escaping abuse

Trudging Through Five and a Half Years of Hell…..Do I See Light Up Ahead? (Surviving Depression After Abuse)

I thought I had found a religious and spiritual mentor in my search for the True Church, and a best friend here in my own town instead of far away, one who would always be there for me throughout life.  But I believe this is what really happened:

I fell prey to a con man who eventually decided my husband and I were of no further use to him and his wife.  He used to be a Mafia thug, and was easily provoked to violence.  He hypnotized me without my knowledge.

They wanted to get political connections, but we were too “liberal” and not politically driven; he kept getting money and stuff from us, but the economy tanked and we had money trouble; I was his confidante of his wife’s abuses of him and the children, so she, who has a family history of personality disorders, smeared me to him to drive a wedge between us; and I spoke up against the way they both had been treating their kids.

So instead of addressing the real issues, they made me a scapegoat, made up offenses and kept me always jumping over hoops.  Then because we no longer had much money to give them, I started doubting Richard’s wild stories, and I had let them know they abused their kids, they started treating my husband and I both very badly.

They found an imaginary complaint to skewer me over, so we would break off the friendship in disgust, but they would still be able to claim that it was my fault and not theirs.

Richard threatened my husband with physical violence and intimidated him.  Then in 2010, I was proven correct about the abuse, when Richard choked his oldest daughter until she passed out.  He plea bargained and served a year of probation.

I have often wondered why it has taken three years to get through this depression after abuse, despite functioning normally by carrying on with life, traveling, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, taking care of my child and house like normal, helping out with my church.

It took many months for the occasional tears to stop, but they did stop eventually; however, I still feel sad often.  I have been depressed in the past, but it would pass within a year or two.

Then I remembered: This depression has not lasted for three years.  It has lasted for five and a half years, six years this December, and I know when and why it began:

My Hell began in the middle of December 2007, a few weeks after Tracy arrived in my house, when her fangs began to show and I saw that Richard’s claims of verbal abuse of him and the kids were true, along with the occasional smacks on his arm and a disturbing possessive and vindictive streak.

What seemed like a special friendship with Richard, a very dear friendship, began to deteriorate as he stuck up for not only his wife’s various snarks and other nasty behavior toward me, but her abuses toward him and the children, contradicting what he had told me before.

I felt alone, abandoned by the person I thought cared and had my back, like all my other closest friends through life had my back.

With my other friends, even though we disagreed on occasion, I could count on them sticking up for me whenever somebody dissed me.  But Richard joined in, not only allowing the dissing, but constantly criticizing me as well.  Nothing I did or said was right.

The depression began then.  I remember breaking down in tears more than once while they lived in my house.  I cried often during our friendship.

I spent a weekend in tears and sobs shortly after they moved out, because the way they were screwing me over made me think I had to break off my friendship with Richard.  My husband tried to ease my mind by making the decision for me, and saying I would not break it off.  (No, he’s not controlling; he was trying to help.)

I don’t want to go into detail because it’s all in my blog, and especially in the long version of the story.

But that weekend was repeated other times as well, as well as a time when I could barely get through walking my son to/from school without breaking into embarrassingly public tears on the sidewalk.

In between those times were constant tears, sadness, or resentment of Tracy’s lack of apologies for her nastiness.

This proves that the toxicity began in December 2007, dooming the friendship from the beginning of Tracy’s time in my city, because I was targeted by two very selfish, self-centered, abusive people, manipulators and users.  I thought Richard was a good person, but he, too, was toxic.

After my husband and I could not take the abuse anymore and broke things off, I had to tell my friends everything, so I could drain out the poison Richard and Tracy had filled me with over two and a half toxic years.  Also, for five years I had told Richard about things that upset me, but I no longer had him to talk to.

I vented on Facebook.  I told Todd everything.  I told high school friends.  I told college friends.  I told a few new church friends.  I told people on my favorite forums, begging for answers on how to keep in Orthodoxy, and how God could allow this.  I told my family.  I told my priest, starting back in December 2007.

