control by proxy

The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

Before we were to call, I wanted him to read the e-mail and respond.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I got the idea to suggest a movie night to Tracy through Facebook, as a peace offering, and expected a kind reply.

However, though I told Richard that if we were to work on reconciling, I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had done a month earlier, and though she seemed pleasant enough that day when face-to-face, via Facebook message the monster returned in complete disregard of my feelings:

She said she’d blocked my e-mail address from his, so he never even got my apology!  She said he consented to this, which showed that he out-and-out lied to me in the church basement!  (What was the point, then, of him telling me to re-send it?)

That she made him block his Facebook from our entire family, not just me but Jeff and our little boy as well!

Then she justified it because during the Incident, when she used his Facebook to send me her raging e-mails, I had tried to defend myself and find out from him what the heck was going on!  She said this made her “sick.”

Well, her saying this, makes ME “sick.”  That sick you get when you see something repulsive, disgusting, horrendous.

Somehow this made her think she should treat me like some kind of stalker–even though we broke things off with them!

You see how bizarre her thinking is?  It also fits what Sam Vaknin writes here:

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized. —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

It also matches what Anna Valerious writes here:

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so.

Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly.

It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical. —Your Most Fundamental Right

I never had any intention of stalking Richard, was blocking him out of my life: I took out Firefox bookmarks for a couple of forums he used to run.

I even deleted my posts from his Facebook wall and pictures on July 1 before sending a good-bye message and unfriending him on Facebook the morning of July 2.

I only sent one e-mail–the apology–to find some peace and close the book, and he never even got that.

In fact, from what I recall, I deleted his e-mail from my computer address book (but then put it back so I could send this e-mail), and deleted their numbers from my cell phone.

Was she projecting onto me what she herself would have done?  

Based on her behavior toward me described in this linked post, I believe she was indeed projecting.

So blatant lies–in church–from him, and more ridiculous and overblown behavior from her which, of course, she said I deserved.

Insult piled upon insult!

She pulled her claws out again and petulantly said that “YOU were the ones who ended it and unfriended us on Facebook, not US” [the YOU being Jeff and me and the US being her and Richard], that THEY didn’t want to, and that Jeff “stormed into” their place and broke things off–

–Um, as opposed to her “rational” behavior, I suppose?

I tried very hard to restrain myself and speak to her kindly, in hopes of turning away her wrath in the way prescribed by Proverbs.  I sent her a copy of the apology e-mail, hoping that it would calm her down, show her the misunderstanding, and inspire her to apologize for her overreaction.

But she wrote all sorts of things that showed not only did she not care about my feelings or trying to break things to me gently, but she was still steamed over things I had long since apologized for and/or stopped doing.

Richard had told me he blamed himself for everything, so I knew if it were just him, we could work things out.

But Tracy was another story.  She seemed to pay no attention to the things I actually wrote in my e-mails, but twisted them into what she wanted them to say, so she could feel justified in raging.

She went on and on about things I had supposedly done that were so horrible, saying “you were wrong” about things that I still do not feel I was wrong about, that I should’ve known this or that was wrong or against convention (when no, I hadn’t, and had seen no evidence of such conventions among friends).  I go into this in previous chapters.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry for offending her, no matter how kindly I wrote to her, no matter how much I bit my tongue and how little I said, no matter how much I refrained from defending myself or telling her how badly she had been behaving all through this–it made no difference, put no chink in her rage armor.

I couldn’t think she was right and I was wrong when I found plenty of blog posts, forum posts, articles and the like which actually sided with my way of thinking.

Expecting me to act the same way she did in the same situation, when no, I think about these things entirely differently than she does, haven’t reacted like she did in similar circumstances, or wouldn’t react like she did.

How could I possibly have known that she thought befriending the wife before doing stuff with the guy friend was a form of showing respect for the wife, when I didn’t demand such things from my husband’s female friends?

She said everyone knows this, learning disability or not–er, no, NOT everybody knows this.

I do not know this, never required it from my husband’s friends, never expected it, never even would’ve thought that she would require it until she started treating me like a slut and getting enraged at every little thing I innocently and obliviously did that she didn’t like.

For me, respect from Jeff’s friends simply means they’re not mean to me; I do not require them to befriend me as well!

It was impossible to tell if she was completely wrong about this being a convention that “everybody knows,” especially with the way so many of the old conventions were done away with and people started doing their own thing in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s–or if this was yet another example of people telling the NLDer, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”

I also go into this here.  But now, after a bit more experience added to what I already had, I see that no, Tracy was wrong, though she tried to tell me I was:

There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.

I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.

Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.  Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.

No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.

Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.

I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.

If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.

After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.

This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Apparently Tracy knows absolutely nothing about NLD if she thinks she did anything here but prove my assertion of NLD!  Apparently she has no concept of how NLD and Aspergers affect the brain so that even common social conventions, things that people can intuit without being told, are unknown to the NLDer or Aspie.

She talked as if I couldn’t blame this on a learning disorder, as if I were just being stupid or stubborn or malicious or “moving in on” her husband, when the reality was I could very easily blame it on a learning disorder!

Not only that, but more and more, I am finding officially diagnosed NLDers who identify with what I write about my experiences. The more she argued against my NLD, the more ignorant she made herself sound, yet she probably thought she was winning the argument.

And not only that, but the things I wanted to do, for two months Richard had freely done these things with me, and never gave me any reason whatsoever to believe that they were in any way “inappropriate,” so I had absolutely no reason to think that they had to be cleared with Tracy first.

