abuse stories

Response to Lauren Shifflett’s story of sexual trauma by church leader

I came across the following post through a WordPress plugin which brings up supposedly similar blog posts to link to in your own posts:

Now We Are Free by Lauren Shifflett

She writes of her sexual abuse and harassment by a youth leader in her church, but prefaces this with how she was bullied as a kid.  I saw similarities with my own experiences, but her comments are turned off (probably because people get mean), so I’m writing this blog response instead.

She, like me, was rejected as a girlfriend, but was a target of sexual harassment by her male peers.  This put all sorts of negative opinions of herself into her head.  She

couldn’t understand why ninety percent of boys found me repulsive and the remaining ten percent felt this strange need to expose themselves to me in some sexual way.

Same thing with me.  My first memory of sexual harassment was from Kindergarten.  I loved to wear dresses.  Every day I wore a dress, preferred them to pants.  Then one day on the way home from school, a couple of boys, smaller than I was, cornered me and kept lifting up my skirt and laughing.

My mother never understood why, all of a sudden, I insisted on wearing pants instead of dresses, because I never told her.

There was the guy who pulled up next to me as I walked to school, and opened the passenger door for me to get in, but I was too smart for him and walked on.

There was the middle-aged man who kept wanting to hug me at church.  It may have been perfectly innocent, but I didn’t know him and it made me feel weird, so I didn’t like him.  I didn’t trust him at all.  I don’t recall him doing this to other girls, just me.

In elementary and junior high, I got a lot of bullying in general because I was different from the other kids.  I couldn’t figure out what it was about me that set them off, because to myself I seemed normal.

No matter what I did in public, I began to feel very awkward about it.  For example, I preferred to always carry something or have my hands in my pockets as I walked, because just walking made me self-conscious.

In junior high, once some kid put a sign on my back during a fire drill.  I never knew what it said because I finally knocked it off, having felt it go on.  But everyone around me was laughing–even my teacher!

The teacher, who struck me as being a classic stereotypical nerd complete with pocket protector, should have known better, but he laughed anyway.

My freshman year in high school, I was also sexually harassed by three guys, two of them together.

One of them kept making sexual comments to me at lunch, and once even put his penis on the table next to me.  I refused to look, but know he did it, because of the reactions of the guys around him.

I couldn’t stand the school’s chicken sandwiches after that because that’s what I was eating at the time, so it reminded me of it.

Now I know that I could’ve switched tables to get away from them, but at the time I felt trapped into sitting at that one table because that’s where I sat at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t realize that I could sit at a different table with other kids.

I’m not sure why I felt that I had to sit at that table, but it could have been an NVLD thing: “You can’t change the pattern you’ve already set!”

After lunch we would all stand by the door and wait for the bell; I can remember this guy doing or saying something while we stood in line, so much that I crouched down as if to protect myself.  But I just don’t remember what exactly he was doing.

The two other guys, who sat at the table behind mine in Biology class second semester, would spend the class period making sexual comments to me.  Once, one spoke so loudly to me during the lecture that the teacher stopped and scolded them.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell the teachers what was happening; a friend told me to do so about the lunch period bully, but something kept me quiet.  In fact, in general I was a passive recipient of bullying.  I just didn’t fight back.

Meanwhile, my Photography teacher made at least one such comment as well.  (I don’t know why all this happened the same year.)

All first semester he’d been harassing me for being a Christian and having conservative values, even though I don’t recall saying a whole lot about them in class or much of anything, really, unless spoken to.

Other kids in Photography class joined in on the religious harassment, including a witch who told me her coven killed my cat (all I said was he went missing on Halloween and never came back), and one day started yelling at me that maybe God is the liar and the Devil is telling the truth–until a Jewish girl told her to quit it and leave me alone.

Then one day, during a work period, the teacher was sitting on a stool at a large table when I had to get around an obstruction of some type.  I don’t remember the details now, what the obstruction was, or anything.  But I didn’t want to go behind him to get around, because there wasn’t enough room and I’d run into his butt.

Rather than leave me alone like any decent man would do, he ridiculed me and told me to go behind him.

I don’t know why on earth I did this like an idiot–probably because I had grown up with the mindset that you do whatever a teacher tells you–but I started going the other way to go behind him, like an obedient student.

He started humming or moaning, and a girl said to me with wide eyes, “Better not do that.”

The following semester, I ditched that class and switched to a class on life skills.  He was a major reason why, both from this and from his religious harassment.

(We learned about such things as teen pregnancy, whether you should marry the teen father, domestic abuse, and watched movies about tough lives like one about teen runaways and The Burning Bed.)

That year or the next, a letter to the editor of the school newspaper complained about an unnamed teacher who would sexually harass students.  I always wondered if the girl who “rescued” me was the writer and if she meant my Photography teacher.  (I must have forgotten her name already.)

All these things happened freshman year, and that year I began to get an ulcer from the stress.  After every lunch period, my stomach was in a lot of pain.

My junior year, I developed headaches from TMJ in my jaw, another stress-related condition, even though the freshman year bullies had either graduated or were no longer in my classes.

Meanwhile, freshman year I had a couple of guys want to date me, but my mom wouldn’t let me until I turned 16.  After that, nobody seemed interested.  I now know that one guy was in love with me senior year, but never worked up the courage to say so, so I had no clue.  Even when I thought for sure a guy liked me, he’d insist that he didn’t.  Or date another girl.  But I was a target for harassment.

In college, a similar problem arose.  Outright sexual harassment didn’t happen so much, but once again, few guys wanted to date me, but even Christian ones preferred to use my body.  One claimed to love me, but turned out to be an abusive narcissist who sexually abused and kept trying to assault me because I did not want to do anal or oral sex.

The one who used me, ripped me apart constantly, then criticized me for being too “negative” and reserved.  How could I feel more confident and open when he kept essentially telling me I was unloveable?

