Still more evidence of NVLD

I may have written about these things already, but I’m not sure, because my main page on NVLD is so big.  But here are some comments I’ve just been posting on this blog.  It occurred to me that my NVLD/Asperger’s readers over here may also be interested:

My comment on Dealing with household chores:

I’ve been working off daily/weekly/monthly chore lists for years now.  It’s been very helpful.

Of course, in the early years, if there was a vacation or some other thing which threw off the cleaning/laundry schedule, that was tough to deal with.  Others asked why I didn’t just do the chores/laundry a different day.

“But if I do the jeans a day early, the clean ones will run out a day before they’re supposed to be washed, and there will be no clean jeans!  Why doesn’t anybody see that?”

I remember feeling distressed because our hotel didn’t have laundry, and my husband had to wear the same jeans two days in a row–but he didn’t mind a bit….

Over the years, it’s gotten much easier to “go with the flow” and adapt where needed.  But it didn’t even occur to me how to do so at first.

There was also a time, many years ago, before my husband and I got engaged, when we both worked and split the household chores.  His job was to wash dishes.

He went on a business trip, and couldn’t wash dishes.  I didn’t do them because it wasn’t my job, it was his.  He came back and got furious with me, basically assuming I was being thoughtless, selfish, etc.

But that wasn’t it at all: There was an established order of things, and he was supposed to do the dishes, not me.  It never even occurred to me that I should do them.  When he complained, I thought he was being unjust, and couldn’t understand why he was so upset.

Over the years, I’ve gotten much better at dealing with these things, as I realized that I was supposed to “cover” his daily chores when he was away.  But I couldn’t explain to him then that this was probably an NLD thing, because I’d never heard of NLD.

From NLD and art:

I can draw, but it’s never been to the level of professional artists.  I don’t do it so much now, but in my youth, I would usually draw characters I invented, such as roleplaying game characters, comic strips or science fiction characters.  Or characters from a book so I could visualize them while reading.

When I have a model, such as a magazine picture, I can do decently well.  But normally, my drawings are fairly simple, without “smile lines” or various facial features or other things that artists normally put in to make a drawing more realistic.

I tried those in elementary school during an Art class lesson, and the other kids said the face I drew, looked like it was on drugs.  I also have trouble drawing men, who usually end up looking rather feminine.

My brothers seem to have most of the artistic ability: They can draw very detailed and realistic pictures, while mine are more idealized, like medieval art compared to modern art.  I can make very pretty pictures at times, but of people, not backgrounds.

But I was always a writer more than an artist, anyway. :)

From Job Hunting:

I do best with clerical jobs.  Working in Food Service in college, sucked.  But I worked in the library for two years, and have successfully held down two jobs after college.  (I got praise for my work at the first job, but got downsized; the second job, I left to raise a family.)

Anything social is a weakness, but I had to do it because I worked in insurance.  What frustrated me was my second boss telling me I could get a better raise if I improved the social part of the job–but I just could not.  It wasn’t stubbornness; I just plain couldn’t do it.

If a client came in with a complicated problem, to which I did not have an already-established “script” to deal with it, that was extremely difficult.  But I was excellent at organizing files for A+ audits, filing, and doing the various changes, applications, etc.

From Ignorant Intolerance:

I’ve had the same trouble [ignorance and intolerance when Wolf Feather tells someone about NLD: see the blog post for details].

I haven’t been officially diagnosed because I’ve been out of school for years, and don’t have that kind of money, so getting tested is impossible.  But it explains everything I’ve struggled with over the years (along with an introversion overlap, as you mentioned elsewhere).

I also had a wide difference in math and English: In high school, I took Regular math and science classes, but Advanced English. That’s how I kept a decent GPA.

I’ve been severely bullied over this by people I thought were friends, because I tried to explain where my “quirks” and social difficulties came from, but they just dismissed it all as BS.  I blogged about it, then they found it and blog-stalked me for a year in retaliation. :P

It’s also frustrating because I want to keep up with my friendships, but it seems like when I take a more active role, I get treated like a pest.  So I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do, usually wait for the other person, and they seem to forget about me.

