July 1, 2010 is the day we felt forced to end the friendship with our narcissistic abusers, Richard and Tracy. It was a trying day, when I was blasted with abuse by Tracy as she crowed about it on Facebook, while Richard betrayed me by never telling anyone the truth, instead deflecting all blame onto me. Meanwhile, Tracy felt convinced she was right, when she was all wrong.
It felt like the end of the world. I couldn’t stop crying or my mind going over and over it. I felt like I wanted to die.
I struggled going to church, which only reminded me of Richard. I struggled with sleep. I struggled with getting up and going about my day. I longed for my betrayer to apologize. I longed for Tracy to finally recognize she was wrong and admit how she’d abused me.
The ten-year anniversary has passed. On the one hand, wow has time flown by. In many ways, 10 years ago feels like yesterday. But on the other hand, that feels like a totally different world, like it was so long ago.
So long ago, in fact, that when the anniversary finally came, I forgot about it, and it passed.
But I still want to celebrate 10 years since we finally kicked Tracy to the curb. She was the worst person I’ve ever known, and I’ve known some abusive a**holes. She was racist, ableist, abusive, controlling, foul-mouthed, vicious. She was no Christian, though she pretended to be one. The entire time I knew her in person (and not just on the Internet), I struggled because I didn’t want to be around a bully like her, but felt forced into friendship with her whether I liked it or not. Seriously, forcing somebody to be friends with you does nothing but create resentment.
And the fact that I did finally gather up the strength to cut her off, has given me more confidence in myself. It has proven to me that I can trust my own instincts, even when other people tell me I’m being ridiculous. This experience also taught me about narcissism and other Cluster B disorders, something I knew nothing about, before. Without that knowledge, would I have recognized Trump for the monster he is, or tried to tell myself (like so many others–especially the news media–have done the past few years) that he isn’t really so bad as he appears?
This experience taught me that even the person I consider my best friend can be a narcissist, the telltale signs of it. My subsequent friendships have been healthier, as I stay away from problem people and enforce boundaries.
Today I read a thread on Twitter explaining that most men have done something to make a woman uncomfortable, or have even assaulted her, without realizing it–like, for example, drunken hook-ups. But it said NO! Don’t track her down and apologize to her! You’ll only re-traumatize her! And you’re only doing it to absolve yourself!
I want all my abusers–whether it involved mental, emotional, verbal, threatening, or sexual abuse, or sexual harassment–to track me down and apologize to me.
It’s not for him. It’s for me. It’s to hear from him that I did not deserve this, that it was all his fault. It’s to make it easier for me to forgive him. It’s to ease my mind from all the trauma and endless circles of thinking over the years that kept leading me back to the thought, Maybe I did something to deserve it. Maybe I was the real abuser.
I posted on Twitter:
TBH, I’d love to hear an apology from various people who abused me in the past. It’s not to make *them* feel better, but to hear them finally say that I did not deserve what they did. That would be tremendously healing. I long to hear this from Richard/Tracy/Shawn/Phil.
I keep hearing people say “Don’t contact the person you abused to apologize! It’ll re-traumatize them!” But that is NOT the way I feel about it at all! I even try to friend them on Facebook, open the lines of communication, hoping to hear this from them.
I told Richard/Tracy on my blog that they can apologize to me. I long to hear this from all my abusers. I’ve heard a version of it from Phil, but he never mentioned the sexual abuse. Ex-bullies have apologized; I welcomed it and became friends with them on Facebook.
I finally got Shawn to friend me on Facebook a few days ago. I’ve tried for years. I hoped he would see who I really am and not the distortion he had in his head 30 yrs ago.
Years ago we reconciled, so I thought it was okay for us to contact each other, yet I’ve heard nothing from him for 15 years despite a few attempts over that time. This friending on Facebook was important to me.
Two days later, he unfriended me without a word. I have no idea why.
Once again, it felt like that apology from him had escaped my grasp, like he still blamed me for everything, had still made me into a monster in his head, despite the reconciliation years ago. And yet he was the one who did the abusing, based on a patriarchal view of relationships and a prejudice against introversion. Phil and I also made peace with each other years ago, yet I still can’t get him to respond to me on Facebook just to find out how he is, make sure he’s still alive during COVID. Meanwhile, I’ve been friends online with Peter for many years. He messaged me recently to make sure I hadn’t gotten the plague. I want to find out the same from my other exes. Because no matter what they did 25 or 30 years ago, I still care.
This idea that abusers/rapists should not apologize–This is not universally held! I wonder how many of my abusers have held back from that apology I long for, because they’ve heard this.
In a way, seeing threads like the one I saw today, telling men to NEVER EVER track her down to apologize, feels like a new violation, a new invalidation of my feelings about past abuse. It feels like yet another denial of those apologies I so crave, like I’m wrong to even want an abuser to apologize to me. It’s good to do a quick Google search and see that no, I’m not wrong, that many people do actually feel the same way I do about apologies from abusers.
Danny reached out to me a few weeks ago for the first time in almost three decades to apologize, and I had no idea how much I needed to hear that from him.
Of course, an apology doesn’t change what Danny did to me and hearing it didn’t instantly wipe away the suffering I’ve experienced throughout my life because of it. However, Danny taking ownership of his actions, acknowledging how wrong they were and expressing his deep sorrow for what he did has helped to begin healing a wound I thought would never heal.
We aren’t sure where we go from here, but we are both better for having made contact again and the reconciliation that occurred as a result. My story is mine alone and every other survivor has their own personal tale to tell ― or not tell. That is up to them. And, if someone else’s abuser reaches out to ask for forgiveness, there should be no expectation that the survivor in that situation should accept the apology. Every experience and every survivor and every abuser is different and everyone needs to do what feels right to them.