And yes, you internalize this.  I felt much as Lauren did.  I didn’t have a boyfriend at 15 like she did, so there was no sexual activity back then, but I do know how this makes you feel like you’re just a weirdo who no one will actually love, and ugly.  My mom got upset with me for not thinking I was pretty, but how could I think so when this is how I got treated?  I felt ugly.

This is part of the reason why Richard found me so malleable, when he started paying all sorts of attention to me, calling me constantly right before he moved into my house, and then, while here, spending all his time with me.

He basically groomed me, through all this love-bombing and slowly but steadily making me think that his in-secret physical affection was appropriate for friends.  (None of it sexual, but it was way too much.)  When I got concerned about what he was doing, thought we had started an affair, and felt like absolute sh** over it, he said, no, no, no, this was all perfectly innocent FRIENDly behavior.

Then a few of his friends sexually harassed me in an IRC chatroom.  Just yet more of what I’d experienced in high school, only now online.  The whole story is here, too long for this post.  They began making comments about my genitals, totally unprovoked by me, and while Richard saw it all.  His wife even came online and talked about inviting these guys to their house!

But later on, when I asked Richard to not talk about the harassers around me because I was still traumatized by what they did, he said I was being “ridiculous” and that he thought I realized that online “isn’t real.”

I thought he was safe.  He planned to become an Orthodox priest, and had actually been a Foursquare preacher in his youth.  He manipulated my emotions and tore me apart, over a period of a few years.  He eventually even admitted to having hypnotized me without my knowing it.  He said it was to make me open up to him; I have often wondered if it was also to make me more open to his grooming.

Because he was convicted of choking one of his children, he can no longer become a priest, but I fear him still becoming a psychologist.  I hope the conviction will prevent that as well.  Todd says that Richard used his supposed superior knowledge of psychology to bully him; Richard did a similar thing to me.

I believe that Richard is a narcissist who zeroed in quickly on my vulnerability.  I had been married for years, so the lack of a boyfriend was a long-gone problem.  But I still felt the insecurities of those growing-up years, and was incredibly lonely for friendship.

(This is one major reason why I don’t want this man in my church or anywhere even touching my life.  I fear my own vulnerability, along with knowing that he is also capable of physical violence, having served probation for choking his kid.  He was once a mob thug, and has even threatened violence to my husband.  He is able to con people into thinking he’s a pious man with a big heart, so they end up doing his dirty work, as I did some of his when he screwed over his friend Todd.  I also don’t want his wife in my church, because she’s just as bad: She can pretend to be a decent person, but is extremely abusive, emotionally, verbally and physically–and when you recognize it, she smears you, as she did to Todd.  Both she and Richard have also mocked and tried to intimidate me, and have demonstrated stalker tendencies.)

Richard zeroed in, just as the youth leader, Luke, zeroed in on Lauren’s vulnerability.  Luke began an affair with Lauren, and when she tried to end it, began stalking her.  Then she suffered because of the lax response of her church, some apparently taking his side over hers, as her sister describes here.  She does not feel safe at that church anymore.

Just as I feel not at all safe when I think of Richard and his wife just casually showing up at my church again, as they’ve done from time to time, or even becoming part of it now that their church has merged with mine.

Church needs to be a safe place.

Make my story of narc abuse into a novel?

With Holy Week next week, I don’t plan to post my usual new posts or do much updating to the blog.  There simply won’t be time, and I’ll need to focus on the many church services (one to two PER DAY!).

The blog takes up much of my writing time, but over time I hope to complete two projects:

1) Turning my solar system story-game into a children’s book.  Then, later on, my other childhood story-games.

2) Turning the Richard/Tracy story into a book.  Whether a novel or creative nonfiction, I’m not sure yet.  Both forms would turn the autobiographical material into scenes, which automatically fictionalizes it.  So I would have more room to play with the story, turn it into some kind of literary work far beyond the limited scope of an abuse blog.

But “creative nonfiction” has to all be basically true; you are turning the vagueness of memory into dialogue and scene.  With a novel, I could add or delete characters, change things, maybe even add a vampire or two.  😉  At this point, it’s just a few paragraphs in a file, roughing it out, no clear direction yet.

I’m not entirely sure what to do with it; I don’t want it to languish in the glut of abuse memoirs.  It has to be something which could sell, not the same old hackneyed theme.  (Abuse memoirs are useful and popular for blogs, but putting them into marketable books becomes far more challenging.)

I don’t want it to be some abuse memoir sitting next to ten other abuse memoirs, when instead it could be, say, examining the emotional fallout when one’s idol and religious mentor falls, based on fact but with a fictional setting.  In other words, in movie terms, more Sundance than Lifetime.

As I revise my blog, I see so many potential themes in my story which could be put to good use: betrayal by a religious mentor, and struggling to find belief in God again afterwards, for one.  I could make a shining jewel out of this darkness.

Also, the more I see people subscribing to my blog and connecting with the posts that skewer my abusers’ sociopathic e-mail to me (see here), the less and less power that sociopathic e-mail retains over me.  I realize that my abusers have not been back at my church for two and a half years.

I realize that I feel mostly content these days, because I’m busy at church and Writer’s Club, and people in both places call me Friend.  This helps remove any residual emotional attachment to Richard.

My abusers do not have the ability to sue, no legal leg to stand on, so their e-mail had only an emotional power to hurt me.  Once I remove the emotional power, all their power to hurt me is gone.

So I have a happy ending to give this book, power to give to others.

In any case, my creative juices need to flow again, not be restricted to blogging.  Especially since I need some new material to bring into Writer’s Club workshops.  🙂

The trouble is, I still have to revise such a large portion of this website/blog: December’s theme update screwed up the quotes.  Also, I need to check each post for grammar, readability and outdated links.  And it takes at least an hour a night just to fix these things.  Argh!

And I have no clear direction yet, just a germ of an idea.  So it will be slow-going to begin with.

But hey, after watching Being John Malkovich last night, I read that it started simply as, Married man falls in unrequited love with another woman.  And look what that turned into!