Such as, the way he and I would talk for hours, or going out for coffee/ice cream.  This is crazy-making behavior from Tracy, more of her obvious borderline personality disorder/malignant narcissism, no matter how much she may try to spin it into somehow being her “right.”

The “shoulder thing,” as Richard termed it, hadn’t been done for more than two years because it upset her, yet here she was bringing it up yet again, as if we had never stopped doing it, as if I needed to be lectured again and again on how evil this was–even though at the time it had been done innocently of wrongdoing.  Jeff, too, was upset over how I was being treated over it.

I was already sick of hearing about it because it kept getting brought up by Richard all the time, even though it had stopped, and because Richard once told me how she kept bringing it up again and again with him as well as an example to him of how horrible I was.

She used it as a tool to defame my character to Richard, when I have never done anything even remotely like cheating on Jeff.  I found it horribly embarrassing and I just wanted her to shut the **** up about it, yet here it was yet again.

Did I mention I had only done it a few times, and only because Richard had done it first and taught me that it was perfectly fine and ordinary and innocent for platonic friends to do, and we hadn’t done it for more than two years?

I also have another friend who does this with his friends all the time, and right in front of his wife, who laughs.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems, making a mountain out of a molehill, so that I greatly resent being treated the way I was over it.

What about this was worth all the fuss?  The same behavior made Jeff shrug–and it had been Richard’s idea in the first place.

There is absolutely nothing sexual about it, or else I’d have to push my son off me when he does it.  There are far worse things that people do, things Richard and I did not do, and steered clear of out of respect for our marriages.

And I have no problem with anyone who wants to sleep on a friend’s shoulder.  I have no problem with a woman, maybe late at night around an SCA campfire, falling asleep on Jeff’s shoulder, even if I don’t know her.

Tracy assumed that I would, but I wouldn’t–and my husband wouldn’t, either, because he saw the same thing, shrugged, remembered all the faithfully married people he knows who do such things with friends, and went back about his day.

I have no problem with Jeff wanting to hug a friend.  I have no problem with Jeff e-mailing or online chatting or phone chatting with any of his friends, female or male, whether I know them or not.

I do not bother “approving” his friends, and find that to be very controlling and infantilizing.

Some people are reserved, and some people are touchy-feely, comfortable touching close friends, anybody they talk to, co-workers, whoever.

I always just stuck Richard in the “touchy-feely” category.  I saw him online and off, flirting with his male and female friends, and asking female friends for “huggles”; that’s just the way he is.

If he meant more by it than he let on, that’s not my fault, that’s his.

Just because my boundaries are looser than Tracy’s, does not make me wrong or a whore.  It just means I disagree with her, which I should be allowed to do without her verbal abuse.

In fact, I believe that more people should do what I did, that American society should be more open and free with affection for all loved ones, not just children or spouses or romantic partners.

I want to be more like this, myself, which I have trouble being because of a lifelong reserve, but I see people around me in the SCA being far more open all the time.  Caring gestures, hugs, sleeping on shoulders–I want to do all these things freely with my friends, male and female, and break out of that shell.

I find Tracy’s reaction to these things, her refusal to rest until I heard every little thing she considered to be “inappropriate,” her character assassinations of me, her insistence that I agree with her that they are “inappropriate” even though they in no way involve sex or groping–to be very offensive and close-minded, very backward-thinking.

I’d rather follow the philosophies of the Cuddle Party people, not the must-not-touch philosophy of American reserve!

So I will freely admit these things here, because I feel I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, or that Tracy has any right to make me feel as if I did!

If that makes me a hippie, so be it–I’ll fit right in in the SCA!

As Ayla felt in Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters” when thinking over her past, a Cro-Magnon girl being raised by Neanderthals:

She, too, had broken taboos and paid the harsh consequences, but she had learned from them.  Perhaps because she was so different to begin with, she had learned to question whether what she had done was really so bad.

She had come to understand that it wasn’t wrong for her to hunt, with sling or spear or anything she wanted, just because the Clan believed it was wrong for women to hunt, and she didn’t hate herself because she had stood up to Broud against all tradition (p. 259-60).

Also, on page 649:

He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so.

A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost.  In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

Since many social conventions seem like a waste of time to me, I’m not so judgmental of people who break them.  It’s a good brain for a writer to have. —Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability

Sociologists representing symbolic interactionism argue that social rules are created through the interaction between the members of a society.

The focus on active interaction highlights the fluid, shifting character of social rules. These are specific to the social context, a context that varies through time and place.

That means a social rule changes over time within the same society. What was acceptable in the past may no longer be the case. Similarly, rules differ across space: what is acceptable in one society may not be so in another. —Convention

I don’t need someone like you
Expecting me to share your views
‘Cos I don’t expect that what you see has anything to do with me
“Your Crusade” by Jesus Jones

I saw this very same disproportionate rage come out when Tracy raged at Todd over a game.

I saw her disproportionally rage at Richard, or at her children, on many occasions.

Being told her rage over this was somehow justified, that most people would be worse–tells me that maybe Richard and Tracy have been spending too much time around other narcissists and have a perverted view of what’s “normal” or “justified” behavior.

Richard’s hints that he would assault and possibly kill if his wife ever cheated, are very telling.  Richard’s wanting to assault the woman who sent him an eviction notice, is very telling.

There were other things that I had apologized for a year earlier, by e-mail with her and over the phone (with tears) to Richard, that hadn’t been done since, yet here they were being brought up yet again.  During the conversations a year earlier, I felt horrible about the things I was told had been seen in my behavior.

