Reblog: Conspiracy Theories, Autism, Fear, and Life on the Crazy Train

So why do I say that I’m fed up with conspiracy theories?

Aside from the lack of logic and evidence in many of these theories, I’m also sick and tired of the worldview which is engendered by the most ridiculous, extreme, and far-out of theorists, which goes something like this:

everything is a ploy to undermine our cherished way of life – the immigration of Muslims to the United States (this particular belief is included as part of the rampant Islamaphobia present in the U.S. today), affirmative action, gender equality, religious tolerance, interracial marriage

(I’m not shitting you – back in the 1960’s many conspiracy theorists such as Myron Fagan were espousing the view that racial equality, interracial marriage, and the Civil Rights movement were part of a Communist agenda to ruin America), etc., etc. etc.

Included in the latest of these as accounted by a fellow autism blogger on Facebook is a notion that same-sex marriage is part of a Communist plot to take over America.

And a little closer to home is the insistence by some that vaccines cause autism…and supposedly, it’s a plot cooked up by a secret shadow government.

–from Conspiracy Theories, Autism, Fear, and Life on the Crazy Train by Woman With Aspergers

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Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud

On April 29, 2010, I read in Annie’s Mailbox,

Dear Annie: I’m a 14-year-old girl, and in my group of friends, there is one girl who never talks. “Nicole” sits at our lunch table because she has nowhere else to go.

The problem is, when we don’t invite her to our outings, she starts to cry. We don’t like including her because she’s no fun. I don’t know what to do.

We’ve confronted her many times and suggested many solutions, but she always uses the excuse that she’s shy. I’m — Out of Ideas

This letter burned me up.  It reminded me not just of growing up quiet, shy and introverted, but of being a quiet and shy adult, with people thinking all you have to do is talk more so why don’t you talk more?

The girl who wrote this letter was like so many girls I knew in school.  I wanted to give support to that quiet girl, and tell the world what it’s really like to be like us introverts.

My Facebook was also full of old classmates who I don’t think were mean to me, but probably didn’t understand my quietness.  So on May 4, 2010, I posted on my Facebook,

When I read the letter “Out of Ideas” the other day, I knew how the quiet girl felt, and was so upset I wanted to speak out on her behalf. So I sent this to Annie’s Mailbox:

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if, next year when the lunch schedules change, this quiet girl will be happy to switch tables to a more welcoming and accepting group, and wonder why she stayed with this one for so long.

I’m willing to bet she actually is an interesting person, but these girls never let her get a word in edgewise, and when she does think of something to say, somebody scolds her for not talking enough and she keeps her mouth shut instead.

All that pestering about her not “behaving” properly, saying her shyness is just an “excuse,” and constantly excluding her from fun activities, is probably making her feel like a freak and pushing her further and further into her shell.

The way to draw out a shy person is to ask for her opinion on a subject, maybe make a compliment or two, because maybe she just hasn’t been able to push into the conversation before the topic changed.

Another way is to have some one-on-one time with her, give her a chance to talk. If she’s included in activities, she may surprise them with being a fun person after all.

There is something called “social mutism.” I don’t like the term because it, once again, makes a quiet person feel like there’s something “wrong” with her, instead of just accepting that she has a different idea of when it’s time to speak.

Still, research done into social mutism has shown that pestering and scolding a quiet person is counterproductive. This person needs to feel safe enough to open up, or it just isn’t going to happen.

Also, the extrovert brain has also been shown to work differently in social situations than an introvert brain: The extrovert can easily make small talk, while the introvert simply cannot keep up.

The quiet person may actually despise small talk, but if allowed to mull over an issue, can come up with something brilliant to say. Is quantity really more important than quality?

–A Quiet Person With Lots to Say

On June 25, I posted on Facebook (NVLD=NLD):

I found this on an NLD (non-verbal learning disorder) support forum. It was posted by a parent of an NLDer as an example of what you can give teachers to help them understand your child. I think it’s so awesome, that I’m reposting here.

Much of it sounds so familiar. I wish I could’ve had something like this when I was in school, but nobody ever heard of NLD back then, so I was just the “weird” one that everybody misunderstood.

Two teachers, especially, were very hard on me, and I could never understand why because I was doing the best I could.

Several years ago, I found papers from junior high that reminded me just how much trouble I had in school. I was supposedly smart, but my best efforts resulted in sometimes mean-spirited teacher comments scrawled all over my papers. Whatever the reason why I didn’t number my paper properly, oh French teacher, it certainly wasn’t to tick you off.

There’s another thing I could’ve added, because people in college kept saying I wasn’t assertive, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck they were talking about. The only thing I can think of, is that they mistook my rule-driven inner code of how to treat people nicely and properly, as a lack of assertiveness.

But here is the post, with name removed:

• *** is a bright student, but his slow processing speed means that, at times, he can become overloaded with new material, and appear not to be retaining it. We have yet to find anything that *** has not been able to learn given enough time and a supportive environment. He may take a little longer to grasp something, but once he learns it, he won’t forget!