[Update 4/5/15:]  I first got this idea while reading Pioneer Girl, the introduction of which describes Rose Wilder Lane’s “creative nonfiction.”

I think I have sorted it out: Write a rough draft which is totally, brutally true, including even the details I’ve never told anyone, things which I’m sure Richard doesn’t want me to write.  Yes, Richard, I still remember it all.

[Update 4/7/15: This exercise just brought back memories I long since forgot, and it troubled me….Basically, simply by putting into scenes the times he pushed the boundaries, I remembered how close we once were, how comfortable with each other, which for me is rare. 

It brought back why his betrayal and true character were so astounding and devastating.  Yet another reason to just rough a draft and then set it all aside for many years.  This story is full of the stuff of drama, the stuff that people want to read, but it is still too raw to bring out in a novel just yet.]

Go into detail about things I only hinted at here, what he did, how he worked me over until I believed all his justifications and lies and thought he did nothing at all improper.  For my own peace of mind, my own purging.

Fudging only as needed to fill out missing parts of my memory or things which I should’ve said but probably didn’t, for dramatic purposes or to complete a scene.

Then let it sit for ten years.  Gain perspective.  See if anybody ever repents in that time, or if anything else happens, if more becomes clear.

During that time, turn my college memoirs and childhood memories into a series of marketable books and stories, and my childhood stories into children’s books.  My college memoirs now depict 20-year-old happenings, so I am emotionally distant from them and can be more objective.

They’re also full of the stuff of drama: sex, lies, abuse, and of course, humor.  Finally begin my writing career in earnest, not just some half-heartedly-promoted self-published books.

Then turn back to the story.  Cut, add, change, do whatever it requires to be marketable.  Make it art and NOT a revenge piece.  See how much I want to be made public and how much needs to go to my grave with me.

Then retire my blogs about it here, and submit it for publication under a new pseudonym.  Whether my abusers ever find it, or forget all about it, who knows.

They already appear to finally be losing interest in my blog, which was the last connection they still had to me after they abandoned their church stalking campaign.

The payoff of sharing my abusers’ sociopathic e-mail: Part 2 of my “Stalked” series has been pinned

Statcounter constantly reveals interest in various sections of my “Now I’m Being Stalked” series from 2012.

In this series, which was originally one long post, now split into 7 parts starting here, I described how Richard and Tracy had begun stalking me, and posted the sociopathic e-mail they sent me.

Then in 2014, I re-visited the e-mail with Running my abusers’ e-mail through the narc decoder.

The latest numbers, gathered about a month ago, showed that this series had received 528 views.

In Part 2 and “Running,” I tore apart the sociopathic e-mail by showing the truth behind my stalkers’ ludicrous, lying words.

And these posts are being read.  “Running” has received 33 hits just in the last month.  The various parts of “Stalked” have received 43 total in the last month.

Recently, Part 2 and “Running” have been getting more attention.  Someone in Canada has read “Running” 13 times over the past few days.  And now Part 2 has been pinned:

Gratitude Girl has pinned my post, just before 6am this morning her time, onto the Psych/Narcissism/Sociopathy/Abuse/Codependency board on Pinterest.  (She also pinned Breaking the Power of Narcissists.)

She runs the board; it has 407 followers.  Here’s hoping this pin helps the post go viral, just as a post to a Facebook group last spring made this post go viral: Wasted Years Mourning a Narcissist: Reclaiming Our Lost Selves and Thriving

[Update 4/4/15: And now somebody read “Stalked” (whole page) and “Running,” and subscribed to my blog.  🙂  )

My blog just contains diary posts, not the “expert” advice of life coaches or psychiatrists.  These detail my struggles and the lessons I learn from them.

Yet so many people are connecting with various posts, whether on narcissism or abuse, that I continually see yet another Facebook share in Statcounter, or a reblog.

It felt so risky to post on these subjects–especially when my two recent abusers discovered them and began stalking me for it.  It felt risky to continue posting even as they watched my blog every week–sometimes more often–to intimidate me into silence.

I didn’t know if they were laughing, if they were looking for a reason to sue, or what they wanted.

It was risky, intimidating, frightening, foolhardy.

But I did it anyway, to prove to myself that I wasn’t just some weak-willed, easily-dominated target of bullies.

And over time, my blog has grown.  My site currently averages 148 views a day and is maybe two months away from 100,000 views.  Others have found comfort and lessons in my posts.  Comments are often turned off, but I see it in repeat visitors, likes, printing my posts, subscriptions, and online shares.

It is particularly comforting to see this in the past week, right after I revised the formatting for the “Stalked” posts and sticky-posted a few of them on my front page for a bit.  Part 2 includes the sociopathic e-mail.

It is comforting to see others read Part 2 or “Running,” because they, too, see this e-mail for themselves.  They then read my response, and find something of value in it for their own struggles with abusers.  I see people click on the link that prints the post.

Just as it was comforting to share that e-mail with the members of the Forum, and know they understand and believe me.  And now, in the past month, new members of the Forum have gone through the 3-year-old threads, read the e-mail and empathized with me, then asked me if things were resolved, and if Richard was properly punished, because child abuse is disgusting.

Just writing these blog posts, and including the sociopathic e-mail from my abusers, was emotionally taxing, because the e-mail meant to rip me apart.

It made me practically catatonic when it first came in.  I was appalled and devastated to discover just how evil both Richard and Tracy truly are, to send such an e-mail and to even plan to stalk me at church!  To call themselves Christians, and then behave in such a manner–!!!!

The e-mail is so horrid (and proves me correct even while objecting to making Tracy out to be a “horrible person”) that I could not even open the original “Stalked” post again for two years.

The same as other e-mails sent by Tracy back in July and August 2010, which I kept as evidence, but have not even peeked at in five years.

Tracy’s style of writing would be familiar to many of you: the kind that tears you apart and makes you afraid to even open an e-mail from your abuser.

(Obviously, Tracy does not feel this way when reading my blog, since she reads here so often.)

