Category: blog stalk

Why My Stalkers’ Threat is Bogus: Going to my Priest is Well Within My Rights

What amazes me is the fury with which I was hit for musing, on one of my blog posts months before my blog stalkers ever found them, that if our churches were to merge, I would have to go to the priest of the merged church for help:

Richard’s church and mine are both very small and in financial trouble; the archdiocese has suggested they merge.  The two churches don’t want to merge, since they’re in different counties, and somebody would have to move.  But the option is still on the table.

If the churches merge, I will have to go to the priest with my concerns, and show him the proof that Richard is a convicted child abuser, to establish my credibility and prove that he is violent.

Because Tracy has bullied and verbally abused me as well, I will have to also show him an article I found on a contract one church drew up with a member who had been charged with molestation, a contract which was meant to help the member find redemption, but also consider the needs and fears of the victims.  We could modify it for our own needs.

For one thing, this was hypothetical and may never happen, because our two churches do not want to merge.  I posted that a year ago, and nobody has done anything to move toward a merge.

For another, when one person in a church has been abused by another person in that church, going to the priest/preacher for help and protection is perfectly valid and may be necessary to provide protection.  For example, see the article I linked about the contract one church drew up.

Disagreements between parishioners are one thing, but we’re talking actual abuse here, which caused me extensive spiritual damage as well.  It is my right–even in the Constitution–to go to my priest with concerns like this.

From what I could determine from Richard and Tracy’s vague and threatening e-mail (see Now I’m Being Stalked), this is the action which they warned me they would sue me for.

Also, asking for spiritual help and counseling from a priest, preacher or other qualified parishioner, to help with another, is not only perfectly valid, but commanded by Christ for handling disputes (Matthew 18:15-17), so that the body will not be divided.

So by threatening me, Richard and Tracy are fighting Christ.  A mediator would be absolutely necessary in a small church, in a situation as abusive and volatile as this.

[Update 9/6/14:] Not only that, but a police officer told me I had the right to do this and could not be sued for it.

Since my blog stalkers tried to use threats of lawsuits to keep me from handling this dispute properly within the church if our churches were to merge, I can only assume that it was because they know they’re in the wrong.  That they don’t want their abusive actions to see the light of day.

Keep this in mind as a red flag, because such threats are common from abusers, whether the victim has already told, or to prevent the victim from telling, those who could help.

Others have been through this, such as Julie Anne Smith, who have tried to have such a counseling session/meeting with their abusers, but the abusers have refused, choosing to sue instead.

(So far, Julie Anne Smith has won, all charges against her dismissed with the plaintiff paying her legal fees, while another blogger’s suit is just beginning.  But over and over again, I find plaintiffs losing such cases.)

Disfellowshipping from the church is only to be used for extreme cases, and I never intended for my blog stalkers to be disfellowshipped even if we did get that far.

The contract described above, is what I wanted, to stipulate that they keep their distance from me and not harass me, so I could feel safe at church without fearing for my emotional, spiritual or even physical well-being.

But the unwillingness of my blog stalkers to recognize their own part in things and apologize, even after we have spoken to my priest, and for them to react so harshly against the idea of counseling with the priest, leaves me free to disfellowship them from me.

But this page on resolving disputes between congregants, from a Protestant denomination, sums up quite well why this is so vital in a tiny church:

Many branches of the church of God are small in the number of members. Most of our individual congregations are quite small too. There were positive and negative aspects of the large congregations of our former fellowship.

Because of the much greater numbers of people in our old congregations, there were more opportunities for friends and companionship, but there were also more opportunities for offenses.

This fact also allowed the offenders and the offended to “resolve” their differences by merely ignoring one another and gravitating to another set of church friends. We do not have that luxury in our tiny congregations today!

We have very limited opportunities for friendship and fellowship within our tiny congregations on our little “church islands.”

Remember that our little church congregations are small islands of truth and righteousness, isolated and surrounded by the vast ocean of Satan’s world.

We need to stick together. We should not be giving offense to our beloved brethren, and neither should we be so touchy and sensitive that we are too easily offended.

Let us strive to get along together and to love one another with the godly love that is unique to the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

If our churches were cathedrals, or at least as large as my husband’s church (500), we could easily lose sight of each other in the crowd (and neither church would be in financial straits and talking mergers, either).

But no, our churches are so tiny that you can barely move without bumping into each other at some point.  A person can barely speak without everyone in the room being aware of it.

In mine you have the little sanctuary and a little office upstairs, and the basement downstairs, and that’s it: no classrooms, even.  Theirs is even smaller.

My priest is already aware of the situation, but because our churches have been reticent to merge, there has been no reason to ask for a formal contract as described above, or for formal counseling sessions involving my blog stalkers.  The best means has been to simply avoid each other (though stalking my blog hardly counts as “avoiding” me).

Most of the time they’re not at my church, so there is no problem with this, and I have felt no need to go further.  But my church is in the final stages of negotiating a salary for my priest; if he rejects it, I don’t know what will happen.

If the idea of merging is put on the table again because of our recent, sudden change in finances, then I’ll have to ask for formal help–or go to a church which is farther away, but free of this drama completely.  Or if they start coming to mine on a regular basis, I will have to ask for formal help, because I won’t uproot myself from my own church.

And they will not be able to sue me, will have no right to, because I have and will have broken no law–and because it would be a violation of my rights.

Neither option is appealing.  But if I have to ask for formal counseling, it is well within my rights as a parishioner and an abuse victim–and my blog stalkers would have absolutely no basis to sue me over it.

I would keep out opinions of motivations, etc. and stick to what happened and how it made me feel, not out of fear of a lawsuit, but because it would not be right or tactful to bring such things into counseling sessions with a priest.

