Finally, my web host has finished whatever they were doing to protect us against botnet attacks, and my blog is back to normal functioning (I hope)!
But it was down for about a week, a long, frustrating week as my blog would go up and down, up and down. I often had to turn off the redirect sending readers here from my old blog.
During uptimes, I installed better security and made adjustments, since you can’t rely on your host to protect you completely, especially on a free server.
I see from my security files that just in the last 24 hours, some bot from the Ukraine continuously tried to get into my blog’s dashboard for malicious purposes. Apparently it would try, Wordfence would block it for a short time, then it would come back and try again.
But because of my security fixes, it could not come in. 😀 And now, because of Wordfence, I’ve blocked it permanently from trying again.
I have seen my stalkers trying to get in as well. They are aware of this new blog, and have done searches for it which led them to my old blog, but not the new one.
I’ve seen them go to my old blog, but because the redirect for mobile phones was turned on, they got redirected here–and couldn’t get in.
I saw them try six times one evening to get in, when the mobile redirect was on, but they failed!
All they can ever see is the old blog, which is rarely updated now. Now that my blog is back up and more stable again, the mobile redirect is back up, so they can’t get to the old or new blogs at all.
When the redirect is up, the only trace I can see of them is in Blogger’s stat page, when an Android browser is accompanied by a search term which I can recognize as theirs. They do not show up in any other hit count trackers, because they are blocked.
I haven’t seen them back in a little more than a week, even though they had a long-established routine of checking in at least once a week, often twice or more–and several times a day when they discovered me trying to block them on my old blog a couple of months ago.
Strange how they won’t say a word to me otherwise, but will express their displeasure with me through their unwanted blog hits…..
Must be because they know I’ve been to the police about them already because of the e-mail they sent me, so they know I’m capable of doing so again.
This has been extremely helpful in restoring my broken spirit. For almost a year I have feared what they may be planning next:
Will I get served with a lawsuit for telling the truth?
Will they come to my church again on purpose to upset me and rub my nose in their lack of remorse for hurting and abusing me?
But none of this has happened. No lawsuit. No more nasty messages. No assaults. I haven’t even seen them at church since last August. Their presence on my blog has been a constant irritant, but now I have successfully blocked them.
They are beginning to disappear from my life, even on the edges (ie, checking my blog), since I switched to Wordpress.org and blocked them. They are also beginning to disappear from my thoughts. Not completely, but it is a huge step forward.
There is still the risk of seeing them more often eventually at church, if one of our parishes fails financially and our separate congregations begin blending. I dearly hope that does not happen.
But for now, our two parishes remain open, and they are not directly in my life (just occasionally seen on the street). My spirit is moving toward peace, toward calm.
I am working to accept that Richard was never the friend or the person he claimed to be, or he would never have let things get this way, that he must have been conning and using me.
I have become the webmaster for my church, and that has predominated my thoughts (and time) lately as I struggle to understand the content management system it uses.
My son just bought a couple of adorable spice finches who are very attached to each other.
Realizing your best friend was manipulating and playing you the whole time, is very disturbing. But it finally hit me this week as I kept piecing things together, put 2 and 2 together and finally got 4. My proof is right there in the e-mail Tracy sent me back in May of this year.
My blog stalkers twisted my words into threats I never made, and then used those imaginary threats as justification to threaten me with legal action.
(See Now I’m Being Stalked, where you can read about this, my dissection of the e-mail, and the full text of their e-mail.)
I looked through all my posts but could find nothing to back up their claims that I threatened to expose them to the local community and/or church.
(Just a note in one blog, not addressed to them, that I hoped they would move away so I wouldn’t have to see them around anymore, and a note in another blog, not addressed to them, that if their church merged with mine, I would have to go to the priest for help, for my own physical, emotional and spiritual safety.)
But I reviewed all my posts and could find nothing to justify their threats, I have tons of documentation, and I am an eye-witness of, or got directly from my blog stalkers, practically everything I wrote….
It also went against something I wrote in one blog, that I had no intention of spreading around the church the story of what they had done.
My blogs were merely about personal release of metaphorical demons, and I had no intentions of revealing their real names on here or somehow publishing them to the whole local community.
(And how on earth I was supposed to do so, I have no idea. Take out an ad in the paper, perhaps? As if such an ad would even be run! Pass out fliers? Go door-to-door? If they mean talking to my local friends–they can’t stop a person from confiding in friends.)
Their e-mail was so ludicrous, paranoid, absurd and revealing as to be laughable. It gave me concrete evidence of their abuse, self-centeredness and vindictiveness, so I’m holding onto it. It even gave me concrete evidence that they just used us for our generosity, and were never true friends.
Just think: Not only did they demonstrate the same utter lack of regard for the feelings and points of view of Hubby and me that they had shown during the “Incident” and that Tracy showed for me the entire time I knew her…
I think we are at least owed kindness, consideration, a restraint from verbal abuse and bullying, and apologies for outbursts.
But to not even get that from them, and have them come out and say in this e-mail that they owe us nothing and did nothing wrong, is clear, documented proof–which you yourself can read–that they feel entitled to bad behavior without apology. It clearly shows a lack of conscience and empathy.
Me always getting blamed for that bad behavior, without the blamers taking any of it onto themselves, is another telling piece of the puzzle.
Hubby has said all along that he does not want me debasing myself to her, that Tracy has to get down on her knees and apologize to me. And he wouldn’t mind apologies for how he got treated, either.
I, Hubby, our parents and one of my old friends all have a distinct impression that Hubby and I were played for suckers.
For me, after two months of happily hosting only Richard, there was the sudden, unexpected announcement that the rest of the family was coming to move in–and Richard already had to sleep on the couch.
There was no room for another adult and three more children, but they came here with no other place to go, no move-out plan, and ended up staying for six long weeks.
Neither my husband nor I approved this, thinking the other one must have okayed it, but never being asked, just told they were coming. My son was forced out of his bed and into ours.
When Richard made this announcement, I got him an apartment guide and told him to find a place. I kept asking/begging him for a move-out date, but it kept getting put off, or he’d say he couldn’t give me one.
Yet Tracy complained that I did not make her feel welcome,
complained about the food we provided (who can afford fresh produce and no canned/frozen every night for eight people on a middle-class salary and ballooning utility bills???!!!),
they gave us no money when they had promised to pay for food,
they left messes all over the house (including a massive pile of dirty laundry in the living room),
and she was very rude and aggressive to me and abusive to Richard and the kids even while living in my house,
as if she expected we would just let her do this without kicking her out–That shows a sense of entitlement.
As does the distinct feeling I got that what I did or where I went in my home was subject to her approval.
(I got this from her complaints about me taking time to myself,
the way she’d follow after me if I went to talk to Richard by myself,
the angry look she gave when Richard invited me to play cards with them,
and her complaints to Richard about my “routine” and to her mother about who does the cooking in my house and what we served for dinner!)
Then, a year and a half later, when they were on hard times again and I bit the bullet and offered to let them stay here again,
I discovered from Richard that she refused,
that she spit on our hospitality,
accused me of being a bad, unwelcoming hostess (because I had to do housework and change diapers, and desperately needed time to myself every day with all these people and noise crammed into my 1100-sq.ft. condo),
and was very upset with me for overhearing me tell my husband she was bullying me and abusing Richard.
Yeah, I can feel your ingratitude from here, a lack of appreciation for how you forced yourself on us and then complained about the accommodations,
just how much your presence put us out financially and personally,
for how you were driving me crazy and making me want you OUT.
And because of this, they tried to force me into an uphill battle to please her and get back into her good graces if I expected to be friends with Richard.
Meanwhile, she had no intentions of changing anything about herself that caused me to call her abusive and keep her at arm’s length. More entitlement. And more evidence that we were sponged off, used, by fake friends.
On the very night of the “Incident,” Hubby said to me, “Do you feel used? I do. They were not good friends.”
On the part of Hubby’s parents, all it took was one long phone conversation describing what happened, to convince them we were taken advantage of.
They said Hubby shouldn’t have let things go on as long as they did, that as soon as they began complaining about the food we provided, he should’ve (politely) shown them the door.
My mother, also, keeps noting, “And to treat you like this after all you’ve done for these people!”
An e-mail to my old friend resulted in the friend’s observation that these two were very manipulative and were never real friends to us, that she’s met people like this.