When I read Oscar Wilde’s account of Bosie’s telegrams and letters in De Profundis, I realized that Bosie and his father were male Tracys.

Bosie and his father both had a raging dysfunction which Wilde said ran in the family, so it must have been some sort of Cluster B personality disorder.

From what I know of Tracy, abuse, narcissism, borderline personality disorder, and Bosie’s family, writing such horrid letters appears to be a common trait among abusers.

There is absolutely no concern for nor respect for the recipient, but rather a desire to make him or her feel smaller than a dust mite, to make her feel like the slime on the wall of a sewer pipe.

And it makes no difference whether the recipient did anything to deserve this: No, all that matters to the abuser is that the abuser THINKS he did.  Wilde would get such letters and telegrams from Bosie without rhyme nor reason to it.

So it was emotionally risky to open those posts again in order to revise them.  But I did it anyway.

It is wonderful and healing to see that my pain in doing this, is helping others to heal.

It was worthwhile not only to share those blog posts and the e-mail, but to keep them up.  Sometimes it takes a while, but others find them and use them to glean their own lessons.  They find validation for their own struggles.  They find a way to no longer care when their own abusers send them e-mails like mine sent me.

Then, sometimes, they share with others.

It’s all part of raising awareness and helping to heal abuse victims.

[Update 4/5/15:]  Also, the more I see people subscribing to my blog and connecting with the posts that skewer my abusers’ sociopathic e-mail to me, the less and less power that sociopathic e-mail retains over me.  I realize that my abusers have not been back at my church for two and a half years.

I realize that I feel mostly content these days, because I’m busy at church and Writer’s Club, and people in both places call me Friend.  This helps remove any residual emotional attachment to Richard.

My abusers do not have the ability to sue, no legal leg to stand on, so their e-mail had only an emotional power to hurt me.  Once I remove the emotional power, all their power to hurt me is gone.

BLOG HARD!

Why I post my abuse experiences

[This is already an often-read page along my sidebar, but I’m posting this for old readers who have not yet seen it.]

I post My Journey Through Recovery from Abuse, or the process of my journey from a recent, traumatic bullying experience, through the anger and pain, hopefully to rise above it through writing therapy.

I post college memoirs of how I’ve handled abuse/bullying in the past and risen above it.

Some things I write may reveal that I’m not blameless, but if I were, I wouldn’t be human.  Sometimes I won’t recognize my own blame, while readers might.  I am limited by my own perspective.  But it’s important that the story be truthful, not whitewashing.  Whitewashing would hurt my credibility.  It also won’t help other victims of abuse who struggle with feeling they brought on the abuse.

I DO NOT NAME MY ABUSERS ON THE INTERNET.  That information is reserved for friends and family (and people in authority if needed). 

The names used here are false.  I do not give addresses or post pictures of my abusers.  So revenge is out of the question.

This isn’t about holding onto pain or a “pity party.”  I don’t sit around all day brooding over how I’ve been treated in the long-past.

This was about analyzing what happened, fighting to understand, so that I could recognize patterns, weaknesses, and what could have driven my abusers to act in such a manner (without blaming myself, as they wanted to do).

One purpose of writing this was to get out all those feelings of anger, sadness and depression, to pull myself out of that deep funk–

–so that I could function again, enjoy life, pursue my dreams and interests, and have energy to give to others.

The blog is a journal to hold all those negative feelings so that my “real life” can be content–and so I have the strength to deal with what else comes my way each day.

In fact, most of the time, whatever incident you read about in these blogs, I barely think about anymore in my “real life.”  But I put it here not just to vent it out and heal, but to help others, as I explain below.

My own purposes in writing this have been fulfilled.  I continue to share this journal with you, my readers, to help you reach that stage of healing and contentment as well.

You can see every stage of my confusion, anger and grief, as I keep it up for you, along with how the abusers were able to entrap and keep me in their webs.  Through this, you can recognize your own experiences, and know that others have been there–yet survived.

I post my abuse experiences to help others recognize how abusers operate–and get out of that relationship.  I also post to validate and comfort other abuse victims, show them they are not crazy, that this happens to others.

I also post because two of my abusers have been keeping close watch on this blog since May 2012, and I want to prove to them (and myself) that they cannot intimidate and threaten me into silence–as I hope that maybe something I write will finally get through to them.

This is a safe way for me to confront them with what they have done, so that I can one day forgive them.

Abusers fear exposure, which is why they tried to threaten me into silence.  Oddly enough, by keeping up this blog despite threats, I seem to be keeping the abusers at bay.  Maybe because they know if they do anything else, I will post it–and that I am not afraid to go to authority figures for help.

I also post because I’ve been through some wacky and unbelievable stuff in my life, but it’s all true, it all really happened to me.  So I post it because I’m a born writer who just HAS to tell a good, wacky or tragic story when I have one.  Otherwise my writing would all be just boring, meaningless drivel.

I also post to raise awareness and understanding of abuse and how it affects people with social learning disorders (Asperger’s, NVLD).

I am joining the worldwide conversation on abuse.  I want the full accounts of my experiences to stay up even as the years pass, to help others have a more complete picture of just how abusers and narcissists act and how their targets react.

[written 2014: ] I am stickying old posts to breathe new life into them, something bloggers often struggle with, especially old posts from before they got readers.

I am also revising a web-book (The Darkness Engulfs Me: Abuse by Two Narcissists–and Betrayal by a Best Friend and Spiritual Mentor) which I wrote from 2010-2012, and posting it here, to get more readers.  I’m also revising and posting my College Memoirs web-book, for the same reason.  These are, or include, stories of abuse and bullying.

(A 4-page summary and index of the first story is here.  The process of working through the despair to healing, is here.)

In both web-books, since I wrote them about and/or during emotional periods in my life, there are passages which reflect this emotion.

But rather than take out all my anger, grief, etc., I will often keep those passages the way they are–even if I have long since moved past those emotions.

