Category: abusers in church

Now my church is officially merging with my abusers’ church…..

The announcement came out in the media this week.  I voted in favor of the merger because it seemed to be in the best interest of both churches, and because people (at least in my church) were nearly unanimous.

But it will be interesting:

Tracy–from what Richard and a once-mutual friend have told me, and what I myself have observed–apparently has inherited an abusive form of Borderline Personality Disorder and/or other disorders from her mother.  Her behavior interlaps with Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well.  She has caused trouble with other friends and in other churches, from what I’ve seen and what Richard has told me.

And Richard himself shows many signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  He claims to have hypnotized me without my knowledge, and he manipulated me.

Both have demonstrated stalker tendencies as well, and have even tried to intimidate me at church.

And both of them are child abusers.

And neither of them have ever admitted to abusing me, or to the legitimacy of my pain, or to the fact that I deserve an apology.

In fact, they told me they laughed at my pain.  These are your classic Christians-In-Name-Only.

I admit a certain trepidation at the thought of the poison that could now enter my church.  I hope they will not destroy it.  Though I hope the priest would be able to stop any such thing.

Of course, I have no clue if my abusers are still involved in the other church.  It hasn’t held services for three years, so they very well could’ve moved on to someplace they like better.  These days, all I know about my abusers is that they still live somewhere in town, even though one of their regular, confirmed IPs shows up in my blog stat trackers as Missouri.  Hubby believes he saw them walking a dog near our house three weeks ago.

Several years ago, one friend told me that church could be a good influence on my abusers, so not to be too upset about seeing them there.  At this point, I can’t tell them to stay away if it’s also their church.  But sharing the Eucharist and other church activities could be terribly problematic.

I also have many friends in my church.  Then there’s my BFF at that church, a fellow convert-NOT-by-marriage, introvert, writer and German-speaker.  🙂  I haven’t felt lonely for a long time.  Maybe they will help me feel safer.

I will have to play things by ear.

Hubby says they may not even come, but if they do and try to badmouth me, the people there know me way too well to listen to them.  It would only go back on them.

Or who knows, maybe they’ll take advantage of tomorrow’s Forgiveness Sunday (Orthodox thing right before Lent) to make peace.

But in any case, if my abusers start coming to my church, things will get interesting.  Please pray for me, or good wishes, or whatever you do.

StalkerQuote

 

A few blog posts on sharing Communion with your abuser

I found a blog post, Abusers at the Communion Table, written in response to a post by Sarah Moon about taking Communion at church with her rapist.

Quote:

If you have wounded someone, repented, and done what you can to repair with them (including serving your sentence in the case of abuse), then part of repairing is respecting the other person’s boundaries.

This is just common sense love for the person you have wounded. If you are repentant, do not show up in the place of worship of the one you sinned against.

And those counseling and pastoring repentant abusers need to lead on this as well. I understand the predicament if, for a 50 mile radius, there is only one assembly of believers. But that is rarely the case, at least in the US.

In the event that you do not live in the plains of Nebraska an hour away from the nearest congregation, then repentant abusers should find another congregation away from the person they wounded to receive communion. The Body of Christ is large. It’s expansive. It’s worldwide.

There really is no excuse for an abuser to stay in a local congregation in a way that his/her presence is felt regularly by the one he/she abused. Find another congregation, be honest about your history, and allow them to walk with you. —From Abusers at the Communion Table

I don’t recommend reading the comments, because some of the people don’t seem to understand what it’s like to be abused.

Or–maybe more likely–they (and the blogger) didn’t realize Sarah Moon’s blog post was about UNrepentant abusers.  The ones who will hurt you again if given a chance.  The ones whom the Church is actually directed in the New Testament to put out of fellowship and not even eat with.

For example, if my abusive exes and a few school bullies were at my Communion table, and they were Orthodox, I could share it with them with no problem, because apologies have been exchanged.  People have grown up, moved on.

However, if my abusive ex-friends were at my Communion table, even though they are (last I knew) Orthodox, I could NOT share it with them, because they chose mocking, stalking and intimidation over repentance.  For the safety of abuse victims, such things must not be allowed.

Now for Sarah Moon’s When my abuser is welcome at the [Communion] table, then I am not.  Quote:

EVERYONE is welcome. But more and more it seems the “EVERYONE” that Christians are really going after is abusers.

And why not? How radical and Jesus-like does that sound? Abusers and survivors, sitting at the same table. Sharing the same bread and wine. The lion lying down next to the lamb.

Sure. That sounds great. Excuse me while I go have a panic attack or two.

I don’t know how to respond to this trend anymore. When I express discomfort about calling a rapist my “brother in Christ,” people accuse me of being a  bitter,  grace-hating person.

When I say that I can’t get over the hurt my abuser caused me, people tell me to get over my “perpetual victimhood.”

When I ask for a safe space, people tell me I’m acting just like the exclusionary fundamentalists, and that I need to learn that Christianity isn’t about being uncomfortable [sic].

There’s no grace for me, as I try to work through all the festering hate toward my rapist that I don’t know what the hell to do with. There’s no grace as I try to figure out whether I ever want to forgive a man who hurts me more each day even though we haven’t spoken in six years.

Maybe they’re right and I am the bitter, hateful person they think I am, but what about all this talk of grace?

Faith Newport wrote in the comments about her own pastor,

She protects her people. If there was someone in my life or my past who was a danger to me, who had abused or harmed in me in any way, the minute they walked in the door all I would have to do is tell someone in leadership, and that person would be asked to leave. They would not make it to Communion.

This is an issue for those who have been abused by people who share a church with them.  Abuse victims really need to be allowed to deal with their various emotions without judgment or feeling pressured into “making nice” with their abusers.