Then that e-mail from Tracy/Richard? came, confirming these suspicions for Hubby and me.
I’m not even sure what all was real and what was fake, because Richard sure played a convincing part, I thought we had a special bond and that he truly cared about me,
but then he began complaining about “pampering” me, and started coming out with things he’d held back from me, which first made me wonder what was real.
His behavior since has belied the impression he gave Hubby and me both; he had fooled us both for years.
A true friend would never behave the way he has done,
would reflect on his own behavior and return your apologies (which I gave both of them not just that very day, but a week/month later) with his own apologies,
would apologize for blowing up at a good friend.
It’s hard to admit that he may never have actually cared and was just playing a part to get our monetary and other support, especially since it is hard to be sure, though his behavior the past few years has been steadily confirming this.
But with Tracy, I’m sure, and her e-mails to me are proof.
All you have to do is read in the e-mail at the above link that they “had a good laugh” at my pain and point of view, that they “did nothing wrong” and would not apologize.
Those lines in themselves are glaring proof not just of a lack of empathy and conscience,
but that these two are a couple of con artists and spongers,
that neither of them ever really cared about Hubby or me, or they never would have written such callous lines.
And because those lines prove that they never truly cared,
that leads to the obvious conclusion that they used us for our generosity,
because we were so willing to give them a place to stay to our own inconvenience and financial strain,
to open up the wallet,
to give them food and out of our other surplus,
to give them rides,
to lend them things which we had to remind them to return. (We never did get the crib back.)
How often were we there for them? All the time. How often was Richard there when I needed him? Not so much, often ignoring my phone calls or e-mails.
After all, how much did I really know about either of them before letting them in? I met them on an Internet forum. It’s easy to misrepresent yourself on a forum.
There were all sorts of things which Richard never told me until right before he was to move in, things which made me start wondering if I should let him stay here.
There were things which he didn’t tell me until after he moved in, which shocked me.
There were things which came out little by little over the years; I didn’t hear about the Mafia goombah stint until 2009.
An even more telling piece of evidence of their duplicity, is the way they just let us end the friendship without a fight, the way they kept putting their pride and anger above friendship even a month later, even two years later.
Obviously getting their own way is far more important to them than anything or anybody else.
True friends would have at least tried to change our minds. Instead of dead silence, we would’ve gotten phone calls, visits, apologies and/or requests to talk it over. That’s what another of my friends did when one of his friends broke off the friendship.
Their e-mail also references Richard’s criminal conviction, with a snide remark about “speculation” and not having “all the facts,” but I got all sorts of facts straight from the newspaper and court records, which are posted online, free for the public to access.
And though they tried in this e-mail with that snide remark, there is no way to spin what he did, to make him look good. (He choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness.)
I’ve witnessed their vindictiveness to others and to me, and maybe they think everybody is like them. But I am not the sort of person to do what they accused me of.
Their e-mail is proof that they felt the need to terrorize me into silence, rather than trying to work things out or even defend their actions through reasoned arguments.
It shows Richard to be just like the government officials he hates so much, who he claims will hound and intimidate him if he ever publicly comes out with their secrets.
It’s also proof that if I had gone through with that “conference” Tracy kept insisting on, she never would have allowed me to have an opinion of my own,
because that e-mail is how she responded to all the arguments I made, everything I’d wanted to say to her, in plain language and detail in probably dozens of pages of blogs:
basically, to poke fun at me for thinking things were that way, to shut me up and say I had no right to say it, or even to make my own terms about how I would be treated, after she determined how I was to be treated.
Their e-mail is all the proof I need that Hubby and I are right about them. Their true character shines all the way through it.
Though at the time it felt like they’d put a huge pile of crap in my lap, I now see it as a golden egg. I’ve shown it to the police, posted it online and shown it to friends [on the Forum where we all used to post] as proof of what I’m dealing with.
At the same time they sent it, they also a sent a friend, whom I will name “Chia,” to spy on my Facebook account.
I’m not sure what she did there, only that I did not know this person who friended me shortly before Tracy sent the above e-mail, that they were both on her friends list, she lived here in town–
and spikes from their IP address suddenly showed up on my website right after I friended her and it showed up on her wall.
We had absolutely nothing in common other than our city and knowing Richard and Tracy. None of my friends were on her list.
There were even a few sentences in her profile about defending friends when they’re being attacked, or some such.
(I bet she wasn’t told the full story, that I had been viciously attacked by Tracy over and over again, that my blogs were about telling my story of abuse, and that what I actually did was tell Richard and Tracy to leave me alone.)
I sent her an e-mail asking how she knew me, but she never responded. In fact, the following day I discovered she had unfriended me.
Am I being paranoid when I say she was a flying monkey, as the blogging community calls it, otherwise known as sycophant, abuser-by-proxy, or dupe? No. There’s far too much evidence to support the flying monkey theory.
Then at church, you could actually see Tracy’s feeling of entitlement in the way she carried herself, and the way she tried to intimidate me by getting right up behind me in the communion line, pressing up against me, and literally breathing down my neck in loud snarls.
It was ridiculous. What did she think she was, a scary pirate? Better put a few “arrs” in there for good measure.
And Hubby noticed, every time they came to my church and Greek Fest for the next several weeks, their false, exaggerated piety, a show for me, though I did not watch them.
They even took communion, which, from what my husband, father and I all understand about communion, is a huge no-no when you have conflict with another at the same church, lest you taint the sacrament, and eat and drink condemnation unto yourself.
(After the first week, I realized this, and refused to take communion when they were present, but they kept taking it.)
I need no further proof that I was right about her.
Their behavior in real life and online, including what they look at on my site and how often, is very much that of people with something to hide, trying to keep me under their thumb.
I don’t even care about seeing my blog stalkers in the stats anymore. I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly. I no longer worry about them. When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are. I missed you! Where were you?”
It is very disturbing to discover just how badly you’ve been manipulated and used by people you thought were friends.
I now understand why most people are so reluctant to help non-family to the extent we helped these people.
Hubby’s parents told him you put yourself out like that only for family. We will be keeping a tighter hold on our purse strings and offers to let people stay, after being so badly taken advantage of.
It’s rough to think that Richard would be this kind of person. It’s very different from what I thought he was.
He had seemed like the perfect friend, with interests very much matching my own eclectic interests, giving us an overabundance of things to talk about: music, Goth, geek, Orthodoxy, theology, intellectual, ghosts.
I don’t know what went wrong, if it was always a ploy, or if it changed later on….I keep looking for hope in what blog posts he reads, hope that he still cares.
But the proof of a very different reality is in how he has allowed me to be treated in such a fashion. The proof is in that e-mail.
If he had ever truly cared about me, he never would have laughed at my pain. Only sociopaths laugh at grief and pain caused by them. It’s only denial that keeps me hoping.
Let my story be a warning to you, especially with the economy the way it is. The blinders my husband and I had up, have led to financial and emotional pain.
The post here includes an e-mail Richard and Tracy sent me in May 2012, which proves my belief that they are sociopaths. In it you will see every sociopathic trait–including empty threats and false accusations–and maybe recognize e-mails you have received from your own sociopath. You will see how they began their stalking campaign.
This post was originally posted in May 2012. I wrote it while a baby blogger, and added to it over a period of months, so it badly needed editing. However, I struggled for a long time to look through this blog post again because of the presence of that e-mail and its tendency to trigger all sorts of emotional reactions: fear, pain, hurt, anguish, rage, etc.
But now I am finally able to do some proper editing, and re-post it. I want to sticky it so new readers can see it, as I have been doing for months with my old posts.
It is, however, extremely long, which would take me all night to edit and an hour for you to read, so I will re-post it in chunks. I have divided the original post into several sections, which I will follow in the re-post. If you want to see the entire original post, click here. Now for Part 6.
The abusive posts she made to Todd on that game forum.
Printouts of IRC conversations in which Richard claimed to have hypnotized me and been a thug for the Mafia.
Posts by Todd confirming the Mafia story.
E-mails from Todd describing the things he himself witnessed.
A public blog post by Richard from 2007, which expressed uncertainty about his marriage.
–All confirming my story as true and not the ravings of someone who is “not all there,” as Tracy called me.
I have copies of e-mails I sent to friends and family describing the situation from 2007-2010, and would swear in a court of law that I have posted the truth.