(Some of Wolf Feather’s own quotes from that post:)

I found out in recent years from my sister, who had taken an ECE course, that a drastic difference in marks such as the ones I had between math and English, is often an indication of a learning disability.

……

Recently, I posted an article on Suite101 about NLD and some tips on how to help a person struggling with the disorder. I had posted a link to the article on my Facebook because that’s what I had been doing with my articles up to that point, and because I wanted to spread a little more awareness on my learning disability.

Unfortunately, I had to take drastic action when a former classmate of mine posted a rather rude comment about the article:

“This sounds like another one of those bullshit psychiatric disorders that everyone gets diagnosed with so that doctors can make profit off of new medications that they pump into these people every day.

“Seriously, if you have some of these “symptoms” and want to blame it on a disorder, that’s fine. You’re just stripping yourself of responsibility.” –Disclaimer: actual comment is paraphrased.

Understandably, I did feel a little bit of anger upon reading this message, but after careful consideration I decided to delete the comment and block the poster.

This hasn’t been the first time he had commented on something of mine negatively and would ONLY post negative things on my page anyway, so I figured I’d just end it.

Not only was his comment rude and extremely hurtful, it was also very unnecessary.

The message made me wonder if my former classmate had even read the article in full, since I do also mention that those with NLD can function relatively “normal” in society, they just need a little assistance in some things.

Moreover, as far as I’m aware, people with NLD do not need to be medicated, so I’m not sure where that comment came about.

Unfortunately, this level of ignorance is very common with any psychiatric disorder, or just anything people can’t physically “see”.

 

 

Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–February 1994, Part 6

I told Phil what I often thought over the years: that to us students who lived on campus, quarters were gold.  Only quarters were accepted in the laundry machines, so they were hoarded, and the more you had the better.

It beat having to run down to the Campus Center all the time to get a roll of quarters, especially since once or twice I couldn’t find anyone at the Information Desk to give me quarters.

So Phil began giving me quarters here and there as tokens.  The first time, he said I should know what it was for, but I didn’t.  I guess it was a token of his affection.

I didn’t remember this until years later when writing these memoirs, but I dreamed about Phil before I met him.  More details of that dream will soon make sense; for now, I thought Phil looked like Eric Idle.

I hated when he cut his hair, because whenever it got long, it curled up at the ends.

When I first started going out with Phil, the song “No Excuses” by Alice in Chains had just come out.  It became my new favorite song.

The beautiful song “Sweet Lullaby” came out around this time, and is associated in my mind with the winter part of spring semester.  I wondered how many people knew that Deep Forest also had the song “Deep Forest,” which was popular on Chicago’s alternative station all summer of 1993.  (Wikipedia says these songs came out in 1992, but I suspect this refers to the UK, not the US.  My tapes of these songs/videos are dated, and prove the years I give here.)

I taped the video, too.  At the time I thought it was a little dull compared to “Deep Forest,” but I still liked it.  It fit right in with the creative songs of that time.

Sarah McLachlan came out with a new album during spring semester.  I thought it was her debut, but she’d done at least one other album before; I didn’t know this for several years.

I thought songs like “Good Enough” and “Hold On” were beautiful, that her voice was beautiful, and that she was beautiful to match.  Because of this, the occasional cuss word in her songs seemed out of place, ugly trolls among beautiful, graceful fairies.  (Not like cuss words in many alternative or hard rock songs.)

I first saw her on a video one day while at Phil’s house, Possession.  Her short nose reminded me of my aunt and mother, making her look much like them; her face looked British.  This would become one of my favorite songs of all time.

****

I told Phil my fears about Dungeons and Dragons, that The 700 Club had portrayed it as this evil thing which led to demonic activity and Satanism.

He said it wasn’t that way at all.  He said spells are not actually said; you say you’re casting a spell, and maybe wiggle your fingers or something, but you don’t actually cast any spells.

The 700 Club had made it look like a board game, but it wasn’t.  They had said all sorts of things about it that weren’t actually true (unless, of course, your DM, or Dungeon Master, was mean).