How can you forgive someone who does not repent?  I have heard all sorts of definitions of “forgiveness,” but the only one that really sounds correct to me, is that forgiveness means reconciliation.  This is the definition used by God when WE repent.

And if you reconcile with an unrepentant abuser, they will only hurt you again.  And again.  And again.  While you paste on a Stepford Christian smile.

However, lack of forgiving does not mean we remain trapped in bitterness, anger, and desire for vengeance.  ESPECIALLY if we are not forced to push down our feelings during the healing process, or pretend that our abuser is innocent.  If we are allowed to process our grief and anger without judgment, then eventually it will pass.  Maybe once in a while we’ll remember and feel angry, but it won’t consume our thoughts and lives.  In other words, “letting go.”

But that does not mean we want to be in the same room (let alone church) with this person, or share Communion with them.  That would just lead to yet another abusive episode, over which to grieve and heal AGAIN.  Letting go is not the same as stupidity.

If Jesus is the head of the Church, shouldn’t His church be the greatest protector and supporter for the vulnerable and the hurting? Where is Jesus when churches fail to respond wisely to sexual abuse and then refuse to take responsibility or repent for such colossal failures?

Where is Jesus when churches make expedient decisions that affirm offenders, rather than making difficult decisions in the best interests of children and abuse survivors? Where is Jesus when churches go out of the way to advocate for offenders, while hurting victims watch in terror and isolation?

Where is Jesus when churches refuse to acknowledge their need for help from experts, thinking that they know best? Where is Jesus when churches simply aren’t teachable? Where is He? These are the painful questions I am asking all too often these days. –Boz Tchividjian, Churches That Are Making Good Decisions About Protecting Children and Responding to Abuse

 

Something is wrong when churches protect perpetrators and marginalize victims. In recent months, we’ve seen a bit of the underbelly of covering up sexual abuse, demanding victims forgive and forget instantly for the sake of the poor offenders whose lives might be ruined if they were found out.

Cover up that exalts the “ministry” or a ministry personality over the well being of one who has been sinned against does not represent the Jesus I follow. –Mary DeMuth, Churches That Prefer Perpetrators Are Being Contrary to Authentic Christianity

A few good blogs on abusers in church are:

Grace for my Heart

Spiritual Sounding Board

Samantha Field

The Wartburg Watch

Wondering Eagle

 

 

 

 

On Spiritual Abuse

Is your church infected by spiritual abuse?  The Apologetics Index has all sorts of links about this.

Also see Churches That Abuse and Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.  These are full books on PDF.  The guy who runs this website has a signed letter from Ronald Enroth giving him permission to scan these two books, both of which are out of print.

One practice, now widely discredited because it easily becomes spiritually abusive, was often used in the 60s and 70s: shepherding.

It’s giving yourself over to someone else, your “covering,” who makes all your decisions for you–even who to date or marry, how often to have sex, or what music to listen to.

If you disagree with your shepherd or suggest changes to the group rules, you just might find yourself out of the group, since the leadership makes all the decisions.  Congregations may find themselves with no vote or voice.

In groups which decided the “shepherds” must be the opposite sex, shepherding has also led to adultery.

It has also led to broken people.

Unfortunately, shepherding seems to have re-emerged in many churches and Christian groups–ones which seem orthodox on the outside, so you must watch out for it.

I’ve heard of accountability groups, which seem to have come from this practice; take care that it does not match characteristics of shepherding.

I’ve also noted that talks about wifely submission sometimes use the same terms used in shepherding: i.e., the husband is the “covering” for the wife and she “submits to his decisions” no matter what.

Webpages on shepherding, what it is, how it’s abused:

Shepherding Movement

Christian: Who is your covering?  A Christian look at the Shepherding Movement by Steve Coleman

Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Christian Growth Ministries–Advanced Information

National Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Promise Keepers Warning

Article by Don Matzat about this and other issues

The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age by Lynn and Sarah Leslie describes the practice of signing covenants, which exists in many groups and churches.  It also implicates the Purpose-Driven Church model.

Willow Creek charges Promise Keepers and Willow Creek Church with shepherding.  The writers are rather fundamentalist and I disagree with them on many points, but they still make interesting charges.  Whether the charges are true or not, you be the judge.

Here and here, you can investigate whether Willow Creek practices shepherding.  And here, you can check out Saddleback’s FAQ.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot on these sites.  I’ve heard of restrictive covenants and the like, but don’t have proof of them.

Nowadays, you can also find blogs about spiritual abuse, on which you can share stories, find comfort and validation, and learn which churches to avoid.  My favorites:

The Wartburg Watch

Spiritual Sounding Board

Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD (includes posts about a spiritually abusive pastor)

Written between probably 2005 and 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

Reblog: Ingrid Schlueter–yet another blogger threatened with defamation lawsuit

This post regards a situation described here, which is right in my backyard, in Milwaukee.  Ingrid writes,

I have a message for Vic, for Randy, and for anyone else who believes that Scripture’s direct instructions on handling conflict don’t apply: We will not be bullied.

We will not stop speaking the truth about what has gone on, and no attorney letters, threats and throwing weight around by anyone of influence matters one bit.

We have tried for years to get help and to resolve this in a Christ-honoring manner to no avail. Peacemakers, think about that name, were not wanted. Attorneys were. Onward Christian soldiers.

The only option for those who claim to possess Jesus Christ is biblical mediation of conflict. That has been resoundingly refused by Randall Melchert, the top officer legally of VCY America, inc. It has been resoundingly rejected by Vic Eliason and Randy Melchert, men who prefer to pass on stories about headless squirrels and retain attorneys to try to stifle the truth.