• *** does not handle novel situations or material well. This manifests as an extreme reduction in his processing speed, and rigidity of thought that can appear to be “oppositional”. Since, by nature, much of what goes on in a teaching environment is the introduction of novel material, this can crop up again and again during the school year, not just at the beginning of the year. ***’s speed increases when material becomes more familiar.

• People with NLD often have problems with both judging time, and with visual/spatial tasks. Don’t be surprised if *** has trouble getting to the right class at the right time for the first few weeks of school. Please be patient with him, this will improve!

• *** is EXTREMELY literal, honest and rule driven. Sometimes things that are said in a joking manner are taken very seriously by him. Try to avoid saying things in jest that you don’t really mean. He often doesn’t “get” sarcasm and often will miss double meanings.

• Please watch for other students taking advantage of him, because he often does not realize it himself. Even if he does, he often doesn’t know how to deal with it. This has become a particular problem since he has become more interested in the “social scene” in the last 6 months.

• If something *** says appears to be a “wise crack” type response, think carefully about his response. Often you will find that it is simply a too-honest literal reply to the question asked. Other times, he may copy something he heard elsewhere, but doesn’t understand that it is inappropriate. We’ve found that if he is told that the response is inappropriate, and is given a better alternative, is he usually quick to comply.

• If *** is being argumentative, it may be that something in the conversation has been misinterpreted. Most arguments with him stem from a basic miscommunication, but he will sometimes become really rigid and “stuck”. In these cases, it’s usually best to just disengage and approach the subject a different way at a later time. If necessary, call in someone who knows him well and whom he trusts to talk through the problem.

• Assignments that include the wording “Choose your favorite” or “What do you like least” will almost always result in *** becoming stuck. Try to word things as “Choose something you liked” or “Name one thing you didn’t like”

• *** is a very hard worker, and avoidance behaviors are a sign that something is very, very difficult for him. He is rarely able to verbalize or even identify what these difficulties are, and we adults have to work together to figure it out for him.

• Many times, even with us, the misunderstanding at the root of a problem with *** is only clear in hindsight. Flexibility and humor are the best tools in dealing with these misunderstandings.

PLEASE feel free to call us any time you feel that you are having trouble.

But now, after all the things I confided in Richard over the years, all my trust in him with my innermost thoughts–

After I posted the above Facebook post, that evening he sent me e-mails talking about the NVLD suspicion as if it were somehow making me a “victim.”  (Do you accuse a blind person of playing the victim because they can’t see?)

He said he always had wanted to “strangle” me for still believing in it.

Apparently I should’ve bowed to his superior knowledge and wisdom back in 2007 when he laughed it off, because after some phone conversations, of course he knew far better than I did if I had struggled all my life with undiagnosed NVLD.

And apparently shaking it off would somehow make me more talkative so Tracy would be pleased.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as I was quiet long before I even heard of NVLD/NLD or Asperger’s.

Rather, discovering NLD in 2000 has meant discovering that I’m not a freak after all, that there are reasons why I have trouble driving, or crossing a busy street, or dealing with an automatic car wash, or talking to people, or knowing instinctively how to handle myself in new social situations like other people seem to do.

It explained why my college “friend” Shawn had so many criticisms of me that didn’t seem to fit or make sense.

It’s empowering to discover that you are not stupid because you don’t understand volleyball.

Discarding the NLD as a possibility would mean taking back on that lead cape of feeling like a stupid idiot and freak because of the problems I had dealing with life.

But apparently I was supposed to abandon all the research I had done into NVLD since 2000–

–obsessive research involving probably hundreds of hours, printed-up websites, books, surveys, and spending time on NVLD forums discovering my stories are like those of so many others with NVLD–

–because Richard said it was wrong.  Or else he would want to “strangle” me.  Such violent wording because I preferred to make up my own mind instead of listening to an arrogant know-it-all.

But for Richard to talk as if I were being a “victim” made me think back over all the things I’d ever confided in him, and wonder my gosh, what the heck did he actually think of me for these things?

I felt like he was judging me for not being an outgoing extrovert like him.  I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore.

Why did he think I didn’t have NVLD and say he wanted to strangle me for continuing to think it and I was making myself a victim?

Because he read in a textbook that it was the same as Asperger’s and he didn’t see any autistic traits in me.

Um, no, while some do think it’s the same thing, there are many differences between Asperger’s and NVLD–autistic traits being one of the major ones.  NVLD is not the same as autism, is closer to Asperger’s than to High-Functioning Autism, and whether even Asperger’s is autistic, is debated:

It is a common mis-belief that individuals with AS are autistic–they are not. AS is a separate disorder and NOT just a form of higher functioning autism (as you will often hear). The deficit in social relationships in AS differ significantly from autism, as does the basis of the language disorder.

You can have both at the same time, with the Asperger’s diagnosis trumping the NLD diagnosis.  But if you have NLD traits and don’t fit Asperger’s, you’re NLD.  (An informative discussion on this very controversy is here.)

Here is an article by a director of neuropsychology which explains the many differences between NVLD and Asperger’s.  Also, from Byron Rourke:

Final Note. Many students of AS and NLD seem to think that they are one and the same. Of course, they are not. Reflections on the relevant sections above and the NLD and Neurological Disease section will show this assertion of identity to be absurd.

