Category: healing from abuse

E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends

To my college friends, to whom I wrote a bit in 2008 about how Tracy treated me while living in my house, I wrote on August 29, 2010:

First, some bad news.  It seems the trouble from a few years ago, when Richard’s whole family was staying with us, never really went away.  I kept thinking it had, only to find–months later–that it hadn’t.

It seems his wife holds grudges like nobody’s business, and she targeted me.  I tried apologizing a year ago and thought things were fixed, but no.

Earlier this year, she’d been snarking at me for weeks until it seemed I could do nothing right, that everything I did was worthy of ridicule. (It reminded me of my younger brother, because he did that to me all the time growing up.)  Some of her snarks seemed downright possessive.

It finally turned into a massive blowup.  It sounds like a bunch of misunderstandings, but the trouble is, from e-mails Jeff and I exchanged with her, she’s just not willing to admit that she did things to contribute to the problem.

Won’t forgive, won’t apologize for ANYthing, thinks that I should just sit down and take all the verbal abuse and bullying she wants to throw at me, that I should admit that I deserve it, be the scapegoat for all our problems, and submit to her.

While Richard allows it, either because she’s talked him into agreeing with her and not listening to anything I say, or he’s afraid of what she’ll do if he opposes her.

I just plain don’t like her because I see her treating other people like this, too, including her kids and Richard.

Heaven help the person she gets mad at, because she throws tantrums (swearing, screaming, belittling, etc.). 

Richard has lost other friendships because of her.  I actually watched one friendship die over the Internet, as they argued with a guy [Todd] who’d been Richard’s friend (online and in real life) for 6 years, on a game forum.

It sounds like she didn’t like him in the first place, and when he did something in the game she didn’t like, she went on the warpath rather than talk about it first.  He was offended and has a bad temper of his own, so things went very badly.  This happened two years ago.

And now they’ve lost us, because I’m sick of being bullied for 3 years and won’t take verbal abuse, and Jeff is furious over the whole thing.

Richard had also been intimidating and practically threatening Jeff.  So we looked at each other and decided this was nuts, we can’t take this anymore.

I was and still am heartbroken because Richard was a very dear friend.  He was the cool and awesome [his main online persona] of my favorite online forums and games, and he enjoyed my company and told me I was the most awesome person he knew.  We’d talk for hours upon hours about religion, music and life.

But he seems to have changed quite a bit in the last 6 months or so.  I don’t know what happened, but there have been problems between us for a while, too. 

It may be his heavy involvement in politics, including the TEA Party and some Anarchy and conspiracy theories he’s been getting into.  I don’t agree with it, and he started getting rude to me on Facebook postings.

He used to be sweet, but lately he would just rip into me whenever I tried to bring up some problem and get it dealt with.

He started getting rude with Jeff as well whenever Jeff would post something political.

There were just so many little things that were adding up and getting very annoying and making me question the state of our friendship.

I do hope that one of these days, they will realize their own part in the break and apologize.  At least Richard did apologize to me for some things [this comes in the next chapter].

But there can be no reconciliation between our families until they apologize for their harshness and are willing to put the past aside and be friends, to stop the power struggle. 

I made my apologies, because I recognized I did some wrong and nutty things myself.  But instead of calming down Tracy, they just seemed to spur her on and make her feel more righteous.  Then she wondered why we finally said we need a 6-month (or more) break instead of a conference.

We’re not going to move to end the break.  We want to know that we will find softened hearts, not make a move and get our noses bitten again.

My priest said it was wise to offer a break instead of having this conference, because it would’ve turned into a slinging of anger and resentment that would have done absolutely nothing to repair the friendship, but only make things worse.  He said to be happy in the decision I made and not second-guess it.

My mom says not to contact them again, that Tracy’s manipulative. 

They’ve blocked our entire family on Facebook, even our son.  From things she said, that was probably Tracy’s doing, with Richard going along to have peace in his household, which has drama enough already. What kind of person blocks a 6-year-old child?

I do hope and pray her heart will soften.  Not just for our sakes, or to restore a friendship, but for her sake and that of everyone around her.

She grew up in a horrific environment.  It doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it does explain where it comes from.

