Category: The Darkness Engulfs Me: Full Story of Richard/Tracy Abuse

Reflections on healing from abuse in the past decade

So I picked up Sunday’s newspaper and saw what looked like Richard sitting at a training session in Madison for the 2020 Trump campaign.  It was blurry, so it was hard to be sure, and I couldn’t find the picture on the newspaper’s website to make certain.  But it sure looked like him–same size, same hair, same head shape, glasses–and had me thinking–

Well, I could say what I thought, but let’s just say I’m disgusted at the idea of him helping that potential antichrist get re-elected.

The end of the decade has me thinking a lot about the beginning of the decade, and how it’s gone so lightning-fast that 2010 might as well have been yesterday.  The events are still so clear in my head–Heck, the events of 2000 still feel like yesterday as well.  Two decades have just flown by so fast that I feel like I stepped into a time machine that suddenly aged me 20 years without me even feeling it.

That’s the thing that scares me about aging: that I’m going to blink my eyes and be 66.  Then I’ll blink again and be dead.  If I’m going to be 50 in several years, couldn’t it at least FEEL like it’s been 50 years, rather than maybe 25?  A century doesn’t sound so long anymore.

Things that happened in college are finally starting to feel like a Long Time Ago, at least.

But what a decade!  It feels like the late 90s and 00s were me starting to process and resolve what happened to me in college, along with a huge amount of religious questioning and revamping.

The 10s have been me processing and resolving the narcissistic abuse that Richard and his wife committed on me, along with the narc, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse I witnessed them commit on others including their own children.

In the midst of this, thanks to Facebook, I’ve discovered that my abusive ex’s behavior can all be blamed on his own diagnosed mental illnesses and narcissism–and NOT ME.

Then midway through the decade, we survivors of narcissistic abuse have been subjected to someone just like our abusers, becoming president–and this time we can’t escape the person or go No Contact.  So I suppose it wouldn’t be surprising if my abusers are now supporting this person who is really just like them.

Though it is surprising in a way, considering how Richard used to go on about freedom and human rights of immigrants etc.  Now he appears to be supporting a fascist who has a Nazi (Stephen Miller) advising him on immigration?

But this is yet another thing that helps resolve the abuse that happened at the end of the 00s.  In 2010, nearly 10 years ago now, I was in agony over whether we had done the right thing in breaking off relations with Richard and Tracy.  I was stuck in an endless loop of trying to remember what happened and figure out what was right, along with terrible grief because I thought Richard was my best and dearest friend.  Writing and blogging about it was the only way I could finally stop that loop; researching old e-mails and other things helped me clarify what exactly had happened and why I felt the way I did.

The first half of the decade, I longed for Richard to apologize and make things right so that we could be friends again.

Almost ten years later, I don’t feel that way anymore.

One reason for that is what was revealed about his and Tracy’s character during this decade.  There was Richard’s conviction for choking one of his kids.  There was the two of them stalking me online, complete with a threatening message sent through Facebook.  (They were both blocked, so they set up a fake account for the purpose.)  Then they stalked me in person as well for a while.  That stopped, and I’ve received no more messages, but to this day they stalk my blog.  They were just on it a few weeks ago.  That’s EIGHT YEARS of stalking my blog, as of next May.

EIGHT YEARS.

I even know where Tracy works these days because she reads my blog at her workplace.  Aren’t you supposed to be working and not stalking people at work?

There’s also learning how many ways my supposed “best friend’s” actions were anything but: the selfishness and lack of empathy, the mansplaining, the one-upmanship, the criticism and mocking, the mind games, the belief that he knew better than I did about *everything*.  And don’t forget the gaslighting whenever I called out some abuse he or Tracy had been doing.  And defending one of his friends after this person sexually harassed me, telling me I needed to “get over it.”

The only excuse I can come up with for putting up with Richard for so long, is that he had me under such a spell that I couldn’t recognize how badly he was treating me.  (He even told me he hypnotized me without my knowledge.)  I knew Tracy was abusing me, because she had no such spell over me.  But I kept missing how Richard himself was also abusing me.

Now, ten years later, it’s all so clear and easy to recognize that I’ve long since stopped wishing he would come to us to make things right.  Now, ten years later, I have a group of good friends online and off, who don’t make me cry all the time, or tell me I have to change myself to make them happy.  I’ve met so many good people that I no longer fear that the next person I befriend will be a secret narcissist.