So I picked up Sunday’s newspaper and saw what looked like Richard sitting at a training session in Madison for the 2020 Trump campaign. It was blurry, so it was hard to be sure, and I couldn’t find the picture on the newspaper’s website to make certain. But it sure looked like him–same size, same hair, same head shape, glasses–and had me thinking–
Well, I could say what I thought, but let’s just say I’m disgusted at the idea of him helping that potential antichrist get re-elected.
The end of the decade has me thinking a lot about the beginning of the decade, and how it’s gone so lightning-fast that 2010 might as well have been yesterday. The events are still so clear in my head–Heck, the events of 2000 still feel like yesterday as well. Two decades have just flown by so fast that I feel like I stepped into a time machine that suddenly aged me 20 years without me even feeling it.
That’s the thing that scares me about aging: that I’m going to blink my eyes and be 66. Then I’ll blink again and be dead. If I’m going to be 50 in several years, couldn’t it at least FEEL like it’s been 50 years, rather than maybe 25? A century doesn’t sound so long anymore.
Things that happened in college are finally starting to feel like a Long Time Ago, at least.
But what a decade! It feels like the late 90s and 00s were me starting to process and resolve what happened to me in college, along with a huge amount of religious questioning and revamping.
The 10s have been me processing and resolving the narcissistic abuse that Richard and his wife committed on me, along with the narc, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse I witnessed them commit on others including their own children.
In the midst of this, thanks to Facebook, I’ve discovered that my abusive ex’s behavior can all be blamed on his own diagnosed mental illnesses and narcissism–and NOT ME.
Then midway through the decade, we survivors of narcissistic abuse have been subjected to someone just like our abusers, becoming president–and this time we can’t escape the person or go No Contact. So I suppose it wouldn’t be surprising if my abusers are now supporting this person who is really just like them.
Though it is surprising in a way, considering how Richard used to go on about freedom and human rights of immigrants etc. Now he appears to be supporting a fascist who has a Nazi (Stephen Miller) advising him on immigration?
But this is yet another thing that helps resolve the abuse that happened at the end of the 00s. In 2010, nearly 10 years ago now, I was in agony over whether we had done the right thing in breaking off relations with Richard and Tracy. I was stuck in an endless loop of trying to remember what happened and figure out what was right, along with terrible grief because I thought Richard was my best and dearest friend. Writing and blogging about it was the only way I could finally stop that loop; researching old e-mails and other things helped me clarify what exactly had happened and why I felt the way I did.
The first half of the decade, I longed for Richard to apologize and make things right so that we could be friends again.
Almost ten years later, I don’t feel that way anymore.
One reason for that is what was revealed about his and Tracy’s character during this decade. There was Richard’s conviction for choking one of his kids. There was the two of them stalking me online, complete with a threatening message sent through Facebook. (They were both blocked, so they set up a fake account for the purpose.) Then they stalked me in person as well for a while. That stopped, and I’ve received no more messages, but to this day they stalk my blog. They were just on it a few weeks ago. That’s EIGHT YEARS of stalking my blog, as of next May.
I even know where Tracy works these days because she reads my blog at her workplace. Aren’t you supposed to be working and not stalking people at work?
There’s also learning how many ways my supposed “best friend’s” actions were anything but: the selfishness and lack of empathy, the mansplaining, the one-upmanship, the criticism and mocking, the mind games, the belief that he knew better than I did about *everything*. And don’t forget the gaslighting whenever I called out some abuse he or Tracy had been doing. And defending one of his friends after this person sexually harassed me, telling me I needed to “get over it.”
The only excuse I can come up with for putting up with Richard for so long, is that he had me under such a spell that I couldn’t recognize how badly he was treating me. (He even told me he hypnotized me without my knowledge.) I knew Tracy was abusing me, because she had no such spell over me. But I kept missing how Richard himself was also abusing me.
Now, ten years later, it’s all so clear and easy to recognize that I’ve long since stopped wishing he would come to us to make things right. Now, ten years later, I have a group of good friends online and off, who don’t make me cry all the time, or tell me I have to change myself to make them happy. I’ve met so many good people that I no longer fear that the next person I befriend will be a secret narcissist.
Oh yeah, another thing just happened: A couple of weeks ago, I found a message Richard sent to me on a gaming forum. It was in my old purse, which I was clearing out; back in 2008, I printed it out and put it there so I could tell the parish council his ideas on how to revitalize my church. I never took it out, so forgot it was even there. Now I read it, and found this in the second half:
And your friends [sic] husband just helped Satan seize complete control of this country. The next time I pay taxes I will have killed a baby because your friends [sic] husband helped bring about that “change.”
Seriously, I do not want to hear about anyone who voted for Obama, supported Obama or whatever. Obama is a murderer who supports murder, and anyone who voted for Obama is not an accomplice but a murderer as well. Those who voted for someone who supports killing newborns, which is all a baby in a womb is newly introduced to life [sic], a “newborn” are murderers [sic], directly and indirectly. I do not mean to sound mean but this issue is the most important. God curses those who sacrifice their babies to idols, which selfishness is the worst idol of them all, and the lands of those who murder their own are usually decimated within a generation or two from those who did so, historically. Well, that’s about another four to eight years from Roe vs. Wade, is it not?
(Check….Well, it’s been eleven years, and we’re not decimated yet.)
When I read this a couple of weeks ago, I decided to hold onto this unhinged rant as a reminder because it’s so nutty. So my friends [sic] husband was a murderer because he voted for a Democrat–one under which the abortion rate dropped, I might add?
Republican policies drive abortion UP and into back alley butchery; Democrats try to solve the problems that lead to abortion, making the numbers go DOWN. Republicans have been lying to us about abortion for many years.
As I ponder this, I think, “I thought he was more sane than that.” But then I begin to remember the many insane far-right conspiracy theories I used to hear from him, how he turned away from Evangelicalism and yet still sounded like the extremist Evangelicals fighting in the religious right culture wars. I remember how both he and Tracy used to go on and on about things that made me want to roll my eyes, all coming down to those wacky far-right “alternative facts” that I had already discovered were all lies.
