Category: grief

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

 

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Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well

This movie, Narrow Bridge, has its faults, but it’s an engaging story.  (Turns out the production values are because it was done by a film student with few resources.)

Not only do we get to see a sweet love story and be immersed into the Orthodox Jewish practices of the protagonist, but he has a terrible secret as well:

As a child, his rebbe, someone he looked up to and loved like a father, his spiritual mentor, the one who taught him to love his religion, molested him.

It has caused him to question his faith, despite sticking to it.  Now he needs to face up to what happened, do a mitzvah–good deed–by doing something about it.

Apparently the Jewish community has had to deal with the same problems as the American Catholic Church.

This movie depicts the struggles of someone who, like me, has to deal with some sort of betrayal or abuse by the very person who led him to truly believe in and love his faith.  [Written April 7, 2011.]

I’m trying to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.  The trouble is I’m afraid to really open up to anyone except for old friends and family.

Just as I did back when I had a few traumatic romantic breakups in college, I start thinking, “Will this wonderful new friendship one day end in a nasty breakup and I’ll look back at these great new memories with sorrow?”  I wonder if I can truly trust anyone unless they’ve proven themselves over many years already.

This is because not only did Tracy bully me, but Richard–the one I trusted and told my secrets to–allowed the bullying, then eventually began snarking at me, embarrassing me publicly on his Facebook page, and yelling at me as well.

I want to feel safe enough to hug friends, but instead feel closed-off and physically reserved.

On the one hand I’m afraid I’m doing too little to establish friendships; on the other, I’m afraid of doing too much and smothering people.  On the one hand I want to have friends; on the other, I want to hide in my house from the cold, cruel world, full of unreasonable, jealous spouses and abusive people.

I still cringe when I hear Tracy’s name, or jump when I see their vehicle driving past me as I walk along the sidewalk.

I’m far more leery of speaking to a mutual friend, such as Chris; I’m afraid that what I say will get back to them, that Chris will tell me things that will hurl me back into my depressed, nearly suicidal state right after the breakup.

(2011 update: Of course, as of early 2011 that’s moot anyway, as he’s vanished from my Facebook friends list and hasn’t responded to my friend request.  I only have contact with him through Facebook, since he moved out of state.)

Old friends are finally starting to come out of the woodwork, thanks to Facebook reconnecting us.  I often chat with old friends and family on Facebook, as well, sometimes till the wee hours of the morning.

It’s comforting to the soul to read what people I’ve known throughout my life, say about me on Facebook or via e-mail: should be more people like me, a sweetheart, a nice person who deserves to have friends who are kind to me, etc.  No one is making them say these things, so I believe they are sincere.

It’s comforting to hear from one of my oldest and dearest male friends (Mike) that his wife is not jealous, doesn’t care to read his chats to his friends even if they’re female, doesn’t go through his cell phone, doesn’t care to friend his friends on Facebook just because they’re his friends, etc.

I know I have faults, and my missteps haunt me for years.  I constantly go back over things that happened even in college to examine and analyze them for my own faults.  But that doesn’t make me a bad person.

No, deliberately hurting people and being evil, not caring how you affect others, that makes a bad person.

This Memorial Day [2011], it was a great relief to have over to our house old friends, who did NOT snark at me for stupid stuff, who did NOT make fun of me, who did NOT make me feel like a jerk because of my quietness, but who instead gave me good, long hugs and understood that it’s just my way.  (Note the contrast to Memorial Day the previous year!)

It’s also good to go on Facebook and feel free to post political statements which are much different from Richard’s or Tracy’s.  To not hear from Richard how he hates Democrats, doesn’t see them as real Christians, etc.  To agree with the views of the opposing party without fearing that Richard will put me in the ranks of his political enemies.

It’s good to not hear him rail against things that do not actually happen: He thought the government would force his kids to get swine flu vaccine, and he said he would refuse even if his own daughter got sick from swine flu and died.

It never happened, and the swine flu vaccine is not in any way the danger the conspiracy theorists told him it would be.  My family took the vaccine and did just fine.

He said the credit card companies would raise their interest rates in the following year (2010) to 90%; it never happened.

Chris, a Constitutionalist, talked about a coming economic collapse that would be so bad that we would all be scratching out our livings from the land, and acted like I was being naïve for not believing this; it never happened.