She also writes,

My sister called tonight and asked if I’d checked the mail. I hadn’t. Vic Eliason, our father, is threatening to sue us for attempting to get this shameful situation into biblical mediation with Peacemakers.

He is characterizing all we have spoken, the truth, as defamation.

….My father may not be aware that we have a close friend who is a lawyer. Our friend, who actually has significant experience with defamation has pointed out the following.

First, a lawyer with experience in this area of law would identify the supposed falsehoods. This “gentleman” is unable to do that.

We wonder–what is false? That we requested biblical mediation? That his daughter and his two sons-in-law were forced out of VCY? That he tried to bribe his grandson into bearing false witness against his own mother? That he sent pornography to me under a false name and posted on blogs as a woman?

None of these things is false–all are provably true. And this lawyer apparently doesn’t realize that defamation does not mean “bad for Vic” but means actually false.

From Julie Anne Smith’s latest post, VCY America Founder, Vic Eliason, Sends Letter Threatening Legal Action to His Daughter, Ingrid Schlueter:

I sometimes have to laugh when attorneys use the “defamatory” word.  It is up to the courts to decide what word or phrase is defamatory or not, not some podunk Wisconsin lawyer throwing around legalese to threaten (disclaimer: this is JA’s opinion, lest some whacknut attorney try to sue me for defamation).

Mr. Russell, you would be wise to look up defamation lawsuits and see how many cases are in fact successful.

….Now, if Ingrid Schlueter is telling her story as she sees it, that is her perceived truth. In court, Ingrid’s perceived truth would not be judged as a lie (even if it is in fact a lie).

The plaintiffs in a defamation lawsuit would have to prove that Ingrid (and her sister, or anyone else named in the lawsuit) intentionally lied.

….Let’s just cut to the chase. This letter from Attorney Patrick Russell is a farce. He is throwing around big words acting like he’s going to make a real case over this situation. He doesn’t have one. It’s a bully method to tell someone to shut up (disclaimer:  Julie Anne’s opinion).

Abusers and bullies use all sorts of methods to control and using civil courts and threatening letters is just one more method. It happened to me, it happened in the G*** lawsuit, and now we see it here with Ingrid Schlueter’s father.

It’s important to acknowledge what this really is and what it is not. This letter is Vic Eliason’s attempt to control who can talk. It is not an honest attempt to resolve conflict in a Biblical fashion (as the Schlueters have attempted to do via a mediator).

It is certainly not appropriate behavior for a Christian to sue another Christian. It is not loving and gracious.  Is this what the 1 Corinthians passage is referring to when they use the word reviler?

There is no humility in paying an attorney to bully family members. Imagine what family times might be like with the Eliason, Schlueter, and extended families. I suspect Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a bit solemn as this fractured family reels with a pending lawsuit over their heads.

This shameful situation is now public. I hope Mr. Eliason will retract his attorney’s ridiculous letter and handle his family conflict using appropriate Biblical methods.

This public display of suing family members in the civil courts makes him look like a fool and a bully.

This all sounds very familiar, as I, too, was threatened with a lawsuit for suggesting biblical mediation to resolve the situation with my abusers, if they began coming to my church full-time.

In my case, I called the bluff and immediately went to my priest about the situation (though, of course, I had already spoken to my priest about it previously, because I needed his counsel).

My abusers pretended to continue trying to intimidate me and be oh-so-scary.  But in truth, they backed down, and did nothing.  The statute of limitations has long since run out for them to sue me for going to my priest about this.  And, well, a policeman told me that they could not sue me for that, anyway.

But not everyone is so fortunate.  Various abuse bloggers have been sued in recent years: Julie Anne, Christina Enevoldsen….But the bloggers keep winning, or could still win.  Hopefully Ingrid will not get sued, or–if she does–will win the case.

Keep speaking the truth without fear!

 

 

 

Two and a half years ago, ….

Richard and Tracy’s threatening e-mail to me struck fear and loathing into my heart, while also making me far more determined to fight back–and TELL what they were doing.

This denial of abuse and intimidation from my abusers drove me to call the police.  My abusers began stalking me, even at church.  I feared what would happen next.

But they did not silence me.  I gathered my courage.  I told.  Again, and again, and again.  And continue to tell.

And now, though I thought I never could, I am posting their e-mail all over my blog.

Because it is such a piece of hilarious tripe that I have to share it with my readers.

Because it proves I speak the truth.

Because it has no more power over me.

 

 

Running my abusers’ e-mail through the narc decoder

Back in May 2012, my abusers, Richard and Tracy, discovered this blog, then threatened and began to stalk me.  You can read their e-mail below.

Especially note that whichever of them wrote the e-mail (it “sounded” like Tracy’s “voice”), accused me of making things up and accusing Tracy falsely, downplayed Richard’s criminal conviction of choking his daughter, warned me not to go to the priest/church, and threatened to sue.

And yet–Through our own local version of a “police beat,” Crime Reports, published for all to see on the Fond du Lac city website, I have discovered that a domestic dispute occurred in May.

The report points to Richard and Tracy’s last-known address, at least according to Google Earth, which is used by the website to locate each crime event.  A follow-up occurred about a week later, so it appears that an investigation was begun into the incident, beyond the initial police report.

No charges have been filed as of yet, so I don’t know what happened, who was involved, or if charges ever will be filed.

But it–along with Richard’s conviction of choking his daughter–supports my statements that Richard and Tracy are abusive, and that I am not making up “false facts” out of a “not-all-there” brain.

And gives more strength to my mind to resist their attempts to gaslight me, and attempts to intimidate me into silence through constant surveillance of this blog.  This discovery has even more emboldened me to not be silent–and to laugh at their attempts to scare me.

It gets easier all the time, when reading old posts or remembering things that my abusers said or did, to laugh it off.

