Category: fleas from narcissist

Catching FLEAS from Narcissists and Abusers

I have caught my own FLEAS while dealing with Tracy.

Sometimes, we who have been targeted by the abuses of a narcissist, wonder if we, too, are now narcissists.  It can be catching, especially if we are raised by narcs.

But the recovery community uses the term “fleas” to describe our own harmful behaviors, picked up from the narcs, but which do not mean we ourselves are narcs.  The trick is to figure out whether you are a narc yourself, or just have “fleas” which you can kill off with a good flea bath.

As posted in FLEAS – Bad Behavior Patterns and Habits Picked Up from Living or Dealing with a Narcissist by Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers:

Now, you may not have NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Some children of Narcissists do, and some don’t. Let’s say you don’t, but you were raised by someone who did/does. Therefore you have some issues that can take the shape of NPD – like a shadow or a snow angel, or even an echo.

You’ll have some issues in the same sorts of areas that Narcissism occupies, because you picked up these fleas FROM a Narcissist.

…..But you don’t have NPD.

What you have is the shadow – “maladaptive behaviors”, as psychologists call them, the unhelpful patterns you have been taught, and which you have had to resort all your life.

And they are glued in, most often, by the shame you have been made to carry.

What you have is nicknamed “FLEAS.” They’re the bad behavior patterns and habits we picked up from living with a nutcase who had total and unhealthy control over us. They are the pain and guilt and crazy patterns we had to take on as children in order to just survive. And they’re completely un-learnable.  (Meaning, you can un-learn them!)

One of the most common issues that newbies demonstrate is a tremendous fear that they themselves have NPD.

It’s a perfectly understandable fear. All human beings do Narcissistic things, and when DoNM’s who don’t have NPD recognize and acknowledge their own self-centered behaviors, they sometimes worry that they have NPD.

They feel guilty about possibly having hurt someone’s feelings, been self-centered, etc., and they panic. It can really be upsetting, even terrifying. And they beat themselves up mercilessly for it – because that’s what they’ve been taught to do.

You’ll notice that I said, “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers who don’t have NPD”…

In order for someone to recognize, acknowledge and feel guilty about their own Narcissistic behaviors, they first have to have a level of empathy and sense of emotional responsibility that Narcissists, by definition, do not possess.

On the DoNM forum, the usual response to such a person is, ‘If you’re that worried about the impact of your behavior on others, and you’re willing to publicly share your fear of being NPD, trust us — you don’t have NPD… you just have FLEAS.’”

Violet writes in Am I a Narcissist, Too?  All About Fleas:

We can pick up fleas anywhere. I have seen things on FaceBook, people saying really hurtful, mean things about LGBT people, about people of colour, about the poor and disadvantaged, about women, and they are absolutely shameless about it.

Some of these people are narcissists, but others have picked up fleas from narcissistic politicians, pastors, or other authority figures they either revere or fear. Taken out of that environment and shown how their words and attitudes actually hurt other living, breathing human beings, some of these people will feel shame for what they said and the hurt they caused.

Others will not, and they will rationalize and justify what they said, even blame their victims for their hurt (I have actually seen someone say that feeling hurt by the words of a bully is a choice, that you can choose not to be hurt and therefore what the bullies say and do is OK!) : these people are most likely narcissists.

I’ve seen versions of this as well.  For example, statements that we choose to be offended by others; that we can simply stop being offended.  Or, “I’m not responsible for your emotions.”

There are different ways people mean this, however.  The first was said in the context of, Yes, what they said is offensive, but you can choose your own reactions–thereby not giving the offender power over you.

The second, I’ve seen used as an excuse to do whatever you want, because it’s the other person’s fault if they’re offended.  It was said by Richard to me, after I told him he was doing some things that hurt me.  I forget what they were, just that it was close to the time we broke off the friendship, and that he basically took the responsibility for my being hurt off his shoulders, putting it on mine.  ???!!!

I’ve seen it in other places as well, the excuse that if we hurt somebody, it’s their fault for being hurt.  That’s very narcissistic, and goes against everything my husband and I were taught growing up.  It’s yet another sign that I’ve pegged Richard correctly as a narcissist.

If you’ve hurt and offended someone, the very least you can do is apologize for hurting them, even if you don’t feel your action was wrong in and of itself.  You can listen to how you can avoid hurting that person again.

Sure there are times when that person was offended by an innocent action which should not be offensive (ie, offended by a gay man kissing his partner in public, or offended by an introvert who means well but is quiet, or offended by a woman breastfeeding her baby at the mall).

But oftentimes, the offensive act could simply be avoided next time.

(Also see this post.)

Tracy, too, as I saw time and again, would justify whatever she did, even though it hurt others.  She hurt Todd, so she justified it as his fault.  She hurt me, so to this day she justifies her actions as “nothing wrong” and talks like my being hurt is somehow “childish.”