Things came out horribly badly and, though they weren’t meant that way, I could see the problem, could see, for example, that a certain action had been manipulative; it had actually been Jeff’s idea, so I went along thinking maybe he knew best, so he felt horrible as well; I apologized and never did those things again.

For months I kept feeling horrible over them, even though they weren’t meant the way they were taken, even though I had confessed and been absolved by my priest.  For some months I had every reason to believe that the past was now over in her mind as well, and I tried to move on from the past.

But here, in August 2010, I was being accused all over again of things that had not been done for at least a year or two.

Over the month since the July 1 Incident, I had also reflected quite a bit over my own behavior, and repented to her now for some things (even though, on reflection, I wonder why I thought I needed to, and think it was her poisonous verbal abuse working on me).

But instead of pacifying her, it only seemed to spur her on to more verbal beatings and more descriptions of how horrible I had been.

It was as if she saw me as somehow unable to change from past offenses, that she had to beat me for them over and over again.  (Richard also complained that she treated him this way.)

Meanwhile, she treated her own offenses as if they did not exist, as if they were her right to do them, as if I deserved them, and I remember she got angry when she overheard me telling Jeff what she had done.

On the one hand Tracy claimed she knew I didn’t mean anything nefarious, yet on the other she treated me as if I did, playing with my head, pulling up things I had supposedly done which really weren’t so bad, but she had a way of making them sound bad.

I almost wish she had indeed tried to kill me when she had the idea: Jeff would have pulled her off and had her arrested, thrown her out of our house and into jail on a domestic abuse charge, and the friendship and our support would have been over right then.

But it was more than a year before I even heard about this, more than a year of wondering why the heck she refused to like me and I just seemed to be treading water with her, more than a year before I knew just how violent she could potentially be.

It confirmed that she was not the type of person I wanted to befriend.  But I was being forced to do just that.

On August 1 and for a day or two after, I showed her e-mails to Jeff.  He also thought they were over-the-top, nasty, blaming–and, at times (such as the “shoulder thing”), he’d say, “Oh, baloney!”  

There was no openness here to different points of view, no hint of conceding that she could have done some things wrong as well, no hint of apologies for her nastiness over the years or on Facebook or on the day of the Incident, nothing but wanting me to bow down and submit to her and say that everything she said was correct.

Yet with all this, she kept saying there was MORE to be said.  I didn’t know what on earth could be left to say: I had done nothing else!

All the things I could think of, were done more than two years before, and not again unless and until I was led to believe that it was safe.

And how was it such a terrible breach of boundaries, etiquette and respect for her, for me to want to speak privately with or go to a coffee shop with my BFF, after having already spent several weeks living with Tracy and getting to know her and telling her secrets?

It would not have been a secret meeting, but one I fully expected Richard to tell her about.

Isn’t living with someone the most effective and thorough way to get to know them, far better than small talk?

And didn’t I watch movies with her, joke around with her, have long talks with her, change her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, keep an eye on the kids while she walked to school to pick up the eldest?  Did this count for nothing?

I was being treated as if things I had no desire to do, were in my heart.  And I was sick of and disgusted with it.  It’s bad enough being blamed for things you actually have done, without being blamed for things you have not done.

And false accusations like this are common from abusers, especially insidious because they have a way of getting under your skin and making you think they’re right and you’re the one with the problem.

(I recently read a blog comment from a guy whose wife had so convinced him he was the one with the problem that he spent years in therapy getting nowhere, until he finally realized that she was sneakily abusing him, that she has borderline personality disorder.  He got out, but still struggles with feeling like he’s the one with the problem.)

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



Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church

A month to the day after the blow-up, August 1, 2010, I went to church expecting a normal Sunday.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I thought I saw Richard get out of a van, but pushed away the thought: I expected they’d never come near me again, after blocking me on Facebook, and certainly wouldn’t come to my church ever again.

But then Jeff said, “They’re here.”

!!!!!  It really was them!  The whole family, at my church!

I wondered, are they here to torment me or to make peace?  Why are they here when they prefer their own church?

The oldest kid started saying, “There’s Jeff!” and getting all excited.  Jeff told me later that Tracy seemed to yell at her for this.  Richard waved at Jeff, but Jeff ignored him.

I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, especially since Jeff was going to his own church and I was there alone, without Jeff or my son as moral support.

I shook so badly that I feared I’d start a fire lighting my candle.  I trembled all through the service.

I spent it in torment, nervous, anxious, shaking, wondering what they were thinking, wondering if I’d make it through without fainting or crying, praying to God and Mary for help.  (We fast all night and morning before Eucharist, hence the fear of fainting.)

My emotional state was so bad that I had to go to the bathroom at least once, to deal with how my nerves were affecting my body.

Just a few days before, I dreamed the children came up to me somewhere and started begging me to come see them, but I was sad because I couldn’t.

And now here they were, in real life.  The kids avoided me and said nothing to me, looking very subdued, and it almost killed me.

In the lines going up to receive blessed bread from the priest, which were two lines coming from either side of the church, Richard and I ended up across from each other, at the head of our lines, receiving bread from the priest at the same time.

I looked at Richard, to try to transmit–at the very least–a silent message of no hate, but he avoided my eyes.  I knew it was on purpose.

I called Jeff to pick me up as soon as the service ended, told him I couldn’t take it much longer, and went to coffee hour to spend the ten minutes or so it would take for him to get there.

They came to coffee hour.  I can still remember that it was strawberry cake.

None of them spoke to me except for one or two of the children.  They said very little to me though, which made me wonder what their parents had told them.  Usually they jumped up and ran over to greet and hug me whenever they saw me, but now they were subdued.

