Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011

[This was originally posted here–https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/fighting-the-darkness-newspaper-blurb-richards-conviction/–on November 11, 2011, with many updates added later over time.]

First, the local newspaper reported Richard’s summons on their website’s weekly court cases.

Every week (except for the week Richard was convicted, naturally), they post mug shots and details of selected court cases in the county.

The week of 3/4/11, there was his mug shot for all to see, and what he did, along with his confession.  There was no mistaking that was Richard.

But the week of his plea/sentencing hearing, they posted nothing.  So I had to get details from the state’s court website.  Finally, today, 11/11/11, the newspaper printed in the “Day in Court” section:

Richard —-, [address], one year probation, [fine], battery.

It’s heartening to see that his sentence was actually worse than similar convictions in that section.  The person below him got battery (domestic abuse, repeater) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse), and two years probation, but a much smaller fine.

Another person was charged with battery and also paid a smaller fine, no probation or jail.

Another person got battery (domestic abuse), one year probation, and a much smaller fine.

Apparently, the local courts are trying to keep people out of jail, getting money from fees rather than paying money for their room and board in prison.

When I look at his mug shot, I try to identify his demeanor: Angry at his daughter for turning him in?  Angry at the police?   Sheepish?  I just can’t figure it out.

I can pick up many body language cues these days, but nuances still can elude me.  Sometimes I think he looks upset with himself for getting himself into this mess, and hope that means he’s willing to change.

But lately, when I look at it, I think he looks angry.  My husband agrees.

And that disturbs me, because why should he be angry if he’s truly sorry for what he did?  Why did he plead no contest instead of guilty, even though the newspaper website stated that he did confess after his daughter reported him?  Is he or is he not taking responsibility for his actions?

My husband thinks he’s angry because he doesn’t think the government should be telling him how to raise his kids.  I wonder why it took five months for the police to charge him, when his daughter reported him the next day.

But she was a brave little girl, doing what so many abused children do not do, whether because they’re brainwashed into thinking their parents are just disciplining them and they deserve it, or because they’re too scared to report their parents and enrage them further.

But there you go.  The public knows thanks to the newspaper.  (No, “Richard” is not his real name.)  And because the public knows, he must know that Hubby and I know, and I hope the thought shames him.

I thought he was cool.  I thought he was awesome.  I thought he was gentle, godly and pious.  I thought he was fun to be around, and would never hurt his own children, other than one time when they were little.

But now everybody knows the truth.  How was I so fooled?

We are not to blame.  His wife is most likely borderline personality disordered/malignant narcissist, making all her opinions of me worthless. 

(Borderline is described by NAMI as a serious mental illness, her mother has it, and she was abused herself as a child, making her higher-risk for developing it.)

[Update 5/10/14: I have since learned of a borderline spectrum.  She is more likely to be high-functioning borderline, which is more under control but less likely to recognize one’s own emotional instability–and also more likely to be narcissistic as well.]

Besides her behavior which matches everything I read about borderline, I witnessed her hanging half her body out of their van as Richard drove along the street, very dangerous behavior which I’m told is common with borderlines.  One of the traits of BPD is impulsive and reckless behavior, and this may also be considered suicidal or self-harming behavior, another trait.

Richard, as well, could be personality disordered/narcissistic, especially from living with someone with BPD traits. 

Nobody who was not disordered in some way, would betray and threaten friends who had been extremely kind to him, or choke a child within an inch of her life.

My mind is still reeling from the juxtaposition of what I thought he was and what he’s been proven to be.

(Update 11/13/11):
Another look at the case on the state’s free public database, reveals a page I wasn’t aware of before:

I figured Social Services (or CPS) was involved, because they work together with law enforcement on child abuse cases.

But there on that page was proof that Social Services is indeed involved here, that they set rules which the court ordered to be obeyed as conditions for Richard’s bond:

28
03-01-2011
Signature bond set
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Event Party
Amount
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1Richard…
[I redacted]
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Additional Text:
Anger and Grief after my Spiritual Mentor was convicted of choking his child: Repost from 2011 1
Follow rules of informal agreement of DSS. Fingerprints and photo.

[Update 2/2/15: DSS is an acronym for “Department of Social Services”: See here, where “DSS” is used in the address and e-mail address for the department, which includes protection of children

The use of an “informal agreement” for a case that has been charged in court is confusing, because the description here is,

If the case is handled informally an Informal Agreement is signed outlining rules of supervision and appropriate services for the family.   This signed contract means that the case does not go to court and is in effect for six months.

The family may or may not continue to work with the Dept. of Social Services beyond the initial six months depending on whether or not the informal agreement was satisfactorily met.

But the above does not fit the actual court case AT ALL.  First of all, contrary to the above description, it DID go to court.

If the court has made following the agreement a condition of bail, and a criminal charge has now been made, it no longer fits the above description.  It sounds more like Court-Ordered Supervision. 

Since it took more than four months for the charges to be filed, I wonder if they made an informal agreement but broke it–then got charged and forced to follow it.  I also suspect the rules of probation, which were not stipulated online, were to follow this agreement.

Also, the charges were formally made on the same day I sent a letter to Social Services describing Richard’s own abuses: He told me he put the kids in the closet and smacks them on the head.  I often wonder if the results of the investigation into that letter, were used in the court case, which took seven months from initial appearance to conviction.]