Other people who hurt me in the past have apologized to me over the Net, many years later, so I know it can happen.  I’ve done all I can do to try to repair things, so it’s her turn now.

I’m tired of trying to be her friend while she snarks at me and screams at the kids and/or Richard right in front of me.  I’m tired of being to blame for not getting close to her when she, frankly, scares me.

It means I’ve lost a very dear friendship, but we had to walk away or I was going to be slowly destroyed.

Jeff–who, by the way, is not in any way controlling, so he wouldn’t do this lightly–won’t let me talk to them.

You see, they showed up at my church exactly one month after the blowup.  I had some unfinished business with Richard, so I spoke to him. Our conversation made me believe that reconciliation was finally possible.

But, as usual, he was the agreeable one, but Tracy turned out to be immovable (a word which, by the way, he himself uses to refer to her in other situations).

Jeff was not happy to find me sitting at their table at coffee hour.  So now he tells me if they show up at my church again, don’t talk to them, since I finished my business with Richard. 

In this whole thing, I’m the weak one, Jeff’s the strong one.  So I’m letting him protect me.

I’ve been reaching out to people we know in the surrounding communities, trying to reconnect.

Before Richard brought his family here, I was feeling very lonely because it was hard to find people to hang out with, what with church switches, different work schedules and friends who kind of faded away.

Finally we had a family to hang out with, friends for us, friends for our son.  But now they’re gone again.

With the emergence of Facebook, it’s gotten much easier to find people I lost touch with, and start arranging movie nights and such.

The A– SCA group has started dance practices again, every other week, with about an hour of social time afterwards at a local bar and grill.  It’s a late night for our son, but we figure he can sleep in the car on the way home, and we NEED social time.

Today I asked a woman at church (one of the very few who are my age) out for coffee, and she agreed.

So I’m working on connecting with old and new friends so that I won’t feel desperately lonely with the loss of my (former) best friend and all the things we used to do with his family.

I’m still grateful to him for leading me into Orthodoxy, and miss the good times, but he just doesn’t seem like the same person I used to know. 

I sometimes wonder how much of the guy I used to know, was real, and how much was an act put on for me because he didn’t want to scare me off. 

I wonder how much of the change is from him getting obsessed with politics and dealing with a wife who keeps going through abusive cycles. 

He said he loved me like a sister, and that I was very dear to him, so I know that much was real.  [Now I doubt that.]

I know he didn’t want to lose our friendship, because he told Jeff that a few days before the blowup (during an argument with me), and because Jeff heard through a mutual friend that he and Tracy miss playing a certain roleplaying game with Jeff.

[She asked what happened, Jeff was vague, she said, “So it’s high school drama?”  Well, I suppose so, when you’re dealing with a 29-year-old who acts like a teenager.  Now, Jeff and I also doubt that they ever missed either of us or ever cared to preserve the friendship.]

So who knows, maybe one of these days they’ll regret their harshness.  But I can’t count on that, so I have to move on.  This has been a very rough summer, so I look forward to the school year, hoping it will get my mind off things.

I also desperately hope that my church survives, and that Richard’s church survives.  Because if either of our churches folds, we will all have to go to the same church.

(They go to the — church, which is tiny and struggling, and I go to the — church, which is tiny and struggling.  They’ve been in talks with each other about things they can do to survive, such as merging.)

For right now, while there is a risk they’ll come to my church again, most of the time we’re still at different churches and can worship in peace.

My friend Cindy wrote,

I agree with Mike, someone that is so hurtful to you is not really a friend you want to have in your life. Friends accept us for who we are and support us. You are a nice person and should be treated kindly by your friends.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

E-Mails Describing pain of breaking up with a close friend

I wrote to Mike,

Another former friend [Todd] of [Richard and Tracy] sympathizes.  He also found himself at the mercy of the wife’s temper.  He stayed with them for a little while a few years ago.

He knows how hard she is to deal with, and that what she says, goes.  When she goes off on you, she is brutal.  And my (former) friend [Richard] stands with her rather than trying to buffer things.

I don’t know how many friends he’s already lost because of his wife, but we’re not the only ones.

He’s told me of others, that people will say they can’t be friends with him anymore because of her, that he’s had friends who were at “war” with her.

She comes from a very abusive home, you see, and some of the traits were passed along to her.