So Richard’s claim that he would not diagnose me NVLD because I don’t have autistic traits, was based on a faulty premise.

And I know far better than Richard does what goes on in my head and how difficult social situations actually are, even more so than for a typical introvert.

I felt incessantly badgered by him over the past two years about this, badgered for being shy, badgered for not having the social skills he had, badgered for not thinking the same way he did on this and many other things.  

Rather than assume my social problems were well-meant errors, Tracy would assume they were done on purpose to hurt her. 

Then Richard would scold and, as the one who knew “better” about socializing, lecture me, and say how could I not know these things when even children knew this?  This, by the way, is not the way to get an NLDer to behave the way you think is more socially acceptable.

In fact, the more I learn about NLD, add things to my NVLD page, and participate in NLD support forums, the more convinced I am that I have correctly identified this in myself: a mild or moderate form, but still there nonetheless.

The more I learn about NLD, the more I see things that could have contributed to my difficulties with understanding Tracy and her mysterious, always-changing rules:

  • Were there things I would’ve been able to figure out if I were better able to generalize?
  • Was it the fact that I only considered those things restricted that Richard actually told me were restricted, and didn’t apply it to other things as well?

Or was she crazy-making as an abusive person often does, so that even a neurotypical person would have had trouble with her?

It’s impossible for me to tell, to be honest, because I can see either possibility, especially since I’m not the only person she’s had problems with, or the only person whose friendship with Richard has been ended because of difficulties with her–and they can’t all have NLD.

But I did inform Richard of the NLD, so I did my part in helping them understand me.

(Jeff was told that it would actually be dangerous to mention a learning disability to Tracy because her mother had blamed her own abuses on something she had.  So even though I never abused Tracy, I never mentioned the NLD to her.  But she apparently found out about it somehow, since she ripped on me for it on 7/1/10.  But I did tell Richard what I needed from Tracy to open up.)

If they had taken my concerns seriously, my identifying it as NLD, and my requests for how to deal with it properly, this whole situation could have had a very different outcome.

Also, whether my quietness was due to selective mutism or NVLD or Aspergers–

–or if it’s just that so many extroverts told me over the years that I’m behaving badly by being myself, and made me feel like a freak for being quiet, when it was actually just natural introversion–

–I was not being a “victim” just because I don’t behave the same way as extroverts in social situations.

Scientific studies (easily found through Google) have shown that introverted brains actually differ from extroverted brains.

We don’t speak so much because we have to think before we speak, while extroverts speak to find out what they’re thinking.

We need to listen to what’s being said, then go through our long-term memories for knowledge and experience about the topic.  By the time we’ve done this, the extroverts have changed the topic.

We despise small talk because it’s empty and meaningless and our brain doesn’t start giving us things to say.  If the conversation is in-depth and interesting, then we attend and can speak just as much as anybody else.

So extroverts telling us to “try harder” is actually a form of bullying, because “trying harder” will make no difference whatsoever.

It is impossible to change an introvert into an extrovert, because it’s a fundamental part of who we are, just as much as gender, and cannot be changed, in fact will cause all sorts of frustration to try to change.

We need to accept ourselves as introverts, and extroverts need to accept us as introverts and stop getting upset with us for not being like them!

The world needs both our “kinds,” because extroverts are the doers and introverts are the thinkers.

Everything I read on scientific studies into introversion tells me that my behavior was perfectly normal for an introvert, and that Richard and Tracy trying to force me into extroverted behavior to please Tracy, was a very bad idea, doomed to failure–and without me having to be “stubborn” or “hating” Tracy.

I was truly tired of being scolded or lectured for not measuring up.

I got too much of that from Shawn, that college “friend” who criticized everything about me,

lectured me on how I should be more social/talk more/talk to strangers,

took away the measure of self-confidence I had gained at college from my friends,

and made me feel like a social freak who didn’t dress right or act right or do her hair right or wear makeup.

He apparently saw me as freakish because I didn’t act like a goofy college kid, like I wasn’t worth being his girlfriend because of this.

Then my ex Phil’s friend Dirk talked to me in a similar fashion later on, telling me I’d end up an old maid because I didn’t do the things other girls did “instinctively.”

In my adult life, I got sick of people giving me social advice I had not asked for, such as one person who cornered me and said I should be more “lively,” the random people who said “Smile!” when I did not feel like it, and the constant “you’re so quiet!” remark rather than trying to draw me into the conversation.

I got so sick of it that I wrote an essay about it for the SCA, which was published in a newsletter.

Now here I was getting more of it from Richard, who wondered why I got mad at him for it, and being treated like a creep by Tracy because I wasn’t the kind of person they were used to dealing with in their former social circles back in their old region.

Richard told Jeff that I asked him how to be more social.  But I never did, and can tell you this is nothing I ever would’ve done, not after how frustrated and annoyed I had been over the past 20 years at all the people telling me how to be more social!