I believe this will connect more with my readers, especially those who are still in the midst of such emotions in their own struggles.

These web-books are for you my readers, after all, who can glean comfort, validation and lessons from my own struggles.  You can identify my mistakes (even the ones I don’t recognize myself) and avoid them; you can realize you are not alone.  And, well, the college memoirs aren’t just about grief, but about fun times, too.  😀

I’m posting them quickly, though they are long and there are many, because I want to get them OUT of my system for good.  From the movie “The Help”:

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.

And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it’s gonna be me.

Updated 11/2/16

 

 

The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 4

I previously wrote about “the Avenger” here.

I soon discovered the full extent of Avenger’s abusive personality: You could call her the teenage version of Tracy, another abusive and/or personality-disordered bully whom I met later on in life.

Avenger and her boyfriend Lima constantly carried out smear campaigns against innocent people with reckless abandon, yet still some people were so ridiculous as to try to tell me Avenger was a nice person.

Soon after Gypsy’s party, Sharon heard there had been some sort of flame war over Pamela in the forums, and checked it out.  I did also, soon after.

Lima, Avenger and possibly others flamed Pamela and told everyone how “horrible” she was.  Pamela, of course, got upset.  I think she even tried to defend herself, but they just flamed her more.  In the end she said her presence in the forums just brought on more trouble, so she wasn’t going to read or write anything in them anymore.

It’s such a shame when nice people are forced out by mean ones.  It’s such a shame when a bully chooses to justify his or her behavior rather than repenting of it.

I was so upset by this that I wrote a post chewing out Avenger and Lima, and anyone else flaming Pamela, for bullying her.  I unwisely accused them of immaturity–though, as you see in the link above, immaturity is a common trait of bullies–which would keep coming back to haunt me.

Avenger wrote a scathing reply, but she seemed to disagree and yet agree with me at the same time, as Speaker said when I met him on the 8th.

She seemed to defend her actions, and yet say that we should all respect Pamela and let the thread die.  She was sure one to talk about respecting Pamela!  She was as guilty as the rest of them of harassing her.

Lima complained that the thread was old and people should look at the dates of the messages.  Though, from what I’d seen in teleconference, what I said still needed to be said: Even if the thread had died, their harassment of Pamela hadn’t.

Avenger also insisted, “I am mature.”  My future husband Cugan told me once that this statement showed she was immature.  He said immature people don’t like being told they’re immature.

Meanwhile, Speaker avoided Avenger, and often typed “ignore Avenger” when he went online.  When he did this, nothing she did or said online showed up on his computer, as if she were never there.  She was harassing him now.  She knew his embarrassing real name, and teased him about it, among other things.

Once, I found Pigpen and Speaker online, and Pigpen said to Speaker, “Is Avenger being mean to you again?”  (Speaker told me once that he didn’t know why Pigpen and Cankersore liked to come see him every Saturday.)

Stimpy soon sent me an e-mail saying, “Please don’t say any more to them about this.  Do this for me!”  They were vicious people who loved arguing, and that was all I would get out of them.

So I stopped saying anything in that thread.

Probably around the time of the Big Flame War, which happened later that month, Avenger and some of her friends voted in one of the forums on whether or not Franz, whom some of us called Znarf, was cool.

(Franz was in college now, a freshman at MSOE, or Milwaukee School of Engineering, which was also Cugan’s alma mater.)

I voted that he was cool.  Avenger said my vote didn’t count because only the cool people could vote.

Apparently she meant that only her worshippers could vote.  She didn’t seem to want to have anyone else on the BBS considered “cool” except for her and her cronies, and if you disagreed, she ripped into you.

As far as I was considered, everyone in her clique was very uncool, while nice people like my roommates, Krafter, Stimpy, Ish, Speaker, and others were cool.

According to Love Our Children, such polls are yet another means of cyberbullying.

Check out the answer to the “Bullies prey on the weak” myth here: It says, among other things, that “bullies prey on people with a kind heart” and “bullies are irresponsible people who refuse to accept personal responsibility for their behaviour and the effect of their behaviour on other people.”

Also look at the answers to “Victims are unlikeable” and “People who get bullied are wimps”: Basically, these are myths, the victims are normally likeable, and their good points are seen by bullies as vulnerabilities.  Let’s not let bullies decide for us who the cool people are.

Even after discovering that Avenger found this chapter of my Memoirs

–I keep this story in here and haven’t tempered the wording.  This is why:

Because bullying in any form has always been, always will be.  The victims need to know that it’s not right, they’re not weirdos, and they don’t have to let the bullies decide who they are or what they can accomplish.  

Victims of bullying can read the articles I linked to, for ideas on how to combat bullying.  Bystanders can get past the myths and stand up for the bullied.

A year or two after this, Avenger tried to ridicule and harass another woman (who was older than she was, which, I believe, Pamela was too), the same as she did to Pamela.  She said this woman had done something bad to one of her friends.

I didn’t know the other woman’s side, so I don’t know what really happened.  But whatever the case, I thought Avenger should not be carrying this harassment out in the open on the public forums.  I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to see this in the forums.

The woman found Avenger’s comments amusing–things like, she was ugly and fat–and zinged her right back, which I admired her for.  The forum-op broke in and said if the argument continued, she would move it to the Pit forum (which was for arguing).

I think this Avenger is a narcissist, or more likely a sociopath, because of her constant bullying of so many people.  And the way she quickly took offense at NOTHING, flamed you, and then you became her enemy for life.

This was in US News and World Report for March 22, 1999, in the article “E-Mail Nation”:

Emboldened by E-mail’s seeming anonymity, kids send bomb threats to school and hate mail to teachers–and are often suspended from school if caught.  Moreover, they could be sued for libel, says attorney Christopher Wolf of Washington, D.C., if they defame someone’s character in an E-mail (p. 58).

So Avenger was treading dangerous territory here.  She could get in serious trouble if she ridiculed and harassed the wrong person.