My (former) friend is well aware of these things….And she keeps chasing his friends away.  If it weren’t for her, I would never have given up my friend.

Fine, my friend “Richard.”  I might as well say it [his name], now that you won’t ever be meeting him and he won’t be on my Facebook page anymore.

I had to deal with two very hard breakups in college.  You weren’t around for the first one.  Each were hard in their own way, the first because it was a new experience and I didn’t know what to do.  In both cases, I thought I’d be with this guy forever.

I see that breaking up with a friend is much the same as breaking up with a boyfriend: It hurts. 

Your heart aches when you see something that reminds you of your friend. If you’ve been together a while, then practically everything you see, hear (such as songs) or do will remind you of them for a while.

You have movies you watched, songs you enjoyed, TV shows you watched together, even grocery stores or restaurants that you went to together. Even going to church reminds you of that person if you went to the same church. 

My very faith reminds me of him because he helped lead me into it and I thought (briefly) about making him my godfather.  [He offered, I had already thought about it, but he’s my age and the opposite sex, so I thought it wouldn’t be a good idea.]

Every other time we had a problem, we’d talk on the phone or in person or by chat or e-mail and make it all better.  But that won’t be happening this time.

He was my confidant about so many things, so many problems I was dealing with, like when my parents were having problems and my dad (we thought) had left my mom.

And now he’s gone, not because he wanted to be–Jeff says he wanted to work things out [at least, that’s what he said, though he didn’t act like it]–but because Jeff and I looked at each other and realized we had to end it.

I suppose in time I’ll get past it like I did my breakups with exes.  But I’ve only had to break off one other friendship in my whole life, and that was with someone who had, himself, treated me horribly [Shawn].

I never before had to break up with a friend because of who they were married to.  Friends are supposed to be there forever. Even if they fade away, you’re supposed to be able to get in touch with them again years later and it’s like they never left.

I have to send this e-mail off without checking it for errors, because I had a hard time getting through the writing of it…  🙁

On the 13th, I wrote to Jeff,

Had a thought…. The thought struck me today….

When I think of all the gaffes Richard has made, things I’ve witnessed and that he’s told me about….We discussed them and moved passed them calmly and rationally, and forgave. 

I make one and I’m treated like the Antichrist. Can we say unfair?

Jeff replied,

Indeed. It seems we live with a different definition of ‘friend’ than they do.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months

I wrote to my friend Mike, in whom I had been confiding,

Things are at an end now with my friend and me.  Mistakes were made and the wife said all sorts of angry things that showed how she REALLY feels about me.  I don’t understand how somebody can be so venomous.

It also makes me wish that, knowing as he probably did how she felt, instead of making me endure the agony of constantly trying to be friendly with her when I was afraid of her temper, the years of tears over finding out she’s upset over something I thought was resolved or okay–I really wish he had just ended the friendship a few years ago.

He and Jeff had hoped to try to get things smoothed over, and told me to lie low for a few days.  But she came out with such nastiness [the second e-mail she sent Jeff] that told me no, it’s time to go.

And now I feel so lonely and heartbroken, wishing I had a friend here in Fond du Lac who could take my friend’s place.  Preferably a woman.  😛

I wrote to my mother,

I don’t know if [my brother or niece] has mentioned anything, since I vented about it a bit on Facebook.  But things are at an end between Richard’s family and mine.  I’ve told you before about the troubles I had with Tracy.  They just got to a boiling point and became intolerable.

Just when I’d think everything was fine, I’d discover that she was still mad at me.  She’s been snipping and snapping at me for months just for little things I wrote on Facebook, or for taking a bag of sunscreen and bugspray with me when we sat outside on Memorial Day.

I wrote an e-mail that she misunderstood and now I realize that it was easy to misunderstand (even Jeff misunderstood it), but Richard should’ve been able to explain it to her.  If she had only asked, I could’ve explained it to her.

But no, she just went on a rampage and said it was time for us all to sit down and have a “conference” while she, essentially, yelled and screamed at me.  She said the friendship wasn’t over, we just needed to have this conference while she said things she’d wanted to say for a long time.

So Jeff and I both said, NO.  There will be no conference. This friendship is OVER.