So they’re working with the family, and Social Services also has a letter I wrote (completely separate from this case, which I did not know about at the time), so they know what I know.

So I do hope that in time, conditions will turn around in this family, that Richard and Tracy will learn how to control their anger and stop the abuse, and some sort of friendship will be possible between us again–though only if the past can be dropped and I can be allowed to be myself.

Because I want to be back in the lives of the precious little children whom I felt led to protect with that letter to Social Services. 

Because I hate having enemies, especially ones who were once friends.

It helps that I have not used their real names, and that I did not publicly shame them.  That Richard did it himself–and now his name is in the paper as convicted of battery, and on the newspaper’s website and the online database as a child abuser. 

He screwed up his own life and dreams.

According to my priest, he’ll never be ordained now that he has this on his record.

Any political aspirations would be cut short as soon as the media dug it up, and any potential employers can Google his name and find his online case file on the very first page. [2/2/15: I’m told that employers are allowed to refuse to hire someone with abuse on their record, if it would affect the job.]

He has no one to blame for his public shame but himself.

(Update 11/15/11):
Until October, I hadn’t cried over this for many, many months.  But the depression is back.  The sadness keeps weighing me down like a lead blanket.

Seeing his name in the newspaper court records on Friday, has put me into a funk again.

I can’t help crying at what he’s done, how many people he’s hurt: his former friend Todd, his little girl, Hubby, me, numerous people in his past.

The proof is there–I need no more evidence–that he has done a horrible thing, been convicted of it.

It’s no dream, no fantasy I dreamed up.

He did such a bad thing that Social Services was involved before they even got my letter, giving him rules that the court ordered him to follow.

This guy was my friend.  I thought he was such a pious, gentle, harmless person, who loves his little children dearly and wants to protect them, who would never harm me, either.

I went to him with spiritual and religious questions, as a fellow searcher who had already found his path.  He guided me every step of the way until I found my way into Orthodoxy, helped keep me there even when the fundamentalist converts on the Net made me waver.

He even offered to be my godfather if I decided to be chrismated (made Orthodox).  (I said no because he was a man my age, so it would be too weird.)

He had a similar religious background to mine, so we both had dealt with many of the same things in our old churches.  I saw him as my spiritual mentor.

Now I see someone I’m afraid of, whom I once loved as my best friend.

Someone who nearly killed his daughter, someone who went along with his wife’s abuse of me and began bullying me as well to save his own skin.

Someone whose circumstances I kept crying over and trying to help with, only to be tossed away like an annoyance for some petty thing.

Things like this don’t just go away overnight; you don’t just forget them.

Breakups with boyfriends in college and the funk they put me into, seem like nothing compared to the betrayal and loss of someone I considered my best friend forever, someone who had my back, only to turn around and stab me in it.

I still keep hoping that one day–especially if Social Services succeeds in helping him turn his life around, counsels him on anger management and parenting and such–that he will come to us and repent of what he’s done to us. 

Because despite everything, despite my anger and disappointment with him, despite how I feel about his politics and his opinions on NVLD, a part of me still wants my friend back.

(Update 11/26/11):
Another examination of the mug shot, along with some googling for how to identify facial expressions, reveals a more disturbing interpretation: not just anger, but also contempt.

The rest of his face looks angry, and one corner of his mouth curves down–but one corner of his mouth curves slightly upwards, causing just enough wrinkling to look like the beginning of a smile.  In other words, a sneer.

The other basic emotions all have basic facial symmetry, but contempt shows on only one side of the face.  And while both his eyebrows curve downward in the middle, one side of his face definitely looks different from the other, and he’s looking down.

Everything I read says this is a classic contempt expression.

Contempt?  Contempt for whom?  You’ve just been summoned to court for nearly killing your daughter, and your face shows both anger and contempt?

“A feeling of condescension towards another person, or a feeling of moral superiority is the root of the emotion of contempt” –(http://www.facscodinggroup.com/universal-expressions).

 

“Guilt, shame, and contempt are each based on meeting expectations: Guilt: I did not meet your moral standards and expectations, Shame: I did not meet my own standards of behavior, and Contempt: you did not meet my moral standards and expectations” —(http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/contempt.htm).

This is extremely disturbing!  If he were angry at himself, his face would show shame, not contempt.  Contempt means he’s angry at somebody else–but he’s the one who did the terrible deed!  Who is he angry at?  Who did not meet his moral standards and expectations?

Researching “contempt” also brings to mind Tracy’s claims of feeling snubbed.  Well, if she felt snubbed or like I felt contempt because I was reacting to her many acts of abuse of Richard and/or the children while I was right there–well, it’s her own fault!

If you verbally or physically abuse somebody right in front of me, what other expression (other than surprise or fear or being appalled) could I rightfully assume, in all justice toward the victim of bullying and abuse?

(Update 12/4/11):
It’s also baffling to see things turn out like this.  In the beginning, Richard seemed like a good guy, a decent sort, gentle and god-fearing.  He would get excited about theological points and articles just as I would, so we could talk about these and search out what Orthodoxy says about such topics as literal interpretation, End Times, original sin, and universalism.  He was happy to read an article I lent him on what an Orthodox writer says about the salvation of all.

There is a part of him that desires the truth and could still lead to his salvation.  But somewhere along the way, he got lost in all this violence.

I pray that he finds his way back Home again.  Not just for his salvation, but because I miss the friend who once was.