Results of a Social Services investigation (from my report and the choking incident) may also support my claims, depending on how thorough and truthful everyone was.
I have a file, started in mid-2010, in which I described everything I had witnessed while I could still remember it well, just in case I would be needed as a character witness for Richard.
I am witness of and privy to some things which I did not post online because of their sensitive nature, but which I would use as evidence for the court.
I would also gladly take my blogs, website, e-mails, and own private written accounts, print them, sign them in front of a taker of oaths, and use them as an affidavit, sworn to on penalty of perjury, as described by Wikipedia:
An affidavit is a type of verified statement or showing, or in other words, it contains a verification, meaning it is under oath or penalty of perjury, and this serves as evidence to its veracity and is required for court proceedings.
To obtain a declaration on a legal document, such as an application for voter registration, that the information provided by the applicant is truthful to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. If, after signing such a declaration, the information is found to be deliberately untrue with the intent to deceive, the applicant may face perjury charges.
Some piece of Richard and Tracy must recognize in my story that they were indeed abusive, that what they did was indeed wrong. If they truly did not recognize this at all, then why not just say, “Well, anybody can see how ridiculous she’s being, so we’ll just ignore it and let the whole world see it and laugh at her.”
But no, instead they’re trying to intimidate me into silence, taking offense at the story, threatening to sue me for telling my story, trying to gaslight me into thinking that it did not happen the way I said it happened.
They’ve traumatized me severely, so severely I had to take to blogging to deal with it, and are now re-traumatizing me, on purpose!
Their threat is extortion (written 10/28/12)
Just think: Not only did they demonstrate the same utter lack of regard for the feelings and points of view of Hubby and me that they had shown during the “Incident” and that Tracy showed for me the entire time I knew her…
I think we are at least owed kindness, consideration, a restraint from verbal abuse and bullying, and apologies for outbursts.
But to not even get that from them, and have them come out and say in this e-mail that they owed us nothing, demonstrates a sense of entitlement on their part–and gives me, Hubby, and our parents a distinct impression that Hubby and I were played for suckers.
In October, I decided to join the Phi-Delt sorority, which some of my friends belonged to. I can’t go into great detail because I was told to keep certain things secret. But I can mention things of more general knowledge, which “outsiders” were involved in, or which everybody knew about anyway.
My pledge folder, which held a pledge diary, was easy to spot because of the Greek letters on the blue cover, and the sci-fi pictures: The “Don’t Panic” creature from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a Vulcan hand signal, the Star Fleet symbol, one of the Doctor Who logos, and a picture of the head of the androgynous diplomat from Alpha Centauri on one episode of Doctor Who:
(By the way, no, I am not a science fiction fanatic; I just happen to like sci-fi.) On the back is a drawing of me on a desert island. I colored my folder because of a note from one of the actives: “Please color me!”
My fellow pledges were Rachel, Dori (the one who was in InterVarsity for a while), and Tammy.
Rachel’s reason for pledging: “It looks good on a resume.” My reason for pledging: The sorority seemed like fun, and Pearl and Sharon were in it, along with other people I knew, such as my suitemate Mary.
Latosha once found me in the stairwell in the Campus Center, and we talked about pledging. She said,
“I heard you were pledging. It surprised me. At first I wondered if you were doing it because Peter’s a Zeta and the Zetas are the Phi-Delts’ ‘little brothers.'” I forget how, but she concluded that no, that wasn’t it. Which it wasn’t: The sorority sounded like fun, and some of my best friends were in it. I was also getting friendly peer pressure from my Phi-Delt friends.
At an open house for potential pledges on Monday, October 5 at 8pm, the actives said they wouldn’t make the pledges drink alcohol like the Pi-Kapps and frats might. During pledging, the pledge master, Wendy, said, “We’d never make you pledges do something we wouldn’t want to do ourselves.” However, her tolerance of being hazed must have been much higher than mine.
The Pi-Kapp room was right next to the Phi-Delt room in the Krueger basement. Jennifer said, “When I pledged last spring, one night we came here to our room and saw a bag of manure outside the Pi-Kapp room. We were so glad to not be pledging the Pi-Kapps!”
The Pi-Kapps were the enemy, and they partied too hard. They made their pledges drink alcohol. You wouldn’t want to be a Pi-Kapp.
The Phi-Delt room was prettily furnished with comfortable furniture, Greek letters, and various mementoes. I don’t think there were paddles; at least, I don’t remember any. Our InterVarsity group occasionally met there, and at least once I had a private conversation with Pearl there.
We drew names for pledge sisters. I got Jennifer. Rachel got Joanna. A pledge sister was an active who mentored a pledge.
Among the pledges, it was universally agreed that even while so many of the other actives had seemed to turn mean, Joanna was the one who was still nice. No matter what, no matter how the other actives treated us, she was always sweet and treated us more like equals.
Some of the actives were always nice, but several turned mean later on. Jennifer, as my pledge sister, also seemed nice. Wendy sometimes got disgusted with us, even though she was pledge master.
We could never be sure if the anger from the actives was real or just feigned because they were “supposed” to be mean to us during pledging. I believe that at first, I thought it was all just a joke, that none of them were really mad at us.
Near the end, however, there were times they did seem truly mad at us. I grew to dislike many of them–and what kind of beginning is that for a sisterhood?
Once, when the actives were gathered together for something at Dori’s house, she was scared that her brother and mother, who were there, would think the sorority girls were all b**ches.
She didn’t like the way they had acted there, whether it was in fun or not. I wish I could say that Pearl and Sharon never joined in, but I do seem to remember being mad at them as well for a while, though I still hung out with them.
I seem to remember Pearl or Sharon saying once that there were people in the sorority that year who made it into something they didn’t like, and that when they graduated, it changed character into something better. I believe Sharon was glad to be president one year because she truly could make a difference.
Later on, I asked Pearl if most of the meanness was just a facade, the punishments we were given just jokes and not real punishments, and she said that they were–except for sometimes.
One particular example was when the pledge class couldn’t go through a recital of the Greek alphabet in unison without laughing or smiling. We thought it was funny to be reciting this stuff.
We thought it was all light-hearted, just a fun tradition of using Greek letters, and our standing there reciting the letters seemed like more of this light-hearted fun–and a bit ridiculous. But they got mad at us and made us keep reciting it until we said it more seriously.
At the time, I believe I thought their anger was just a facade, that they probably thought it just as funny and perhaps had even recited the alphabet in the same way when they were pledges.
But Pearl later said they truly were mad about this, since the Greek alphabet was really important to them, like the rest of the sorority traditions. I still couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. Important or not, couldn’t they at least have some fun with it?
The final walk, the one I wrote about which took us out in the cold, was a real punishment, I believe. They talked as if there would have been such a walk anyway, and they did have two of their own walking with us, but it still seemed to go far and beyond what any walk should have been.
Now that I’ve given you an overview of what pledging was like, kind of like the first chapter of Genesis gives you an overview and then a chapter or two later you get more detail about the Creation story, now for more detail about pledging.
Once, the actives told the pledges to go into Grossheusch and probably Muehlmeier to collect guys’ underwear. Of course I shirked from this, being a conservative Christian. The actives half-jokingly accused me of a lack of unity. (“Unity” was bandied around a lot. The actives encouraged us pledges to develop it among ourselves.) However, this qualifies as hazing.
We knocked on Timothy’s door–Timothy, the guy who almost moved in with my suitemate Tom the year before. When one of us asked for a pair of underwear, he whipped off his pants and underwear and gave us his briefs. I must have averted my eyes, since I don’t remember a “visual.” This shocked all of us, but we laughed about it afterwards. I hope the underwear had no skid marks.
Early on in the pledge month, as we pledges went out on some odd quest, I said I had finally found the college antics I had always expected in college. On TV and in movies, people would steal the other team’s mascot. On Ozzie and Harriet, one of the Nelson boys and his college friends did an elaborate prank.
I had expected to see these things happening in college all the time, and had been a bit disappointed to not see any. But in the sorority, we were doing so many crazy things that it seemed I had finally found what I had craved.
I liked the thought of the Zetas being our little brothers once we became actives. I liked this special bond with them. And no, it wasn’t because of Peter: it was because of Darryl, Steve, Marc, and maybe a few others I knew or knew of who seemed cool.