Even Richard told me back in February 2008, Good luck getting an apology out of her, because she rarely apologizes to anyone, thinking whatever she does is justified.  I don’t have the e-mail in front of me and don’t recall if I kept it, but I still remember it.

(I remember thinking when I got it, “I don’t want to deal with that woman anymore!”  This was the first time I seriously thought about breaking off the friendship.)

She used Richard’s past abuses of the children to justify her own abuses of the children (I have an e-mail proving this).  Which means she’s like this to everybody: me, Todd, even Richard.  And this is one of the signs of a narcissist, according to the above.

There is more good stuff in that blog post, explaining how we can tell if we’re narcissists or have just picked up some “fleas”–and how to eradicate those fleas.

From the website Out of the Fog (Fear, Obligation, Guilt):

Fleas – When a non-personality-disordered individual (Non-PD) begins imitating or emulating some of the disordered behavior of a loved one or family member with a personality disorder this is sometimes referred to as “getting fleas”….

Sometimes, when a person has been exposed to an abusive situation for a sustained period, they will look for ways to escape – and sometimes they will experiment or resort to behaviors which are not characteristic but serve as a mechanism to demonstrate their anger.

These behaviors are often destructive and counter-productive and rarely get the abuse victim what they want. These behaviors usually result in regret, shame and apologies from the abuse victim towards their perpetrator. Some perpetrators may seize on such incidents as justification for their own abusive behavior or as a diversion from it….

However, most Non-PD’s are more accustomed to “keeping the peace” than being aggressors and most of us are not comfortable or accomplished in winning arguments or fights.

We will often back down or feel remorse after lashing out. We may begin to compare our behavior to that of the person with the personality disorder and wonder if we are the ones who have “the” problem.

It is common for Non-PD’s to begin to question if they are the one who suffers from a personality disorder. It is also common for Non-PD’s to greatly fear retribution after an angry outburst and engage in a manipulative campaign, similar to hoovering to try to deflect consequences or payback.

That link also gives ways to avoid catching “fleas.”

When looking back over and writing about the situation with Richard and Tracy, I discovered my own “fleas” caught from dealing with Tracy’s abuses and Richard’s abusive enabling of her abuses–or, as a mutual friend once put it, coddling her BS, just as Richard complained people did for Tracy’s mentally ill mother.

I was angry with her abuses and bullying, and trying to fight and resist them.  Tracy would then pounce on these fleas or other mistakes and bring them up, whether to Richard and/or to me, again and again and again, as proof of my “bad” character.

I grew up with a narcissistic brother, but the rest of my family (except for an aunt by marriage) is not narcissistic.  I was bullied as a child, but this is common for anyone who is in any way different from the “norm,” and I was an imaginative, socially awkward child who struggled to fit in, who did not understand why everyone called me “weird.”

But ever since I left my childhood bullies behind and entered adulthood, moved away from my brother, and found a husband who is not a narcissist, who is willing to face his own flaws and improve on them–I was not used to being so relentlessly bullied by anyone.

I thought most adults were far too mature to do this, that most childhood bullies and “mean girls” grew up eventually.  (In fact, this belief allowed me to forgive my childhood bullies.)

The things Tracy said to and about me, cuts on my character, snarks at anything I did or said, cutting on the most innocuous of things (like my husband being the cook), even outright lies (like that I did not serve vegetables or that I manipulated my husband or that I never tried to befriend her or that I was never allowed all the privileges of Richard’s other friends), startled and appalled me: a definite smear campaign.

Even worse was that I occasionally did do things were wrong, “fleas” which I picked up in desperation to try to somehow deal with and fend off her many attacks.  And when I did, she grabbed onto them and would not let them go–the proverbial dog with a bone.

I’d apologize, and/or never do those things again, thinking that was enough–but they would be brought up again and again anyway, as if I did them continuously and never stopped.

There was a serious power imbalance, power struggle.  Friendships are not supposed to be one person in charge, making all the rules, which the other has to obey.  They’re supposed to be give and take.  And I was sick of trying and trying only to get more bullying and abuse all the time.

She also complained about things I did which were not wrong, such as when I told my husband in what I thought was a private conversation, how she was abusing and bullying me, Richard and the children.  I could stand up in righteous indignation and know that she was being unjust.

But when I did do something wrong, it became something she could use against me in perpetuity.  She did the same thing to Richard, from things he has told me.

There’s nothing you can do to make up for these things.  There’s no way you can get a narc to back off from your faults.  When you commit the mistake, she goes into orgasmic glee as she smears you on Facebook and says what a wonderful day she’s having.  When you apologize, she uses this chance to beat you over the head about what a worm you are for having done it.

Meanwhile, the many abuses she has committed against you and others are forgotten, never apologized for because you “deserved” them, and you better “grow up” and accept these abuses as your due because you’re so horrible, so it does you no good to point them out to her.  All you can do is escape and lick your wounds till they heal–far away from the narc.

For an example of how completely a narcissist can justify, excuse and forget her own many abuses, just see what Tracy wrote to me here.