“Mutism not only hijacks our words but also our ability to think.  To use the ‘needle on the record’ analogy, the needle gets stuck on the same unpleasant lyric, and we can’t shake it free to move on to the next line.” —Aspergirls by Rudy Simone

Above all, “we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that’s the desired state,” says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you’re not, that’s your problem. –Laurie Helgoe Ph.D., Revenge of the Introvert

Do you ever wish you were an extrovert?

Not really. That may be because my “faking it” skills are pretty good.

But I do think a lot of us are tired of being told that there’s something wrong with us–of this lazy assumption that if you’re not an extrovert, there’s something wrong with you.

I think my article may speak to people in part because of its defiant message. It says, “No, I don’t wish to be an extrovert. Not everyone has to be one. And why don’t you people get it?” –page on Introversion

Richard acted like he knew better than I did what was going on in my head.  He became very short and cutting with me, when he used to be kind.

This was the weekend; I was going to go to a water park at the local fairgrounds with Jeff and my son, but Richard’s e-mails made me so upset that it affected me physically, so I couldn’t go.

They made me feel I had put my trust in the wrong person.  

After all the private things I confided in him, all the trust and love and concern I had shown toward him over the years, I now regretted ever telling him anything about myself at all!  

I wondered if the many things I confided in him, hoping he would understand me better, had instead made him think I was a freak.  

I lost my trust in him.  I no longer felt he had my best interests at heart.  I had no idea who else to turn to, but it sure didn’t seem like I could turn to him anymore.

In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that his other BFF Chris, while a nice guy, is clinically paranoid–I realize:

At first Richard idealized me, called me the most awesome person he knew, and made me feel like his BFF, and like he wanted to spend time with me more than with any of his other friends.

But now Chris seemed to have taken over that role, and I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy that Richard never seemed to have time for me, but had plenty of time for Chris.

So he valued the guy with the crazy paranoid political rantings more than he did me, the sane one who helped him out financially and emotionally during very difficult times.

And he was married to someone showing all the signs of Borderline, Narcissistic or some other personality disorder.  

And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD.

So–okay–apparently Richard prefers the company of personality disordered people. 

And then he and/or Tracy calls me crazy–yeah, that’s so ironic and ludicrous as to be hilarious.

Yet he kept criticizing everything about me, practically accusing me of stalking all my friends because I like to keep all my e-mails and letters to and from them, treating me like I was somehow clingy because I wanted him to have enough consideration of me to either keep to his appointments with me, or let me know right away when he couldn’t.

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.

He treated me like a prude for not wanting to go around nude in my house, or for not wearing my nightgown around him without a robe.

He called me a prude because I don’t like sex-soaked TV shows like Sex and the City, or gory movies like zombie movies or Alien.  He even made it somehow personally offensive and inconvenient for him, because if he wanted to show me an exceptionally good movie like that, he couldn’t.  (So?  Show me something else, then!)

He talked like Jeff and I were prudes for our lack of sexual experience before each other, compared to his own extensive experience.

In the beginning he love-bombed me and treated me like I was wonderful, but now he kept criticizing me for things that were none of his friggin’ business.

One of his friends is a creep, but when this friend sexually harasses me, Richard makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it and considering this guy a creep.

I find conspiracy theories about government wanting to control us, to be a bunch of paranoid crap, so I’m the sheeple, the one who doesn’t care about personal liberties, who isn’t worth talking to about politics.  Okay….Sounds like the lunatics running the asylum.

Same thing with Tracy, who in her own way–considering how she accused people of insulting her, lacking respect for her, and needing to grow up, while she herself was doing the insulting and raging, lacked respect for them, and needed to grow up–is the lunatic running the asylum.

Shows me just how much stock I should put in the opinions and criticisms of both Richard and Tracy.

As I described here and here, I was a lonely person who thought I finally found the Frodo for my Sam.  We had bonded; we were a mutual admiration society; he was my brother, my friend, my BFF.

I loved him with pure philia and agape.

I trusted him with my deepest, darkest secrets, saw him as my spiritual mentor, leading me into Orthodoxy and helping me all along the way.

I saw him as the most awesome person I knew, and he once said the same to me.  I saw him as pious and loving.

We’d been close friends for five years; he was interesting; my life seemed more exciting with him in it.

When I wondered around April 1 if he was really still my friend or not, he reassured me that he loved me like a sister, and often wanted to come visit me–but kept falling asleep instead.

And now…

it began to dawn on me…

IT WAS ALL A LIE!

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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I feel increasing coldness from Richard and Tracy as I “unfriend” their Republican candidates and “friend” Obama and Feingold

As I noted above, Richard used to say “Sorry” for things so often and so freely that it got annoying.  Now, getting him to say sorry for anything was like pulling teeth; meanwhile, he was hurting me more and more all the time.

I also noted that he and Tracy seemed to begin snarking at me on Facebook (and in real life) around the same time I “unfriended” their political choices and “friended” Feingold and Obama.  You could see on your news feed when somebody friended a candidate, so they must have seen me friend the “evil” Democrats.

I had grown tired of the things Ron Johnson and Scott Walker were posting, which seemed far off in left (or, rather, right) field: wacky, delusional stuff.  This was before the November 2010 state election nominees had been chosen.  Johnson was even against science!