Yes, laugh it off.  I see how ridiculous it all is, and see right through it all.

Not only does it help pull me out of the pit and back where life is beautiful again, and I am no longer a “victim,” but it should help me identify such behavior in others, before I get pulled in again.

(Not that it is in any way a character failing to be a victim of someone abusing you.  Victim-blaming and -shaming is a huge problem these days.  The only one who should be ashamed of how the victim is affected by the abuse, is the abuser.)

Nowadays, when I remember what happened, it no longer affects me, just as it no longer affects me to remember what Phil, Peter or Shawn did back in college.  It’s become a story I revise for the masses to read, which may inspire a brief burst of anger, but then I forget about it again.

I see right through the things my various abusers did, and no longer let it worry and oppress me the way it used to for years.

Yes, it took me years to get past what those guys did, just as it has taken years to deal with what Richard and Tracy did.  But eventually I got through.  As Trent Reznor titled a song, The way out is through.

Because of this, and the discovery above which provides even more evidence that my abusers were full of bullsh**, I am now ready to turn my abusers’ threatening e-mail to me in May of 2012, into a piece of high comedy, by running it through my own brand-new narc decoder.

Blogger Tina Swithin has popularized the idea of a “narc decoder,” through which you run messages from your abuser.  This handy little “machine” translates those messages which fill you with fear, dread, anger, and the like, into what they really mean.

First, read the e-mail from Richard and Tracy:

Nyssa,

We read this in amusement. It gave us a good laugh to find
that almost 2 years later you are still fixated on something that we
forgot about a long time ago. As for your threats, promises whatever to
expose us you can take out a law book and read about defamation laws.
Richards’s court case may be public access and you are free to speculate
all you want without having all the information and facts. However the
rest of your writings about how horrible a person Tracy is and abusive
mentally deranged etc. have gone beyond statements of opinion. You have
represented in your writings false facts, not just opinions, about Tracy
that constitutes an actionable lawsuit. You are free to have your
opinion and feelings however the minute you go public to the members of
the church or community as you have threatened to do we will exercise
our rights to sue you for defamation against Tracy’s character.

You
talk about threats and bullies yet what are you doing? You are
threating to falsely accuse and expose lies about an innocent person if
they do not concede to your demands. We will not be threatened or
intimidated. We are free to go to church to worship our Lord God without
fear of retaliation from someone we see as not all there. You want
closure here it is. We are not sorry. We did nothing wrong. You will
never get what you want from us because we do not feel we owe you
anything. We will continue to be active in our church our community and
our town; if you cannot handle that then that us your problem not ours.
We will not move or change our faith to make you happy and comfortable.
As for the local parish being ‘your’ church. I think the archdiocese
would have a thing to say about that. The church is for everyone. We
have stayed away out of respect to give you time. We have gone to other
churches in town outside of our faith when gas prices or work schedules
prevented us from driving 40+ miles one way to church. However we miss
going to a church of our faith, participating in the mysteries having
that commune with our Lord, so we decided that when we can’t drive out
of town we will go to the local parish. We will not be pushed out of the
church by you, two years is enough time. So as fair warning for the
perceivable future our work schedules make long distance an issue as the
other parish is moving to summer hours and Divine Liturgy starts early.
So we will be attending locally A LOT this summer, we will even show up
on Saturday nights.

And now I run the e-mail from Richard and Tracy through the narc decoder…..

Snap, crackle, pop….

And here it is, all decoded:

Nyssa,

How dare you ever speak a word to anyone about how we bullied, abused and gaslit you for years?  How dare you ever speak a word about Tracy’s abuses of Richard, the children, and others?

Tracy tried her hardest to shut you up so that only you knew what was happening, so we could keep you under our control and even your husband wouldn’t know the truth.  We wanted even him to think you were crazy.  We wanted you to think you imagined it all.

How dare you break out of our control and think for yourself?  How dare you tell your husband and all your friends and family what we did?  How dare you have a mind and will much stronger than we gave you credit for?

You were so nice and easily intimidated that we thought for sure we could twist you every which way we wanted to, and continue to use you and get money/stuff/living space out of you.

It scared us when you showed signs of wanting to kick us out of your house years ago for bullying you and being generally abusive, so we had to re-assert our control and make you think you were in the wrong.  We had to make you think YOU were the one with the problem, so we could stay put till we were good and ready to leave.

Now, a few days ago, you actually stood up for yourself and told us to stay away from you.  But we don’t want to leave you alone.

We’ve always hated your church, and barely stepped foot in it even while we still pretended to be friends with you.  But we want to guilt you into thinking we’re pious Christians who long for the Mysteries, even though we have never lifted a finger to resolve this like Christians, have never behaved like Christians.

We have no interest in actually behaving like Christians, or in getting the Mysteries out of any sense of longing for Christ.  No, this is only so we can harass you and pretend to be pious, by making big shows of making the sign of the Cross, just like Pharisees!

We want to shove up against you, breathe down your neck and snarl in the Communion line.  We want to pretend to everyone at your church that we’re just innocent Christians, so that no one will believe you if you try to tell them what we really are.

We want free reign, so we can control you at church, too, by forcing you to keep quiet and telling everyone you’re a nutcase and not all there.

We know it’s a lie.

We still think you’re easily manipulated through threats.  The truth is that we are afraid of anyone else knowing what kind of people we really are.  We don’t want your priest to know, either, especially since you spoke of showing him Richard’s criminal records.  This is why we repeatedly threaten you and tell you to shut up.

We don’t want you to get help from the church.  We want you to be destroyed because you know what we really are.

We are well aware that you never made threats to retaliate against us.

But just as Tracy did with Todd, when she accused him falsely and smeared him all over the game forum years ago, we will try to make you think you made threats.  We will tell others that you made threats you never actually made, to get them on our side and turn them against you, make them think you’re crazy, just as we successfully got all those people thinking that Todd was crazy.

We have already done that, by telling some person Tracy goes to school with, Chia, that you did these things you never did, that you lied when you told the truth.  She never even met you before.  Then she changed her profile to a passive-aggressive diatribe against you, and “friended” you on Facebook.  But it was only so we can peruse your Facebook for posts about us.

Of course you never threatened to push us out of the church or Fond du Lac.  We just suffer from poor reading comprehension, combined with our fear of somebody exposing our real selves to the whole world.

We have worked very hard to suppress our real selves around other people in Fond du Lac, so that we can make inroads in politics and other circles, but your very knowledge of our true selves–and Richard’s conviction–threatens our feeling of security.

It is all a lie.  But you’re not supposed to recognize that.  You’re supposed to doubt yourself and come under our control.

The true threat is that because you know the truth about us, your very existence is a threat.  We are scared that because of you, that perfect image we want to present the community, will come crashing down as the facade that it is.

You have kept careful notes of our abuses, and that frightens us.  We want you to think even those records are fake.  Even though everything you wrote is the truth.  Even though Richard sent you an e-mail years back which proved your assertions.

This is why, years ago, we tried to make you think you were a stalker for keeping such notes, so you would stop doing that.  This is why we are now trying to gaslight you into thinking that Tracy has never abused anyone and that you’re just lying.

So we will ridicule you and make you think you’re the one with the problem (even though your reactions to being abused and seeing your abuser again are all perfectly normal), because we never matured past elementary school.

We will pretend to be amused by your blog, when in truth it scares us to death–or we never would’ve threatened you.  Especially your knowledge of Richard’s conviction.  We read that page of your blog constantly.

Though your pain, your desperate suffering, caused by us and our actions and words, so much so that only blogging could get it out, does amuse us, because we are sociopaths.

We like to cause pain and refuse to apologize for it, refuse to make it right, because we have no human feeling–except for our own selves.  We laugh at others for needing this strange thing called “closure.”  When we hurt someone else, when we cause them pain, it is hilarious to us.

Though we are so faulty with reading comprehension that we did not get that it’s not “closure” you need, but for us to recognize we have done wrong, and make it right, through apologies and changed behavior.  This would make a Christian restoration of friendship possible.

But that won’t happen, because we are superior to all others and never do anything wrong.  And because we were only pretending to be your friends to begin with.

We even laugh at the collapse of your faith, even though Richard claimed for years to want to be a priest.  Which shows our own faith is actually an act put on to fool you and others, to give us an air of respectability.

We want you to think that even your perception of Richard’s conviction is wrong, even though you have official, public information saying otherwise.  We want you to think Richard is innocent, even though he himself admitted to choking his daughter.  All to further gaslight you into our control.

We easily got over the breakup because you were blameless, so we had nothing to be angry about.  Well, other than the fact that you broke free of us before we could dump you first.

But you had been showing signs of breaking free from our control for years, which is why we let you go so easily.  We knew you would be trouble, that you already saw Tracy’s true nature and were beginning to see Richard’s as well.  We knew you may even report us to the police or Social Services–which you did eventually do.  That scared us.

We would never admit to being to blame for the suffering you’ve gone through.  It’s your fault, after all.  It’s never the abuser’s fault.  How dare you try to make us take responsibility for how we treat and hurt people, including our own children?  We are perfect, can’t you tell?  It’s never our fault when we abuse someone!  It’s always the fault of the person we abuse!

It infuriates us that you are sticking up for yourself and telling about what happened!  So we will make empty threats, hoping to shut you up, even though we know we could never have the legal basis to carry them through, and no lawyer would take us on because we have no case or money!  We talk about Constitutional Rights, but that’s for US, not for you!

How dare you insist that we never contact you?  Just by sending this e-mail we are violating your rights and request to be left alone!  Because we don’t care about anybody but ourselves.

–Richard and Tracy Doe

Ah, that was therapeutic.  This is a good way to turn the horrid e-mails/messages sent to you by your abuser, into a piece of see-through garbage that no longer bothers you.

Attempting to obtain closure with an abusive, narcissistic and/or borderline woman (i.e., Crazy) is almost always a maddening exercise in futility.

You’re not going to get closure with this kind of woman for several reasons. First, she doesn’t meet the three most important prerequisites for giving and receiving closure:

  1. A reasonable degree of sanity
  2. A foothold in reality
  3. Empathy

Being able to give an ex closure means you’re able to accept your share of responsibility for the demise of the relationship and when has your BPD and/or NPD ex ever taken responsibility for her behavior, especially when she was clearly in the wrong?

…I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for this to happen or, heaven forbid, an apology from this woman; IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If you try to get closure from your NPD and/or BPD ex by detailing the many ways she hurt and tortured you, she’s unlikely to acknowledge what she did. –Dr. Tara, Shrink4Men, There is No Closure with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman

Reblog: 5 Sneaky things Narcissists do to take advantage of you

This post by Shahida Arabi sums up how narcs take advantage of you.  I found it in my list of “related posts from across the web” to approve for a post I revised yesterday.

First of all, she differentiates between the popular use of the term–vanity and self-absorption–and the actual disorder.

And I found it all very familiar, using it to describe to my husband just what Richard did.  Though it can also apply to others in my life whom I have identified as narcissists, such as my abusive ex Phil.  For example:

The idealization phase (which often happens most strongly during the early stages of dating or a relationship) consists of putting you on a pedestal, making you the center of his/her world, being in contact with you frequently, and showering you with flattery and praise. You are convinced that the narcissist can’t live without you and that you’ve met your soulmate.

