depression

Grief that my abusers keep coming to my church but not apologizing to me

Here is an article on dyssemia, a word coined in 1992 to describe the trouble people with NVLD have with social situations.  Here [in an earlier version of the page on Wikipedia] you’ll find a quote from the back cover of Helping the Child Who Doesn’t Fit In:

We’ve all known children like this:
–they stand too close and touch us in annoying ways;
–they laugh too loud or at the wrong times;
–they make stupid or embarrassing remarks;
–they don’t seem to get the message when given a broad hint or even told outright to behave differently;
–they mistake friendly actions for hostile ones, or vice versa;
–they move too slowly, or too fast, for everyone else;
–their facial expressions don’t jibe with what they or others are saying, or
–their appearance is seriously out of step with current fashions, they don’t dress well for the occasion, etc.
–they are known to stare at people, stalk people, or do something that annoys other people or makes them feel uncomfortable
–they have problems dating and interacting with the opposite sex in a romantic way. Many dyssemics are love shy.

There are many more descriptions of dyssemia below on that webpage.  This sounds very much like me, such as with fashions, hair and makeup, difficulty fitting in, lack of punctuality, social awkwardness, a difference in ability between receiving and expressing nonverbal messages, growing senses of grief and despair over loneliness, saying things in a way I didn’t intend and suffering consequences, and various other things you’ll read here.

Which makes it all the more angering that Richard didn’t listen to me, that Tracy acted as if it were just excuses for bad behavior, that Tracy and, eventually, Richard became the adult bullies targeting me.

Tracy would probably agree with “they don’t seem to get the message when given a broad hint or even told outright to behave differently.”  But no, Tracy thought I just needed to “grow up and TALK” as if it were something I could just do on command like a trained puppy.

She made jabs at a “self-diagnosed learning disability” as if that invalidated everything I ever said.  Richard talked as if my social troubles with Tracy, or with anyone, were just a simple matter of willpower.

It makes me very angry with the both of them for thinking they could judge me like this.  I have seen the face of wickedness in a supposed Christian: It is Tracy.  I have seen the face of betrayal and unfair judgment in a friend: It is Richard.  He is dead to me.

For some time, I put a message on my Facebook profile for him, saying that I hoped one day we’d be friends again.  I have long since removed it.

Though a part of me still longs for him to recognize what he’s done and make things right, and a part of me misses that BFF to whom I told all my secrets and day-to-day stuff and musings.

Since Richard was my roommate for three months, he was that for so long that I grew accustomed to having such a friend in my life, after so long without one (other than Jeff, of course).

From this blog post:

I regained a degree of confidence, and was able to reclaim the narrative of my life.

She had stolen that from me, repeating to me over and over again during the countless all-night “discussions” she’d make me have about how I’d done something wrong again, that I “don’t get to” have a reaction, a response, a reason, a say, a thought, a feeling other than one that was dictated by her perpetually warping delusions.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this is what Tracy’s “conference” would have turned into.

I had every indication from her that it would, not just from 7/1/10 but from the e-mails exchanged 8/1/10 and after, where she essentially beat me over the head for everything I ever did that she thought was somehow wrong–and also from the two and a half years before that, whenever I had an opinion about her actions towards me or anybody else.

I also know from the “conference” she had with Todd in June/July 2008 over that stupid game argument, that this is how it would’ve gone with me, because she did not listen to him at all, did not even try to understand his point of view, but just kept saying over and over again that he was wrong and childish.

More from the above link:

Finally, one thing that this exercise [the author blogging about his abusive ex] also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia.  “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”

For me, it’s been the same: the constant feeling for quite some time that maybe she wasn’t so bad, that I was the one who was bad–quickly diminishing as I write about what really happened.

They rarely come to my church, but they have a couple of times in the months since the Incident.  I felt a distinct cold shoulder, as if not only were they avoiding speaking to me, but their children had been instructed to avoid me as well.  (I might add that this is an extremely small church, so you can’t just melt into the crowd.)

It’s very much the impression that because I refuse to let Tracy yell and scream at me and dictate to and scold me like a child or an idiot, she’s decided to freeze me out and treat me like sh** on the bottom of her shoe.

Not at all Christian behavior, yet there she is at church taking the Eucharist like she’s right with God even while she’s treating those around her like crap.

But the reality is that she refused to accept that I’m not like her, that I’m my own kind of person, with a brain that seems to work differently than most other people’s, and will not change myself just to suit her, that she might as well ask someone who’s bad at math to be an astronomer, or a ballerina to be a truck driver, or a dog to be a cat.