I was still shy and hated to raise my voice, was uncomfortable saying hi to people I barely knew (this was also a product of my big-city upbringing, where people didn’t usually talk to strangers on the street but allowed them some privacy by not looking at them), and was scared of the actives and their power to punish me with unpleasant errands or (so we were told at some point) blackball me into not joining the group, so of course I didn’t say hi to the actives I didn’t know very well, when I passed them on the sidewalk.
To a shy person such as me, social situations are divided into those with “power” and those without. The ones with the “power” to take charge and say hi and things like that are the ones who are comfortable in the situation, who are older or have been in a group or organization longer than you have, or the ones who own the place you’re in. The ones without the “power” are the newcomers.
I perceived the actives as having the power and me, as a pledge, as not having the power, so I expected that if anyone were to say hi first, it would of course be them.
To my surprise, Jennifer told me that the actives were offended because I wouldn’t say hi to them! (Why didn’t they ever say it to me first, then, if it was so important to them?) But even if I tried, my voice would probably have been so low that they wouldn’t have heard me anyway.
When the frats said they were service organizations, we saw that as a joke. Everybody knew the frats spent most of their time partying and hanging out. It seemed that the service they did do was to make sure they got in their obligatory service and didn’t lose their right to be a fraternity on the Roanoke campus.
When we had to do chores for the actives, Sharon asked some of us to wash her dishes. She felt bad, however, because these dishes had been sitting around for some time and were moldy. I don’t remember what happened to those dishes. I hope she threw them out instead.
Once, when the actives took the pledges down to the lake and island, I was blindfolded and Pearl was driving around in her scooter. Something happened on the mud or on the bridge that made her temporarily lose control, and next thing I knew, she was crying out in shock and dismay and a bit of amusement as the scooter banged against my heels.
I wasn’t hurt at all, and she soon got the situation under control. But after that we joked about Pearl running me over with her scooter.
On October 12, I joked around with Pearl. I made a low bow and said, “Greetings, active,” after class. I gestured her inside when I opened the Krueger door. I put my palms together like my genie Zara, and said I’d wait in line so she’d have someone to stand by.
She thought it was funny, and told the others as I went in line. Then Rachel started calling me a brownnoser. It was fun. Behind it all was an ever-present, “NOT!”
I wasn’t brownnosing; I was just having fun. Then I drew a picture on Pearl’s board of Zara coming out of her water jar and saying, “Your wish is my command, mistress!”
The next day, I found several notes about it, ranging from, “Bebe hasn’t got enough brown on her nose for everybody. We’ll have to fix that” by Sharon, to “Nice picture, but it should say MASTER SIR (followed by ‘In your dreams, man cub’).”
On October 14, I got kidnapped by the actives: Jennifer told me to come to the Phi-Delt room at 8:15 to interview her before the meeting. When I arrived, I saw actives whispering together by the room, and began to worry. When I got down the hall, two of them grabbed my arms and said, “You’re being kidnapped.” They took me out to a car, and stuffed me in the back with another active and Jennifer. It was fun.
They took me to one active’s family home, ordered pizza, and played the Grease soundtrack. Somebody passed around playing cards with pictures of Chippendale dancers. I don’t believe I sat there in judgment, but I didn’t join in as the others goggled at the cards, because it was against my religion. One of the girls picked out a dark-haired guy with glasses and blue-green eyes and said, “Here’s one you might like.”
When explaining what pledges could do while kidnapped, the actives included homework, just as naturally as if it happened all the time. Yet when I said I wanted to do homework, they acted like I was strange, and said, “NOBODY ever does homework on kidnaps!” But I was a student first, pledge second, and I had a lot of homework to do. My teachers would not have accepted the excuse that I was at a sorority party.
They were supposed to kidnap at least one pledge, and we were supposed to kidnap at least one active. Since I’d already been kidnapped, I couldn’t be kidnapped again, so I was safe after this.
The other pledges finally found me after calling up a lot of S– numbers to find me. They said I was the most popular person in S– that night.
Our punishment for me being kidnapped, was to bum pennies from people on the afternoon of the 18th. People were pretty nice, but a few of them gave us funny looks. On the 21st, we had to get 50 people (preferably guys) to sign a roll of toilet paper, without ripping it. We got at least 51 in half an hour.
On the night of the 18th, we went on a scavenger hunt dressed in bathrobes. Dori wore a shower cap, Tammy wore a Burger King crown, someone had Pearl’s Spike, and I had a soft, cuddly Garfield. We got funny looks from people.
The worker in a gas station, our first spot, gave us such weird looks that I showed her the sorority button on my robe as we left. Rachel told everyone we were sleepwalking. A guy employee in Hardee’s, obviously in on it, laughed his head off.
In another place (the wrong one), there were a bunch of guys a little older than us. Dori told them, maybe to a comment that we looked good, that it was the latest style. She also told the guy in Hardee’s that it was a winter version of a bathing suit contest.
We were supposed to tell people we wanted to be dressed like that. At a small Dairy Queen (another wrong place), some girls there, probably our age or younger, saw us, and one said something like, “I don’t know. They probably don’t dress like that all the time. I hope not!”
I believe all the Greek organizations would send pledges on night walks. This was no secret; I heard stories about such things even when not pledging.
We’d be driven out somewhere, then have to make our way back without letting the actives see us, because they said they’d take us out even farther if they did. We were told to dress warmly for these walks, and if we had to change, would be given a chance to run back to our rooms and do so.
It was fun at first, all this wandering around in corn fields and by the side of the road, trying to find our way back in the dark and without being seen by any passing cars. We all loved it.
I said it reminded me of the End Times (when interpreted literally), with Christians wandering around during the Tribulation without being seen by the authorities who would kill them. It wasn’t terribly cold yet, though it was fall and starting to get cold, and we were (except for the last time) taken only a short distance away and could find our way back pretty quickly.
On the 25th, I wrote in my pledge diary, “Starting to get stressed out.”
On the 26th, we did a carnival of some kind; the actives changed the meeting time on us, which inconvenienced the pledges. Rachel and Tammy were ticked about everything.
That night, I learned that I was not the only one thinking of quitting: Tammy had the same thoughts. Sometimes it just seemed like too much to do, with everything else. The actives were also ticked with us, and sent us on a walk with a piece of toilet paper that was not to be torn or wrinkled. But by Grossheusch, we saw a huge, white shape, probably an owl, fly from a tree.
On the 27th was a Trust Walk, a kind of obstacle course, with our pledge sisters. You were supposed to wear a blindfold and do whatever your pledge sister led you to do, showing your trust in her.
This was supposed to be a secret thing that Memadmin considered hazing; once or twice, there was a bustle because they saw Memadmin’s car (so they said). They said that Memadmin hated the Greek organizations and wanted them gone, and would find any excuse she could to get rid of them.
The Trust Walk was by the suites, probably in the courtyard or maybe in the yard behind Hofer. I think it was at night. It was snowing and cold.
Jennifer took me to a stairway in the suites and had me crawl up and down and go under things which I couldn’t see, with me, all the while, trusting that she was leading me in the right direction and wouldn’t let any harm come to me. We didn’t know where we were at the time, or that there really wasn’t a low fence above our heads.
On the 28th, we unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap Sharon. We hid in the darkened RA supply room for this. There had been tales that it was haunted by a spirit of suicide, and that it had been made into an RA room because at least two girls who’d lived there had committed suicide.
But no ghosts bothered us that night. I took off work and Rachel skipped her late French class, which was, I think, with Ruth.
Hell Week was aptly named: it was the week of testing, after or during which you would be initiated. You had to follow so many rules it was hard to remember them all. The Phi-Delts had to be dressed up every day, for one. I won’t go into everything I remember because I’m not sure how much of it is secret.
Our punishments were carrying around various items, which I also won’t name, though everybody in the school would have seen them. These items were always in danger of being stolen by frat pledges. The Phi-Delt actives called it “Help Week,” but everyone else called it Hell Week. I’ve mentioned elsewhere some of the things other pledges had to do.
On the 31st, I spent all day cleaning my room and ironing. Though no one ever actually checked my room, the word was that we had to have even our underwear ironed for Hell Week and that the actives could come check our rooms at any time.
The first day of Hell Week was Sunday, November 1. I got to hold Baby Omega, a hard-boiled egg in a miniature baby basket, decorated to look like it had a face and was a baby in a basket. It was cute.