It broke my heart.  I wondered if the parents were angry at me, or if they were actually waiting for me to make a move, when I’d been waiting for them.

Coffee hour was in the basement, such a tiny basement that I could sit on the opposite side and still hear every word they said.  I heard Richard say he’d been told the floor was brand-new; I thought, “Yes, because I’m the one who told you!”

The elderly lady next to me said how nice it was to see kids in the church, referring to Richard and Tracy’s kids.  (Nowadays, you see many children coming to this church again.  But back then, there were few.)  I just quietly agreed, saying nothing else, hiding my true feelings from her.

And the whole time, I kept one eye out for Richard to go off by himself, away from the shrew.  You see, ever since I sent the apology e-mail, I wondered if I should have Jeff say something about it if he ran into Richard at the grocery store, which was bound to happen eventually, and did on occasion.  I would have no peace unless I made sure he actually got it.

Finally, Richard went over to chat with some young men, one a member of the church and the others his friends.  So I went over and quietly asked, “Did you get the apology I sent you?”  He had not.

The others soon drifted off, as if realizing we had to talk privately.  I wondered if one of them, an altar server, had overheard the talk I had with my priest a few weeks before about this.  (In any case, I did eventually tell him everything, in I believe February 2012.)

Richard said, “It’s all good.  I blame myself for everything.”

I said skeptically, “You do?”  But this was promising.

He hadn’t gotten the e-mail.  He made it sound as if it had been lost among hundreds of political e-mails he’d been getting, and many e-mails about stuff that was going on in his family.

I had no idea he was actually lying through his teeth, in the church basement–and easy as you please. 

That in reality, he had blocked my e-mails. 

That his wife had made it impossible to even make peace with him. 

That she had his balls in a vice, controlled his every move with us, and he couldn’t even do the right and Christian thing by Jeff and me without her approval.

I said, “If you want to make peace, all you have to do is say so.”

I meant this as, if they wanted to apologize, but later realized he may have taken it as us apologizing, when it was no such thing.

He told me to call them later about it, and to re-send the e-mail so he could read it.  Which makes his lies even more infuriating, because he knew it was blocked, so why tell me to send an e-mail he can’t receive?

I told him I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had spoken to me.  This is when he made the ludicrous and appalling remark, described here, “Are some harsh words as offensive as not saying two sentences together to her for a month and a half?”

WHAT?  (“Harsh words” is extremely understated!)   WHAT month and a half? 

And I don’t count my sentences! 

What, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about? 

To this day I have no clue WHAT month and a half this was. 

I am naturally shy and quiet, always have been, and even when I’m not shy with someone, I still tend to say very little in common conversation. 

When we were in the same room, I behaved with her the exact same way I behave with most people, friends and strangers. 

This had not changed one bit in the past month and a half, or whenever the heck he was talking about. 

So I was being falsely accused and blamed for Tracy’s verbal abuse.

And he knew very well, from a conversation we once had, that this was my natural state:

Some time between 2008 and 2010, I told him my aunt just revealed that she always thought my father or brothers must have sexually abused me, because I am so quiet.  I said nothing like that ever happened.

Richard asked if I behaved then as I do now, “Never speaking except when spoken to?”  I said yes.  So he has no excuse for treating me this way and blaming me for Tracy’s abuse, because he knew this was my natural temperament and not meant to offend.

So being naturally quiet was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?

What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This was yet more proof that my e-mail was not the problem. 

That it wasn’t about me violating Tracy’s rules. 

That it was actually because they are prejudiced against introverts and people with NVLD

They couldn’t plead ignorance, because I made it very clear how my brain worked, how my socializing was, and what I needed, but they didn’t listen. 

In July 2010, August 2010 and probably for some time after, I shared a lot of articles on Facebook about how introverts are maligned and misunderstood, and posted that my ex-friends bullied and abused me for being an introvert.

But back to August 1.  Richard invited me to sit at his table.  I saw Tracy there and said, “Is it safe?”  He said, “She’s not a monster.”  He also said–showing that he obviously did get my good-bye message on Facebook–“She never hated you.”

I beg to differ.  I have to go by Tracy’s actions, not Richard’s lies.  And her actions made it very clear that she hated me for the past two and a half years.

But I reluctantly decided to trust him.  Big mistake.

I tried to be pleasant with Tracy, ask how her summer was going, relay a funny story about my son at T-ball.

She seemed pleasant, smiling and such, which I should have approached warily, but instead I saw it as a good sign that she was ready to apologize for her actions.

The kids were happy to see me and chat with me and the like.

Then Jeff showed up, very surprised–and displeased–to find me sitting with them.  He said nothing to me about it there, but he was very gruff, very reserved with Richard and Tracy.

Richard told Jeff his D&D character (Friday campaign) was “fighting monsters in the void.”  (He said nothing about our characters in the other campaign we’d been doing, with my character Phoena.)

It makes one wonder if he expected us to “come to our senses” and come back, so he kept the character waiting in the wings, rather than coming to us and apologizing.

Oh, no, an apology would be beyond him, because he’s a narcissist….

Jeff hugged the kids, since we missed them and they weren’t a part of this.  Richard told Jeff to give them a call later.

I complained to Richard for blocking us on Facebook, said the apology e-mail was sent three weeks ago but he never responded.

He said something about blocking us because he didn’t want a flame war, and the blocking being temporary until everyone cooled down.

Another lie, but I didn’t know this at the time, that the truth was Tracy had him by the balls and made him do this.

I had seen it as a sign that he didn’t want to speak to us, so we should leave him alone.

He told me we should let them know when/if we want to sit down and talk.  Then Jeff and I quietly left; I don’t remember saying good-bye.

At home, I re-sent the apology e-mail, cutting out the bits about reconciliation being impossible, maybe tweaking one or two things.

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


Struggling to process what the F**K just happened

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

On July 22, I sent this e-mail to Jeff:

Actually, near the end of [watching] “The Burning Bed,” I was suddenly inspired to go into the e-mails and find out just what Richard wrote you on Facebook on about 6/28, when we were arguing about NLD and such.

I saw 3 messages he wrote to you that night, including the one about hitting you with a brick and not having been that mad in years and being easily provoked to physical violence. It was…scary.

It was hard to say if he was actually threatening you, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse.

I mean, WHY? What about what you wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

It reminds me, also, of how Tracy blew up a few days later, and that when she was living at our house, there was a time when she got so mad at me that she, according to Richard, almost killed, or could’ve killed me…I forget the exact wording. I don’t know if he meant it literally or verbally.

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.” Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.

I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her. And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

These are violent people. And something seems to have been stirring them up, because I don’t know what we could’ve done to inspire the verbal tirades we were getting those few days.

Or what I could’ve said in my e-mail to him, near the end of May?, about [the Creeps who sexually harassed me], because that also provoked him to write a rather nasty e-mail (the final draft of many).

All I know is that for the past year, I’ve really struggled with getting friendly with Tracy because on some night that I can’t identify, she could’ve attacked me in my own house–for something that seemed to me perfectly innocent.

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times. I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house. Me going to the hospital.

This has gone through my mind many times for the past year, since it was a year ago that Richard told me about this. And yet, somehow, *I* am painted as the one who has just been too stubborn or mean to treat Tracy right.

Right now, rather than wishing to have my friend back, I just feel this weird sense of having escaped but still dealing with the traumatic fallout…..

Jeff and I both feel that the e-mail that sparked the “incident” did not deserve the reaction it got.  Yes, he saw the e-mail, and when he told a group of our friends about it, they all agreed that it’s something that friends will tease you over and embarrass you over, but that would be that and everyone would move on.

But a woman who is so full of jealousy that she feels she has to approve her husband’s friends, who is so full of jealousy that saying “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun” sparks a rage episode from her

–She’s not rational, and anything she says in such an irrational, raging state should be taken as just a bunch of BS that should never be taken to heart.  

She must have been reading this Wikihow-to on how to isolate your man from his friends.  (Check the comments, too: the later ones sound very familiar.  Here I link to a blog post about the Wikihow-to, but the original is here.)

More than one person has commented that Tracy is never satisfied; I saw this for myself because she was never satisfied with me.

My mistake has been going over the things she said again and again in my head as if they should be taken even slightly seriously, as if maybe there were something to my actions that was shameful.

But I know what was in the e-mail, what it was for, what it was about–and that it was all perfectly innocent.  My husband, too, has read that e-mail and the ones after it, and to him also it’s all perfectly innocent.

I did not deserve Tracy’s response.  

And Richard was Judas because he allowed her to do this, when he knew dang well that there was nothing about what I said that was in any way shameful or that in any way deserved her response.

There was nothing sexual in my e-mail, though it was treated like some sort of proposition.  Heck, I did not even want to see Richard naked, so why on earth would I proposition him?  My e-mail was that of one close friend to another.

Richard should be the one ashamed.  

Tracy should be ashamed of herself.  

I was sick of all the accusations coming from left and right when I had done nothing wrong.

But because I believed Richard, because I trusted Richard, Tracy treated me this way.

This made me feel set up by Richard, that he wasn’t telling her his part in the whole thing, but throwing me to the wolves for something that he did.

I thought Richard had eradicated the violence that had once been in his heart and actions, only to find it still there.

It makes me want to seek out the ones who love, and who want to stamp out all forms of violence, hate and suspicion, since I know they’re out there, finding traces of them on the Internet and in music by the Beloved, Shamen, and the like.

Even if they are some other religion than my own, they express the love for mankind that my own religion is supposed to be about,

instead of the hate I found here in two members of my own religion.

After all the loving things we had done for Richard and Tracy, to help them, to be there for them, things which I had been the one to initiate, Jeff the one to carry out–I was being treated like sh**.  I was told to f*** off.  I was treated like some hoebag slut.

After we had given them what they needed again and again and again, I was treated like some skanky tramp who steals husbands.

All because I reminisced over an innocent hug.  A hug!  A hug which had no groping, no kissing, no hands in the wrong places, no gazing into the eyes, nothing loverly, but was an expression of platonic love and caring for a dear friend who had helped Richard’s family!

I was full of rage, of fury.  Yet unlike Tracy, I did not throw f– bombs around, did not start cussing and screaming at her, kept myself in check, kept my tongue in check, though I was rapidly losing my temper and part of it was spewing into my messages.  I wrote, for example, “WHY AM I BEING TREATED LIKE A WHORE????!!!!!”

You’d think this would be a big huge flag that I did NOT see anything about my behavior that was whorish, that she should calm down and find out the true meaning of my message instead of reading all sorts of crap into it that wasn’t even there.

But no.  She’s always right about everything.  What she says your motives are, are indeed your motives.  If she sees your Facebook post of “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!” as moving in on her husband, then that’s indeed what it is.

Truth be d**ned.  The only truth is HER truth.  Whatever she dreams up in her pathetic imagination, is Truth.

–And don’t forget how cool Richard had become to me because I didn’t agree with his TEA Party politics, because I didn’t agree that Democrats and liberals were Antichrist, because I thought that Universal Health Care would be a good thing if Congress could get it to work.

My husband became furious with Tracy and Richard both for treating me like sh** over the e-mail.  

He was so furious with Richard and Tracy that he said to me that Tracy needs to go sit in a corner like a naughty child,

that there was no call for her to throw f-bombs at me,

that no she does NOT get her way this time,

and that he wouldn’t allow me to try to patch things up with them until Tracy got down on her knees and apologized to me.

When I was still in shock over everything and mourning what had happened, wishing the friendship would be restored, my pastor friend Mike asked WHY–saying that even if we did reconcile, this would always be between us, and that whatever friendship had been there in the past, “these people are TOXIC!”

Catherine, when I told her Tracy took my quiet nature as a personal attack, laughed and said, “How long has she known you?”  She also said that it sounds like Richard talked a lot but didn’t really listen to me.

Jeff even got upset with me during the week or two after the “incident” for even considering making apologies and reconciling, for thinking this is what the Orthodox Church says I should do:

Though he missed the children, as far as he was concerned, it was good riddance to Richard and Tracy after the way they’d treated me (and him for sticking up for me).  

He felt that if anyone was to apologize, it was her to me.  

He wouldn’t let me anywhere near her.

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


Tracy refused to accept the NVLD and introversion–but they are real

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

As I described above, Tracy ripped into me (via an e-mail to Jeff) as if the NVLD (also NLD) were all in my head, just an excuse, like I could just choose to be as sociable as anybody else and it would be so.

Her criticism was so profoundly ignorant as to be laughable.

She has no clue what it’s like to be me, what it’s like to have high intelligence but struggle just to drive a car or use an automatic car wash, what it’s like to not know how to get around in the city you grew up in, what it’s like to struggle to figure out why somebody is acting mad at you or what you’re supposed to say next (if anything), what it’s like to feel paralyzed because you’re faced with a new situation and don’t know what to do.

Part of my struggle was from introversion, and where introversion ends, NVLD begins.

Comments on this blog go into self-diagnosis and whether it can be taken seriously.  This is a blog about Asperger’s, but you can easily extend the comments on “self-diagnosis” to NVLD.

I especially love Amber’s comment, #83, that people who “get on you” for that are “obviously ignorant.”

And #88, who was professionally diagnosed years ago, wrote, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s professionally or self, it’s all the same.  The first anonymous is so ignorant, it’s amazing.”

Anonymous wrote,

I have been very much an advocate of getting a clinical diagnosis — not because I believe my wife’s symptoms are made up, but as a way of shutting down some of the ignorance we’ve seen posted here….

It is important to understanding AS that many people will not see it as “real” without some professional validation.  Those folks should never take an asprin or cold medicine again without a REAL doctor confirming that they actually have a headache or a cold 🙂

Chris wrote eloquently,

My name is Chris. I am “self-diagnosed” as well. I’m growing more comfortable each day, though the fine line of self/professionally diagnosed sometimes leaves me feeling at odds.

To those who wish to degrade the “self-diagnosed” – I do not know what to tell you.

We do not diagnose ourselves in an attempt to outrage anyone, nor do we do so in some vain attempt to fit in.

But when an answer to a long asked question comes along and not only answers the question but makes us feel more at ease with who we are and why we are that way… it’s an answer warmly welcomed.

Something that helps us understand why we are the way we are, why we’ve done/said/felt things the way we had, why we can’t turn our focus away easily or why we focus on something so much or why the thoughts have taken permanent residence floating in our head…

So a lot of people can fit this descriptor or that as far as Asperger’s goes. It’s not just this descriptor or that one which makes us feel a self-diagnosis is relevant.

I believe I can safely say that virtually everyone who is self diagnosed can say that they spent time searching – the internet, books, and themselves – before just “jumping to a conclusion”… they didn’t see the word “asperger’s” and go “that’s me!”… they learned what it entailed.

I’m sorry for those who are so terribly uncomfortable with that sort of diagnosis. We’re not prescribing medications nor are we prescribing some ridiculous label just to show off…

it gives us a chance to be better armed – when dealing with society, when dealing with friends and family, and when dealing with doctors. For those who choose to seek professional diagnosis, this is a much better starting point than we had before.

Some of us have needed an answer. Not just some answer, but one that will help us feel comfortable with who we are and will help us deal with daily life.

Note that for adults, it can be quite expensive to get tests done (I’ve seen numbers in the thousands of dollars), you have adult obligations to tend to, you don’t have a school paying for this, it can’t be “cured” like a disease, and things you may have done as a child that would fit the diagnosis, you’ve since learned to stop doing because of social pressure.

I’m almost certain that if you told my elementary or middle school classmates or teachers that I have NLD, they’d say, “That explains a lot!”

Matt also writes, “I am self-identified, and I have no need for diagnosis.  Diagnosis is prohibitively expensive for adults, and not necessarily reflective of the diagnosis I might have had as a child.”

It doesn’t matter what Tracy (or Richard) thinks about the NLD because the behaviors and brain processes on which I base this “self-diagnosis” are still there, still exist, and it’s the way my brain works, no matter if I have NLD or Asperger’s or not.  

My brain is not telling me the things I need to know and do, things which I read and see that other people can do instinctively–and calling me a “victim” or a liar does not change that, just vilifies me for something I can’t help and didn’t ask for.

Since I had tried time and again to explain to Richard why I behaved the way I did, and what would get me to feel more comfortable around Tracy, and her knowledge of the NLD shows that he must have told her about it, her words qualify as bullying and intolerance.

If I had never explained to either of them, it might make more sense for her to take it personally, but since I did explain it, and told Richard what he needed to tell her to do to help me, she has no excuse.

She also has no excuse because multiple adults in my life have quickly learned it’s just the way I am, decided I’m sweet and nice and “just quiet,” and let me be, not bullied me as if they were still in middle school–and that’s without ever hearing about the NVLD.

(Because Tracy is his wife, and I did not feel comfortable speaking with her on these things, it seemed appropriate to tell him.  From what I’ve gathered over the years, from life and from advice columns such as Annie’s Mailbox, this is the proper way to deal with issues with the wife of a friend, or your husband’s mother, or whatever. 

(I also see the wives on My Five Wives–a polygamous family–deal with each other through their husband, and if forced to deal with it themselves, bad things happen.)

I have to wonder if some of this bullying came from an honest letter to Annie’s Mailbox, which I copy here, something I posted on Facebook on May 4, 2010 because it didn’t get printed in the column, if maybe instead of listening to what I had to say about dealing with shy, quiet people, Tracy somehow took offense to it.  Since, after all, she takes offense very easily.

But I was very upset at how the original writer had been treating the poor quiet girl at her lunch table, knew exactly how the quiet girl felt because it happened to me so many times growing up, so I wrote in to stick up for the girl.

Then my letter was never printed, even though I wanted it to be printed for all the quiet kids out there.  So I posted it on Facebook for my friends to read.

It also was a kind of explanation for all my old classmates, since my Facebook friends list is full of people I knew growing up who would have recognized someone like me in that girl.

Tracy may have taken it as yet another offense toward her, but it was impossible to know for sure, because she never said anything about it–just as she never said anything about anything, it seemed, just kept me oblivious.

Being told that just being myself was offensive, could hardly open my mouth or get my brain working.  The quietness that already exists when I’m with most people, becomes even worse with hostile people.

So for Tracy to scold me for not following dictates that she claimed a 5-year-old could understand–how could she possibly think that would make me want to run and bow down at her feet and beg her to forgive me and be my dearest friend?

How could she possibly think that would open my tongue and get my brain paths working when she was around?

How could she possibly think that would magically make me able to understand what she wanted when she wanted it?

My inability to do so, rather, is very strong evidence that I have “self-diagnosed” myself correctly!  Also, introversion and NVLD often overlap socially; introversion also explained much of my quietness, and it’s perfectly acceptable to “self-diagnose” that!

And here is more strong evidence: Richard’s various behaviors confused me to no end, yet I was somehow accused of base motivations for accepting his explanation that everything he did was just in friendship and it was okay for me to do it as well.

Then he would say a certain thing wasn’t okay anymore, or he would never say it wasn’t okay, but then all of a sudden there was Tracy yelling and screaming over it.

Or he would say something wasn’t okay and then he’d turn around and do it himself.

Or I’d see him do something with another friend and think it must be okay for me to do it, but then Tracy would find out and get upset.  And then of course he let me know that all the restrictions were now gone, but now they acted as if they never were…..

If I had actually sent this e-mail with nefarious intent, if I had actually meant to start some sort of affair, as it was apparently taken–then sure, I would’ve needed to get down on my knees, apologize profusely, etc. etc.  I would’ve deserved a scolding.  I would’ve needed to cite my crimes, etc. etc.

But it was not: It was all a misunderstanding.  My e-mail was innocently meant as an expression of friendship, and nothing more.  

It was meant to inspire Richard to write, “Awww, how sweet,” and then go on about his day with a warm fuzzy.

In no way, shape or form was there “suggestive” subtext.  

(I wondered where on earth Richard, of all people, knowing the context of the hugs, would see suggestive subtext, and could only assume that he was lying to Tracy and to Jeff to cover his butt.  This, by the way, is also what Jeff thought.)  

This was a misunderstanding between a more literal-brained person speaking literally, and neurotypicals expecting and reading in subtext where there was none.

I take people at their word, don’t expect them to lie, don’t expect them to add nonverbal shades of meaning.

I did not expect anyone to read subtext into my e-mail, especially Richard who knew the truth of the hugs, since at that time I wasn’t even aware that other people use so much subtext!  (I only just heard about neurotypical subtext in 2011!)

I expected only Richard to read it, and for him to take it literally with full knowledge that the hugs were innocent.  If there was any subtext at all, it was the unstated question of, “Why haven’t you hugged me this way since you moved out?  Aren’t we close friends anymore?”

My e-mail was literally written and literally meant, with no hidden meanings other than what I just stated.

To be honest, human beings lie. Some people tell outrageous lies, adding juicy details to enhance their fabricated facts.

But most of us are more apt to lie by remaining silent, telling “lies of omission.” Neurotypicals almost expect this to occur on a regular basis and we tend to forgive “little white lies” very easily.

Mary was quick to help me understand that all lies are a violation of trust for individuals on the spectrum. If someone with ASD asks you a question, there are only two good choices to consider.

First, you can answer the question directly. It is best to provide the clearest explanation possible, leaving out any subtext. Or you can say, “I’m not comfortable answering that question.”

Some individuals with ASD may not understand your desire to keep certain information to yourself and may ask why you are not comfortable answering the question. This situation may present its own unique challenge, but at least you have not violated their trust by telling a lie….

While misunderstandings can arise in conversations between any two people, they are more likely to occur in a conversation between an individual with ASD and a neurotypical.

Why? Because neurotypicals often speak using idioms and abstract concepts. In addition, our conversations sometimes have underlying subtext–unspoken opinions and emotions that can be easily misinterpreted or misunderstood, even by neurotypicals.

Mary understands that we neurotypicals often speak this way without being aware of it. Yet, these are exactly the communication issues that most challenge people on the autism spectrum.

We can improve communication by better monitoring these patterns in our own speech when we interact with a person with ASD. —Learning Each Other’s Language: Strategies to Improve Communication Between Neurotypicals and Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

(Note: Though these refer to people on the Autism Spectrum, they can also apply to people with NLD, since even though NLD is not autistic, it does share many of the same traits as Asperger’s.  Also note that Asperger’s is not Kenner’s Autism, not classic autism, though it is on the Autism Spectrum and shares some autistic traits.)

I always expected Richard to tell me the truth, no lies, no little white lies, very few lies of omission.  I don’t expect people to lie to me at all, especially not on a regular basis!

After reading this passage, which sounds exactly like me, I have to wonder if there was a lot of this subtext going on, being transmitted from Richard to me, but with me picking up none of it, because there was a serious lack of communication over these few years.

I was constantly surprised by things he did tell me, things I’ve already mentioned in this account.  I “read” verbal far more than nonverbal communication, and expected him to always tell me the truth.

And I communicated mostly by words myself, without subtext, but telling him directly how I felt about various things, though sometimes trying to do it diplomatically if it was a sensitive issue and I feared I would hurt his feelings.

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


Why I refused to “confer” with Tracy–and how Richard betrayed me

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

I knew from the way Tracy had already laid into me, and from the way I heard/read her deal with other people (such as Todd), that respectfully presenting her concerns and then listening to my own point of view, explanations and needs, was not how she was going to approach me in her “conference.”

And getting yelled, screamed and cussed at by her was not going to have the effect she wanted.

Since my husband tried to calm her down with a kind e-mail with apologies, but ended up receiving an e-mail full of the worst verbal abuse of me yet, I could tell very well that Tracy had no interest in hearing what she herself was doing wrong.  So I had no interest in hearing what I had supposedly done wrong.  

I knew from how she treated Todd, just how interested she was in hearing any side but her own.  Their arguments had mostly been carried out in posts all over an Internet game forum, so I could see what happened.

I knew very well from all the bullying she’d been giving me, Richard and the children the past few months, that she had no interest in fairness or kindness or listening to anybody else but herself.

I also knew that if anyone treated her this way, she would not accept it as her due and just shut up and take it passively, as she expected me to do.

I knew because Todd, when she verbally abused him over a misunderstanding, eventually gave it right back to her, and it turned into a lot of back-and-forth screaming, cussing, ripping to shreds.

Yet she expected me to just take it all passively like a child who knows she deserves punishment?

She forbade me from even speaking to Richard to sort things out–the truth, what was not true, find out what the **** was he thinking letting her go off on me when he knew **** well that I was innocent–until I had this “conference” with her.

I knew I deserved NONE of it.  (Richard knew I deserved none of it, the rat.)

Jeff knew I deserved none of it, because he witnessed how I behaved with her, and he knew I was never mean or rude to her.  

Jeff knew that I gave her a flower recently, paid her a compliment recently, watched her kids, helped her out of a bind time and time again….

I was sick and tired of her bullying me, either herself or by proxy (Richard).  I would not have some fake friendship with her after all this crap, not even for the sake of staying friends with Richard.

Why was she so afraid of people that no one (men or women) could be friends with her husband without also thinking Tracy was this wonderful sweet person?

Was she afraid that if somebody saw her for what she was, she’d lose Richard?

I don’t know where she gets the idea that this is the way to solve problems with friends, that threats, intimidation, manipulation and control tactics–essentially, emotional blackmail–are somehow the “proper” way for her to behave.  

I don’t know where Richard got the idea that it was somehow okay for her to do that.

I don’t know how either of them could think we were going to take this and still be friends with them, how they could act afterwards as if we were the ones acting insulting or like children by leaving.

I’m not a fan of Dr. Phil’s mantra that “You teach people how to treat you.”  That sounds like victim-blaming.  However, if we had stayed friends with Richard and Tracy, we would have taught them it was okay to use tactics like this with us.

Tracy obviously wanted to have the upper hand and complete control over her husband and me.  She treated marriage like a prison, with her the jailer, deciding when to turn the key.

But I wasn’t going to play that game.  If she was going to put conditions on friendship, then our friendship was over.

Even my priest said, there should be NO conditions on friendship, but mutual respect.

As my husband said, “No, Tracy does NOT get her way!”  Just like you do when any child throws a tantrum: You go away and refuse to give in.

The most ludicrous part about it all was that I had seen far too much of Richard’s filthy habits, and his change from a sweet and pious guy to somebody I half-expected to join a militia organization and hole up in the woods with a gun arsenal, to think of him now as anything but a brother.  But I was being treated as if I wanted to jump his bones and was deviously trying to find a way to do so.

The biggest mistake I made, the most wrong thing I did, was not disentangling myself from this violent and deceitful couple much sooner.

But I loved Richard as a brother and loved the children, and wanted to be there for Richard as support in whatever way he needed.

I wanted to be a safe place for the children, show them that not every child lives the way they do, that they didn’t have to accept screaming abuse as their due.

But no matter what I did, Tracy colored it with her green-tinted glasses so that it was some sort of move on her husband.

I do believe that Tracy’s hostility and jealousy toward me wasn’t just that she felt uncomfortable with the close friendship Richard and I developed, but that I saw and recognized her abuse for what it was.

While I was sweet and laughed at his jokes and looked up to him.

If I’d kept my mouth shut about the abuse and jealousy, she probably would’ve liked me just fine.  But I felt I should tell him exactly what I thought about her behavior, that it was my duty as a friend.

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