I realized their reality was just as skewed as that of the Tea Partiers’, so to vote for the good of Wisconsin, I had to vote for the Democratic candidates.

Johnson and Walker, by the way, won the election–and Walker began causing turmoil in the state by stripping long-held rights, balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and teachers, slashing money to the schools, taking away the ability of counties and cities to balance their budgets without cutting essential services, and refusing to listen to thousands who protested his draconian measures.

He refused to do things that would help Wisconsin, such as taking federal money to expand Medicare or allowing the high-speed rail system to be built. 

He tried to remove everything that was good about this state.  What he did was absolutely disgusting and it infuriates me still.

And this was the guy who Tracy, one day, recommended that I “friend” on Facebook.  Blech!

I saw some of it in his Facebook wall, though I had no idea just how demonically he would act after elected.

Many of my Wisconsin friends were appalled when he started this up, especially teachers who realized how much money was about to be taken from their already meager paychecks.  Don’t believe the myths about high-paid teachers which the Republicans tried to push on us during that time.

Our fine senator Feingold was out after almost 20 years, which caused Jon Stewart to shake his head in dismay.

Many times since the late 90s, I had written Feingold on human rights issues through Amnesty International, only to find that he was already working on that very issue.  His platform was sound, his record impressive, especially his work with McCain.

He won his debate with Johnson, resoundingly, making Johnson look like an idiot.  But he got pushed out by the wacky Tea-Party platform of Ron Johnson.

I could not believe how insane my normally sensible state had become in the 2010 election and after.

But back to the spring/summer of 2010.  Richard kept making snarky little comments about things I posted on his political posts.  It really ticked me off because he was putting politics ahead of friendship, and making his Facebook page so much into a political forum that I couldn’t even play with him like I used to or he’d get snippy.

What happened to playful little posts between friends?  What’s all the seriousness?  What happened to you using this page to reconnect with family and friends and play games and chat?

Make another page devoted to politics, or at least warn a person that your Facebook page has turned into a sterile political platform rather than a fun place to play with your friends and family!

He complained to me about his political “friends” (probably not actual friends, but political connections) complaining about my posts.

I was offended that anyone would react in such a way on what is supposed to be a lighthearted social networking site, to a guy’s friend behaving as friends do with each other on Facebook.  I wanted him to tell them off, not complain as if I were embarrassing him or annoying him.

I was also greatly offended when, after having a little disagreement about the President in a thread on one of Jeff’s posts, he told me that one of my oldest, dearest friends was an “idiot.”

From the conspiracy theories and wacky websites Richard was posting, I half expected him to hole up in the woods with an arsenal, to defend ‘Murica.

But apparently, because I believe in good sense, not relying on wacky websites or rumors, not hating or doubting the Christianity of people who voted for the other side, and compromise and respect for the other side, I’m a socialist who doesn’t care about the freedoms he would die for?

In fact, I lost a great amount of respect for Richard and the Tea Party, because this was how they were treating their opponents on both sides of the political spectrum, while taking on a whole lot of ideas that sounded like they would dismantle everything that made our country a great and safe place to live (unlike many other countries): police force, fire department, public schools, that sort of thing.

But anyone who disagreed with him, or with Chris, was now a socialist, a statist, sheeple.

Hoping to influence him, on March 25, I posted on my Facebook wall a link, How to Debate Politics Like a Gentleman, taken from the Art of Manliness website, on the need for civil debate in political discourse.

Richard certainly had been behaving as if his opponents were morons for disagreeing with him, something this webpage spoke against.  In fact, pretty much everything this webpage spoke against, I saw him doing.

But he just took my post lightly, posting jokes instead of taking it seriously.  He didn’t seem to care about gentlemanly discourse, which I considered a terrible attitude for a Christian man to have.

I realize I’m also venting here with words like that, but after several years of watching the madness out of the Tea Party, I throw up my hands at any attempt to disguise what I see there.

There was a time when Republicans were more sensible, but not since they allowed the Tea Party to take them over.

The Rush-Limbaugh-wing of the Republican Party has always been full of insult and manipulative rhetoric, but at least you could ignore them when weighing candidate platforms.

The Bush-era Republicans seemed more evil than moronic as they justified the worst parts of the Patriot Act, and used weasel-words for torture.

However, back in 2010, I still tried to temper my words when discussing the Tea Party, especially with friends who were in it.  Instead I would basically nod and bite my tongue with Richard and Chris.

Even now, I ignore every bit of Tea-Party or Republican ranting I see on my Facebook wall or hear from relatives, because I don’t want to get into it.  But here in my blog, I’m saying how I really feel.  😛

But back to the story.  This political nuttery also seemed to correspond with Richard and Tracy becoming short and snippy with me as well on various occasions, and with each other when we were visiting, and leading into the big blowup between us and them.

The way they, especially Tracy, behaved about the big blowup, a personal matter, violated all the rules on the webpage for political discourse.  It made me think that their political vitriol (both were involved in politics and skewering the other side) was now spilling into their private lives as well.

