Why can’t I abolish the grief? Everything I know about Richard says he is not worth it. But the good times keep coming back to mind. I keep wishing for a call, a knock on the door, something.
But why? Why from someone who read all about my pain, anguish and anger, and laughed at it? Why from someone who claimed to love me like a sister or cousin, then tore my heart out by betraying me? Why from someone with a violent record who has told me chilling things that made my hair stand on end?
My husband wonders how I can still care about someone who’s done all the things Richard has done to me. I see every evidence that Richard used me and was never truly my friend. Yet I keep remembering things that made me think he was my true friend in the first place….
It must be Stockholm Syndrome.
I suppose it’s because they did even more just recently to hurt me, and he did nothing to stop it. I saw him going along with it.
This is the one I loved like a brother, opened my home to, did anything for, stuck up for, was intensely loyal to, told my secrets to, called my best friend, called my spiritual mentor and guide?
It went against my long-held hopes, which had flared up after his quiet visit to church last October, that one day he would realize what he had done, and come to my husband and me to apologize and make peace.
I suppose it’s because he was my spiritual mentor and guide, the one who showed me the way and was there for me every step of the way through my conversion to Orthodoxy. Not only did this form a special, unusual bond between us, but it has made his betrayal of me–and his criminal conviction–far more devastating.
It took me maybe a year or less to get over two of my ex-boyfriends after devastating and brutal breakups, to accept that a couple of my friends had drifted off (probably because of an argument they had with another friend), to get past the horrible way my boss quit one day.
Well…Maybe I get used to it, anyway. I still miss the person and try to reconnect on occasion….
But this…this is not going away. I still miss my friend, probably always will, still have a huge hole in my heart that nothing and nobody else can fill. Such a friendship as (I thought it) was, does not just spring up overnight to replace it.
I was always a kind, sweet, good, loyal friend to him. His welfare was always first on my mind, I cried when he had problems and tried to help, I cried when he gave me certain bad news one day in November 2007 [which I won’t describe on the Web] and I tried to comfort him, I got angry when I saw him abused. He knows that I do not deserve all of this abuse.
I want to say to him, “Don’t fight against the pricks of conscience, Richard; your salvation is at stake. Don’t defend and make excuses for evil. Don’t do evil yourself. Remember the monks falling from the ladder?
I heard every word of the priest’s sermon the last time you were there. I think he meant to speak directly to us, since we’ve both been bothering him with this issue. Remember what he said? Stop poking each other, I think it was……Well, every time you act nasty and refuse to consider my feelings about anything, you poke me. Every day without repentance and forgiveness is another poke.”
Also, whenever he reads my blog, it’s a poke. It keeps me connected to him. Keeps me wondering what he’ll read next, and why he’s reading. It’s another reason I keep sinking into grief again.
Oddly enough, my son’s favorite cartoon, Phineas and Ferb, reminds me of this. The poseur-evil mad scientist Doofenschmirtz, always fights against Perry the Platypus, his nemesis. Yet at the same time, he expects Perry to show up to fight his schemes, scolds him when he’s late, even looks forward to him showing up. He even has little get-togethers with him on occasion.
And in one episode, Doofenschmirtz declares that his best friend is Perry the Platypus. I suppose seeing my blog stalkers in the stats, is much like this. “You’re late! I expect better from you, Perry.” Oh, look, I have my own nemesis…..It made Doofenschmirtz so proud to have a nemesis.
In reading another abuse blog, I see that the writer has posted a few messages there to his dad, who reads it. So I’m not the only one who posts messages to my abusers. For example,
ONE FINAL APPEAL: [Abuser], your other option is to confess, repent, come clean and seek reconciliation and get help for your many issues and ask for mercy.
True repentance begins with acknowledging the sin and admitting you have a problem. You still may have to suffer some consequences for your sin, I can’t guarantee you won’t, but I’m pretty sure the consequences will be worse if you keep digging in.
[Abuser], stop this nonsense. Come forward and confess and repent. I’ll then help you to make amends, and help you ask for mercy, even though you may have to suffer some consequences, but it will go better for my Mom and your wife if you do the right thing now without this going further.
Call me, you know how to reach me. –Blog now defunct
I can only hope that my own such posts lead to better results than this blogger has found, though like him, I don’t mince words, don’t sacrifice honesty. It is one of my most fervent desires, that one day Richard will prove me wrong, and show himself to be the kind of person I once thought he was, and come to us.
In abuse situations, the abuse victim cannot be forced to be the one to apologize, cannot be expected to make the first move. It is not my place to reconcile with Tracy; it is not my place to make a move for forgiveness with Richard.
Tracy must repent for abusing me, her husband, children and Todd before any relationship between us could ever be possible; my husband will not allow me to make any more apologies to her, and for me to go to her, would be dangerous emotionally and physically.
