children

Wondering if NVLD is hereditary

Thinking my little boy has inherited my brain….His daddy tells him that since he found out yesterday that Mommy didn’t want my son drinking Kool-Aid but milk for lunch, he’s not going to make that same mistake twice.  What does my son focus on?  “It wasn’t Kool-Aid, it was pop.” LOL

Focusing on the details and missing the big picture: that’s common for NVLD.  This tendency of NVLD kids to focus on details is sometimes called “being a little lawyer.”  You’ll tell them they can’t do something, but they’ll find some way that your reason is invalid, and try to argue around it. 

My little boy does that all the time.  Drives me nuts and I have to try to guide him out of it so it doesn’t cause him trouble later….Though, if he does become a lawyer, this may actually help him.  😉

And I’ve often done it, though I was a lot worse when I was younger.  Mom, you should let me do this because….  We shouldn’t break up because…. Okay, maybe we won’t be serious, but how about just dating…. (I found evidence of this in my diaries for both Peter and Shawn.) 

I used to be one of those grammar/spelling nazis on the Net, until I discovered people don’t like that.  I’ll be reading an article in the newspaper and focus on the cringeworthy spelling/grammar error (but then, that’s normal for people in my line of work). 

But this does make an NVLDer an excellent proofreader.  My scores on the entry test I took for SEEK years ago, astounded the person testing me.  She said nobody else had done that well before.  My filing skills were praised at my last job.

It’s hard to realize, because your brain naturally works this way, that it’s annoying for others, or why it’s annoying.  Honestly, we’re not trying to annoy you. 

I only learned about this NVLD trait in the last few years, and recognized it in myself. 

You just honestly think that those loopholes exist.  If that particular thing was not included in the list of “forbidden” items, you’ll think it’s not forbidden, even if your mom meant that all similar things are forbidden, and expects you to understand that. 

“I shouldn’t have to tell you that!” is a common refrain.

After his conviction, Richard comes to my church

To my shock, Richard showed up at my church today.  I hadn’t seen him there since last Christmas, and thought that–ever since I reported him to Social Services and he got convicted of choking his kid–he would never show up at my church again, out of shame, knowing or suspecting that I know what he did.  (The Forum was shocked as well.)

But there he was, so who knows when he could show up again.  Every week maybe?  And my church is TINY.  It’s hard to stay at opposite ends of the church in a church that small.  Staying at opposite ends means staying a yard or two apart.  Because of this, even though Jeff normally drops me off and leaves (he’s Lutheran), he stayed nearby as moral support–or a kind of bodyguard.

But I did note a few things.  They may mean nothing, or they may mean something, I don’t know: Richard was very quiet during the service, even during the Creed.  I didn’t hear him and he was just two or three pews back with nobody in between.  He did not go to get the Eucharist.

Only two children were with him: The child he choked was not there.  The youngest also was not there, and neither was Tracy.

He was right behind me in the line to get blessed bread from the priest, but said nothing to me.  Of course, I was sending out clear body language to “stay away.”

Unlike the first or second time I saw them at my church after everything went down, this time I’m given strength by the knowledge that I should not cower in shame from someone who did such a horrible thing to a little kid.

During coffee hour, my son played with the two children who were there.  Child #1 is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens.  She’ll pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug.  Child #2 is older, and upset at Jeff and me for not coming around anymore.

Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Jeff and my son had already gone out.  I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got Child #2’s scolding eyes.  She said things like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”

Jeff tells me he also got her scolding eyes.  But you can’t tell a little child, “Sorry, but we can’t come to your house anymore because your mother is nasty and your father choked your sister.”  So instead, I said, “We miss you, too.”

I hate to see children suffer from the sins of the parents.  I keep praying that the probation officer and Social Services are working to change things for those girls so they can break the cycle.

Jeff does not want to be friends with these people again.

[The case also showed up in the local newspaper’s printed listing of court cases, in November, showing his name, the ruling, and the amount of the fine.]

I posted on Facebook a dedication to Richard: “Suedehead” by Morrissey:

Why do you come here?  And why do you hang around?  Why do you come here When you know it makes things hard for me?  When you know, oh…Why do you come?

I also wrote:

Today I was put in the extremely uncomfortable and heartbreaking position of talking to a child who didn’t understand why I don’t come around anymore, and seeing the scold in her eyes.

“It was fun playing at your house,” she said.  “We miss you,” she said.

But you can’t tell a child that her parents’ disgraceful behavior is the reason.  “We miss you, too,” was all I could say.

