Is this why my ex Phil was so abusive?

These have been a couple of months of revelation!  First, I learned that my abusive ex Phil was getting married again.  I wrote about it here, puzzling over the “gentle giant” his fiancee described, wondering if it’s possible for someone to change that much, wondering how long it would be before Evil Phil manifested himself to her.

Well, Evil Phil has manifested, and their engagement is at an end.

But that’s not all.  It’s more complicated than that.

Yes, she wrote about him like he was the love of her life.  He wrote about her in such glowing terms that yes, it reminded me of when he was with me, before Evil Phil took his place.

It reminds me of a tumultuous but passionate relationship that has inspired and continues to inspire me to replay it in various works of fiction and memoir ever since.  The latest form is in my latest unfinished novel, with Heinrich and Madge, forever bound together even though they betray each other over and over again.

Of course this all looks like narcissism: a playbook, being followed by the narcissist in each of his relationships, because this is what the descriptions of narcissism all tell us.  That it’s all fake, love-bombing, meant to hook us before the real him comes out, abusive and horrid.

But in this case, it’s more complicated than that.

It’s enough to make me wonder if maybe, all those years ago, those flowery words–those praises–that wonderful, glowing happiness–was the Real Phil.  If maybe he did mean it after all.

(Because admit it, after you’ve been hooked by the love-bombing of a narcissist or abuser, then find out it was all fraud, it hurts to learn that you weren’t really loved like that after all.)

Because yes, new fiancee–now ex-fiancee–insists that this is the Real Phil, that he really meant all he said to her.  But she can’t handle Evil Phil, who is dangerous, so they mutually decided to end it.  She’ll still be there to support him, but as his friend, not his wife or lover.

And now here’s why:

It seems that rather than the narcissism I suspected, Phil’s behavior has a different cause.  He was diagnosed in 2010 with bipolar disorder II.  (I never knew about this until tonight.  We were together in 1994, long before then.)  He took meds for a while, but then stopped for about five years.

This has screwed up his brain so bad that he is now hospitalized.  Current estimates are that he’ll stay there around a month.

Evil Phil manifested himself to her recently.  She talks about him like he’s two different people in the same body, a sweet normal guy, and Bipolar Guy who doesn’t like anybody.  She hinted at dealing with deceit and manipulation–which I certainly dealt with from him in spades–but said it was a manifestation of the bipolar.

She posted this video to explain what Bipolar II is.  It says that Bipolar II is also associated with personality disorder.  So–maybe narcissism or borderline did also influence his actions?

This leaves me conflicted.  One, this is proof that Phil’s treatment of me was not my fault, that he was suffering from a disease which drove him to be cruel.  There is huge healing–and forgiveness–in such knowledge.

But Two, I wonder what was the disease, and what was him.

Now I wonder if I should change anything that I wrote about Phil here on my website.  Or maybe I should just keep it all as a testament to what abuse does to its victims, and the struggle they go through to understand and heal from it, no matter what drove him to act that way.

This website describes how bipolar sufferers can become controlling–which Phil certainly was.  Overwhelming anger.  Overspending.  Yes.

This website explains why bipolar sufferers can turn into manipulative liars during mania.

This website shows how bipolar can lead to abuse.

This is an informative question-and-answer session (with transcript) answering several of my questions.

How much was normal Phil?  How much was Bipolar Phil?  I don’t know.  It’s so hard to tell for sure, because much of his abuse was covert and went on for months, and some of it started even while he was still being sweet.  Maybe this also explains why members of his family have given up on him.  Maybe they don’t know for sure, either.  Maybe they don’t trust him.

I would have a hard time trusting him, his tears and depression at being ravaged by bipolar.  This is because–after going to his friends in a fit of crying and depression in September 1994–he told me that it was all an act to manipulate them.

Maybe this is why his sister took out a restraining order on him, some action of Bipolar him.

Maybe this is why she never showed up to the hearing, so it was dismissed: because she heard he was hospitalized.

I find people on the Net saying bipolar does not cause abuse or violence, that it comes from other sources.  But yet here’s Phil’s ex saying that it IS the bipolar causing his bad behavior, that it’s actually been damaging his brain tissue.

She says normal Phil would never hurt a fly, while Bipolar Phil is different from this–

Yet the Phil I knew hurt me constantly–traumatized me with long-lasting effects–over a period of months with manipulation, chauvinism, control, verbal and emotional abuse, even sexual abuse.  It left me with the occasional thought, “Did I deserve it?  The cruel things he said about me–Were some of them true?”

He was an actor, originally wanting to do that for a living; he acted in real life, not just on stage.

He himself told me that he was so good at acting that he manipulated people, not just me.  He proudly told the story of how he manipulated his mom into buying him a book when he was little.

He even had his own flying monkey, indoctrinated with stories of my alleged abuses of him.  His next girlfriend also suffered from his abuse.  My friends witnessed him manipulating and verbally abusing the girlfriend after that, the one he legally married.

This was months, well over a year, maybe a few years, when all this played out, him abusing me, then the next, then the next, with my friends as witnesses.  Since it went on for years, was this really him?  Or was this a long-term manic episode?  Is his ex correct about him, or has he been conning her?

But maybe he’s truly sorry when he’s depressed and cries.  I suppose she would know best.  After all, now he’s under the care of doctors, not undiagnosed like he was in 1994.

Just the thought that he now RECOGNIZES his own behavior when bipolar takes over–that he does not blame the latest fiancee for it–makes me think that, hopefully, he realizes I’m not to blame for how he abused me all those years ago.

In any case, it tells me that the cause of the abuse was not me or anything I did.  It was the bipolar.  It is diagnosed by a doctor, so this can be confirmed as Truth, not just speculation.

This brings a kind of closure to the trauma.  I wonder if maybe it’ll finally heal the parts that were still sore.

It makes me wonder how far a mentally ill person is responsible for such abuse as Phil committed, when the abuse comes from the illness rather than a character defect.  It also makes me think that maybe he did actually love me, all those years ago, and wasn’t just manipulating me for whatever reason.