Not what he turned into, which was a jerk, but the friend he was in 2005-2007, the one I told about my family crisis in 2007 even though I only knew him via phone and Internet, because we were that close and comfortable with each other.

But did that person ever really exist, or was it just the facet he showed me?

I pray for the social workers and probation officer, so that they can help this family stop the abuse and begin to heal.  Otherwise the misery could continue for years, because these beautiful, sweet, innocent children will most likely carry it on into their own relationships and families.

(Update 12/20/11):
In trying to find out what happened to a guy I went to school with, who still lives in my home state and is rumored to be in jail now, I discovered a multi-state inmate locator.  So what the heck, I checked it for my state.

Two things I found out: The guy I mentioned a few posts back, who annoyed my SCA shire in 1999 and ended up getting charged with photographing teenage girls a couple years ago?  His stayed sentence has been revoked, and he’s in jail now.  He has to register as a sex offender for many years to come.  LOL  Guy’s a sociopath.

Also, I found that Richard took five updated pictures in November for the state, which were posted on this site.  When he showed up at my church a week or two after the verdict, and showed some signs of repentance (for one, holding himself back from the Eucharist, which you do when you’ve committed some grave sin and need to do penance), I hoped he was sorry for what he did and working on it.  These new pictures were taken after that.

I had hoped to see some evidence of repentance and change in his pictures; all I found was more contempt.  More hatred being sent to the camera.  More “you are scum” being sent to the camera.

More of it than before, because now he has his head up and cocked to one side (all the easier to look down his nose at the picture-taker), his mouth is curled upwards more clearly on one side, and he’s looking up instead of down, so the look in his eyes is much clearer to see.  (Before, he was looking down, but his eyebrows were angry.)

Heck, I could swear it was my brother’s expression when he bullied me.

The old mug shot has more anger in the eyebrows; the new pictures have more raised eyebrows, making the contempt win out over the anger.

There are five pictures, not just one moment in time like the mug shot, so you can see it’s not just a posed half-smile; all three of the front-facing pictures have the same expression.  It’s a scary look.

I spent so much time with him and got so comfortable with him that I could hold eye contact and pay far more attention than I normally do to people’s body language; I felt I could read him extremely well at times; I don’t recall ever seeing a look like this on his face.

I saw joy, sadness,  religious devotion, humor, annoyance at his children, happiness to see good friends, playfulness, or anger with his wife, even anger at me once, but I never saw him look like this.

And I see it very clearly in these new pictures.  I see that side of him that I never could quite believe in before, that violent side.

Hubby says he looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.

I see that my suspicions of narcissism–as much as I hoped I was wrong about that–are confirmed.

[Update 7/16/13: To see what I mean, see this post.  I found a picture of George Zimmerman which matches Richard’s expression.]

I had hoped for better than that.  I had thought he was better than that.  What the heck has happened to him?  Yuck.

Somehow I have to stop wishing he’d call me up and say he’s sorry, say he wants to make things right.

Lately, I’ve been missing him and wishing that would happen.  Well, I don’t know if I can ever stop wishing for that; I’ve had bullies and exes do that, so why couldn’t it happen here, too?  Even my abusive ex *Phil* apologized to me.  I know Richard has made peace with people in his past before.

But to long for it, wish for things to be the way they were in October/November 2007–somehow I have to let go of that.

It does help to keep looking at these court records and pictures, because the contempt I see in them is disgusting.  I do it again and again to try to drive the longing for reconciliation out of my heart.

What he did was disgusting.  But still that part of me keeps hoping for change…..

But I am so frickin’ GLAD I sent that letter to Social Services in March. 

I am so glad I told them he talked about putting the kids in the closet. 

I’m glad I told them he might strike Tracy one of these days if she hits his face. 

I’m glad I told them about the crap Tracy was pulling. 

And I hope that the probation officer sees (or probably took) those pictures, sees the contempt in his face, and either makes him do the full sentence, or asks to have the stayed sentence revoked so he can go to jail for ten days.  [Update 2/2/15: Richard served the full probation sentence.]

(Update 3/12/12:) After reading what the District Attorney said about my former boss, that he gave him a deferred prosecution agreement so he could have more control over my former boss than “if he had just pled to the felonies,” such as anger management, medication, etc.–I wonder if it was the same thing here.

Did the plea agreement result in probation so the District Attorney could have more control over Richard, get him into counseling and the like, make sure he followed the agreement with Social Services?  I do hope so.

(My boss went ballistic when his wife wanted to leave him.  It seems he’d been physically abusing her.  He drove the red pickup truck I remembered, into the kitchen and did lots of damage to the side of the house; he resisted arrest; he caused damage when the police hauled him in.)

One of the most fascinating aspects of Zimmerman’s latest incident was that he himself called the police to counter his girlfriend’s call, and offered another dispatcher a separate set of facts. He said that the girlfriend had “gone crazy” and had broken a table in the apartment.

“I just want everyone to know the truth,” he tells the dispatcher. “She got mad that I told her I would be willing to leave.”

