Month: June 2013

Finally healing from the narcissistic abuse and toxic friendship

I can feel the healing at last.

It’s not as if the pain and hurt are all gone, never to return.  I do still feel pangs from time to time, when something reminds me of happier days of friendship with Richard (and there are a lot of reminders).

But several major things have happened to bring this on:

1) I confronted my abusers.  Even after they made fun of and threatened me, I never backed down, kept writing the truth, kept confronting them through my blog, kept pointing out that they are abusers/bullies not just of me but of each other, others and their children.  I kept confronting them through my blog since they kept coming back to it.

They could have ignored the blog, but didn’t, so I kept writing whatever the heck I felt like writing about what they did.  The well-being of four beautiful children–and of any other people they may befriend, get to care deeply about them, and then betray, since they have done this to others besides me–was at stake.

 

2) I told many others, who believed me.  I told them what Richard and Tracy did to me, and about the abuse in their household.  This was long before Richard and Tracy even found my blog.  Then after they found my blog and threatened me, I told the police–and told the same people as before, all about their stalking and threatening me.

All these people became allies.  Some even wanted to carry out elaborate vengeance which would make R and T’s names and crimes public in this city, but I told them NO, because that would just make things much worse.

I never had any intention of some kind of public exposure on the blog or in the newspapers including names etc., since that isn’t in my nature, and was amazed at just how inventive and vindictive these friends could get.  Their scheme actually brought on an attack of PTSD.  But it was touching to know they would do such a thing for me.

(I haven’t a clue how or where, but Richard and Tracy seemed to have gotten some crazy idea that I had threatened to do such a thing.  But no, I never did.  And the newspaper already exposed that Richard choked his daughter.)

The irony is that, as you can see in the above linked post, Richard and Tracy threatened to sue if I went public to members of the church/community.  But I had already gone to members of the community (friends who live nearby, and CPS) with my story, and had already gone to members of the church (my priest and a few friends in the church) BEFORE Richard and Tracy ever found my blog.

Reporters to CPS are immune from lawsuits, unless it can be proven that the report was deliberately false; my report was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We don’t run in the same circles here in town; I don’t even know who employs R and T these days, if anybody; they won’t lose income because of me.

Richard can’t become a priest no matter what, because my priest told me (in October 2011, BEFORE R and T found my blog) that Richard cannot be ordained, because he choked his child.  The police told me that no, R and T CANNOT sue me for talking to my priest, and they also cannot sue me for an anonymous blog with changed names.

 

3) I used my blog as a toxic waste dump, a healing device, to remove all the anger, hurt, pain, and the various time-bombs Tracy had tried to plant in my brain (damaging messages which keep coming back over and over long after the relationship ends).

Once they were removed onto the electronic page, I could begin to replace them with brighter things, so that one day, forgiveness and letting it go could be possible.

 

4) When I finally got the chance, I blocked them from my blog, which–after a couple of months in which they kept trying to find the blog’s new location but were blocked–led to them finally going away at last.  I saw them check the service schedule and possibly the Greek Fest page on my church’s website (I’m the webmaster), but they have not come to my church since August, did not come to Greek Fest two Sundays ago.  They just seem to have vanished from my life.  FINALLY.

The third anniversary of our friendship breakup is in just a few days.  For much of these past three years, healing has seemed like an impossible dream.  But I’m here to say that it’s not.  Even if it takes a long time, if you purge the toxicity, and if you let it, healing will come!

[Update 6/11/15: As soon as I posted this, they found my blog with a new IP address and computer.  But all they ever do now is look.  I rarely see them around town anymore, either.  Their threats were nothing but bluster.]

 

Victory for Gay Rights: Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA

Supreme Court Gives Big Boost to Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is allowed again in California, and DOMA is struck down!  Just yesterday there were complaints that the Supreme Court is too conservative, thanks to Bush’s appointments, leading to gutting the Voter Rights Act….But today, the liberals won, as homosexuals in this country made a huge leap forward to full equality.

Since this is about legal rights, not religion, and as science and real-life gays show that they’re not just a bunch of sexual deviants–eventually opponents must admit that they’re trying to keep gay marriage illegal just because they don’t like it.

We have religious freedom in this country; if you don’t believe in gay marriage, then don’t have one; nobody will force you to.

This is not about forcing conservative churches to perform gay marriages.  This is indeed like the struggle for blacks to be allowed to legally marry whites.

Yes, I’m Orthodox and liberal.  What of it?  😉

 

Parents, DON’T beat your children!

I just had to unfriend somebody for posting on Facebook that we should beat our children.  Dang it, people, in this day and age—!!!!!

Fortunately, she was an acquaintance, nothing closer than that.

But after the crap I went through with Richard and Tracy and how they beat/choked their children, and reporting them to CPS, and then getting stalked by them for a year for speaking up about it, I don’t want to go through this crap again with somebody else!!!!