Phil invited me to watch him play a game with Dirk, and make up my mind about it then.  So I did.

I watched them as they played a D&D game called “Undermountain.”  Phil was the DM, and led Dirk’s dwarf character through caverns in a mountain.  He used voices and accents and made things amusing and exciting.

Dirk would jokingly say things like “oh great Dungeon Master” or “great DM,” and I picked up on this.  It all seemed perfectly harmless to me, so I decided to join in later on.

There were some pre-made characters, and I chose that of a sixteen-year-old.  I used a British accent, which was a lot of fun for me, and played her as a girl who wanted to try out the wine in a cask the characters found–which surprised Phil.  But hey, must my characters always be exactly like me?

Julie once told me she was impressed that Phil, as a DM, let people duck out to study or whatever.  She said there were DM’s who would make you come to each game, no matter what tests you had.

Another time, Dirk led us in a game of “Werewolf: The Apocalypse.”  My character warmed up quickly to Phil’s character, and I remember them cuddling by a fire after setting up camp.

It seemed really exciting as we rolled up our characters and chose tribes and totems and such, but the game itself was boring.  Phil said Dirk didn’t run it very well.  We never did play the game again.

D&D is what you make of it.  It doesn’t have to be bad for you.  You don’t have to play characters who go against your own beliefs.  You don’t have to end up so obsessed with it that you can’t do or think of anything else, that you think you are your character, and that you spend all your money on the books.

(Some people do.  But then, some people are obsessed with science fiction, chocolate or video games.  That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with the object of the obsession, just that the person needs to expand his interests.)

In the 90s, I played D&D with other Christians for years, and none of us became Satan worshippers; we all stayed Christians.  And since you don’t actually say any real spells, and the gods and goddesses are generally made up, there is no danger of accidentally calling up an unwelcome, demonic visitor.

I had told Phil that God gave me my name (my real name, not “Nyssa”), as my parents told me.  They said they both had the idea and then one mentioned it, and the other said they’d also thought of it.

They agreed that God put it into their hearts to name me that.  I never knew why, but my life had been a search for the reason, for my purpose.  (This is also a big deal in many fundamentalist/evangelical circles.)

Phil thought this was silly, and that hurt.  As we played “Werewolf,” one of us brought it up.

Phil began to ridicule my thoughts about the importance of my name.  Dirk came to my defense and said, “Hey, this is important to her.  Respect that.”

****

Soon after this, while we were alone in his room, Phil pretended to fall asleep, but let me believe he really was asleep.  (It was months before he told me the truth.)

He began to say things to me like, “I know your purpose.”  His mom came in the room and woke him up.  I feared he’d never be able to tell me now.

But he “fell asleep” again and said, “Your purpose is–to destroy me!”  I was horrified.

He later said it was because he decided not to be a priest, and God was angry with him.  I sat in disbelief that this could be my purpose, the reason for God naming me, which I’d sought for all my life!  I don’t think I did believe it.  I probably insisted it was just a dream.

So the gaslighting started very early, but I didn’t know what was going on until it was too late.

Another example: One night, Phil and I were in the lounge talking when it got to be really late.  He talked about leaving, yet didn’t get up.  He made no move to go for some time.  Then when he did, of course I wanted to kiss and hug him good-bye, and of course I wasn’t happy to have to part.

Whoever is, that early in a relationship?  Who ever wants to say good-bye–unless, of course, you don’t actually care about that person and could just as soon be away from them as soon as possible?

It’s an expression of endearment, but not at all the same as holding a person hostage: He can leave at any time.  Just say how much you will miss her and how much you don’t want to leave, give her a hug and a kiss, then leave.

I also don’t push people out the door: I let them decide when to leave, because they are grownups and I am not their mother.  It boggles my mind that I would even have to explain these things; you’d think it would be obvious.

He finally left, but didn’t get much sleep because he had an 8:00 the next morning; he may even have been late to class.  When I saw him later that day, he blamed me for everything!

