From 2010: Blogging the Parasite out of my Head: Writing about the abuse

(One of my favorite post titles.)  This is a much-shortened version of a post I wrote in March 2012.  For the full post, see here.  Yes, blogging my story did indeed help me to finally get it out and start to heal from it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve been revising a full account of the abusive situation with Richard and Tracy.  As I work on it, it answers questions that come up.  For example, I was starting to feel like Tracy was right and the disagreements were my fault.  But as I reviewed the details of the time we lived in the same house, I began to remember what really happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–not because I was actually wrong–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a story for such people.

(Because this is a story about my healing journey and some people on the Net can be cruel, I’m switching off comments.)

 

Repost: My boss was a narcissist, too, and wound up in jail

Now for a post from 6 years ago which gets the occasional hit since lots of people have narc bosses.  Yeah, it’s long–I wrote much longer posts back then, a newbie blogger who didn’t know the ropes–but this guy did some crazy stuff and I had to throw it all in.

I worked for two people at the time: my main boss, and then this guy for a couple of hours a week.

That is, from 1999 until very early in 2003, when he blew up at one of the underwriters, and stalked around our little workplace in a rage about an audit.  An audit which, by the way, I did my best to prepare him for, but he didn’t do his part (which I could not legally do).  He quit, but we soon learned that he was about to be fired anyway.

Yet that wasn’t even the craziest of the crazy crap he did.

And yet I LIKED the guy.  Go me for being a great judge of character.  (rolleyes)

Now for the repost from March 2, 2012:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

!!!!

I said NO.

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

NO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Repost: The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me

I wrote the following way back in 2011 as part of a story of narcissistic abuse.  It was on my old HTML website, though I don’t recall if the story was on- or offline at the time.  (I kept it hidden from the public for a long time as I worked on it.)  After I was put through long-term emotional abuse and mind-twisting by a narcissistic couple, I desperately needed to write it all down while I still remembered it, as a way to vent, make sense of it, and begin to heal.

The following was written a few months after my blog post Fighting the Darkness.  It’s a difficult time to revisit, but I have been assured that my blogging about this has value to others.  For example, most recently, from the blogger over at Jesus Without Baggage:

Nyssa, your post is heart-wrenching. I am so sorry for the pain you endured, but I know you are somewhat recovered from it. You said: “I was plunged into spiritual darkness and doubt.”  I really appreciate that you now do a great service to others in exposing and counseling regarding abuse from the narcissism you encountered….I hope more people check out your blog. —comment here

Comments like this help a lot on days when I wonder if I should just remove it all, if it’s just too embarrassing to admit that I’ve been manipulated by narcissists not just once, but several times in my life.  But then I’m reminded that others go through this as well and may need to read what I’ve written.

The following was written during the period of darkness, especially spiritual darkness caused by doubt.  Of course, atheists might say that’s just the way to enlightenment.  I still don’t know who’s right, since, despite all claims to the contrary, nobody really knows one way or the other.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night frightened that all that awaits me is oblivion.

But the experience that drove me into the darkness of 2011–that has, thank God, passed into the past.  It no longer burdens my thoughts, weighing down my heart with rage and grief.  I haven’t so much as seen these people on the street in a few years, even though they still live in my town.  Well, I see them in my blog stats.  I don’t see them at church, even though their church merged with mine, so I figure they must have found somewhere else, or stopped going.

But no, I don’t want to see them now, any more than I did back then.

Anyway, enough of the preamble.  Now for the repost:


From April 2011, The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me:

I have no interest whatsoever in reconciling with Tracy and don’t really care anymore what she thinks of me, because I consider her an abuser and a bully and the most horrid person I’ve ever known, and I believe she’s a false Christian.

As for Richard, this person I had dearly loved like a brother, respected, trusted and looked up to, this person I saw as a man of God, this person whom I saw as my spiritual mentor and guide, this person I supported emotionally through all his troubles while he lived with us, the person I told all my secrets to, has betrayed me and let me be verbally/emotionally torn apart like a wild animal.

Because of his connection to my spiritual journey, it’s been a struggle not to abandon all the things in Orthodoxy (or Christianity) that I associated in any way with Richard.

Because our friendship and his living here had seemed to be a direct and obvious answer to prayer, my faith in God has been damaged so much that I often doubt God even exists.