I felt that if they had taken my posts more seriously and the need for civil discourse on any matter, this blowup never would’ve happened.

In fact, during that phone conversation in late spring 2010 about the sexual harassment issue, Richard defended rudeness even to friends,

defended just saying “deal with it” when somebody has a problem with something you’re doing,

said he was too apologetic to people and didn’t want to do that anymore,

defended the trolling and occasional vitriolic posts Todd did on Internet forums.

So I told him, “I’m an introvert.  Deal with it!”  But of course, he didn’t.  I guess other people have to “just deal with it,” but he never does.

It just blew my mind.  I thought he was a better person than this.  I thought he was a pious Christian who understood the need for civility and showing love for your neighbor.

Now I began to feel like he should never join the priesthood, because the ones guiding us should have wisdom, humility, patience, love.

Like my priest, the one who Richard told me had driven people away from the local church by being too “ecumenical.”

Another baffling thing: I forget when this happened, but one day he told me that the people he hung out with back in their old region, would consider Jeff and me “prudes” because of the “small” number of people we slept with before marriage.  The way he talked, I was not sure he disagreed with them.  Wait a minute, I thought he was a Christian?

Also, along with the political divide, I may have offended his narcissism on Memorial Day, when we had them over for a cookout.  He started talking about how he used to play some card game with the crew of Drew Carey.

I said in a sarcastic tone–having heard so much of his name-dropping over the years–“So, you know them, too?”

He looked at me and said, “Whaaat?”

In the last month or two of the friendship, with the way Richard started treating me, and the drama that I could tell was going on at his house, it seemed like Richard was taking the things that Tracy did, or things that he himself did, and somehow projecting them onto me.

Tracy created drama with him, so if I was upset about something and tried to bring it up with him, I was creating drama–when I was just trying to kindly and respectfully work out the problems that were now arising.

He accused me of things that he himself did, of things that Tracy did.

Like, for example, he complained about me complaining about things so long afterwards that he couldn’t remember them (one of the things he said in the last part to shut me down before I had a chance to talk to him).

But I tried to deal with problems with him as soon as possible, while I kept hearing from him, complaints that Tracy had of me, about things I couldn’t remember happening, because they had happened weeks or months before!

Also, I was often stymied by Tracy’s ridiculous “rules” and Richard’s lack of response to me, whenever I wanted to sort something out.  I just wanted to see him in person and talk to him the way that works, but always came up against roadblocks.  Yet here he was pushing the blame onto ME for things not getting worked out quickly.

When I finally got him to talk about his nasty e-mail to me, he referred to “the drama” going on at his house.  So yes, the drama at home was coloring his interactions with me, even though I had nothing to do with it.

Also, the “drama” that Jeff and I both saw, was further proof that pregnancy hormones may make her even more jealous than usual, but they certainly don’t cause her to be abusive–despite Richard using this as an excuse for her rages in early 2009.

Jeff and I knew her for two and a half years, and she was only pregnant for nine months of it, giving birth in July 2009.  She was not pregnant after that.

Having no job could not be an excuse either, because when these things were going on in 2010, her youngest child was nearly a year old and she’d been working full-time for months.

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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Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics

Richard was getting into a form of anarchism, and writing on Facebook in 2010 about how horrible cops are, that we should get rid of the police and defend our own families, weird stuff like that.  He wanted us to get rid of various government-run and necessary programs, including public schools and fire departments.

He thought the government was going to force everyone to take the swine flu vaccine in 2009/2010 (which it never did), and he told me he would refuse.

He said that even if his second daughter died from swine flu, he would be sad, but he would resist the government’s intrusion.

(You’d let your own child die to make a political point???!!!)

Chris also posted about the dangers of the vaccine, but my family took it, and we all did fine.

On or before May 5, 2010, Richard made a strange post on Facebook asking do we really need the police?

I wrote–baffled that he would even say such a thing, since a police force is absolutely necessary to keep law and order and investigate crimes–

“Some bad seeds don’t negate the need for a police force to protect the public. That just flies in the face of all reason.”

Jeff and I both got into an argument with him on the wacky stuff he wrote about not needing the police to protect us, investigate crimes, etc.

Richard later claimed that he enjoyed the discussion, rather than being upset about it.  But I was miffed that he wrote in reply to my post,

Reason dictates that we should have the right to protect and defend ourselves.

When the Police require us to have them do it for us, that throws reason out the door and thus requires us to be subject to their inquiry, searches and seizures, their questioning and their actions upon our liberty all in the name of what you would suggest is “reason”.

You see it as the Police protecting you from the criminals.

I see it as the Police are the criminals I need to be protected from.

Ever been pulled over for no reason, your car searched and you are handcuffed in the back of the squad car, all done without the police answering your question of “what am I being pulled over for?”  Ever have that happen to you often enough to make you feel a bit threatened by the Police, especially when they never give you an answer.

How about having them step into your home unannounced and then start asking questions when all you did was wake up on the couch and see an officer there, and you door was locked, and the questions they are asking is about how many kids live there with you.  Experience this, and get back to me.