Something about my personality must rub her the wrong way, because she says she has all these terrible grievances against me–things which are far worse than the fact that she swore at me–but I always tried to be nice to her.

I gave her things like lilies or tomatoes, said she looked pretty, invited her to come over some time to watch a movie, paid her electric bill once, joked with her, laughed about husbands with her, watched her kids, told Jeff when she needed a ride because their car broke down yet again, etc.

But apparently I was just horrible to her somehow.  I just don’t get it at all.  Neither does Jeff, who has nearly always been there whenever I was with her.

Neither does anybody he vents about it to.  They’re like, “Nyssa?  Why would anybody have a problem with Nyssa?  She’s not offensive!”  [One person was shocked that anybody would cuss at me like that.]

She blew up at me via e-mail and told me not to go “crying to Jeff,” told Jeff about it, he tried to calm her down and make apologies and stuff (since I was advised to lie low), she got even worse.  In the end, Jeff and I looked at each other and decided simultaneously, we can’t do this anymore.

We’re both heartbroken, me because I lost my best friend (Richard) after all the effort I’ve put into this friendship, Jeff because he thought our friendship was worth far more than to just let us walk away.

What did Tracy say when Jeff went over to tell them it was over and get some books I lent Richard?  “Give him the books so we can get back to our movie.”  ?!?!?!?!

We’re not the first friends she’s driven off.  We’re not even the second.  We wonder how long it’ll be before Richard realizes that she’s driving his friends away left and right.  They’ve only been married for several years and this has happened.

We’re going to miss the girls.  Our son probably will, too.  He’s always loved playing with them and making them little presents.

I’m heartbroken that Richard would let her get like this with me, that he keeps letting her drive off his friends. 

I thought our friendship meant more to him than that.  He once said I was the most awesome person he knew. 

But he just let his wife turn into a shrew and drive me away.  While he enabled it and listened to her and just would not listen to me.

Because of friend loyalty I didn’t want to breathe a word of this to anyone besides Jeff, before.  But they are FILTHY housekeepers.

Every time I went over there, I had to clean the bathroom floor and toilet seat and part of the toilet before I could even go to the bathroom!

[Jeff saw the filth, too, and made sure to never sit down when he used their toilet.]

And there was no wastebasket in there [to throw away the filthy paper after I cleaned the toilet seat, so I had to flush it].

And when her mother (who’s worse than her, I hear) [that refers to the BPD] comes over to visit and starts cleaning the filth, they get furious with her.

And the way Tracy treats those kids and Richard is just terrible.  I won’t be calling social services because that would just be vindictive.  But I am glad to not be dealing with THAT anymore….

Imagine what it was like for me trying to keep the mess at bay while they were here, while they just let their clothes pile up on the floor despite the clothes basket I bought.

It took me at least a week to clean up the house after they left.  And a cockroach came along with them.  Fortunately, the cockroach has long since disappeared.

Her family is so screwed up that I wonder if there’s something wrong with [Tracy] mentally. 

[Her mother had mental problems, and I did not yet know about narcissist and borderline personality disorders, which would both explain Tracy’s behavior.]

Based on what she wrote on her Facebook page right before I deleted and blocked her from my friends list, she’s probably feeling absolutely wonderful and telling her family how she finally said things that “needed to be said.” 

Yeah, whatever, lady.  And now you’re alone without the friends who would do anything for your family and once moved heaven and earth to [get money we didn’t have, to do a thing, that prevented catastrophe in her family].

I’m without a best friend in Fond du Lac now, and that’s lonely.  But we’re trying to reconnect with some people so we won’t be lonely for long.

Catherine’s husband has crazy work schedules, which is the only reason we don’t see them much, since it’s hard to accommodate them with a young child who needs an 8:30 bedtime.  We’re trying to see them again.

And my friend Mike still e-mails me and chats with me on Facebook.  Clarissa and Astrid sometimes do as well.  Sharon doesn’t have Internet, so she rarely shows up, but we were supposed to be getting together this summer.  I thought Richard was my bestest friend ever (besides Jeff, of course), but I guess these are far better.

Jeff is very supportive–well, heck, we’re going through this together….

Richard would tell me that screaming at kids is necessary, but his kids don’t even do housework when they’re told.  Our son needs only a list of chores written on a little slate each morning, and off he goes to do them.