I read and posted on blogs about narcissists and abusers, which showed me that my feelings and difficulties in healing, are all perfectly normal, that it often takes years to heal, that seeing the abuser again is traumatic.

I leaned on my husband, who recovered much more quickly because he was not the main target of abuse, but who became enraged at Richard and Tracy for putting me through this.

What our friends kept telling my husband and me: These people are toxic, manipulators, moochers, abusers, narcissists, a**holes; people on a couple of Orthodox forums used the word “evil” to describe Richard’s actions (choking his child).

But two and a half years of abuse, including both covert and overt verbal and emotional abuse, especially without physical abuse you can point to as proof, essentially gaslights you.

You wonder about your sanity, if you saw things correctly, especially when the abusers will tell you one thing then contradict it later on, and when only a few of their friends see the real them.

Every day I pray for Richard and Tracy’s children, that they be kept safe from abuse from their parents, because I worry about them and fear that the system has failed them by sending Richard back home with them instead of putting him in jail.

Richard’s lawyer ran for city council and won, but not with my help: I refused to vote for her, because I wondered about her character, getting such a sweet deal for him.

I have no way of knowing if CPS forced Tracy into counseling for abusing the kids as well.  I have no way of knowing if CPS finally convinced her that what she was doing to them was evil and would scar them for life, would cause them to want nothing to do with her when they grow up, just as she hates her own mother for treating her the same way.

If she doesn’t shape up, and if Richard doesn’t stop his own physical violence and narcissism, then their kids are going to grow up and write blogs of their own about Richard and Tracy.

I am an intensely analytical person.  I must know the hows, whys, whats.  Being targeted by narcissistic abusers is extremely hard to figure out, especially when you don’t understand why a person can act that way, how they can live with treating someone that way.

I am certain I have been depressed for five and a half years, starting in December 2007.  I am also fairly sure that I have had a form of PTSD, or a similar stress disorder, for the past several years, caused by the abuse and gaslighting of Richard and Tracy.

It was starting to heal, until they found my blog and began gaslighting me anew, adding threats as well, so I plunged back into the pit–in a year with several new emotionally traumatic experiences to add to the stress disorder.

Unfortunately, as a middle-class housewife and mother of a young child in the middle of the recession, with no health insurance provided by the husband’s job and no money to pay for it, and with heavy debt–professional diagnoses and trained counseling have been an impossible dream, at least during the worst of the depression and stress disorder.

All our money had to go toward physical necessities.  (This also explains why my 13 years of research into NVLD and Asperger’s has to suffice for now, because getting an actual diagnosis for NVLD is beyond our means.)

You can’t expect a pastor to know how to treat stress disorders.  My family and most of my friends live far away.  I have had to do this the hard way: by myself.  I’m sure that’s one reason why it’s taken so long to get through this.

Also, when you’re being abused, you don’t want to go to therapy to help you feel better about being abused.  First, you want the abuse to STOP, and justice of some kind to be done; then you can work on feeling better about being abused.

My abusers still justify their actions and haven’t stopped spying on me.  Rather than somebody telling me how to feel better about it, I want somebody to tell them to STOP, and to tell them their actions are wrong and sinful.  Not just me, but someone they’ll listen to.

That’s why, if they were to start going to my church full-time, I would be forced to request mediation from my priest or someone else in the church.  Because no one can expect you to be in the same church with your abuser/stalker for years on end without it causing all sorts of stress and anxiety disorders.

Not to mention, sharing the Eucharist with that person, contaminates the Eucharist.  There are Bible passages on how seriously we are to treat taking the Eucharist, lest we bring condemnation on ourselves.

Or is it depression now so much as it is anger, disappointment, and sadness?  Disappointment that as a shy introvert with NVLD/Asperger tendencies, I thought I had finally found a friend, one who lived here in my town, someone to talk to about everything and hang out with, only to find that friend was narcissistic, abusive and probably conning me the whole time?

I recall spending the entire 90s pondering and writing about the abuses of Peter, Shawn and Phil, analyzing everything, writing my college memoirs.  Then in the 2000s I would post about Phil on forums whenever the topic of abuse came up.