Tracy treats me like sh** at church because I objected to her demeaning, belittling, cursing, verbally violent, deliberately hurtful behavior.

So now Richard and even the children cannot even say hi to me, or e-mail me or talk to me on Facebook, because:

  1. I demand to be treated with respect, kindness and understanding.
  2. I refuse to let her vilify me for believing my communication and social problems with her are not from stubbornness or meanness or childishness, but from either introversion or NLD/Asperger’s or (at the very least) selective mutism (or, even more likely, from her own crabby attitude).
  3. I can’t figure out what she’s so upset about all the time.
  4. I refuse to listen one more time to her grievances while my own are ignored or ridiculed or tossed aside yet again.
  5. I will not accept abuse for my brain processes being different from hers.  (I got quite enough of that in elementary school, and dealing with her is like dealing with those childish childhood bullies all over again.)

Why she comes to my church at all if she’s going to act this way, I can’t say, since they have their own church, do not like mine, and almost never came to it before the falling-out.

Is it to twist the knife in further?  Is she such a sadist that she’s not satisfied with going our separate ways?

How can I even want to be in the same room with her after she posted, “I’m having a GREAT day!” on Facebook because she was screaming at me online and cussing me out? because she no longer had to sit back and be “quiet and nice”?  (That was quiet and nice?)

She was happy because she was allowed to scream at me and cuss me out and make all sorts of accusations.  From FAQ about Verbal Abuse:

Why does it seem that after he abuses me verbally he is happy, like he feels relieved? Also, he will act like it never happened. It’s like he has no memory of it….

This is what verbal abusers do. Verbal abusers almost universally act like nothing happened, like they feel fine and the relationship is fine. This is because they feel they have more control.

Maybe they got you to back down, believe them or doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself then you might go with what they tell you, be more compliant and more slave-like. This makes them happy.

And from What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

When does she come close to being in a good mood or smile with pure pleasure? When she feels like she’s in the catbird seat because she’s gotten her way, pulled one over on you or pulled the rug out from underneath you. The size of her smile is in direct proportion to the number of times she twisted the proverbial knife.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman

Tracy did not accept responsibility for her anger and abuse, but put it on others.

She accused others of being “childish” and needing to “grow up,” but was the pot calling the kettle black.

She wouldn’t respect others, not even clergy if they said something she didn’t like, but demanded respect from others, kept complaining loudly about how they weren’t respecting her–but how was it respectful for her to scream at adults and children who annoyed her?

And oh, how she criticized me for finally standing up for myself by cutting her loose!  How offended she acted when we broke off the friendship with them because of her, as if we were the ones being childish and throwing tantrums!

I thought she would be happy to have me out of her life, that I was doing her a favor and showing her respect.  But apparently it just made her angrier.

For some reason, she wanted Jeff and me to stay friends with her.  I really haven’t a clue why.  Why on earth did Tracy get so angry at me for ending the friendship?  I thought it was what she’d always wanted.

Was it the loss of Jeff as a partner in D&D?  Was it the loss of the support and free babysitting (at the drop of a hat) we’d given them? free taxi service? free meals?

(We were never reimbursed for the extra expenses incurred while they lived with us, or for the broken couch.  Jeff’s parents told him he should have ended things long before this, that they sounded like moochers, that as soon as Tracy started complaining about the food, we should’ve politely shown them the door.  One of my friends said they sounded like manipulators who were using us.  My pastor friend said that when thinking about what Tracy said about me, I should consider the source and disregard it.)

Was it because she didn’t get her way?  Because normally a jealous person is very happy to see the subject of her jealousy end a friendship with her husband.  This is the most baffling part.

There is another possibility I can think of: She had already cost Richard several friends.  He had often said how much he liked us, that I was a very dear friend to him, that I did so much for his family, that Jeff was fun to play D&D with, etc.  Maybe Tracy wanted to deflect responsibility and Richard’s anger onto somebody else for the loss of two more friends.

We heard through a third party that they miss Jeff at D&D, but Jeff wondered if they missed me.  He told me he won’t play with them until they stop holding grudges against me, his wife.

In order to not be a hypocrite, doing the same thing I found wrong in Tracy, I have told him he can be friends with them, play D&D with them, if he wants to, that I will not put restrictions on who his friends can be.  But he’s disgusted with both of them and doesn’t want to.

The trouble is that the city where we live is too small to avoid each other entirely.  Not only do they come to my church occasionally (oddly enough, more often now than they did when we were still friends), but I sometimes see their vehicles on the street.