This kind of thinking is one of the biggest reasons why I ran screaming from Evangelicalism all those years ago. It’s one of the reasons why I turned away from the Republican Party and hated the TEA Party.
Meanwhile, Richard himself, after writing the above, nearly killed one of his own children a couple of years later. He’d be in jail now but for a hand-slapping plea bargain.
Meanwhile, the same person who wrote the above, is he really supporting the worst person who has ever been called a US president–a criminal, a rapist, a serial liar, a wannabe dictator who is doing his best to dismantle everything that keeps this country a democracy? A man who has been enabling our country’s enemies to destroy us, too, who looked the other way at Khashoggi’s murder? A man who doesn’t care about children (and adults) being tortured and dying in concentration camps on the border? A man who uses every narcissistic trick in the book to surround himself with butt-kissing sycophants and gaslight everyone in the country? A man who my 90-year-old acquaintance recently said reminded her of Hitler?
Even “Anonymous,” the Trump administration official who wrote “A Warning” and who obviously is right-wing just the same, wrote that we in the Resistance are correct about why Trump does and says what he does. There is no altruism in Trump; cruelty really is the point.
So was it Richard in the picture, possibly Tracy beside him, campaigning for Trump? I keep looking at it and I’m almost certain it is. It looks just like Richard, and certainly fits with what I know of their politics. Anyone who actively supports the current Republican party (including during the days of Scott Walker) and Trump, anyone who actively campaigns for them, I don’t see how I can possibly have anything in common with such people.
Because these days, supporting the Republican Party means supporting evil and the demolition of our great democracy. It means supporting racism, torture, mistreatment of immigrants, oppression of various minority groups, yanking food and health care and help away from the poor. It means ignoring cries that someone has been sexually assaulted. It means permitting persecution as long as your favored group commits it. It means forcing women to carry babies to term even when they are at high risk of dying, or the father is her father, or they’ll be so poor they can’t even keep a roof over their heads, while doing absolutely nothing to help those women so they don’t see the need for abortions. It also means that if the 15-year-old girl does carry the baby to term, she’ll now be seen as a bad sort of girl who (gasp) has had sex.
It makes me not want to hear about anyone who voted for Trump, or supported Trump or whatever.
Many of us are saying that we can now see and understand how Hitler took control of the hearts and conscience of the Germans, because we see it happening all over again in our friends, neighbors, and family.
So while it seems like July 1, 2010 was just yesterday, my grief on that day is long gone. I’m out of the spell; I have no illusions anymore about Richard’s character. And I’m glad of the decision we made then to break off relations with him and Tracy.
recommends that adults caring for children use “healthy forms of discipline” — such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits and setting expectations — and not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating or shaming.
…”In the 20 years since that policy was first published, there’s been a great deal of additional research, and we’re now much stronger in saying that parents should never hit their child and never use verbal insults that would humiliate or shame the child,” said Dr. Robert Sege, first author of the policy statement and a pediatrician at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
Gershoff hopes that the new statement will finally cause massive change in how parents discipline children, and notes changes that have already been made over the years.
There are practical reasons to stop spanking. The main one is that it does not work. Some parents may say, “But it does for my child.” A child may cry and stop what she is doing in the moment, but numerous studies involving hundreds of thousands of children show that spanking does not make children better behaved in the long run, and in fact makes their behavior worse.
It is hard for parents to see this in their day-to-day interactions, but the research is clear: We consistently find that the more a child is spanked, the more aggressive he or she will be in the future.
Spanking also teaches children that it is acceptable to use physical force to get what you want. It is thus no surprise that the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to be aggressive or to engage in delinquent behaviors like stealing.
…The majority of us who were spanked by our parents think we “turned out OK.” Perhaps we did. But maybe we were lucky that our parents did other things, like talking with us about what behaviors they wanted to see us do in the future, that helped us develop self-control and make good behavior choices.
Of course, I see so many people say “I was spanked and I turned out okay” that I doubt the change will happen so fast.
It’s especially ludicrous to hear, on one hand, “They don’t let you spank these days and the kids are out of control,” but on the other hand read studies that say MOST parents still spank their kids. Okay, so it’s more likely the kids who are out of control actually ARE spanked. I’ve seen this for myself, a family where the kids were spanked and shamed and slapped over the back of their heads, but the kids still were out of control.
And well, I don’t actually see kids being any worse now than they were when I was a child. Because yes, I still remember how we were. I think people of my generation and older often have rose-colored glasses of how we acted. But we were not angels, despite spanking at home and paddles in our principals’ desk drawers.
Just remember, back when harsh discipline was considered normal, what we had in the world: torture, Nazis, employers ordering troops to fire on their own striking Greek employees, burning or hanging people for being witches or heretics, racism, lynching, sexism, slavery, wars, military brutality (such as whipping for infractions), rape, murder, stealing, lying, piracy, etc. etc. etc.
Obviously, spanking children did not stop them from doing horrible things as adults. These things did not suddenly appear in a world where spanking was banished. And you can bet that the people performing these acts were spanked or otherwise hit as children.
Filmed in German and released as Das Weisse Band, Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte, or The White Ribbon: A German Children’s Story, the film deals with a group of children who will become adults around the time of the rise of the Third Reich. This ‘children’s story’ seeks to discover what it was in German children’s background which may have caused them to support and assist the Nazi party when the time came – much the same questions, and conclusions, once offered by the late child psychologist Alice Miller, who drew a controversial connection between harsh child rearing methods and a tendency toward violence and the acceptance of tyranny. –Monica Reid, Twin Fascist Fables: The White Ribbon and The Childhood of a Leader
And also remember, today’s narcissists were probably spanked as children. I know several of them who certainly were. Sure didn’t drive the narcissism out of ’em.