I wonder if, in such a case, anybody is really to “blame” for the end of a relationship.  For me–Well, it wasn’t my choice to end it, and I couldn’t change his mind, so my knowing it was mental illness, could not have made a difference.  For him–Does it absolve him of everything?  Can I say it was mental illness and he didn’t know what he was doing?

If we had known about the bipolar back then, would we still be together now?  I don’t know, but I don’t think some romantic notion of “what-if” would be realistic.

Because he almost married this woman, who still thinks the world of him, who knows all about the bipolar,

and yet they did not stay together.

Because she had to stay safe and he didn’t want to pull her down into it with him.

Also see:

So Phil, my abusive ex-husband, is back in the hospital

A couple of notes: Spanking and No, the new girlfriend did NOT change my abusive ex

Abusive Ex: Blame it on him, not mental illness

 

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Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager: Repost from 2010

I knew bits and pieces of Richard’s past, which I thought were all behind him now, tamped down by religion.  But other things came out that showed his own violent streak, appalling ideas of what is “justified” behavior in certain situations, things that violated Christian principles, violent things that made my hair stand on end.

One thing was, that if his wife ever cheated on him, it was okay for him to assault the guy.  We watched The Apostle, during which Richard said that if his wife cheated on him, he’d take a baseball bat to the guy just like Sonny did.  This statement chilled me to the bone, and I told him he should never do such a horrible thing.

Another time, we were chatting on the phone and he made comments to the effect of, if he found his wife in bed with another guy it would be okay to commit murder.

I was amazed that a pious Orthodox Christian who wanted to be a priest, would say such incredibly wrong things.

According to the Annies in their March 11, 2011 column, threatening to kill guys who sleep with your wife is controlling and manipulative.

Also note what the Highlander said about this issue in the sixth-season episode “Justice”: A man (Armando) killed his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together.  The wife, Elena, was the adopted daughter of an Immortal, Katya, who now wants revenge because Armando was acquitted at his trial.

Duncan says to Katya, “Killing’s not the answer….The emptiness you feel won’t be filled by anger.  Or revenge, or hate.  Armando’s death will just leave you feeling emptier.”

In another scene, when Armando says he loved Elena, Duncan says, “So much that you killed her?”

Armando says, “You weren’t there.  You didn’t see them!  Castillo was my protege.  He was like a brother to me.  With my wife.”

Duncan says, “So they had to die because you got your feelings hurt.”

Armando: “No.  There was no thought.  No plan.  The courts understood.  It was a crime of passion.”

Duncan: “It was murder.  And you beat it.”

This episode may be fiction, but the lesson it teaches is real: Crimes of passion are still crimes, still murder.  And no one has that right, not even a wronged husband.

This is what Orthodoxy teaches.  Anyone who claims such a right has no right to be an Orthodox mentor, whether as a spiritual father, informal mentor and friend, or priest.

There were a lot of revelations the first couple of weeks of June 2009.  On June 1, I learned about the hypnotism.  A little more than a week later, we had the revealing talks that both shocked me and (I thought) fixed everything.

In the middle, on June 5, I learned that, some 20 years ago, Richard’s girlfriend and best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels.  They made him their “goomba.” 

He hung around with goombas, or thugs, who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information “in a not-so-friendly way.”

The Russian and Italian mobsters had nicknames for him, which I won’t name here for safety reasons.

Since it involved jewels, not drugs, he felt he did nothing criminal–or which should be criminal, according to the Constitution and free market principles.  He never “killed” anyone while doing this goomba stuff.  

He ran these jewels between L.A. and Las Vegas.

Not only that, but he openly and freely shared it, did not see it as a secret.  He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.

He didn’t seem at all repentant about helping the Mafia

The Mafia! 

Dangerous people, the kind who would kill a toddler!  Especially being involved with them as a Christian:

In Sicily, the birthplace of Mr. Rizzuto’s Mafia, some Church leaders have called for a tough stand. This summer, Bishop Antonino Raspanti said convicted mobsters would be refused a funeral, declaring:

“Being a Christian is incompatible with having links to Mafia organizations.” —National Post

Richard justified it by saying his mother knew about it and didn’t seem to care, he did this while at Bible college (!), and he did worse things when he worked for the government.  He said Clinton’s government did terrible things that nobody knows about (which I won’t divulge here without proof other than his word for it).

But there were these hints at illegal activities when he was a Mafia thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.

All this was in an IRC conversation, most of which I printed (the first part, unfortunately, vanished before I could print it).  I like to remember what I can about my best friends, save Internet chats and e-mails, as a personal diary.  I used to print up ICQ chats with friends.

However, I did not see this as cool, like I did the hypnotism: It was startling, shocking, baffling.  How could he not see this was wrong?  Still, it was part of my BFF’s history, and worth remembering.

Now, I see it as proof that I did not imagine this conversation.  In 2012 I thought maybe Richard was pulling my leg–but then Todd spoke of Richard’s past as a “mobster” and “mook,” gave me more details.

The next day, Richard called and said they were being evicted, that he was furious with the apartment manager.

He made it into a personal offense, and had some ideas about why.  But it was probably because they trashed the place, left cigarette butts all over the yard in front of their apartment, were unreliable with the rent, and kept having domestic disputes.  

(He told me a couple of months before that they had been “at each other’s throats” for more than a month; somebody could very well have reported this to the manager or the police.)

He said he was going to kill the apartment manager while she was in her office, do it so she’d never see who it was, “And I’ll make it look like I was never there.”  Because of his past as a Mafia thug, he knew how to do this.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wha–Wha–WHAT?

This pious, righteous guy who wanted to be a priest, whom I saw as my spiritual mentor, was telling me all this???!!!

I cried, “It’s my duty as your friend to talk you out of this!”  I tried and tried, and begged, “Talk to your priest before you do this!”

He chuckled and said, “I’ll talk to my priest after I do this.”  Then the kids did something, or his wife wanted something, so he had to hang up.