I was already wary of this person after I heard her cuss at her kid one day.  But this confirmed it.  😛  If she had said “spank,” I would’ve let it pass.  But she used the word “beat.”  😛

I quietly unfriended her shortly after reading her post, and did not take a screen print.  But as near as I can recall her post, it was:

Parents, you should beat your children.  You need to be their parent, not their f**king friend.

Um….There’s a HUGE middle ground between beating/abusing children and being too lax.  😛

[Update 12/6/14:]  In early 2014, I saw her at a checkers tournament.  Hubby and I both were appalled when, during a discussion on child abuse, she justified grabbing her little boy’s ears, saying it didn’t hurt him, etc.

She may have said other things as well.  But this confirmed my decision to unfriend her.  Well, that and some abusive things she said about Hubby later on, which caused me to block her as well.  I also saw her smack the boy in the mouth once for using the same language she herself does.

 

Let’s be Open and Free with our Opposite-Sex Friends

Occasionally, I’ll click on search terms found in Statcounter’s record of my blog hits.  Today, it was “dear prudence having friends of the opposite sex”; my blog post came up #6.

This brought me here, here, here and here, which all sounded very familiar.  (No need to explain; it’s all here.)  My thoughts:

1) Sure Richard got me to trust him, and manipulated me so that I thought his actions (long hugs, snuggling up to me on the couch) were perfectly normal and appropriate expressions of affection between platonic friends.

I had no idea that he was actually using me during a rough time and separation in his marriage, that he was setting me up and lying to me about his intentions, that he would let his wife punish me for being so gullible.

But I also have very open and outgoing friends, especially SCA people, who think nothing of snuggling up to friends of either sex on the couch, flirting with you, or holding your hand–but they absolutely will not have sex with you unless both of you are unattached.

Also, Richard gave me the impression that he behaves this way with all his friends.

My friend Catherine does this ALL THE TIME.  A guy friend does this to me with his wife and others right there.  He does it to others as well.  And his wife LAUGHS.

Because of the example of these and other flirty friends and co-workers down through the years, I believed Richard, and tried to become more open myself (I am normally quite reserved).  Richard also made it sound like this stuff was perfectly normal between friends in the state he came from.

Neither my husband nor I want to put restrictions and rules on these friends.  We just accept them as they are.  Putting restrictions and rules on them would cause unnecessary stress.

There truly is nothing wrong with being cuddly with your friends, as my SCA friends are. 

But at the same time, Richard should not have initiated these things with me without getting his wife’s okay first.  He put me in a very bad, awkward spot, and without making it clear to his wife that he taught me it was okay to do the things she objected to.

He also apparently lied to me, telling me in 2009 that some of these things were okay with her now, when they were not.  Either that, or he told me the truth but she flip-flopped, since she is abusive, and apparently wanted some excuse to go nutso psycho crazy on me.  I had long since stopped doing the things which I knew were verboten, out of respect for her feelings.

(If Tracy ever met Catherine, she would’ve hated Catherine–and seen that I was not so “bad.”)

 

2) I, too, was in the same position once as the letter-writer above to Dear Prudence, whose boyfriend wanted to platonically share a hotel room with an old college female friend.  In my case, it was my husband and my own college female friend, Catherine, who also knew him through the SCA; they wanted to go to an SCA event some six hours away from home.

I didn’t want to go, and neither did her husband, so they shared a room to save expenses.  I okayed it, but felt so worried through the whole weekend that something might “happen,” that I said I didn’t want them to do that anymore.

Catherine did not understand, and accused me of having my husband on “a long leash.”  I see that Prudie would agree with her.

After dealing with Richard and Tracy in 2008, I changed my mind, and decided I had been too controlling.  But the response to Prudie makes me feel vindicated just the same, because quite a lot of people thought Prudie was wrong.

 

3) I think the source of the problem is a clash of America’s very repressed culture, with the boundary-pushing of the various countercultures down through the past several decades.

In the past, I’m sure the rules were more clear-cut, what you were and were not supposed to do.  I’ve even read that people simply did not have opposite-sex friends in the olden days, only seeing each other as potential mates.  But that does not seem true, because I have read about such friendships in old books and seen them on old TV programs, made back when people supposedly did not have them.

But many cultures have moved into our country over the centuries, so there is no dominant culture dictating how everyone is to act.  It’s no longer the Native American culture.  It’s no longer the Protestant Puritan culture.  It’s no longer white-bread 50s middle-class culture.

It’s whatever culture you bring to it; many cultures around the world are much freer with expressions of love and caring to friends.

You also have to wonder how homosexual and bisexual couples deal with this issue if it’s so “verboten.”

And we also have the mores of the countercultures: beatniks, hippies, feminism, New Age, the “Cuddle Party,” just all sorts of groups with new ways of doing things and new ideas of what is right and what is wrong.

No longer is there a dominant culture dictating morality.  So you have the repressed ones who say you’re not supposed to cuddle up to platonic opposite-sex friends if you’re married, clashing with the free spirits who see nothing wrong with cuddling up to anybody you want to cuddle up to.