So our household is nice and peaceful, and we’re leaning on each other through this.

I talked with Mike on Facebook chat around July 4, 2010.  I told him how Tracy would smack Richard around

and that Richard said if she ever hit his face, he’d say she’s no longer a woman, and hit back. 

Mike said things like, “Why would you want to be friends with them?  These people are TOXIC!” 

I told him how Tracy abused the kids, so he–a pastor and, at one time, a worker in a domestic violence shelter–urged me to report them. 

I said, “I don’t want to be vindictive.” 

He replied, “Don’t let friendship be more important than those children!”

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Why we should tell everyone we have been abused

[Note: This blog post was written in 2014 but back-dated to 2010 to fit with this series.]

Especially after Tracy told me not to “go crying to Jeff,” it was a relief to finally reveal to all my friends, using Facebook, that I had been abused for being an introvert.

It was a relief to post about the evils of jealousy, the traits of introverts and NVLD, and the abuses Tracy was guilty of. 

No more silence about how I had been abused for the past two and a half years by these narcissists: It was all coming out now.  (I also felt free to post whatever I wanted to politically.)

In e-mails to and chats with family, a Fond du Lac friend I had reconnected with, my college friends and, for the next couple of years, Todd, I named names and got into more detail about what went on.  Todd enlightened me on some things as well, and confirmed my suspicion that Tracy has BPD. 

That’s the advantage of two abuse victims of the same person talking to each other: They can compare notes, fill in missing details, and reassure each other, “No, it’s not you,” and “No, you’re not crazy.”

And having supportive friends and family, in general, has been helpful.  They know I don’t deserve this.  The Fond du Lac friend I gave details and names to, had also just broken up with a best friend who abused his girlfriend.  So we had something in common as well.

I posted a link to my blog post Fighting the Darkness, and got all sorts of positive feedback, as people tried to encourage me not to give up faith.  You can see some of this in the comments to that post.

When I discovered in September 2011 from the local newspaper’s arrest records that Richard choked his stepdaughter until she passed out, I also vented about this on Facebook.  It was just too appalling and shocking to keep quiet. 

I didn’t use his name, but everyone who had been following my updates knew it was about my ex-friend.

My friends were very supportive, saying things like, The breakup may have been painful but God was looking out for you.

We wondered why I saw him with the kids in between the charges and the trial.  One person feared they were the type who could manipulate a judge.

This is when Todd unfriended Richard on Facebook, disgusted at how much he had allowed Richard to influence him.

It was all extremely helpful, to know that I was not the terrible person Tracy tried to gaslight and brainwash me into thinking I was.

These were people I had known long before I even met Richard and Tracy on the Forum.  These included people who spent four years of college with me, day after day in each others’ company, and kept in touch after college.

These included people who grew up with me, and family.  These included people I went to church with.

They knew me and that I did not deserve abuse.

It was also helpful to discuss these things with virtual friends on online forums.

On Orthodox forums I could ask the religious questions this stirred up:

–how could this happen when God sent me this friend as an answer to prayer,

–how to stay in the faith and not become an atheist,

–how to deal with this,

–how to forgive,

–how to deal with seeing them at church.

We could share experiences of spiritual mentors who fell, and how this affected our faith.  I could ask for prayer.

I also consulted with my priest all through this: in July 2010, in August 2010, then again in October 2011 after Richard was convicted of choking his child.

In October 2011, I asked my priest if Richard could be ordained after choking his child, and he said no.  This was a great relief. 

I again went to my priest when Richard and Tracy threatened and began stalking me, even at church.  I also told all my friends and family again.

I found all sorts of blogs about abuse, such as Shrink4Men, Narcissists Suck, and various survivor blogs, which described the behaviors of narcissists, sociopaths, abusers and abusive borderlines.

They provided a chance to discuss what I went through and read about others’ experiences.  They helped me to define and sort out what had happened.

They helped me learn how abusers operate, far beyond what I had already learned from researching abuse between 1997 and 2010 (first because of Phil, then because of Tracy abusing Richard and the kids). 

They helped me learn that this is a psychological disorder, that how Tracy and Richard acted had nothing whatsoever to do with me.

I learned that no matter what the kind of abuser, their behavior is so alike that survivors keep asking, “Do they all have the same playbook?”

I discovered what a narcissist is, what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is.

And confirmed with Todd that BPD is indeed the most likely cause of Tracy’s behavior, because her mother has it and Tracy has the same traits. 

Though narcissism fits her behavior even more.  As I read Sam Vaknin‘s articles on abuse and the narcissist, the lightbulb went off in my head, not just for Tracy but–to my shock–also for Richard!

Somewhere around or before February 2012, I also made a few friends at my current church who were close enough to tell them more details about what happened, the abuse I suffered and witnessed from Richard and Tracy. 

They could support me as well.  This was incredibly helpful for my healing process, though it had not yet finished as of May 2012, and I was still in a risky emotional state.

But just having them nearby was emotionally supportive when Richard and Tracy began stalking me in May 2012, including coming to my church to intimidate and frighten me into silence and submission. 

One of the friends still goes there; we are like two peas in an introvert pod.

In the e-mail in the above link, Richard and Tracy claimed that I somehow threatened them, but this is a narcissistic lie pulled out of their backsides. 

Something about a threat to “go public” to “members of the church and community.”

Say what?  I never made such a threat, and as you can see, I had already told all my friends, family and priest what had happened, and written the blogs.

In the blogs I changed names, because that was public, and because I–having read Writer’s Digest for years–happen to know a little something about libel.  Everything I did was well within my rights of free speech, and I never, ever threatened to go beyond that.

This is yet another example of abusers trying to gaslight and frighten their victims into silence, the actions of thugs. 

We have to fight this, because that makes us into survivors, not victims.  It makes us strong, not weak for bullies to pick on. 

I stood up to my bullies, and they backed down, though they still stalk my blog constantly.

Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

I wrote this webbook and the related blog posts because I could not afford or trust a therapist,

I am a writer and deal with my worst emotional upsets through writing,

and like many abuse victims I needed to tell the story and talk about my pain over and over until it was gone–which I could not expect my friends/family to listen to.

In blog posts, I could perseverate as much as I needed to, without annoying anyone (except Richard and Tracy, who have been stalking my blog).  And fellow abuse victims can read as much or as little of this as they choose.

Meanwhile, I don’t keep my story or the process of my healing journey under lock and key, where it only benefits me.  I know from my own searches all over the Web, that abuse victims want to read stories like theirs.

So while Richard and Tracy tried, yet again, to threaten me into silence in May 2012, it was too late, because my friends and family–including some in town–already knew all about it. 

And it all falls within my First Amendment rights.  Their threats are meaningless and illegal.  You can see in the e-mails I copy here in my webbook, that my story is consistent.

On October 31, 2011, I even sent this letter to the editor of the newspaper:

I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.

An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers.

Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies. But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.

How can this happen with such a despicable act? Is that child being protected?

Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.

And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates.

People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically. Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.

I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse.

Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.

Abuse victims need to quench their fear of the abusers and break the silence.  This also breaks the control of the abuser over the victim. 

Abusers usually threaten their victims into silence, but I am surrounded by people who support me and protect me by their very presence. 

TELL!  TELL HOW YOU’VE BEEN ABUSED!  Gather supporters to yourself!  Your best protection against bullies is friends.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk

I keep putting up this story and taking it down again and putting it back up again.  I take it down because I wonder how much I really want to post on the Web.

Then I put it back up because the issues in here–child abuse, domestic violence, bullying, women who abuse men–are very important and need to be addressed.

It’s a risk which sometimes I do and sometimes don’t want to take, but there are many things in here that need to be said about modern society–and it’s hard to make a complete picture of what happened without posting all of it.  However, there are some private details which must be kept private.

1. This page is for NLDers, introverts, fellow bullying victims, fellow abuse survivors and friends of abuse victims.

2. I want to help raise awareness that women do abuse, too, not just men.  If the roles were reversed and Richard did the things I saw Tracy do and heard that Tracy did, nobody would question that he was a jerk and abuser and that she needed to get out.  But because the woman was the abuser, Richard kept trying to hold it together.

It takes great courage or stupidity to post this, because I’m scared the bully Tracy will find it and retaliate.  She is, after all, physically violent when she chooses to be.  (But then, she thinks I’m stupid anyway.)