While I was still reeling from this and thinking what the–

He called back again. “My wife won’t let me do it,” he said.  She told him to use his words to persuade, which he’s so good at doing.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  If he had gone through with this horrible deed, I’d have to call the police.  It was my duty to warn the police before he did it, or legally I’d be an accomplice, and that woman’s blood would be on my hands.

I thought these things were in his long-ago past, that he was sorry for his past violence, that he was now sweet and gentle and wanted to be a priest.  But this…?

It was quite baffling the things both Richard and Tracy either said to me or did in front of me, apparently confident that I wouldn’t call the police or CPS:

Richard told me things like this, and violent things his wife did.

Tracy whacked her little toddler on the back of the head right in front of me, began spanking and screaming furiously at two children who did nothing wrong, right in front of me!  Didn’t she realize I could’ve called the police on her for this?

Didn’t either of them realize that when Richard told me he put his children in the closet once, that when Tracy abused her children right in front of me, if I couldn’t convince them these things were wrong, I was honor-bound to report them to Social Services?

If they did these things in front of me, what did they do when I wasn’t around?  Since I lived behind closed doors with them for a month and a half and Tracy controlled herself well enough not to punch Richard, but he told me she whacked and punched him about a year later, this showed she could control herself around me.

Richard became so closed-off about his life, that it’s entirely possible–or probable–that things were much worse at home than he ever told me.  I’d see them once a week or so, getting cutesy with each other, being mostly controlled–though not controlled enough, because Jeff and I both noticed things that looked very wrong.

But I knew very well what I had seen and what Richard told me.  I kept hearing over time that things were hidden from me.  It makes you wonder what else was hidden.

Not only were they hiding things from me, but my own family had done this as well, hiding a huge chunk of my parents’ life from me while my brothers knew all about it.  When the truth finally came out, it was devastating, shattering the image I had always had of my father, of the values taught in my family.

Now here it was being done again, with Richard and Tracy hiding things from me.  How could anyone not turn paranoid in this situation?

(The incident involving my father was also a bonding experience for Richard and me, as far as I was concerned.  Even though I e-mailed my college friends about everything ever since I left college, instead of talking to them, I called up Richard and told him everything that was going on, all the secret things that I didn’t feel I could tell others.

(He and my priest were my two confidantes outside the family.  This was during Lent 2007, before I even met Richard in person.  That’s how close we got before we even met.)

 

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Different kinds of abuse–same feelings: How Mark Driscoll reminds me of Tracy, Phil, and others (Repost from 2014)

Originally posted March 11, 2014:

One reason why I read blogs and articles of all different kinds of abuse, is that I find the reactions of the abuse victims are the same everywhere.

Of course you’ll have differences here and there: Being molested by a parent is not the same as being psychologically manipulated by an ex-boyfriend, for example.

But everywhere you find the same common themes: loss of trust, hurt, pain, confusion, longing for the abuser to acknowledge the abuse and make up for it.

The other day, I read this account of narcissistic abuse and a smear campaign at Mars Hill Church:

My Story by Jonna Petry

Her husband was a pastor with the church for a time, until he was abandoned and smeared by Mark Driscoll.

In this and in other stories I’ve read about abuse at Mars Hill Church, I was struck all along by things that sounded very familiar, in my own experiences with narcissistic abuse, from exes (especially Phil) and from Richard and Tracy:

  • A person/place who at first seemed like God’s gift to you.
  • Pressure to conform.
  • Shunning someone you are told is bad.
  • Abuse and getting kicked out for questioning, disagreeing, speaking up about problems.
  • A person who throws tantrums and verbally abuses you for the slightest offenses, even when the offense is only in his own mind.
  • A smear campaign.
  • Others encouraged to shun you.
  • A kangaroo court in which you have no real chance to defend yourself.
  • Others put through the same abuse if they stick up for you.
  • A “conference” which is meant not to hear your side or your grievances, but to coerce you into agreeing that the abuse against you is justified.
  • A refusal of the abusers to admit they’ve done anything wrong.  As Driscoll and his henchman wrote to Jonna and her husband, “We still believe we have done nothing wrong.”
  • Begging others to help, but no one will.
  • Discovering this abuse is a pattern, that it neither began nor ended with you.

The hurt, pain and confusion as you long desperately for reconciliation:

In shock and heartbroken, Paul and I tried desperately that first half-year to bring about some level of reconciliation.

We so longed to be restored to our friends, to have our name and reputation exonerated, and to have peace in our relationships.

This had become our family that we loved and served and ministered to as our own dear children and as brothers and sisters. These were our dear friends.

How could they do this to us? Words do not adequately describe the shock, horror, betrayal, and rejection we felt. The weight of the loss was excruciating.

The PTSD and shaking of faith:

During this whole season since the firing and the months that followed, I was emotionally and spiritually devastated.

I was often tormented by fear. I had nightmares and imaginations of someone trying to physically harm Paul, me, and the children.

If Mark had had ecclesiastical power to burn Paul at the stake I believe he would have.

I literally slept in the fetal position for months. I stayed in bed a lot, bringing the children in bed with me to do their schoolwork.

I became severely depressed and could hardly bring myself to leave the house except when absolutely necessary. I cried nearly every day for well over a year thinking I must soon cry it out, right?

But, the sorrow was bottomless. My faith was gravely shaken. How could a loving God allow this?

Later it became clear that I had typical symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression and that these reactions were common in someone who has experienced spiritual abuse.

Spiritual abuse occurs when someone uses their power within a framework of spiritual belief or practice to satisfy their own needs at the expense of others. It is a breach of sacred trust.

Christians are commanded by Jesus to love one another. When that is projected, articulated, enjoyed and then treacherously betrayed, the wounded person is left with “a sense of having been raped, emotionally and spiritually” not by a stranger, but by someone who was deeply trusted. (See Recovering from Church Abuse by Len Hjalmarson)

At the beginning, Jonna wrote,

This past summer I saw the movie, “The Help,” and a seed of courage was planted in my soul. One of the last lines of the movie:

“God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do.  But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free.”