If you can look with regret on your own mistakes and sins without justifying them, maybe understand why you did them but without excusing yourself, then no, you are no narcissist: You have just caught fleas.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t

This video, “NPD and BPD” by Delusion Dispeller, on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline) makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline.  DD shows that the narcissist will just let you go, while the borderline will try to hold onto you.

She even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar.  She says you never know what will offend them because it will one minute, but not the next.

The danger of researching personality disorders, of course, is not just falsely labeling your friends and enemies (so I only say this after probably dozens of hours of research and reflection), but beginning to think you yourself identify with this or the other one.

But then, if I were these things, I don’t think Jeff would have stuck with me for so long, telling everyone he can what a great wife I am.  Things were rocky for us in the beginning because of the baggage left over from my exes (at least one of which also fits with this), but that has long since passed as Jeff and my desire for me to be a good person, worked together to eradicate the baggage.

I do recall things in my past that are very embarrassing, and cringe that I ever did them; maybe everybody has done such things, and the cringing is a sign that they are NOT actually crazy.  While if they didn’t cringe at all, maybe they really are crazy.

Perfectly normal people do have various traits that show up in the lists of abusive or personality disordered traits, because we are human, not perfect; what makes a person fit the criteria of an abuser is the number of traits, all working together as a whole.

Also, the things I did, were usually because I didn’t know any better.  I didn’t know intuitively that they were bad ideas, a common problem with NLDers, who often either smother or neglect friendships or relationships because they don’t know intuitively how to proceed, don’t pick up on signs of what their friend or SO wants without being directly told, or if they do pick them up, don’t understand them.

I had no idea that the things I did would receive the reactions and consequences they did.  I never did them again.

While if it were a personality disorder, they would stay with me, and probably be done deliberately in order to gain control and dominance over others.

The people who know me best tend to say glowing things about me, though they do have criticisms from time to time.  But the thoughts still keep creeping in from time to time–maybe Tracy was right.

On the one hand I could be alarmed at this, and see it as evidence that she was crazy-making me, which is indeed something abusers do to take the focus off their own dysfunctions and accuse you.

But on the other hand, I can also embrace it as evidence that I’m not crazy, because if I were BPD or narcissistic or the like, I wouldn’t even consider the possibility that I might have done some things wrong.

Rather, there are things I look back on in this whole experience with Richard and Tracy that sometimes make me go inside myself and shiver inwardly in shame, while those around me probably think I’m just quietly watching a movie with them.

Friends and Jeff have at times scolded me for even considering anything Tracy said, telling me (friends) to consider the source, or (Jeff) that I did nothing wrong.  This is reassuring, but I have trouble releasing the occasional feelings of guilt or shame that let me know I am not a monster myself.

It should also be noted, that a person involved with a Borderline for even a limited time, will be prone to adopting psychotic (BPD) symptomology, due to proximal exposure. That’s why we call their behaviors, “crazy-making.” —The Borderline/Narcissist Couple

This explains some of the things I’ve done in dealing with the BPDs or narcissists or abusers who have come and gone in my own life, including Richard and Tracy.

For example, the narcissist abuser Phil who kept trying to tear me down and telling me it was all my fault, that I always had to get my way–while his way involved painful or disgusting sex positions that I didn’t want to do.

Or Peter, who may very well have been BPD because of his “chameleon-like” way of making a girl think he was her perfect man, before his true colors came out later and he treated her like crap for being upset at getting dumped.

Not only did he do this with me, but a few years later I was told–by a person who had no clue I had once dated Peter–that he was doing this very thing again and again to girls on a local BBS.

As for some of the crazy things I’ve done myself while dealing with these people, they’re things I felt driven to do out of desperation.  Later on, I usually felt ashamed of it and wondered how I could ever have done it, never doing it again.

I know from research that normal, healthy people don’t stay normal and healthy for long in dysfunctional marriages, or family relationships, so if I acted crazy myself a few times during dysfunctional relationships or friendships, it’s understandable even if not excusable–but doesn’t mean I will permanently retain the taint of their dysfunction.

I did a lot of research into abuse to see if I had been abused, validate my experiences, reassure myself that I did not deserve it, and hopefully learn to heal.  When I first came across Sam Vaknin’s site on narcissism, it was through his articles on abuse.

I had already used them when writing about my abusive ex Phil, and when researching abuse between 2008 and 2010.  (I did that because of Tracy’s behavior, and so I could make my own page on abuse.)

On one page was a list of narcissistic traits of abusers which sounded just like Tracy, so the lightbulb went on.  I also came across sites which pointed to borderline personality disorder in many abusive women.

But as I read Sam Vaknin’s articles on narcissism, an uncomfortable little voice kept saying: Oh my gosh, that’s Richard, too!

This cemented the idea that not only did I not deserve what happened, but I was targeted by two narcissists, one with BPD that made her abuse obvious, but one charming narc who makes you believe he cares–more dangerous because it is subtle.