Tracy drives her company cars, and their other vehicle has bumper stickers on it, so if I can see the back of the vehicle, or see who’s driving the company car, I know who it is.

Once, either October 5, 2010 or December 7, 2010, I set off walking past my house to fetch my son from elementary school, when who should I see driving past me on the street?

It was a residential zone and between a middle school and college, so the speed limit was 25.  I was near the middle school and its football field, where there were no trees or cars in between me and the street.

It was a long stretch with no obstructions before or behind it to block my view of them.

They passed just a few yards away from me, so I had time and opportunity to make a positive identification.

Since we’re in the same school system, they were probably out for the same reason, but a different elementary school, so they were going the opposite direction, facing me.

Tracy was hanging half her body out the window of their van–head facing me, shoulders turned so they were above and below, arms and hands dangling in the air.

She was hanging out the window by the entire upper part of the torso, possibly down to about her waist (which struck me as extremely odd and dangerous behavior)–while Richard gave her an upset or angry or scared look.

It was hard to define the look in only a few seconds while they drove past, but I figured he was upset with her for hanging out the window.

I thought Tracy, at least, must have seen me, since she was hanging out the window with me just a few feet away from her passenger-side window, and she was facing me.  So you see she was close enough to identify.

If she tried to say anything to me, I didn’t hear over my Discman.  I turned and saw her from the back as they passed, and most likely looked for the license plate and bumper stickers at this time.

There was no explanation for why on earth she’d be hanging half out the window, just yet more bizarre behavior from this woman.

I thought it was a psychotic episode.

Maybe they’d been arguing.

Maybe she threatened to jump out, which from what I’ve read, is common among people with borderline personality disorder, both the threatening and the doing.

Maybe she saw me from a distance and wanted to yell at me.

In any case, this incident proved to me that I was not crazy, that Tracy had something going on with her psychologically or mentally, that her problems with me came from inside herself.  I saw it as a gift from God.

Another time, Jeff and I were driving down one of the major streets of the city, while I looked out the passenger window, and who should I see unloading a big van at the local political headquarters, but Richard.

I saw out of the corner of my eye (trying not to look directly at him) as he saw us and stared after us.  He’s such a big guy that he’s easy to spot.

I have no respect anymore for either Richard or Tracy after all this.

It’s been a struggle just keeping in the same denomination as they are, especially when they have demonstrated that they will still come to my church on occasion–meaning I can never consider them to be completely out of my life unless they relocate.  

I came close to giving up on church because it reminded me too much of Richard, but I had too much strength in my beliefs to throw them away.  

I sometimes feel that the only way I can truly go on in Orthodoxy is if they either apologize for their crimes, or leave me alone to disconnect the Orthodox Church from Richard.

I still care about him and miss our friendship, remember the good times, and miss telling him all about the happenings at church or the latest news about local churches of various denominations.  But I can’t deal anymore with the crap that came along with it.

I don’t miss Tracy one bit, and don’t care to ever see her again.  Jeff doesn’t miss her, either, and doesn’t want to say anything to her when he sees her.

They are welcome to apologize at any time, though whether or not a friendship would be reinstated, after so much time and childishness on their part–would take a lot of reflection first.  Who knows what could bring on Tracy’s venom next time?  Abusers go in cycles:

If we reinstate a friendship, like a year before (after 2009 discussions) there will probably be a honeymoon period for a while.  But then she’ll start building up her anger yet again, and something else will set her off a year later.  You know, just like what had already happened.

So what’s the point?  Who knows; maybe at some point in the future, things will somehow come to a point where a friendship is possible again.  But I’m not holding my breath.

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

 

Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it

I believe Tracy’s husband should have taken swift and decisive action to end her verbal and physical violence at home,

because by staying with her and not forcing her into counseling or some other thing,

he essentially taught her to believe it was okay for her to assault people and expect them to jump to her demands, accept her assaults, and not demand an apology or kindness from her.

That’s part of the trouble with Stockholm Syndrome.  How he can stay with someone who not only verbally but physically abuses him, and claim to still love her, I do not know.

How he could tell me that he deserved the way I saw her treat him during the weeks they lived with us, I do not know.

How he could blame her jealousies and rages on hormones, stress, or whatever, and not walk away, I do not know.

How he could endure all this crap from her, see the crap she threw at me, see what she did to the kids, and still call her “awesome” and “sweet,” baffles my mind.

How can he not be scared of her?  How can he not find her meanness a huge turnoff?  I didn’t even want to be in the same room with her most of the time!  Why would he want to be anywhere near someone like that?