This story is an earnest attempt to speak the truth in love that freedom and new life may flourish.

At the end, she wrote things which encourage me to continue telling the story of Richard/Tracy–and express the same hope I hold, that one day my abusers will recognize their abuse and change:

In Acts, Chapter 20, the Apostle Paul pleaded with the Ephesian elders to pay attention and guard the flock.

This admonition, along with the mounting stories of abuse and misconduct coming out of Mars Hill Church, has added to our conviction.

We believe that to remain quiet now would be unloving and disobedient to God. As my husband stated earlier–if we fail to remember our history, we leave it for others to re-write. And, unfortunately, some of that has occurred.

And, in Mark’s own words from his book, Vintage Jesus:

“People are not perfect. As sinners we need to be gracious, patient, and merciful with one another just as God is with us or the church will spend all of its time doing nothing but having church discipline trials.

“It is worth stressing, however, that we cannot simply overlook an offense if doing so is motivated by our cowardice, fear of conflict, and/or lack of concern for someone and their sanctification.

“In the end, it is the glory of God, the reputation of Jesus, the well-being of the church, and the holiness of the individual that must outweigh any personal desires for a life of ease that avoids dealing with sin biblically.

“Sometimes God in his providential love for us allows us to be involved in dealing with another’s sin as part of our sanctification and growth. It is good for us and for the sinner, the church, and the reputation of the gospel if we respond willingly to the task God has set before us.”

What happened to us was very wrong. The way it was publicly described by Mark and the elders at the time was completely exaggerated and deceptive. The way the media and blogs have since reported on it has many holes and errors. Now it is open and plain to everyone.

If Mark and the organizations he leads do not change, I fear many more will be hurt, Mark and his family included.  To not speak is to not love or care and shows no thought or consideration for those who have been wounded and those who will be in the future.

We are witnesses. There is a pattern. There is a history. There is an ethos of authoritarianism and abuse.

Mark is the unquestioned head of Mars Hill Church and the Acts 29 Network. His elders have no way to hold him accountable. Those under him likely fear him and want to garner his favor so they don’t dare say nor do anything that might anger him. This is tragic.

Perhaps at some point, with enough outcry and exposure, Mark will come to his senses, own his harmful behavior, and get the help he needs to change. I hope so. Our common Enemy can make terrible use of our weaknesses and blind spots.

Our Lord’s harshest words were for leaders who used their status, power, the Scriptures, and God’s people for their own self-aggrandizement. Surely this is not what Mark meant to do.

We are all in this together, no matter what kind of abuse we suffered, or from whom.

We did not deserve it, and need to learn and remember this.  We need to put the responsibility for the abuse, and our subsequent hurt and pain, where it belongs–on the abuser–and take none for ourselves.

And we need to NOT look at each other and think, “I got it worse than you, so why should I bother with your story and pain?”

We also need to learn from each other, take courage from each other to speak up and tell our stories, and heal each other.

 

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Repost from 2011: I learn that my narcissist ex-friend choked his daughter

In July 2011, I learned that my ex-friend Richard, a narcissist, had been charged with Child Abuse with High Probability of Great Harm and Second-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.  I did not, however, know any details: which child, what did he do, and was it even the same Richard?  It was his name and birthdate, yet the address was different.  

On September 12, 2011, I found out the truth.  I was waiting anxiously for the police department to release its investigation into the Cruckson case that day.  James Cruckson had raped his ex-girlfriend, and while holed up in his house, shot and killed a police officer–then himself. 

Because the ex-girlfriend was reportedly physically abusive to him and her child, this case was highly controversial in the community, as people argued over whether or not she was really raped, did she try to set him up, etc. 

I followed a conversation in the comments of a local blog, and was especially interested because this was supposedly a woman abusing a man. 

I had become an advocate raising awareness, on Facebook and my website, of women abusing men, because of Tracy abusing Richard, and Chris’ wife abusing him as well.  So it was a big deal when the reports were released to the public.

While watching the website for the Fond du Lac newspaper, waiting for the reports to be released, I happened to come across a feature I did not previously know about: weekly court cases, presented with mug shots and a short description. 

I had been watching the print version’s court cases for years, but lately they’d been missing.  So that’s where they put them! 

I began poking around, scanning through the archives, looking for information on what Richard did.  And there it was, in the March 4, 2011 court cases! 

No more doubt that it was the same Richard, because the address was different–That was him in that mug shot!  And with such an angry look!  I yelled at the picture for what he had done to that girl.

The old court cases were purged from the Net in 2013, but I still have the printouts. 

As I had been doing ever since the “friendship” ended, I went to my real friends for support, expressing my shock and anger at what he had done to his own daughter. 

(My friends are far away, but we are connected by e-mail and Facebook; I also reconnected with some old friends here in town who had drifted off.) 

Their comfort and support helped me realize that my reaction matched the situation, that this was an evil deed. 

This was important, because my own Stockholm Syndrome still affected me a year after the end of the friendship, still made it hard to tell myself that Richard was not the kind, gentle, loving soul I always thought he was. 

I posted the following on my website two days later:

Now I know what happened, something so terrible that Todd is so disgusted that he has dropped Richard even from Facebook, and regrets ever having let Richard into his life, let him influence him, etc. etc.

[Added 3/17/14: I don’t know if Todd told Richard why he dropped him from Facebook.  But I do know that he said that Richard is a “f**king scumbag” and that Richard–who at the time had an icon of a saint for his Facebook profile picture–is a hypocrite

Todd also said that if Richard kept coming to my church, then Richard and my husband needed to have a little talk about Richard not going there anymore. 

Todd has also seen some of the nasty e-mails Richard and Tracy sent to us, and knows about the abuse.]

The details are on the local newspaper’s website, in its weekly listing of court cases and mug shots, from the week of 3/4/11:

On September 21, 2010, the oldest child, who was 9 at the time, was being a typical child, not listening to Richard or cleaning up, when he strangled her until she passed out, and she awoke on a couch.