Also, this sounds very much like Richard and Tracy.  Now, when it goes into the childhoods of NPDs (narcissists) and BPDs (borderline personality disordered people), I know Tracy came from a very dysfunctional family, while Richard said glowing things about his parents–even excusing it when he hinted at his dad abusing him in some way.

As for narcissism, the know-it-all traits under the subheading “What’s Love Got to do with It” sound very familiar, coming across as an absolute authority, one-upping, mansplaining, telling you what you’re thinking or feeling, and yes, it is very infuriating.

Then he’d wonder why I was getting upset over something he said.  “Where did that come from?  I was only….[etc. etc.]”

I can imagine the same thing happening with Tracy.  So no, I don’t believe the abuse was all one-sided in this relationship, and as much as I don’t want to see Richard as a narcissist, he fits far too well.

Not only from what I’ve seen, but from what Jeff has observed, from his Forum enemies calling him “arrogant” and him agreeing, and from things he has told me about his past–not just boasts, but also confessions of his own bad behaviors, whether with women or with people in general.

Not only did he overwhelm people with charisma, but he also kept overwhelming me with TMI that made me want to take an ice pick to get it out of my brain.

Then in June 2010, made some strange comment about needing to set some boundaries about his past relationships, even though he’d been the one volunteering all sorts of information to me–even stuff I really didn’t want to know.

But thanks to this, I can identify from the above link that he has a tendency of getting enmeshed with BPDs.

Also note that BPDs who have issues with their mothers (such as Tracy) can hate all other women.  This sounds very familiar, as well.  Also, people would note that Tracy was never satisfied, a trait which comes up again and again in articles on abusers and BPDs.

I believe Richard is a narcissist who used me for narcissistic supply, maybe unintentionally or without realizing it, but still did it.  He had told me enough about his past which seemed so different from the way he was now, that it was amazing he was talking about the same person.

It was an arrogant, abusive person who was a dog to women and violent to men, who would judge people based on their smarts.  I have to wonder now if that old Richard was really gone, or just hidden.

Based on how he would brag about his past and all the women who would chase him then and now, and how his exes would sit and talk to each other about how evil he was, and his outrageous flirting that was carried on with his various female friends (and male), even via text message while he proposed to his wife–I do believe he is a casanova figure.

He wants to be desired, wants to be the ladykiller even though he’s married and not allowed to touch any of them.  He wants to be the casanova even though he’s long since let himself go quite a bit and no longer looks anything like he did back in his youth.

So he toyed with me, played with my head, when he was separated from his wife for so long and they were having problems.  He told me beforehand that modern American society is far too prudish and reserved.  We should be freer!

(Months later, he even told me one day that I was prudish for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him, that they had another friend who just wore her nightclothes freely around both of them, no robe.)

Then one evening he took a few liberties with me, but holding back just enough that he could feign innocence when I called him on it later.  I won’t rehash that story; it’s already here, here and here.  From here on out I will just assume my reader has read those sections, so I don’t have to repeat what happened.

I’m not sure what exactly to make of it–I’ve seen him get flirty with everybody he knows, and ask for “huggles”–but the way he threw me to the wolf (Tracy) over it, suggests to me that his motives were not pure.

I told him not to put his head in my lap anymore, that if Tracy had trouble with just using each other’s shoulders as pillows then she’d really have a problem with that, and it’s a very questionable thing to do anyway.  (He only did it once.)  Though I really felt the “shoulder thing” was much ado about nothing.

Some part of me knew that he was only telling me part of the truth.  It was the best kind of lie: the one that is mostly true.  But I trusted him, became a good little acolyte, taking in my mentor’s instruction and making it my own belief.

It is indeed true that many people are far freer with flirting and nonsexual touch than the average American.  It is indeed true that these things can be completely platonic.  Everything he did could indeed be completely platonic, and some of my other friends do these things.

But there were the little things here and there, things he said or did, that tell me he didn’t mean them completely platonically at the time.  That he was going a little too far.  

He should’ve told me this honestly when I first confronted him with what he was doing, and I would’ve known what we needed to do: pull back, stop doing these things, not spend so much time together.  

But he didn’t, I trusted him to tell me the truth, I set aside the little suspicions, I trusted him that everything he did was platonic and innocent–and he let me take the fall for him.

While re-reading The Italian by Ann Radcliffe, a Gothic novel I first read many years ago while in college, I was also writing this account, and was struck by the similarities in one scene:

The black monk, Schedoni, is about to stab the heroine, Ellena, when he sees a miniature around her neck of himself as a young man.  She wakes up, and he soon tells her he is her father.

He doesn’t tell her why he was there, and after he leaves, she begins to wonder what he was doing in her room (where she was imprisoned) at midnight, anyway?

Then she finds the dagger lying on the floor.  The truth is right there staring her in the face, but she doesn’t want to believe that her own father would kill her, even though he didn’t know who she was at the time and was her captor.