There’s no telling what exactly happened before their respective calls to police. But, if Zimmerman’s girlfriend is telling the truth, then his effort to turn the tables and make his girlfriend sound guilty is again a classic case of something domestic violence prevention advocates call “minimization, denial and blaming,” which is when abusers make the victim feel as though they are responsible for the abuse, or crazy for thinking any abuse occurred at all. –Annie-Rose Strasser, What George Zimmerman’s story can teach us about domestic abusers

 

I’ve updated the covers of all my “Tojet” versions

This is cross-posted on my writing blog here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/author/ive-updated-covers-tojet-versions/

I now have an eye-popping cover on all my versions of Tojet.  The artwork is by Kimberly Steele.  For years I haven’t changed the cover because of, well, fear of changing anything in my book: Revisions could make something go goofy.  😛  Here is the new cover:

I've updated the covers of all my "Tojet" versions 5

Also, while working on the revisions, I had to update my pricing as well.  The last time I did this, I could set my own royalty at a reasonable rate to keep the book prices as low as possible for the reader.  But now, Lulu is making me set minimum prices higher than I wanted–and I discovered that retailers such as Amazon would then take away most of that royalty!  If I want anything above 70 cents from an Amazon royalty, I’ll have to jack up the print prices so high that no one will buy it.  >:(

So I don’t think I’ll be selling my print books through retailers anymore, except for any copies they may have in inventory.  But now that I’ve made both of my books available as e-books in the versatile epub format, those should soon be available through retailers.  Print versions, however, will have to go through Lulu.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the cover of The Lighthouse.  It’s a Lulu-provided cover, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get a better one.  I could make one, but I don’t do full-color paintings, so I hesitate.  Paying someone costs $$$.  Public domain images just don’t look right for the book.  So for now it’s staying as it is, unless I come up with a better one.

 

 

 

Tojet and The Lighthouse: Now available in Epub Format for E-books

(This was also posted on my writing blog here.)

For years I’ve wanted a Kindle, but didn’t have the $$$.  But I recently discovered that Amazon offers payment plans for Kindles, and I had a birthday coming up.  So now I have one–

and discovered how sucky my old e-books look on a Kindle.

In the early days of e-books, offering your book as a PDF was enough because most people probably would just open it on their computers anyway, and PDFs looked good and professional.  PDFs were also good if you wanted to print the book.

As technology began to pass me by, I had no idea that my PDF offerings were now tough to use on the fancy e-book readers.  Since I didn’t have one, I didn’t know how they worked.

Well, now that I have my own Kindle, I see clearly that the old PDFs just aren’t good enough.  So now–

after a lot of frustration because of formatting issues and the tendency of both Word and WordPerfect to use punctuation that turns to garbledygook in HTML  >:(  —

I am offering both Tojet and The Lighthouse as epub-format e-books.  At the moment, they’re available from Lulu, but they should soon be available from more stores, including Amazon’s Kindle store.  I use Calibre to convert my epubs to use on my Kindle.

So come check them out if you have an e-book reader.  As before, I offer them for $3 each: My Lulu Storefront

 

 

The Difficulties and Rewards of Breaking Ties with Narcissists/Borderlines: Repost from 2012

(This is one of my most popular posts.  It was originally posted in June 2012 at https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/the-difficulties-and-rewards-of-breaking-ties-with-narcissistsborderlines/)

Here’s a good post by One Angry Daughter, on reasons to go no-contact with a narcissist: Why a “Healthy” Relationship with a Narcissist is Not Possible

Her reasons are so true.  I have learned in my own life, dealing recently with two people with Cluster Bs (narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, high-conflict personality disorders), that they do not change, do not accept responsibility, will just keep blaming you for everything wrong if you stick around.

I felt guilty for so long for cutting these Cluster Bs out of my life, often wondering if I did the right thing–

–but as I discovered a couple of years later, they were still blaming me for everything wrong, still justifying their own Cluster B rages and abuses, still crossing my boundaries of insisting that I be treated with respect and kindness.

While a layman can’t make an official diagnosis, a layman still has to deal with the behaviors of abusers, whether the abusers ever get diagnosed with Cluster B or not.

And if all the behaviors are there, the abuser must be treated as if they were officially diagnosed: In other words, cut them out of your life and don’t look back, without feeling guilty.

An official diagnosis only gives an official stamp on the behaviors of this person; it does not create them.  An undiagnosed Cluster B is still a Cluster B, still causes destruction, and his victims need to act as if he had been diagnosed.

Or to put it another way, an abuser is an abuser no matter what’s driving his actions.

As Shrink4Men’s Tara J. Palmatier puts it in the comments here:

Diagnosing an individual with a personality disorder can be difficult for several reasons:

1) PD’d individuals tend to lie/minimize/blame others/portray themselves as victims to therapists. They can be very proficient at playing the sweet, injured party and as such, are able to fool a lot of people, even well-trained therapists.

2) They often refuse to acknowledge their problems, blame others and drop out of therapy once the therapist starts to recognize the real issues and tries to make the PD’s behavior the focus of treatment.

3) Many therapists, even when they strongly suspect/believe the individual has a PD, do not give them the diagnosis for a variety of reasons.

This video, “NPD and BPD” by [email protected], on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline), makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline.

It even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar.

It also says that when you break up, the BPD is more likely to try to get you to reconsider, while the NPD is more likely to say “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” (Tracy’s reaction).

Many of my clients and participants on Shrink4Men comment on the overlap of narcissistic and borderline behaviors in their wives, girlfriends, exes, parents, and siblings, etc. This is because narcissism is very frequently present in individuals with BPD. –Dr. Tara, The New Face of Borderline

I had my own experiences and the testimonies of Richard and Todd to go by before, saw how well they fit in with all the traits of Cluster B.