This is the only way it can possibly be, or else I’d just set myself up for more abuse. Richard must repent for abusing me by proxy, threatening and intimidating my husband, betraying me, and choking his kid; I can’t be the one going to him with more apologies until he has done these things.
Yet I keep finding complaints in articles and blogs of well-meaning spiritual leaders and friends telling abuse victims they should apologize, forgive and seek reconciliation, even though their abuser is not even sorry, thinks he/she did nothing wrong, and is pretending to be the real victim.
That is precisely what makes a victim a perpetual victim, what makes her a doormat. People should back off and recognize that the abuser needs to apologize, repent and seek forgiveness, not the victim.
Over and over on abuse blogs, I find victims telling their abusers exactly what must be done before a reconciliation can happen.
I have come across one or two commenters on those blogs, who claim they were given such terms, met them, and are now restoring a relationship with their estranged loved one. But among the bloggers themselves, I have yet to find a situation like this.
Instead, I find pain, grief, anger, as the bloggers try to deal with the fact that the ones they love, don’t love them enough to do what it takes to restore a relationship with them. Not even their own parents.
All they find are parents who stalk them, refuse to admit wrongdoing, send them messages denying everything. Or parents who just cut them off without another word.
It is sad and wicked to do such a thing to another person, to just ridicule and hurt them further, rather than doing the work to overcome abusive behavior and show love.
I find some bloggers still writing years later, while some others stop writing, leaving their blogs up for others to learn from. I suppose the ones who still write, still feel deep pain, or it would no longer bother them enough to write about it.
That’s what happens when the one who hurts you, is someone you love. As these bloggers keep noting when commenters accuse them of hate, If they hated their abusers, they wouldn’t need blogs to deal with the pain!
I’ve been reading One Mom’s Battle, a blog written by a woman in the process of divorcing her narcissistic husband. First she wrote her story; now she writes about the constant custody battles and visitation issues.
And yes, her ex-husband and his family read her blog, and try to use it against her in court, even post comments on other blogs and articles, accusing her of libel and stalking.
In the post How to Forgive, she writes how she’s trying desperately to forgive her husband, about a sermon series her pastor did on this topic. I’m impressed because the pastor seems to get it, saying, “2. Your heart has to be healed to get to a place of forgiveness.”
He doesn’t repeat the cliche that so many abuse bloggers have exposed as false, that forgiveness precedes healing. As the author, Tina, wrote,
Here is where my main struggle lies. How does my heart heal when the wounds keep coming? Every story I hear from my daughters breaks my heart- over and over. Every week there is a new wound.
How does a wound heal when it is repeatedly injured? You can bandage a wound and you can apply healing ointments but if something keeps striking the wound then it simply can’t heal. It is impossible.
Heather writes in the comments,
We as a society expect people to forgive someone who does not deserve it, has not earned it, does not believe they have done anything to warrant it, and fully intends to continue the behaviors for which society preaches the offended party should forgive.
If the subject was financial security, or good health, we would describe someone else trying to give it to a person in those circumstances toxicly co-dependent.
From your post I’m going to assume you fall somewhere within the Christian continuum of faiths. Even the Bible expects repentance before forgiveness. Not even God gives free passes.
God even states, if you are going to make an offering to Me, but then remember you have offended your brother, leave your offering and go and get right with your brother. (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.)
God even says you cannot be right with Him, while at odds with your family or friend due to *your* behavior and choices. You don’t get to be a monster pretending to be a person, and fully intend to continue in these behaviors, and get a clean slate with the man upstairs….
I’m going to say this again, because it bears repeating: There is a difference between accepting someone for who they are and what they are and are not capable of, and forgiving someone who does not believe they have done anything wrong and fully intends to continue doing things that hurt those around them.
It was also noted that Tina may never completely heal and forgive until after her children grow up and she no longer needs to deal with her ex.
Just the other day, Tina wrote about an e-mail her ex sent her, which accuses her of lying and mental instability, protests Tina calling him “disturbed,” “sick,” narcissistic, etc., accuses her blog of being “fiction” and an “ego trip,” and accuses her of needing to “move on.”
He even twisted facts, which she could document, such as accusing her of crying to Christie Brinkley when that was actually somebody else.
It sounds very much like the e-mail sent to me by Richard and Tracy, as posted in “Now I’m Being Stalked.”
The trouble with the Net is not being sure who’s actually telling the truth. But her blog does not strike me as “fiction,” and many commenters on that post wrote that their exes send them similar e-mails, so don’t let it get to her.
Basically, all that I’ve been going through is extremely common, both in general and in the blogosphere.
It is NOT gossip or slander to tell the truth about how you’ve been bullied and abused.