I don’t get it–Why does he come to my church if he’s not going to try to make things right with us?  It’s supposed to be my refuge, my peaceful place.  But he keeps showing up there like a bad penny.

He has his own church.  What he did to me, has put me into my own Long Dark Night of the Soul; when he choked his daughter, I was horrified; and when I see him again, it’s a setback, when I’ve come so far along.

Every Sunday service, I’m afraid to go because he might be there.  Why doesn’t he leave me alone?

Dude, I don’t hate you, but I am extremely disappointed in you.  I expected much better of you…….

Then I posted a link to my blog post, Healing Takes a Long Time.  Some excerpts:

I had thought I’d never see Richard at my church again, but there he was on Sunday.  A wound I thought was healing has been ripped open again, gaping and oozing.

It’s hard for me to even get myself up and going to church on Sunday mornings, for fear that they will be there.  They’ve surprised me a few times at church, or at my church’s Greek Fest, since the breach, even though I rarely ever saw them there before.  (They go elsewhere.)

It felt like they were doing it on purpose to terrorize me.  Every time I saw them, I’d barely make it through, feel like collapsing, have to fight to keep from trembling.  Only anger at all the abuse could give me strength to get through.

This time, Hubby and I saw their vehicle in the parking lot, so Hubby stayed to give me moral support.  (He has his own church and normally just drops me off at mine.)

This time, it was just Richard and two of his kids, not the one who was choked.  It was all very quiet, no scenes or anything.  He didn’t even take communion.

During coffee hour, my son played with the two kids.  One is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens.  She’d pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Just the sweetest, most adorable little girl.

The other one is 7, and upset at Hubby and me for not coming around anymore.

Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Hubby and my son had already gone out.  I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes.

She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”  Hubby also got her scolding eyes earlier.

My heart broke right there.  I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the reasons.

I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the abuse, how Tracy had verbally eviscerated me over a misunderstanding and had no remorse, how her father had done a terrible, evil deed to her sister, how he had once planned to do a terrible, evil deed to a lady who had upset him two years ago, and made me afraid of him, afraid of what horrible deeds he could do to me.

I couldn’t explain to her in a way that she could understand it had nothing to do with her.

All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry.  I’ve been miserable ever since, missing her and the other children.

I just kept hoping during coffee hour that Richard would come to Hubby and me and apologize for all the things he’d done to us, and was very disappointed when he didn’t.  I still keep hoping.

[5/4/14: Instead, he just spent the whole time ignoring us, making no move to make peace with us, instead telling one of my fellow parishioners about his conversion to Orthodoxy. 

His conversion–hmph–What a joke!  Was that an Orthodox way to treat us, Richard?  You’re no Christian!]

I hope that, because of the criminal conviction, he’s using his probation as a second chance to change things around.  I hope that one day things will be different, that his abusive home environment will become healthy and good, that he will come to us.

Websites on abusers keep saying, “Don’t hope for change.  Let go of the hope for change.  Accept that this is the way they are and will always be.  Don’t listen when the Church says they can change.”  But in my heart I just don’t believe that.

I was angry.  I tried to hold onto my anger to distance myself from Richard and all the pain.  But it’s all just vanished and sadness has returned.

When he came to our city four years ago, I had no idea things would turn out like this.  I gave them so much of myself, trying to help them, because Richard’s friendship was so important and special to me.  He had never said anything about an abusive homelife, not until then.

One person on an Orthodox message board noted that I sound emotionally and spiritually traumatized.  This is certainly true.

If you are religious, please pray for me and this whole situation, which affects not just me but four innocent children.

[Below was added in spring 2014.]

Tracy accused me of breaking off relations with her because I needed to “grow up” and accept the “consequences” of my “behavior.” 

No, we broke off relations with her because she’s a screaming harpy, a child abuser, a husband beater, and an abusive friend who bullies shy, quiet, gentle people. 

We had already considered breaking off relations with her several times before that, even considered reporting her to CPS before the breakup. 

Her behavior on July 1, 2010 was the last straw. 

And now we have proof, in black and white, and in the state’s court records, that Richard is also a child abuser, making his loss no longer the tragedy I thought it was.

But I still suffered from residual pain and grief over his loss.

On October 31, 2011, the newspaper published this letter I sent to the editor:

I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.

An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers.  Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies.  But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.

How can this happen with such a despicable act?  Is that child being protected?  Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.

And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates.  People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically.  Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.