(He often complained that the kids did not listen to him and clean up.)

She told the police the following day, he admitted to the police that he did this and why, and said that he apologized to her when she woke up.

He was summoned to court and officially charged on March 1, 2011, the same day I posted my letter to CPS, and released on bond.  His court date is very soon.

Now I’m told that when this same daughter was very small, he got so angry with her once that he beat her mercilessly.  This poor girl has been through so much crap in her young life, and now this?  Kudos to her for telling the police instead of pretending everything was okay.

This incident tells me that Richard is not worth my grief, that I should not regret losing his friendship, that his and Tracy’s opinions on anything and everything–including me–are suspect, questionable, and not to be taken seriously or sleep lost over it.

He and Tracy are just big, violent bullies who want to push other people around and intimidate them until they get their own way, and punish them–verbally or sometimes physically–for having their own minds and feelings about things.

I thought for so long that he was so awesome and cool; turns out he’s just a big bully.  He had told me a couple of times that he had abused the children in the past, but that he wasn’t doing that anymore.  

But this incident was in 2010, not 2006 or 2005 or 2004 or whenever he might have done the previous abuse.  This shows that he is not reformed, after all.

Especially because of his size (6’5 and 400 lb.) and strength, this shows that he is not safe for anyone to be around, whether small child, woman, man, anybody.

He deserves to sit in jail for a long time, and he just might.  It puts his comments that he wanted to “strangle” me for something once, into a whole new, disturbing light–because it may have been literal.

This LIAR told me that Tracy was the abuser, when he himself was also abusing the kids.  This also means that when he told me Tracy was abusing him, while I could see that she was truly abusing both him and the kids, he was probably abusing her as well!

This, at last, is the “ah-ha” moment I needed to put this issue to rest in my mind, all the self-reflection, wondering if something they said may have been correct, wondering if I should’ve done something different.

It shows me that I was correct to think they are abusive and manipulative bullies, vindicates my letter to CPS, vindicates me.

It shows me that they have absolutely no business lecturing anyone about right and proper behavior, or boundaries, because they don’t respect the boundaries of others and behave very poorly, selfishly and boorishly.

It tells me that Richard manipulated me into thinking that Tracy was the problem, and that he had learned to control himself through religion, when he himself still has violent tendencies.

It tells me that Tracy’s opinions of me and my behavior, and her justifications of herself, are just so much dung to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that when Richard blamed me for anything, or lectured me for anything, or told me it was stalkerish to save all my letters, or told me I shouldn’t get upset about him not calling when he said he would or responding to my e-mails, or told me that even little kids know that giving a compliment is your cue to start a conversation–that his lectures also needed to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that yes, Tracy is indeed a malignant narcissist and/or narcissistic borderline personality disordered person who only seeks her own twisted ends and doesn’t care about the rights or opinions of others, that I was probably right to suspect that she twisted anything I did or said when reporting to Richard about it, so that he believed her and thought badly of me.

(Once he told me she said I had manipulated Jeff into doing something, when that wasn’t true at all!)

[2014 note: I added “narcissistic” to “borderline” after discovering that there are different kinds of BPD.  I want to distinguish between those who do and do not wish to cause harm.]

It tells me that yes, Richard is indeed a narcissist who twists his way into your heart (whether you’re male or female), manipulates you into doing what he wants you to do and then lets you take the heat

(such as when he began manipulating me into thinking it was perfectly right and proper for him to give me long hugs or put his head on my shoulder when Jeff and Tracy weren’t around and then let Tracy blame me when she found out, when he knew full well what Tracy’s temper was like while I had never even met her before),

then sucks you dry and tosses you aside when your narcissistic supply becomes old or inconvenient.

It tells me that I’m done grieving over the loss of his friendship, done wishing things were different, because there is no way on this earth that I’m going to be friends with child abusers.

[Addendum written 2014:] On September 12, 2011, at 8:13pm, 6 hours after posting a link to the Cruckson case report, I posted to Facebook in a fury I could no longer contain for social niceties,

The one I thought was my awesome, best friend–I was SO fooled. Whatever he and his wife may have thought, the true reason we “broke up” with them was that they’re both violent bullies–verbally and physically.

I witnessed and was told of domestic & child abuse. The LIAR, he told me SHE was the abuser.

But the local newspaper says that HE *choked* his eldest till she passed out. CHOKED her. Confessed to it. And will probably go to jail for it. I NEVER want to see those creeps again!

Todd replied,

What the F**K? They did sh*t so bad it’s in the newspaper? That’s disgusting. And to think I was friends with them once, too. Do you have the link to the article?

He was especially disgusted after seeing the mug shot and court records for himself, since they were freely available online.  One friend said to let CPS protect the kids and not dwell on it.  I responded,

It’s hard not to when for about 5 years I thought he was so cool…when we had seemed like such close friends…when he told me the awful things his wife was doing and that he had to be around to protect the kids from her….

Now to find out that HE is also capable of awful things.

Then I think back and remember: some details of his violent past, being arrested dozens of times for I know not what, how he almost assaulted his landlady until his wife talked him out of it, how he threatened physical violence against my husband for sticking up for me when my “friend” and I were having problems, how he used to be a thug of some kind (I didn’t get many details) when his friends were doing shady activities back in college [that’s the Mafia thing], that he told me if his wife ever cheated he’d take a baseball bat to the guy (just like the Apostle), that if she ever hit him in the face while punching him he would fight back as if she were a man….

Keep in mind that he’s very big and powerful…..I shudder to think what it was like for the eldest girl, only 9 years old at the time, getting choked by him.

It makes me wonder why my husband and I both witnessed the family all together back in June, three months after the charges were filed. I can only hope CPS is working closely with them and getting them to make changes, for him to be allowed to be so close to them.

Another friend wrote,

Oh Nyssa.  That is so very sad. I can’t even imagine why that child is still with parents like that. I agree with you and hope CPS is working closely with them. Also, I’m sure that must be difficult news to find out about your exfriend. Prayers!

The first friend wrote,

Ok, that is too much to forget about. Maybe you should write about your experiences with them to start yourself on the path of recovery? Please know that your true friends would never manipulate you like that and we support you whatever your decisions.

If you saw them in a public place in June, maybe CPS was nearby. But then again, maybe not. This seems like the type of couple that can play a part to manipulate a judge.

I wrote,

Yes, I’ve been writing down my experiences….It seems that the more I remember, the angrier I get….

I saw plenty that the wife was doing–screaming, cussing, smacking around, belittling the children. I heard her yelling at my “friend” and screaming and cussing at others….

She made all sorts of nasty comments to me and deliberately in my hearing and kept getting angry at me. I didn’t get too close to her because of that, but of course, she acted like *I* was the one with the problem, that I was making excuses of shyness etc. for not talking with her much, and tried to force me to befriend her to “prove” that I wasn’t out to “move in on” her husband. (We were just friends!)

And he just kept enabling her. Who needs that kind of drama?

After she became especially nasty one day after an e-mail which she read into all sorts of things that weren’t there, and posted on FB that she’s having a GREAT day because she finally was allowed to scream at me, Jeff and I dropped them like hot potatoes.

But I thought that my “friend,” at least, was a gentle person trying to tamp down his violent past and be pious…. Then I began to write and remember….

My husband told me how, on the day we ended the “friendship,” this guy tried to get into his face and tower over him (he’s very tall) and scream at him, and Jeff yelled at him, “You SIT DOWN! Don’t intimidate me like that!”

And they both went on about how 99% of people would react even more severely than his wife did, etc. etc…..

For so long I’ve been mourning the loss of the friendship and wishing things were different and wondering if maybe, someday, it can be restored. Constantly going over my own part in things and wondering if I should have done some things differently.

But now that I have proof–from our local newspaper and the state’s public court case website–that my “friend” has done something horrible–NO WAY. All the self-reflection can now STOP. All the grief can stop. There’s nothing here that I want back.

My friend wrote,

And there is nothing you did that was wrong. You’ve turned the other cheek to them so often you’ll be spinning for the better part of a year. Keep on writing and maybe go to the batting cages to release the anger.

I wrote,

And yes, I have reported them to CPS–ironically, posting my letter to them the same day he was charged with child abuse. So they know what I know. I’ve done all I can.

At the time, I thought the report would lead to services offered to the family, such as parenting classes and anger management and the like, and CPS would work with them to improve their lives.

When a guy shot a cop and himself after a domestic abuse situation with his ex-girlfriend here in town, I thought, “I hope that my letter to CPS means that my ex-friends won’t turn out like this!”

I had no clue that the same day I sent the letter, one of them was being charged with intentional child abuse causing injury (high probability of great harm) and 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety, both felonies which could lead to many years in state prison.

At the time, I was very low spiritually, wondering how God could have led these people into my life and then ripped them out again in such horrible circumstances.

Now I see His leading, helping me find the spiritual answers I was seeking 6 years ago, but also putting me in position to witness things that needed to be brought to the attention of authorities.

I was there to try to influence them if possible and save them from themselves, I think, because I did try, but they scoffed at my opinions.

Then God yanked me out of the situation just in time–only two and a half months before this horrible thing happened.

And kudos to that little girl for having the courage to tell the police what happened.

Another friend wrote,

God works mysteriously, and thank God that girl had such courage. I’ve been in situations as a teacher where I knew abuse was occurring, but the child had been so well trained to lie and protect the parent.

Nyssa, you are a beautiful soul. It is so Christ-like to see the good in such a person. I remember the pain you suffered when the friendship ended, but in hindsight: what a blessing!

I’ve made some really sorry choices sometimes in friendships too, so please don’t beat yourself up about it. Lesson learned. Blessings and prayers!

I wrote,

Thanks! It’s painful to think of someone I trusted and thought was a good person, doing something like this….

But I’m told that when this girl was very small, he beat her mercilessly once. What kind of person does such a thing to a little girl??? And now he’s proven that he’s not reformed, after all.

The only good place for him is in jail, sad to say.

And of course, when it became clear that Tracy was still with Richard, some of us wondered WHY?  HOW can you stay with the man who nearly killed your daughter?  One person said she had seemed too smart for that.  We were all quite puzzled by the whole thing.

 

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Abusive ex Phil has a new bride….

There are certain people I’ve encountered throughout my life who I, occasionally, look up on the state’s court records website, because they have violent and/or abusive and/or otherwise criminal records.  One is my former boss, though he’s done nothing criminal in the past 10 years.

(Speaking of former bosses, I had two at the same time.  The narc one who abused his wife and ended up in jail, was my secondary boss.  My other boss, my primary boss, just died a week and a half ago.  He moved with his wife to Florida 15 years ago when he retired and didn’t keep in touch, so I didn’t know until I saw the obituary a few days ago.  He was as old as my dad was.  Still dealing with the thought that my old boss isn’t on this earth anymore.  🙁   )

Another is this sociopath.  He’s on the sexual offender registry for taking naughty pics of a 15-year-old.  This is a weird guy with fixations on the idea that Christianity is EVIL and that the US government is EVIL and out to get him.  I even found him featured on an episode of some obscure tinfoil-hat Youtube channel.  The police had trouble identifying him because he is a natural-born American citizen but has no documentation, but has several aliases and birthdates.  He says he wrote popular games for Atari and even took down some bank with a computer virus.

He said my SCA group, especially my husband, were somehow persecuting him some 20 years ago, because we asked him to remove his personal religious views from our group’s official website, which he ran.  (Seriously, he had articles about astral projection on there, making us appear to be some kind of religious cult instead of an informal educational group.)

He once threatened to take down Charter Cable with a trojan because of his persecution complex.  He’s made enemies all over Sheboygan in the years since he moved there–One Sheboygan forum even had a whole section full of his haters.