I haven’t been on TCB for some time (it’s March 24, 1999), because a couple years later it had become a haven for people like her, and most of the nice people had left.  So for all I know, it’s already happened, and she’s been slapped with a libel suit or two.

After all, she’s not exactly anonymous on TCB: She’d be easy to track down and sue.

Okay, now it’s May 19, 1999, and I’ve been on TCB again.  No one seems to use it for anything other than games and the Internet, so even Avenger hasn’t been on for a while and Lima’s account has been deleted.

Avenger seemed like the ringleader of a clique which worshipped her.  The “clique” title fits because other people were kept out and ridiculed.

Ish said privately to me once, after I read a message from Lima, that Lima just did whatever Avenger did and didn’t seem to have a mind of his own.

Also, Avenger, Lima and a few of the others couldn’t even type a regular, non-flame message without cussing.  Since the BBS was set up to censor such words, their messages kept showing a bunch of asterisks, making them hard to understand.  If the words didn’t show up anyway, why bother writing them?

And the whiny group kept crying “censorship” because their swear words didn’t show up, even though it was a family BBS, and the sysop CD had every right to restrict such words on his own BBS.

As for Avenger, she had a serious persecution complex: She thought everyone over twenty (Lima’s age) was out to get her and all teenagers, and owed her something.  No matter what anyone said, no matter what the subject or how totally unrelated to kids, in her mind it must have been a cutdown on kids.

Not only that, but she and her clique showed absolutely no respect for authority, cutting down on the sysop just as viciously as anyone else–despite the fact that he could ban them all from the BBS if he wanted to.

She’ll get nowhere with that attitude, and if she treats people that way, that’s how she’s going to be treated: It’s the “what goes around, comes around” thing.  Just wait until she has teenagers just like her (though I do hope her and Lima’s future kids will rebel against them and become nice, sweet, wonderful people, like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous).

I liked to play online with a teenager named Mustang, and we shared stories of our genies (mine was Zara, and I think his was Abu).  To my surprise, I found one day (probably after the Flame War) that he was getting to be good friends with the clique.  I really, really hoped he wouldn’t start acting like them, since he was such a nice, fun guy.

The Big Flame War began after Gypsy’s party and before the BBS party on March 18th, 1995.  I believe it went on for several weeks, so in the beginning I may have still been dating Stimpy (or just broken up with him), and in the end I was with Cugan.

This is how it began: In one of the forums, probably /events, CD and others discussed the BBS bowling party, which was to be on the 18th.  They wondered what time it should be, and suggested some late evening times.

Sharon posted that they should keep in mind that many users were under eighteen and might have curfews; the time should be early enough for them to join in the fun, too.  She was just being sensitive to the needs of the kids online.

That’s it.

Avenger posted, “ExCUSE me!” and how sick she was of adults looking down on kids like that.

????!!!!?????!!!!!?????!!!!!

It was a clear case of someone not reading a message thoroughly and reading in things that were never there.  Stimpy quoted her and replied simply, “Um–um–what?  Um–um–what?”

No matter how much Sharon tried to explain that she didn’t mean it that way, Avenger refused to listen to her.  Instead, Avenger insulted her in various ridiculous ways.  For example, she accused her of sleeping with her professors to get good grades.

Irate at Avenger for defaming my smart and virtuous friend, I wrote that she was totally wrong, and told her off.  I did for Sharon what I would want a friend to do for me.

Avenger and her clique began a vicious attack on the both of us, making personal remarks and cutting us down.  And this all because Sharon was trying to be sensitive to the needs of the younger users!

I didn’t know back then that this was called trolling, or baiting people to start fights online.  I didn’t know that it was best to ignore such mean, rude people, aka, “Don’t feed the trolls.”

Sharon apparently didn’t know this, either, because we both got caught up in a Big Flame War with Avenger and her clique, which included Nobody and Sub-Zero.

Avenger and her cronies threw around all sorts of personal remarks like you hear from children on the playground: making fun of our looks and clothes, calling us “dorky,” ridiculous crap like that.  They proved themselves to be just as immature and childish as Avenger insisted they were not.

I didn’t do that to them.  Heck, even as a child, I did not behave in such a ridiculous fashion.  There is no need to go into details; flame wars on the Internet are now a dime a dozen, and everyone knows now how they go.  But eventually all sorts of people began taking both sides.

When the contested bowling party finally happened, Pearl joined Sharon and me.  Though Pearl and I didn’t bowl, we all joined a group with Krafter, CD, and Ish.  Avenger and her clique were in the lane right next to ours, and CD joked, “Nobody say anything about maturity!”

Avenger ignored us all, of course.  This was Pearl’s first look at Avenger.  She later told Sharon and me that Avenger had this snobby or snotty way of holding her head and looking at people, which Pearl imitated for us.  She said, “It was like she was thinking, ‘I’m hot.'”

Though Pearl wasn’t in the Flame War (and was sick of hearing Sharon and me say “Avenger this” and “Avenger that”), one night she found Avenger online, and argued with her about how Avenger treated us.

One girl told me that Pigpen was two-faced, and would seem nice, then do something really mean to you.  Pigpen pretended to be this girl’s friend, then stabbed her in the back.  I forget the details, but it had something to do with the girl’s brother.

This put me on guard against Pigpen being two-faced to me.  Pigpen had seemed like my friend because I was friends with Speaker.  But now she turned two-faced to me, too, joining in with the Avenger clique, making me believe this girl told the truth.

I got all my forum replies in my BBS inbox, so I couldn’t stay away from them simply by avoiding the forums.

Keep in mind, Pearl’s computer was an 8088, and had no mouse or Windows OS, which was in its infancy.  We were running on DOS.  Also, the BBS’s in S— were different from the ones back home in Indiana, so I didn’t know how everything worked.

On BBS’s in 1995, you got your messages immediately on logging in.  It’s not like an e-mail program in Windows which lets you look at a list of headers before deciding what to read.  Some e-mail programs even let you delete without opening, though Thunderbird does not do this.