How about, instead of getting angry with each other, we let our friends be themselves?  If one friend likes to snuggle up to your husband and hold his hand (in one of the above linked Dear Prudence letters), let her!  At least she’s doing it in front of you, which shows that it’s innocent!  Who would try to carry out an actual affair right in front of the wife?

Nobody yells at my friend Catherine for doing that to all her male and female friends!  When another friend, “David,” snuggles up to his female friends, his wife laughs, and so do we all, because it’s cute!

Just let each other be, and take away some of the good that came from hippie culture!  (I expect that’s where the SCA freedom comes from, because the SCA started with college students in 1960s Berkeley.)

Just because we disagree with drugs and free love, why should we also get upset over harmless expressions of love between friends?  Why not just let your friend be himself/herself, and not treat him/her like some boundary-crossing sl*t just because he/she does things differently than you do?

Also see this and this post.

He Can’t Decide Between the Girl he Wants and the Girl he Doesn’t–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–January 1994, Part 1

[Please note: This is NOT the “Tracy” of my other memoir, The Darkness Engulfs Me.  The Tracy of “Darkness” lived in a far different region, far away from mine, and was probably in middle school when I was in college.]

Sometime that year, the Phi-Delts discovered that their sorority was nicknamed the Bible Beaters.  They couldn’t figure out why, considering they weren’t Bible beaters, and only a few of the members were even in InterVarsity.  Is it so wrong for a few sorority girls to be in a Christian group?  I mean, come on!

I probably returned from home on the fourth, since Winterim classes started on the fifth.  Pearl soon told me awful and unexpected news.  Why would I expect it, when I knew I was the object of Phil’s crush?

First, during Christmas Break, Tracy had asked out Phil.  Pearl didn’t throw a party after all, but Phil still saw her.

He sighed and said he had to choose between two women, then said, “I have another problem: What would you do if I asked you out?”

“I’m not ready for this,” she said.  She said something about not going out with him because she liked another guy, I believe it was.  (This was to be nice; she didn’t want to go out with him, period.)

But she and Phil went on a friendship-date to see Mrs. Doubtfire.

The second piece of bad news was, Tracy asked if he wanted a relationship with her, and he said OK.

!!!!!!

He said it was because she asked him first, even though I had already asked him on a date and had had no chance to go out with him again before Christmas Break.

Why would I ask him for a relationship when we’d only been on one date?  It was supposed to grow naturally out of dating, not be forced like that.

It was unfair that he chose Tracy, and so quickly, especially when he’d already told me he was interested in me, not her.  So he had three dates with three different people over one weekend and, without giving me a chance to fight for him, chose Tracy.

Not only that, but he was indifferent about Tracy: He didn’t care if it worked out with her or not.  He only chose her because he knew her better and got along with her.

I called him up that night to ask him out, and get the whole story from him.  He said he’d see me at lunch the next day and tell me if he could afford to go out with me on Saturday.

He also sounded embarrassed; he had a bit of trouble explaining what had happened.

I don’t remember if his call gave me hope for him or not, but somehow the conversation got to our mutual friend Peter.  I might have spoken of our meetings after such a long enmity, and being friends again.

Phil said, “From what I’ve been hearing from Peter, friendship isn’t all he has in mind.  Peter says he still cares about you.”

I got so excited that Phil had to ask if I still wanted to see him on Saturday.  I hung up in shock, thinking that after I’d long since given up on them, the “words” were coming true after all.

I saw Phil the next day, and we picked a time.  He said he’d talk to Peter for me and tell him I wasn’t just interested in Phil; Peter could meet me in Old Main after my Winterim class the following afternoon.

I told some people, including Jennifer, in Pearl and Sharon’s room that things had turned out the way I had originally expected with Peter and me.  I said I would tell Phil about Shawn and me, since it paralleled his situation in some ways.  I would warn him not to lead Tracy on like that, not to be like Shawn.

I didn’t know at the time that he would never kiss Tracy even once, and thought he would kiss her and hold her and such and make her think he cared more than he really did.

I told my friends how great it was that I could tell him this now.  Before, I couldn’t, because I feared he would think I told him just so he would break up with Tracy.  Now, since I was about to get back together with Peter, there would be no self-serving reason, and he could take my warning seriously.

On the night of April 21, 1999, I would tell a fifteen-year-old male friend (J–) and an eighteen-year-old female friend (C–) on the Online Fond du Lac BBS about the love triangle.  (J– wanted some advice because a girl had told him she liked him, then gotten another boyfriend.)

Just on that little bit of information, J– called Phil a jerk!  I wrote that he could tell just from that little bit, when I was too blind to see it myself at the time.  C– said that it is hard to see these things when you’re involved with someone.

Anyway, back to the timeline.  The next day, Thursday, I was in the clouds after having been so depressed.  I guess I forgot how scuzzy Peter had gotten.  Peter was staying in Dirk’s room, and had the perfect chance to come see me.  My fun Winterim class, American Film Survey, began.

The first day was mostly an introduction; it was probably the next day when Dr. Nelson showed us D.W. Griffith’s racist Birth of a Nation.