I just don’t understand it, because if a man ever hit me, I’d lose any attraction and love I felt for him, real fast.

I was once with a guy who was emotionally and verbally abusive with the threat of physical abuse to come; we were together for less than a year, and it took only several months afterwards for me to realize he was no good, to move on and find somebody better.

But then, I should take care not to blame the victim, since Stockholm Syndrome is quite common among abuse victims.  Also, men especially have trouble with leaving or reporting abusive women because society, the police and the courts tend not to believe the man is the victim of domestic abuse.

Richard kept telling me how he was trying to get her to stop, how she’d act sorry and talk about changing; he kept telling me it was pregnancy hormones or whatever else was going on with her at the time.

But I saw this cycle going again and again, even when she was not pregnant.

And then for her to treat me like, my wanting to be buddy-buddy with her was a test to prove how trustworthy I was with her husband–it was just ridiculous.

I just don’t understand how Tracy can be so cruel and abusive to another person, then blame that person and shun her at church for ending the friendship.

Or how she can treat it all like it’s all about her and her being offended, when the truth is, Jeff and I both threw up our hands, decided that she and Richard were both being too violent and ridiculous, and apologies were not forthcoming from them, so we had to leave to protect ourselves.

For me it was finally a reason to stop being obliged to hang around with an abuser, someone who bullies everyone around her (except for the ones on her “approved” list) until they either leave or cower in submission.

(Before, our two families were so intertwined that I saw no way to extricate myself from her.  Forget the usual advice to just see your friend without the spouse if you don’t get along: She wouldn’t allow it!)

My husband and I finally decided we were better off being alone and lonely than having ungrateful and unkind friends like these.

I just don’t understand how she can live with herself, let alone take the Eucharist.  You’re supposed to confess at least occasionally–has she confessed these things?

And if so, then why doesn’t she try to make amends with me and be kind instead of carrying on this ostracism of me from her family?

Why doesn’t she come to me and apologize for all the things she’s done? the barbs, the false accusations, the knee-jerking, the ridicule, the ingratitude, the verbal abuse, the threat of physical violence?

I never even got so much as a thank you from her for providing her family with shelter and food despite great inconvenience to us.  I tried so hard to be nice to her, even while breaking off the friendship, but got venom back from her.

I said as little as possible to her during the breakup to try to avoid arguments because I knew I was no match for her abuse, but her angry words just kept coming and coming.

It’s hypocrisy like this that turns people away from the Church, and even I with all my strength of faith have had to struggle to hold onto it–and not abandon the Church completely–while dealing with this.

Richard, after all, had much to do with me finding my way.  He was my spiritual guru, my spiritual idol with clay feet, someone to look up to.  I thought he could show me the way to religious enlightenment.

I thought he was devout, but instead he was violent.  I thought his violence was in the past, tamped down by religion, but it was still there, waiting dormant.  I saw the verbal violence arising in political comments he made on Facebook.

(You’ll note from what happened to Congresswoman Giffords that such political verbal violence leads to crazy people carrying out physical violence.  This article has a disturbing resemblance to Richard drawing a middle finger on a letter he received from our senator Feingold, then returning it to him.  Is that any way for a Christian to act?)

With the way Richard and Tracy both are about politics, actively working with their favored parties, and Richard’s attitudes to the opposition (actually using the word “hate”), and how upset I am at what is going on in Wisconsin since the last election put their people in power–

–how all the things I love about my state government are being yanked away and civility is now dead–

–I think being friends with them now would have been impossible anyway.

I think they would have been unbearable, that they would have looked down on Jeff and me for disagreeing with them, called us “sheeple” and “socialists,” all that crap going around these days which is making me start to look at their parties as the Enemy because they have acted out of anger and set up my side as their Enemy, rather than working together.

The following clip from a website of personal abuse stories, reminds me of Tracy telling me I needed to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings from her verbal abuse (according to her, caused by my behavior), rather than breaking off relations with her, and of Richard telling me that saying little to her was somehow worse than so-called “harsh words”:

After I confronted her about her having no right to lay a hand on me and my fear of what she would do to our future children, she replied, “if you’re going to get your tiny feelings in a bunch over a little slap, you need to keep going to therapy TO WORK ON YOUR PROBLEMS.”

I bet Tracy says this to her children and husband as well when they get zinged by her for stepping out of line.

This sounds very much like how Tracy acted at the end–and Richard was getting this way as well near the end, which is where the problems between him and me started.

I am so fed up with all the cattiness, abuse and bullying Tracy has thrown at me over the years in return for all the ways I’ve helped her and her family (sometimes at great personal trouble).