It’s not his job to sort that stuff out, and I would be far better served by keeping things clear and to the point, no speculation.  I’ve noted that people involved in custody battles are advised this as well.

In other words, what works for venting to friends in cyberspace, is entirely different from what works for negotiations, and could actually work against the desired result.

Why this would so disturb my blog stalkers that they would call it a “threat” (when it wasn’t even directed at them, just musings written months before they found my blog), and threaten me with a lawsuit if I did this, I have no clue.

You can easily see that there was no hint of a “threatening” tone in the “offending” paragraph.  Unless, of course, they recognize what they did was wrong, and that this would force them to face that.

What I do know is that their threat is groundless, and because of our First Amendment, the courts would not even touch it.  How churches deal with contentious members, is entirely up to the churches.

I am 100% supportive of outing these fools by name. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand that outing them is a direct consequence and they should deal with it. They don’t.

Instead, they seek low-life attorneys willing to send cease and desist letters to scare us into thinking we’re committing a crime.

We’re not!! It’s called freedom of speech.

If they think we’re lying and hope to sue us for defamation, libel, or slander, they need to prove that in court. The burden in U.S. courts is on the complainant, not the defender. I believe it is opposite in some countries, including Canada and the UK. :) –Paula, Lance Armstrong’s Jailhouse Confession

 

Realizing I Was Used and Manipulated by My “Best” Friend Richard: The Proof Is In The E-Mail

Realizing your best friend was manipulating and playing you the whole time, is very disturbing.  But it finally hit me this week as I kept piecing things together, put 2 and 2 together and finally got 4.  My proof is right there in the e-mail Tracy sent me back in May of this year.

My blog stalkers twisted my words into threats I never made, and then used those imaginary threats as justification to threaten me with legal action.

(See Now I’m Being Stalked, where you can read about this, my dissection of the e-mail, and the full text of their e-mail.)

I looked through all my posts but could find nothing to back up their claims that I threatened to expose them to the local community and/or church.

(Just a note in one blog, not addressed to them, that I hoped they would move away so I wouldn’t have to see them around anymore, and a note in another blog, not addressed to them, that if their church merged with mine, I would have to go to the priest for help, for my own physical, emotional and spiritual safety.)

It was a documented example of gaslighting:

Twisting your words and managing to turn things around to use them against you is a ploy of the verbal abuser. —A Checklist of Verbal Abuse | eHow.com

But I reviewed all my posts and could find nothing to justify their threats, I have tons of documentation, and I am an eye-witness of, or got directly from my blog stalkers, practically everything I wrote….

It also went against something I wrote in one blog, that I had no intention of spreading around the church the story of what they had done.

My blogs were merely about personal release of metaphorical demons, and I had no intentions of revealing their real names on here or somehow publishing them to the whole local community.

(And how on earth I was supposed to do so, I have no idea.  Take out an ad in the paper, perhaps?  As if such an ad would even be run!  Pass out fliers?  Go door-to-door?  If they mean talking to my local friends–they can’t stop a person from confiding in friends.)

Their e-mail was so ludicrous, paranoid, absurd and revealing as to be laughable.  It gave me concrete evidence of their abuse, self-centeredness and vindictiveness, so I’m holding onto it.  It even gave me concrete evidence that they just used us for our generosity, and were never true friends.

Just think: Not only did they demonstrate the same utter lack of regard for the feelings and points of view of Hubby and me that they had shown during the “Incident” and that Tracy showed for me the entire time I knew her

…Not only did they demonstrate a feeling of entitlement to call all the shots and smack us down when we got uppity and asserted our rights to decent treatment

…Not only did they say they “owe” me nothing

But a lawsuit would be an attempt to get money out of us.

Didn’t we give them quite enough money over the years?

Considering the extreme lengths we took over the years to help them out, far beyond what most people would do, and the fact that we’re not even remotely related to them,

I think we are at least owed kindness, consideration, a restraint from verbal abuse and bullying, and apologies for outbursts.

But to not even get that from them, and have them come out and say in this e-mail that they owe us nothing and did nothing wrong, is clear, documented proof–which you yourself can read–that they feel entitled to bad behavior without apology.  It clearly shows a lack of conscience and empathy.

Me always getting blamed for that bad behavior, without the blamers taking any of it onto themselves, is another telling piece of the puzzle.

Me right there overhearing as Tracy would make passive-aggressive phone calls complaining to her mother or Richard about me.

Hubby has said all along that he does not want me debasing myself to her, that Tracy has to get down on her knees and apologize to me.  And he wouldn’t mind apologies for how he got treated, either.

I, Hubby, our parents and one of my old friends all have a distinct impression that Hubby and I were played for suckers.

For me, after two months of happily hosting only Richard, there was the sudden, unexpected announcement that the rest of the family was coming to move in–and Richard already had to sleep on the couch.

There was no room for another adult and three more children, but they came here with no other place to go, no move-out plan, and ended up staying for six long weeks.

Neither my husband nor I approved this, thinking the other one must have okayed it, but never being asked, just told they were coming.  My son was forced out of his bed and into ours.

When Richard made this announcement, I got him an apartment guide and told him to find a place.  I kept asking/begging him for a move-out date, but it kept getting put off, or he’d say he couldn’t give me one.

Yet Tracy complained that I did not make her feel welcome,

complained about the food we provided (who can afford fresh produce and no canned/frozen every night for eight people on a middle-class salary and ballooning utility bills???!!!),

they gave us no money when they had promised to pay for food,

they left messes all over the house (including a massive pile of dirty laundry in the living room),

and she was very rude and aggressive to me and abusive to Richard and the kids even while living in my house,

as if she expected we would just let her do this without kicking her out–That shows a sense of entitlement.