But there was no such option on this BBS.  The BBS sent me each message as I logged in, and I had to open it before deleting it.  So every time my bullies replied to one of my forum posts, it came directly to my attention and I had to see what they wrote.

I was increasingly bombarded again and again and again by these creeps, with no way to get away from them, unless I stopped going on TCB.

And why should I be forced away from my new online friends and all the fun of playing games with them, when I had done nothing wrong?  This was also my principal means of communicating with my new boyfriend Stimpy and with Krafter, whom I now knew personally, not just online.

So every time I logged in, I’d get all these attacks in my inbox, and tried to defend myself against them.

Not only did they make personal remarks (calling me ugly etc. etc.), but they twisted my words and told lies about me on the forums, which the more gullible kids began to believe, so they started defending the bullies!

Since they kept attacking my friends and me, I kept defending, since nobody ever told me this was not the way to deal with bullies.  When our friends stepped in to defend Sharon and me, they got hit with the bullying, too.

Yet more proof that Avenger is a narcissist and maybe other Cluster B personality disorder as well–probably even a sociopath–surrounded by sycophants and sociopaths who mob-bullied anybody she wanted.  And no, there was no justification for what they did, no matter what they dreamed up in their sick little minds.  This was a cold, calculated smear campaign.

This whole thing also did a number on my self-esteem, making me doubt myself and my looks, and wonder if I was as awful as they said.  I wasn’t, of course, but the residual effects lingered long afterwards.

I believe it went on for weeks.  I was so upset that I carried it through my days, thinking of it even as I sat in class.  I felt like the dork and retard these creeps called me.

I shouldn’t have let little Avenger and her pipsqueak friends get to me like that, but I did.  It was like middle school all over again.  (And yet she insisted she was mature….)

One big problem with bullying is the way sensitive, kind people are made to look like idiots and nerds by the insensitive, immature and unkind.

Instead of accepting it as a “part of life,” bullying of any kind should be stopped by bystanders and/or those in authority: teachers, parents, forum moderators.  

When a bully is supported by his friends, when authority figures aren’t interested in stepping in–even resorting to blaming you for the bullying, when the bully “gets away with it”–this makes it much harder for the bullied to reach “closure.”

At one point, I heard that harassment online was illegal, so I sent a message to CD asking him to step in.  He said the best thing to do would be to ignore Avenger, Lima and Nobody, and they would get bored and go away.

What he really should’ve done was ban the whole lot of them–

–not just for their constant bullying and harassment of me so I couldn’t even log in in peace–

–but for how they bullied so many others on the forum, gang-style, and occasionally chased people away. 

As I noted earlier, that BBS became overrun with flaming gangs and eventually died.  Not banning bullies is a good way to allow your BBS/forum to be overrun with bullies, while the victims get no justice.

CD and Krafter set up a secret, invitation-only forum, which would not show up in the list of forums.  This way, only the nice people could be in the forum and wouldn’t have to deal with the Avenger trolls.  (I didn’t know this usage of the word “troll” until 1998, so I didn’t actually call them that.)

It was called the /elite forum, and in the beginning included maybe a handful or a dozen people: me, Sharon, Pearl, Ish, Krafter, Stimpy, CD, a young girl named Grace and her boyfriend.  If one of us wanted a friend to join, we mentioned the friend in the forum.  If everyone agreed, this person was invited in.

This worked for a few days, but then Lima, Grace’s brother (talk about siblings who are total opposites), came over by the computer and saw the /elite forum when Grace was online one day.  He got mad, wanted his own forum, and told the others in the Avenger clique, who promptly cried, “Censorship!”

This was ridiculous: Forums often have private sections like this, whether for the admins/moderators, or for people to discuss how they’ve been abused without the abusers and trolls finding it, or for some other reason.

(The Forum has such a section.)

This was the abusers and bullies finding the sanctuary and refusing to let anyone have peace and quiet without their trolling, to let their targets have a safe place to get together without their bullies harassing them.

The /elite forum was scrapped, especially when CD or one of the others decided maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  The Pit, or /thepit, however, was formed.  Here, anyone could argue all they wanted, but it had to be kept out of all the other forums.  We applauded this improvement.

I finally wrote a message intending to end the whole thing.  I set things straight about accusations made against me, which some of the kids believed merely on Avenger’s word, and said I would stop my part of the argument:

To ALL

I’d like to set a few things straight to everyone who’s been reading this forum, especially to those who seem to think Avenger is some sort of hero for standing up to those ‘b—- college students who think they’re better than us high-schoolers.’

I don’t care anymore if Avenger or Nobody hates me. Avenger’s friends say she’s ‘nice’ and ‘cool’; well, maybe she is in real life, but I’m not dealing with her in real life, I’m dealing with her on here, and this is the persona she’s chosen to have online.

She’s chosen to treat myself (and others) this way online.

I did not start the argument and neither did Sharon; it was, I admit, stupid of me to respond to what was said to me, and be an ‘easy target’; but I learn from my mistakes and will know better next time.

Now I am trying to end this once and for all so there can be peace, or at least a truce. Also, I don’t want everyone hating me without reason.

I never cut on the age or intelligence of anyone in here. I have not made personal remarks, which the argument has turned to. I have merely responded (though ill-advisedly) to remarks made to me, with ‘an equal and opposite reaction.’

Such as IQ’s, etc.–that was merely a sarcastic response to being called a ‘tard,’ as Nobody termed it. I said nothing about his or anybody else’s intelligence, only mine.

As for age–I have nothing against high-school students. I used to be one myself. What I’m against is the immaturity many high-schoolers have, and also–brace yourself for my unexpected admission–many college students.

I am against immaturity in general, especially when it is the cause of someone else’s relationship problems. Many high-schoolers are also–gasp–mature.

But it usually irritates someone older to see blatant immaturity and popularity games in a group of younger people. It irritates me.

Also Sharon was concerned about younger users having curfews and not being able to go to the bowling party.