He insists that his conviction is all some big PLOT against him.  He refused to follow the terms of being on his registry, so ended up in jail.  I found several articles about him, and read his manifesto to the court on how he’s being persecuted.

He’s already on his fifth lawyer and STILL has not gone to trial.  They keep withdrawing, or he keeps kicking them out, I don’t know.  He also–many times–refuses to be transported to his hearings, even though he’s in jail.  I didn’t know you could do that???!!!

Another is a person connected with the trolls.  She lives in Wisconsin, and once even contacted me with a nasty message.  She used to be a troll, but turned against them, even though she still stalks their usual target.  The trolls say she died several months ago, but their usual target says her Twitter account is still active, and he doesn’t believe it.  I also have found no record of a death in her hometown newspaper.  She tried a few times to take out restraining orders against him and a troll, but failed.

Another is my ex Phil, the one who abused me worse than any of my other abusive exes.  You can read all about him in my college memoirs, where the stories about him covered two years.  In short, he:

  1. sexually abused me, which included trying to force me into anal sex, and forcing me into oral sex
  2. threatened to physically abuse me, and slapped and otherwise abused his next girlfriend Persephone
  3. verbally, mentally and emotionally abused me
  4. played mindbending tricks on me, playing on my gullibility to manipulate me
  5. tried to separate me from my friends, and even said my family was against him
  6. made his friends believe I was the abuser; one then turned into a flying monkey who tried to lecture me into submission to Phil
  7. verbally abused Wife #2, as witnessed by my friends after I graduated
  8. and probably other stuff which I don’t remember right at this moment

He “had” to marry Wife #2.  My friends called her my “replacement” because not only did she join their group after I graduated, but Phil began dating her.  They said that watching them together was like watching him and me all over again, which disturbed them.  The difference was that she’d lie about where she was, when she’d miss an InterVarsity or sorority event because of him.  They even tried to warn her from marrying him, but she didn’t listen.

Well, it lasted about 10 years.  He posted on Classmates.com that she didn’t “support” him in a job move.  Knowing how he used to throw that word around against me, I suspect it wasn’t so simple.  I also found in the court records that he was convicted of disorderly conduct years ago.  There were no public records of what he did, but there was a victim who gave a statement.  I believe it was before the divorce from Wife #2.  Make of that what you will, since that’s all the information I could find.

Now I decided to check again.  Turns out that, just yesterday, his own sister filed a harassment restraining order against him!

I also found, through his Facebook, that he has a new fiancee or wife.  I looked her Facebook over as well.

Don’t worry: It’s way too long ago–24 years–for me to be jealous or otherwise adversely emotionally impacted by checking out my ex’s profile or his new bride’s.  In fact, he and I have exchanged a few messages via social media, not recently but in the past 10 years.  So I can handle it.

But what shocked me was his new bride’s posts about him.  There were a lot of them, of course.  She is besotted; he clearly is, too, despite a huge age difference.  Her friends say how great he is, what a great couple they are.  And I wonder–

Has he changed CONSIDERABLY since I knew him?

Or is this just the lovebombing stage?

They’ve only been together about a year or two from what I see, and either just got married, or will soon.  He and I were together far less than that, but we had a whirlwind romance and a nonlegal marriage after only two months.  It was longer than that before he married Wife #2, during which time I could tell–from what she said at a party one Christmas–that he was lovebombing her.  My friends heard him yell at her in the dorm, but he can still sweet-talk you so much that you forget about it.

Well, marriage #2 ended after only 10 years, so obviously the lovebombing didn’t last.  It didn’t last long into our marriage, either.  And now he has just married Wife #3, or will soon.  So it’s still lovebombing time.

So I wonder, looking at new wife’s Facebook timeline–Has he changed considerably in 24 years?  Or is he just putting on the usual show until he has the new woman hooked?

Persephone saw the same issues in him that I did.  My friends saw him as controlling and possessive.  My friends hated him not just for how he treated me, but for how he treated Wife #2 in their presence.  This pattern tells me that the problem in our relationship was not me.

As I struggled for many years to work through the emotional trauma Phil put me through, using writing therapy and research into abuse, I began to identify all sorts of ways that he manifested signs of narcissism.

And then there’s that new fact that his own sister just took out a restraining order against him yesterday.

BTW, I also saw on his sister’s Facebook that she works and fights against child abuse, just as I do.  It makes me wonder if she ever saw the signs that Phil himself was abusive to his wives.

So–Has he really changed?  Is he really the wonderful, sweet, angelic man that his new bride and her friends think he is?

Maybe check back in a year or two…..

Update 7/14/18: 

The court date finally came.  Then they rescheduled because Phil was never actually served.  Seems they made his sister do the serving, which I don’t understand because wouldn’t it be dangerous to have somebody serve their own restraining order?

Anyway, the second court date finally came this week.  Turns out Phil was still never served, and neither he nor his sister showed up at court, so the restraining order was dismissed.

Since none of them are posting about it on Facebook, the online court records have no details, and maybe Phil didn’t even know about it since he was never served, I guess I’ll never know what th’ heck that was about.  All I know is that Phil does not appear to be Facebook friends with his brother or sister or even his own mother.  Weird.

Also see:

Is this why my ex Phil was so abusive?

So Phil, my abusive ex-husband, is back in the hospital

A couple of notes: Spanking and No, the new girlfriend did NOT change my abusive ex

Abusive Ex: Blame it on him, not mental illness

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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.)

 

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The pain of losing a best friend who turned out be a narcissist: Repost from 2011

[Originally posted here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/tracy-part-93/.  This started out as a Facebook note posted in December 2011, meant to explain to my friends (including mutual ones with my abusers) why it was so hard for me to just forget Richard and move on.  It turned into a much larger blog post when I began adding more and more to the note.  At that time, my blog did not have the details of my story publicly posted, as it does now.  Written Tuesday, December 27, 2011.]