As does the distinct feeling I got that what I did or where I went in my home was subject to her approval.

(I got this from her complaints about me taking time to myself,

the way she’d follow after me if I went to talk to Richard by myself,

the angry look she gave when Richard invited me to play cards with them,

and her complaints to Richard about my “routine” and to her mother about who does the cooking in my house and what we served for dinner!)

Then, a year and a half later, when they were on hard times again and I bit the bullet and offered to let them stay here again,

I discovered from Richard that she refused,

that she spit on our hospitality,

accused me of being a bad, unwelcoming hostess (because I had to do housework and change diapers, and desperately needed time to myself every day with all these people and noise crammed into my 1100-sq.ft. condo),

and was very upset with me for overhearing me tell my husband she was bullying me and abusing Richard.

Yeah, I can feel your ingratitude from here, a lack of appreciation for how you forced yourself on us and then complained about the accommodations,

just how much your presence put us out financially and personally,

for how you were driving me crazy and making me want you OUT.

And because of this, they tried to force me into an uphill battle to please her and get back into her good graces if I expected to be friends with Richard.

Meanwhile, she had no intentions of changing anything about herself that caused me to call her abusive and keep her at arm’s length.  More entitlement.  And more evidence that we were sponged off, used, by fake friends.

On the very night of the “Incident,” Hubby said to me, “Do you feel used?  I do.  They were not good friends.”

On the part of Hubby’s parents, all it took was one long phone conversation describing what happened, to convince them we were taken advantage of.

They said Hubby shouldn’t have let things go on as long as they did, that as soon as they began complaining about the food we provided, he should’ve (politely) shown them the door.

My mother, also, keeps noting, “And to treat you like this after all you’ve done for these people!”

An e-mail to my old friend resulted in the friend’s observation that these two were very manipulative and were never real friends to us, that she’s met people like this.

Then that e-mail from Tracy/Richard? came, confirming these suspicions for Hubby and me.

I’m not even sure what all was real and what was fake, because Richard sure played a convincing part, I thought we had a special bond and that he truly cared about me,

but then he began complaining about “pampering” me, and started coming out with things he’d held back from me, which first made me wonder what was real.

His behavior since has belied the impression he gave Hubby and me both; he had fooled us both for years.

A true friend would never behave the way he has done,

would reflect on his own behavior and return your apologies (which I gave both of them not just that very day, but a week/month later) with his own apologies,

would apologize for blowing up at a good friend.

It’s hard to admit that he may never have actually cared and was just playing a part to get our monetary and other support, especially since it is hard to be sure, though his behavior the past few years has been steadily confirming this.

But with Tracy, I’m sure, and her e-mails to me are proof.

All you have to do is read in the e-mail at the above link that they “had a good laugh” at my pain and point of view, that they “did nothing wrong” and would not apologize.

Those lines in themselves are glaring proof not just of a lack of empathy and conscience,

but that these two are a couple of con artists and spongers,

that neither of them ever really cared about Hubby or me, or they never would have written such callous lines.

And because those lines prove that they never truly cared,

that leads to the obvious conclusion that they used us for our generosity,

because we were so willing to give them a place to stay to our own inconvenience and financial strain,

to open up the wallet,

to give them food and out of our other surplus,

to give them rides,

to lend them things which we had to remind them to return.  (We never did get the crib back.)

How often were we there for them?  All the time.  How often was Richard there when I needed him?  Not so much, often ignoring my phone calls or e-mails.

After all, how much did I really know about either of them before letting them in?  I met them on an Internet forum.  It’s easy to misrepresent yourself on a forum.

There were all sorts of things which Richard never told me until right before he was to move in, things which made me start wondering if I should let him stay here.

There were things which he didn’t tell me until after he moved in, which shocked me.

There were things which came out little by little over the years; I didn’t hear about the Mafia goombah stint until 2009.

An even more telling piece of evidence of their duplicity, is the way they just let us end the friendship without a fight, the way they kept putting their pride and anger above friendship even a month later, even two years later.

Obviously getting their own way is far more important to them than anything or anybody else.

True friends would have at least tried to change our minds.  Instead of dead silence, we would’ve gotten phone calls, visits, apologies and/or requests to talk it over.  That’s what another of my friends did when one of his friends broke off the friendship.

The way they just let us go so easily, then blocked us all on Facebook and e-mail, suggests very strongly that the whole Incident–heck, that whole last few months when even Richard suddenly began acting distant, rude and mean–was a setup, a plan to push us away.

Maybe it was because I showed signs of no longer believing Richard’s wild stories.

Maybe it was because we were not going for his politics.

Or maybe we had outlived our usefulness: Most of the time we knew them, they were both either unemployed or underemployed.

While Hubby, who lost his job when the economy tanked in 2008, did keep finding good-paying contract jobs,

but then in very late 2009 felt forced to take a job that barely paid the bills, made us buy poor-quality food at discount stores, but was permanent.

His employer was a miser, while Tracy finally found steady work.  So they didn’t need as much help from us, while we didn’t have as much help to give. 

It all fits together now, the more I think about it.  To still, two years later, defend your abusive and nasty behavior as “nothing wrong,” is a sign of narcissism and sociopathy–and proves to us that we did the right thing in cutting them loose.  True friends would not be proud of having mistreated you.

Their e-mail also references Richard’s criminal conviction, with a snide remark about “speculation” and not having “all the facts,” but I got all sorts of facts straight from the newspaper and court records, which are posted online, free for the public to access.

And though they tried in this e-mail with that snide remark, there is no way to spin what he did, to make him look good.  (He choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness.)

I’ve witnessed their vindictiveness to others and to me, and maybe they think everybody is like them.  But I am not the sort of person to do what they accused me of.

Their e-mail is proof that they felt the need to terrorize me into silence, rather than trying to work things out or even defend their actions through reasoned arguments. 

It shows Richard to be just like the government officials he hates so much, who he claims will hound and intimidate him if he ever publicly comes out with their secrets.

It’s also proof that if I had gone through with that “conference” Tracy kept insisting on, she never would have allowed me to have an opinion of my own,

because that e-mail is how she responded to all the arguments I made, everything I’d wanted to say to her, in plain language and detail in probably dozens of pages of blogs:

basically, to poke fun at me for thinking things were that way, to shut me up and say I had no right to say it, or even to make my own terms about how I would be treated, after she determined how I was to be treated.

Which, by the way, is also how she and Richard both responded to Hubby’s attempts to speak up for me and try to smooth things over, during the “Incident.”

More entitlement to do whatever the heck Tracy wants, and take and take and take from us, while giving us nothing in return.  And even to go so far as to threaten us into compliance and silence about the truth to those who could help us.

Their e-mail is all the proof I need that Hubby and I are right about them.  Their true character shines all the way through it.

Though at the time it felt like they’d put a huge pile of crap in my lap, I now see it as a golden egg.  I’ve shown it to the police, posted it online and shown it to friends [on the Forum where we all used to post] as proof of what I’m dealing with.

At the same time they sent it, they also a sent a friend, whom I will name “Chia,” to spy on my Facebook account.

I’m not sure what she did there, only that I did not know this person who friended me shortly before Tracy sent the above e-mail, that they were both on her friends list, she lived here in town–

and spikes from their IP address suddenly showed up on my website right after I friended her and it showed up on her wall.

We had absolutely nothing in common other than our city and knowing Richard and Tracy.  None of my friends were on her list.

There were even a few sentences in her profile about defending friends when they’re being attacked, or some such.

(I bet she wasn’t told the full story, that I had been viciously attacked by Tracy over and over again, that my blogs were about telling my story of abuse, and that what I actually did was tell Richard and Tracy to leave me alone.)

I sent her an e-mail asking how she knew me, but she never responded.  In fact, the following day I discovered she had unfriended me.

Am I being paranoid when I say she was a flying monkey, as the blogging community calls it, otherwise known as sycophant, abuser-by-proxy, or dupe?  No.  There’s far too much evidence to support the flying monkey theory.

Then at church, you could actually see Tracy’s feeling of entitlement in the way she carried herself, and the way she tried to intimidate me by getting right up behind me in the communion line, pressing up against me, and literally breathing down my neck in loud snarls.

It was ridiculous.  What did she think she was, a scary pirate?  Better put a few “arrs” in there for good measure.

And Hubby noticed, every time they came to my church and Greek Fest for the next several weeks, their false, exaggerated piety, a show for me, though I did not watch them.

They even took communion, which, from what my husband, father and I all understand about communion, is a huge no-no when you have conflict with another at the same church, lest you taint the sacrament, and eat and drink condemnation unto yourself.

(After the first week, I realized this, and refused to take communion when they were present, but they kept taking it.)

I need no further proof that I was right about her.

Their behavior in real life and online, including what they look at on my site and how often, is very much that of people with something to hide, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I don’t even care about seeing my blog stalkers in the stats anymore.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

It is very disturbing to discover just how badly you’ve been manipulated and used by people you thought were friends.

I now understand why most people are so reluctant to help non-family to the extent we helped these people.

Hubby’s parents told him you put yourself out like that only for family.  We will be keeping a tighter hold on our purse strings and offers to let people stay, after being so badly taken advantage of.

It’s rough to think that Richard would be this kind of person.  It’s very different from what I thought he was.

He had seemed like the perfect friend, with interests very much matching my own eclectic interests, giving us an overabundance of things to talk about: music, Goth, geek, Orthodoxy, theology, intellectual, ghosts.

I don’t know what went wrong, if it was always a ploy, or if it changed later on….I keep looking for hope in what blog posts he reads, hope that he still cares.

But the proof of a very different reality is in how he has allowed me to be treated in such a fashion.  The proof is in that e-mail

If he had ever truly cared about me, he never would have laughed at my pain.  Only sociopaths laugh at grief and pain caused by them.  It’s only denial that keeps me hoping.

Let my story be a warning to you, especially with the economy the way it is.  The blinders my husband and I had up, have led to financial and emotional pain.

My story of narcissistic abuse is here.

 

Fighting the Darkness: Breaking the Power of Narcissists

[This is one of my most popular posts.]

I Spy With My Little Eye…A Blog Stalker?

The trouble with dealing with narcissists is that they can still manipulate you as long as you are still emotionally connected to them.  It is necessary to break free of that power they have over you, so they can no longer touch you, no matter what they do.  My purpose now is to break that power.

Tracy and, possibly, Richard, who seems to have been recruited to this as well (along with one friend who was also recruited but is blocked from my Facebook now), have been playing games with my head for the past several weeks, but in such a subtle way as to make me look like the crazy one.

First, after reading all my blogs in (from what they said to me) narcissistic glee, they sent me a nasty e-mail that twisted the truth, denied their abuses and bullying, tried to turn everything around on me, and laughed at me for being upset about the things they did; they threatened to sue me if I went to my priest for help.

They know I don’t want them on this blog anymore since their purpose is malicious, so they found a way around my blocks and have been checking it constantly.  They know I don’t want to see them, so they’ve been putting themselves right where I can see them.

The purpose is to screw with my mind and take me down.  If everyone thinks I’m crazy, then I’m the one discredited, and they get away with what they did.  It is one massive mind screw.

So I have two choices: give in to the mind screw and let them take me down, or fight back by removing the power from them to do this.

Tracy has always been very competitive, playing her games–whether Risk, or online games, or the game she’s playing in your head–to win.  It’s not about you at all.  She has identified and is exploiting my vulnerabilities, which is what you do in war.

She obviously sees me as a threat, or else why would she do all this?  If you really think I’m so “not all there,” then just laugh and ignore my lunatic ravings.

My priest has told me not to check my blog stats for a while, even though it does serve a legitimate purpose of seeing if anyone (besides various bots, which are peskily numerous) is actually reading what I post, and even though bloggers typically want to know who’s reading.  But the purpose of fasting from the stats is to make Richard and Tracy vanish.

The narcissist central focus is control. The narcissist is interested in controlling emotions and fostering a sense of attachment to his victims even when he is no longer physically a part of their lives.

Mind games are essentially utilized to torture the victim and to take over the mental processes of the victim. This negation of thoughts and cogitation is fostered by keeping the victim attached to the narcissistic ex partner through inferences, drafting and keeping the victim connected to the situation that she desperately needs to overcome….

Do not allow the narcissist to exploit you and play games with your mind.  Do not permit someone to have dominion over your thoughts and your private moments.

They are yours; seize them now before it is too late. Get your control back but before you lose not just only a love interest but your sanity, pride and maybe your life. –Crystal Evans, Why the Narcissist Loves Mind Games

You have the option of knowing what he is up to and therefore not allowing yourself to be taken in by his games. The narcissist will prey on you only as long as you let him. —Tigress Luv, Narcissistic Mind Games

I know that, in my own experience, getting in touch with my feelings was the turning point. I started to explore my feelings, asking myself just exactly how this stuff was making me feel. I mean that I dug deep until I could put my finger on exactly HOW a thing made me feel.

Did it make me feel violated in some way? Did it make me feel like two cents waiting for change? And so on.

And then I zeroed in on why what the narc did made me feel that way.  Guess what? I discovered that all my feelings were perfectly natural and that I was just being normal and human for feeling that way.

I also saw that the narcissist was deliberately working to make me feel that way.  Needless to say, that changed everything. I was no longer easy prey. –Kathy Krajco, Examples of Narcissistic Behavior

Cyberbullying Research Summary: Emotional and Psychological Consequences

 

How DARVO could prove which of us is telling the truth

 

DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.

DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender.

This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.  –Jennifer J. Freyd, What is DARVO?

While re-reading this article on Shrink4Men, I came upon a section which hit me as proof to my readers (who can read Tracy and Richard‘s bizarre, intimidating and remorseless e-mail to me in the “Now I’m Being Stalked” post, and how they’ve been trying to stalk and intimidate me online and off for the past few weeks) of which of us is telling the truth:

Of course, not everyone who denies wrong doing is engaging in DARVO. Many partners and exes of abusive women are accused of things they didn’t do or of things that never happened.

Naturally, when this happens, you deny the accusation and perhaps feel a little (or a lot) bewildered. How do you know if an individual’s denial is the truth or an instance of DARVO? Freyd (1997, pp. 23-24) proposes:

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases.

Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior.

This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on.

The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. The attack will also likely focus on ad hominem instead of intellectual/evidential issues.

Finally, I propose that the offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. The more the offender is held accountable, the more wronged the offender claims to be.”

The original paper (“Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory” by Jennifer J. Freyd) goes on to say:

The offender accuses those who hold him accountable of perpetrating acts of defamation, false accusations, smearing, etc.  The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense.

BINGO!

More relevant stuff:

The divorce process triggers these fears and pushes all of their hot buttons, which explains why many escalate their controlling and abusive behaviors during a divorce.

Divorce represents a final loss of control and means that their flaws and faults might be exposed to friends, family, mental health professionals and the court system. Most Cluster Bs fight tooth and nail against having their abusive traits and other nasty qualities exposed.

Now that you’re no longer together, you know too much about her and, therefore, must be discredited and destroyed so that no one will suspect that she’s actually the one with the problems. This is her logic.

…3. High-conflict people feed off conflict and chaos. It gives them a buzz. For many, the only way they know how to relate to others is through aggression, blame and playing the victim. Once it ends, what does she have left? Nothing.

4. Oppositional withholding. This is more leftover baggage from your marriage. Many of these women are withholding partners. Meaning, if there’s something you really want, she doesn’t want you to have it.

The more you want something, no matter how insignificant and small, the more she finds reasons that you shouldn’t have it or actively obstructs you from getting it.

In this respect, these women are like oppositional, defiant toddlers. The more you want to wrap up the divorce; the more she digs in her heels and tries to delay it. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, Divorce and high conflict people: borderlines, narcissists, histrionics, sociopaths and other persuasive blamers

Sociopaths blame others for their bad behaviors and do not take personal responsibility for their actions. At their core, they are filled with rage, which is often split off and projected onto their victims.

Sociopaths have poor behavioral and emotional controls and can be impulsive. They often alternate rage and abuse with small expressions of love and approval to keep their victims under their control.

Sociopaths lack boundaries and do not care how their behavior affects others. They may become enraged and/or desperate when their victims try to enforce boundaries on their abusive behaviors. They have difficulty maintaining friendships, and, is it any wonder given how they treat others?

They typically end relationships and/or try destroying former friends who have seen behind their masks.

Some may have long-term friendships, but they either seem to be long-distance or friendships with incredibly damaged individuals with low self-esteem who admire the sociopath, i.e., sycophants. –Dr. Tara, Rethinking female sociopathy, part one

Do they do this on purpose?  The expert, Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, has some insight into how NPD’s/BPD’s think:

Basically, she doesn’t have a James Bond evil villain-esque plan for world domination; everyday is a battle to protect herself from being assaulted by the truth of what a damaged, flawed being she is.

These women create a distorted bubble of un-reality in which they are wonderful, misunderstood creatures who have to put up with lesser beings like you, me and everyone else on the planet.

Verbally abusing you and making you believe you’re a jerk is how she keeps her version of reality undisputed and household tyranny alive.

She may know that her behavior is hurtful, but doesn’t care. She feels justified because you “deserve” it for some imagined or minor affront to her ego. However, I wouldn’t say this is “premeditated” or even conscious. It’s instinctual survival behavior.

She has learned how to manipulate you, others, and her environment through trial and error, like a child who has discovered cause and effect.

These women see the world in terms of rewards and punishments—much like a 5-year old.

Calling a NPD/BPD’s behavior “premeditated” gives her credit for a level of self-awareness I just don’t think she possesses.

Also like a 5-year old, these women are totally egocentric. They believe the world revolves around them, that everyone else is like them, and motivated by the same desires and fears.

As for her threatening divorce; you should be so lucky! Here’s the most crazy thing about these women; they do everything in their power to drive even the most patient, tolerant, and forgiving soul away, yet their greatest fear is abandonment.

Because of her egocentrism, if her greatest fear is abandonment, then you must also be deathly afraid of abandonment. —Is a Borderline or Narcissist Woman’s Emotionally Abusive Behavior Premeditated?

Also, “Narcissists/sociopaths do not feel remorse for their hurtful and/or criminal actions and believe that their targets deserve to be screwed” (Do Narcissists Feel Remorse?).

Also, why would I make up a story like this?  Why would I expose myself to the Net as emotionally vulnerable if it were all a lie?  Why would I tell all these personal things, exposing my gullibility and mistakes, for a lie?

I keep wanting to remove some things from my story, things I had only told my husband before this.  So I start thinking, “What if my family/friends read this,” but keep these things in because they’re a crucial part of the story.  Why would I expose myself like that for a lie?

And especially, what would be the purpose of lying about people, whose names I refuse to even reveal on the Net?  Why would I research narcissism, BPD (borderline personality disorder) and abuse in the first place, if not to try to figure out what the heck was going on here?

I might google abuse because of my college memoir stories of abuse, or to add something to my webpage about abuse, but why would I google it because of Richard and Tracy if there had been no abuse?

I never heard of BPD until I began googling about abusers during my grief, did not know much about narcissists, was not aware of the connection between NPD/BPD and abusers.

After I began to suspect BPD/NPD based on Tracy’s behavior, which fit the traits and behaviors I kept reading about, Todd told me that according to Richard, BPD is indeed in her family.  As the author of Narcissists Suck put it,

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog. —Calling Narcissists Evil

My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.

That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to.  But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.

It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits.  As the author wrote on the main page,

Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect.  The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….

Why would I want to put such a personal document online?  There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD. There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.

Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it.  When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”

Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue.  My wish is to give hope to others.

Like me, the author changed names and identifying details.  This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.

It’s the most baffling part of Richard and Tracy threatening a lawsuit, because I never used and never intend to use their real names in these blogs–and anything I would tell my priest about this, would be the truth, and not in any way actionable.

Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, female former friend.

In searching the Net for other people who have been threatened and accused of lying/defamation for telling the truth about abuse, I found this by Christina Enevoldsen:

When I was in my early forties, I stood before a group of people and named my father as my abuser.

It felt good to let go of the secret, but when I went to bed that night, I felt horrible guilt for “betraying” my dad. I heard a little girl’s voice tell me that I was going to get in trouble.

I knew that was a voice from the past and assured myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but deep down, I believed I deserved to be punished for telling.

I didn’t know what the “punishment” might be until I got a letter from my mom. For years, she’d accepted that I’d been sexually abused, but when I uncovered my father as my primary abuser, she accused me of lying:

Christina-
I am writing to inform you that your malicious slander of your father has not gone unnoticed. You have built an entire world out of your fantasy. In dreaming up your sexual abuse you have maligned your father’s character and deeply hurt his heart and mine. Your lies shall surely catch up with you.

I want you to know that if you have any plans of writing a book, we will sue you and anyone who has anything to do with it. Your defamation of your father’s character will stop. You will not enjoy one penny from any book published about this gross lie.

And I should let you know that we filed some of your inflammatory statements about your father and me, along with your threat against me, with the Mesa Police Dept.

And I will always be your mother whether you recognize me or not as such.
Your mother-
Mary Schamer —I Blamed Myself for my Abuse Since I Didn’t Tell

Comment #30 on this blog post, by “PS,” reads:

The letter from your mother was chilling… and reminded me so much of the threatening email I got from my brother several years ago.

This after he’d spent the better part of a year cyberstalking and harassing me when I confronted him and my parents over the abuse (my parents knew and did nothing to help me, in fact my mother labeled it “normal experimentation” and tried to convince me “all families fool around”), and after I told the rest of the family (who never responded and, from what I heard, sided with them, so they’re no different than any other abusive family structure).

He told me in his email he was going to contact a lawyer to “seek remedy” and accused *me* of being the one harassing him, told me that my letter was a “poison pen” and essentially called me a liar, among other things.

I turned the tables on him at the advice of two attorneys and called the police on him. They said they couldn’t pursue charges as he lived in another state, but they were willing to call him and tell him to stop contacting me.

I don’t know what they told him, but they must have scared him good, because the most he was able to muster was “I’ll stop bothering her if she stops harassing me.” Outside of when he notified me – politely – that our grandfather died two years ago, I haven’t heard hide nor hair since.

I read more of Christina’s story:

My next stage in disclosure was speaking to a group of about forty people, many of whom knew my father. I wasn’t sure what their reaction would be, but I felt ready to share it, no matter their response.

I had enough of a support system, within myself and with others, so I was secure and didn’t need anything from them. I just wanted the opportunity to share the truth. They were overwhelmingly supportive.

I was validated by the group, but when I went home that night I heard a little girl’s voice in my head saying, “You told,” in an accusing tone. I recognized that the little girl was the little girl inside of me.

She was the one who was warned not to tell. She was the one who was afraid and felt threatened.

But as my adult self, I wasn’t under my father’s power anymore and he couldn’t do anything to hurt me. So I comforted myself with that and validated my progress—and continued to tell.

After that, I published the story of my abuse history online. I wanted it to be public. I wanted the whole world to see it.

I wasn’t afraid of my dad finding out. I wanted my parents to read what I wrote. I wanted them to know I was talking about it. I felt empowered and strong. —How Do I Disclose My Abuse?

I believed that there was a rule that I was allowed to share a bad experience with one or two people at the most and then I had to stop talking about it or I was “just being a victim”. Yet I was compelled to keep talking about it even with the internal accusations and the guilt that it caused.

I was warned that “dwelling” on things doesn’t serve any purpose—that it would just make me feel worse.

But I was already depressed and it wasn’t from talking about my abuse. I was depressed because my trauma and the feelings that went with it were locked up inside of me.

As I started to see some benefit from talking about my abuse, I started to question the limited talking “rule”. —Why Do I Talk About My Childhood Abuse Over and Over?

Patty:  When I first read a survivor’s story from a book, I cried for days. I was so relieved to know that I was not the only one. Her abuse was different, but the trauma from the abuse was the same as mine.

Even though I didn’t know her and never spoke to her, I felt so close to her. As I continued to read about her abuse, I grew stronger. I was no longer alone.

For a period of time the only books I read were stories about survivors; I didn’t want to read about healing.  I wanted to become a part of a group of survivors. There were no survivor groups where I lived and there were no computers at the time, so the only connection I had was with the survivors who so graciously shared their stories.

It was life changing for me. I continue to read survivors stories because it continuously brings me into the circle.

Jennifer:  I wasn’t able to admit that I was a victim of sexual abuse until I started reading other people’s stories. They described the same types of things that happened to me as a kid. The only difference was that they had a label to define their experiences.

I had always thought of it as “stuff that happened”, stuff that I didn’t think about, let alone talk about. It never occurred to me until then to attach the word abuse to my memories. If I hadn’t read the accounts of other survivors, I would most likely still be in denial today.

I am so grateful to all the brave men and women that have opened up and shared their stories. They have paved the road for me and future generations to tell our stories and begin the healing process. —Why Do I Need to Tell?

I felt like poison was being spewed at me but at the same time, I was surprised how calm and rational I was able to remain. I refused to accept the abuse and told them as much.

I was able to stand up for myself in a way that I never could have before I began to heal. I could see that what they were doing to me wasn’t my problem.

I didn’t ask for it or deserve it. I was just the current target but, they soon discovered, no longer an easy one.

As difficult as it is to realize that some people can no longer be in my life, if they can’t give me the basic respect that I deserve as a human being—they don’t belong there.

I am the first to admit that I still have a long way to go. I have breakthroughs and setbacks.

In times like these I can see that I have made progress and it feels good. I am no longer powerless. I am exposing the lies for what they are and in the process, reclaiming my self-worth.

I didn’t deserve to be abused then and I don’t deserve to be abused now. I am worth just as much as anyone else and that knowledge gives me the power to reclaim my life. –Penny Smith, Standing Up for Myself: Reclaiming My Self-Worth

Post by Prozac Blogger:
Major Breakthrough: Exposing the Truth

I will NOT be silent.

The emotional abuser will play up the “pathos” in an attempt to garner sympathy, all the while, continuing to (cyber)stalk his ex, making jokes about things he could do to upset her, and invading her personal space and boundaries …

(almost all the Cyberpaths we have exposed have gone to their target’s personal sites, boards on which they post, etc. saying they were “just protecting THEMSELVES against their Target’s relentless abuse. Turnabout!! and projection, readers.

Prime Example: Campbell filing a frivolous lawsuit against his victim that was thrown out!)

Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker’s objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting her.

This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. ….

People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU.

They don’t play on your insecurities and they don’t wage psychological warfare on you. They don’t blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don’t fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat. –Natalie P., Emotional Abusers–The Heart of Cyberpaths

This post from the Whispers of God blog goes into the issue of how to tell when someone is falsely accused of abuse.  In her context, she’s talking about child abuse/molestation.  But I can imagine this applies to those accused of bullying as well, such as the psychological and verbal abuse I was put through by Richard and Tracy.

Richard would be the one who claimed to love me like a sister, that I was “very dear” to him, but I have accused him of being a party to the bullying, of even threatening Jeff in June/July 2010, of manipulating and using me in 2007 and then betraying me in 2010, letting Tracy believe I was guilty when he knew I was innocent.  Also, Tracy claimed to Jeff on 7/1/10 that they “valued” our friendship.

As WOG says, if someone you loved accused you of abusing her, and you knew you were innocent, you would be desperate to talk to her and sort things out, would be visibly shaken.

Yet I have received absolutely no such communication from Richard, only an e-mail from him and/or Tracy accusing me of defamation, ridiculing my pain, expressing no remorse whatsoever, and even showing no remorse over Richard’s criminal conviction.

WOG, too, is being threatened with a libel suit for speaking out about how she’s been abused, and you can read about this in her various posts.