Maybe I’m at that stage now, moving out of wanting reconciliation, but figuring out what happened, labeling it, analyzing it, just as I did with my college abuse experiences, long after the trauma had passed.  Putting it into fiction or poems, posting memoirs, but seeing it as part of the past instead of the present.

Or, rather, it would be the past if my abusers would do as my past abusers did: make peace with me instead of stalking me, especially if their church closes.  [Update: Their church did close, but they did NOT start coming to mine after all.]

People disparage blogging, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got to really dig into what happened.  Not everybody can just go to a therapist, and even then, a therapist only gets an hour with you at a time.

(I also had a disappointing experience with counseling in college: I only had 6 sessions free, an hour each, and while I wanted to work on getting over Shawn‘s sexual and psychological manipulations and breaking free of him and Peter, the counselor kept talking about my shyness and how to fix that.  I didn’t go there to fix my shyness!)

People also don’t always realize that the Internet is the only way some of us have to communicate about these things, especially transplants into small cities where everyone has known each other since high school, and doesn’t think of inviting you out for coffee because they already have their circle of besties from Kindergarten.

Where, when you finally found someone to be your own bestie and go out for coffee with you, you were treated like a f—ing whore by that person’s spouse for wanting to go out for coffee, so even that concept brings back bad memories.

It’s the reality of modern life in a disconnected age where even neighbors don’t know each other: It takes time and breaking through cliques to get to the point of sharing such intimate details of your life with people.

So many of us have to use Facebook and e-mail to communicate with old friends, rather than just going out for coffee with a new friend to tell them everything you’re going through.

And even those friends don’t want to hear about it after a while, so if you don’t have a therapist, you have to get your emotions out somehow.  And sometimes even therapists recommend blogging; I occasionally visit an ACON (adult child of narcissists) blog which was started because the blogger’s therapist recommended it.

It’s also worth it when you see comments such as this one just posted on Paula’s Pontifications:

To Paula, Anonymous, and others who have described what it’s like to be subject to emotional abuse:

You are putting words to experiences that are most difficult to explain and it is immensely helpful to all of us trying to grapple what we’ve been through and why we weren’t able to understand what was happening at the time; how our vision was shrouded and our judgment systematically deluded by sociopathic influences.

Recognizing that the reactions of others have parallels to our own alleviates feelings of guilt or shame, and also, sharing your experiences helps us realize that we are not alone or impossible to understand and believe.

Thank you all for your efforts! You are making a big difference in the world.

Blogging is an outlet.  The names are changed because it’s not about revenge.  It is exposure, but if the subjects don’t out themselves, no one knows who they are.  (My close friends and some others know who the subjects are and what they’ve done, but they have not read the blogs.)

No, it is an outlet, a way to pour out all those feelings which bottle up inside, without annoying your loved ones.  A reader can read as much or as little as he/she likes, but be helped by whatever he/she reads.

For me, as a writer, blogging is also working through various ways of saying things until I find a gem: a book, a blog post with a thousand hits, a poem.  My blog is a writing journal, where the best way to figure out how to express a thought, is to keep writing it different ways until you find the best one, the best metaphor, the best wording.

I often repeat myself in my blogs as I think of a better or different way of expressing something, an insight I did not have previously, or just something that springs to mind that was not there when I wrote about this a year ago.

I see this in my old diaries as well, where I wrote endlessly about my experiences with Peter, Shawn and Phil until I finally got them out of my system, then later–when writing my memoirs–found these records valuable.  I would come across a passage or poem written 20 years before, and think, Dang, that’s beautiful.

I will write a post which gets a little attention, but not much.  Several months later I’ll write another one on a similar topic, which will get all sorts of hits.  It’s trial-and-error, see what works, what doesn’t, so that if I decide to turn all of this into a published book, I’ll know what to use.

Also, this record will be invaluable one day if I turn the emotions from this experience into fiction.  When writing stories for The Lighthouse, which drew on my college relationships for inspiration, I tried to, for example, write Jenny’s love letter to Scott, but could not write it authentically.

So I pulled out letters I wrote to Peter, and adapted them to my needs.  The result was an authentic-sounding love/grief letter.