But now I have proof because Richard and Tracy began stalking and trying to intimidate me, sent me an e-mail which made it glaringly obvious that they are both Cluster Bs, no doubt left about it.

I did the right thing in cutting these people off, sized them up correctly.  If I had stuck around instead of ending the relationship with them, they would just have continued their abusive behaviors, and sucked my soul away.

I see clearly that I lost nothing of value, that Richard was no true friend.  Now, without them–and knowing that I was correct about them and did the right thing–I can go on with life, much happier without them.

Because of the psychological “spell” which narcissists put you under, you begin to think you can’t live without them.  Maybe they are your lover, your mother, your best friend, or some other such relationship which you feel you can’t break off.

But it isn’t true.  It may hurt for a time, just like cutting off a diseased limb, but eventually it will get better, life will return to you.

For example, I felt forced to cut my best friend out of my life, only to discover later that his character was not what I thought it was, because of a horrible, violent act he committed (choking his daughter to unconsciousness) and was convicted of after the friendship breakup–

–and the lack of remorse he showed for this act, in the e-mail he and/or Tracy wrote to me.  The truth of his character was forced to my notice.

My husband Jeff says Richard is afraid of me because I know about this and so many other things he’s said and done, and that he wants to keep me under his thumb.

Not only am I much happier not dealing with his wife’s constant dramas, but I am now making friends with a person who has many of the traits I so admired in my former best friend–but none of the narcissism.

This is a fellow parishioner who has the piety and zeal of a convert while being cradle Orthodox, and knows about our faith’s theologies and oddities such as the toll house controversy, is someone I can talk to about such things.

He posts quotes from various saints on Facebook.  He listed Goth music in his Facebook “likes.”  But he is against getting too concerned about outward form such as headscarves and pews.

He’s shown no signs of extremist politics; he posts about religion, not politics, on Facebook; he voted the same way I did the other day.  As far as I can tell, he has no violent past, and eschews violence.

Through him I’m also making new friends who interest and amuse me, who want to convert to Orthodoxy, so we can relate to each other.  I feel my zeal for God returning.

It’s almost as if God is telling me, Don’t worry, I really am here, I just needed to get this false friend out of the way so you could make much better friends–and reconnect with your true, old friends.

I go to parties or get-togethers with old friends, meet up with my old roommie, and it’s fun.  People are free to be themselves; nobody judges me harshly for being a shy, quiet person with little oddities.

One friend will flirt shamelessly with me, and his wife and my husband just laugh at the silliness of it all.

My old roommie does social work and is a liberal; she can relate to my outrage over child abuse.

Another old friend is a preacher, but also a liberal with a huge heart, and very silly at times; he’s fun to chat with on Facebook.  I can tell him I just watched a Muppet movie, and thought of him.

Another old friend told me he used to be passionately in love with me back in high school but never had the courage to say anything.

I’ve comforted someone who was dealing with an abusive marriage.  I’ve connected with a cousin (by marriage) who went through a painful breakup with a narcissistic girlfriend at the same time I went through this painful friendship breakup, and who has Asperger’s, so we relate to each other in many ways.

For a while, Hubby and I went to SCA dance classes in the neighboring barony, before they moved on to fighter classes instead.

We’ve traveled.  My husband found a new, fun group with which to play D&D.

My husband finally found a good-paying job, with health benefits, right here in town.  I’ve been making friends with other parents at my child’s school.

Though for a long time it seemed like I could not go on without my former best friend, like I just wanted my life to end, I’ve slowly been breaking free of his narcissistic hold over me.

Which is good, because recent events have shown me that he is a full-blown narcissist, not a true friend at all, not capable of being the kind of friend I once thought he was.

Here is a blog post written by a guy who used blogging to realize what really happened during his relationship with his probably borderline ex, and get over her.  He’d been so beaten down by her that it took this step for him to remember the truth.  Some quotes:

Finally, one thing that this exercise also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia.  “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”

When those thoughts come into your head (and even now, they still do for me, occasionally), go back and read the story you’ve written. Remember, this is your narrative – not hers.  Things were that bad.

You’ll remember that pretty quickly—and you’ll never want to let yourself fall into that trap ever again.  Write it out.  And remember: You get to….

As I write this, I’m approaching 2 years of no contact with the ex. I am by no means “all better.”  I don’t know if I ever will be. But if I’m not “all” better, I’m at least better than I was two years ago at this time.

I hope this post and other posts I contribute will be more like postcards from the voyage. I want to say “the voyage back to wholeness,” but that would be an assumption.

It may seem impossible now, but you must cut off that Cluster B, regain your own memories of what happened, research Cluster Bs, learn how to reject the abuser’s words and cuts at you (such as Tracy’s rages at me) as mere sewer sludge to be washed off.

Eventually, you will get to the point where you can say to your bully/abuser, as Sarah did to the Goblin King, “You have no power over me!”

I can now laugh at Tracy and Richard trying to call me crazy, knowing that I’m actually quite sane and that life is again good.

The comments in this blog post (May 3, 2009 post) by One Angry Daughter are very reassuring; one poster wrote,

Angry, I love this blog, you, the whole concept of blogging to “get back” at selfish people anonymously, get it out of your system.

Sometimes I just tell people in your situation, You gotta’ blog, get support on the web, there are people in your EXACT situation. And here you are, doing it.