It’s good to not hear Richard railing against NBC or CNN and how they must be boycotted.

To not hear him proclaim that his children will refuse to say that socialist pledge of allegiance if the schools try to force them into it.

To not see Facebook posts from him that seem to praise anarchistic militia groups, or treat unions and soldiers and policemen like they’re all universally evil (my brothers were soldiers), or claim that the flag is actually a military flag so the country is secretly keeping us under martial law by making us think it’s the correct flag….

When he sent me a link explaining this, I debunked it in in two minutes via Googling and told him so.  This was maybe a couple of months before the Incident, and about the time I noticed he wasn’t calling anymore except when he wanted something, had turned distant and sarcastic, even when we hung out in person.

I began to partially blame his wacko politics for him distancing himself from me and turning into a jerk, since it seemed like the way he began treating me and others, was behavior that was quite common in his political circles.

He didn’t use to post this tripe on his Facebook, but now he did, and treated me like crap for the things I posted in response, said people were complaining to him about what I was posting!  His posts used to be about more normal things, but he turned his personal Facebook account into a political platform, and even promoted anarchy!

I didn’t watch The Daily Show or Colbert Report much before, but in the past year I’ve been watching them faithfully, as a relief, a balm to the soul, a release from the angst of spending about six months to a year of dealing with Richard’s wackier and wackier political ravings.

Occasionally I post clips on Facebook from those shows; imagine the backlash from Richard if he were still on my friends list!

Imagine how he might have responded to my posts while our state was going through serious political infighting several months ago (thanks to the evil new governor, Walker)!  I’m almost certain we were on diametrically opposed sides during that time.  [This was written around the middle of 2011.]

It’s good to not hear his extremist views anymore, wondering how someone of such high intelligence can fall for conspiracy theories, how a religious person can tout such heartless and extreme changes in government and society that would cause chaos and suffering for years if they were actually put in place–and which would harm his own family….

It’s a relief to talk with the very same dear, old male friend (Mike) whom Richard called an “idiot” (for, incidentally, having the same views I did on the president and how well he’s doing his job), and hear sensible things from him about life, dealing with people, and politics.

Richard, on the other hand, was getting so clueless lately, seeing apologies as capitulation, acting as if he or his wife should be allowed to bluster all they wanted and their friends should just deal with it and take it….

In the beginning Richard had seemed so sweet and gentle, but now he was turning into a jerk.  While my other friend, the one he called an “idiot,” had always been sweet and gentle, and never changed from that over all the years I’ve known him.  Sure he has his moments of temper, but he realizes that apologies are necessary.  And he doesn’t let politics or a devotion to capitalism overrun his heart, his compassion.

It’s good to not have to interact with Tracy anymore.  Losing her from my life has not broken my heart.  

It’s good to not sit and watch/listen as Tracy verbally abuses Richard, picks on the eldest child, calls her stupid, ridicules the children, gets upset at the children for acting like children, smacks the little one upside the head, screeches at the kids, or goes off in fury on two of the children.

I noticed that when the little one was still a baby, she was a happy child, treated well by her parents.  But when she got a bit older, maybe around 3, she began getting the same abuses as the older ones, and even began acting out.  She and the oldest both were acting out in ways that I don’t want to post here.

While Richard couldn’t figure out why, I held my tongue, because I knew exactly why: because of the way Tracy was treating them.

Now there’s another baby, who also is being treated well, but I just know that in another year or so, she’ll start getting it as well–unless, of course, the actions I took to change things, are having a positive effect.  [This was written before July 1, 2011, when I learned about Richard’s criminal charges.]

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

 

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Grief felt today over loss of friend

Maybe it’s not about me or my prayer at all.  Maybe it’s actually about them.  God wants to redeem every single person on this planet, and these two, like anybody else, need a lot of redeeming.

Maybe he did this to break them, not me, and mold them into what he wants them to be. Maybe Richard hadn’t yet lost enough friends to show him the error of his ways.

Maybe it took someone who was “sweet, innocent and nice,” someone who gave so much to help his family–rather than the other ones I’ve heard of who had some huge character flaw, such as being abusive himself, or a negative woman who wanted to be queen bee and be right (as I saw on her own forum)–to show him that the problem doesn’t lie in just the others who broke things off.