Oh yeah, another thing just happened: A couple of weeks ago, I found a message Richard sent to me on a gaming forum.  It was in my old purse, which I was clearing out; back in 2008, I printed it out and put it there so I could tell the parish council his ideas on how to revitalize my church.  I never took it out, so forgot it was even there.  Now I read it, and found this in the second half:

And your friends [sic] husband just helped Satan seize complete control of this country.  The next time I pay taxes I will have killed a baby because your friends [sic] husband helped bring about that “change.”

Seriously, I do not want to hear about anyone who voted for Obama, supported Obama or whatever.  Obama is a murderer who supports murder, and anyone who voted for Obama is not an accomplice but a murderer as well.  Those who voted for someone who supports killing newborns, which is all a baby in a womb is newly introduced to life [sic], a “newborn” are murderers [sic], directly and indirectly.  I do not mean to sound mean but this issue is the most important.  God curses those who sacrifice their babies to idols, which selfishness is the worst idol of them all, and the lands of those who murder their own are usually decimated within a generation or two from those who did so, historically.  Well, that’s about another four to eight years from Roe vs. Wade, is it not?

(Check….Well, it’s been eleven years, and we’re not decimated yet.)

When I read this a couple of weeks ago, I decided to hold onto this unhinged rant as a reminder because it’s so nutty.  So my friends [sic] husband was a murderer because he voted for a Democrat–one under which the abortion rate dropped, I might add?

Republican policies drive abortion UP and into back alley butchery; Democrats try to solve the problems that lead to abortion, making the numbers go DOWN.  Republicans have been lying to us about abortion for many years.

As I ponder this, I think, “I thought he was more sane than that.”  But then I begin to remember the many insane far-right conspiracy theories I used to hear from him, how he turned away from Evangelicalism and yet still sounded like the extremist Evangelicals fighting in the religious right culture wars.  I remember how both he and Tracy used to go on and on about things that made me want to roll my eyes, all coming down to those wacky far-right “alternative facts” that I had already discovered were all lies.

This kind of thinking is one of the biggest reasons why I ran screaming from Evangelicalism all those years ago.  It’s one of the reasons why I turned away from the Republican Party and hated the TEA Party.

Meanwhile, Richard himself, after writing the above, nearly killed one of his own children a couple of years later.  He’d be in jail now but for a hand-slapping plea bargain.

Meanwhile, the same person who wrote the above, is he really supporting the worst person who has ever been called a US president–a criminal, a rapist, a serial liar, a wannabe dictator who is doing his best to dismantle everything that keeps this country a democracy?  A man who has been enabling our country’s enemies to destroy us, too, who looked the other way at Khashoggi’s murder?  A man who doesn’t care about children (and adults) being tortured and dying in concentration camps on the border?  A man who uses every narcissistic trick in the book to surround himself with butt-kissing sycophants and gaslight everyone in the country?  A man who my 90-year-old acquaintance recently said reminded her of Hitler?

Even “Anonymous,” the Trump administration official who wrote “A Warning” and who obviously is right-wing just the same, wrote that we in the Resistance are correct about why Trump does and says what he does.  There is no altruism in Trump; cruelty really is the point.

So was it Richard in the picture, possibly Tracy beside him, campaigning for Trump?  I keep looking at it and I’m almost certain it is.  It looks just like Richard, and certainly fits with what I know of their politics.  Anyone who actively supports the current Republican party (including during the days of Scott Walker) and Trump, anyone who actively campaigns for them, I don’t see how I can possibly have anything in common with such people.

Because these days, supporting the Republican Party means supporting evil and the demolition of our great democracy.  It means supporting racism, torture, mistreatment of immigrants, oppression of various minority groups, yanking food and health care and help away from the poor.  It means ignoring cries that someone has been sexually assaulted.  It means permitting persecution as long as your favored group commits it.  It means forcing women to carry babies to term even when they are at high risk of dying, or the father is her father, or they’ll be so poor they can’t even keep a roof over their heads, while doing absolutely nothing to help those women so they don’t see the need for abortions.  It also means that if the 15-year-old girl does carry the baby to term, she’ll now be seen as a bad sort of girl who (gasp) has had sex.

It makes me not want to hear about anyone who voted for Trump, or supported Trump or whatever.