Be wary of: constant texting, shallow flattery and wanting to be around you at all times. This is a technique known as “love-bombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: they are flattered by the constant attention they get from the narcissist.

You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he or she is interested in making you dependent on their constant praise and attention.

The devaluation phase is subsequent to this idealization phase, and this is when you’re left wondering why you were so abruptly thrust off the pedestal.

The narcissist will suddenly start to blow hot and cold, criticizing you, covertly and overtly putting you down, comparing you to others, stonewalling you, emotionally withdrawing from you and giving you the silent treatment when you’ve failed to meet their extreme “standards.”

Since the “hot” aspect of this phase relies on intermittent reinforcement in which the narcissist gives you inconsistent spurts of the idealization phase throughout, you become convinced that perhaps you are at fault and you can “control” the narcissist’s reactions.

You are mislead into thinking that if you just learn not to be so “needy” or “clingy,” the narcissist will reward you with the loving behavior he or she demonstrated in the beginning.

These are words that narcissists often use to demean victims when abuse victims mourn the loss of the idealization phase or react normally to being provoked.

It’s a way to maintain control over your legitimate emotional reactions to their stonewalling, emotional withdrawal and inconsistency.

…The narcissist makes you seem like the needy one as you react to his or her withdrawal and withholding patterns even though the expectations of frequent contact were established early on in the relationship by the narcissist himself.

Richard did this to me.  For two months, as he lived with us, he spent nearly ALL his time with me–talking to me, watching TV with me.

And before he moved to town, he would occasionally spend hours talking to me on the phone.  Just before he moved here, he talked my ear off, calling so often that my ears actually rang.  (All platonic and my hubby was okay with it.)

It gave me the impression that he loved to be with me, because what else would I think?  I thought he was drawn to me, that we were two peas in a pod, that our platonic bond was secure and impenetrable, that we were close, true friends for life.

He made me addicted to his company.  For a shy, quiet person who struggles to make friends and was very lonely, this was a special, golden friendship.

(And before anybody brings that up, I don’t believe in “emotional affairs” or that this is somehow “inappropriate” because we are of opposite sexes.  That’s a bunch of bull dreamed up by insecure people. 

“Emotional affair” is just psychobabble making mountains out of molehills, and being so controlling that your spouse’s very thoughts cannot be his/her own. 

It’s perfectly fine to have close friendships and spend lots of time talking to friends–even when you’re married–even when you’re of two different sexes!  That’s called friendship, and romance is a separate thing that, hopefully, includes friendship. 

And, well, we lived in the same house for months, so spending time together was perfectly natural.  Also, over time I learned that Richard loves to talk and has lots of male and female friends. 

So while I had every reason to believe that he loved to spend time with and talk with me, I had no reason to see this as “inappropriate” somehow. 

We NEVER spoke of being in love or wanting to leave our spouses, nor did we “sext”; it was always platonic. 

Caring about a friend does not make you a cheater.  My marriage was never at risk, nor did we take the emotional place of each others’ spouses or neglect our own households. 

It has only been the crap I have found the past several years on the Internet, which calls this somehow “wrong.” 

Various sources before then–TV shows, magazine articles–spoke of being a modern, grown-up, feminist woman who trusts her husband even with other females.

In real life this has never been a concern for my husband or me, or our friends, so finding such insecure crap on the Net was shocking. 

I have also found plenty of writers on the Net who see no problem whatsoever with chatting with your opposite-sex friend for hours! 

And yes, I’ve had people on the Net scold me as if there were something wrong with having a close friend of the opposite gender, and I’ve dealt with Tracy’s obsessive jealousy over this, so this isn’t just paranoia.)

Then when his wife moved in, I got tossed aside and forgotten–and he and his wife both began to treat me like there was something wrong with me for wanting to spend time with my BFF.

He began to poke fun at me, using all sorts of words that hurt and confused me, while she began abusing and bullying me for being shy and quiet.  Meanwhile, I had no clue what happened.

But discovering narcissistic personality disorder explained everything at last.

What did he get for it?  A combination of narcissist supply and our generosity in his poverty.

Some people complain that the term is being used too much, and labels people as monsters.

But for those of us who have been through this, the term is an explanation and salvation.  It saves us from constantly beating ourselves up and wondering what happened.

As I wrote in the comments of this blog post,

I have no sympathy for my recent abuser/bully because the day she ripped me apart without justification, she wrote on Facebook, “I’m having a GREAT day!”

Then when she discovered my blog, she sent me a message saying I’m “not all there” and that she and her husband “had a good laugh.”

Then they went to MY PRIEST to complain about me, and I’m pretty sure I heard her use the word “self-righteous.” If that’s not sociopathy, then what is??!!

As the blogger replied,

Oh yes – those that ‘delight’ in others being in pain and think it’s ‘funny’ and ‘laugh’ about it, are showing very high narcissistic traits. Possibly sociopathic.

They are simply delighting in evil.

She also wrote here about how the attacks of narcissists are essentially the same as childhood bullies on the playground, acting out of an insecure ego, giggling at you, getting others to help gang up on you.  But it is childish, immature behavior.

And in response to my description of Tracy laughing at me for my blog this other blogger wrote,

…Yes, anyone who wants to ‘laugh’ at what is written etc, is highly immature and this is a classic sigh of narcissism.

Narcs have an emotional maturity of around aged 4, as my doctor & I discussed and she said this insight I had was correct.  They are emotionally children, in adult bodies.  Yes. the internet is full of them, sadly.

I first looked into narcissism when Sam Vaknin’s writings linked narcissism with abuse, and yes, I knew firsthand that Tracy was abusive.  So I knew she was a narcissist because she abuses everyone: her children, friends, her husband, me.