And speaking of narcissists, more news on abusive ex Phil:
To recap, in the summer, I discovered that his own sister temporarily filed a restraining order against him. I’ve also learned that she and his mother were involved in a lawsuit with him last year, with him as the plaintiff, though the details are not online.
From his Facebook profile, I learned that he was engaged. His profile has been quiet ever since, and he did not respond to a question from me (simply “how are you”), though I know he saw it. But from hers I’ve learned all sorts of things:
She is around the same age as his controlling mother–whom, by the way, she writes that he finally broke free of about a year or two ago. (Makes me wonder if she was a kind of replacement for his mother.)
She identifies as an empath. (I don’t know if that’s a real thing or pseudoscience, but narc blogs commonly say that empaths attract narcissists.) She believes in Christ, but also in various New Age things like astral projection.
(I’ve noted that Phil tends to have girlfriends who believe in New Age: One ex channeled a spirit in the middle of a makeout session. I believed in Charismatic sign gifts and other psychic phenomena in those days. Persephone is a Wiccan who’s written spell books, though in those days she told everyone she was Methodist. Phil showed no sign of believing in such things himself, so I believe he looks for this in girlfriends as a sign of gullibility so they can be manipulated. He manipulated my psychic beliefs severely, weaving a web of deception that lasted for many months.)
The engagement ended over the summer when she learned that he was diagnosed with Bipolar II and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (though Disorder is more likely, because he’s neither deformed nor retarded).
It was a mutual decision, because he hadn’t been taking his medication so his brain was heavily damaged; and under the influence of the disorder, he had turned manipulative and probably worse. He has been in and out of a mental hospital on suicide watch for months.
She didn’t want to leave him, but neither did she want to be abused. She was still supposed to stay in his life and support him–but then he cut her off.
She has been in a terrible state since then, very familiar as I was once there myself. She has blamed it all on the diagnoses; sounds like there are several, though she only named two. She has said that the real him wouldn’t hurt a fly, and that the disorder causes the bad behavior.
But there’s been a change recently. She speaks of being blind, duped, used, of learning truths she didn’t know before he got sick. (She’s also been posting memes and videos about narcissists.) She talks as if she was more in love than he was, despite all the flowery words he told her once upon a time. Flowery words which, by the way, he said to me some 24 years ago. I can even tell you when, and what we were doing, because it’s in my memoir. And her, she has a Facebook post which he wrote saying all those things.
I’m sad and hurt for her. I’m angry at him. I see it all happening all over again. I remember my friends telling me what it was like seeing my relationship happen all over again with the girl he ended up legally marrying (1996-2007).
For a time, I thought he would change. I thought this woman could do it.
I wondered if everything he did could be pinned on the FAS, if the real him was truly not responsible for the abuse, if he was truly Dr. Jekyll while Mr. Hyde was an illness beyond his control–but that could be eradicated by doctors.
I thought that because of the diagnoses and care of the doctors, which none of Phil’s exes ever had (he was diagnosed in 2010), Phil would finally turn away from his abusive behaviors.
But no. Take this as a lesson to you: They simply don’t change. They aren’t “different” with the next girlfriend. She won’t “save” him.
And it isn’t your fault. The abuse is not your fault.
It’s all his.
This is a lesson I, too, have been learning, trying to take it into my head and abolish all the lingering doubts, put there back when Phil insisted I was to blame for it all.
This knowledge is helping me to heal. Hopefully it will help her as well. She’s a sweet person who deserves much better than this.
Bruce Springsteen’s frustrated, depressive father took out much of his rage on his son.
In a New Yorker profile, David Remnick writes that long after Springsteen’s family had left his unhappy childhood home, he would obsessively drive by the old house.
A therapist said to him, “Something went wrong, and you keep going back to see if you can fix it or somehow make it right.”
Springsteen finally came to accept he couldn’t. When he became successful he did give his parents the money to buy their dream house.
But Springsteen says of this seeming reconciliation, “Of course, all the deeper things go unsaid, that it all could have been a little different.”
I get this. This explains everything. He kept driving past the old house because he wanted to fix it somehow.
This explains why my mind has had so much trouble closing the door on Richard and Tracy: Not only did their constant presence on my blog keep me mired in the past and their hard-heartedness, seeing all the proof I put up that they were abusive, but refusing to apologize and make it right–
–but I kept going back to the situation because I wanted to fix it somehow, make it right.
“There is a watered-down but widespread form of ‘forgiveness’ best tagged preemptory or exculpatory forgiveness. That is, without any indication of regret or remorse from perpetrators of even the most heinous crimes, we are enjoined by many not to harden our hearts but rather to ‘forgive.’ ”
I agree with these more bracing views about what forgiveness should entail. Choosing not to forgive does not doom someone to being mired in the past forever. Accepting what happened and moving on is a good general principle.
But it can be comforting for those being browbeaten to absolve their parents to recognize that forgiveness works best as a mutual endeavor.
After all, many adult children of abusers have never heard a word of regret from their parent or parents. People who have the capacity to ruthlessly maltreat their children tend toward self-justification, not shame…..
It’s wonderful when there can be true reconciliation and healing, when all parties can feel the past has been somehow redeemed. But I don’t think Rochelle, Beatrice, and others like them should be hammered with lectures about the benefits of—here comes that dread word—closure.
Sometimes the best thing to do is just close the door.
How can I forgive someone who refuses to repent? who would continue to violate my boundaries of being left alone, if I hadn’t switched to self-hosted Wordpress and blocked them at the server level?
Even though my old blog is no longer maintained, and even though they are blocked from the new one, my abusers/stalkers continue to check my old blog at least every other day. They know about the new blog, so I am quite certain they have tried to come here, but can’t get in.
The biblical passages on forgiveness seem to refer to, forgiving someone who has repented. If my abuser refuses to admit to abusing me, how can I absolve her of it, treat her as if she never abused me?
Even a simple “hello” if I see her at church, would feel like soul murder. How can I possibly do that?
I can, however, accept that she abused me, accept that she refuses to admit to it, and treat her as I would a rattlesnake.
You don’t need to forgive the rattlesnake if it bites you; it’s doing what comes naturally, and would not be sorry for it. You don’t say hello to a rattlesnake; you give it a wide berth and then run the heck away from it.
As I wrote a year and a half ago in Fighting the Darkness, there are a whole slew of songs and albums I couldn’t listen to after the friendship breakup with Richard, because they were too painful, reminded me too much of him.
Pretty much my entire Goth collection was included. I listened to steampunk and rock/metal mostly, to get away from it for a while.
I can tell it’s getting better, though, because several months ago, I began listening to my Goth station on Pandora.com again, began listening to my collection again.
It’s still far too painful to listen to certain bands/songs, though: “Headhunter,” certain New Order songs, Sisters of Mercy, Dead Can Dance, and the Siouxsie and Birthday Massacre CDs which arrived and got “stuck” in the CD player while Richard lived with us.
But as for the rest–Going without my Goth music is like being in a desert for nearly two years, even with the new wonders of steampunk and the old familiarity of rock/metal.
I was starving, I was parched; I couldn’t go without it anymore. I listen to my Wolfsheim MP3s as if I had been deprived of them for years.
The power of music to bring back memories, and the way music is filled with various associations from your own life–where you were when you listened to it, the friend who introduced it to you, what you were doing–this is well known and documented.
Unfortunately, it also means that old favorites start reminding you of things you can’t stand to remember, at least for now.
The most amazing part is discovering that losing a best friend is far more painful, with far longer-lasting pain, than breaking up with someone you were dating. Maybe it’s because–even if you thought that person was the “One”–you soon realize that dating relationships usually end eventually.
A best friend is supposed to be forever. They’re supposed to have your back no matter what; even if you move away, you can still friend them on Facebook or send them e-mails. They’re supposed to be there to mend your heart when it’s broken.
While with ex-boyfriends etc., you eventually realize that couples just aren’t always meant to stay together forever, and you get past it. It’s not a betrayal to break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, and one day you may even be friends again.
But breaking up with a friend–that’s it. You can’t “just be friends” because you already were friends and that ended.
I have to face the truth about Richard’s character, that it is not what I thought it was, that he is a terrible, horrible, abusive, malicious narcissist.
There’s no way to go back to this “friend” because of his lack of remorse for what he did to Jeff and me and (from what he wrote to me) for what he did to his kid…
…no hope anymore that he will change his ways…
…nothing but recollections so painful that I can’t listen to music that reminds me of him anymore. Not even old favorites.
[Update 9/13/12: I always associated the song “Wings of a Butterfly” by HIM with Richard because it came out around the time we were becoming friends online/on the phone, and I downloaded and played it all the time then. Right after it on my MP3 list was “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay, so the two became linked in my mind as well. Today, “Speed of Sound” came on the radio, and I had to squeeze away the tears.]
As it turns out, music and religion both bring such powerful associations. For many months, I could barely get through a church service without tears threatening to spill out of my eyes. The word “mysteries” was just as painful as listening to one of the songs above….
Godsmack–Whatever And I don’t need your Sh*t today You’re pathetic In your own way
I feel for you Better fuckin’ go away I will be here Better fuckin’ go away
And I’m doing the best I ever did I’m doing the best that I can And I’m doing the best I ever did
Morrissey–Suedehead Why do you come here When you know it makes things hard for me? When you know, oh Why do you come?
It was because Everything that I did I wrote it down On the wall You had to sneak into my room ‘just’ to read my diary
Oh, it was just to see, just to see (all the things you knew I’d written about you…) And oh so many illustrations Oh, but I’m so very sickened Oh, I am so sickened now
Mary J. Blige–No More Drama NO MORE DRAMA No more drama in my life So tired, tired of this drama
Steve Taylor–Svengali Oh, Svengali Wide eyes mesmerize Ain’t he clever Cry out oh Svengali
Whiteheart–Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, It’s a mask you wear to hide, You got a notion God’s a potion, and it works most every time, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian.
Experimented with your eyes just to get a bigger piece of pie, I really think you do believe, yet you use religion to deceive, So when it’s time for you-know-who you feel the change come over you.
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, It’s a mask you wear to hide, You got a notion God’s your potion, and it works most every time, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, What is faith? What is a lie? Don’t you know that, can’t you see that God is not your alibi?
Wolfsheim–Find You’re Gone It seems I’m glad… I find you’re gone I find you’re gone… I find you’re gone…
Peter Heppner (of Wolfsheim)–I Hate You You may think I will forget, and that time will wash away all the things you should regret. But I will find a way: do not think I can’t wait. I hate you from the bottom of my heart. I hate you. I hate you from the bottom of my heart. I hate you– I’ll kick and I’ll break you, and I won’t tear myself apart. I hate you. I hate you from the bottom of my heart, of my heart. You can’t make your words unsaid, and no matter how much you ever try to make me forget,
Shinedown–Bully It’s 8 AM, this hell I’m in Seems I’ve crossed a line again For being nothing more than who I am So break my bones and throw your stones We all know that life ain’t fair But there’s more of us we’re everywhere We don’t have to take this back against the wall We don’t have to take this we can end it all All you’ll ever be is a faded memory of a bully Make another joke while they hang another rope so lonely Push them to the dirt till the words don’t hurt can you hear me No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die you’re a bully
Sick Puppies–You’re Going Down If it’s a fight I’m ready to go I wouldn’t put my money on the other guy If you know what I know that I know
It’s been a long time coming And the tables’ turned around Cause one of us is goin’ One of us is goin’ down I’m not running, it’s a little different now Cause one of us is goin’ One of us is goin’ down
[Please comment on original post. I opened it for people who want to discuss their own painful music associations.]