Though we were supposed to ignore “evils” (males) as if they didn’t even exist during Hell Week (which I believe the actives said we were excellent at), we were allowed to talk to men if it was for or in a class or if it was a teacher or if we were at church. So when I went to church on day one of Hell Week, it was a relief to be able to talk to the men and boy there. I told them about the “evils” stuff, and they laughed.
I expected Hell Week to be a bit of a trial, but until I got involved in pledging, I didn’t realize just how taxing it could be. I couldn’t memorize all the rules they gave us (I think there were several pages of them), and often forgot them. (I bet NVLD had something to do with this.)
I had no idea I was supposed to greet all the actives before sitting down at meals, for example, until they got mad and told me I had to do it. Rachel later said it was pretty stupid not to, but it wasn’t stupidity, it was ignorance.
Then we also had to get up and wear a dress for 7am breakfast, which was really hard to do after they kept us up late into the night. Then they didn’t let us take naps during the day to make up for this.
In the evenings at the meetings, they would give us our points and I would find pages filled with various things I had done “wrong” and the points taken away from me. I felt I could do nothing right.
I was punished far more than anybody else: Some of the point amounts taken away were so large that it seemed ridiculous, probably going into the tens or even hundreds. My points were going into the negatives! It was impossible to make them up now.
Then I’d be made to carry Sally, this big rag doll, which I believe was supposed to be a “punishment,” what the person with the least points would carry. Carrying around Baby Omega wasn’t so bad; this was for the midrange of points.
But soon into Hell Week, I never got to carry her; I only got Sally. I always had the least number of points of anyone. I wanted to cry.
The thought of a whole week of this stuff made me only wish for the end of it–and wasn’t pledging supposed to be fun? I also wondered how I could stand going through a Hell Week every semester until graduation, since even as an active I would have to deal with them: getting up for breakfast, going to meetings, that sort of thing.
We pledges often complained that the actives themselves showed a lack of unity by not always showing up for meals or meetings during Hell Week like they were supposed to, and often backbiting each other.
We were supposed to yell greetings (such as “Hello Miss —“) to the actives even if they were halfway across the campus and we saw them.
I felt physically unable to yell. There had been various times throughout my life, including when Emily would yell greetings to me, when I had tried to yell and ended up barely speaking above my normal voice. I had never even been able to scream, except maybe on a roller coaster (and even then I don’t think I was very loud). To this day, it’s hard for me to get my voice that loud.
I believe that, during Hell Week, I made myself look neither to the right nor to the left as I walked along the sidewalks, in hopes I wouldn’t see an active and have to yell at her.
I didn’t wear a dress in Food Service, though I was supposed to wear one the rest of the time, because that was hardly the place to wear nice clothes like that. You’d sweat in them (it was very steamy back there) and possibly get ketchup or the weird Food Service smell on them.
When I was expressing my worries once, Rachel said the actives probably wouldn’t make me wear a dress to work because “they know it’s a suck job” or “sucky job” or “sh-ty job.”
Since I also hadn’t heard any rules stating that pledges could carry each others’ doll or egg or whatever, I had no clue that I could give Sally to one of my pledge sisters to watch while I was working. So where else could I put her but in the coat room? For what happened next, see a letter which I have copied below.
It may have been during Hell Week when Dori dropped out. I believe Tammy dropped out a bit before that, saying she came into the sorority to meet people but I believe she said either she had no time or didn’t like the pledging stuff that was going on.
I didn’t know about it until somebody told me about it the next day, and I believe Dori was talking to us about it on the little lawn outside the front door of Old Main.
It seems like there were three of us during the first day or two of Hell Week, but soon there were only two. I believe she told us she didn’t like feeling like she had to be friends with the Phi-Delts just because they were Phi-Delts, and may have said that this was especially because of how they were treating us.
The last walk, the one which I considered to be hazing and a true punishment, along with an unfair and dangerous one because of the possibility of frostbite, was on the second day of Hell Week, Monday, November 2. I wrote about it in the letter copied below.
We were sent on this walk because we couldn’t find anything during an on-campus scavenger hunt. Pledge “unity” had turned into an us against them attitude, since the way the actives treated us had made this necessary. (One compliment they did have for us was that we were very unified.)
Rachel and I had a talk during the walk about both quitting. I was so angry with the actives that I began thinking seriously about it, and I may have made up my mind before the walk was even over.
I keep thinking I made it halfway through Hell Week; maybe I quit on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. It was said that we would have only had to go through part of Hell Week, and that the night of the day I quit (and then Rachel quit) would have been the night we got initiated. The word was that they were already getting ready for it.
Here is a clipping of my e-mail to Mike (Wendy’s brother) in late 1999:
Did you know I was part of the Ill-Fated Pledge Class of 1992?
“The Ill-Fated Pledge Class” was the Phi-Delt name for it.
For about a month I actually thought I’d like to be a Phi-Delt, me, the loner. One person wondered if it was because my ex was a Zeta, but no, it was because I had friends in it and it sounded fun.
But as pledging went on, it just didn’t seem as much fun anymore. Actives being mean may have been playacting, but it still was annoying, and I didn’t see any sense in it.
And we never could understand why we should take the Greek alphabet recitals so seriously. It was just so funny to stand up there reciting it in unison for the actives. But when we giggled we ended up getting demerits.
These demerits were made up by carrying out punishments which the actives gave us, such as bumming pennies or going on a walk.
Then there was the time I was forced to leave Sally in the coat room by the kitchen…I didn’t know of anything else to do with her, since I worked in Food Service and couldn’t have her with me, so they [somehow found her and] stuck her in the Phi-Delt room and made it look like she’d gone and gotten drunk because of me not watching over her…She was just a doll!
Then there was Hell Week… All those rules I could never memorize, constantly breaking ones I wasn’t aware of because of that, trying to get my homework done, trying to survive on little sleep and not being allowed to nap, actives acting meaner, then finally the actives get really upset with us (there were only two of us left by this time) and send us out on a walk in the frigid cold, so far out we have no clue where we are…
We had our pledge sisters with us, but they didn’t know any better than we did where we were. We walked for hours trying to find the campus in the cold and dark, and by the time we got back, it was already 1:30 (on a school night), my feet had gone from chilled to [hurting to] numb (possibly frostbitten), Rachel and I had discussed dropping out (while the actives were out of hearing range), and I was mad.
There’s no way I’d ever want to go through that again. It was that night or the next that I decided to drop out, and Rachel soon followed, after going through breakfast in the morning.
She told them I’d dropped out and then told me they were a bit ticked I hadn’t gone there myself to tell them, but after the late nights they’d been giving us, there was no way I wanted to dress up and go to breakfast at 7 in the morning.
A couple years later, I was mystified to hear that Rachel would have liked to try joining again. Why, after all that?
I also talked with Rachel in her room before or after quitting, and she read a letter she had written about the Phi-Delts. I remember something about a tree being used as an image, and her showing disgust about how the actives had treated the pledges and the actives’ lack of unity. Then she asked me if I thought it was a good letter, and I did.
But one thing I don’t believe I knew at the time was that it was a letter, and not just a poem or essay she had written to make herself feel better, and that she planned to actually give it to the Phi-Delts.
The ironic thing about it was, Pearl later told me that the letter about their lack of unity had so distressed the Phi-Delts and given them such a common cause that they ended up more unified.
Jennifer soon pulled me aside, probably after Sophomore Honors and probably into a deserted hallway in Verhulst, the music building, and talked to me. She was worried that I was mad at the Phi-Delts and felt the way Rachel did about them.
At that time, I felt I could truthfully say I wasn’t mad at the Phi-Delts. (I was mad at some of them, but, I guess, not all of them as a whole.) Perhaps she had tried to explain the actions of the Phi-Delts and put them in a nicer light, which would explain my change of heart.
Of course, I hadn’t yet read a letter Rachel would send to the campus newspaper in April. Jennifer told me about the letter Rachel had dropped off in the Phi-Delt room–she just went down there while they were there and dropped it off–and I told her I hadn’t been aware she would actually show it to the Phi-Delts. I’d thought it was an angry letter which you write but don’t send.
She asked me not to talk to others about the secret pledging things we did, since part of the fun of being in a sorority is having these secrets.
Of course, things like walks and pledges avoiding evils and all that are common knowledge (all the Greek organizations seemed to do that), so I don’t feel bad about talking about those things.
