Category: healing from abuse

Thought I’d recognize the 10-year-anniversary, but it slipped right by me.

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.

I am much happier now, ten years later.

 

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I want my abusers to apologize to me

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!

WTF?

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.

Here’s someone else who welcomed that apology from her abuser years later: My abuser apologized, and I forgave him.

Another writer says that the #MeToo movement should demand apologies, that they are important to make the patriarchy start to crumble: Men need to stand up and apologize for sexual abuse, says Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler

A therapist explains how to properly make such an apology: Dear Therapist: Is it possible to apologize for a sexual assault?

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.

However, Danny and I hope that as we as a nation continue to grapple with domestic violence, sexual assault and other incredibly personal and consequential traumas, our story might provide an example of what can happen when people take responsibility for their actions, even if it’s 30 years later. –Donna Thomas, My Abuser Contacted Me After 30 Years. Now We’ve Both Agreed To Tell Our Stories. We need to hear stories from men who have taken responsibility for their actions.

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Reflections on healing from abuse in the past decade

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.

EIGHT YEARS.

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.

 

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