But maybe there’s a direct way to get to them, too, a therapeutic approach for all of the fam. I just started reading so if that’s impossible, don’t get angry 🙂 at me. Just sayin, people can change, it can take a while, no doubt.

OAD writes in “My Man” (Update: probably in the comments, which are not archived) that her reason for her blog is the same as mine:

I think venting about NM (narcissistic mother) is a good thing, but perhaps look for a different outlet for that venting besides DH (dear husband).

A journal, blog or one of the DONM (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers) message boards are a great place to get it all out. I started this blog to spare my DH and my friends. I know they are supportive, but I think the topic gets old and there comes a point to move on.

Your Abusive Female Friend or Relative–What to do about it by Joyful Alive Woman: This link sounds very much like Tracy.

From Ben Leichtling’s Stop Toxic, Bullying, Abusive Pseudo-Friends:

Toxic, righteous, controlling, bullying, abusive pseudo-friends usually don’t change.  The relief and freedom you feel when you clear them out of your environment tells you that it was worth the effort.  You’ve reclaimed your spirit and your life.

 

More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare: Repost

Note 6/15/17: This was originally posted here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/tracy-part-24/  This post has received more than 3500 hits since it was first published in January 2014.

Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.

The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect

Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.

Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.

When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.

You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized

Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….

How is this relevant to the topic of narcissism? I am convinced that the narcissist has learned intuitively how to hypnotize people….

Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.

I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power….

The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions. –Anna Valerious, This is your brain on hypnosis

(The first comment on the above blog post also links the commenter’s research on covert hypnosis to what the narcissists in her life did to her.  The site is now down, so go here.)

There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes.  But he kept staring.  (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)

He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life.  I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.

Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.

When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here.  When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:

The Narcissistic Stare

The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.

The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.

A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.

Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.

Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2

1. Narcissistic Stare

Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissist’s Stare

It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”

They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…

Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….

The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.

However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….

Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”

I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…

Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.

Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others. –PND, The Stare of the Psychopath: What Lies Behind Those Eyes?

The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages.  Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …

Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”

It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look.  Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.

Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.”  Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …

Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths

So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.”  Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is!  You kiss pieces of wood!”

 

So I googled a sociopath from my past….

(By the way, I hear that my old friend Catherine is dealing with a “friend” living in her place and giving her much the same trouble my old “boarders” gave me.  Not moving out, complaining about everything, blaming you for everything, then getting all cutesy to manipulate you into letting them stay.  Dang, that sounds familiar.  Hubby, who just told me all about it, says people like this prey on people like Catherine and me, who are nice and sweet etc.  He was just telling me all about Catherine’s “boarder.”)

Now for the sociopath I googled.

I’ve mentioned this guy on my blog before.  Almost 20 years ago now (  wait–what?  ? )  , a guy came to my SCA shire (medieval re-enactment; a shire is a local group) and immediately began turning it upside-down.

First he made an entrance which I consider attention-seeking: He came to a Halloween event with a mask, so we’d wonder who he was.  Nobody else wore masks.  His girlfriend, one of our members, helped out by saying, “Who is it?”

Finally, after intriguing us all, making us wonder if he was some famous personage, he took off the mask–and was nobody anybody knew.  Shortly afterward, he began to insult the religious beliefs of my husband and me.

This became a pattern for him at subsequent SCA events, insulting Christians, getting up on his soapbox and railing against them.  I wanted to go to events to have fun, not to hear how my religion is evil and must be vanquished.  It was very stressful.

Then he took over the shire’s brand-new website and turned it into a platform promoting his own religious beliefs, leading to a link on his own site which said he was on a campaign to stamp out Christianity.  Now, religion in the context of medieval times would have been fine, but a shire website is not supposed to be about promoting anybody’s religion or giving instructions on how to astral-project.

Some people complained; my husband, the president of the group at the time, was the go-between and tried to resolve things peacefully.  He asked the guy to remove the stuff promoting religion without historical medieval context, and make some aesthetic changes because the site was a resource hog that took forever to load.  (Lots and lots of pictures, many animated, ON ONE PAGE, in the days of dial-up and HTML.)

This guy turned it into a huge conspiracy against him.  He made himself into a martyr, posted our e-mails online without proper context (such as phone calls which tried to resolve things peacefully), posted his e-mails as “proof” of what we allegedly “did” even though his e-mails twisted everything in their details, left out Hubby’s initial e-mail which was very diplomatic, brought in everybody he knew to support him, e-mailed other shires to badmouth us, tried to involve kingdom officials, and turned us into the Evil Oppressors of the Innocent Him.  And yes, he used everybody’s full, real names or SCA names.  Months later, one of our members got an e-mail from a stranger saying how horrible my husband and a few others were, because of what he read on the site, which was still up.

Finally he left the group.  We got a new webmaster, who made the site into a simple, informative website with meeting and event schedules, member bios, that sort of thing.  It also loaded a lot faster.

The kingdom–our local regional group–put out a webmaster’s guide which specifically prohibited every single thing this guy did.  It said the sites were not to be used to promote religions, not to be used as a soapbox, etc. etc.

But then we got mailbombed with about 100 e-mails labeled “karma.”  I strongly suspect this guy did it–especially since I later learned that he uses the term “karma” when punishing those he thinks have oppressed him.