As for any secrets I may have revealed here, well, for one thing I’ve been told they changed their pledging because Rachel revealed so much of it in her letter in April. The things I’ve written here were, most of them, done in front of people outside the organization, either students or people in the surrounding towns.
Jennifer told me to keep my pledge diary so that, if I ever decided I wanted to pledge again, I could read it and remember why I dropped out in the first place, leading me to never make that mistake of pledging again.
I did, however, have to let her remove things from it, things that pertained to the actives which they didn’t want people outside the organization to have. This included the actives’ schedules, mottos and such which we were to memorize, and the interviews I had done with the actives.
Cindy got really mad at Pearl and Sharon over how they treated pledges, and noticed, the day after I quit, that I sat by the non-trad in Sophomore Honors instead of by them.
I did this because, yes, I was still hurting and fuming over the whole thing. I did soon start sitting with them again and forgave them, and it all seemed forgotten–though, possibly, not by Cindy.
After that, and after a Zeta party which I describe in the November 1992 chapter, I did not like fraternities or sororities. I was told that the Phi-Delts changed a lot of things because of the “Ill-Fated Pledge Class,” and because of scathing letters Rachel wrote to the Phi-Delts and the school newspaper, and that I should pledge again, but I refused.
Though I didn’t think Rachel’s letter was appropriate, and she later regretted it, it spoke of things I was not aware of before, things which made it sound like some actives did not want me in the sorority for some mysterious reason.
We were told that we were the most unified pledge class; however, we were unified against the actives. I don’t see how hazing causes unity in a fraternity or sorority.
To my shock, senior year, Rachel said she wanted to pledge again, but couldn’t now. She even regretted dropping out. How could this be, after the things we’d said to each other the night before dropping out?
Not all the actives seemed to join in the hazing. Some were really sweet. I think my friends and our pledge sisters stayed out of the worst of it, but it was still hard to deal with being reprimanded or punished by a group that included close friends.
I soon forgave my friends, but there never was any sort of relationship between me and my Phi-Delt suitemate, Mary. I also had trouble with the pledge master Wendy.
That semester, only the Phi-Delts and the Zetas could have pledges, for some reason I’ve forgotten. All the Zeta pledges also dropped out one by one, until neither the Phi-Delts nor the Zetas had pledges left.
On April 30, a letter to the editor by Rachel hit the school newspaper. It filled the last page with complaints about the Phi-Delts.
The Phi-Delts were very upset, and also changed many of their practices to be less harsh, and because the letter gave away pledging secrets (one reason why I included the details I did in my account: they were no longer secrets anyway).
I won’t describe all of what she said, just how it affected me and my own account, since I don’t think there’s much point in rehashing all of her complaints.
She spoke of “psychological abuse,” such as being “ridiculed and degraded” with laughs, heckles, snide remarks and crudeness for not finishing the scavenger hunt on time. She spoke of “mental abuse, belittlement,” “cruelty.”
I noted a few references to me, though I was not named: forcing even a “rather conservative” pledge to ask guys for condoms and underwear (I felt humiliated by this task and not having the option to sit it out), and “the only other [remaining] pledge” on the Trust Walk.
This part particularly bothered me, because I now discovered new reasons to feel paranoid, things I did not know before, and could have happily spent the rest of my life not knowing: Rachel was told to climb a stairway on her hands and knees, but walk back down; I was “forced to crawl” up and down. The actives had also gathered an audience to watch us.
Another example of hazing is the point system the actives put us under. Rarely did the other pledge receive a positive total of points at the end of the day.
It made me want to cry.
In fact, it was said that the actives would discuss in their meetings reasons they could take points away from this pledge the next time they saw her. (All this, and more, because they did not want her to be a successful pledge. Several members were quoted as having said, ‘I hope she quits.’)
WHAT? WHY? Why on earth did they have it in for me? What could I have possibly done to make them want me to quit? Me, who never wanted to offend anyone, who barely even knew any of them, and was usually called sweet, quiet, innocent, nice, kind, caring? I could not recall ever doing anything to hurt these people!
I don’t know why they didn’t like me. I try to be nice to people. Here I was feeling a rejection I hadn’t felt in some time, and remembering that I’d felt like crying when things were going on.
It was especially bad because of what was going on with Shawn at that time, which already depressed me and did horrible things to my self-esteem. I was glad to realize that it probably wasn’t the whole group doing this, just maybe a few people who didn’t know me all that well, that my friends there would never have done such a thing as those few people did.
This also reassured me that I made the right decision in quitting, because, as I jotted in the margin, this was “subtle, but classical, sorority snobbery”–and I wanted no part of an organization that behaved this way. It was middle school all over again! She wrote,
Is it really so difficult to tell someone when you don’t feel that person is ‘Greek material,’ especially if you pressure her into joining in the first place?
She spoke of backstabbing, gossip, complaining instead of changing, harassment, “criticize in the cruelest of ways,” “degrade to compensate for lack of self-esteem, belittle, or abuse others for their own pleasure.”
It confirmed that what I felt was abuse, really was, that I was not the only one feeling abused. Even Cindy had been upset at them.
Losing hundreds of points for stupid reasons and having to carry Sally, that humiliated me. And isn’t humiliation one of the determining factors for if something is hazing?
And if it was all just mind games, something they didn’t really mean and something they claimed to have gone through themselves that only brought them closer together in the end–why would I want to be with a group of people who treated people that way as a joke?
The fact that they didn’t apologize for the things they did need to answer for, or even try to explain them as misunderstandings or rumors, concerned me and made me even more glad I quit before I was initiated.
As I told Clarissa, the letter actually embarrassed me because Rachel would refer to the only remaining pledge besides her–and anyone who paid attention would know that was me.
This is a time when I probably most wanted to speak to Shawn, but he was gone home. Though I’m not sure why I’d want to, after the psychological abuse he himself put me through, but I still suffered from Stockholm Syndrome.
Rachel later felt sorry for sending this letter to the editor, and even considered pledging again. That surprised me.
As for my blog stalkers, Richard and Tracy–Fine, let them go ahead and look. Let them come to my church and GreekFest. I no longer care. My fear of them is gone. Their power over me is gone.
The blockers weren’t working anyway on their cell phone, but I see every page they read, using my four stat counter trackers. Maybe they’ll learn something.
They want me to fear them; they want to silence me; as long as they do that, they still have power over me. I’ve lived in fear of them far long enough. ENOUGH!
Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom as great… Damn. I can never remember that line…..You have no power over me. —Sarah, Labyrinth
But they must leave me alone, not speak a word to me except in repentance for the many hurtful things they’ve both done to me, which they’re already well aware of, since they read everything (or at least glanced over it).
If they don’t speak to me, especially in anger, if they refrain from nastiness if I’m serving coffee hour, if they stay away from me and don’t cause trouble for me, then going to my priest requesting a contract to protect the bullying victim–
(as I mentioned in “Mutual Friends,” which they seemed so enraged about and called a “threat,” but would be my right and duty to ask for, to protect myself as a bullying victim)–
would be unnecessary. That is, after all, the entirety of what I would ask for in such a contract.
From what I could gather from context, this is the “threat” they referred to in “Now I’m Being Stalked,” of my going to “members of the church.”
Considering it was not addressed to them but was a musing over how I would have to deal with it if our churches merged, and was my right as a victim–
If they take it as a “threat” then it must have scared them to think I would do this and show the priest proof of Richard’s conviction (to establish my credibility and show I had reason to be scared).
But showing a criminal record is not in any way “defamation,” but truth, and it is not “defamation” for a victim to request help from her priest because she has been bullied or abused in some way.
This threat to sue me is merely an empty, groundless, baseless threat made by bullies to keep their victim under their thumbs.
Interesting how they felt they could say all sorts of terrible things to me and treat me like crap, but if I turn around and call them on their BS, tell them they’re abusers and need to knock it off, they act like I’ve committed a horrible crime.
Things could have ended so very differently, and I would never have felt driven to release the hurt and pain and frustration through writing, if not for their hard hearts.
If I never cared about Richard, if there weren’t some part of me which still cared even after all this crap and the choking incident, I would’ve been able to walk away from this whole thing, put it into a work of fiction perhaps (as I did with the sociopath who caused our shire trouble back in ’99, and with the “Avenger” back in college), and that would be that.