Because why would God answer my prayer with a curse, with an angel of light that turned out to be the devil?  The devil couldn’t have heard my prayer, because it was said to God by my mind, not by my mouth.

Two options rise up, both too frightening and repugnant to accept: that either

1) God did answer my prayer with a curse, or

2) God does not exist and it was all chance.

I keep hoping that one day a third option will make itself clear, but for now, I understand how even Mother Theresa could have gone through the dark night of the soul.

I knew the devil would try to get me out of Orthodoxy if I converted, as fellow converts speak of such things online, and he’d already been throwing various things at me, especially during Lenten periods.

But I had no idea he would do something like this that could sear me to my soul with a flaming sword, rip me away from the one whom I honored as the person who led me to the truth, damage me so much.

I had no idea that the person I honored as a man of God, had such crumbling feet of clay, would lead me to the truth and then be the means for shattering my faith.

I can only hope the following is true, taken from an earlier, more extensive version of the above Wikipedia link for “dark night of the soul“:

Rather than resulting in permanent devastation, the dark night is regarded by mystics and others as a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual is stripped (in the dark night of the senses) of the spiritual ecstasy associated with acts of virtue.

Although the individual may for a time seem to outwardly decline in his or her practices of virtue, in reality he becomes more virtuous, as she is being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards (ecstasies in the cases of the first night) obtained and more out of a true love for God.

It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God.

From A Saint’s Dark Night by James Martin:

Even the most sophisticated believers sometimes believe that the saints enjoyed a stress-free spiritual life–suffering little personal doubt. For many saints this is accurate:

St. Francis de Sales, the 17th-century author of “An Introduction to the Devout Life,” said that he never went more than 15 minutes without being aware of God’s presence. Yet the opposite experience is so common it even has a name.

St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic, labeled it the “dark night,” the time when a person feels completely abandoned by God, and which can lead even ardent believers to doubt God’s existence.

During her final illness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the 19th-century French Carmelite nun who is now widely revered as “The Little Flower,” faced a similar trial, which seemed to center on doubts about whether anything awaited her after death.

“If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into,” she said to the sisters in her convent.

But Mother Teresa’s “dark night” was of a different magnitude, lasting for decades. It is almost unparalleled in the lives of the saints.

 

Come check out my new blog design

I finally found a clean, minimalist design that focuses on the writing–In fact, it’s named “Write.”  No sidebar; the text is centered for easy reading, with everything extra shoved to the bottom.  (And my URLs are finally underlined again!  🙂  )

I’ve wanted this for some time, for several reasons:

  • make the page load faster (makes readers and Google happy–seriously, more than 3 seconds=terribly s l o w)
  • get better scores on page performance
  • focus the eye on the posts and not the stuff in the sidebar
  • I like sites which load up quickly and have few annoying, distracting graphics
  • I like the clean look of stripped-down sites optimized for mobile users
  • I’m jealous of my HTML index page (the portal to all parts of my domain) because it’s clean and loads fast, unlike my Wordpress sites 😛

I’ve also been looking at AMP lately, Google’s idea to make the Web load faster for mobile devices, but at the moment it doesn’t support all the stuff I need, such as Statcounter and my ad boxes.  They’re working on that, but not there yet.  Some developers are suspicious of AMP (also here), and say it’s better to fix your code so it loads faster.

Also, a recent experiment with Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader led to loading in under 2 seconds, but the “like” button disappeared.  Despite trying all the code and fixes I found on the Net, nothing fixed that.  So…I went looking for minimalist themes again.

I just spent all evening working on the new theme, transferring the widgets from the old one and making sure all the coding works.  (Thanks to WP-Spamshield for telling me how to set up a debugger that you can keep running without exposing your errors to the whole Net!  Without it, I never would’ve known some of the code was deprecated and causing hundreds of PHP errors.  But I fixed it.  🙂  )

But enough of geeking out about my website.  Check it out, and tell me in the comments what you think.  🙂 

Also, please let me know if it would be better with or without a header image.

I don’t know which way to go.  I like it without, because it focuses on the writing and images take longer to load.  But then it seems bare and I don’t know if my readers would like that.  🙂  You can see here how the theme looks without.

 

 

 

 

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