He also came to a shire event brandishing a real sword, not fake ones like you’re supposed to have in the SCA, violating rules and creating a safety hazard.  Hubby felt he did this to goad Hubby into responding, because Hubby was sitting troll (ie, taking entrance fees and having people sign the customary waivers).

“Jenny’s Story” in my collection The Lighthouse was partially inspired by this whole thing.  I put this guy’s words into the mouth of Scott, the accuser of Jenny.  It was my way to deal with the anger over what he did to my husband and others in the shire.

I don’t want to make this a big, long post, but there’s much to sum up.  Over the years, every now and then–like maybe every five years or so–I wonder what the dude’s been up to, and start googling.  I keep coming up with some freaky stuff, like:

He claims to be the creator of several Atari games, which he claims intellectual rights to, and that Atari screwed him.

He likes to create computer viruses/trojans to avenge various perceived wrongs done against him or others.  He created one such trojan to punish Charter, the cable company.  Another was used against a bank.

He was busted for shooting naughty pictures of a 15-year-old, and now has to register as a sex offender.

He moved around a bit after leaving our shire, but eventually settled in a city in the next county where the shire is based.  (No, it’s not Fond du Lac or this county, thank goodness!)  I found an entire web forum in that city devoted to hating on him back around 2009.  I found all sorts of threads about his criminal history and complaining about him.

Over the years, I have gotten a strong picture of a guy who is severely mentally disturbed, probably a narcissistic sociopath.  Someone who must have attention, martyr complex, paranoia, that sort of thing.  Must be grandiose, must be the subject of some conspiracy, must avenge all wrongs like he’s Don Quixote.  Even the name he chose for the SCA was Lightbringer, like he’s a Messiah.

You can find this type in the writings of Sam Vaknin.

Well, tonight I went looking again, to see if yet another criminal case has been taken out against him.  Every once in a while, state court records show that he’s been arrested for something again, usually for violating the requirements of the sex registry.  And he always complains about being treated unfairly in one way or another.

Sure enough, he’s currently in such a case, updated just a few days ago.  A little googling revealed that he has turned this court case into part of a grand conspiracy against him, involving an allegedly corrupt local police force and even our state governor Scott Walker.  There are videos about this on Youtube.  It’s a featured case on a website called Leagle.

I even found his petition for writ of habeas corpus demanding a “federal criminal grand jury investigation.”  It has some weird garbledygook about not being a citizen of the US (Inc) but of the US, therefore not subject to the US (Inc).

O_o

o_O

He calls himself a Reverend now.  He’s talking about murder threats, false imprisonment, that the local police are out to get him and he didn’t really commit a crime with the 15-year-old, government conspiracy….

Picard Facepalm image

Oh yeah, and the court records for the current case reveal the state questioned his competence to stand trial.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

So, a guy with a history of grandiosity, a martyr complex and sociopathy is claiming that he’s the target of a vast conspiracy and didn’t REALLY take naughty pictures of a 15-year-old.  (I’ve seen the website he ran around the time he was arrested for that charge, and its pictures of teenage girls, so I can believe he really did take naughty pics.)

And I recall how he turned my husband and several shire members into a kind of Evil Coalition against him, when they just wanted him to make the website into a simple, informative site which loads in less than 10 minutes and doesn’t hide page links.  (Seriously, the page links were invisible unless you knew to look for them.  This was 1999, when most people didn’t yet know a picture could also be a link.)

Yeah, I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that anything he says is for reals.  I think he wants his life to be a Hollywood movie.

No, I won’t name the guy on my website.  But I thought it was an amusing example of the kind of sociopathy you may come across.  And an example of why we should be careful not to believe just anything we read on the Net.

[Update 6-29-18: He STILL has not gone to trial, having changed his attorney several times.  See here.]

 

We evicted a family of skunks from under our porch

Now for an update on this post.  I wrote about a skunk which had moved into a den underneath our porch stoop.

On May 28, we didn’t smell a “skunk bomb” in the basement at sunset like usual, so we hoped the skunk had taken the hint from our tampering with the den, and run off.  But no, next night we smelled it again, and the stuff we put over the hole was moved again.  We soon began finding all sorts of rocks the color of our porch stoop, surrounding the entrance of the hole.  Hubby said it was making the den bigger–yet another indication that it was a she, with a litter coming or already here.

The presence of a litter complicated things: We could easily block her out after dark, but any babies in the den would soon die–leaving us with an even bigger problem.  It’s much easier to remove living animals than dead ones from under a porch, and if the smell of living skunk in the basement was bad, the smell of dead baby skunks would be much worse–and could last for months!

Besides, even if we did block it off, she would probably gain super-skunkie strength and move the block to get to her babies.  Because that’s what mommies do.

So I started keeping an eye on Mama Skunkie.  Every evening around dusk, I could see her stroll over to the little cement drive/walkway out back of the condos.  She’d follow the drive instead of cutting across the grass, probably going to the woods beyond to find food.  When a litter of kits began following her, we could try blocking the den.  We didn’t know how long that could be; information on the Web said we’d have to wait a few weeks before they were old enough.

But then, on Sunday, June 4, shortly after Mama Skunkie went for her stroll, somebody scared her, probably the dog that lives over there.  And you know what happens when you scare a skunk.

The stink was so bad that even our scented candles struggled to fight it off.  Next morning, the smell of skunk mixed with candle smoke was not much better.  I aired out the house, but come evening, a fresh stink would fill the basement again.  It was also starting to come into the kitchen, because the den was right below the windows on that side of the house.