 

I’m not the only blogger who’s been “found” by the abuser

In the blogosphere, writing about your experiences with abuse, narcissism, borderline personality disorder, bullying and the like, is common:

My Trip to Oz and Back has been up for nearly 10 years, one woman’s story of her experiences with her girlfriend, whom she now believes to have borderline personality disorder.

Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, former female friend.

Single Dad Laughing and Alan Eisenberg blog their bullying stories under their real names.

Patricia Singleton uses her real name to blog about her abuse experiences.

There are also many who write anonymously.  The anonymous author of Narcissists Suck wrote all sorts of things about her sister and her sister’s e-mails, and claimed to check her stats all the time to see if her sister had found it–but the blog is still up in all its glory.

The Prozac Blogger is afraid of his father finding the blog and “wiping the floor” with him in court.  [Update 5/29/14: Prozac Blogger has long since healed, and removed his blog.]

One Angry Daughter had to deal with the fallout when her family found her blog, but her blog is still up.  [Update 5/29/14: Not anymore.  I believe she stuck it on Amazon a while back so you could pay to read it, but now it’s not there, either.] 

The popular Psycho Ex-Wife blog got shut down, even though it was anonymous, when the ex-wife found it and complained to the judge; the authors of the site are trying to get it back up again.

These blogs are a kind of Internet-wide group therapy session, and the blogs are helping all sorts of people realize their sanity and learn how to deal with the abusers/narcissists/BPDs/bullies in their own lives.

Shutting them down would only help the bullies and abusers, and victimize the abused all over again.  Let’s support keeping these blogs on the Net!

From “Psycho Ex-Wife”:

We are asking for help in this defense because it is an issue that faces any parent that is divorced.

Imagine a judge telling you that you cannot talk about your children on “any public media” – which would include things like Facebook updates, Twitter, or your personal blog – or you will lose custody.  Imagine the far-reaching consequences for bloggers everywhere if orders such as this one are left unchallenged?

There goes your online support group.  There goes your Facebook and Twitter updates.  Your website, personal OR commercial – ordered gone under threat of incarceration and having your beloved children removed from your custody.

This order flies in the face of our civil rights, and your civil rights, too! Imagine trying to protect your children from abuse and a judge telling you that you must hide the abuse and protect the abuser by not allowing you to talk about the abuse in public, we can’t let this stand.

Another reason to keep up such blogs is the understanding it provides for people who struggle with residual effects of abuse or bullying, but everyone keeps telling them, “Let it go, move on.”  As Patricia Singleton puts it so eloquently:

I have discovered that those people who tell me to “Let it go now. Move on.” are usually one of two types. They either have never experienced what I have and therefore know nothing about the process that it takes to heal. Or, they have their own abuse issues that they want to stay in denial of.

If you see me going through my issues and haven’t dealt with your own, then my struggle threatens your denial. That is why you tell me to let it go and to move on so that you don’t have to become aware of your own unresolved issues.

I feel sad for those who are still in denial of their own issues. I have little sympathy for those who don’t know what they are talking about because they have never experienced what I have.

If you haven’t been there, you have no idea of what it takes to live my life and to struggle to get better. Don’t tell me to get over it.

If you have been where I am and were able to let go of your issues by healing them, then tell me how you did it. Share your experiences and what worked. Don’t share your denial of your issues. I don’t need that.

I did that, on my own, years ago and I know that denial just helps you continue to live in the pain. Denial heals nothing. When you are in denial, you aren’t happy. You aren’t free. The only way to freedom is through the pain, not around it.

…Some of you choose to share your own experiences, as I do, by blogging about them online. Others choose to write in private journals. Some of you still continue in the silence because you haven’t found your voice yet.

It is for other incest and childhood abuse survivors that I write of my experiences. Any time that someone survives abuse in any form and can write about that journey, that is inspirational.

It isn’t light, funny inspiration. It is sad, thoughtful, sometimes tearful. It is always heartfelt. Sometimes it comes from a deep well of hurt.

It is always healing to be able to bring these thoughts and feelings to the surface and share them with others. It can be educational to share with others who have never experienced abuse in their own lives. Without awareness, you can stop nothing.

I want to read the stories of people who are still “in the trenches” of working through their pain, not a step-by-step guide that tells you to just “stop thinking about it” or any of the other trite sayings which people give you.  And I write my “in-the-trenches” stories for others who are also in my place.

Mulderfan commented on a post,

FYI, a THERAPIST suggested I “piss and moan” on a blog as a way to rid myself of my demons. Its actually been a great way for me to meet other “volunteers” who, unlike you, validate my experiences.

As One Angry Daughter wrote in “Bear With Me”,

 In case you haven’t already heard the exciting news, my FOO [Family of Origin] has discovered my blog. I really don’t care if they are reading or not.

What I do have a problem with is NM [narcissistic mother] leaving comments spreading FOG [fear, obligation, guilt]. Out of the 300 + comments I have gotten on this blog, her comment was easy to spot. The comment has been deleted.

She has yelled over me and put me in my “place” my whole life. Well, she doesn’t get a voice here.

I have been able to block them from accessing (A how-to guide is in the works). I know eventually they might find a way around it (as I type, they are continuing to try to reload my page, click on various links to this page, and view cached versions of this site — I’m sure they think they are very clever.).

I kinda feel like a kid whose mother just read her diary… but I am not ashamed. These pages are my point of view, my honest account, my journey. The only reason I blog anonymously is to protect their identity, not mine.

So FOO – if you have sneaked your way back in and want to read, fine by me. Be warned, you may not like everything I have to say. If it bothers you, by all means, do not come back again. Please keep your opinion to yourself. I will find you and I will block you again.