The depths of my pain and trouble getting past it, are testimony to just how much it mattered to me, how much I cared about my so-called best friend and the kind of person I thought he was. I’ve tried to stomp on that piece of my heart that still cares about Richard, shoot it, rip it to pieces, hammer it, stab it, and yet that little piece of caring still remains.
And there was a time when I cared about Tracy, too, and craved her good opinion as well, wanted her to become a friend I could watch TV with and such. But forgiveness is still there for the taking, if they only would ask.
But I don’t expect they ever will, because narcissists care as much and are just as sorry for the destruction they leave behind them, as a homeowner is when killing off the ants who’ve invaded his bedroom.
[Update 6/11/14: Up till I posted this, they had fallen down on their threat to stalk me at church all summer long. They showed up a couple of times, showed up at GreekFest, then stopped. Then I posted this, they read it in the wee hours of the following morning, and they showed up again on August 19.
They were remarkably well-behaved–just as I laid out in this post as a requirement for the “contract” I would want, if they began going to my church full-time.
But that’s the last time I ever saw them at church or at GreekFest.]
The trouble with dealing with narcissists is that they can still manipulate you as long as you are still emotionally connected to them. It is necessary to break free of that power they have over you, so they can no longer touch you, no matter what they do. My purpose now is to break that power.
Tracy and, possibly, Richard, who seems to have been recruited to this as well (along with one friend who was also recruited but is blocked from my Facebook now), have been playing games with my head for the past several weeks, but in such a subtle way as to make me look like the crazy one.
First, after reading all my blogs in (from what they said to me) narcissistic glee, they sent me a nasty e-mail that twisted the truth, denied their abuses and bullying, tried to turn everything around on me, and laughed at me for being upset about the things they did; they threatened to sue me if I went to my priest for help.
They know I don’t want them on this blog anymore since their purpose is malicious, so they found a way around my blocks and have been checking it constantly. They know I don’t want to see them, so they’ve been putting themselves right where I can see them.
The purpose is to screw with my mind and take me down. If everyone thinks I’m crazy, then I’m the one discredited, and they get away with what they did. It is one massive mind screw.
So I have two choices: give in to the mind screw and let them take me down, or fight back by removing the power from them to do this.
Tracy has always been very competitive, playing her games–whether Risk, or online games, or the game she’s playing in your head–to win. It’s not about you at all. She has identified and is exploiting my vulnerabilities, which is what you do in war.
She obviously sees me as a threat, or else why would she do all this? If you really think I’m so “not all there,” then just laugh and ignore my lunatic ravings.
My priest has told me not to check my blog stats for a while, even though it does serve a legitimate purpose of seeing if anyone (besides various bots, which are peskily numerous) is actually reading what I post, and even though bloggers typically want to know who’s reading. But the purpose of fasting from the stats is to make Richard and Tracy vanish.
The narcissist central focus is control. The narcissist is interested in controlling emotions and fostering a sense of attachment to his victims even when he is no longer physically a part of their lives.
Mind games are essentially utilized to torture the victim and to take over the mental processes of the victim. This negation of thoughts and cogitation is fostered by keeping the victim attached to the narcissistic ex partner through inferences, drafting and keeping the victim connected to the situation that she desperately needs to overcome….
Do not allow the narcissist to exploit you and play games with your mind. Do not permit someone to have dominion over your thoughts and your private moments.
They are yours; seize them now before it is too late. Get your control back but before you lose not just only a love interest but your sanity, pride and maybe your life. –Crystal Evans, Why the Narcissist Loves Mind Games
You have the option of knowing what he is up to and therefore not allowing yourself to be taken in by his games. The narcissist will prey on you only as long as you let him. —Tigress Luv, Narcissistic Mind Games
I know that, in my own experience, getting in touch with my feelings was the turning point. I started to explore my feelings, asking myself just exactly how this stuff was making me feel. I mean that I dug deep until I could put my finger on exactly HOW a thing made me feel.
Did it make me feel violated in some way? Did it make me feel like two cents waiting for change? And so on.
And then I zeroed in on why what the narc did made me feel that way. Guess what? I discovered that all my feelings were perfectly natural and that I was just being normal and human for feeling that way.
I also saw that the narcissist was deliberately working to make me feel that way. Needless to say, that changed everything. I was no longer easy prey. –Kathy Krajco, Examples of Narcissistic Behavior
then intimidated into silence through threats if I dare to tell my priest what they’ve been doing–
It is a balm to my soul every time I am with my friends, every time I am with nice people. At church, I’m accepted as I am. I am an introvert, mixed in with elements of selective mutism and nonverbal learning disorder, so I sit quietly as others around me at church chat with each other; yet they still smile at me and accept me as I am.
When I am with friends, real friends, good friends, such as I was yesterday for July 4, they accept me as I am. I sit there quietly most of the time, listening to the conversation, contributing if I have something to say on the subject, but mostly just listening.
This is the way introverts are; it’s the way our brains work; it’s the way we were born to be. And my true friends accept this.
I was with a friend of 20 years yesterday; she and my husband spoke far more than she did with me, but it was all okay. She’s an extrovert, but she knows I am this way, always have been, always will be.
There was a time when some extroverted friends tried to get me to talk more, even to strangers, but they were gentle about it, just made a couple of comments they saw as helpful, and now they just know it’s the way I am.
Years ago, at my last job before becoming a housewife, one of the secretaries made some snarky comment about my quietness to the other secretaries. I didn’t hear it, but I certainly heard of it, as all the other secretaries were incensed with her for what she said about me, as they considered me a sweet person who didn’t deserve it.
So even though there might be the occasional person like Tracy, bullying me for being quiet, most of the adults I’ve known since leaving school, have been far nicer about it.
The emotional trauma of being bullied for so long and so viciously is still with me, still affecting me every day. But every time I am with people at church or my real friends, it is a huge help.
It reminds me that not everyone is like Richard and Tracy, that most people I know are not like Richard and Tracy, that most people, period, are not like Richard and Tracy.
This reminder helps a little in drawing me a bit out of that shell that’s been around me ever since they emotionally eviscerated me for being shy and quiet.
My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.
That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to. But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.
It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits. As the author wrote on the main page,
Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect. The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….
Why would I want to put such a personal document online? There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD. There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.
Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it. When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”
Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue. My wish is to give hope to others.
Like me, the author changed names and identifying details. This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.
It’s the most baffling part of Richard and Tracy threatening a lawsuit, because I never used and never intend to use their real names in these blogs–and anything I would tell my priest about this, would be the truth, and not in any way actionable.
Why the past still haunts me is for that exact same reason. As long as they aren’t exposed for who they truly are, I can’t rest.
All this time I thought it was because of the horrible things I’ve seen that I can’t let go. Actually it’s the fact that I’ve been forced to keep it inside that makes it impossible for me to move forward.
I know how you feel, Prozac Blogger. The more my bullies try to silence me, the more I speak up. The more they try to threaten and intimidate me to get me under their thumb, the more I wriggle back out from under it.
I will not stop going to my church because of them. I will not let them frighten me away from my own church, a church which they have always hated anyway, so the only reason they’re coming to it now is to intimidate and oppress me, a sinful, black-hearted attitude straight from Hell, which God will deal with.
I will not shut up to pacify my bullies. I will not remove my blogs. I will fight any and all attempts to silence me.
They will find that I’m not as weak as they thought I was. The stubbornness of my family is proverbial.
I’ve been speaking out about Richard and Tracy’s bullying ever since the very day of 7/1/10, when they told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff, because we don’t need the headache.”
And I will continue to speak out about it. I will document here, online, every single thing they do to continue to stalk and intimidate me.
I will not let them bully me at church and cut me off from my support system. The more they oppress me, the more I will tell.
The only thing that would stifle my need to tell, would be if they repented for what they did–and they have made it very clear (see “Now I’m Being Stalked” for their e-mail expressing this) that they have no remorse. I will not let them censor me like some government book-burning fireman (Fahrenheit 451).
This is not about revenge. If it were, then I would’ve used their real names so Google searches on them would lead to this. I could even have made things up, written lies. But I did neither.
No, it’s about sharing a story in my own life for a few different reasons:
to vent/get it out
to share with others who are also dealing with abuse/bullying and validate their own experiences
and because as a writer, I am driven to write down and share the interesting or bizarre stories I see happening in real life. As you can see from my College Memoirs, it’s hard to explain why I feel the need to share my stories, just that I do.