I wrote to Jeff,

Apparently now my opinion isn’t valid because I haven’t been abused by the police…..I guess having a desire to be safe and a desire for the well-being of my family (and having common sense) doesn’t give me a right to an opinion…..

And Richard said in our real-life conversation at the park a few days later (which would be May 8 or 9, 2010), that (if I recall correctly) he had been arrested more than 100 times.

Er–What?  To both claims–that my opinion was worth nothing because I’d never been abused by police, and that he’d been arrested 100+ times?

For what?  What the heck was he doing to get arrested 100+ times???

He couldn’t claim racial profiling, because he looks like any white guy, and his court records call him “Caucasian.”

If he were black, I would be far more sympathetic.

He is half-white; if his appearance made his other heritage obvious, I would be far more sympathetic.

But he looks like any other white guy.  His hair looks Caucasian; his clothes are not at all “ethnic”; if you don’t know his other heritage, his features look Caucasian.  Nothing about his appearance explains why he’d get pulled over–except maybe if he did something wrong.

When Jeff wrote,

Logic dictates that law enforcement be handled by capable people, and not left to just anyone.

I have had about a dozen encounters with law enforcement professionals from a variety of counties throughout this state, and I have been pulled over multiple times without knowing why.

While circumstances and dispositions varied, I have found police to be professionals doing a job, and when I offer co-operation I find that all my questions are answered in due time.

Richard replied,

I do not find that logical at all. It is illogical to give over our freedoms to a state controlled mafia, whom we neither appoint nor vote for. If we could vote for our officers things may be different.

(State-controlled mafia?  But I thought you liked the Mafia?)

To which Jeff wrote,

If you’re suggesting that some police act in an excessive manner in one way or another – I can see that.  If you’re suggesting that the police need to be held personally accountable for their actions, I’m listening and am inclined to agree.

If you’re actually suggesting that we rid ourselves of a trained police force and instead live in a city filled with 25,000 pistol-wielding yahoos … well, that’s where I draw the line.

I wrote to Jeff on May 6, “I’ve bowed out of this conversation.  It’s just too ridiculous to keep trying to argue the point.”

Jeff wrote to me a short time later, “… and I’m going to leave him alone.  I like Richard, but he’s not a wholly rational person.  I expect something’s happened that has upset him.  Given time, he may get better.”

So much wacky stuff, actually talking about getting rid of the police force and replacing it with everybody having guns to protect their own houses with.  He talked about replacing them with the sheriff’s department, because the sheriff is elected.

But…the sheriff and police have different functions.  Though the biggest difference between the two is that police are for local cities etc., while the sheriff is for the whole county.  So–You want the sheriff’s office to handle all the police work in an entire county???  Talk about inefficiency and backups!

When I wrote that I want to be able to call 911 and get a cop here right away, like the way it is now, he said he’d be able to protect my family himself!

Does he have a siren on his car?  Does he even HAVE a reliable car, or is he, yet again, relying on us for rides?  And how in heck is he going to do that when he doesn’t even answer most of the time when we call?

Just wacky, deranged stuff that flew in the face of all reason, yet he treated Jeff and me like we were being irrational and illogical.

In retrospect, I wonder if Richard was truly becoming unhinged, due to TEA Party and anarchist friends, a chronic state of sleep apnea, taking care of four children, and dealing with a wife who yelled at him all the time and sometimes smacked or punched him….

I came across a site called http://www.copblock.org–maybe he referenced it, I forget–that said the same stuff he did.  He also got very hateful toward soldiers, and both my brothers had been soldiers, one of them even going to war!

Richard said I should cut up my credit card and pay it off (a laughable prospect until Jeff could find a better job after he lost a good-paying job in the recession) because banks were soon going to go to something like 80% interest.

LOL–wut?

That was 2009/2010; here it is 2016, and my rate is still around 10%.

Chris talked about some kind of apocalyptic economic collapse coming in 2010, and how he wanted to buy a farm and live off the land because that would be the only way to survive.

Hasn’t happened.

Well, he moved to a farm.

Richard told me in 2010 that Obama was getting a military force in place around Iran, because he wanted to start a war there. 

Wait–what?

It’s 2015–where is this war with Iran?

The very fact of Obama’s negotiations with Iran in 2015, even against the objections of Congress, proves this to be yet another unfounded rumor.

Yet Chris and Richard called dissenters “sheeple.”

From what I’ve seen on the Net, a lot of this is coming from sources such as Glenn Beck and militia organizations–hardly reliable sources.

Richard’s politics got so strange that I wondered how someone of such high intelligence as he claimed, could fall for these things.  Todd has also wondered this.

Chris was also into the birther and 9-11 conspiracy theories, against vaccines and fluoridation–

–and posted strange things about the Illuminati and New World Order and international bankers running everything and such

–things I hadn’t believed since I stopped watching Pat Robertson back in the early 90s!

(For a sane debunking of such things, see the 5-part The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols, and the Slacktivist, who connects these things to Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series, since LaHaye was a member of the fanatical John Birch Society.  Also here, here, here, here and here.  And here and here.)