How could he blame me for that?  It was his own fault, yet he complained that I didn’t let him go, when that wasn’t at all the case.  I explained this, and things seemed to be okay after that.

But it was the beginning of being blamed for things of which I was innocent; far more cases of this were to come over time, a series of gaslighting to make me think I was the bad one.

In the very beginning, it seemed there was no problem that Phil and I couldn’t work out between us, and every problem we had, we instinctively knew how to solve.

Phil had recently done a paper on problem solving between couples, and he said we did everything that he’d read we were supposed to do.  Though he’d written this paper, I hadn’t, so I hadn’t read the articles he did, but for me it just came naturally.

When he told me this, I thought it was amazing–and yet another reason why we were good for each other.

This is ironic, however, because in time it would seem that we didn’t know how to solve anything anymore.

****

I liked to read the Bible books in Phil’s house, especially one which explained the archaeological and cultural backgrounds behind the stories of the Bible.  He also had a Catholic Bible, of course, and I read some of the Apocrypha/ Deuterocanonical books in that.  I found them fascinating.

I read the Additions to Esther and Susanna and the Elders, and maybe other books as well, as I sat next to Phil in the computer lab one day.

(He had his own computer at home so didn’t use the lab often, but this one time he did with me nearby.  It was weird to sit next to a guy in the computer lab again, like I did with Peter.)

One day, Phil showed me a tape of him acting in an elementary or middle school play of Treasure Island.  He towered over the other children, which was why he was cast as Long John Silver.

He was also far and beyond the best actor there (as his teacher told him), not sounding like he was reading his lines.

As a child, maybe as early as second grade when I played a whistling bird in a little play in my reading group (I couldn’t whistle and had to make these sort of tweeting noises), I had noted that many other children sounded like they were reading, and I fought hard to sound natural.  In fact, in 7th grade I wanted to be an actress.

Phil had a definite gift, and I hoped he’d become famous with it.

Very early in 1994, the song “Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows came out.  I liked it at first, and the MTV Buzz Clip ad was cute: as a clip of the song played, one of those little constant-motion mechanisms that looks like a bird kept dipping its head to “drink” water.

But the song was overplayed so much that I just could not stand it anymore, and I still can’t listen to it.  In 1996, I heard on some TV program about the Counting Crows that it was played so much, even the band couldn’t stand it anymore!

I believe it was only about two or three weeks since we started going out when I spent one Saturday night at the house of Phil’s sister Maura, helping him babysit for his nephew, Taylor.

Taylor’s grandparents spoiled him terribly.  For examples, he would insist on having things his way, watching his tape of the 1993 Disney movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey AGAIN when Phil and I were in the middle of watching The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, staying up too late, eating this or that before dinner, and such.

Phil said he was like Taylor at that age (about four), throwing a temper tantrum to get a book he wanted and such like that.  (Uh-oh.  I hope Taylor didn’t grow up to be just like him.  Taylor would now be about 26, which makes me feel friggin’ old.)

Phil often said to him, “You can’t always get what you want.”  We felt he needed to learn this (though Phil apparently never did).

But Taylor could also be cute, and watching Phil play and roughhouse with him warmed my heart.  I thought he’d be a good father.

Maura had also given in to Taylor’s demands and gotten him a puppy, a big, yellow one which I believe was like Chance in Homeward Bound.  Chance was also the puppy’s name.  She was very young and hadn’t been housetrained.

Chance would bark all night because she didn’t like being locked up in a kennel in the kitchen, but if you let her out she would pee on the floor.

She did this once in the kitchen while we were there, and we had to clean it up, which was disgusting.  We had trouble sleeping that night because of her barking.

The downstairs-bathroom sink also had only cold water.  We slept on a sofa-bed downstairs, and Taylor slept in his room upstairs.

While in the kitchen, maybe while helping him heat up a pizza for dinner, Phil and I somehow got on the subject of the Rapture and Tribulation.

He’d never heard of it before, which I thought was unbelievable.  How could he grow up in the Church without ever hearing of the Last Days?  It was all in Revelations.

So I told him about it, and encouraged him to read the whole story in Revelations and Daniel.