There’s also still the faint hope that one day soon Tracy will regret the things she’s done, apologize and try to change.

But if she does find it, or Richard finds it–who knows, maybe reading this will show them just what they’ve done and that theirs are not the only opinions that matter.  Maybe it will inspire them to make amends and changes in their own lives.

If they just look and laugh and make no apologies, then that would be childish and prove they have no business coming back into our lives.  If Tracy beats me up, I’ll finally have physical proof of her true character.

[Update: The above was written somewhere between 2010 and 2011.  They did indeed find this in May 2012; see here.]

3. But I’ve read other people’s accounts of how they’ve been bullied and abused.

So my story burns within me to be told as well, expressing to the ether what happened, hoping other abuse victims will be helped by it and learn from it–especially people who deal with NVLD, Asperger’s or selective mutism, or who are introverts, and whose social understanding is hampered.

I have been betrayed and thrown to the wolves by the very person I thought had my back.

4. You will see that it’s useless to deal with someone who is jealous, controlling and/or abusive, but won’t deal with her issues properly.

You will hopefully learn that it just isn’t worth trying to pacify such a person, that it’s best to just cut them out of your life early–before they infect you with their emotional damage and leave you to deal with the pain, the post traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, the lies they spread about you, etc.  Even a dear friendship isn’t worth that.

5. I hope to demonstrate the evils of jealousy, to make a plea for all those who are judged by advice columnists and bloggers and the like as whores and “inappropriate” based simply on one side given us by an upset wife in a short letter.  There may be more to that story than you realize.

6. I hope to help NLDers realize their naïveté can make them far too trusting, far too easily taken advantage of.

7. As a writer, I am driven to tell stories, even and especially my own stories, whether positive or negative.

8. There’s a huge lack of stories, even on the Net, about the friends and families of people who are involved in domestic or child abuse situations; friends who are being abused by friends; the friends of friends who are being abused by friends.

You read about them, but mostly a sentence or two about how friends and family are driven away by the abuser and/or subjected to abuse as well, because they object to how the abuser treats their friend.

I searched and searched to find stories about friendship abuse, but kept finding very little (except occasionally in comments to blogs or advice columns).  There are plenty of survivor stories from people who were abused by parents or romantic partners.  The dynamics are obviously different, making it hard to relate if you’re the friend being abused.

So that’s another reason I put these stories here, because this is about a friend who sees her best friend’s verbally and physically violent marriage, objects, then finds herself subjected to abuse and accusations because she objected, until finally she cuts these people out of her life at great personal grief.

This story is for people who are abused by friends, or the spouses of friends, or who feel helpless as a friend or family member is domestically abused.  Perhaps you will see that while the abuse of me did anger me quite a bit, what angered me the most was how Tracy abused Richard, the children, and others.

9. I want to help raise awareness of different types of domestic abuse.

10. I want to help raise awareness of bullying and abuse in other contexts.

11. We need to get our stories out there so others learn how to recognize bullying and abuse–to get away from it, to stop doing it, to help others out of it.  Despite decades of attention, this problem persists.

12. I want to help others learn from my mistakes, of which you will probably find many.

13. I want to record my struggle with loss of faith and trying to hold onto it, after the most significant person in my conversion to Orthodoxy, became my betrayer and manipulator.  The fall of a spiritual mentor into some kind of sin does happen now and then, shaking the faith of the ones who looked up to him, so this story is universal.

14. I want to raise awareness for what it’s like to be an introvert, or to have NLD/Asperger’s/selective mutism, and how people like us are constantly bullied in today’s American society, which values extroversion and looks down upon introversion.

15. And, well, this story is true from my perspective (that last bit added for legal reasons).  I wouldn’t be so confident with a lie.

Here is another story of a woman abused by a friend, as seen through the eyes of another woman who eventually became subjected to abuse as well, for sticking up for the abused.  And here is what appears to be the story of the friend being abused.

Here is another story of a woman being abused by her female friend, who is a narcissist.  From what I have observed, Richard and Tracy both have narcissistic traits.  Note the following paragraph from this link, from JoyfulAliveWoman’s blog.  Note that her friendship was heterosexual, that there was nothing sexual about it, and yet this woman hooked in JAW so much that she wrote this:

I was under H’s spell. I couldn’t get enough of her. I became Codependent with her. It was pathetic.