Some friends just drift in and out of your life.  Some hurt when they drift away, but you deal with it and move on.  Some may anger you so much that losing them doesn’t bother you.  Losing a friend is not easy in any case, but it’s far more difficult when it was that one extra-special friend, the kind that’s so rare.

All my life I had wanted the elusive bosom friend that Anne Shirley spoke of.  The friend who sticks with you for life, not a romance, not sex or marriage, which I already have, but a platonic friend.  Frodo/Sam.

I’ve made close friends, but then somebody would move away, or classes/lunch periods would change.  I wanted such a friend right here in my own town, not many miles away, separated for so many years that the friendship remains, but the closeness inevitably suffers.

I thought I finally found that friend when this one moved to my town.  I had just prayed for a friend a few months before.  Jeff and I both liked him and I thought he was that friend, an answer to prayer.

I considered him my best and closest friend.  He’s the one who helped light my way when I searched for the True Church, the original doctrines.  He had already found it before I did.

We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches.  We could sympathize with each other about going through contemporary church services.

We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge and interest; we could discuss the meaning of original sin, or whether River of Fire is a good source of Orthodox doctrine;

we could discuss what it means to experience the Holy Spirit;

I could ask him about various things, such as why the English translations of the Latin and Greek versions of the Nicene Creed are so different, even the parts that come from the original Ecumenical Council that produced them;

I could share with him Orthodox writings, and give him Orthodox books and icons for Christmas or birthdays.

I could tell him what led me away from Western doctrines, without feeling judged for turning to “heresies.”  I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things, at least not from the same background, baseline knowledge, amount of interest and same denomination.

I asked him about difficult points of Orthodox doctrine or practices; I asked him how to forgive people who had hurt me years before; I lamented to him about Net Orthodoxy and its legalism.

He was my spiritual mentor.  He was the one I always wrote to with details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting.  Who else can I write these things to, who has the same level of interest?  I wrote to him about my church because he was the one who led me there.  And these things led to sharing about our life experiences and troubles.

I told him my secrets, and he told me his.  He was my counselor, as I poured out my heart to him about various issues I was dealing with, and details of how I’d been bullied growing up, and how I’d been used and abused by college exes, including private details which I did not normally tell anyone, because of their nature.  I told him these things because I trusted him completely, was comfortable with telling him.

I told him funny stories of things that happened day-to-day, or dreams.  I shared with him thoughts about movies I watched, books I read, life stories.  We talked for hours at a time.

He lived with us for a time, so became like part of the family, like an adopted brother, so I could tell him things I didn’t tell other people.  We could joke back and forth with each other and play off each other so easily that one guy once said, “I love it when you guys are here!”

He and I went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy.  And he and I also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres, 80s, New Wave–and yet knowing some of the same Christian artists as well.  He had actually been a Goth, while I was interested in Goth culture, did as much “Gothyness” as I could do in a small city in the Midwest.

Because of our similar backgrounds, we both knew about the Thief in the Night series, Left Behind, and other such things.  We were even the same age, so had the same nostalgia for TV shows or movies we grew up with.  We both liked watching EWTN.  We were both interested in paranormal investigations.

It just seems impossible to replace him.  These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to his friendship.

Every time something comes up that before I would write in a quick e-mail to him, I wonder, Is there anyone I can tell this to?  Sometimes I can, but many times, I can’t.  So I start wishing I could write that e-mail to him, because nobody else would understand, or nobody else is privy to those things.

Where else am I to find someone like this?  I try to remind myself of all the violence, the self-seeking, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else, as if he were a car or a computer that can just be exchanged for something new and better.

And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship.

That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to my husband and me, ready to abandon the violence and arrogance that pushed Jeff and me away, ready to start anew.

That’s why I’m filled anew with grief every time I see him at church, he says not a word to me, and I feel I must avoid him, push him away, because of his violence and betrayal, because I can’t trust him.

I barely make it through the service without collapsing in a puddle of tears.  Trying to keep in Orthodoxy, also, has become very difficult, because everything about it reminds me of him.  Sometimes I’m tempted to just give all of it up.

Nobody can help me because the friendship I had was so rare, so hard to find again, and not something you ever get over.  You can’t just go out and find another one just like it; it takes time and coming across just the right person at just the right time.

And I don’t even know if he misses us or regrets what happened, if he only keeps away because he’s (justifiably) afraid of my husband’s anger at him over all the things he did, or if he just doesn’t care.  If he truly misses us, or just misses playing D&D with Jeff.  If he remembers all the kind things we did for him.

And the most tragic thing is, I have no clue what happened.  The winter of 2009-2010, everything was fine between us all.  I don’t recall much bullying of me going on at that time, I was led to believe that the wife had long since stopped holding her inexplicable and irrational grudges against me, and everything was fine. 

But somehow, over the spring of 2010, for no reason I ever knew, they just both started being mean to me.

But as for him–I don’t know that I’ll ever get over what he did, unless he stops justifying his behavior and comes to me, and repents.  Forgive perhaps, eventually, but lose the hurt feelings?  Stop feeling betrayed by my best friend?  Stop wishing that he would do the right thing?  Probably never.

For the time being, I feel like I’ve gone back into the shell which I had been emerging from, afraid to share too much, afraid that I’ll make new friends and love them only to find that they’re abusive as well, afraid about every move I make because maybe they’ll think I’m horrible for being so quiet, or they’ll accuse me of stalking or being annoying or some other horrible thing.  I didn’t use to be so scared of these things.

And I’m also afraid every week of seeing Richard and/or his wife at church, because they do show up on occasion, leaving me nervous, shaken and afraid of what rumors they might try to spread, or of them wanting to make some sort of confrontation. 

Church used to be my refuge, but because they are so close to it, I fear they will show up in my life again some time in the future in some way.  I stay away from their church, and wish they would stay away from mine.

Every day, I’m haunted by the memory of how they bullied me, how a trusted and beloved friend betrayed me, the abuses that I witnessed.

[The original of this post is here.]

 

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