Over the years of reading blogs by and about survivors of narcissistic abuse, I’ve come across the concept of checking up on your abuser even after you’ve broken off contact with them. This seems to be a natural human tendency: checking their blog, website, Facebook timeline, Twitter. Of course, the common advice is not to do this because you need to cut yourself off, go through the withdrawal process, then move on and heal.
But I have another reason to put forth: Maybe with Facebook or Twitter they won’t know, since those platforms (from what I can tell) don’t allow you to collect stats from your visitors. But many blogging and website formats do allow it in some form. Even Wordpress.com allows you to install a Statcounter–You get limited information, but enough. Blogger blogs allow both a full Statcounter and Google Analytics. Especially if you have those two stat collectors working together, if you have a stalker after you–such as your abuser or narcisssistic family or sociopathic ex–you can track that person’s activities on your blog for years.
This is helpful for a blogging abuse/rape/other trauma victim. But don’t forget:
It works both ways.
One of my stalkers has recently revealed to me where she works now. It’s not through direct contact, but by checking my blog from work. She has also been checking my church’s website from there, even though she hadn’t looked at it for some time.
(And yes, this makes me wonder a bit, the day after nearly getting into an accident on my bike. I was riding with traffic, on the right, following all the laws, when somebody turned right in front of me. My son said this person looked at me before they turned! A few months ago, the same color vehicle started backing up into me right in the middle of the road. I don’t want to live in fear or paranoia, but it’s enough to make a person wonder if somebody’s gunning for you.)
I had no idea where she was working. Last I knew, the newspaper said she’d graduated college, but that was a few years ago. I never would’ve thought of this place. I wasn’t looking. I avoid Googling her as if it were going to burn me. But here was the information, given to me on a silver platter, unasked-for.
So keep that in mind when dealing with your narc ex-whatever. Maybe they already know where you live, but you’ve changed jobs. Or maybe you’ve moved. Keep in mind that stats do NOT reveal home addresses without a subpoena, but work IPs reveal employer information because it’s a public place of business.
Now, I’m not some crazy stalker out to track down and harm my abusers. But information like this in the wrong hands–I began to think I should post a public service message for my readers:
Don’t check the website/blog of your abuser/rapist/stalker/narc family/troll/etc. Don’t think they won’t know. Don’t give away where you are. Just let them go. Cold turkey! I know at first it can be tough, but over time, it becomes easy.
First, the local newspaper reported Richard’s summons on their website’s weekly court cases.
Every week (except for the week Richard was convicted, naturally), they post mug shots and details of selected court cases in the county.
The week of 3/4/11, there was his mug shot for all to see, and what he did, along with his confession. There was no mistaking that was Richard.
But the week of his plea/sentencing hearing, they posted nothing. So I had to get details from the state’s court website. Finally, today, 11/11/11, the newspaper printed in the “Day in Court” section:
Richard —-, [address], one year probation, [fine], battery.
It’s heartening to see that his sentence was actually worse than similar convictions in that section. The person below him got battery (domestic abuse, repeater) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse), and two years probation, but a much smaller fine.
Another person was charged with battery and also paid a smaller fine, no probation or jail.
Another person got battery (domestic abuse), one year probation, and a much smaller fine.
Apparently, the local courts are trying to keep people out of jail, getting money from fees rather than paying money for their room and board in prison.
When I look at his mug shot, I try to identify his demeanor: Angry at his daughter for turning him in? Angry at the police? Sheepish? I just can’t figure it out.
I can pick up many body language cues these days, but nuances still can elude me. Sometimes I think he looks upset with himself for getting himself into this mess, and hope that means he’s willing to change.
But lately, when I look at it, I think he looks angry. My husband agrees.
And that disturbs me, because why should he be angry if he’s truly sorry for what he did? Why did he plead no contest instead of guilty, even though the newspaper website stated that he did confess after his daughter reported him? Is he or is he not taking responsibility for his actions?
My husband thinks he’s angry because he doesn’t think the government should be telling him how to raise his kids. I wonder why it took five months for the police to charge him, when his daughter reported him the next day.
But she was a brave little girl, doing what so many abused children do not do, whether because they’re brainwashed into thinking their parents are just disciplining them and they deserve it, or because they’re too scared to report their parents and enrage them further.
But there you go. The public knows thanks to the newspaper. (No, “Richard” is not his real name.) And because the public knows, he must know that Hubby and I know, and I hope the thought shames him.
I thought he was cool. I thought he was awesome. I thought he was gentle, godly and pious. I thought he was fun to be around, and would never hurt his own children, other than one time when they were little.
But now everybody knows the truth. How was I so fooled?
We are not to blame. His wife is most likely borderline personality disordered/malignant narcissist, making all her opinions of me worthless.
(Borderline is described by NAMI as a serious mental illness, her mother has it, and she was abused herself as a child, making her higher-risk for developing it.)
[Update 5/10/14: I have since learned of a borderline spectrum. She is more likely to be high-functioning borderline, which is more under control but less likely to recognize one’s own emotional instability–and also more likely to be narcissistic as well.]
Besides her behavior which matches everything I read about borderline, I witnessed her hanging half her body out of their van as Richard drove along the street, very dangerous behavior which I’m told is common with borderlines. One of the traits of BPD is impulsive and reckless behavior, and this may also be considered suicidal or self-harming behavior, another trait.
Richard, as well, could be personality disordered/narcissistic, especially from living with someone with BPD traits.
Nobody who was not disordered in some way, would betray and threaten friends who had been extremely kind to him, or choke a child within an inch of her life.
My mind is still reeling from the juxtaposition of what I thought he was and what he’s been proven to be.
I figured Social Services (or CPS) was involved, because they work together with law enforcement on child abuse cases.
But there on that page was proof that Social Services is indeed involved here, that they set rules which the court ordered to be obeyed as conditions for Richard’s bond:
Signature bond set
Follow rules of informal agreement of DSS. Fingerprints and photo.
[Update 2/2/15: DSS is an acronym for “Department of Social Services”: See here, where “DSS” is used in the address and e-mail address for the department, which includes protection of children.
The use of an “informal agreement” for a case that has been charged in court is confusing, because the description here is,
If the case is handled informally an Informal Agreement is signed outlining rules of supervision and appropriate services for the family. This signed contract means that the case does not go to court and is in effect for six months.
The family may or may not continue to work with the Dept. of Social Services beyond the initial six months depending on whether or not the informal agreement was satisfactorily met.
But the above does not fit the actual court case AT ALL. First of all, contrary to the above description, it DID go to court.
If the court has made following the agreement a condition of bail, and a criminal charge has now been made, it no longer fits the above description. It sounds more like Court-Ordered Supervision.
Since it took more than four months for the charges to be filed, I wonder if they made an informal agreement but broke it–then got charged and forced to follow it. I also suspect the rules of probation, which were not stipulated online, were to follow this agreement.
Also, the charges were formally made on the same day I sent a letter to Social Services describing Richard’s own abuses: He told me he put the kids in the closet and smacks them on the head. I often wonder if the results of the investigation into that letter, were used in the court case, which took seven months from initial appearance to conviction.]
So they’re working with the family, and Social Services also has a letter I wrote (completely separate from this case, which I did not know about at the time), so they know what I know.
So I do hope that in time, conditions will turn around in this family, that Richard and Tracy will learn how to control their anger and stop the abuse, and some sort of friendship will be possible between us again–though only if the past can be dropped and I can be allowed to be myself.
Because I want to be back in the lives of the precious little children whom I felt led to protect with that letter to Social Services.
Because I hate having enemies, especially ones who were once friends.
It helps that I have not used their real names, and that I did not publicly shame them. That Richard did it himself–and now his name is in the paper as convicted of battery, and on the newspaper’s website and the online database as a child abuser.
He screwed up his own life and dreams.
According to my priest, he’ll never be ordained now that he has this on his record.
Any political aspirations would be cut short as soon as the media dug it up, and any potential employers can Google his name and find his online case file on the very first page. [2/2/15: I’m told that employers are allowed to refuse to hire someone with abuse on their record, if it would affect the job.]
He has no one to blame for his public shame but himself.
(Update 11/15/11): Until October, I hadn’t cried over this for many, many months. But the depression is back. The sadness keeps weighing me down like a lead blanket.
Seeing his name in the newspaper court records on Friday, has put me into a funk again.
I can’t help crying at what he’s done, how many people he’s hurt: his former friend Todd, his little girl, Hubby, me, numerous people in his past.
The proof is there–I need no more evidence–that he has done a horrible thing, been convicted of it.
It’s no dream, no fantasy I dreamed up.
He did such a bad thing that Social Services was involved before they even got my letter, giving him rules that the court ordered him to follow.
This guy was my friend. I thought he was such a pious, gentle, harmless person, who loves his little children dearly and wants to protect them, who would never harm me, either.
I went to him with spiritual and religious questions, as a fellow searcher who had already found his path. He guided me every step of the way until I found my way into Orthodoxy, helped keep me there even when the fundamentalist converts on the Net made me waver.
He even offered to be my godfather if I decided to be chrismated (made Orthodox). (I said no because he was a man my age, so it would be too weird.)
He had a similar religious background to mine, so we both had dealt with many of the same things in our old churches. I saw him as my spiritual mentor.
Now I see someone I’m afraid of, whom I once loved as my best friend.
Someone who nearly killed his daughter, someone who went along with his wife’s abuse of me and began bullying me as well to save his own skin.
Someone whose circumstances I kept crying over and trying to help with, only to be tossed away like an annoyance for some petty thing.
Things like this don’t just go away overnight; you don’t just forget them.
Breakups with boyfriends in college and the funk they put me into, seem like nothing compared to the betrayal and loss of someone I considered my best friend forever, someone who had my back, only to turn around and stab me in it.
I still keep hoping that one day–especially if Social Services succeeds in helping him turn his life around, counsels him on anger management and parenting and such–that he will come to us and repent of what he’s done to us.
Because despite everything, despite my anger and disappointment with him, despite how I feel about his politics and his opinions on NVLD, a part of me still wants my friend back.
(Update 11/26/11): Another examination of the mug shot, along with some googling for how to identify facial expressions, reveals a more disturbing interpretation: not just anger, but also contempt.
The rest of his face looks angry, and one corner of his mouth curves down–but one corner of his mouth curves slightly upwards, causing just enough wrinkling to look like the beginning of a smile. In other words, a sneer.
The other basic emotions all have basic facial symmetry, but contempt shows on only one side of the face. And while both his eyebrows curve downward in the middle, one side of his face definitely looks different from the other, and he’s looking down.
Everything I read says this is a classic contempt expression.
Contempt? Contempt for whom? You’ve just been summoned to court for nearly killing your daughter, and your face shows both anger and contempt?
“Guilt, shame, and contempt are each based on meeting expectations: Guilt: I did not meet your moral standards and expectations, Shame: I did not meet my own standards of behavior, and Contempt: you did not meet my moral standards and expectations” —(http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/contempt.htm).
This is extremely disturbing! If he were angry at himself, his face would show shame, not contempt. Contempt means he’s angry at somebody else–but he’s the one who did the terrible deed! Who is he angry at? Who did not meet his moral standards and expectations?
Researching “contempt” also brings to mind Tracy’s claims of feeling snubbed. Well, if she felt snubbed or like I felt contempt because I was reacting to her many acts of abuse of Richard and/or the children while I was right there–well, it’s her own fault!
If you verbally or physically abuse somebody right in front of me, what other expression (other than surprise or fear or being appalled) could I rightfully assume, in all justice toward the victim of bullying and abuse?