(In 1999 I read a message from a Catholic on a newsgroup saying that the concept of the Tribulation and Rapture is Protestant, not Catholic.  That sounded ludicrous to me at the time because the concept comes from the Bible.

(But it’s true.  In October 2001, some people on the Dark Shadows newsgroup discussed it, saying that only some Christians believe in a literal translation of all of Revelations.

(I’d always thought that all Christians believed in it, since it was in the Bible.  In September and maybe part of October 2001, however, I did another reading of it myself, using two Bibles which gave various interpretations of it.  Before, I’d always read it as a description of the End Times.

(Now, I discovered that most of it probably isn’t meant to be taken literally, but allegorically.  For example, 666 would probably be Nero, meaning that it already took place–and hardly in a literal fashion.

(Further research uncovered that traditional interpretations hold Revelations to be highly symbolic, the Rapture to be a modern fabrication, and Christ’s reign to be here and now in the Church, not a literal theocracy–amillennialism.)

Once, after we’d been making out a bit, I got up to go to the bathroom.  When I came back, Phil was asleep on the couch.  I tried to wake him up, and he started kissing me and being playful with his eyes closed.

At first I thought he was awake, but then discovered he was still asleep.  I touched him with my hands, which were icy cold because the bathroom sink only had cold water.

He cried out, put his hands to his face, and made noises like he was crying.  I tried to wake him up, distressed at this.

When I finally got him to wake up, he told me he’d dreamed that I had died, and it upset him.  He said everything he’d done with his eyes closed, he’d done while asleep.

My ex Peter had often talked in his sleep or acted out his dreams, but this was even more intense than that.  I was shocked at this strange ability Phil had, and because of Peter and because of my trust in Phil, I believed in it.

I was to find out, many months later, that it was a trick to show me how much he’d be upset if I died, that he wasn’t really asleep.  But for now, he told me he’d been dreaming it.

That night, as we lay between the sheets of the pulled-out sofa bed, Phil and I started kissing.  We both got really turned on, and I thought I was going to give up my virginity only two weeks into a relationship–but didn’t care.

Finally, Phil said we had to stop.  He was right, of course, and I am glad that he stopped us from doing such an awful thing.

I’m glad for two main reasons: one, it was sin, and two, it would have been very disrespectful to Maura, who would possibly have wanted both to burn the sheets and to wring our necks for doing this with Taylor in the house.

The next morning, we got a call: Phil’s parents.  They said that somebody in the Roanoke Singers had called their house to give him a wakeup call, but he wasn’t there.

They thought Phil knew about it, and would be coming home soon to shower; they called when he didn’t show up there.  There was a concert that morning, and he was going to be late to it, but it had totally slipped his mind.

When we spoke of the weekend and when we’d leave Maura and Taylor’s house and how I’d get back to Roanoke and all that, this concert never entered the equation.  I didn’t know about it, of course, and I don’t know how he forgot about it.

But now I was stuck at Maura and Taylor’s house, and Phil was in trouble with the choir director, since the Singers group ended up leaving him behind to go to the church they were to sing at.

Phil came back again later that morning or in the early afternoon, told me what happened, and took me back to Roanoke.  He felt awful about it.

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:

Eulogy to my Grandma

My last surviving grandparent is no more.  She lived for 96 years.

A strong, active, productive person, a farmer’s wife for many years, who kept children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren supplied with beautiful quilts and knitted outerwear.

My favorite scarf, great for braving northern chill, is large and long and warm and knitted by Grandma.  We are all kept warm in the winter by her quilts and afghans.

My ex-friend Richard, when he stayed with us, I gave him one of Grandma’s quilts to keep him warm as he slept on the couch.  He took it with him when he and his family moved into their own place, so I finally had to get it back from him again.  He protested because it was large enough to cover him and his wife, and was very warm.

“But my grandmother made that quilt!” I said.

“Have her make another quilt,” he said.

But he finally gave it back.

We visited Grandma every holiday, or she came to visit us, bringing her little white dog.

Some of the Michigan roads near her house were still dirt; when I was little, she put me in her bike basket and pedaled me over those roads and the gravel shoulders of the paved roads.  When I got older, she put her little dog in the basket instead.

The roads to her house were full of hills that made your stomach jump up as the car dipped down.  Because of this, the road signs constantly switched from “Do Not Pass” to “Pass With Care.”

When I was a toddler, they put me on a tractor in the open barn door.  I felt high above the ground, scary and exhilarating at once.  My parents still have the picture.  This was no small tractor.

In 1984, she cut her hair like Mondale’s running mate, the first woman to run for Vice-President, Geraldine Ferraro.  She and Grandpa had always been Democrats, which annoyed my Republican dad.

She joined a Nazarene church before I was born, and went there until she moved to Texas.  She loved church, and whenever I visited, she took me there.  I had friends in the Sunday School, and one year I went to Vacation Bible School there.  A church bus picked me up along with other country kids.

She loved garage sales; many of my toys were sale finds, or she would make old doll torsos into air fresheners with knit dresses.  She knitted clothes for my dolls as well.

She put on quite a spread, such as egg nog and candy popcorn balls for Christmas and lots of candy to stuff yourself with for Easter.

I remember visiting her every summer for one or two weeks, staying in her 100-year-old house with the large red barn in back and fields which she could no longer work.

My uncle worked the fields now.  But she kept a kitchen garden, where she brought me along to pick and shuck peas for that night’s dinner.

I ate fudge bars while reading books, went to the big walk-in attic to play with old toys, a chalkboard, and books that once belonged to my father and uncles, wrote my own newspaper with comic strips such as Perdita the ant, and imagined the trees in the whispering leaves of the oak tree were people with their own stories.

I had my first experience of deja-vu there, looking up at the ceiling from a chair which she had only just moved, and realizing I had dreamed of this before knowing she moved it.

Grandpa’s Woods out back were beautiful, but I was scared to go there because the adults warned me of deer flies.

Sometimes I slept in one of the bedrooms upstairs, imagining them populated with various monsters and ghosties, whom I could identify individually.  Once, I heard caterwauling from my window.

Some of my mental stims began one summer while I slept in the big upstairs bedroom.

Sometimes I slept on the porch, with air coming through the many screened windows, while a mosquito buzzed in my ear, cars whizzed speeding by on the road (it was customary to speed down that road), and I realized that the number 8 and its various multiples were my favorite numbers.

In the dining room I would juggle the little white poodle mix’s toy balls, and realize that country silence was a deafening roar.

There were many glass shelves covered in neat knick-knacks, antiques, probably from the 30s, 40s and 50s, one a lady’s head probably from the 30s, another a tractor.

One year, she put a brand-new bathroom in the attic, since she often worked upstairs on her quilts, there was plenty of room, and the stairs were high and steep.  Finally, there were two bathrooms, and nobody had to wait for other people anymore.  But the water still tasted the same upstairs as down, that strange well-water taste.

She took me with her to visit Grandpa’s grave, where she tended flowers.  I once found an anniversary card in which she wrote to Grandpa that she hoped to reach 50 years together.  Unfortunately, he died right before they made it to 50.

There were dragonflies and damselflies; I learned to ride a bike on her large, round gravel driveway; trash was burned in a barrel out back.

The motorhome was out there, too, a small and old Winnebago, which smelled like old apples and broke down any time we traveled with it.  Grandma and my mom cooked in it, even though they had to use a stove so ancient that you had to light the gas with a long match.

The first year we took it to Texas, which I think was 1983 when I was 10 (my grandpa had died on my birthday that year), we could barely go 20mph on the Interstate.

My dad looked at the inner workings underneath the floor, and discovered that Grandpa had turned the battery over–on purpose, we believed–so the motorhome would not go faster.  (He had a thing against speed.)

Dad turned it over, and we finally stopped getting passed by every single vehicle on the Interstate.  We were still slow, but not nearly so slow.

The heating system was one big pipe coming out of the front section blowing engine heat; this totally sucked because we were traveling in winter and it took forever to get out of the northern states while going 20mph on a good day.

That motorhome was so notorious that the story was told at her funeral, along with her memoirs for the family history.  And yet she kept it all those years, traveling in it, and sleeping in it sometimes during the summer.

Unfortunately, the last memory I have of her is from 2007, the last time I saw her, because she moved to Texas and my husband and I did not have the means to go visit.  She also was too old to go back up to visit us once she had moved.

We expected she would not last much longer, because she was very old and her mind was going.  My mom says it was Alzheimer’s/dementia.

My once-strong, independent grandma, who would get up at the crack of dawn and work work work all day, could barely take care of herself.

She had lived next to one of my uncles nearly all her life, but he and his wife (always a difficult woman) were now estranged from her.  She moved to the warm near one of my other uncles until she died.

The ashes, delivered a day late, were not ready to put in an urn in time for the funeral.  The preacher read from her memoirs, but there was no body.

Later that day, I discovered the package with the ashes, waiting to be properly dealt with, at my parents’ house.

My grandmother, once a tall, strong, independent woman, full of talent and skill and opinion, was now in one small box.  My parents say it must weigh about 25 pounds, even though it’s so small.

That’s when it hit me.  Her spirit is not there; this is just her body, not “her.”  But that was once her.  And now it’s all in just a small box……

 

How and when I first realized Richard was a false friend

It wasn’t in the two years of pondering, researching and blogging about our supposed friendship.

It wasn’t when I wrote Realizing I was used and manipulated by my best friend.

It happened in the last half-year of our “friendship.”  For example:

But now, I began wondering how well I really knew him, as his violent nature began to swell up again, he complained about not cussing or showing certain movies when we were there (making me wonder what kind of movies he played when his own children were around), and just kept making remarks about bending over backwards for me.

I never asked him to, he kept complaining about it even when I told him he didn’t need to do it, and it made me wonder how much of the sweet guy I got close to, was real.  Or if maybe his wife was somehow influencing him toward the violence again.

He told me before that he felt cussing was unladylike, he wanted his wife to stop doing it, and he wanted to stop doing it himself as a Christian man–but now he complained that they had to cut the cussing when I was there (even though I never asked them to).  He was treating me like a china doll, which I resented.

But what do you expect from someone who hangs out with people from 4chan?  I have no idea if he himself liked to go over to 4chan, but I know some of his online friends either were or behaved like 4chan people, posting 4chan “goatsees” in IRC or on the game forums.

(4chan, as he and others have described it, is for people who like to be nasty for fun, posting anything they like.  What I’ve accidentally seen of goatsees are bizarre porno pictures.)

Once, I typed to Richard after someone did this in the IRC channel for his group of creepy friends, that of course I wouldn’t click on any links they posted in this channel, and he said that he clicked on them all!!??

He knew that these kids/overgrown kids were probably posting hardcore porn, yet clicked on the links anyway?  (And even gave them a picture of his wife’s breasts???)

I no longer knew what to believe.  His wife crowed during the “incident” (next chapter) that she no longer had to be “quiet and nice,” making me wonder when she was secretly seething in my presence when I thought things were fine, and over what?

Her passive-aggression drove me mad, especially since it never seemed to be based in anything I actually DID, but just imaginary crap that was only in her own head.

What was real?  What was fake?  I thought Richard was always honest with me; now I wondered if he had lied, when, and how often?

Was he anything like the great and spiritual and caring man of God I had thought he was?  How many of his stories were true?  How much of what he told me about himself, his dealings with his wife, and his past, was true?

Or could it be that it was true, before, but she had corroded him so much with her abusive acid, convincing him of things about me that were not true, just as abusers do with their victims in order to isolate them from their support network–that he had changed toward me and was not the same person he was before?

Two years before he had seemed a whipped and passive husband, who I wished would stand up for himself more.

But recently I saw him either fighting back or looking sick and tired of being scolded; could he be starting to give back what he was getting?

How many of his sweet words about me and our friendship, were true?

…..Richard acted like he knew better than I did what was going on in my head.  He became very short and cutting with me, when he used to be kind.