But discovering Richard’s narcissism was unexpected–and helped me on the way to freedom from the hurt and pain.  It also explains Phil’s behavior years ago.

So I will use the label if it fits: if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. etc.

I’m not a psychiatrist, neither do I have anything to do with prescribing or requiring treatment, so I’m not making a “diagnosis,” and my opinion will not toss Richard/Tracy into a doctor’s office or affect their employment etc. etc.

I am certainly allowed an opinion on what a diagnosis would be if they ever got one, just as I have opinions on whether I have a flu or a cold, or whether I am an introvert.  Also, the “label” is not about demonizing people.

The “label” is about learning how to recognize abusers before we’re victimized again–and about letting go of the narc as we realize he never really loved us.  These are both good, healthy things that take us out of our “victimhood.”  And then I pass along my lessons to my readers.

Back to the original post:

During the discard phase, the narcissist abandons his or her victim in the most horrific, demeaning way possible to convince the victim that he or she is worthless.

….Although “normal” relationships can end in a similar this manner as well, the difference is that the narcissist often makes it clear he or she intends to hurt you by giving you the silent treatment, spreading rumors about you, cheating on you, insulting you and disrespecting you during the discard phase.

Unlike “normal” partners, they ensure that you never have closure, and if you decide to leave them, they might decide to stalk you to show that they still have control.

Phil did that, spreading rumors about me, telling people I was abusing him so they would scold me and try to force me to do Phil’s will.  And the insults and disrespect I got from Richard and Tracy, fit as well.

And yes, I’m the one who left Richard/Tracy, but they stalk me online to this day.  Any time I tried to block them, or begged them to leave me alone, they came in more fervently–even though they are nominally “Orthodox Christians” and were going through Lent with me at the time.

There is more good stuff in that blog post that I identified with: the gaslighting (trying to make me think I imagined the abuse or his discarding me), the smear campaign, the narc needing a “harem” so he keeps changing his persona in front of your eyes.  The false self/true self.  That was Richard to a T.

Today, my husband decided to stop being friends with someone who he thinks is a narcissist.  I hesitate to use the label, because most people are not narcs, and I don’t want to go label-crazy, like people often do after finding out about this stuff.

But I had just read him Arabi’s blog post last night, with comments about how it all sounded like Richard and Tracy, and he also sees it as matching his own experience with this other person.

And in the course of discussion over that, I noted how Richard and Tracy claimed I was not “welcoming” of Tracy when the whole family lived in our house, while Hubby was very welcoming.

Hubby and I both noted that no, Hubby was very UNwelcoming: He retreated to the basement every night for hours, playing on the computer, while I was the welcoming one, not “deserting my post” as he put it, spending those same hours upstairs with Richard and Tracy.  All Hubby did, was provide a place to stay and not kick them out.

We both see this as gaslighting.  And I believe the reason for this gaslighting was that I recognized Tracy as an abuser, while Hubby was away and oblivious to most everything she did.  So I got the full-on narcissist treatment, while he got treated kindly (mostly, up until the end).

In any case, I’m not getting a narc treatment from this other person, while Hubby feels he’s the one getting it now.  I’m not close friends with that person, who very clearly has a huge system of local friends and family who fit into that slot already for him.

(This is one reason why I have trouble making close friends in Fond du Lac: People tend to have friends and family already here and long-established.  I don’t feel like anybody needs me.)

But unlike Tracy, Hubby and I do not force each other to be friends with all the same people.  If a friend of mine does not get along with Hubby, Hubby is free to let that one go–while I am free to continue the friendship.  And vice versa.  I even told Hubby he could be friends with Richard and Tracy, but he did not want to because of how they acted.

The way to peace and quiet, is to not force each other to share friends.  Sometimes your husband’s friends will rub you the wrong way, or your friend will mix with him like oil and water.

That does not mean the friend is bad and must be jettisoned.  It just means not everybody gets along with everybody.  I knew this, but unfortunately, Tracy did not, and keeps trying to force friendships with Richard’s friends.  Which means he has lost several friends besides me.

But Hubby and I don’t do things that way.  That is the way to peace.

Though on the other hand, Richard’s narcissism only became clear to me BECAUSE of Tracy’s draconian rule.  I did not even know what a narcissist was, other than someone who loves himself a bit too much.

 

When our abusers get honored: Dang newspaper tells me about my abusers

Recently, the newspaper told me Tracy graduated college, and her major.  I’ve also seen her back in town recently, right in the same parking lot I pulled into.

From various IPs linked conclusively to them, it looks like one of them has been in town this whole past year, even while she went to college on the other side of the state–even though her IP location came from a city near the college for much of the year.

Her main IP address is screwy, because the locations keep changing even though the IP does not.  Sometimes she’s in Eau Claire, or Madison, or Rochester MN….

And now the same IP shows up as Fond du Lac, then Madison, then Fond du Lac, then Madison…. Other local IPs from that Internet Service Provider, including mine, always show as Fond du Lac.

She recently used one other IP that showed Missouri, but it was identified by my stat trackers as her cell phone–and she used that same phone on my blog a short time later, from Fond du Lac.

And sometimes I get hits from Texas, someone who has used Richard and Tracy’s unique search terms.

I have no clue what’s going on.  All I know is that now she’s graduated and was in Fond du Lac again back in June.

I’ve heard of people leaving town to get away from their abusers, but that’s not possible here: We own this house, and were in this town long before they were.

The other day, I open up the newspaper and it tells me that Tracy got some kind of honor at her college.  A couple of years ago, it said she was in an honor society of some kind.

I did not want to see that.  She does not deserve honors after the way she has treated so many people over the years.