Many of us are saying that we can now see and understand how Hitler took control of the hearts and conscience of the Germans, because we see it happening all over again in our friends, neighbors, and family.

So while it seems like July 1, 2010 was just yesterday, my grief on that day is long gone.  I’m out of the spell; I have no illusions anymore about Richard’s character.  And I’m glad of the decision we made then to break off relations with him and Tracy.

 

Lawmakers: Change WI loophole that lets children be placed with abusers (like Richard)

A story alert from the local paper just came on my brand-new (used) Samsung Galaxy S7 (my first actual, good smartphone, not some cheapo thing that doesn’t work):

‘Ethan’s Law’: Story on boy’s tragic final day moves lawmakers to close fatal loophole in Wisconsin law, improve child protections

Ethan Hauschultz was placed with an uncle who was a known child abuser, with convictions–but because he pled to lesser charges, social workers were forbidden to even consider the convictions as a bar to placing children with him.  This uncle, who could not use physical violence to punish, used other methods on the children under his care, which proved to be fatal.  Though it was actually another child who carried out the punishment, it was at the uncle’s direction while he was away from home.  Story here.

Now, two lawmakers want to keep this from happening again.

Today’s article would explain why Richard’s step-child, Tracy’s child, was placed back with Richard and Tracy even after Richard nearly choked her to death. He was charged with Child Abuse, but it was dismissed and the charges reduced to Battery after he pled no contest.  (Story here.)  I always wondered why the [email protected]$k I saw all four of their kids, including the step-child, with Richard and Tracy after the charges and the conviction.  A man who can choke a 9-year-old child is not fit to have any children around him–and this was not the only thing he had ever done to her.  Richard and a mutual friend both told me of things that had happened before; the mutual friend said Richard had beaten the crap out of her when she was real little.  Yet there she was, still with Richard, rather than placed with her father as I would’ve expected.

This loophole in state law would explain why this happened.  But after the Hauschultz case hit the papers, lawmakers now want to change that loophole:

Hauschultz, who in 2009 had admitted to beating a child with a wooden carpentry tool, had been found guilty of felony child abuse. But through a plea bargain, the conviction went on his record as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that doesn’t involve violence.

That created a loophole that eventually proved fatal to Ethan.

Had Timothy Hauschultz been convicted of child abuse in the 2009 case, Wisconsin law would have barred human services workers from placing children in his care. But because there was no child abuse conviction on his record, caseworkers were barred from even considering the incident — though pages of detail were available in a public file in a courthouse a short walk from the human services office.

Jacque’s bill would bar human services workers from placing a child in the custody of any adult who’d admitted in court to abusing a child, pleaded “no contest” to a child-abuse charge or been convicted of a lesser offense via a plea bargain in a child abuse case.

 

Huge Site Restructuring: Recent story of abuse moved

After moving my old HTML website here to Wordpress in September of 2013, I had to fix the formatting issues that caused.

Then I upgraded to the 2015 Wordpress theme last December, which caused new formatting issues with the quotes: Bolded text no longer showed up as bold, and quotes were often rammed together.

I also tended, as a baby blogger, to write HUMONGOUS paragraphs because I just kept adding and tweaking over time.  That had to be fixed.

The older pages also needed updated links and major revisions.  Some were ten years old and hadn’t been touched in years.

Because my site has about 1000 posts and pages (!!!), and because I actually have a life outside of the computer to run, it has taken me TWO YEARS to fix all of this.

But it’s finally finished.

YAY!

Now, while doing this, I recently realized that this series of posts–The Darkness Engulfs Me–needs to be moved.  It’s so huge that it clutters up the first several months of 2014, shoved in there with a bunch of College Memoir posts as well.

Also, it was actually written between 2010 and 2012, only revised in 2014.  It reflects all sorts of anger, anxiety and pain which filled me between 2010 and 2012, but which no longer spend much time in my heart or head.

This series took my webbook, The Darkness Engulfs Me, and broke it into blog-post-sized chunks, just as I did with my College Memoirs, which are also their own webbook here.

Basically–

–to better show a sense of flow through time, from anger and pain to healing, and

–to reflect the time period in which these things were actually written,

I wish to change the publication dates to 2010 and 2011.  This will take 109 posts and spread them out over a period of time when I posted very little on my blog, but during which I wrote thousands of words on my HTML website.  You could say it WAS a blog, a diary of my pain, so it fits well in that part of my blog.

This post is to explain this to newcomers who may get confused, because sometimes I refer to the Darkness Engulfs Me posts in 2014 as being written.  Yet now they will show as having been written already, in 2010/2011.  Because, well, they were.

 

 

Reflecting on A Year Ago….

In preparation for the third Hobbit movie, my family has been watching the previous two installments.  Tonight, we saw movie #2.  As Bilbo went up against the dragon, I remembered where I was last year as I watched this in the theater:

I was just beginning to revise and re-post the story of Richard and Tracy.  I saw my depression, Richard’s betrayal, my loss of a best/close friend (Richard) because of this, discovering that my spiritual mentor (Richard) was never actually my friend, loneliness, doubts about God, and Tracy’s bullying and abuse, as the Dragon.

I was Bilbo fighting it, wondering how I would ever get out of it.  I was Bilbo telling my story now, so others can know what happened and glean their own lessons from it, for fighting their own dragon.

Tonight, as I watched the dragon again, and little Bilbo finding his courage to fight goblins, Gollum and the dragon, I realized that those feelings were no longer in my head.

(I also noted that I could understand people’s expressions much better now.  As a child/teenager, I often said I preferred books so I could find out what people were thinking.  Now I can see it better.)

Sure my story is still about the dragon I had to face with courage and fortitude.  But it is now a story that is done, just as Bilbo could relate his story years later without the fear he once felt as the events took place.

The dragon has been slain.  The depression is gone, nothing now but a distant memory, not even a recent one anymore.

The loneliness still comes up now and again, but is diminished because I am building various friendships and acquaintances at various levels now.

Somebody in the writer’s group called me his friend, and he and his dad cry out welcomes when I come in.  The president said he likes my quiet and respectful demeanor, and there is no reason to change that because some people don’t understand it.

Richard’s betrayal only stings a little bit now.  It still leaves me with sadness at times, but more and more over the years since, I have realized the magnitude not only of his betrayal, but of his deceptions.  I see only too clearly the Pharisee behind the false piety.

I just plain don’t care anymore.

Just as I used to feel so hurt after severed relationships that I wanted to die, but eventually, I forgot all about that person, and moved on.  I might e-mail an ex occasionally or friend him on Facebook, but all the pain, hurt and even desire for his company, is gone.

Just as I was sad when my former boss left the company in a spectacularly bad fashion, and I missed him, but now I barely ever think of him.  Especially after I found out his wife divorced him for being abusive, and he went to jail for threatening and violent behavior.

I still have many doubts about God, and often about Orthodoxy as well, but I have stayed put in my church.

In it are people, services and events connecting me to this church, as they have begun to depend on my husband and me for many things: Bible readings, making candles, running the website, washing dishes at Greekfest, etc.

I feel that if I left, many people would be not only disappointed, but in the lurch.

I was once scared of Tracy.  This is why I never spoke up to her face about her abuses of others or her treatment of me.  This is why I did not stand up when she smacked her toddler upside the head, or started yanking/spanking/slapping/screaming at two little girls who had done absolutely nothing wrong.

I feared what she would do to me if I did speak up.  This is why I went into a tailspin of fear after she found my blog, threatened and began stalking me.

Now I no longer fear her.

Heck, now she’s become more of a symbol to me than a real person: a symbol of a pathetically self-deceived abuser who tries to force everyone to see her as what she wishes she were.  But instead of fear and loathing, now I feel something else:

Sometimes, it’s a laugh at how pitiful her antics were, at her pathetic attempts to be superior and keep others under her control, at how obvious she was.

Sometimes, it’s fascination at how someone can act the way she does, as I study the Cluster B disorders which obviously drive her behavior, no longer as an abuse victim but like a curious scientist.

But it’s a feeling which is oddly divorced from the fact that her abuses happened to me.  It’s not forgiveness exactly, but more like when you’ve watched a movie: You feel pain, anger, joy, etc., while watching the movie, as if you were the characters.

But when the movie is over, these emotions are now detached from you because it was only a movie, and the characters live only in one’s imagination.

In my case, the events and things I described really happened, and they happened to me, but when I revise old posts or remember something, I feel as if it were only a movie I watched once long ago.

Basically, the same way I feel when revising or writing memoirs about abuse or other things.

If these people ever repent of what they did, my Orthodox faith compels me to forgive.  So I have one little window perpetually open for that, never closing it because that could condemn me to Hell. 

I know they will read this, and just want to be clear on that in case–maybe twenty or thirty years from now–they reflect on their actions and feel remorse out of fear of Hell. 

But forgiveness does NOT necessarily mean restoring friendship.  I no longer have that pull toward Richard which would make me desire friendship in the least.

But the healing has finally come, without forgiveness.  The moving on.  The dismissal of all former feelings of fear and sadness, with no trace left over.  Like when every last bit of snow is finally gone mid-spring, even from the mall parking lot.

The dragon is gone and nothing is left but the gold.

 

The Richard and Tracy story is finished at last!

Now I can get back to my College Memoirs.  We’re starting to get into the fun part, past the abusive exes and into the fun of the second half of senior year: meeting weird people online (such as a psychic vampire), flame wars with a girl who was very much like Tracy, Celtic class, learning to play the tin whistle, SCA, meeting the Hubby….

Which also means slowing way down on my number of posts, maybe a few a week except when inspiration hits.  But I also plan to sticky-post old posts every day, so my new subscribers can check out my old stuff as well (and so I can fix formatting problems in pre-Wordpress posts 😛 ).

I also want to, over time, use my website the way I have used it ever since it was created in 2004 or 2005, and my blog in 2009: to showcase my writing in all its variety.  It’s not all about abuse blogging.  I have now combined my website with this blog into one big website: Just look at the page menu at the top of each page.  🙂  And look at that, my total hits are very close to 50,000!  🙂

I have all sorts of juvenilia that I hope to find and post, or at least describe if it’s lost.  I want my childhood imagination to be preserved, some of the stories possibly made into children’s books, because I fear it all being lost after I die.  I want to spark creativity again, start writing fictional stories again, not just book reviews, essays, memoirs and blogs.

And now that the story of Richard and Tracy is completely revised and out, I can do this again, because the cobwebs are cleared out of my mind, the chains of grief, anger and pain finally pushed out.

As for my stalkers, Richard and Tracy–We’ll see if I can still hold their attention now that their story is basically going to be old stuff stickied, rather than new stuff.  Of course, I see them going through my old stuff constantly lately, reading the same posts over and over again, so maybe it won’t matter to them.  LOL

The healing of getting it all out

Going into my college memoirs and publicly exposing the abuse that my exes put me through (without revealing their names because this is not about revenge)–This does seem to be helping a lot.  There’s just something about getting it all out into the open.

Going through the Phil files to post them has been draining and exhausting, but it’s good to get it out there.

As I do so, I see new things I did not know before, based on my research into abuse, and I can validate that former, scared self I was 20 years ago.  And I know that countless readers could identify with my story.  (See here.)

The same thing is happening with posting the Richard/Tracy story here in the blog section of my website.  I did that already, a year and a half ago, but it got few hits.  My blog wasn’t so big back then.

It’s on my website, but except for a few pages, my website doesn’t get many hits in general.  [Note 1/3/15: When I posted this, I had not yet combined my website with my blog, as it is now.]

But now that I’m rewriting the story and posting it here in little chunks, the writing is improving, and people are starting to read parts of it because they can see the chunks are relevant to their own experiences.  [Note 8/21/15: I am moving these “chunks” to the 2010 and 2011 archives.]

I’m also adding things and making connections which I didn’t get before, because I had not yet done the research into abuse which I have done since I finished it in 2012.

Exposing the story like this is scary–the usual, “What will people think of me?”  It wasn’t quite as scary when few people were reading it.

But writing our stories of abuse is not about being judged by others, or about vengeance: It’s about the healing journey.  The first part is to get out the story, and not worry about what others think of us.

We MUST tell our stories in some way.  Keeping it secret will kill our spirits, even if not our bodies.  We must expose what our abusers did, not keep the secret for them, as if we owe them a favor.

This extensive rewriting and posting of both the Richard/Tracy and Phil stories has been very draining and exhausting.  But I can feel the healing come into my spirit.

I see new connections and insights which I did not have before, from three years’ distance and research.  I see red flags and lies which I did not see before.

I see that I can forgive myself, both for fleas caught from my abusers, and for falling for the lies of the narcissists.

I see how I was being used and manipulated from early on.  I see that my theories of what happened with Richard and Tracy, make a lot of sense, answer all the questions.

The more I rewrite and revisit these experiences, the more I see how Richard and Tracy both manipulated, used and deceived me, how their lies were woven.  The more I see that my husband and I do not need these people back in our lives, no matter how much grief I held over losing my supposed “BFF.”

I see that it’s not my fault I was abused by Richard and Tracy.  I see that it was not my fault I was abused by Phil, or that he lied to and manipulated his flying monkey Dirk, and then sent him to break my spirit and get me under Phil’s control at last.

And hopefully I can recognize such people if they come into my life again.  And help others recognize such people as well, after they read my stories and get validation for their own experiences.

I have also read of people telling their abusers what they have done to them, and how healing that is, even though normally the abusers call them crazy and refuse to apologize.

We can’t expect apologies or depend on them for our healing, though we do deserve apologies and they would be a healing bonus.  We can’t let the abusers keep us under their control, as if they get to decide whether or not we can heal.

Well, my abusers have been reading my blog and website for the past year and a half.  Let them read what I’m posting now.  It’s healing for me to lay it all out here, and in small chunks, hoping they will actually READ it this time.

(They went over it so quickly last year, and got such bizarre interpretations of what it said, that I doubt they truly *read* it.)  Maybe now they’ll finally GET it.

Or not, because that requires empathy, and the willingness to admit to doing wrong, abusive things to me and to others.  I saw very little of that when I knew them, but a whole lot of justification for every nasty word, every act of vengeance.

They’ll probably just find some way to call everything I write “baloney” again, or say it never happened that way, or that they never did that, or that they were justified, even though everything I write is true and this is how it all happened.

Which is exactly why we broke off relations with them.

That’s how abusers act when you confront them with the abuse, so you can’t expect apologies or even acknowledgement that you tell the truth.  It’s extremely common for abusers to call their victims “liars,” “crazy,” and continue the abuse, even when faced with documentation proving their abuse.

I hope that the current bitter cold weather will inspire them to say as soon as Tracy graduates, “Screw this, we’re going back home where it’s warm!”  (You know it’s been cold when you consider 15 degrees and an above-zero wind chill “springlike.”)  Then they’d be thousands of miles away from me.

They’re banned from former mutual friend Todd’s Forum, I don’t see them on my other forums anymore, and I dropped current mutual friends on Facebook to protect myself.

While I do see the mutual friends sometimes on the Forum, or on Todd’s Facebook, there’s no chance of interacting with them in the same threads as Richard/Tracy.  So even online is much safer now.

The emotional pain of seeing them at my church and fearing what they will do there, or what they will say to whom to smear me (such as my priest, which they did already do), no longer happens.

It’s the same as when Peter and Shawn stopped going to my college two years in, so I no longer saw them around every day.  Or when I graduated and moved away from S– and to Fond du Lac, so I no longer saw Phil, Persephone or Dirk every day.

Not seeing your abusers around, and not hearing their names all the time, is incredibly helpful when you can manage it.

It also feels like the events I write about here–even though they still can stir up anger at times–are becoming just another part of my past, something that happened long ago.  The more I write, the more it seems like just words and pages on a screen, and no more real than fairyland.

I spent the 90s still smarting over the things that Peter, Shawn, Phil and others did in college, but the more I wrote about it, the more it seemed to fade.  And then so much time passed that, even though I can channel old feelings long enough to write a blog post on abuse, after I’m done writing about it and tweaking the posts, it fades away again as if it never happened.

Now that the threat is gone and Richard and Tracy have finally turned into nothing but an IP address in my blog stats, I feel like revising and re-posting the book I wrote about that experience, is all I need to do.  Maybe even publish it on Lulu for those who prefer that form.

Then after that, it will all fade as if it never happened.  Much faster than it did with the exes, because I didn’t have a blog back then, just a private journal and occasional e-mails or forum posts…..

The Snuggle House in Madison: How sad to see this close because of closed minds

I just learned about this–and it’s already closed:

The Snuggle House

And it’s closed

Facebook page

More descriptive article

and here

It sounds like a beautiful concept by beautiful people–but the city thought it was about sex.  And there are so many other haters against this concept.

What a shame that our society sees touching–even simple cuddling–as leading to sex.  This business recognized that many people don’t have someone to snuggle with.  And what’s wrong with cuddling with friends to watch a movie?