I tried numerous times over 2007-2010 to deal with these problems directly with Richard and, through him, Tracy (since I was too scared of her to speak directly to her–and since I’ve always felt that husbands should deal with wives themselves, and not the friends of the husband).
Tracy’s repeated response over the years was to bully and verbally abuse, and do absolutely nothing to give me confidence that if I sat down with her, that she would give me a fair hearing and do anything but try to rip me apart emotionally, especially after she had just been cussing me out and sending me all sorts of abusive e-mails.
I also had the example, which I witnessed firsthand, of how she treated Todd when she had a problem with him, and it gave me no reason to expect fairness from her.
The full story of what happened, not a summary, was never read through by anyone until they saw it and read it 6 months ago, then after they read it, I removed it for a time.
But their response was hugely disappointing, a typical abuser’s response, to deny, twist facts, twist your words, threaten you into silence, refuse to repent, refuse to admit wrongdoing, blame it all on the victim.
It’s exactly the same as they did in 2010, only this time with the addition of legal threats, giving me a brand-new hump to get over in the recovery process.
I’ve told Social Services, back in 2011, coincidentally at the same time Richard appeared in court for a child abuse incident I was not even aware of. So I have legitimately tried to address the things I saw going on and the things Richard told me were going on.
Richard has been convicted of that incident, which gives legitimacy to my impressions of other abuses. (I don’t know what became of the SS report, since such information is blocked to the public, but I do know what I witnessed and what Richard told me.)
I’ve been to my priest about the situation between us as well, and I know he spoke to them about it at least once, because I observed the conversation.
I also know, being in the congregation at the time, that my priest, knowing all about this, preached twice, while they were in the congregation [Father’s Day and late August 2012], about men being examples of righteousness to their families, forgiveness, repentance, making peace with others, and “not poking each other.” This was a few months ago.
Yet they have not repented, have not made a move for peace, have not ceased to read my blog. So I am free to treat them as tax collectors, have no fellowship with them, tell my story here.
If they were repentant, if they showed an ounce of consideration for my feelings, there would never have been a need for these blogs. Abusers do this over and over again, refusing to take responsibility for their abuse, blaming the victim for it, and then telling the victim it’s her problem and she needs to get over it.
This blog is my outlet until it’s all out of my system. There is no arbitrary timetable for getting over abuse and bullying.
Life does go on, and blogging only takes up a tiny part of my time: Most of my days are about dealing with the stuff I have to do, deep-cleaning the house each summer, moving furniture, what I’m reading, favorite TV shows, going to church, interacting with friends on Facebook or occasionally visiting them, pondering where to go for Thanksgiving, traveling, learning Greek, reading, working out, bicycling, or whatever.
I have friends at church and a friend who throws a huge bash every year, based on the Highland Games. This year we’re hosting Thanksgiving for Hubby’s brother and his wife and child.
But every once in a while, something brings back a feeling of anger or grief; I blog about it; then I feel better. I also want to help others recognize abuse and get out of it; I also want to hold my abusers accountable. So I blog.
And to be honest, it pretty much was out of my system, when my abusers found the blog 6 months ago and gave me brand-new abuses and denials to recover from. The grief was refreshed because I saw nothing from Richard but a hard heart and refusal to stand up for what’s right and end the abuse, which was very disappointing.
Because he laughed at my pain, threatened and frightened me, and acted as if I had never meant a thing to him, ever, but was just a tool he manipulated and preyed upon.
Because I keep seeing him reading all sorts of things and wonder if he cares, but he still says nothing encouraging.
So that’s why I am back in the pit again, because this is ongoing, not something that ended a couple of years ago.
The other problem is that the whole situation had many repercussions throughout the rest of my life, affecting–sometimes severely–practically everything I deal with or encounter:
music, movies I watched with Richard, my faith and religion because it had become so interconnected with his through his mentorship, my NVLD, my selective mutism, how I interact with people as friends or acquaintances or strangers (because this was the most severe part of how I was traumatized by Tracy), trusting anyone enough to form new friendships, forums I went to on the Net….
Even hearing the words “I don’t understand” became a trigger reminding me of abuse, because when I said this, Tracy said, “You’re too stupid to understand!” July 4 reminds me of them. My favorite Thanksgiving movies remind me of them. Lord of the Rings reminds me of them. Cthulhu reminds me of them. (This is a real problem in geek culture.)
As it has done for the past several years, just cleaning my basement causes echoes in my mind of Tracy’s jeering words ripping on my household “routine.” Hearing the words “F— off” on TV is a trigger reminding me of abuse and putting me back in the pit.
It’s one thing to deal with a relationship breakup; it’s quite another when there was severe psychological or other abuse as well. Especially since the abuser puts on such a good, charismatic front in the beginning that you can’t believe this wonderful person is an abuser.