We also feared for the structure of the concrete, with her digging all the time.  As Hubby learned later on, Mama Skunkie dug into the concrete itself, forming a shelf to make room in the den for everybody.  And if the concrete collapsed, not only would we have to replace it, but somebody could get hurt–especially the skunk family.

Monday, I called a wildlife specialist.  It’s expensive, but I had to find a way to swing the money.  No, the Humane Society will not do this job; they deal with domestic animals.  The wildlife specialist uses humane methods and finds a new home for the animal, rather than killing it.  I didn’t want Mama Skunkie dead.  I wanted her frolicking free and happy–far away from my porch.

Around 6pm, I came down with a splitting headache and nausea.  It was so bad that for an hour or two, I could do nothing except lie back on the couch and rest, kept conscious only because my husband needed directions for making dinner.  For days, the nausea remained, until the skunks were removed.  I strongly suspect the skunk smell did it, especially since I couldn’t get away from it.

Around dusk, food had restored me enough that I stood at the door and waited for Mama Skunkie to come out of the den.  I could manage this because anything else–reading, watching TV–would hurt my head.  My son and I listened to her dig and dig and dig inside the den, and saw occasional stones fly out.  I waited for an hour and a half, yet she still kept digging, so I finally got tired and went away.

I said to my son, “When they catch her, she’s going to think, ‘Dang, and I just got that den the way I like it!'”

The next day, the wildlife specialist set the live traps.  Hubby thought the skunk would turn up her nose and avoid the traps.  First night, we got nothing, and I feared he was right.

But then Night Two came, Wednesday.  Just as the night before, around dusk I kept the inside door open and the kitchen lights off, so I could check for the skunk without scaring it.  Shortly after dusk, I got up to peek out the storm door window.

Before my eyes, in the dim light from the nearby lights, was a whole mass of black fur and white stripes, milling around and squirming!  Three little furry babies were caught in one trap, complaining and trying to get out.  Mama Skunkie was surprised and distressed, wondering what happened to her babies.  Many more babies tried to figure out what was wrong with their trapped siblings.  I loudly whispered down to my son, who was in the basement, to come look.  Hubby heard and came up, too.

I’ve never seen a skunk family up close like that, and probably never will again.  There must have been half a dozen babies.  How did they all fit under my porch???!!!  We watched in amazement for a while.  Then Mama and the remaining babies wandered off for a bit, probably to find breakfast.  Well, except for one who stayed behind, touching the cage, apparently worried and watching over its trapped siblings.

I called the wildlife specialist; he said he would come by first thing in the morning to pick them up.

I kept looking throughout the hours before bedtime, peeking out the window shades because Hubby closed the door to keep from surprising Mama Skunkie.  Because you know what happens when you surprise a skunk.

Eventually, the others came back and crowded around the cages late into the night, playing with each other.  Mama Skunkie kept prowling around the yard, looking anxious.  I wished I could tell her that we would not hurt her babies, that they all would be together again soon.  I didn’t worry about them now that she was around them again.

Before bed, I saw the other trap was now full.  In the dark, I couldn’t tell if it was one skunk or three.  I eventually decided it was three babies, and went to bed.

Around 5am Thursday morning, after dreaming of catching skunks, I woke up, went downstairs, and looked out again.  In the dawn light, I could now see one cage held three babies, but Mama Skunkie was in the other one.  The other babies were gone somewhere unknown.  Mama Skunkie went back and forth in the cage at times, and slept other times.  The babies in the other cage must have been asleep.

A monster-sized bunny lives around the house somewhere.  She probably used to live in the den herself.  I saw her in the yard as well, over by the garden, which is protected by chicken wire, but some of the plants poke through.  She and her babies love the plants that poke through.  Now she sat by the garden and watched the skunks in the cage, peering at them as if to say, “Oh, so they finally got you, huh?”

The wildlife specialist came in around the same time the landscapers came to mow the lawns of the condo association.  I heard the whir of the trimmers come around our yard, but then move away.  Sure enough, on Saturday Hubby learned that they called up the officers of the association and said, “We’re not mowing that lawn today!”  They wanted nothing to do with skunks, caged or not.

By the way, a few days before this, we got no paper.  I don’t hold it against the carrier, because I strongly suspect the skunk scared him away.

The specialist took the traps, checked the den for more kits, then left to “re-home” the skunk family.  I hosed off the sidewalk.  By the way, skunkie poo is black and smells just like skunk.  😛

Nobody knows where the rest of the litter went off to (the nearby woods?), but we’re confident they’re not in the den.  Not only did the specialist check it, but we covered it loosely with netting, and nothing disturbed the netting for days.  So now we’ve sealed it up with concrete.

Turns out other people in the condo association have had skunks living under their porches, too, so they could sympathize.   There’s a small wood out back, beyond the school field, and you can smell skunks in there.  I think they also like the milkweed I’m trying to grow out back.  I had several beautiful stalks coming up big and strong–which suddenly vanished one morning.  Something keeps eating it, even with a fence, and there are holes in the dirt probably dug by Mama Skunkie.

Before now, we had various animals living in the den: bunnies, small rodents.  We didn’t seal it up because we never knew what was down there.  Also, the inhabitants were too small to dig much or cause trouble.  So we co-existed peacefully, and treated them almost like pets.  But now, the hotel is closed!

 

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