Maybe they need to see that their behavior is truly hurtful and that most people won’t tolerate it.  I don’t know.

But I do know that God won’t honor my prayers for reconciliation as long as they are the way they are.  So I have to bide my time and accept that it may never happen.

Once you’ve decided to exile the malignant narcissist from your life do not fall prey to fanciful ideas of his reformation. Time will not render him the wiser for his ‘confinement’.

Like Diane Downs he or she will persist in their rationalizations and justifications to the bitter, ugly end.

The malignant narcissist easily believes the whole world wrong and themselves alone right rather than risk a confrontation with the opposite reality. Hence, introspection = anathema. —Absence of Introspection

This blog goes into the question of confronting your abuser.  Also note the comment about hypnotizing, which sounds very familiar:

Exposing ourselves to our ex pathological leaves us WIDE open to be sucked in again. Remember they have the ability to hypnotize us and place us in a trance-like state VERY quickly. Confronting our ex-pathological leaves us wide open for re-victimization.

Part B has already shown itself to be true in the dealings I’ve had with Tracy, so no, confronting her again is not on my to-do list:

I thought about it for a long time after our conversation and even before talking to my therapist about it, I decided that it would only feed It with negative supply and could have no value for me whatever.

The fact that confronting a pathological can’t have any value is part of why there is NO closure from a relationship with a pathological.

The outcome will inevitably leave us more frustrated at their inability to empathize with what they’ve done – and remember empathy is an impossibility for these people.

But after discussing it with my therapist I realized that confronting It can do nothing but put me in REAL danger in two specific ways:

A: Exposing ourselves to our ex pathological leaves us WIDE open to be sucked in again. Remember they have the ability to hypnotize us and place us in a trance-like state VERY quickly. Confronting our ex-pathological leaves us wide open for re-victimization.

B: Psychopaths absolutely HATE to be exposed face to face. Confronting our ex-pathologicals puts us in danger of severe wrath and retribution at the hand of someone who has absolutely no empathy for anyone and who is prone to rages. Very dangerous!

[Note 4/27/14: This is exactly what happened when Tracy found my blog, proving I was right about her narcissism.  See here.]

Another post by this blogger, Laura Kamienski, is also very familiar, especially the part about others not understanding why you don’t just “move on” when it’s “already been a year!”: Finding new pieces when you can’t pick up the old ones

Losing Narcissistic Friends by Lisa E. Scott is helpful.

At my lowest point I couldn’t eat or sleep. I couldn’t go to work or socialize with people. My friends and family couldn’t understand the depth of the pain I was in and thought I should just “snap out of it” or “get over it!”

I would have loved to be able to just “get over it!” But this was one of the most difficult challenges life had brought my way….

It wasn’t until one of my few friends I had left referred me to a psychiatrist who believed I had been in a relationship with a narcissist, that my desolate world began to have meaning.

I could finally at least understand why I was feeling the way I was. I finally had somewhere to go with this. I finally understood that I was not crazy as I had come to believe I was!

…Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a journey. It is a path back to the self. Those who have been abused by narcissism have slowly lost themselves. They have given pieces of themselves away bit by bit until there was nothing left to give.

It is usually at the moment of one’s greatest sense of depletion that the victim experiences the horrible devaluation and discarding by the narcissist in their lives….

Most victims, which I chose to call “survivors,” or “thrivers” find themselves at their all time lowest lows once the relationship ends….

You would think that when the relationship officially ends, would be a time where victims can get their energy back and get on with their lives. But it never quite looks like this.

Instead one ends up feeling as if she has been kicked almost to the point of death and left to die in her own pool of blood while the one who has kicked her goes off to live happily ever after with someone who is young, beautiful and full of life.

As survivors we struggle to stay alive and although we know the narcissist is NOT good for us, we become obsessed with him. He becomes our link to life and to our sanity. –Kaleah at Narcissism Free

For every spouse abused by a narcissist, there are several children of narcissists abused by them. And, in most situations, the narcissist has had the power to get co-workers fired and/or to destroy careers, so the narcissist also leaves a trail of these victims in his or her truculent wake through life.

And then there are the friends. People who once were friends of the narcissist and all of a sudden one day found their guts hanging out in a narc attack, to be left wondering forever afterwards what they did to make the narcissist so mad that he or she ripped them to shreds and refused to see or have any contact with them anymore….