I have SCA friends like this, but also encounter people who think there’s something “wrong” or “inappropriate” about snuggling with people not in their family.  Why make a beautiful thing dirty?  Let’s abolish this mindset, open up, and lighten up!

Cuddle with your friends, not just your lover or children!  There’s nothing wrong with nuzzling the top of a friend’s head during a hug!

The uptight attitude of American society to such things, is why we have “snuggle houses” to begin with.  If more people were more open to this, nobody would need to pay $60 for a hug, not even someone without a family at home to snuggle with.

There is such a place in New York, and the Cuddle Party people have been around for a while.  But I guess this business was ahead of its time for Wisconsin.  From an AP report:

Madison’s concern seems to be deeper than in other cities where similar businesses have set up shop as cuddling has grown into a cottage industry over the past decade.

Police in Rochester, N.Y., said they’ve had no complaints about The Snuggery, which offers overnight cuddle sessions.

Be The Love You Are in Boulder, Colo., offers cuddles with “Snuggle Stars.”

Cuddle Therapy in San Francisco offers packages that “focus directly with your current needs around connection, intimacy and touch,” according to its website.

Police in San Francisco and Boulder didn’t respond to The AP’s inquires about those businesses.

The nonprofit organization Cuddle Party has trained about 100 people across five continents to run group snuggle sessions, said Len Daley, a psychologist who serves as executive director at Cuddle Party headquarters in Montgomery, Ala.

Betty Martin, a Seattle-based sex educator who facilities cuddle parties in that city, said she’s never had problems with government officials or police. Cuddle Party participants must keep their clothes on and go through a pre-session workshop on how to say “no,” she said.

“People think if there’s touch happening there must be sex happening. That’s not the case at all,” Martin said.

 

Hopefully, one day America will be more receptive to cuddling between friends and not just family or children.  This lack of touch is probably one reason why our society is so violent.

 

Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs (Original Version)

[Originally a Facebook note, meant to explain to my friends (including mutual ones with my abusers) why it was so hard for me to just forget Richard and move on.  It turned into a much larger blog post when I began adding more and more to the note.  At that time, my blog did not have the details of my story publicly posted, as it does now.  Written Tuesday, December 27, 2011.]

Some friends just drift in and out of your life.  Some hurt when they drift away, but you deal with it and move on.  Some may anger you so much that losing them doesn’t bother you.  Losing a friend is not easy in any case, but it’s far more difficult when it was that one extra-special friend, the kind that’s so rare.

All my life I had wanted the elusive bosom friend that Anne Shirley spoke of.  The friend who sticks with you for life, not a romance, not sex or marriage, which I already have, but a platonic friend.  Frodo/Sam.

I’ve made close friends, but then somebody would move away, or classes/lunch periods would change.  I wanted such a friend right here in my own town, not many miles away, separated for so many years that the friendship remains, but the closeness inevitably suffers.

I thought I finally found that friend when this one moved to my town.  I had just prayed for a friend a few months before.  Jeff and I both liked him and I thought he was that friend, an answer to prayer.

I considered him my best and closest friend.  He’s the one who helped light my way when I searched for the True Church, the original doctrines.  He had already found it before I did.

We had similar backgrounds, and similar views of the various churches.  We could sympathize with each other about going through contemporary church services.

We could discuss Orthodox theology with a similar base knowledge and interest; we could discuss the meaning of original sin, or whether River of Fire is a good source of Orthodox doctrine;

we could discuss what it means to experience the Holy Spirit;

I could ask him about various things, such as why the English translations of the Latin and Greek versions of the Nicene Creed are so different, even the parts that come from the original Ecumenical Council that produced them;

I could share with him Orthodox writings, and give him Orthodox books and icons for Christmas or birthdays.

I could tell him what led me away from Western doctrines, without feeling judged for turning to “heresies.”  I simply don’t have another friend with whom I can discuss all these things, at least not from the same background, baseline knowledge, amount of interest and same denomination.

I asked him about difficult points of Orthodox doctrine or practices; I asked him how to forgive people who had hurt me years before; I lamented to him about Net Orthodoxy and its legalism.

He was my spiritual mentor.  He was the one I always wrote to with details of church meetings or services which had been especially interesting.  Who else can I write these things to, who has the same level of interest?  I wrote to him about my church because he was the one who led me there.  And these things led to sharing about our life experiences and troubles.