Our classes generally started with a discussion about the movie we saw the day before, and then the rest of it was a movie.  However long our class was depended on the length of the movie, so we often got out long before 3:30 (the time was 12:30 to 3:30).

(I set up a morning schedule in the library–9:45 to 11:45–so I could see more sun than if I didn’t get up until 10 or 11.  It was January in Wisconsin, so the sun would set around 4:30.)

The movies went in order from oldest to newest, and were significant in one way or another.

The class was mostly made up of guys, and some of them seemed to be the type who either were “cool” or didn’t care if other people thought they were “cool” or not.  I was glad to be in a class with guys like that.  They weren’t the kind of “cool” that knows it and gets snobbish.

But for now, I spent the whole class thinking, “I have a boyfriend again!  At long last, I have a boyfriend again–and it’s the one I was hung up on for so long and once expected to marry, Peter!”

I walked out of class with my heart thumping.  I probably dressed cute for this, too: boots, maybe the purple shirt I bought with his recommendation one day freshman year, nice pants.

I couldn’t wait to see him again and mend everything that had been broken in the past.  I felt a resurgence of the love I had long since forgotten.  I was happy and excited.

The class ended.  I looked around for Peter in the spot I had told Phil about.  He wasn’t there, so I moved to the second floor (class was in room 31 on the third floor).

Still no Peter.

I went downstairs to the first floor, probably getting concerned by now.

Still no Peter.

I went outside.

Still no Peter.

Disappointed, confused, and upset, I went back to my room.  Was Peter working and unable to come see me?

I waited both for Peter and for some explanation.  I wondered if Phil had forgotten to talk to him.

On Saturday the 8th, Phil and I met around 2pm.  As we walked out to his brother’s car, I asked Phil if he talked to Peter.

“Yes,” he said, “and it seems I misunderstood what he said.  There’s a difference between ‘care about’ and ‘care for.'”

It meant that Peter still cared about me as a special person, his first girlfriend, but was not in love with me or interested in a relationship.

My worst dread realized.  I couldn’t believe it, and felt sick.  When we started off for S–, I was quiet and upset.

I didn’t want to guilt-trip Phil with what I did say, but I might have.  I was expecting a mere friendship-date, and to advise him to not see Tracy, without him thinking I was just trying to eliminate the competition.

Everyone agreed that he made a bad choice, since she would probably want to be far more serious than he would.

I’d even asked him as we passed the suites, “Will we have to watch out for Tracy?” and he’d said, “She’s not taking a Winterim.  And, at least according to my understanding of it, it’s not exclusive.”

But now I had to figure out whether or not I could say anything about the wisdom of his dating her.

Only two weeks ago I had someone (Phil), only yesterday I had someone else (Peter), and now I had no one at all.

For a shy, quiet, socially awkward (probably NVLD/Asperger’s) person who kept getting overlooked, in an era when girls asking out guys was a bold move and still often frowned upon, and in a religion which expected you to only date others who were committed to that religion, just finding a date was a major event.

It wasn’t as if I could expect to meet somebody else next week.  (This is also why it was so hard for me to get over exes, and why it’s still hard to get over losing a friendship or a friend moving away.)

We got to Marcus Cinema in S–, not knowing what was playing or when, and everything had already started.  So we went to the S– Mall across the street, where I got some pants with my credit card, which Mom had told me I could do.  (She paid my credit card bill while I was in college, so I used it only when necessary and only with her permission.)

Neither one of us wanted to see if Peter was working at the time in the Radio Shack there, because we were both too embarrassed to face him.

We went to Phil’s house for a while because the movie we wanted to see wouldn’t start until later in the afternoon.  I met his parents a lot earlier than I’d expected to.

Phil had me wait as he went into his room, and his mom called to him, “I hope you’re not going to take her into your room.  You can’t get it cleaned up that quick.  You’d be better off taking her into the family room.”  So he did.

The tiny ranch house had a living room and a family room.  There was a couch here, a Packard or Dell computer, bookcases, a chair or two, and for some reason I remember light blue.  Maybe the couch was blue, and/or the walls.

Phil and I sat on the couch and he showed me a new card game related to Dungeons and Dragons, Magik.  I had no idea that this would become extremely popular among roleplayers.

We played one game, with him coaching me, and I won.  He shook my hand and congratulated me for winning my first game ever of Magik.  However, the game bored me, despite the pretty pictures on the cards.

The movie was Sister Act 2, and played at 4:30pm.  We had dinner at Burger King, came back and played chess and some computer games, such as Solitaire and the new game “Lemmings.”

I had no idea at the time just how entranced I one day would be by the cute little creatures, who went where and did what you told them, died horribly if you led them wrong, and made funny little noises in high-pitched squeaks.  (On some computers, you could tell the noises were actually words, such as “Let’s go” and “Oh, no!”)

They wandered across various scenes as various tunes played, and when you got them home, they cried out, “Yippee!” and jumped into the doorway home.