I have a note which says, “and might not be able to join in the fun,” though I’m not sure where that was supposed to fit in the sentence.

We had curfews too, everyone under eighteen has curfews (usually), and she was concerned. Her message was the focal point of the argument, originally; it has gone too far off base and has no further purpose.

There has been a lot of assuming, reading between the lines, and twisting of words going on here. There have also been personal comments made to me that are actually ludicrous because they’re the opposite of what I really am or look like.

I’ve had many intellectual conversations here and elsewhere, I’m most definitely not ugly, and the thought of ME being a conformist just makes me burst out laughing! Go ahead, tell me more! I like a good laugh.

Plus, Avenger, I never called you–to yourself or to anyone else, not even to myself–a “dumb blonde.”

I do not believe in the concept of dumb blondes. I have at least four blonde friends (natural blonde) who are very intelligent, as well as brunette friends who, it is said (as a joke, not as a rip), ‘are blonde but their hair doesn’t know it.”  (I did not make up this phrase; an intelligent AND blonde friend of mine likes to say it.) And I was in an environmental group in high school.

This paragraph referred to things said by Avenger, such as “you may think I’m a dumb blonde but I’ve been accepted to UW-Stout and I’m in an environmentalist group.”

Anyone who has thought I meant differently about anything than I did, I’m sorry you took it wrong, but you must realize how it was truly intended. And please, before getting on the bandwagon of one side, look at the other side as well.

Plus–I do realize this is the /argue forum, for arguments. Argue away, but if someone doesn’t want to argue, let them be instead of harassing them. It’s much easier on everyone.

}] Nyssa[{

Four years later, this letter still makes me proud.  Ish, one of my supporters, saw my letter and approved.

I soon checked the responses, however: It was just Lima saying, “Blah blah blah,” nothing more intelligent from any of them, and Lima saying we must worship them (or something like that) before we could ever be in their good graces.

Like I even wanted to be in the good graces of a group of bullies.

What, did he get the silly idea that I was apologizing?  I did no such thing!  Obviously he didn’t actually read the post.  Do you see an apology to the bullies anywhere in that post?

I complained to Ish about these responses.  He said that group doesn’t want to read anything longer than a few paragraphs.

Considering how mean these people were in general, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected that they’d listen to me and lay off.  After all, that would violate the sociopath code.

But back then, I didn’t understand this about bullies, having the naïve notion that bullies could be talked into reasonable behavior and apologizing.

Ish and I were in tele when Lima, probably Avenger, and maybe others showed up.  I whispered to Ish that I would act nice to these people because, as the Bible says, that would “pour burning coals over their heads.”

I greeted Lima with the usual “hello Lima bean–olleh amil neab,” but he made some strange remark about “groupies.”  Then he started talking about bowing down and worshipping him!  I certainly didn’t do that, though I may have joked around a bit.

Then Lima and the others ganged up on me, despite my attempts to be nice, and treated me the same as they did Pamela.  Sharon, watching, said I should show them a thing or two by just leaving, so I did.  I then paged Ish about it, and he consoled me.

Sharon wrote a post to everyone saying that those who adopt online “personas” different from their own personalities, should realize that some people online are real, not “personas,” and do get hurt in real life by things they read online.

For the next several days, I refused to go into the forums.  I may even have stayed away from the BBS for a couple days.

CD soon forced Avenger to apologize to Sharon, which she did, sort of, with a public message in the forums.

I was upset, though, because she apologized only to Sharon when she should have also apologized to me.  I deserved an apology for her b**chiness and bullying of me, just as much as Sharon did.

I don’t remember how CD made her apologize to Sharon–maybe he finally threatened to ban her from the board–but it was a victory for our side.

(Either late that year or in the next year, Avenger wrote on the forums how much she liked Third Rock From the Sun, and sympathized with the aliens for being different and being misunderstood.  She actually said she didn’t make fun of people for how they look or dress, because that was stupid.

(LOL

(What a liar and a hypocrite!  She made all sorts of personal remarks about my looks and dress during the Big Flame War, and accused me of being a snob when I was merely quiet and shy!)

Around this time, CD or Krafter posted a warning to all the users on TCB to not use the same password on different BBS’s.

I didn’t go on Solaris, a rival BBS, very much, especially since it was apparently just some kid trying to go up against TCB instead of just having his own BBS and supporting all the other ones in the area.

But it was popular with the Avenger clique, who figured out people’s passwords (such as Pamela’s), began logging in as those users, and left nasty messages to other users and on the forums.

The innocent users looked bad and had to explain that no, they didn’t write the messages.  I was afraid to go on Solaris during the Flame War, for fear the same thing would happen to me.

This is yet another form of cyberbullying and trolling, which still happens online all the time.

This makes me wonder if Lima and Avenger (who got married eventually) and their sycophants have gone on to become hackers and trolls, spreading hate and trouble throughout the Net, hacking into people’s accounts, spreading viruses, etc.

Because you can see above that they behaved just like those sociopath trolls we still find all over the Net, doing the very same things to harass people–for fun.

In maybe 2006 or 2007, Avenger found these memoirs and posted in my guestbook.  She said little other than that I have “an interesting perspective” on what happened.

Mindblowing.

She must have been well into her 20s by then, and more than 10 years had passed. 

Yet she still thought SHE was right, and did not apologize for her actions.

My childhood bullies tended to apologize to me years later, yet she still had this twisted, false view of herself. 

Don’t most people GROW UP eventually?

Yet more evidence that this bully was still stuck at 16. 

Though when I was 16, I didn’t behave that way, and neither did most people I knew, so age is no excuse for her behavior.

After all, this is yet another way she behaved just like Tracy, another possible sociopath I had the misfortune to cross paths with in 2007. 

Sociopaths will laugh at you for calling them abusers, and refuse to admit wrongdoing or apologize for their bullying and abuse.

And that’s what Tracy and the Avenger both did.

 

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

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

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: