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
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?
11. Struggle to regain normalcy
12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other
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