Instead, she decides to believe that it was his henchman who tried to kill her, and that Schedoni rescued her.  She has no reason to believe this, but she wants to, and Schedoni lets her.  The mind can believe what it wants to even with much evidence to the contrary.

From his actions the day of the “incident,” from the things he said to Jeff, from the way he just threw me under the bus instead of explaining to Tracy what the e-mail was really all about, from the way that he justified her actions and words, it was as if he were now saying to me,

“You piece of f**king trash, how dare you remember the things I did to you, how dare you hold the memories close to your heart?  I wish I had never given you these hugs!  How dare you ever speak of these things I did as if I had ever actually done them?  I can do them, but you can’t speak of them!  I am a liar and will treat you like a liar and a manstealing whore for even bringing them up!”

…This despite the fact that we had discussed these hugs via online chat in the past, and back then he acted as if we had done nothing wrong, as if I had done nothing wrong by mentioning them, that he wanted to do the things again, that he was just avoiding them because of the way Tracy had been acting at the time, that in the future it would be okay with her.

And I had no reason to think that these hugs had ever been forbidden, but that he was just holding back for a while.

His actions the day of the “incident” proved him guilty, when if he had explained to Tracy the truth, he would have exonerated both himself and me….Unless, of course, what he told me was not the truth.

I gave him the opportunity to tell me the truth.  Why didn’t he tell me the truth?  Why didn’t he admit he’d gone too far and he shouldn’t have done those things and they needed to stop?

Why did he lead me to believe that they were perfectly normal things for close platonic friends to do, that they were done platonically, and didn’t need to stop?

Probably because he didn’t want to stop.  Probably because it fed his ego when he was at a very low point in his life.

I wish he would have been honest with me; it all would have stopped, I never would’ve brought it up again, and all this never would’ve happened.  My naïvete and gullibility stares me in the face and shames me.

I know enough about his past with women–a self-described “dog”–to think these things I write are probably true.  He says he respects women now, but I have plenty of reason to believe that the dog is still inside him, just taking a nap, waking up every now and then.

I wanted a friend who could be playful but without being dangerous.  He turned dangerous.  He became like Shawn from college, who lured and manipulated me into giving him what he wanted, then treated me like a cheap whore for it.

He became like Phil, my ex-fiance/husband, who wove a web of lies which I only believed because of NVLD, and wore me down until I did things with him that (in Christian morality) were wrong, but which he told me were perfectly fine and not wrong at all.

Because of the NVLD, I was far too trusting, thinking a pious Christian would never do such things.  I thought as a married woman I was beyond being so taken in.

But then another seemingly pious Christian man came along and started breaking down my reserves just as Shawn did, convincing me–just as Shawn did–that we were doing nothing wrong, then letting me drown in the fallout when (in Richard’s case) the wife found out.

Leaving me baffled as to what just happened because Richard had convinced me we were doing nothing adulterous or even out of the ordinary for close platonic friends.

I thought his days of going to Bible college while womanizing and being a violent “gumba” were over, that his days of faking piety and speaking in tongues for the congregation (as a Pentecostal preacher in his early 20s) were over, covered by the blood of Jesus.

When I asked how he was able to get over/forgive his ex–who was (from what I heard) a psychotic nympho who cheated on him all the time–he said he abused her too, as punishment; I thought this sort of behavior was all in his past.  Now I wonder if, when we watched Elmer Gantry together, it gave him ideas.

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

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Seeing abuser again: Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later

[Edited since first written]  It’s been a few years, but from what I can recall, after the sudden appearance on August 1, 2010, Richard and Tracy came to my church once more.  Maybe twice, but this is the time I remember:

I came to my church’s Christmas service in 2010, and sat in my usual spot.  I heard a voice like Tracy’s, saying the hymn on the handout was all in Greek.  But I didn’t turn to look, and just assumed it was somebody else.

I wasn’t able to partake in the Eucharist because I was not aware one was offered during the Christmas service, being a new convert.  So I had not properly fasted from all food and drink, which you have to do for many hours.

As I stood waiting for the communion line to go through, I happened to look to see who passed me, as I often do absent-mindedly.  My usual spot is right next to the aisle.

There, right next to me, was Richard and Tracy!  In disgust, I drew myself up and turned away.  Just who I did NOT want to see while celebrating the birth of Christ.

The anger and bitterness filled me, especially as I saw Tracy, that unrepentant abuser, that bully, take the Eucharist without ever having lifted a finger to apologize for her disgraceful, unChristian actions against me.  She was the worst hypocrite I had ever known.

I felt, basically, the same way so many other abuse victims feel when they see their abusers again, especially their abusers pretending to be good Christians.

Fortunately, they all cleared out of there so quickly after the service that they were already gone when I left my pew.  So I did not have to encounter them yet again.

Why did they do this?  Why did they keep coming to my church without even trying to make peace?  How could they violate my right to be left alone by them?

Heck, Tracy forbade Richard and me from even talking to each other unless I allowed her to scream all my “offenses” at me, so why would she take him anywhere near me?