This was the weekend; I was going to go to a water park at the local fairgrounds with Jeff and my son, but Richard’s e-mails made me so upset that it affected me physically, and I couldn’t go.

They made me feel I had put my trust in the wrong person.  After all the private things I confided in him, all the trust and love and concern I had shown toward him over the years, I now regretted ever telling him anything about myself at all!  

I wondered if the many things I confided in him, hoping he would understand me better, had instead made him think I was a freak.

I lost my trust in him.  I no longer felt he had my best interests at heart.  I had no idea who else to turn to, but it sure didn’t seem like I could turn to him anymore.

So you see, the suspicions were in my head even before I ended the friendship.  Imagine the devastation of suspecting your five years of close friendship were a lie.  But then, if you’ve been in some sort of long relationship with a narcissist, you don’t have to imagine: You know what it’s like.

The red flags were already getting my conscious attention, so much so that I started e-mailing another close friend, Mike, for help.

Also, during this time Richard was making me feel insecure by criticizing everything I did or said, another way abusers catch you off-guard, gaslight you, and make you think you’re the one with the problem, so the focus is taken off them:

In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that Chris, while a nice guy, is clinically paranoid–I realize:

At first Richard idealized me, called me the most awesome person he knew, and made me feel like his BFF, and like he wanted to spend time with me more than with any of his other friends.

But now Chris seemed to have taken over that role, and I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy that Richard never seemed to have time for me, but had plenty of time for Chris.

So he valued the guy with the crazy paranoid political rantings more than he did me, the sane one who helped him out financially and emotionally during very difficult times.

And he was married to someone showing all the signs of Borderline, Narcissistic or some other personality disorder.  And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD. So–okay–apparently Richard prefers the company of personality disordered people.

And then he and/or Tracy calls me crazy–yeah, that’s so ironic and ludicrous as to be hilarious.

Yet he kept criticizing everything about me, practically accusing me of stalking all my friends because I like to keep all my e-mails and letters to and from them, treating me like I was somehow clingy because I wanted the consideration of him either keeping to his appointments with me or letting me know right away when he couldn’t.

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.  He treated me like a prude for not wanting to go around nude in my house, or for not wearing my nightgown around him without a robe.

He called me a prude because I don’t like sex-soaked TV shows like Sex and the City, or gory movies like zombie movies or Alien.  He even made it somehow personally offensive and inconvenient for him, because if he wanted to show me an exceptionally good movie like that, he couldn’t.  (So?  Show me something else, then!)

He talked like Jeff and I were prudes for our lack of sexual experience before each other, compared to his own.

In the beginning he love-bombed me and treated me like I was wonderful, but now he kept criticizing me for things that were none of his business.

One of his friends is a creep, but when this friend sexually harasses me, Richard makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it and considering this guy a creep.

I find conspiracy theories about government wanting to control us, to be a bunch of paranoid crap, so I’m the sheeple, the one who doesn’t care about personal liberties, who isn’t worth talking to about politics.

Okay…Sounds like the lunatics running the asylum.

Same thing with Tracy, who in her own way–considering how she accused people of insulting her, lacking respect for her, and needing to grow up, while she herself was doing the insulting and raging, lacked respect for them, and needed to grow up–is the lunatic running the asylum.

Shows me just how much stock I should put in the opinions and criticisms of both Richard and Tracy.

I also noticed that he would start treating me like an annoyance, but when I gave him some money or some other thing he needed, I suddenly became his best friend.  I believe this is in my story as well.

These quotes come from here and here in my story.  May it help you recognize red flags yourself, when you’re being abused by “friends” and/or suspect you’re being used by a narcissist.

If ever I start thinking that no, he was not using or manipulating me, that I have him all wrong–I can just re-read this chapter and see that I recognized the red flags even before I ended the friendship.

I didn’t know what narcissism entailed (other than loving yourself too much), but I had already encountered liars, users and sociopaths at various times in my life.  This chapter tells me I was correct.

May this chapter help you figure out whether your own loved one is really using you.

 

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