I am so fed up with how I was expected to just take it and try to befriend her, and if I complained about how she treated me and her husband and children I was a horrible, horrible person who was “biased against” her and didn’t “respect” her and interfered with how she dealt with her husband (because I didn’t think she naturally had the right to treat him like property and act jealous) and was too lax with my son and wanted to steal her husband.  (I have a good one of my own; why would I want hers?)

I tried so hard to quell my resentment, to do nice things for her, to spend every Lenten period trying to forget it and her lack of apologies.

Meanwhile she just kept nursing her grudges and the things I had done that were supposedly so horrible, and saying things to Richard like, “Did you just spend a couple of hours chatting with that woman online?”  (What?  Since when were we not supposed to chat online?)

While blaming me for not being all open and outgoing with her, she kept ignoring the crucial things that would’ve changed everything: her apologies, her changing her own behavior not just with me but with Richard and the children.

I could never be close friends with a child abuser, a spouse abuser, an aggressive person, a mean girl.  Yet Richard complained to me that he couldn’t go get coffee with me, as if it were my fault.  Jeff was very angry with Tracy, and often got annoyed with Richard as well over the whole thing.

Three unexplained incidents happened.  I will present only the facts so you can draw your own conclusions.

The first incident, was the five disappearing e-mails.  We were all on the same forum and I would often send Richard private messages that way, about life or issues or books or movies or whatever.

He hadn’t been on the board for a while, so there were five messages waiting for him from me.  This was in early 2008.

I had gone to visit Richard and Tracy; I told him the e-mails were getting backed up and had been waiting for weeks so please check them.  Tracy was sitting next to him at the time.

A day or two afterward, I went on my account and the e-mails had vanished.  They were not in my sent box.  There was no trace of them in the message tracker, which would tell me if they had been read.  Richard said he never got them.

I feared my account had been hacked, and changed the password.  The owner-administrator, Todd, didn’t know what happened; we figured maybe it was our usual board stalker/troll, who had a bug in his butt about Todd and kept causing trouble.

But this guy would get blamed for everything that went wrong there, and I knew of one case (the forum hack) where he was blamed for something Richard did.

Tracy and Richard were both admins on that board.  Richard never got the messages….From what I recall, the messages were about books and some other things, nothing that would cause a wife alarm.  And I never heard of e-mails or any online communication being forbidden, never had any reason to think this.

The second incident, at the end of May and the beginning of June 2010, which was also right after Memorial Day, when Tracy was snarky with me about my backpack, and then in the following few weeks she continued to be snarky in response to posts I made on Facebook, and also there was lots of drama between her, Richard and the children whenever Jeff and/or I would visit–

All of a sudden, Richard’s Facebook account had blocked me and hers had unfriended me.  I don’t remember if Jeff had been unfriended by her account, but he was not blocked from either.

I kept trying to send her friend requests, but they didn’t seem to be getting through–some weird glitch, I thought, due to Facebook doing a major change in privacy settings.

I’d see “Awaiting Friend Request” keep changing back later on to “Request as Friend.”  So I kept re-sending them.  I certainly had no reason to think she was denying my requests.

Richard told Jeff he certainly wouldn’t have blocked me, and he couldn’t find my account either, so I should look at my account to see if there’s something weird on my privacy settings.

I sent him messages through Jeff’s account, saying that nothing was amiss in my settings.  I also tried setting up a new account with my business e-mail, on June 2, but even then I could see that Richard had an account, but I couldn’t look at his public profile or send him a friend request.

Then a few days later, he discovered he accidentally blocked me somehow, unblocked me, and my latest friend request to Tracy finally resulted in re-friending.  I thought it was because FB changed settings, but I did not have this problem with any of my other FB friends.

The third incident, on September 26, 2010, a few months after the 7/1/10 Incident, my innocent little boy went into Tracy’s cafe on Cafe World on Facebook.  He did stuff to help her out like people can do in their neighbors’ cafes, even after they’ve blocked your account.  (This time, not only was Richard’s account blocked from all three of us, but hers was too for a while.)  The game left traces of my son being there.

The following day, September 27, my son’s account was suddenly shut down.  The message said he was too young, but did not explain how they found out, who told them.  (We kept track of his account, who he friended, his privacy settings, so he was in no danger.  He was there so he wouldn’t keep using his daddy’s account to play Cafe World and the fish game.)

It hurt to hear my little boy cry.  🙁   (I later discovered that this was 6 days after Richard choked his eldest child, and 5 days after that child reported Richard to the police.)

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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