the e-mail and brought it to work.  When he came back to pack up his office, I gave him the e-mail.

I’d have to dig it up to recall what all it said, but I remember something about considering him a friend and wishing he would reconsider quitting.  From the way he acted, he seemed pleasantly surprised, had no idea I felt that way.

He thought it was sweet and said he would miss me, too, said I should be his secretary if he set up his own office.  (I made sure when I wrote it that it was worded so his wife would not object to anything in it, in case she saw it.  It was platonic.)

The office secretary did not like him at all.  She claimed to be a good judge of character as she told another secretary why she did not like him.  I thought she was too hard on him, while I was more willing to see him as a good person underneath his gruffness.

She was always arguing with him, and when he left, she wondered if he would violate the contract he had signed, which had something to do with not getting a job with a competitor.

But I did like him, and was so upset that I cried when he quit.  I was so miserable that for months afterwards, I would see his empty office and sigh.  I was also miserable because I had fun working for him (except when he was being an ass), and now all I could get to supplement my income was a couple of hours of just filing.  No changes, no fixing files, because the other agent already had another secretary; just filing.

That whole period was very distressing, because a couple of months later, our church terminated the youth pastor position for financial reasons, the youth group disbanded, and my wonderful time being a helper in the youth group was suddenly over.

I did contact my former boss on occasion during the following year, but I didn’t hear anything from him after that.  The first year, 2003, and maybe 2004, he and his wife sent us a Christmas card, as did my main boss and his wife.

But there was nothing after that, and I wondered if it was because, with the baby, I had gotten too busy to send Christmas cards, and you know how people will cut you off their list if you don’t send cards.

I wondered why he didn’t contact me, but I was too busy with my little boy to worry about such things too much.  I had since moved on from the disappointment of his quitting in 2003–especially since I didn’t work there anymore, either, since my other boss retired and I was now a stay-at-home mother.

I did occasionally check social networking sites such as Facebook to see if he was there, like I do with all my old friends (including my other boss), but he wasn’t.

Now I find that in 2005, his wife complained of domestic abuse and harassment! filed a restraining order! divorced him!  There’s a note that the court found him to be unemployed in 2006 because of his own conduct; I remember how he had trouble finding and keeping jobs after he quit.  There was a psychological evaluation; there are suggestions of child abuse, because he could only see the kids with supervision.

During the long, drawn-out divorce, he got into even more trouble through some sort of violent domestic disturbance that involved spousal and, possibly, child abuse, even broken lights of a detention center, and damages to a car and his ex’s residence and, apparently, even the children’s school, leading to multiple charges, a few convictions, and jail time!  So, of course, his ex got sole custody of the kids.

Some more searching in the archives of his hometown newspaper, revealed that one night, he left several threatening messages for his wife, who had recently filed for divorce and a restraining order because of domestic violence. 

Then he drove the car into their house, causing extensive damage to the kitchen and totaling the car

–the same car that he used to drive to work every day, the same car I’d look for in the parking lot to see if he was going to be there while I worked for him, the same car I think he used once or twice to give me a ride home on a stormy day because I walked to work.

Then he came to the door, and while his wife tried to call 911, he confronted her.  Eventually, she was able to call 911 from a neighbor’s house.  He resisted arrest; kicked one officer in the groin several times; had to be dragged to the squad car.  He even broke lights at the detention center.

There was

extensive damage to the kitchen area, including water running from broken pipes, kitchen cabinets strewn throughout the kitchen and dining room, water pouring into the basement and the front end of the car lodged in the siding of the house.

He faced extensive charges, $50,000 bail, even 22 years of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines if he’d been convicted on all counts, but as there often are, there were plea bargains and other deals which lessened the sentence.

The District Attorney said, “My biggest concern was the protection of the public.  And there are a lot of incentives built in for him to get his behavior back to normal.”  He said the purpose of the deferred prosecution agreement was “that I’ll have more control over him rather than if he had just pled to the felonies.”

My former boss was ordered to stay on his medication, take domestic violence and anger management counseling, and was even sentenced to nine months in jail and three years probation.

I didn’t really know his wife, only seeing her on occasion, such as at office Christmas parties.  But she seemed like a nice person.

Neither of the wives of my bosses showed any sign of jealousy about their husbands’ secretary, and seemed like nice people.  When I told this boss, a few months after he quit, that my husband and I were finally going to have a baby after trying for a while, he told his wife, and said, “She couldn’t believe it!” and how happy she was for us.

I know he had occasional issues with her, but they seemed like nothing more than normal marital tiffs.  But I do recall saying to my husband on occasion, “I’m glad I’m not married to [my boss],” because of something he’d say (like, part of the whole point of going to a bachelor party was to not behave himself), or that I overheard him saying to a friend (complaining that women are great at spending too much money).  So I can’t imagine her doing anything to deserve this kind of behavior from him.

The office secretary was right about him!  And why do I keep liking people who turn out to be abusive narcissists?

Most of my friends are normal, but my ex Phil was an abusive narcissist, the guy Shawn whom I loved but used me, was probably a narcissist, my favorite boss was an abusive narcissist, and now my best friend of five years, Richard, turned out to be an abusive narcissist!

How do I keep attracting these people?  And why do I find myself drawn to them?

 

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