They seem to think they can intimidate me into silence, but they can’t. I would fight them even in front of a judge for the right to tell the truth about what they did to me and others. If they do sue me, I will win because I am telling the truth and have done nothing illegal.
Forcing abuse/bullying victims to be silent about their abuse, would have a chilling effect, as other abuse/bullying victims continue to hold their silence and continue to be victims rather than survivors.
TRUTH is a 100% defense to defamation, slander or libel. Accusing someone of defamation, slander or libel when they are telling the truth or giving an OPINION, however, CAN BE actionable.
The irony is that when they came around, I was finally done writing about this, had gotten most of it out of my system, did not plan on writing much else about it. They weren’t coming to my church anymore, and I thought I wouldn’t have to see them again. But then they started harassing me over sharing my story, and are giving me all sorts of new fodder for blogs…..
As if it weren’t bad enough that they spiritually and emotionally traumatized me through this whole experience, as if it weren’t bad enough that they bullied me and then Tracy verbally abused me, now they’re trying to silence me from telling the truth, trying to threaten and intimidate me for speaking out. Their narcissism is confirmed.
It’s very hard when people are deliberately and defiantly non repentant and hard faced – turning up in church as if nothing is wrong and nothing has happened. Having to cope with your abusers turning up in church whilst deliberately sticking 2 fingers up at God is beyond the capacity of describe.
Having to cope with your abusers continuing to use the church as their cover story is beyond awful and beyond hypocrisy. Having them do all of that on that back of having lied and denied to prevent justice and to prevent exposure is disgusting and distasteful at the very least.
It is utterly appalling for me as a victim, for those who gave evidence against them to the police and for the church leadership who now know the truth about them. It’s totally ghastly and repulsive to be brutally honest. It is as if they have no conscience at all.
Sometimes when people have lied and denied for long enough they actually believe their lies and denials to be absolute truth regardless of evidence to the contrary. Thus they worm their way out of it and can be incredibly and frighteningly convincing in their true lies….
Without confession, repentance, admission of guilt or other things which lead to closure surely it will always be there at the back of your mind. Having to watch your abusers behaving as if nothing untoward happened and all is normal fuels the fire. When people have been so deliberately cruel to you and are so defiant when faced with the truth where can you go?
How can such defiance be coped with, processed and gotten out of your mind. It is in reality and in all truth extremely difficult. It’s almost impossible to forgive cruel people who lie, pretend all is normal and do all they can legally to silence you and keep their evil deeds secret.
One thing’s for sure I’m not going to protect them anymore by keeping silent about what ‘THEY’ did.
Another thing’s for sure, I ain’t going to spend the rest of my life feel intimidated by ‘them’ and living in fear of ‘them’ anymore.
The last few months have shown me ‘they’ are the weak ones. ‘They’ are the ones who have stuff to fear NOT ME. ‘They’ are just bullies and cowards and may choose to spend the rest of their lives living in delusion and denial BUT I choose to speak and live in the TRUTH. There is enormous strength in doing that!!
You may find yourself wanting to search for your abuser on Facebook. You may have questions like What is he/she up to? Is he/she successful? Is he/she hurting other people? You may find yourself wanting to tell your abuser’s friends what he/she has done or to contact him/her to have your say.
All of these feelings are normal and many survivors have struggled with the same things. It is always a good idea to think through any decisions and to not act spontaneously. If you find yourself feeling like this, give yourself time to process these feelings and to think about why. You might ask yourself:
Why do I want to contact him/her?
What do I hope to accomplish?
What will I do if I do not get the reaction I was hoping for?
How will this affect me and my healing?
Giving a decision like this proper thought can help you. You need to make sure you aren’t damaging your own well-being in order to find out more about your abuser’s current life or exposing them to others. It’s important to take time to think about what you hope to achieve and why you have this urge to make contact.
You may well find that actually having contact with them is not at all what you want and discover other ways of releasing the things you want to say to your abuser or their friends, through letter writing (sent or unsent), art, therapy and so on.
When your abuser contacts you
You may find that your abuser uses Facebook to try to make contact with you, which can be something very difficult for a survivor. If this happens, you should consider immediately blocking this individual. Please see below for how to block someone.
If your abuser is sending you harassing or threatening messages, you might consider reporting them. You can find information on reporting them to Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=798
Although it may be your instinct to delete any messages from an abuser, we recommend saving any threatening messages and keeping a log of any contact with the abuser. This will come in handy if you decide to speak to the police about what has happened. –Ash, Facebook and Survivor Issues
You told me that if I wrote to you again that you would flush my letter down the toilet, “a proper receptacle for your crap,” is how you put it. That’s fine with me. That is your right to do so.
But it is also my right to express myself about the violation that I suffered as a child. A crime was committed against me and I have a right to speak about it.
If that makes you or anyone else uncomfortable, then that is something you ought to look at within yourself.
Your behavior is why child sexual abuse continues. Those who try and silence victims by calling them names, by trying to demean them, and by using threats against them is what throws a blanket of protection around child abusers.
So go ahead and flush this letter down your toilet because you can’t flush the truth and won’t stop me from speaking it.
Your pretending that I do not share this planet with you will not stop my book from existing, nor will it stop me from getting my book into the hands of other survivors of child sexual abuse. I intend on helping people, even if you don’t want to help yourself. —A letter by “Alethea” to a sister who denied abuse
It is always curious to me when people who have hurt someone so profoundly will totally deny any responsibility or offer an apology.
Do they not understand that a sincere, honest, heart-felt apology and an offer to make some kind of amends is all we ever want from them? For them to be honest with themselves and then with us?
Consequently, Jesus commanded us to continue the disciplinary process, (if at all possible,) by calling in the help of one or two fellow believers, or people the abuser might respect.
We follow this step in the hope that abusers may be convicted by the fact that their victims no longer stand alone. When abusers realize they cannot bully their victims in secret any longer, our united confrontation might shame them into conviction of sin.
Should our abusers fail to listen to one or more witnesses as well, Jesus commanded victims to take the matter one step further by “telling it to the congregation.”
Make his or her abuse public, in other words. Expose your abuser to greater conviction.
If at all possible, stand up in the presence of your abuser and in front of the whole congregation, family, or whomever you are able to call upon for help; tell them of the abuse and the steps you have taken, and ask them to investigate and judge the matter. —Dealing with Abuse and Abusers God’s Way
Have you watched the movie Gaslighting with Ingrid Bergman? In the movie, a woman’s lover slowly but surely makes her feel as if she is insane.
The movie title lends itself to a type of abuse, oftentimes the gateway mode of abuse clearing the path for grander abuses later in the relationship. Gaslighting occurs when someone persuades you to “believe the unbelievable” (The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life by Dr. Robin Stern) despite your instincts’ whispers of “Something is not right here…” –Kellie Jo Holly, Gaslighting
A history of conducting frivolous, vexatious and malicious legal actions and threats, especially (but not exclusively) against anyone who can recognize the sociopath for what he is
Only after the sociopath is exposed and relieved of position, or they move on, can the full depth of their destructive behavior be fathomed and the consequences calculated
Is skilled at identifying, undermining, discrediting, neutralizing and destroying anyone who can see through the sociopath’s mask of sanity at all times
Restricts the actions and rights of others (especially those holding the sociopath accountable) whilst aggressively protecting his or her right to do anything without being hampered by social norms or legal requirements
Pursues endless vindictive vendettas against anyone perceived as a threat or who attempts, knowingly or unknowingly, to identify or reveal or expose the sociopath, or who makes efforts to hold the sociopath accountable
Is adept at appropriating rules, regulations, procedures and law to manipulate, control and punish accusers regardless of relevance, logic, facts or consequences persists in and pursues vindictive vendettas using self-evidently false evidence or information, even after this is brought to the attention of the sociopath
will often manipulate minor bullies of the Wannabe type (who on their own might or would not merit the label ’serial bully’) into acting as agents of harassment and as unwitting or unwilling conductors/ proxies of vendettas —Sociopathic Characteristics–Is Your Cyberpath One?
By sharing your story, you can validate the experience of hundreds of other abuse victims who are unsure about what is happening to them or who believe that abusive relationships are “normal”. —Break Your Silence
A blog post from someone also being accused of libel and threatened with legal action, for speaking out about her abuse.