If I wish to turn the Richard/Tracy experience into fiction as well, then these blog posts will help me write true emotions which readers can feel and identify with.

We blog because narcissists and abusers get their tentacles down deep into your psyche, so deep that it takes an enormous amount of work to pull them back out again–without damaging the rest of yourself in the process.

It takes an enormous amount of work to peel away the layers of two and half years of abuse and gaslighting, to figure out what criticisms may have been genuine, and which may have been the products of a (Tracy’s) deranged and/or personality disordered and/or bipolar mind (made that way by abuse, then spreading that abuse to everyone nearby).

It takes an enormous amount of work to get through the sadness of losing your closest friend due to betrayal, when everything around you reminds you of this person, so you have to give up beloved music/movies/activities which remind you of this person.

It takes an enormous amount of work for your heart to catch up with your head, for you to reconcile what you thought was a pious man, with the reality of his threatening your husband with physical violence and his almost murdering his little girl; and to do this while being endlessly stalked and threatened by this person because you dared to speak the truth and say it loud.

It takes an enormous amount of work to survive when every day you fight just to keep from stepping in front of a bus, and you fight this solely because your child needs a mother.  (It took me many months, possibly a year, to get past this stage.)

But I see the end coming.  I see the light up ahead.  I see the strength returning.  I’m beginning to stand and walk instead of crawling toward it.

I think it helps to write about it and to have confronted my abusers in this way, to have a church family, to realize my true friends are still there for me and love me, to have reconnected with a few old friends, to have made two new friends, to go from a daily walking/exercise bike routine to strength training at the gym, to buy a bike which widens my range of travel without a car.

It is coming.  I just have to keep going forward.

Maybe my faith will return as well.  Maybe that light is God’s beacon to me, leaving His light in the window so I don’t miss my destination as I fight through the darkness.

(As I titled another post which has long since been taken down, but was written in fall 2011, “The Light is Shining Through.”  I was going to revise it, but forgot about it.  But if you click on that link, you will see the revision I finally made in August 2013.)

Some time ago I answered a comment in which the commenter noted that the feelings surrounding the narcissistic injury still hurt after a considerable period of time.

That has had me thinking about why these injuries hurt us so deeply.  There are many kinds of hurt in our lives and people do mean things almost regularly.  Why do these seem to last longer than others?…

So, you see, there are several reasons why the pain continues.  Like a sore that never quite heals, narcissistic injury can last a long time.

But how do you move on then? …

You can move on with your life, even though the memory of the offense still brings pain. —For the answers to these questions, read Why Does It Still Hurt? by David Orrison.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us learned how to get through the tough times. We have learned to use denial as a coping mechanism. What we fail to realize is that the very method we thought was helping us is really killing us inside…..

When something hurts in life, we typically avoid it. We rarely think of it as something we are meant to learn from. In fact, we immediately try to find a way to get rid of the painful feeling. We run away thinking we can avoid our reality, but what we don’t realize is:

NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY UNTIL IT HAS TAUGHT US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.

We can lie to ourselves or run all we want, but the lesson will keep returning in different forms and manifestations until we learn what it is trying to teach us about our reality.

The very first noble truth the Buddha points out is that pain is inevitable in human beings. It is part of the human condition. We cannot avoid it.

We must accept pain and open our hearts to look at what we can gain by facing it. Only then can we discover that the very thing that terrifies us is in fact a way for us to reconnect with our true self and experience a rebirth.

Facing reality shows you who you are and what is true. Confronting our pain and fear tells us something about ourselves. We must get to know fear, become familiar and intimate with it.

It teaches us something. When we stop running and don’t act out, repress or blame, we encounter our true self. –Lisa E. Scott, Experiencing Your Rebirth After a Narcissist

Finally healing from the narcissistic abuse and toxic friendship

I can feel the healing at last.

It’s not as if the pain and hurt are all gone, never to return.  I do still feel pangs from time to time, when something reminds me of happier days of friendship with Richard (and there are a lot of reminders).