Before we knew it, it was 10:00.  I had some things to do, such as laundry and taking out my contacts, so Phil brought me back to Roanoke.  For hours I’d been wishing he’d break up with Tracy, rather than wishing Peter wanted me.

We sat on the heater inside the doorway to warm up, started talking about the hypnotist I saw on Thursday and the one he saw at a senior dinner, and ended up talking about more serious things.  We eventually sat on the two chairs next to the heater.

Cindy came in and out, and Catherine saw us once and said, “It’s still visiting hours, Nyssa.  Take him to your room and share him with your roommate.”  I didn’t think she was serious.

I know we got there around 10:20 because, as I later discovered, Pearl and Sharon had been around and left a couple of messages on my door, such as: “It’s 10:20PM.  It must be past curfew!” and “Where are you?  I’m sure you’re acting lady-like.”

We saw them when they left Krueger, and they kept smiling at us and at each other.

Anyway, Phil told me some things about Peter–such as, that he was more of an atheist now, due to his ninja training (astral projection, even!).  He had stopped smoking marijuana not because he believed it was bad for him, but because it no longer had any effects on him.

We both agreed this was a bad reason, since pot-smoking was just plain wrong, and we may have both agreed that when it stops having an effect on you, that’s a bad sign for your body.

I told Phil, “I hope you’ll be a good influence on Peter,” since they had become good friends.  Phil gave his embarrassed little choking-laugh, and smiled.

(Pearl once pointed out this laugh to the rest of us, that when he laughed that way it sounded like he was embarrassed.  He seemed sort of shy in those days.)

I said, “Even if you’d been right about what he said–” here he acted embarrassed, and crouched down– “after a couple days I would’ve had to say, ‘I can’t deal with this.  See ya.'”

We talked about other things, too, like religion.  He was Catholic, but didn’t believe in going to confession, because he thought it was a matter between him and God only.

I dealt with my laundry, and we ended up moving to the lounge, where it was warmer.  We sat next to each other on a couch.

I did still tell him about Shawn, because Phil said Peter said I wouldn’t go past certain limits.  “He doesn’t know about last year,” I said.

I didn’t tell him exactly what Shawn and I had done, but I said we’d gone farther than we should have, and that I wouldn’t do it again without some kind of ring.

I also told him the parallels between that situation and his with Tracy.  He saw my point, and said everyone else was also telling him it was a bad idea.

We moved to the lounge, which was empty and warmer.  We ran out of topics, so turned to silly stuff.

He sang They Might be Giants songs, such as “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” “Istanbul,” “Particle Man,” “Someone Keeps Moving My Chair,” and possibly “Whistling in the Dark” (for which his deep bass was perfect).  I’d never heard the last three before.

He knew these songs from a tape a friend had made for him of a Giants CD.  I found them amusing.  He also recited some Monty Python routines.

Once, I took off my glasses to show him my prescription, and said, “Right now your face is blurry.”

He said, “I could change that, but I won’t.”  I wished he would.

Earlier, he’d also said, “If it doesn’t work out with Tracy, I’ll be back on the horse again.  I’m giving you fair warning.  That is, if you’re still interested after some of the things I told you” [about himself].

These things drove me nuts, that he’d be telling me them yet seeing another girl “officially.”

We talked until about 2:05AM!  He wanted to see me again and have another conversation, but he had to talk to Tracy first, and see if she’d allow it.

When we stood up and were about to say good-night, he said, “What should it be, a handshake?”  But he put his arms out for a hug.  I gave him a funny look, but loved the idea, so we hugged each other good-night and said good-bye.

Phil soon told me that he’d talked to Tracy, and she said she never expected them to be an exclusive couple.

That January was bitterly cold at times, more so than usual.  We had subzero temperatures–and an inefficient heating system.  Krueger had rooms that were only maybe fifty degrees or colder during the cold snap!

Some rooms were warmer, some colder; Clarissa and I borrowed Pearl’s space heater because the suites weren’t as cold as Krueger.  Even then, it was cold in our room.  I don’t think our room got down to fifty degrees, however.

The school began to take care of the problem by putting up plastic to hold the heat inside the rooms; they may have planned to eventually replace the windows, but I’m not sure about this.

As for the Phi-Delt suite, it wasn’t as cold as ours, but it was still cold when the weather turned cold, probably in the sixties during the worst of it.

I wrote this poem on a slip of paper, which also had a note about the movie M, information probably received from Dr. Nelson.  It probably had to do with my waiting around for Phil to make up his mind:

The days got so boring
One ran into another
Nothing, all nothing

I decided it would be best to include Tracy in my list of prayers for blessing.  Maybe this way, I could forgive her for snatching up Phil when I was so close to finally having a real boyfriend again, someone who really did like me and was attracted to me, not some quasi-boyfriend like Shawn.

Urbana, a Christian conference for young people, was from December 27 to 31 in Urbana, IL that year.  Pearl and Sharon went there.  Sharon, who worked with me in the library over Winterim, told me about the fun they had.

We talked quite a bit in the library, when I was supposed to be reading my Film class textbook.  We often spoke of Phil.