No one else had that effect upon me, nor had they ever. My relationships with others were different.

That isn’t to say those relationships weren’t challenging, but there was a “hypnotic and obsessive quality” to the relationship with H (strong characteristics of a codependent, dysfunctional relationship).

H had her so enthralled that, even though she didn’t acknowledge that JAW had wisdom and insight of her own, and her own superior attitude sometimes inspired JAW to rebel, JAW was always the one to go crawling back, contrite, while her objections were swept under the rug.

It wasn’t like this in the beginning between Richard and me, not until later on, but it was always that way with Tracy and me.

Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults.

In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a “nice guy” and that he can be trusted.

It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). –Mel Stewart, The Fine Art of Grooming

I’ve described the Richard and Tracy story in little bits and pieces, interspersed here and there in my reviews of Gone With the Wind, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Mysteries of Udolpho.

For more than two years I was bullied for being different by a grown adult, bullied by Tracy by proxy through Richard, verbally abused by Tracy only to have both of them act like what I did (basically, being shy, quiet and wary of Tracy, who bullied me, Richard and her children) was somehow worse than her bullying and abuse of me.

At first, Richard and I bonded over religion, music and Goth.  He was my spiritual guide.  He was my best, closest and dearest friend, the one I trusted so much that I told him things I hadn’t told anyone else.  We were like a mutual admiration society.  He told me I was the most awesome person he knew; I felt the same about him.  But he betrayed me.

The first thing is, you were born this way. It is in your nature, and thus cannot be wrong.  On average, one out of every three people is an introvert, if being quiet was wrong, that would make 1/3 of the total population born lesser. –serjicaladdict, Why are you so quiet?

16. [This part was written somewhere between late 2010 and early 2011.]  Another reason is to try somehow to understand this perplexing situation.  Only over the past several months, as I’ve been writing and adding to this story, have I started to see the whole picture and make connections and understand little bits of pieces of it.

I noticed the same thing over the past 15 years as I wrote memoirs about my life: Certain events that upset me greatly, long-term abuse and other such things, I wrote about as they happened, and put them into my memoirs several years later.  I began to understand, but not quite yet.

Then several years after that, I put these memoirs online in public versions.  As I did this, and did more research into abuse, I saw connections I never saw before.  Things began to make sense, how guys would manipulate me, and that sort of thing.

I see this happen now as I write about this horrible situation.  I see clues to what may have happened, that I didn’t see before.

All my life I’ve written diaries, letters, e-mails, journals, memoirs and other accounts describing my life, its various events, my emotions.  This may be related to NVLD, being confused by life, not seeing the whole picture for the details, and needing to journal about it to figure things out.

It may also be related to Aspergers, having a long memory, going over things again and again in your mind long after other people have forgotten about it.

Or maybe I simply want to be a modern Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick sounds to me very much like Tracy, and you will recognize various elements of it as you read my story, such as:

  • her being happy as she cuts you down
  • having to be in control (which she did to me, to Richard, to an ex-family friend named Todd)
  • histrionics I witnessed when she dealt with her ex
  • steamrolling me time and again, no compromise or concession, this coming back to bite her as people kept bolting from friendships or other relationships with her
  • two or three of the emotional states listed under “Losing Control” (when I challenged her for raging at me and she realized Jeff and I were ending our friendship with her).

Todd, who was friends with Richard for six years–from before Richard and Tracy got married–and stayed with them twice, for a month each time, said she yells at you but does nothing to work on her own part of the problem.

I witnessed a few arguments between her and Richard that got nasty, so I knew it wasn’t just me.  If she were this way with nobody else, I’d have to look harder at myself, but this was not the case.

17. Tracy did her hardest to make me think I was the problem, but I knew this wasn’t true, and wrote this to remember why.

As the above article states,

Yes, this woman is deeply troubled, but it is NOT your responsibility to tolerate, accept or change her. The only way to gain mastery over a relationship with this kind of woman is to end it. Otherwise, you’ll begin an endless replay loop of your own misery.

18. This article, and my story, should help you recognize such people in your own life, and that it’s not worth waiting around for change.  Take warning from what happened to me.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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