But several major things have happened to bring this on:

1) I confronted my abusers.  Even after they made fun of and threatened me, I never backed down, kept writing the truth, kept confronting them through my blog, kept pointing out that they are abusers/bullies not just of me but of each other, others and their children.  I kept confronting them through my blog since they kept coming back to it.

They could have ignored the blog, but didn’t, so I kept writing whatever the heck I felt like writing about what they did.  The well-being of four beautiful children–and of any other people they may befriend, get to care deeply about them, and then betray, since they have done this to others besides me–was at stake.

 

2) I told many others, who believed me.  I told them what Richard and Tracy did to me, and about the abuse in their household.  This was long before Richard and Tracy even found my blog.  Then after they found my blog and threatened me, I told the police–and told the same people as before, all about their stalking and threatening me.

All these people became allies.  Some even wanted to carry out elaborate vengeance which would make R and T’s names and crimes public in this city, but I told them NO, because that would just make things much worse.

I never had any intention of some kind of public exposure on the blog or in the newspapers including names etc., since that isn’t in my nature, and was amazed at just how inventive and vindictive these friends could get.  Their scheme actually brought on an attack of PTSD.  But it was touching to know they would do such a thing for me.

(I haven’t a clue how or where, but Richard and Tracy seemed to have gotten some crazy idea that I had threatened to do such a thing.  But no, I never did.  And the newspaper already exposed that Richard choked his daughter.)

The irony is that, as you can see in the above linked post, Richard and Tracy threatened to sue if I went public to members of the church/community.  But I had already gone to members of the community (friends who live nearby, and CPS) with my story, and had already gone to members of the church (my priest and a few friends in the church) BEFORE Richard and Tracy ever found my blog.

Reporters to CPS are immune from lawsuits, unless it can be proven that the report was deliberately false; my report was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We don’t run in the same circles here in town; I don’t even know who employs R and T these days, if anybody; they won’t lose income because of me.

Richard can’t become a priest no matter what, because my priest told me (in October 2011, BEFORE R and T found my blog) that Richard cannot be ordained, because he choked his child.  The police told me that no, R and T CANNOT sue me for talking to my priest, and they also cannot sue me for an anonymous blog with changed names.

 

3) I used my blog as a toxic waste dump, a healing device, to remove all the anger, hurt, pain, and the various time-bombs Tracy had tried to plant in my brain (damaging messages which keep coming back over and over long after the relationship ends).

Once they were removed onto the electronic page, I could begin to replace them with brighter things, so that one day, forgiveness and letting it go could be possible.

 

4) When I finally got the chance, I blocked them from my blog, which–after a couple of months in which they kept trying to find the blog’s new location but were blocked–led to them finally going away at last.  I saw them check the service schedule and possibly the Greek Fest page on my church’s website (I’m the webmaster), but they have not come to my church since August, did not come to Greek Fest two Sundays ago.  They just seem to have vanished from my life.  FINALLY.

The third anniversary of our friendship breakup is in just a few days.  For much of these past three years, healing has seemed like an impossible dream.  But I’m here to say that it’s not.  Even if it takes a long time, if you purge the toxicity, and if you let it, healing will come!

[Update 6/11/15: As soon as I posted this, they found my blog with a new IP address and computer.  But all they ever do now is look.  I rarely see them around town anymore, either.  Their threats were nothing but bluster.]

 

Reblog: Photo Essay Shows How Abusers Manipulate Victims

Tonight I have found three blog posts of particular note:

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, a photographer, put together a photo essay called Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence.  She didn’t go into this job planning to portray domestic violence; it just happened.

There has been some flak over her not stepping in, but keep in mind that she’s a woman, and that the police told her she could have done nothing to help, that the violence could have gotten worse.

Of course, there were others in the house, so I wonder why they didn’t gang up on the guy after calling the police?  But in any case, her photographs became important evidence against the abuser.

Photo Essay Shows How Abusers Manipulate Victims is Amanda Marcotte’s response to this photo essay.  She shows, step-by-step, how abusers can turn anyone into a victim who does not leave.

Then there is Darth Vader is a tricksy hobbit.  I don’t agree that we should be cutting off abuse victims from venting just because it bugs us, but rather put up boundaries in ourselves to keep from getting overly caught up in another’s pain. But this blog gives an excellent explanation of why abuse victims don’t just leave and get it over with, and why we should support them anyway.

As a witness and confidante to the abuses of Tracy against Richard, I did not follow what this blog recommended; I did not feel it was right to stay silent; I could not force myself to be more than a polite acquaintance to Tracy.

Tracy, like Shane, the abuser in the photo essay (pictures 18 and 19, see captions), twisted my friendship with Richard into something it wasn’t, and my actions into something they weren’t, because I saw her abuses for what they were.

I have always been a fierce defender of my friends; I could not hide my contempt for her verbally abusing, controlling and slapping my best friend Richard while she lived in my house.

So I became her target, as she manipulated Richard into believing the worst about me, until she finally found a reason to blow up at me, turn Richard against me, and force me to submit to her–so I cut her out of my life instead.

My blogs–which Richard and Tracy read a little more than a year ago–went into great detail about how horrible Tracy acted, and vented how I felt about Richard for staying and for helping her abuse me.

But I did not expect them to ever find the blogs; that was accidental.  I never meant to tell Richard all those things I felt about him staying with her and putting up with her bull****.

However, a feeling of guilt over that victim-blaming, is tempered by the discovery that Richard is also very abusive.  You can read it all in my story, here: “The Darkness Engulfs Me.”

I began to realize, after discovering that Richard had choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness, how he had manipulated me as well.  I still believe his stories of Tracy’s abuse, because I saw it for myself.

But I now see myself as a pawn he used to drive Tracy’s jealousy, to keep her tied to him, and my husband and me as pawns used by both of them against each other, while also manipulating my husband and me into feeling pity for them and giving them all sorts of stuff.

Richard would make a show of not wanting us to help them, yet somehow we kept finding out they were “in trouble”–again–and offering food/money/etc.

So not only were Richard and Tracy manipulating and abusing each other, but they were also manipulating and abusing me.

Over time, Richard was Tracy’s proxy, grooming me by trying to convince me that I was behaving horribly to Tracy, and subtly trying to make me believe that I deserved her ire for how I “behaved.”

Then this happened, when Tracy found a reason to blow up at me verbally:

6) Once the victim is groomed, wait for an opportunity to claim she provoked you, and then beat her. Maggie said jealous stuff to Shane, so he had his pretext to claim she provoked him. –from Photo essay shows how abusers manipulate victims

What Richard did in keeping me tied to him, is pretty much what is described here, but without the sex/romance/marriage parts:

One of the most heartbreaking truths is that feeling love, hearing all the words you’ve ever wanted to hear someone say to you about love, having the most intense sexual chemistry, being able to stay up all night and have long, deep, intense conversations about the things in your heart do not necessarily mean that you can build a happy life with someone.

They do not necessarily guarantee that the person who generates all those feelings will be kind to you and treat you as you deserve.

So when someone describes abusive or unkind behaviors we’re quick to say “That’s not really love” or “You shouldn’t love him” or “he doesn’t really love you” or “DTMFA.”

And we’re not necessarily wrong to think that or to say that. Obviously I personally think it’s important to fight against the way that our culture pressures people, especially women, to stay in romantic relationships even when they aren’t working.

But when we treat someone’s feelings as unreal or unimportant in skipping to the part where they should do what we want them to, we forget that finding out that the person who makes you feel such intense feelings is not really good for you and that it’s not going to end well is fucking shattering.

Breaking off a relationship that has been important to you, even if it was a dysfunctional one, entails feelings of extreme grief on the way to whatever relief and freedom is possible.

Take out the parts about sexual chemistry and make it into a friendship scenario, and you’ll see why it was so hard to break off the friendship with Richard, even with his gaslighting, devaluing/discarding, and Tracy’s abuses.

Also, I am a very shy, quiet person, as well as an introvert, who struggles to make friends, so I was very lonely.  I have had many deep, abiding friendships in my life, but most of those friends live far away now, and I had always wanted a friend who would be my “bosom friend” (as Anne Shirley terms it), who would always be there throughout my life.

Richard seemed to be that friend.

(Don’t say that’s my husband’s job.  He’s my husband; that’s a different role altogether; you don’t sleep with your friends.  Everybody needs friends outside their marriage.)

And yes, breaking off the friendship did cause extreme grief which continues to this day.

Richard also groomed me in this way:

People in abusive relationships are used to being told what to do and how to feel. They are also used to having a lot of drama – extremely high highs and low lows – as normal.

An abuser will try to convince a victim that their feelings aren’t real or don’t matter. And they will try to convince them that really outlandish, not okay behaviors are normal and okay.

And that it’s normal & expected to have screaming fights, or be constantly dealing with cheating & jealousy & control, or to have sex when you don’t really want to.

An abuser’s message is: This is normal and also the best you can ever expect from life. If you told other people, they wouldn’t believe you. –from Darth Vader is a tricksy hobbit

Richard didn’t have screaming fights with me etc., but when I objected to how Tracy treated him, he tried to make me believe these things are normal and not abusive.

Not only that, but when Tracy screamed at me over Facebook and wanted to scream at me in person as well, Richard and Tracy both tried to make me think this was “normal,” that “99 percent” of people would behave the same way she was behaving over my supposedly horrible “behavior.”

If you want to read an in-depth account of the psychological twisting done by abusers, just read my accounts linked above, which were written a short time after the abuse occurred.

An Awesome Resource for those who suffer from narcissists in the church

Grace for my Heart by Pastor David Orrison–someone who “gets it.”

For example:

I think narcissistic friendships are weird. Because they don’t have the structure of marriage or family or work, these friendships seem to be in constant flux. I hear this regularly.

At one time the relationship is very close, very dependent, almost intimate, and the next time the N is distant and uncaring. I suspect this is because the N must really play the game in a friendship.

A dating relationship has certain expectations and can lead to commitment. A marriage is a firm commitment. Families are families and work is work.

In these relationships it is much easier for the N to abuse because the victim/supply is stuck. It takes courage and willpower to break off the relationship. Most of the time, the N finds ways to drain the willpower away.

But a friendship means that the N has to use his/her ability to manipulate a person’s thinking and emotions. The friend can simply walk away.

So the N has to try to bind the friend using whatever weaknesses or openings the person reveals.

This is why Ns often seem to easy to talk to. They learn your secrets. It is why some present themselves as victims in pain. They appeal to your compassion. Whatever it takes to break through your normal defenses and get you committed to them.

Those of us on the outside look at a story like yours and wonder why you would ever continue such a relationship. It seems easy and obvious to us.

But inside the relationship, the N has twisted your thinking and made you doubt yourself. The abuse you suffer is your own fault, you think. The difficulty of the connection is because of you, you think.

This is the skill of the N, mind games. —Comment by the author on Friends with a Narcissist

Yes, this is EXACTLY how it was with Richard.

 

I sense another wave of narcissistic attack coming my way…..

My stalkers have been blocked from my blog since late March, when I moved it to self-hosted Wordpress.  I could see them going to the old blog often, until my plugins were fixed so that all visitors are redirected here–where my stalkers’ IPs are blocked.

I’ve seen no sign of them here, or trying to come here, for weeks, so I hoped they were going to stop trying to bug me.  I haven’t seen them at my church since August, or on the street since January.

I have been coming down off the constant feeling of threat and trauma, beginning to relax, beginning to get over what I’m quite certain was a form of PTSD.

They know how I feel about the things they did.  They know I know about Richard’s child abuse conviction, and that I have documentation proving my claims of their abuses of me, the children and Todd, as well as documentation proving they’ve been stalking me online for months even though I’ve posted for them to stop.

They know I consider them hypocrites and fakes.  They know I’m not going to back down and beg for their forgiveness for them treating me like crap.  They know the priest knows all about our situation, their threats, their abuses, and that they were stalking and frightening me, because I went to him for help.

They know I consider them both narcissists, and do not want them anywhere near me.  They know I will call the police again if they contact me again.