Once, I said I couldn’t let him get me into Dungeons and Dragons: In those days, I still believed it was demonic (a common belief among conservative Christians who did not understand the game and were whipped into hysteria by Pat Robertson).  Sharon said it was scary.

In January or thereabouts, a new song by a new band came out: “Linger” by the Cranberries.  This beautiful song and the Irish lead singer’s accent entranced me.  The video was lovely, too.  The lyrics were wonderful, and probably reminded me first of Shawn and then of Phil.  I would discover later on that Phil liked it, too.

In December or probably January, I went to see a choir performance with an athletic girl named Tara P.  She’s the one who occasionally drove Pearl and me to her church.

Phil was in the choir, with his bass singing voice; Mike was also in it, with his tenor voice.  A certain young blond man was also there, as were, of course, our other friends.

Tara pointed out the blond to me and said, “I can see you with him.”  He was cute and Christian, but I secretly thought, “Actually, I can see myself with Phil.”

It seemed she always tried to be a matchmaker.  I believe that in the fall, when I’d mentioned the blond guy (a different one) at her Evangelical Free church, she said she could see us together.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Are my stalkers starting to leave me alone after all?

I’m impressed.  I saw in the stats for the church website (which I run) that my stalkers checked the service schedule.  I also saw what appeared to be them, checking the Greek Fest page.

Yet–They haven’t shown up at church yet.

Maybe I missed them if they came to Greek Fest while I was in the kitchen washing dishes.  Except the kitchen was next to the sweets booth (I know they love baklava), and another wall of the kitchen has a windowless window which opens onto the entrance; it was wide open all day.

Also, I worked at the sweets booth for two hours with a clear view of the crowd, and most of the time I was in the kitchen, was after 5pm, when Greek Fest closed and everyone began sending us their serving dishes and cookers.

(My stomach was in butterflies as Greek Fest neared, fearing that they would come to the sweets booth while I worked there, and I’d be forced to serve them.)

All I know for sure is, I did not see them at Greek Fest, and neither did my husband–who went back and forth all day, doing the circuit, emptying all the trash cans.

Also, while they are still blocked on my blog, I scaled back some of the defenses so I could see if they try to get on again.  There has been no sign of them since I did this on June 1.  There also has been no sign for weeks of them trying to get on the old Blogger blog.

Could they be leaving me alone at last?  Could this nightmare be over?

[Update 10/29/14: Nope.  But I no longer care.]

 

 

Reblog: Photo Essay Shows How Abusers Manipulate Victims

Tonight I have found three blog posts of particular note:

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, a photographer, put together a photo essay called Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence.  She didn’t go into this job planning to portray domestic violence; it just happened.

There has been some flak over her not stepping in, but keep in mind that she’s a woman, and that the police told her she could have done nothing to help, that the violence could have gotten worse.

Of course, there were others in the house, so I wonder why they didn’t gang up on the guy after calling the police?  But in any case, her photographs became important evidence against the abuser.

Photo Essay Shows How Abusers Manipulate Victims is Amanda Marcotte’s response to this photo essay.  She shows, step-by-step, how abusers can turn anyone into a victim who does not leave.

Then there is Darth Vader is a tricksy hobbit.  I don’t agree that we should be cutting off abuse victims from venting just because it bugs us, but rather put up boundaries in ourselves to keep from getting overly caught up in another’s pain. But this blog gives an excellent explanation of why abuse victims don’t just leave and get it over with, and why we should support them anyway.

As a witness and confidante to the abuses of Tracy against Richard, I did not follow what this blog recommended; I did not feel it was right to stay silent; I could not force myself to be more than a polite acquaintance to Tracy.

Tracy, like Shane, the abuser in the photo essay (pictures 18 and 19, see captions), twisted my friendship with Richard into something it wasn’t, and my actions into something they weren’t, because I saw her abuses for what they were.

I have always been a fierce defender of my friends; I could not hide my contempt for her verbally abusing, controlling and slapping my best friend Richard while she lived in my house.

So I became her target, as she manipulated Richard into believing the worst about me, until she finally found a reason to blow up at me, turn Richard against me, and force me to submit to her–so I cut her out of my life instead.

My blogs–which Richard and Tracy read a little more than a year ago–went into great detail about how horrible Tracy acted, and vented how I felt about Richard for staying and for helping her abuse me.

But I did not expect them to ever find the blogs; that was accidental.  I never meant to tell Richard all those things I felt about him staying with her and putting up with her bull****.

However, a feeling of guilt over that victim-blaming, is tempered by the discovery that Richard is also very abusive.  You can read it all in my story, here: “The Darkness Engulfs Me.”

I began to realize, after discovering that Richard had choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness, how he had manipulated me as well.  I still believe his stories of Tracy’s abuse, because I saw it for myself.

But I now see myself as a pawn he used to drive Tracy’s jealousy, to keep her tied to him, and my husband and me as pawns used by both of them against each other, while also manipulating my husband and me into feeling pity for them and giving them all sorts of stuff.