I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves.  And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

 

 

I learn that Richard choked his daughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote the following two days later.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todd replied,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another friend wrote,

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

The first friend wrote,

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

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

I wrote,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My friend wrote,

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

I wrote,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another friend wrote,

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

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

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

I wrote,

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

 

How Richard and Tracy’s views on parenting are wrong

The Bowersock Family episode of Supernanny demonstrates how violence and yelling does NOT make a better-behaved child, despite all the people who claim it does.  From Anonymous on IMDB:

Jo meets the Bowersock family where parents Jenniffer and Thad are having trouble with their three kids: 7-year-old Madeline “Maddie,” 6-year-old Hayden, and 4-year-old Lily Grace.

Jenniffer’s form of discipline is smacking, spanking, yelling, and even washing her kids’ mouth out with soap which shocks Jo.

Thad works as a juvenile corrections officer and when he gets off of work, he heads to the gym leaving Jenniffer with the kids.

The Bowersock kids disrespect their parents and show Jenniffer no respect whatsoever. Jo discovers Jenniffer’s abusive childhood and teaches her how to break the cycle with her own children. Can Jo help this family?

Yet Jennifer says in the intro, “I’ve never once felt bad for the way I discipline my kids.”  And herein lies the problem: abusers not feeling bad about what they do!

Richard and Tracy are an example I have seen firsthand of a family like the Bowersocks.  For all the screaming and grabbing and hitting I saw going on, those kids still wouldn’t do as they were told.  Richard would brag that they did, but I’d see different.

Children imitate their parents: If the parent is out of control, the children will be as well.  Richard said that boys who are not screamed at, grow up not respecting women.  But how can a boy respect women if his chief example is a screaming, hitting harpy?

In the early days, when I had trouble dealing with my little boy who liked hitting, I used Richard’s advice on how to discipline.  I had first tried no spanking, only to find it didn’t seem to work on him.  Richard advised three spanks.  This was before I knew what Richard’s own household was like, so I listened.

In person, he advised to spank harder, said I was doing it too lightly.  I thought with three children he knew what he was talking about, and he seemed like a decent, gentle person, so I listened.  Of course, I still couldn’t spank very hard because I just don’t have that kind of upper body strength.  Yet it wasn’t hard enough for Richard.

But when Tracy and the children moved in, weeks passed, and I began seeing how Tracy dealt with them–I began to distrust the advice he had given.  How could I have been so naïve as to take advice from someone I had never actually seen parent?

The more I saw of their ways of doing things, I took a few things that seemed to work, but the mother Tracy was out of control–and so were the kids.

She even said they wouldn’t praise the kids for doing their chores, seemed to think I was silly for suggesting such a thing, yet their kids weren’t doing their chores, while mine does his chores every day.  Screaming at the kids wasn’t working. 

My own son, who is not being raised in such an environment, is as well-behaved as you can expect from a little boy, listens to his teacher, does well in school. He does get naughty at times, but I now follow the advice of experts that one quick, light spank will not cause lasting damage.

But I avoid even that much, looking for other ways to discipline.  Jeff and I have not been perfect parents, but we try our best to recognize when we make mistakes and look for better ways.

But we got the strong impression that while Richard did recognize his mistakes as abuse once in a while, Tracy just kept justifying her harshness and thinking she’d done nothing wrong.

Once, Richard said Jeff was spoiling our son, that the problem was that Jeff didn’t want to make our son fear him.  He said maybe Jeff had been afraid of his dad and didn’t want the same thing to happen to his son.  Which was true–but the trouble was, Richard said Jeff should make our son fear him!  What is the point of that?  How is that good?

You’ll often find people saying that kids today don’t behave because they’re not whacked or yelled at.  But this isn’t true, because I’ve seen in Richard and Tracy’s household that kids were constantly yelled at and whacked, and yet the kids still kept acting up in various ways all the time.  

Don’t you see they’re imitating the parents?  That’s not being the adult and taking control, that’s acting like a child and losing control to punish the children. They pick up on that.

I remember being a child vividly: Kids want to behave for kind and gentle people, and want to misbehave for mean people.  They want boundaries, but they also want to be able to tell the difference between a kid and an adult.

You tell them don’t hit, but then beat them for not behaving.  You tell them to quiet down, but yell and scream at them.  You tell them to behave, but yell and scream at each other.  How is smacking them around going to get them to act like adults?  How is whacking the 3-year-old on the head going to teach her not to act aggressive?

Yet, especially while Richard and Tracy lived in our house, they kept complaining that my child was being spoiled, ruling the roost, not being properly disciplined–while he’s growing up to be a well-behaved boy.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

 

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