But unfortunately, academic-based honors often have little to do with the kind of person you are, and are based solely on grade point averages, so even sociopaths and various forms of abusers can get degrees and honors.

Abuse victims want justice.  We don’t want our abusers getting accolades.  Just ask the daughter of Woody Allen what that’s like:

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime.

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong.

Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines.

Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart.

For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away.

But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Just ask any girl who’s been raped in college, but her abuser went on to get a degree.  Even a degree seems too good for our abusers.  This does actually happen, as a victim’s concerns are minimized and the rapist is allowed to graduate:

Woman is accused by college of harassing her rapist

A graduating senior at Central College who was found responsible for “non-consensual sex” with a fellow student was given a choice: be expelled a month before graduation or stay in school with the conditions that he not walk in the ceremony and allow the college to notify a future employer and other schools that he’d violated the code of conduct….

A year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that students deemed “responsible” for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. –Lee Rood, Central College lets rape suspect select punishment

 

Scott is a graduating senior, so some people may wonder why I care anymore. He’ll be gone soon enough, so what if the school didn’t do anything?

When he was first found responsible, I was told that the purpose of these sanctions was to help him learn from this. It is clear to me he hasn’t learned anything, and that scares me.

When he gets his diploma, he will officially be a representative of what Macalester stands for, and I fear that he will represent my school as a place that protects rapists at the expense of the people they victimize.

If I return to Macalester for my senior year in the fall and get my diploma next year, I will also be representative of Macalester.

For better or worse, I will be tied to Scott forever. I will also be tied to what I see as a pattern of survivors of sexual assault who are forced to watch their school choose to protect the future of criminals over their own safety.

My fear is that if I stay, I will become a silent accomplice to rape. Not just to my own rape, but to the future people I believe Scott will victimize. –Anna Binkovitz, Sharing a degree with your rapist

Just finding out that my ex Phil is a math teacher or professor, makes me cringe.  Him, molding young minds?  The guy who psychologically abused me and even tried to sexually assault me several times?  And of course, to be a math teacher, he had to get a couple of degrees.

Years ago, I told people I hoped he would become a monk, so he could not hurt more women or, as a priest, advise married couples.  Instead, he went on to marry, have two kids, and get divorced, making me wonder how that woman and her children have been abused.

My bullies, Richard and Tracy, denied the truth of what I wrote in this blog about their many abuses of me and others.  I had already told Social Services about the abuse in their home.  They threatened to sue, and began to stalk me at church for a while, then by keeping tabs on my blog.

And that’s despite the fact–or maybe because–Richard had been convicted of choking one of his kids, proving I wrote the truth.  I kept my blog up despite all the hell they put me through, because the truth needed to be told.  I told my friends and family about it, too.

The Forum we all used to belong to, was convinced of my credibility when they saw the facts of Richard’s case on the state’s and newspaper’s websites.

Yet still Richard and Tracy imagined they could somehow threaten and scare me into believing I was a liar.  Apparently they were the only ones who did not see Richard’s conviction as proof I was telling the truth about domestic violence in their household.

Yet I opened up the paper yesterday and read that Tracy had received some sort of honor at college this past school year.

I previously learned that Richard, while convicted, plea-bargained and got merely a fine and year’s probation.

So he’s out walking free despite nearly killing a 9-year-old girl, and I still see the kids with them both despite Tracy’s verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, despite my detailed report describing how Tracy had been tormenting the children and exposing them to her domestic violence against Richard.

I want these people in jail for abusing their kids and terrorizing me.

I want Richard to have gotten the sentence he deserved: many years in prison, which he would’ve received if he hadn’t plea-bargained.

I want Tracy put in jail for punching Richard.

I want them to either shape up or get their kids put with better parents.

I want them to apologize to me on their knees.

I do NOT want them moving on with life, getting honors, manipulating and abusing other people, being told how wonderful they are, continuing to physically abuse and psychologically torture and scar their children.  (They have hurt a lot of other people besides me.)

One consolation is, while Richard wanted to become an Orthodox priest, my priest tells me that’s impossible because of the child abuse conviction.  And a friend who sometimes has to help hire people, was directed to screen out anyone with domestic abuse on their record, because of the nature of the job.

It boggles my mind (and my husband’s) that Tracy got a degree in business management.  HER, a MANAGER?  She can’t even manage her own household or temper!  I fear for anyone who, in the future, is put under her supervision–just as I fear for her children under her supervision.  I pray for her children’s safety nearly every day.

And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this.  I see the same frustrations, anger at the injustice of it all, permeating other abuse blogs.  For example, this one, because this woman, a PTSD sufferer, was spiritually abused by a predatory pastor, then reported him–yet now he’s been made senior pastor at a new church:

Just found out that Pastor Andrew Allison has been promoted to Singleton Baptist Church

I am really angry and I have a right to be. It is righteous anger.

Allison also occasionally checks up on her LinkedIn profile, which is creepy.  Yes, those of us who have been abused know how creepy it is to be “checked up on” by our abusers!  I get “checked up on” every week or so by mine!  Keeping my blog up has required a lot of courage, and has earned me a strength I did not have before.

This kind of thing happens in our churches, and it should not.  It’s not just a Catholic problem.

It’s also not just a Christian problem:

Narrow Bridge, movie addressing problem of Jewish leaders who are predators

Hopefully the more we spread awareness of these things, through our blogs or other means, the more things will begin to change.

Already there is an outcry about abusive pastors going on to other churches, or keeping their current posts.

Abuse victims of all kinds are spreading the word that this evil exists, so that hopefully society can begin to stamp it out.

“Narcissist” is becoming a household word, and Cluster B (abusive) personality disorders are becoming better-known.

Talk hard!