Richard would make a show of not wanting us to help them, yet somehow we kept finding out they were “in trouble”–again–and offering food/money/etc.

So not only were Richard and Tracy manipulating and abusing each other, but they were also manipulating and abusing me.

Over time, Richard was Tracy’s proxy, grooming me by trying to convince me that I was behaving horribly to Tracy, and subtly trying to make me believe that I deserved her ire for how I “behaved.”

Then this happened, when Tracy found a reason to blow up at me verbally:

6) Once the victim is groomed, wait for an opportunity to claim she provoked you, and then beat her. Maggie said jealous stuff to Shane, so he had his pretext to claim she provoked him. –from Photo essay shows how abusers manipulate victims

What Richard did in keeping me tied to him, is pretty much what is described here, but without the sex/romance/marriage parts:

One of the most heartbreaking truths is that feeling love, hearing all the words you’ve ever wanted to hear someone say to you about love, having the most intense sexual chemistry, being able to stay up all night and have long, deep, intense conversations about the things in your heart do not necessarily mean that you can build a happy life with someone.

They do not necessarily guarantee that the person who generates all those feelings will be kind to you and treat you as you deserve.

So when someone describes abusive or unkind behaviors we’re quick to say “That’s not really love” or “You shouldn’t love him” or “he doesn’t really love you” or “DTMFA.”

And we’re not necessarily wrong to think that or to say that. Obviously I personally think it’s important to fight against the way that our culture pressures people, especially women, to stay in romantic relationships even when they aren’t working.

But when we treat someone’s feelings as unreal or unimportant in skipping to the part where they should do what we want them to, we forget that finding out that the person who makes you feel such intense feelings is not really good for you and that it’s not going to end well is fucking shattering.

Breaking off a relationship that has been important to you, even if it was a dysfunctional one, entails feelings of extreme grief on the way to whatever relief and freedom is possible.

Take out the parts about sexual chemistry and make it into a friendship scenario, and you’ll see why it was so hard to break off the friendship with Richard, even with his gaslighting, devaluing/discarding, and Tracy’s abuses.

Also, I am a very shy, quiet person, as well as an introvert, who struggles to make friends, so I was very lonely.  I have had many deep, abiding friendships in my life, but most of those friends live far away now, and I had always wanted a friend who would be my “bosom friend” (as Anne Shirley terms it), who would always be there throughout my life.

Richard seemed to be that friend.

(Don’t say that’s my husband’s job.  He’s my husband; that’s a different role altogether; you don’t sleep with your friends.  Everybody needs friends outside their marriage.)

And yes, breaking off the friendship did cause extreme grief which continues to this day.

Richard also groomed me in this way:

People in abusive relationships are used to being told what to do and how to feel. They are also used to having a lot of drama – extremely high highs and low lows – as normal.

An abuser will try to convince a victim that their feelings aren’t real or don’t matter. And they will try to convince them that really outlandish, not okay behaviors are normal and okay.

And that it’s normal & expected to have screaming fights, or be constantly dealing with cheating & jealousy & control, or to have sex when you don’t really want to.

An abuser’s message is: This is normal and also the best you can ever expect from life. If you told other people, they wouldn’t believe you. –from Darth Vader is a tricksy hobbit

Richard didn’t have screaming fights with me etc., but when I objected to how Tracy treated him, he tried to make me believe these things are normal and not abusive.

Not only that, but when Tracy screamed at me over Facebook and wanted to scream at me in person as well, Richard and Tracy both tried to make me think this was “normal,” that “99 percent” of people would behave the same way she was behaving over my supposedly horrible “behavior.”

If you want to read an in-depth account of the psychological twisting done by abusers, just read my accounts linked above, which were written a short time after the abuse occurred.

“The Rising”: Left Behind Review

The Rising by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 0842361936, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

Now we get into the prequels of the Left Behind series.  I’m getting rather tired of the series, having been reading/reviewing them since 2008–but the first prequel actually held my interest.  Well, mostly; some parts dragged.

But the story of the Antichrist’s parents, and how his mother (Marilena) was first accepted by Satan’s minion (Viv Ivins) and then rejected in a horrible fashion, is fascinating.  It’s a psychological thriller.  Why couldn’t all the books have been like this one?

There are two stories going at once: Alongside the story of Nicolae’s birth and path to adulthood, is the story of Rayford Steele’s childhood, adolescence and college years.  While Marilena’s story gets more and more intriguing, Rayford’s story is the less-interesting bit which you want to wave aside to get to the good part.

But then Marilena’s story ends, and Rayford–a college kid–gets caught up in a bad relationship while confiding in Irene (his future wife).  Then it finally gets interesting, with a love triangle.

I do have a few quibbles:

On page 33, 9-year-old Rayford has dinner at a friend’s house.  His friend’s father asks him to say grace.  Ray says the prayer every child says: “God is great; God is good.  Now we thank Him for our food. Amen.”

Perfectly normal, right?  But the other kids all laugh at it.