So I began to hope they’d never show up at my church again.  Especially after a post I wrote to Richard which said he can end this war by apologizing and having a chat with us on Forgiveness Sunday, which offered him forgiveness, said that it was about resolving our differences in a biblical manner so that I could take the Eucharist with him–

–but said if he was just going to keep defending what he did and what was done to me, then walk away because we have nothing to say to each other.

He never responded, so I hoped to never see him again.

As the webmaster for my church’s new website, I can see the traffic coming in there as well.  Today, I saw a very familiar IP address on the church’s website–looking at the service schedule.  I see they have another cellphone (an iPhone).  (You’d be amazed at what Google Analytics and Statcounter pick up.)

My husband wondered, a couple of months ago, if blocking them from my blog would lead to them showing up at my church again, to annoy me that way.  You’ll note they don’t try to apologize and make peace; they don’t leave me alone when I tell them to (which is why I had to block them); they only try to intimidate and annoy.

Why would they even want to visit my church?  If they can afford two fancy, expensive smartphones, which my engineer husband can’t even afford, then they must have found well-paying jobs which make gas prices no longer a concern.

So why come to a church they never even liked, which is too “ecumenical” for them, too “Greek,” and had the gall to tell them there’s a kid’s play area in the basement?

(They hated my church so much that they started going all the way to the next county for church instead!  They couldn’t afford the gas then, either, but they kept going there and did not come to my church at all, even though we were friends then.)

If it’s to annoy me–then why on earth is that so important to them, especially a year after their threats?  Just leave me alone already!

They know very well that they are not allowed to contact me, or I will charge them with harassment.  It will be very interesting to see if they plan to make some kind of trouble at church.

I can’t just stop going, especially with my responsibilities there and my son going to Sunday School, but as they say, Forewarned is Forearmed.  The key is to ignore, ignore, ignore.  I hope that blocking them from this blog, and ignoring them at church, will lead to them getting bored and going away.

I read recently that when you start to heal, the narcs come back for another round.  I wish I could remember where that was; I think it was on one of many narc abuse survivor blogs…..

My ex-husband has been on a public relations campaign at church since I left him.

Leaving him after almost 30 years of marriage was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and when I go to church, I see him being Mr. Wonderful, and at first he was so pitiful that people were angry at me.

Amazing because I am the one who was more involved, I’m the one they really know. But they are believing him.

I don’t want to change churches because I grew up in this denomination and it suits me, and because my kids go to this church, and because I have been the more involved at our church all these years.

To him, everything is a game that he must win…and I must lose. Much of the time it looks like that is happening. He’s good at this. (Joy)

You could leave the church and then return later, when he is gone. Just don’t let anyone know of your plan. And you could just stay and hold your ground. After all, why should he dictate this area of your life as well as so much of the rest? But the fight is hard and draining. You have to be healthy to get through it.  (Blog Author)

I finally went to the head pastor who was supportive and “got it” I think almost immediately. Once the Elders were informed, they also got it. I have finally received care and validation, and my husband has been repeatedly asked to leave. He refuses, blames me, says he has done nothing to repent of, lies about me and has continued to come.

It has been so very hard to continue, but I was the one that was involved in the church body life, not him. You’re right Joy, it’s all about winning with a N personality. My husband must “win” and drive me out and take away this support.

My journey has been mind-boggling. God’s tender, merciful Love is the only thing that has kept me alive. I am so broken; our children are broken. Hope is so hard to sustain, and yet I know He is able to restore.

Evil and cruelty are always a hard storm to weather, but mental manipulation is beyond the pale. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.  (Rita Cizek)

There is no excuse for excusing an abuser. Abusers do NOT belong in church. Abusers need to be exposed, and the abused need to be healed.  (Penny)

–Comments from The Christian Narcissist by Grace for My Heart, someone who “gets it”!

[Update 10/29/14: To my surprise, despite their checking out my church’s service schedule, the narcs never showed up at my church after all.  Since their own church has been closed for at least a year now, they must have found somewhere else to go–if anywhere.]

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