How could she tell me I’m so horrible, treat me like a whore, treat me like a stalker because I made the horrible “offense” of sticking up for myself against her rages, then come to my church?

How could they so transgress every rule for dealing with your fellow Christian, yet still take the Eucharist as if they were in good standing?  You’re not supposed to do that without trying to make peace, because the Bible actually warns that you’ll bring condemnation on yourself for partaking in “an unworthy manner.”

They had listened to the still, small voice of Satan, and tainted the Eucharist with their actions, so it’s a good thing I did not share it with them.  (Whether you believe Satan is a person or the evil within humans, it still applies.)

[The following was written, some of it taken from e-mails to my mom, between June 19 and 30, 2011.]

I doubt that Tracy would have acted the way she did if she thought I was ugly or plain.  This thought does make it easier to start forgiving her, as it makes her seem less like a monster and more like a deeply flawed and scared human being.

But extreme jealousy is still wrong, and recovering from abuse is still a long and hard road of anger, hurt and pain.

It also makes our decision to break off the friendship seem ever wiser.  We were caught up in a bad situation, with two people in a tumultuous marriage.  Being involved with them just drew us into their own quagmire, and we couldn’t help them at all.

I never had a problem with Jeff being friends with beautiful women, even though I know people will look no matter how happily they’re married.

You just have to accept that your husband will look, and realize that getting upset and jealous will annoy him and make him feel like he might as well do the thing if he’s being punished for it anyway.  I feel secure in our marriage and trust him implicitly.

It must be horrible and exhausting to feel like you have to keep vigilant with your husband to make sure he never strays, but I have far too many and far better things to do with my time.

I hope that one day Tracy learns how to trust Richard–before he finally loses his resolve and she pushes him into the arms of another woman.  Or at the very least, out the door.

Jeff saw Richard and Tracy at the store on June 12, 2011, almost a year after the Incident.  He knew this would happen eventually, since they and Jeff go there a lot.

They said nothing to each other, but Jeff did make sure the kids knew this wasn’t about them: He saw the three younger children in the store’s daycare, hugged them and talked with them, and let our son play with them.

Then he went off to find the items we needed, passed the adults and the oldest child (who quietly and secretly waved at Jeff), and nobody said a word to each other.

Jeff did not want to speak to these people, gave them the cold shoulder on purpose.

The oldest child was sitting with Richard while Tracy went off and got some stuff.  [This became a lot more shocking after I learned that Richard had been charged with choking this same child.  But that’s for later.]

But sure enough, Richard was getting henpecked again, for who knows what reason.  Jeff hated the sound of Tracy’s criticizing voice: “Bark bark bark bark RICHARD!”  Jeff wondered how Richard can stand that.

Exactly one week later, I ran into them at my church’s Greekfest.  Almost literally.

I didn’t go to their church’s Greekfest and hoped they wouldn’t go to mine, but there they were.  I was passing through the crowd to get to work in the kitchen, at a distance behind my son and Jeff because I had to throw away our lunch trash.

Because of the crowd, I didn’t see Richard and Tracy and the kids until I was right upon them.  And suddenly, there was Richard, just inches from me. 

Though I couldn’t look in his eyes, he appeared to have seen me.  I had heard that you should coldly nod at your enemies in passing, but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that.  All I could do was pass by without saying a word.

By the way, I had only just checked with Social Services to make sure they got my letter about Richard and Tracy’s child abuse.  They reassured me the letter had been received.  So that was on my mind as well.

There was no shrinking away as if I were ashamed–no, I kept my head up, and may have changed my expression to one of disgust, though I’m not sure now.

There, Richard, that is what snubbing is.  It’s not about being quiet around Tracy.  A real snub is this.  And it has been done to you because of what you’ve done to me.

[Note written 5/3/12: This was after the choking incident and after Richard was formally charged and posted bail, but before I heard about it.]

Is it necessary to view the narcissist as evil in order to go no contact? Is just seeing the situation as being a case of incompatibility enough rationale to make an escape?

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog….

If someone doesn’t call the narcissist’s so-called good what it really is…evil…then there is likely little hope of helping the victim out of their victimhood.

They will continue on believing that the evil is centered in themselves, that they are the one who is crazy, that they are the problem. You know, all the lies the narcissist has taught them to believe in order that the narcissist can escape accountability….

If someone was able to just cite “incompatibility” as a rationale for leaving the situation do you think they’d need to come to my blog for insight? People who come here are suffering. There is a reason for their suffering and I’m not afraid to name that reason. —Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Life Line?

I hesitate to call Richard “evil” or even a full-blown narcissist.  Perhaps the evil he’s done has been because of Stockholm Syndrome, not narcissism.  Maybe he has narcissistic tendencies but not full-blown NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

But Tracy is the reason I began Googling to find out what the heck was going on here, first in 2008 to research abusers and jealousy because of her treatment of Richard, then in 2010 and 2011, to find out how anyone can be so cruel to the same person who had put herself to great financial and personal trouble to help Tracy find a better life.