They laugh?!

Even their father finds something wrong with this prayer, saying,

Is that how your father prays over a meal?  I mean, I’m just curious.  It’s a child’s prayer.  Uh, you’re a child, but you’re becoming a man.

YES!  He’s a frickin’ 9-year-old CHILD!  My thoughts echo Ray’s: “What in the world was it with these people?”

Ray asks if they want him to pray like his father; they do; so he says, “For what we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful.  Amen.”

But even that common prayer does not satisfy them: “Ray got the impression that Bobby and his parents were again amused but had decided not to humiliate him further.”

Ray certainly does not want to recite his bedtime prayer in front of them, the classic “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

I’m not entirely sure if we’re supposed to sympathize with Rayford about this wacky, rude family who picks his common, classic prayers apart (showing why he rejected fundamentalist Christianity), or with the wacky family dealing with such a “badly-trained” child.

But it’s clear that the wacky family considers Ray to be “badly-trained” and spiritually lacking because he prays these same prayers which *I* prayed every single frickin’ day until my adulthood, in a fundamentalist Christian family which made sure I was trained properly.

Prayers which I have taught my son and which he still prays at 9 years old.

I don’t do the “truly thankful” prayer, but I’ve heard it often, and I can’t fathom why this family has a problem with it–or what on earth kind of prayers would satisfy them.  We never do hear the family’s version of a “proper” prayer.

But this dinnertime humiliation is not enough: The boy of the family, Bobby, badgers Ray about his prayers later on, too, saying, “That’s how you pray at your house, eh?…And it’s those made-up, rhyming prayers?”  Yes, and that’s probably how the kids pray at most other Christian houses, too!

Then Bobby starts getting after Ray, saying that if he doesn’t do the Sinner’s Prayer he’s not actually a Christian–the usual thing which is used to beat Catholics/Lutherans/Episcopalians over the head with how they’re not really Christians, even though they’ve been raised in the church, baptized, confirmed, and truly believe in Christ.

On page 47, we go the other way.  Ray tells his parents what happened, and his dad jumps right to,

Holy Rollers.  Wouldn’t surprise me if they were snake handlers….Some people, some churches, just take everything a little too far.

They take every word of the Bible literally, believe Jesus has to crawl inside you, that you have to bathe in His blood.  If the Bible says you can handle poisonous snakes if you trust the Lord, they do it just to prove the point.

Okay….So now we jump from wacky family who ridicules a child for saying a child’s prayer, to knee-jerk dad who thinks every fundamentalist is a snake-handler.  It’s no wonder Ray turned away from religion, only going back to church for the sake of his own children.

I hope this is the point the authors are trying to make, that we are supposed to see the wacky family as overzealous.  That we aren’t supposed to think they were right to be overzealous and ridicule a 9-year-old’s prayers.

On page 339, when Irene and Rayford are engaged, he wants sex but she doesn’t before their wedding, even though it’s a while yet until they plan to marry.

She’s not a virgin, but she’s also not a Christian, so it’s not clear why she wants to wait so long–except, of course, to make them act like Christians without actually being Christians, the same as with Buck, the 30-year-old man-of-the-world who was also a virgin before becoming a Christian.

Her only explanation is that she wants to wait.  Keep in mind this is set in our future, not in the 1950s, so the sexual revolution and acceptance of premarital sex would have long since happened.  For Irene to be so steadfast for so long without a well-defined moral reason, especially when she’s had sex before, is not realistic or believable.  After all, once you’ve had it, you begin to crave it if you don’t have it again for a while.

So when she continues to resist–and won’t even go beyond the occasional hug or peck on the cheek–heck, she won’t even hold his hand!–you have to wonder if she’s not actually attracted to him.  Is she secretly gay?  No, in the future, it’ll be okay to be gay.  Maybe she’s just as much a gold-digger as Ray’s ex-girlfriend, then.  It seems like the author wants Irene to be a Christian before she even becomes a Christian!

On page 342, we discover that Rayford’s parents “Having married late and waiting to have Rayford, his parents were already pushing seventy”–Considering that Rayford and Irene married in the spring of Rayford’s senior year of college, and the ages of the parents were “pushing seventy” within a year of the wedding, they had Rayford when they were both around fifty–HOW?  The authors are aware of the normal age of menopause, right?

On to the next book!  Just three left!

 

Links to help for abusive friendships

There’s plenty of help out there for abusive romantic relationships, but what about friendships?  Here are some links:

Friends with a Narcissist

What makes a friendship abusive?

Coping with a verbally abusive friend

Joyful Alive Woman’s “My 32-year friendship with H – A Woman with Early Narcissistic Injury and Many Narcissistic Traits”

Scroll down to ‘A “Christian” Abuser in Action’

I have had two abusive friendships.  The first was Shawn; story here.  The second was Richard and Tracy; story here (summary, which leads to the book-length version if you are so inclined).

Shawn and I eventually came to peace, but Richard and Tracy have been stalking me for the past year; you can follow the stalking story starting here, and especially here.

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