Chris even began posting about Facebook persecuting users who used the board for political reasons, and joining with the CIA to keep an eye on people.

Meanwhile, Richard told me things like, when Obama started his term, “We’ve woken up in a different America than we did yesterday,” that Obama was doing shady things, the government was trying to take over our freedoms….

He posted a blog in 2009 comparing Obama to a Soviet officer based solely on a striking facial resemblance.

From what I recall, he enjoyed Photoshopped pictures that made Obama into the Joker (the Dark Knight, Heath Ledger version) or some other such horrible thing.

It was disgraceful.

Read here about the John Birch Society, its beliefs, and its connection to Fred Koch.  All these conspiracy theories are here, along with the desire to abolish the Federal Reserve–and the Koch Brothers have been shown to have connections with the current TEA party-backed governor of Wisconsin and with the TEA party itself.  (Also see here and what Koch Industries has to do with the global warming debate.)

The paranoia coming out of both Richard and Chris was insane.  All this Bircher conspiracy crap being spewed out by Richard and Chris was, to them, the “truth,” and people like me who did not believe it, were somehow deluded and (in an allusion to Neo in the movie “The Matrix”) had taken the wrong pill.

Somehow I was “sheeple” and a “socialist” who didn’t believe in or care about the freedoms Richard would die for.

Meanwhile, Richard, with all his claims of intelligence and being able to tell when a politician was lying, was taken in by all of this.

While I rejected it years ago when I woke up to Pat Robertson’s lies and stopped watching “The 700 Club.”

As I told my friend Mike in spring 2010, I knew two TEA partiers, and wanted to be able to tell people that the TEA partiers are not as wackadoodle as the media portrayed them, but sadly, I could not.

I based my opinion on the TEA party on what these two people posted on their Facebook and told me via phone and chats, NOT on the media.  Todd also saw Richard as going off the deep end, and tried to reassure me that not all Libertarians are like that.

These things were not at all what I would want in a priest, who should be far more politically neutral, and is forbidden to run for political office.

I certainly agree with this article, Religious Right Must Not Set Agenda for Orthodox Church.

And I was beginning to wonder if Richard’s interest in religion had been supplanted by his fervor for extreme right-wing politics, that apparently wanted to dismantle government and build some supposed utopia where everybody does whatever they want and has lots of guns to defend themselves with.

And I wondered if this was why he no longer called me except when he wanted something, if this was why he had cooled to me, because I did not believe his conspiracy theories.  No, I did NOT use words like “wackadoodle.”  Those words began popping into my head later on, after I saw the destruction these theories caused in our friendship.  As I usually do when interacting with people (and not diaries), I bit my tongue.

He also told me all sorts of stories about Clinton, Bush and Obama, things which because of his background he supposedly had the inside scoop on.

I believed him, of course, though when I tried to verify these things, I scoured the Net and found nothing.

On the contrary, it seemed that these things may not have happened at all.  He, of course, told me these things were being kept off the Net, and he refused to post about them himself on the Net because he didn’t want government officials showing up at his door.

So these things could have been true, or they could have been tall tales told by a narcissist, but I have no way of knowing either way.

A very telling incident, however, was when he told me, before the 2008 election, about a video with Obama which was appalling enough to change how I voted.

(Though I fixed that mistake in 2012 by voting for the right guy this time: Obama.)

He told a Wisconsin pro-choice group that he would force taxpayer abortion funding, or something like that (it was 5 years ago, so I forget).

I later checked into it, and he never actually did this; it was just stump-promising.

This video did indeed exist, but whenever somebody tells you something like this, you’ve got to see it for yourself.  But when I asked Richard for a link to this video, he got offended at me for not believing him without seeing it!  So I had to Google it.

Richard always seemed to have all sorts of stories about various organizations, even proof that the Free Masons were as shady as people think they are–proof which I never got to see, of course, but which he claimed to know through various connections and personal experience.  This, of course, made him seem even more awesome, back in 2007.

On the weekend, just a few days after our argument on Facebook about the need for police, we had that birthday party at the park, which I mentioned earlier.

I had just gotten through an illness so bad that it scared me for a time, made me afraid for my life, because I rarely got so sick.  It seemed to give me a new perspective on life, just as going through labor had done, with all of its frightening complications: I didn’t want to take crap from anyone, but fight for things to be right.

I felt sad through the whole party, staring out at the lake, feeling like I didn’t belong there, didn’t want to be there, like it was all falling apart.

I was miffed about the way Richard ripped on me during the police argument, and I thought he was angry with both Jeff and me, though he now told us he actually enjoyed the discussion.

But I felt sad, as if I felt our friendship slipping far away and I had no idea why.  Why was he being so mean to me lately?  Why did he only call when he wanted something?  Why was it so hard to get him to respond to e-mails?

Once, Tracy wanted to talk (using her words to tell me this for once).  She called me “buddy.”

I looked at her warily, because it was hardly characteristic of her to call me that.   What did she want?  Was she being sarcastic?

(As I mentioned before, though we got things sorted out a year earlier, she never really lost her snarks and general prickliness–and now she was starting to get bad again.)

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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