I do not hesitate to consider Tracy “evil,” a malignant narcissist, maybe even a psychopath.  Who portrayed me as the evil one and herself as the offended, virtuous one.  While Richard was the lackey doing the bidding of the narcissist, and also doing sneaky things of his own.

If this had been of the more common variety of disagreements between friends, even breakups between friends, I would have had no need to Google it, as noted in the above quote from “Narcissists Suck,” and I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to write such a long memoir about it.

Most of the time, it really is a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion, nothing “evil” that can’t be resolved either by not being close friends anymore, or by dropping the subject and moving on.

But Tracy has a history of blowups and ended friendships, of “wars” with people.

If I saw her as a basically good person with whom I had a difference of opinion, this could’ve been resolved, especially with the amount of guilt and reflection I’ve dealt with over the past year [July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011].

I’m willing to deal with my own issues, and tried very hard to do so all through this relationship.  My apologies were sincere, and I tried to mend what I could.

But it has to go both ways, and Jeff and I both saw nothing but more pain and fighting in our future if we didn’t write her off and go no-contact.

Well I was there and I saw what you did, 
I saw it with my own two eyes 
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been 
It’s all been a pack of lies 

–Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”

You wear a Sunday suit and tie
Everybody thinks you’re such a guy

You’ve got the glow, a shining face
Respectable man with holy taste
Got that family pew reserved
When the hymns are sung your voice is heard

But late one night you got your plan
You’d be religious on demand

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, it’s a mask you wear to hide
Got a notion God’s a potion and it works most every time

I really think you do believe
Yet you use religion to deceive

–Whiteheart, “Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian”

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

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs

This is jumping the gun a bit, but here’s an e-mail I wrote Jeff on July 22, 2010, after I finally read the threatening e-mails for myself:

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

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

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

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

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

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.”  Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.  I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her.  And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

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

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

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

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times.

I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.  Me going to the hospital.

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

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

But back to the evening on June 27th, 2010.  All this came while I was reading the last few chapters of Gone With the Wind, which are dark, surreal and depressing.  As I wrote in my review for Mysteries of Udolpho,

It amazes me how, lately, the books I’m reading keep matching my mood.  I read the last chapters of “Gone With the Wind” on the night of a terrible e-mail argument with my former best friend.  I apologized and we tried to patch things up, but it left a pall over the evening, and the next few days as well.

(Incidentally, in an attempt to finally fix things and restore our friendship to the kind and sweet way it used to be, several days later I sent an e-mail–which, unfortunately, got taken wildly out of context and misunderstood, and left me vilified and the friendship in shambles, much like Shirley Sherrod without the later apologies [from Obama].)

At the same time, in between e-mails that evening, I was reading about Scarlett’s devastating last night before Rhett left her for good.

First Melanie dies, just as Scarlett realizes she loves her and Melanie has been her strength.  Then she finds out that Ashley was only infatuated with her, that his true love was for Melanie.  Then she realizes that her own true love is Rhett, and she’s been terrible to him.

She goes out into the night, which is foggy and appears supernaturally terrifying.  Her long walk finally leads her to her safe place, Rhett–only Rhett is fed up and leaving her.

I didn’t know yet about the threatening e-mail Richard sent Jeff.  I didn’t want to lose my BFF, my Frodo.

It seemed the only way I could get anywhere with Richard was to apologize–even though that meant my complaints were tossed aside as if I had no right to make them, while Richard made petulant little remarks to Jeff that we had resolved things, but Jeff already knows.

I was getting the distinct impression, from this and other times, that I was not supposed to confide in Jeff, my own husband, about my problems with them.

Jeff then discussed the e-mails with me, though I did not see them myself for nearly a month.  To calm him down, he sent Richard an apology.  On the morning of the 28th, Jeff wrote to me,

( He tells me that an apology wasn’t necessary.  He says he wants to hit me in the head with a brick, but I don’t have to apologizeI trust when he talks about “Drama”, he’s talking about *himself*. )

It was unbelievable.  It also shows another way that NLDers need to be careful in choosing friends, because if your friend arrogantly dismisses your NLD without knowledge, tells your husband that you just need to push yourself harder, warns you not to mention the NLD to his wife because it could be dangerous, and dismisses your explanation of what you need to help you socially, then this “friend” is no good for you.

Especially if he’s married to a very abusive person who could turn around and rip you a new one because of these social problems which you could not help being born with, which she took personally.

Who could demean, humiliate and belittle you with filthy language and unChristian words for having social problems with her that you could not help.

Leaving you with a huge, gaping wound emotionally, lasting for years because people with Asperger’s or NLD tend to ruminate over things long after other people have moved on.

It was always me who went crawling back.  It was always me who was contrite.

There was no winning with H–not that I was the one making it a competition…far from it.  Rarely did she acknowledge that I had wisdom or insight.