That makes the breakup that much harder to deal with and get past. That’s not the fault of the victim, who should not be blamed for having trouble. The responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, and society must keep it there.
Though it helps tremendously that I did stand up to my bullies, told them the truth, told them to leave me alone, kept my blog up, kept going to my church despite them, went to my priest for help, told my friends, told my family.
While these past 6 months have been especially difficult, there is now the feeling that this could be the last gasp of a long-held grief, that standing up to them will eventually pull me out to the place where I can finally say, I’m a survivor. I’m a thriver.
But because I still care, if Richard were to come to us and say, “I’m sorry, I screwed up, I was an a**hole, I’m working on being a better father, I’m working on being a better friend,” I would probably take him back. Though Hubby might be a harder sell.
There is also the erroneous idea, which many people including my abusers/bullies apparently share, that you should just forgive and forget abuse, then act like it’s perfectly fine to interact with your abusers.
Sorry, no. The appropriate response to an unrepentant abuser is to cut them out of your life. No contact, or limited contact. Forced niceties are just lying, fake, two-faced.
It’s one thing if an abuser/bully has expressed some sort of apology/repentance; past abusers/bullies do this on occasion with me. They find me capable of letting them into some sort of relationship with them again, maybe friending them on Facebook or the occasional e-mail.
But if you don’t repent, despite my repeated attempts to demonstrate what you’ve done and how it’s affected me, then don’t expect me to give you so much as the time of day if we pass on the street/in church. Don’t expect me to be happy to see you.
As the writer of One Mom’s Battle writes,
As I’ve said before, I don’t want to be seen as a victim. I don’t want you to be seen as a victim because your story is my story. My story is your story.
I have the privilege of authoring the next chapter of my life and you have the ability to write your next chapter. Is it going to be a chapter where you are the victim or is it going to be the chapter where the victim finds her (his) voice and stands up to the bully?
Narcissists are the same as bullies– they have low self esteems yet portray themselves to be powerful and bigger than life. I want to be that awesome kid on the playground who finally stands up to the bully and sets boundaries.
Cheers to setting boundaries and finding your voice!
I have set the boundaries. I have found my voice and stood up to my bullies. I am still grieving, but grief does not make you a victim. It’s okay that I still grieve, especially since I do not oppress my family/friends with it, but let it out here on my blog.
Letting the bullies push you around, that’s what makes you a victim. I did hit a low point a while back, but I’m rising above it and beginning to heal.
Paul later says in Galatians 5 “why” we are to rebuke: We want people to repent of their sins:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Those who have “selfish ambition”…who “lie”…are given over to “fits of rage”…have “hatred”…spread “discord”…are “jealous”…are “idolatrous” etc etc. All fruits of the flesh.
…I admit that I am a sinner and I actually literally confess and repent of those sins. …You can’t repent if you don’t cop to it. Big difference.
Everything has the potential for getting better with confession and repentance…a key ingredient all of us…and especially a Pastor who professes to “teach the Bible simply”…cannot skip…yet claims otherwise.
Relationships, hurts, offenses, abuses…all can heal with the Offender doing their God Instructed part of the equation. But, Pride and fear of losing one’s position as king of their kingdom…can be quite an obstacle. –Blog that is now defunct
“[Yes, true. Mercy would be swallowing your pride and admitting to your sins so that my brothers and I could have a mother again…and so my grandkids could have a grandmother. That would be both Just and Merciful come to think of it.
But no, you can’t cop to any sin…you’re an “anointed Prophet” and we all know anointed Prophets can’t cop to specific sins…just generalities and allusions to some nebulous undefined non-descript stuff that allows you to dodge accountability…and perpetuates your myth of piety…false piety. Inside and behind closed doors, you’re a ravenous unrepentant wolf].”– From Blog that is now defunct, from person who–just as Tracy forbade me to contact Richard until she had her yell at me–is being kept from his mother for confronting his stepfather about his abuses.
I personally began to confront the abuses within our family, privately, over six years ago. I met stiff resistance from [abuser]. I asked him to repent and change his behavior toward all of us.
Instead of repenting, he denied the abuse and then continued more wrong behavior and began to lie and abuse further.
I was not afforded a Matt.18 meeting with him and his board and elders as witnesses to address the allegations. I was cut off from all communication with him and my mom when I pressed the issue of abuse and continued to ask him to repent and stop mistreating our family.
I was told to talk to Greg and Sue Dowds about it and to “put my thoughts in a letter”…instead of [abuser] communicating with me in person any longer. I resisted at first, and then met with [abuser’s] two right-hand surrogates) and gave *** his “letter”. *** did not like the “letter” very much. –Now-defunct blog