(Update 12/4/11): It’s also baffling to see things turn out like this. In the beginning, Richard seemed like a good guy, a decent sort, gentle and god-fearing. He would get excited about theological points and articles just as I would, so we could talk about these and search out what Orthodoxy says about such topics as literal interpretation, End Times, original sin, and universalism. He was happy to read an article I lent him on what an Orthodox writer says about the salvation of all.
There is a part of him that desires the truth and could still lead to his salvation. But somewhere along the way, he got lost in all this violence.
I pray that he finds his way back Home again. Not just for his salvation, but because I miss the friend who once was.
Not what he turned into, which was a jerk, but the friend he was in 2005-2007, the one I told about my family crisis in 2007 even though I only knew him via phone and Internet, because we were that close and comfortable with each other.
But did that person ever really exist, or was it just the facet he showed me?
I pray for the social workers and probation officer, so that they can help this family stop the abuse and begin to heal. Otherwise the misery could continue for years, because these beautiful, sweet, innocent children will most likely carry it on into their own relationships and families.
(Update 12/20/11): In trying to find out what happened to a guy I went to school with, who still lives in my home state and is rumored to be in jail now, I discovered a multi-state inmate locator. So what the heck, I checked it for my state.
Two things I found out: The guy I mentioned a few posts back, who annoyed my SCA shire in 1999 and ended up getting charged with photographing teenage girls a couple years ago? His stayed sentence has been revoked, and he’s in jail now. He has to register as a sex offender for many years to come. LOL Guy’s a sociopath.
Also, I found that Richard took five updated pictures in November for the state, which were posted on this site. When he showed up at my church a week or two after the verdict, and showed some signs of repentance (for one, holding himself back from the Eucharist, which you do when you’ve committed some grave sin and need to do penance), I hoped he was sorry for what he did and working on it. These new pictures were taken after that.
I had hoped to see some evidence of repentance and change in his pictures; all I found was more contempt. More hatred being sent to the camera. More “you are scum” being sent to the camera.
More of it than before, because now he has his head up and cocked to one side (all the easier to look down his nose at the picture-taker), his mouth is curled upwards more clearly on one side, and he’s looking up instead of down, so the look in his eyes is much clearer to see. (Before, he was looking down, but his eyebrows were angry.)
Heck, I could swear it was my brother’s expression when he bullied me.
The old mug shot has more anger in the eyebrows; the new pictures have more raised eyebrows, making the contempt win out over the anger.
There are five pictures, not just one moment in time like the mug shot, so you can see it’s not just a posed half-smile; all three of the front-facing pictures have the same expression. It’s a scary look.
I spent so much time with him and got so comfortable with him that I could hold eye contact and pay far more attention than I normally do to people’s body language; I felt I could read him extremely well at times; I don’t recall ever seeing a look like this on his face.
I saw joy, sadness, religious devotion, humor, annoyance at his children, happiness to see good friends, playfulness, or anger with his wife, even anger at me once, but I never saw him look like this.
And I see it very clearly in these new pictures. I see that side of him that I never could quite believe in before, that violent side.
Hubby says he looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.
I see that my suspicions of narcissism–as much as I hoped I was wrong about that–are confirmed.
I had hoped for better than that. I had thought he was better than that. What the heck has happened to him? Yuck.
Somehow I have to stop wishing he’d call me up and say he’s sorry, say he wants to make things right.
Lately, I’ve been missing him and wishing that would happen. Well, I don’t know if I can ever stop wishing for that; I’ve had bullies and exes do that, so why couldn’t it happen here, too? Even my abusive ex *Phil* apologized to me. I know Richard has made peace with people in his past before.
But to long for it, wish for things to be the way they were in October/November 2007–somehow I have to let go of that.
It does help to keep looking at these court records and pictures, because the contempt I see in them is disgusting. I do it again and again to try to drive the longing for reconciliation out of my heart.
What he did was disgusting. But still that part of me keeps hoping for change…..
But I am so frickin’ GLAD I sent that letter to Social Services in March.
I am so glad I told them he talked about putting the kids in the closet.
I’m glad I told them he might strike Tracy one of these days if she hits his face.
I’m glad I told them about the crap Tracy was pulling.
And I hope that the probation officer sees (or probably took) those pictures, sees the contempt in his face, and either makes him do the full sentence, or asks to have the stayed sentence revoked so he can go to jail for ten days. [Update 2/2/15: Richard served the full probation sentence.]
(Update 3/12/12:) After reading what the District Attorney said about my former boss, that he gave him a deferred prosecution agreement so he could have more control over my former boss than “if he had just pled to the felonies,” such as anger management, medication, etc.–I wonder if it was the same thing here.
Did the plea agreement result in probation so the District Attorney could have more control over Richard, get him into counseling and the like, make sure he followed the agreement with Social Services? I do hope so.
(My boss went ballistic when his wife wanted to leave him. It seems he’d been physically abusing her. He drove the red pickup truck I remembered, into the kitchen and did lots of damage to the side of the house; he resisted arrest; he caused damage when the police hauled him in.)
One of the most fascinating aspects of Zimmerman’s latest incident was that he himself called the police to counter his girlfriend’s call, and offered another dispatcher a separate set of facts. He said that the girlfriend had “gone crazy” and had broken a table in the apartment.
“I just want everyone to know the truth,” he tells the dispatcher. “She got mad that I told her I would be willing to leave.”
There’s no telling what exactly happened before their respective calls to police. But, if Zimmerman’s girlfriend is telling the truth, then his effort to turn the tables and make his girlfriend sound guilty is again a classic case of something domestic violence prevention advocates call “minimization, denial and blaming,” which is when abusers make the victim feel as though they are responsible for the abuse, or crazy for thinking any abuse occurred at all. –Annie-Rose Strasser, What George Zimmerman’s story can teach us about domestic abusers