I told him my secrets, and he told me his.  He was my counselor, as I poured out my heart to him about various issues I was dealing with, and details of how I’d been bullied growing up, and how I’d been used and abused by college exes, including private details which I did not normally tell anyone, because of their nature.  I told him these things because I trusted him completely, was comfortable with telling him.

I told him funny stories of things that happened day-to-day, or dreams.  I shared with him thoughts about movies I watched, books I read, life stories.  We talked for hours at a time.

He lived with us for a time, so became like part of the family, like an adopted brother, so I could tell him things I didn’t tell other people.  We could joke back and forth with each other and play off each other so easily that one guy once said, “I love it when you guys are here!”

He and I went on religious websites together and defended Orthodoxy.  And he and I also had similar tastes in music, both loving the obscure Goth genres, 80s, New Wave–and yet knowing some of the same Christian artists as well.  He had actually been a Goth, while I was interested in Goth culture, did as much “Gothyness” as I could do in a small city in the Midwest.

Because of our similar backgrounds, we both knew about the Thief in the Night series, Left Behind, and other such things.  We were even the same age, so had the same nostalgia for TV shows or movies we grew up with.  We both liked watching EWTN.  We were both interested in paranormal investigations.

It just seems impossible to replace him.  These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to his friendship.

Every time something comes up that before I would write in a quick e-mail to him, I wonder, Is there anyone I can tell this to?  Sometimes I can, but many times, I can’t.  So I start wishing I could write that e-mail to him, because nobody else would understand, or nobody else is privy to those things.

Where else am I to find someone like this?  I try to remind myself of all the violence, the self-seeking, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else, as if he were a car or a computer that can just be exchanged for something new and better.

And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship.

That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to my husband and me, ready to abandon the violence and arrogance that pushed Jeff and me away, ready to start anew.

That’s why I’m filled anew with grief every time I see him at church, he says not a word to me, and I feel I must avoid him, push him away, because of his violence and betrayal, because I can’t trust him.

I barely make it through the service without collapsing in a puddle of tears.  Trying to keep in Orthodoxy, also, has become very difficult, because everything about it reminds me of him.  Sometimes I’m tempted to just give all of it up.

Nobody can help me because the friendship I had was so rare, so hard to find again, and not something you ever get over.  You can’t just go out and find another one just like it; it takes time and coming across just the right person at just the right time.

And I don’t even know if he misses us or regrets what happened, if he only keeps away because he’s (justifiably) afraid of my husband’s anger at him over all the things he did, or if he just doesn’t care.  If he truly misses us, or just misses playing D&D with Jeff.  If he remembers all the kind things we did for him.

And the most tragic thing is, I have no clue what happened.  The winter of 2009-2010, everything was fine between us all.  I don’t recall much bullying of me going on at that time, I was led to believe that the wife had long since stopped holding her inexplicable and irrational grudges against me, and everything was fine. 

But somehow, over the spring of 2010, for no reason I ever knew, they just both started being mean to me.

But as for him–I don’t know that I’ll ever get over what he did, unless he stops justifying his behavior and comes to me, and repents.  Forgive perhaps, eventually, but lose the hurt feelings?  Stop feeling betrayed by my best friend?  Stop wishing that he would do the right thing?  Probably never.

For the time being, I feel like I’ve gone back into the shell which I had been emerging from, afraid to share too much, afraid that I’ll make new friends and love them only to find that they’re abusive as well, afraid about every move I make because maybe they’ll think I’m horrible for being so quiet, or they’ll accuse me of stalking or being annoying or some other horrible thing.  I didn’t use to be so scared of these things.

And I’m also afraid every week of seeing Richard and/or his wife at church, because they do show up on occasion, leaving me nervous, shaken and afraid of what rumors they might try to spread, or of them wanting to make some sort of confrontation. 

Church used to be my refuge, but because they are so close to it, I fear they will show up in my life again some time in the future in some way.  I stay away from their church, and wish they would stay away from mine.

Every day, I’m haunted by the memory of how they bullied me, how a trusted and beloved friend betrayed me, the abuses that I witnessed.

[This blog post eventually turned into this, the version which my abusers saw when they discovered my blog.  Because of the length of the new version, and because my 2010/2011 blog archives now contain the full story, I moved it to a page instead of a post.]

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