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had a friend who suddenly blew up at you one day and spoke just viciously, tearing you to shreds, to the point of tears, and then refused to see or talk to you again? Still bewildered by it? If so, stop wondering what you did….

This is one of the most difficult facts to face about malignant narcissists: they are predators. They need no reason to attack: they need a reason NOT to attack.

Therefore, when it’s the last time they’re going to see you, there is no longer a reason not to attack you. There won’t be any adverse consequences.

So they attack just because this is a golden opportunity to dump a load of projection and projective identification on someone. It’s a golden opportunity to feel powerful by having a powerful effect on someone.

They feel great afterwards. They not only relieve their moral constipation by dumping their load on you, they get high off the power rush in trampling you or tearing you to pieces.

And what’s to restrain those urges? Any morals? Any conscience?  So, if this has ever happened to you, you probably just had a close encounter with a malignant narcissist. Be glad that you had to serve as her toilet only once in your life. –Kathy Krajco at The Rewards of Befriending a Narcissist

[Lots of good stuff in the comments section, too, such as, “The best thing though is to keep telling the truth. Stick with those who believe you and for those who don’t leave them to their fate with the N.”]

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

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The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me

I have no interest whatsoever in reconciling with Tracy and don’t really care anymore what she thinks of me, because I consider her an abuser and a bully and the most horrid person I’ve ever known, and I believe she’s a false Christian.

As for Richard, this person I had dearly loved like a brother, respected, trusted and looked up to, this person I saw as a man of God, this person whom I saw as my spiritual mentor and guide, this person I supported emotionally through all his troubles while he lived with us, the person I told all my secrets to, has betrayed me and let me be verbally/emotionally torn apart like a wild animal.

Because of his connection to my spiritual journey, it’s been a struggle not to abandon all the things in Orthodoxy (or Christianity) that I associated in any way with Richard.

Because our friendship and his living here had seemed to be a direct and obvious answer to prayer, my faith in God has been damaged so much that I often doubt God even exists.

Because why would God answer my prayer with a curse, with an angel of light that turned out to be the devil?  The devil couldn’t have heard my prayer, because it was said to God by my mind, not by my mouth.

Two options rise up, both too frightening and repugnant to accept: that either

1) God did answer my prayer with a curse, or

2) God does not exist and it was all chance.

I keep hoping that one day a third option will make itself clear, but for now, I understand how even Mother Theresa could have gone through the dark night of the soul.

I knew the devil would try to get me out of Orthodoxy if I converted, as fellow converts speak of such things online, and he’d already been throwing various things at me, especially during Lenten periods.

But I had no idea he would do something like this that could sear me to my soul with a flaming sword, rip me away from the one whom I honored as the person who led me to the truth, damage me so much.

I had no idea that the person I honored as a man of God, had such crumbling feet of clay, would lead me to the truth and then be the means for shattering my faith.

I can only hope the following is true, taken from an earlier, more extensive version of the above Wikipedia link for “dark night of the soul“:

Rather than resulting in permanent devastation, the dark night is regarded by mystics and others as a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual is stripped (in the dark night of the senses) of the spiritual ecstasy associated with acts of virtue.

Although the individual may for a time seem to outwardly decline in his or her practices of virtue, in reality he becomes more virtuous, as she is being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards (ecstasies in the cases of the first night) obtained and more out of a true love for God.

It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God.

From A Saint’s Dark Night by James Martin:

Even the most sophisticated believers sometimes believe that the saints enjoyed a stress-free spiritual life–suffering little personal doubt. For many saints this is accurate:

St. Francis de Sales, the 17th-century author of “An Introduction to the Devout Life,” said that he never went more than 15 minutes without being aware of God’s presence. Yet the opposite experience is so common it even has a name.

St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic, labeled it the “dark night,” the time when a person feels completely abandoned by God, and which can lead even ardent believers to doubt God’s existence.

During her final illness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the 19th-century French Carmelite nun who is now widely revered as “The Little Flower,” faced a similar trial, which seemed to center on doubts about whether anything awaited her after death.

“If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into,” she said to the sisters in her convent.

But Mother Teresa’s “dark night” was of a different magnitude, lasting for decades. It is almost unparalleled in the lives of the saints.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

 

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