Occasionally we would spar when I began to push back on her superior attitude.  More and more often, there were periods of estrangement, yet there was always that “makeup session” followed by a brief “honeymoon period.”

Yes, those “makeup sessions,” where everything was glossed over or more often simply ignored altogether, never to be discussed!

Those “honeymoon periods,” during which our respective motives for being in the friendship were quite dissimilar–even though a trained therapist would probably conclude that at the time, I was an Invert Narcissist and Codependent–therefore possessing some of the same characteristics as H.

Recently I came across a comment on a message board:  “Sometimes I believe a Narcissist can almost cause these other defects in people who fall for them.”  How true that is!  How insidious it is.  It’s called FLEAS.

Neither of us understood the extent of our dysfunctional relationship, nor did we want to.  We had many things in common.  We had a history together that was unique.

We had many long and deep discussions about spirituality, various esoteric methods, and the history and intricacies of our spiritual community. We had similar music tastes.  We had children the same age. 

We were both married to men who eschewed the spiritual life.  We needed each other (she would probably deny that).  Still, there was an ever-present undercurrent of tension and conflict. —Joyful Alive Woman, “My former [platonic] girlfriend, the cunning abusive narcissist”

But after the apology, it seemed that we were starting to make headway.  I thought he wanted to take a break from me for a day or two, and didn’t say much to him, though I missed him terribly.

Then I pinged him, wondering if we were still “estranged.”

He was surprised and said that was over with already.  We had a conversation that demonstrated that we were still good friends and that he wasn’t angry with me anymore.

He sent me a link to a video, since we often shared music videos with each other from the genres we both liked.  I sent him a heart and a rose on Facebook as a demonstration of goodwill:

After thumbing through my Language of Flowers book and reading that white roses stand for innocence and purity and in no way mean romance or passion, I sent him a white rose for peace.

To show restoration of goodwill, I sent a simple friendship heart, one of those Facebook hearts that people were constantly sending to their friends and family at that time.

(By the way, I have never sent these flowers or hearts to anyone since, when I used to send them all the time to my friends and family, because they were now associated in my mind with Richard.)

I don’t know if he saw the white peace flower, but he posted the heart on his wall saying, “From me Nyssa [sic].”

Then the following morning, July 1, 2010, I woke up happy that our friendship issues were finally resolved, happy for the first time in weeks.

When he lived with us and the day he moved out, he gave me some sweet bearhugs which I took as being meant strictly in friendship, and in gratitude for what I had done to help out his family in their distress.

Therefore, there was no harm either in mentioning them, or in doing them again, including in front of others, including Tracy. 

Especially since a year earlier, Richard wrote to me, “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.” 

I thought Jeff or the neighbors had seen these hugs, as well, and I had felt no qualms about this, because the hugs were completely innocent.

I always wondered why Richard hadn’t hugged me that way since.  Once, in maybe late winter or early spring 2008, I asked him online about them, and he said he’d been holding off because of how jealous Tracy had been acting.

But that was long since in the past, we had been sharing quick hugs in front of Tracy for the past two years, and in that e-mail a year earlier, he said the hugs and “whatnot” are good with her. 

Also, through a signal I had asked for in late 2009, he showed me that Tracy was completely fine with me doing all the things his other friends could do with him. 

In some old posts to friends on a web forum, friends whom I believe he knew in person, he asked them for and they offered “huggles,” showing me that he’s just a “huggy” type of guy.

Yet he still had not hugged me like he did in November 2007 and January 2008, making me feel like our friendship had lost that bond.

I desperately needed reassurance that our friendship was still like it was back in 2007, which I think you can understand after all I’ve described.

His friendship was so special to me because he was my spiritual mentor, my “brother from another mother,” the Frodo/Diana/Ted/Gus I had always wanted.  I was scared of losing his friendship.

Those hugs were like a symbol of our special friendship.  You can see this in the e-mail I wrote him a year earlier, which said,

“Yes, I’ll hug you and such on IRC and you’ll just sit there or scream, when I was hoping for a bearhug back, etc.  You know, signs that despite everything that’s gone on, our friendship is intact.”

So I wrote a Facebook message to him the morning of 7/1/10, reminded him of those specific hugs and said they had meant a lot to me.

I was happy after sending the message, because I knew he would say something like “Awwww, how sweet.  Yes, I remember those hugs” or–like he did to an e-mail I sent him a few months before about how much his friendship meant to me–“You’ve made me cry–like a chick!”

Since he gave me those hugs many times,

and since we had already spoken about them without him acting like there was something wrong with me bringing them up,

and since he had never, ever said they were “verboten” now, and

since he talks like that with his friends all the time,

and since he specifically told me many times that hugs are okay with Tracy,

I expected this to be a perfectly fine topic for an e-mail.

I went on about my day, exercising, doing housework, and the like, expecting the day to be absolutely wonderful, full of caring and friendship.

Then maybe a couple of hours later, I checked Facebook, hoping to see some wonderful little message from Richard.

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

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: