Category: houseguests from hell

Running my abusers’ e-mail through the narc decoder

Back in May 2012, my abusers, Richard and Tracy, discovered this blog, then threatened and began to stalk me.  You can read their e-mail below.

Especially note that whichever of them wrote the e-mail (it “sounded” like Tracy’s “voice”), accused me of making things up and accusing Tracy falsely, downplayed Richard’s criminal conviction of choking his daughter, warned me not to go to the priest/church, and threatened to sue.

And yet–Through our own local version of a “police beat,” Crime Reports, published for all to see on the Fond du Lac city website, I have discovered that a domestic dispute occurred in May.

The report points to Richard and Tracy’s last-known address, at least according to Google Earth, which is used by the website to locate each crime event.  A follow-up occurred about a week later, so it appears that an investigation was begun into the incident, beyond the initial police report.

No charges have been filed as of yet, so I don’t know what happened, who was involved, or if charges ever will be filed.

But it–along with Richard’s conviction of choking his daughter–supports my statements that Richard and Tracy are abusive, and that I am not making up “false facts” out of a “not-all-there” brain.

And gives more strength to my mind to resist their attempts to gaslight me, and attempts to intimidate me into silence through constant surveillance of this blog.  This discovery has even more emboldened me to not be silent–and to laugh at their attempts to scare me.

It gets easier all the time, when reading old posts or remembering things that my abusers said or did, to laugh it off.

Yes, laugh it off.  I see how ridiculous it all is, and see right through it all.

Not only does it help pull me out of the pit and back where life is beautiful again, and I am no longer a “victim,” but it should help me identify such behavior in others, before I get pulled in again.

(Not that it is in any way a character failing to be a victim of someone abusing you.  Victim-blaming and -shaming is a huge problem these days.  The only one who should be ashamed of how the victim is affected by the abuse, is the abuser.)

Nowadays, when I remember what happened, it no longer affects me, just as it no longer affects me to remember what Phil, Peter or Shawn did back in college.  It’s become a story I revise for the masses to read, which may inspire a brief burst of anger, but then I forget about it again.

I see right through the things my various abusers did, and no longer let it worry and oppress me the way it used to for years.

Yes, it took me years to get past what those guys did, just as it has taken years to deal with what Richard and Tracy did.  But eventually I got through.  As Trent Reznor titled a song, The way out is through.

Because of this, and the discovery above which provides even more evidence that my abusers were full of bullsh**, I am now ready to turn my abusers’ threatening e-mail to me in May of 2012, into a piece of high comedy, by running it through my own brand-new narc decoder.

Blogger Tina Swithin has popularized the idea of a “narc decoder,” through which you run messages from your abuser.  This handy little “machine” translates those messages which fill you with fear, dread, anger, and the like, into what they really mean.

First, read the e-mail from Richard and Tracy:

Nyssa,

We read this in amusement. It gave us a good laugh to find
that almost 2 years later you are still fixated on something that we
forgot about a long time ago. As for your threats, promises whatever to
expose us you can take out a law book and read about defamation laws.
Richards’s court case may be public access and you are free to speculate
all you want without having all the information and facts. However the
rest of your writings about how horrible a person Tracy is and abusive
mentally deranged etc. have gone beyond statements of opinion. You have
represented in your writings false facts, not just opinions, about Tracy
that constitutes an actionable lawsuit. You are free to have your
opinion and feelings however the minute you go public to the members of
the church or community as you have threatened to do we will exercise
our rights to sue you for defamation against Tracy’s character.

You
talk about threats and bullies yet what are you doing? You are
threating to falsely accuse and expose lies about an innocent person if
they do not concede to your demands. We will not be threatened or
intimidated. We are free to go to church to worship our Lord God without
fear of retaliation from someone we see as not all there. You want
closure here it is. We are not sorry. We did nothing wrong. You will
never get what you want from us because we do not feel we owe you
anything. We will continue to be active in our church our community and
our town; if you cannot handle that then that us your problem not ours.
We will not move or change our faith to make you happy and comfortable.
As for the local parish being ‘your’ church. I think the archdiocese
would have a thing to say about that. The church is for everyone. We
have stayed away out of respect to give you time. We have gone to other
churches in town outside of our faith when gas prices or work schedules
prevented us from driving 40+ miles one way to church. However we miss
going to a church of our faith, participating in the mysteries having
that commune with our Lord, so we decided that when we can’t drive out
of town we will go to the local parish. We will not be pushed out of the
church by you, two years is enough time. So as fair warning for the
perceivable future our work schedules make long distance an issue as the
other parish is moving to summer hours and Divine Liturgy starts early.
So we will be attending locally A LOT this summer, we will even show up
on Saturday nights.

And now I run the e-mail from Richard and Tracy through the narc decoder…..

Snap, crackle, pop….

And here it is, all decoded:

Nyssa,

How dare you ever speak a word to anyone about how we bullied, abused and gaslit you for years?  How dare you ever speak a word about Tracy’s abuses of Richard, the children, and others?

Tracy tried her hardest to shut you up so that only you knew what was happening, so we could keep you under our control and even your husband wouldn’t know the truth.  We wanted even him to think you were crazy.  We wanted you to think you imagined it all.

How dare you break out of our control and think for yourself?  How dare you tell your husband and all your friends and family what we did?  How dare you have a mind and will much stronger than we gave you credit for?

You were so nice and easily intimidated that we thought for sure we could twist you every which way we wanted to, and continue to use you and get money/stuff/living space out of you.

It scared us when you showed signs of wanting to kick us out of your house years ago for bullying you and being generally abusive, so we had to re-assert our control and make you think you were in the wrong.  We had to make you think YOU were the one with the problem, so we could stay put till we were good and ready to leave.

Now, a few days ago, you actually stood up for yourself and told us to stay away from you.  But we don’t want to leave you alone.

We’ve always hated your church, and barely stepped foot in it even while we still pretended to be friends with you.  But we want to guilt you into thinking we’re pious Christians who long for the Mysteries, even though we have never lifted a finger to resolve this like Christians, have never behaved like Christians.

We have no interest in actually behaving like Christians, or in getting the Mysteries out of any sense of longing for Christ.  No, this is only so we can harass you and pretend to be pious, by making big shows of making the sign of the Cross, just like Pharisees!

We want to shove up against you, breathe down your neck and snarl in the Communion line.  We want to pretend to everyone at your church that we’re just innocent Christians, so that no one will believe you if you try to tell them what we really are.

We want free reign, so we can control you at church, too, by forcing you to keep quiet and telling everyone you’re a nutcase and not all there.

We know it’s a lie.

We still think you’re easily manipulated through threats.  The truth is that we are afraid of anyone else knowing what kind of people we really are.  We don’t want your priest to know, either, especially since you spoke of showing him Richard’s criminal records.  This is why we repeatedly threaten you and tell you to shut up.

We don’t want you to get help from the church.  We want you to be destroyed because you know what we really are.

We are well aware that you never made threats to retaliate against us.

But just as Tracy did with Todd, when she accused him falsely and smeared him all over the game forum years ago, we will try to make you think you made threats.  We will tell others that you made threats you never actually made, to get them on our side and turn them against you, make them think you’re crazy, just as we successfully got all those people thinking that Todd was crazy.

We have already done that, by telling some person Tracy goes to school with, Chia, that you did these things you never did, that you lied when you told the truth.  She never even met you before.  Then she changed her profile to a passive-aggressive diatribe against you, and “friended” you on Facebook.  But it was only so we can peruse your Facebook for posts about us.

Of course you never threatened to push us out of the church or Fond du Lac.  We just suffer from poor reading comprehension, combined with our fear of somebody exposing our real selves to the whole world.

We have worked very hard to suppress our real selves around other people in Fond du Lac, so that we can make inroads in politics and other circles, but your very knowledge of our true selves–and Richard’s conviction–threatens our feeling of security.

It is all a lie.  But you’re not supposed to recognize that.  You’re supposed to doubt yourself and come under our control.

The true threat is that because you know the truth about us, your very existence is a threat.  We are scared that because of you, that perfect image we want to present the community, will come crashing down as the facade that it is.

You have kept careful notes of our abuses, and that frightens us.  We want you to think even those records are fake.  Even though everything you wrote is the truth.  Even though Richard sent you an e-mail years back which proved your assertions.

This is why, years ago, we tried to make you think you were a stalker for keeping such notes, so you would stop doing that.  This is why we are now trying to gaslight you into thinking that Tracy has never abused anyone and that you’re just lying.

So we will ridicule you and make you think you’re the one with the problem (even though your reactions to being abused and seeing your abuser again are all perfectly normal), because we never matured past elementary school.

We will pretend to be amused by your blog, when in truth it scares us to death–or we never would’ve threatened you.  Especially your knowledge of Richard’s conviction.  We read that page of your blog constantly.

Though your pain, your desperate suffering, caused by us and our actions and words, so much so that only blogging could get it out, does amuse us, because we are sociopaths.

We like to cause pain and refuse to apologize for it, refuse to make it right, because we have no human feeling–except for our own selves.  We laugh at others for needing this strange thing called “closure.”  When we hurt someone else, when we cause them pain, it is hilarious to us.

Though we are so faulty with reading comprehension that we did not get that it’s not “closure” you need, but for us to recognize we have done wrong, and make it right, through apologies and changed behavior.  This would make a Christian restoration of friendship possible.

But that won’t happen, because we are superior to all others and never do anything wrong.  And because we were only pretending to be your friends to begin with.

We even laugh at the collapse of your faith, even though Richard claimed for years to want to be a priest.  Which shows our own faith is actually an act put on to fool you and others, to give us an air of respectability.

We want you to think that even your perception of Richard’s conviction is wrong, even though you have official, public information saying otherwise.  We want you to think Richard is innocent, even though he himself admitted to choking his daughter.  All to further gaslight you into our control.

We easily got over the breakup because you were blameless, so we had nothing to be angry about.  Well, other than the fact that you broke free of us before we could dump you first.

But you had been showing signs of breaking free from our control for years, which is why we let you go so easily.  We knew you would be trouble, that you already saw Tracy’s true nature and were beginning to see Richard’s as well.  We knew you may even report us to the police or Social Services–which you did eventually do.  That scared us.

We would never admit to being to blame for the suffering you’ve gone through.  It’s your fault, after all.  It’s never the abuser’s fault.  How dare you try to make us take responsibility for how we treat and hurt people, including our own children?  We are perfect, can’t you tell?  It’s never our fault when we abuse someone!  It’s always the fault of the person we abuse!

It infuriates us that you are sticking up for yourself and telling about what happened!  So we will make empty threats, hoping to shut you up, even though we know we could never have the legal basis to carry them through, and no lawyer would take us on because we have no case or money!  We talk about Constitutional Rights, but that’s for US, not for you!

How dare you insist that we never contact you?  Just by sending this e-mail we are violating your rights and request to be left alone!  Because we don’t care about anybody but ourselves.

–Richard and Tracy Doe

Ah, that was therapeutic.  This is a good way to turn the horrid e-mails/messages sent to you by your abuser, into a piece of see-through garbage that no longer bothers you.

Attempting to obtain closure with an abusive, narcissistic and/or borderline woman (i.e., Crazy) is almost always a maddening exercise in futility.

You’re not going to get closure with this kind of woman for several reasons. First, she doesn’t meet the three most important prerequisites for giving and receiving closure:

  1. A reasonable degree of sanity
  2. A foothold in reality
  3. Empathy

Being able to give an ex closure means you’re able to accept your share of responsibility for the demise of the relationship and when has your BPD and/or NPD ex ever taken responsibility for her behavior, especially when she was clearly in the wrong?

…I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for this to happen or, heaven forbid, an apology from this woman; IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If you try to get closure from your NPD and/or BPD ex by detailing the many ways she hurt and tortured you, she’s unlikely to acknowledge what she did. –Dr. Tara, Shrink4Men, There is No Closure with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman

Realizing I Was Used and Manipulated by My “Best” Friend Richard: The Proof Is In The E-Mail

Realizing your best friend was manipulating and playing you the whole time, is very disturbing.  But it finally hit me this week as I kept piecing things together, put 2 and 2 together and finally got 4.  My proof is right there in the e-mail Tracy sent me back in May of this year.

My blog stalkers twisted my words into threats I never made, and then used those imaginary threats as justification to threaten me with legal action.

(See Now I’m Being Stalked, where you can read about this, my dissection of the e-mail, and the full text of their e-mail.)

I looked through all my posts but could find nothing to back up their claims that I threatened to expose them to the local community and/or church.

(Just a note in one blog, not addressed to them, that I hoped they would move away so I wouldn’t have to see them around anymore, and a note in another blog, not addressed to them, that if their church merged with mine, I would have to go to the priest for help, for my own physical, emotional and spiritual safety.)

It was a documented example of gaslighting:

Twisting your words and managing to turn things around to use them against you is a ploy of the verbal abuser. —A Checklist of Verbal Abuse | eHow.com

But I reviewed all my posts and could find nothing to justify their threats, I have tons of documentation, and I am an eye-witness of, or got directly from my blog stalkers, practically everything I wrote….

It also went against something I wrote in one blog, that I had no intention of spreading around the church the story of what they had done.

My blogs were merely about personal release of metaphorical demons, and I had no intentions of revealing their real names on here or somehow publishing them to the whole local community.

(And how on earth I was supposed to do so, I have no idea.  Take out an ad in the paper, perhaps?  As if such an ad would even be run!  Pass out fliers?  Go door-to-door?  If they mean talking to my local friends–they can’t stop a person from confiding in friends.)

Their e-mail was so ludicrous, paranoid, absurd and revealing as to be laughable.  It gave me concrete evidence of their abuse, self-centeredness and vindictiveness, so I’m holding onto it.  It even gave me concrete evidence that they just used us for our generosity, and were never true friends.

Just think: Not only did they demonstrate the same utter lack of regard for the feelings and points of view of Hubby and me that they had shown during the “Incident” and that Tracy showed for me the entire time I knew her

…Not only did they demonstrate a feeling of entitlement to call all the shots and smack us down when we got uppity and asserted our rights to decent treatment

…Not only did they say they “owe” me nothing

But a lawsuit would be an attempt to get money out of us.

Didn’t we give them quite enough money over the years?

Considering the extreme lengths we took over the years to help them out, far beyond what most people would do, and the fact that we’re not even remotely related to them,

I think we are at least owed kindness, consideration, a restraint from verbal abuse and bullying, and apologies for outbursts.

But to not even get that from them, and have them come out and say in this e-mail that they owe us nothing and did nothing wrong, is clear, documented proof–which you yourself can read–that they feel entitled to bad behavior without apology.  It clearly shows a lack of conscience and empathy.

Me always getting blamed for that bad behavior, without the blamers taking any of it onto themselves, is another telling piece of the puzzle.

Me right there overhearing as Tracy would make passive-aggressive phone calls complaining to her mother or Richard about me.

Hubby has said all along that he does not want me debasing myself to her, that Tracy has to get down on her knees and apologize to me.  And he wouldn’t mind apologies for how he got treated, either.

I, Hubby, our parents and one of my old friends all have a distinct impression that Hubby and I were played for suckers.

For me, after two months of happily hosting only Richard, there was the sudden, unexpected announcement that the rest of the family was coming to move in–and Richard already had to sleep on the couch.

There was no room for another adult and three more children, but they came here with no other place to go, no move-out plan, and ended up staying for six long weeks.

Neither my husband nor I approved this, thinking the other one must have okayed it, but never being asked, just told they were coming.  My son was forced out of his bed and into ours.

When Richard made this announcement, I got him an apartment guide and told him to find a place.  I kept asking/begging him for a move-out date, but it kept getting put off, or he’d say he couldn’t give me one.

Yet Tracy complained that I did not make her feel welcome,

complained about the food we provided (who can afford fresh produce and no canned/frozen every night for eight people on a middle-class salary and ballooning utility bills???!!!),

they gave us no money when they had promised to pay for food,

they left messes all over the house (including a massive pile of dirty laundry in the living room),

and she was very rude and aggressive to me and abusive to Richard and the kids even while living in my house,

as if she expected we would just let her do this without kicking her out–That shows a sense of entitlement.

As does the distinct feeling I got that what I did or where I went in my home was subject to her approval.

(I got this from her complaints about me taking time to myself,

the way she’d follow after me if I went to talk to Richard by myself,

the angry look she gave when Richard invited me to play cards with them,

and her complaints to Richard about my “routine” and to her mother about who does the cooking in my house and what we served for dinner!)

Then, a year and a half later, when they were on hard times again and I bit the bullet and offered to let them stay here again,

I discovered from Richard that she refused,

that she spit on our hospitality,

accused me of being a bad, unwelcoming hostess (because I had to do housework and change diapers, and desperately needed time to myself every day with all these people and noise crammed into my 1100-sq.ft. condo),

and was very upset with me for overhearing me tell my husband she was bullying me and abusing Richard.

Yeah, I can feel your ingratitude from here, a lack of appreciation for how you forced yourself on us and then complained about the accommodations,

just how much your presence put us out financially and personally,

for how you were driving me crazy and making me want you OUT.

And because of this, they tried to force me into an uphill battle to please her and get back into her good graces if I expected to be friends with Richard.

Meanwhile, she had no intentions of changing anything about herself that caused me to call her abusive and keep her at arm’s length.  More entitlement.  And more evidence that we were sponged off, used, by fake friends.

On the very night of the “Incident,” Hubby said to me, “Do you feel used?  I do.  They were not good friends.”

On the part of Hubby’s parents, all it took was one long phone conversation describing what happened, to convince them we were taken advantage of.

They said Hubby shouldn’t have let things go on as long as they did, that as soon as they began complaining about the food we provided, he should’ve (politely) shown them the door.

My mother, also, keeps noting, “And to treat you like this after all you’ve done for these people!”

An e-mail to my old friend resulted in the friend’s observation that these two were very manipulative and were never real friends to us, that she’s met people like this.

Then that e-mail from Tracy/Richard? came, confirming these suspicions for Hubby and me.

I’m not even sure what all was real and what was fake, because Richard sure played a convincing part, I thought we had a special bond and that he truly cared about me,

but then he began complaining about “pampering” me, and started coming out with things he’d held back from me, which first made me wonder what was real.

His behavior since has belied the impression he gave Hubby and me both; he had fooled us both for years.

A true friend would never behave the way he has done,

would reflect on his own behavior and return your apologies (which I gave both of them not just that very day, but a week/month later) with his own apologies,

would apologize for blowing up at a good friend.

It’s hard to admit that he may never have actually cared and was just playing a part to get our monetary and other support, especially since it is hard to be sure, though his behavior the past few years has been steadily confirming this.

But with Tracy, I’m sure, and her e-mails to me are proof.

All you have to do is read in the e-mail at the above link that they “had a good laugh” at my pain and point of view, that they “did nothing wrong” and would not apologize.

Those lines in themselves are glaring proof not just of a lack of empathy and conscience,

but that these two are a couple of con artists and spongers,

that neither of them ever really cared about Hubby or me, or they never would have written such callous lines.

And because those lines prove that they never truly cared,

that leads to the obvious conclusion that they used us for our generosity,

because we were so willing to give them a place to stay to our own inconvenience and financial strain,

to open up the wallet,

to give them food and out of our other surplus,

to give them rides,

to lend them things which we had to remind them to return.  (We never did get the crib back.)

How often were we there for them?  All the time.  How often was Richard there when I needed him?  Not so much, often ignoring my phone calls or e-mails.

After all, how much did I really know about either of them before letting them in?  I met them on an Internet forum.  It’s easy to misrepresent yourself on a forum.

There were all sorts of things which Richard never told me until right before he was to move in, things which made me start wondering if I should let him stay here.

There were things which he didn’t tell me until after he moved in, which shocked me.

There were things which came out little by little over the years; I didn’t hear about the Mafia goombah stint until 2009.

An even more telling piece of evidence of their duplicity, is the way they just let us end the friendship without a fight, the way they kept putting their pride and anger above friendship even a month later, even two years later.

Obviously getting their own way is far more important to them than anything or anybody else.

True friends would have at least tried to change our minds.  Instead of dead silence, we would’ve gotten phone calls, visits, apologies and/or requests to talk it over.  That’s what another of my friends did when one of his friends broke off the friendship.

The way they just let us go so easily, then blocked us all on Facebook and e-mail, suggests very strongly that the whole Incident–heck, that whole last few months when even Richard suddenly began acting distant, rude and mean–was a setup, a plan to push us away.

Maybe it was because I showed signs of no longer believing Richard’s wild stories.

Maybe it was because we were not going for his politics.

Or maybe we had outlived our usefulness: Most of the time we knew them, they were both either unemployed or underemployed.

While Hubby, who lost his job when the economy tanked in 2008, did keep finding good-paying contract jobs,

but then in very late 2009 felt forced to take a job that barely paid the bills, made us buy poor-quality food at discount stores, but was permanent.

His employer was a miser, while Tracy finally found steady work.  So they didn’t need as much help from us, while we didn’t have as much help to give. 

It all fits together now, the more I think about it.  To still, two years later, defend your abusive and nasty behavior as “nothing wrong,” is a sign of narcissism and sociopathy–and proves to us that we did the right thing in cutting them loose.  True friends would not be proud of having mistreated you.

Their e-mail also references Richard’s criminal conviction, with a snide remark about “speculation” and not having “all the facts,” but I got all sorts of facts straight from the newspaper and court records, which are posted online, free for the public to access.

And though they tried in this e-mail with that snide remark, there is no way to spin what he did, to make him look good.  (He choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness.)

I’ve witnessed their vindictiveness to others and to me, and maybe they think everybody is like them.  But I am not the sort of person to do what they accused me of.

Their e-mail is proof that they felt the need to terrorize me into silence, rather than trying to work things out or even defend their actions through reasoned arguments. 

It shows Richard to be just like the government officials he hates so much, who he claims will hound and intimidate him if he ever publicly comes out with their secrets.

It’s also proof that if I had gone through with that “conference” Tracy kept insisting on, she never would have allowed me to have an opinion of my own,

because that e-mail is how she responded to all the arguments I made, everything I’d wanted to say to her, in plain language and detail in probably dozens of pages of blogs:

basically, to poke fun at me for thinking things were that way, to shut me up and say I had no right to say it, or even to make my own terms about how I would be treated, after she determined how I was to be treated.

Which, by the way, is also how she and Richard both responded to Hubby’s attempts to speak up for me and try to smooth things over, during the “Incident.”

More entitlement to do whatever the heck Tracy wants, and take and take and take from us, while giving us nothing in return.  And even to go so far as to threaten us into compliance and silence about the truth to those who could help us.

Their e-mail is all the proof I need that Hubby and I are right about them.  Their true character shines all the way through it.

Though at the time it felt like they’d put a huge pile of crap in my lap, I now see it as a golden egg.  I’ve shown it to the police, posted it online and shown it to friends [on the Forum where we all used to post] as proof of what I’m dealing with.

At the same time they sent it, they also a sent a friend, whom I will name “Chia,” to spy on my Facebook account.

I’m not sure what she did there, only that I did not know this person who friended me shortly before Tracy sent the above e-mail, that they were both on her friends list, she lived here in town–

and spikes from their IP address suddenly showed up on my website right after I friended her and it showed up on her wall.

We had absolutely nothing in common other than our city and knowing Richard and Tracy.  None of my friends were on her list.

There were even a few sentences in her profile about defending friends when they’re being attacked, or some such.

(I bet she wasn’t told the full story, that I had been viciously attacked by Tracy over and over again, that my blogs were about telling my story of abuse, and that what I actually did was tell Richard and Tracy to leave me alone.)

I sent her an e-mail asking how she knew me, but she never responded.  In fact, the following day I discovered she had unfriended me.

Am I being paranoid when I say she was a flying monkey, as the blogging community calls it, otherwise known as sycophant, abuser-by-proxy, or dupe?  No.  There’s far too much evidence to support the flying monkey theory.

Then at church, you could actually see Tracy’s feeling of entitlement in the way she carried herself, and the way she tried to intimidate me by getting right up behind me in the communion line, pressing up against me, and literally breathing down my neck in loud snarls.

It was ridiculous.  What did she think she was, a scary pirate?  Better put a few “arrs” in there for good measure.

And Hubby noticed, every time they came to my church and Greek Fest for the next several weeks, their false, exaggerated piety, a show for me, though I did not watch them.

They even took communion, which, from what my husband, father and I all understand about communion, is a huge no-no when you have conflict with another at the same church, lest you taint the sacrament, and eat and drink condemnation unto yourself.

(After the first week, I realized this, and refused to take communion when they were present, but they kept taking it.)

I need no further proof that I was right about her.

Their behavior in real life and online, including what they look at on my site and how often, is very much that of people with something to hide, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I don’t even care about seeing my blog stalkers in the stats anymore.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

It is very disturbing to discover just how badly you’ve been manipulated and used by people you thought were friends.

I now understand why most people are so reluctant to help non-family to the extent we helped these people.

Hubby’s parents told him you put yourself out like that only for family.  We will be keeping a tighter hold on our purse strings and offers to let people stay, after being so badly taken advantage of.

It’s rough to think that Richard would be this kind of person.  It’s very different from what I thought he was.

He had seemed like the perfect friend, with interests very much matching my own eclectic interests, giving us an overabundance of things to talk about: music, Goth, geek, Orthodoxy, theology, intellectual, ghosts.

I don’t know what went wrong, if it was always a ploy, or if it changed later on….I keep looking for hope in what blog posts he reads, hope that he still cares.

But the proof of a very different reality is in how he has allowed me to be treated in such a fashion.  The proof is in that e-mail

If he had ever truly cared about me, he never would have laughed at my pain.  Only sociopaths laugh at grief and pain caused by them.  It’s only denial that keeps me hoping.

Let my story be a warning to you, especially with the economy the way it is.  The blinders my husband and I had up, have led to financial and emotional pain.

My story of narcissistic abuse is here.

 

Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it

I believe Tracy’s husband should have taken swift and decisive action to end her verbal and physical violence at home,

because by staying with her and not forcing her into counseling or some other thing,

he essentially taught her to believe it was okay for her to assault people and expect them to jump to her demands, accept her assaults, and not demand an apology or kindness from her.

That’s part of the trouble with Stockholm Syndrome.  How he can stay with someone who not only verbally but physically abuses him, and claim to still love her, I do not know.

How he could tell me that he deserved the way I saw her treat him during the weeks they lived with us, I do not know.

How he could blame her jealousies and rages on hormones, stress, or whatever, and not walk away, I do not know.

How he could endure all this crap from her, see the crap she threw at me, see what she did to the kids, and still call her “awesome” and “sweet,” baffles my mind.

How can he not be scared of her?  How can he not find her meanness a huge turnoff?  I didn’t even want to be in the same room with her most of the time!  Why would he want to be anywhere near someone like that?

I just don’t understand it, because if a man ever hit me, I’d lose any attraction and love I felt for him, real fast.

I was once with a guy who was emotionally and verbally abusive with the threat of physical abuse to come; we were together for less than a year, and it took only several months afterwards for me to realize he was no good, to move on and find somebody better.

But then, I should take care not to blame the victim, since Stockholm Syndrome is quite common among abuse victims.  Also, men especially have trouble with leaving or reporting abusive women because society, the police and the courts tend not to believe the man is the victim of domestic abuse.

Richard kept telling me how he was trying to get her to stop, how she’d act sorry and talk about changing; he kept telling me it was pregnancy hormones or whatever else was going on with her at the time.

But I saw this cycle going again and again, even when she was not pregnant.

And then for her to treat me like, my wanting to be buddy-buddy with her was a test to prove how trustworthy I was with her husband–it was just ridiculous.

I just don’t understand how Tracy can be so cruel and abusive to another person, then blame that person and shun her at church for ending the friendship.

Or how she can treat it all like it’s all about her and her being offended, when the truth is, Jeff and I both threw up our hands, decided that she and Richard were both being too violent and ridiculous, and apologies were not forthcoming from them, so we had to leave to protect ourselves.

For me it was finally a reason to stop being obliged to hang around with an abuser, someone who bullies everyone around her (except for the ones on her “approved” list) until they either leave or cower in submission.

(Before, our two families were so intertwined that I saw no way to extricate myself from her.  Forget the usual advice to just see your friend without the spouse if you don’t get along: She wouldn’t allow it!)

My husband and I finally decided we were better off being alone and lonely than having ungrateful and unkind friends like these.

I just don’t understand how she can live with herself, let alone take the Eucharist.  You’re supposed to confess at least occasionally–has she confessed these things?

And if so, then why doesn’t she try to make amends with me and be kind instead of carrying on this ostracism of me from her family?

Why doesn’t she come to me and apologize for all the things she’s done? the barbs, the false accusations, the knee-jerking, the ridicule, the ingratitude, the verbal abuse, the threat of physical violence?

I never even got so much as a thank you from her for providing her family with shelter and food despite great inconvenience to us.  I tried so hard to be nice to her, even while breaking off the friendship, but got venom back from her.

I said as little as possible to her during the breakup to try to avoid arguments because I knew I was no match for her abuse, but her angry words just kept coming and coming.

It’s hypocrisy like this that turns people away from the Church, and even I with all my strength of faith have had to struggle to hold onto it–and not abandon the Church completely–while dealing with this.

Richard, after all, had much to do with me finding my way.  He was my spiritual guru, my spiritual idol with clay feet, someone to look up to.  I thought he could show me the way to religious enlightenment.

I thought he was devout, but instead he was violent.  I thought his violence was in the past, tamped down by religion, but it was still there, waiting dormant.  I saw the verbal violence arising in political comments he made on Facebook.

(You’ll note from what happened to Congresswoman Giffords that such political verbal violence leads to crazy people carrying out physical violence.  This article has a disturbing resemblance to Richard drawing a middle finger on a letter he received from our senator Feingold, then returning it to him.  Is that any way for a Christian to act?)

With the way Richard and Tracy both are about politics, actively working with their favored parties, and Richard’s attitudes to the opposition (actually using the word “hate”), and how upset I am at what is going on in Wisconsin since the last election put their people in power–

–how all the things I love about my state government are being yanked away and civility is now dead–

–I think being friends with them now would have been impossible anyway.

I think they would have been unbearable, that they would have looked down on Jeff and me for disagreeing with them, called us “sheeple” and “socialists,” all that crap going around these days which is making me start to look at their parties as the Enemy because they have acted out of anger and set up my side as their Enemy, rather than working together.

The following clip from a website of personal abuse stories, reminds me of Tracy telling me I needed to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings from her verbal abuse (according to her, caused by my behavior), rather than breaking off relations with her, and of Richard telling me that saying little to her was somehow worse than so-called “harsh words”:

After I confronted her about her having no right to lay a hand on me and my fear of what she would do to our future children, she replied, “if you’re going to get your tiny feelings in a bunch over a little slap, you need to keep going to therapy TO WORK ON YOUR PROBLEMS.”

I bet Tracy says this to her children and husband as well when they get zinged by her for stepping out of line.

This sounds very much like how Tracy acted at the end–and Richard was getting this way as well near the end, which is where the problems between him and me started.

I am so fed up with all the cattiness, abuse and bullying Tracy has thrown at me over the years in return for all the ways I’ve helped her and her family (sometimes at great personal trouble).

I am so fed up with how I was expected to just take it and try to befriend her, and if I complained about how she treated me and her husband and children I was a horrible, horrible person who was “biased against” her and didn’t “respect” her and interfered with how she dealt with her husband (because I didn’t think she naturally had the right to treat him like property and act jealous) and was too lax with my son and wanted to steal her husband.  (I have a good one of my own; why would I want hers?)

I tried so hard to quell my resentment, to do nice things for her, to spend every Lenten period trying to forget it and her lack of apologies.

Meanwhile she just kept nursing her grudges and the things I had done that were supposedly so horrible, and saying things to Richard like, “Did you just spend a couple of hours chatting with that woman online?”  (What?  Since when were we not supposed to chat online?)

While blaming me for not being all open and outgoing with her, she kept ignoring the crucial things that would’ve changed everything: her apologies, her changing her own behavior not just with me but with Richard and the children.

I could never be close friends with a child abuser, a spouse abuser, an aggressive person, a mean girl.  Yet Richard complained to me that he couldn’t go get coffee with me, as if it were my fault.  Jeff was very angry with Tracy, and often got annoyed with Richard as well over the whole thing.

Three unexplained incidents happened.  I will present only the facts so you can draw your own conclusions.

The first incident, was the five disappearing e-mails.  We were all on the same forum and I would often send Richard private messages that way, about life or issues or books or movies or whatever.

He hadn’t been on the board for a while, so there were five messages waiting for him from me.  This was in early 2008.

I had gone to visit Richard and Tracy; I told him the e-mails were getting backed up and had been waiting for weeks so please check them.  Tracy was sitting next to him at the time.

A day or two afterward, I went on my account and the e-mails had vanished.  They were not in my sent box.  There was no trace of them in the message tracker, which would tell me if they had been read.  Richard said he never got them.

I feared my account had been hacked, and changed the password.  The owner-administrator, Todd, didn’t know what happened; we figured maybe it was our usual board stalker/troll, who had a bug in his butt about Todd and kept causing trouble.

But this guy would get blamed for everything that went wrong there, and I knew of one case (the forum hack) where he was blamed for something Richard did.

Tracy and Richard were both admins on that board.  Richard never got the messages….From what I recall, the messages were about books and some other things, nothing that would cause a wife alarm.  And I never heard of e-mails or any online communication being forbidden, never had any reason to think this.

The second incident, at the end of May and the beginning of June 2010, which was also right after Memorial Day, when Tracy was snarky with me about my backpack, and then in the following few weeks she continued to be snarky in response to posts I made on Facebook, and also there was lots of drama between her, Richard and the children whenever Jeff and/or I would visit–

All of a sudden, Richard’s Facebook account had blocked me and hers had unfriended me.  I don’t remember if Jeff had been unfriended by her account, but he was not blocked from either.

I kept trying to send her friend requests, but they didn’t seem to be getting through–some weird glitch, I thought, due to Facebook doing a major change in privacy settings.

I’d see “Awaiting Friend Request” keep changing back later on to “Request as Friend.”  So I kept re-sending them.  I certainly had no reason to think she was denying my requests.

Richard told Jeff he certainly wouldn’t have blocked me, and he couldn’t find my account either, so I should look at my account to see if there’s something weird on my privacy settings.

I sent him messages through Jeff’s account, saying that nothing was amiss in my settings.  I also tried setting up a new account with my business e-mail, on June 2, but even then I could see that Richard had an account, but I couldn’t look at his public profile or send him a friend request.

Then a few days later, he discovered he accidentally blocked me somehow, unblocked me, and my latest friend request to Tracy finally resulted in re-friending.  I thought it was because FB changed settings, but I did not have this problem with any of my other FB friends.

The third incident, on September 26, 2010, a few months after the 7/1/10 Incident, my innocent little boy went into Tracy’s cafe on Cafe World on Facebook.  He did stuff to help her out like people can do in their neighbors’ cafes, even after they’ve blocked your account.  (This time, not only was Richard’s account blocked from all three of us, but hers was too for a while.)  The game left traces of my son being there.

The following day, September 27, my son’s account was suddenly shut down.  The message said he was too young, but did not explain how they found out, who told them.  (We kept track of his account, who he friended, his privacy settings, so he was in no danger.  He was there so he wouldn’t keep using his daddy’s account to play Cafe World and the fish game.)

It hurt to hear my little boy cry.  🙁   (I later discovered that this was 6 days after Richard choked his eldest child, and 5 days after that child reported Richard to the police.)

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

 

Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse

I wrote these drafts of an e-mail to Richard, after the phone conversation I describe above, which was not quite finished–and left me with all sorts of complaints:

You said you’d talk to Tracy….Did it do any good?

It’s ripping me apart inside but it feels like the efforts I have made have been forgotten, the nice things I did for her and little things I said here and there and conversations I had with her….

I was hurt deeply by many things that happened, but for your sake I tried my hardest to get past them and forget them.

It hurts not only that these things have been forgotten but also that you seemed to believe so many bad things about me, too, or think anything she did to me was in any way justified.  I thought you knew me better than that.

I KNEW something was up but you kept insisting I was just paranoid.  I have lost so many hours and so much sleep to this issue.

Nothing I do is ever good enough.  I am not this evil person she seems to think I am.  I would never snub her.  I would never manipulate Jeff into anything.

To be honest, I haven’t cared about “going for coffee” or “going to the Bar & Grill” or whatever the point of contention is, for some time.

I care only about being trusted and not fearing my head’ll get bitten off.  I don’t think it’ll ever get better.

You seem to have forgotten various details which will put that overheard conversation into perspective.  Especially if you think you were working too hard to “keep the peace.”

I’m not sure you’re aware of all the abusive behavior I’d been witnessing for some time before I had that conversation [with Jeff]. My primary concern was not myself but how you and the girls were being treated. Also, I felt like the abuse was beginning to get directed toward me, and I had no clue where that was coming from.

I think you’ve also forgotten the series of letters I used to try to talk things out with you, because I wasn’t allowed to talk with you one-on-one.  

It wasn’t about going out for coffee, it was about not being allowed to discuss important things with you in private.  It was about feeling cut off and forgotten, like my best friend had been taken away from me.

Jeff was well aware of all of this; he had already comforted me as I sobbed over how it felt like I was being pushed aside.

[On the day I spoke to Jeff about everything and Tracy overheard] It wasn’t me manipulating him into it; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt;

[Jeff’s suggestion to show Tracy a movie so I could watch a movie with Richard for once] was his fix-it response to a problem [and he had already done this a few times before we had this conversation].

He never would’ve done it if he thought it was some sort of manipulation to get a man alone with his wife [for nefarious purposes]–are you kidding?

[This shows how I was guilted and manipulated as my/Jeff’s actions were twisted way out of proportion into the worst possible interpretations–same as they did to Todd in 2008.] 

He trusted us both enough to leave us alone for long periods of time.  He did it deliberately.  He was happy I had found a friend.

As for the shoulder thing–You and I had those conversations already [Richard had started the practice and taught me it was perfectly innocent and appropriate];

we both knew it was completely innocent; we had established firm boundaries of what was and was not acceptable.

And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

[He told me that she got upset over the “shoulder thing” because she didn’t know me, but that if a certain other friend did it, Tracy would think it was cute, and join in.

It was also distressing to hear about this yet again, because I hadn’t done it since January 2008, because it upset her so much.  Yet it kept getting brought up over and over and over!]

I KNEW things weren’t quite right.  I got worried when you didn’t call me [whenever he promised to].  I thought a number of things: You were being yelled at, you thought I was acting weird….

You told me I was just being paranoid…told me you were trying to find the right time is all….Now come to find you were getting yelled at because it was “THAT woman”….Like I was the one with the problem.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  Jeff says he would’ve ended the friendship a long time ago, that he would have exploded by now.

In later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.

My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I already felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

Jeff was already aware of this.  I wasn’t manipulating him into anything; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt; it was his fix-it response to a problem.

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done it if he thought we were going to do something we shouldn’t?

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done what he did without the best of intentions?  He wanted to befriend Tracy!

And about the “incident”–You and I had those conversations already; we both knew it was completely innocent, that Americans are too uptight; we had established firm boundaries.  And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

Things we both did [either Richard and me, or Jeff and me, not sure which] with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts [Tracy almost killing me] is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d even think I’d be deliberately rude.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

Even later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

I merely told Jeff what was going on and how I felt.  He responded by trying to fix the problem.

Various things we both did with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d ever think I’d be deliberately rude, or that you’d let these things build on themselves without talking with me about it first.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine and the past was left in the past, have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

I think I know what she meant about being too worried about “keeping the peace.”  If you knew what Jeff was doing (and I remember telling you about it) and it bugged you, you should’ve said something.  Now it’s festered.

If you knew about an “incident,” [her seeing the shoulder sleeping one afternoon when I was sick and desperately needed a nap] you should’ve told me.

You also should’ve told me, “It’s not okay right now, even when she’s out of the room, but it’ll be perfectly fine once she gets to know you.  I will tell you when that day comes, so you don’t have to guess.”  All I remember hearing is something about jealousy.

I keep hearing “you ignore it when she tries to start a conversation,” but I have no clue what you mean because all I remember is being kind and pleasant and smiling where appropriate and occasionally saying something.  If you see something happen, come to me and say, “THAT’s what I mean.”  Then I can say, “What?  I had no idea!” and be more watchful.

In my childhood, I had absolutely no clue that I was supposed to say “hi” and “bye” when people said it to me, until my mom and aunt pointed out that it was rude not to.  I think I was something like 10 or 11 by then.  Here I had no idea I was ticking people off for all those years, so I started forcing myself to say it.  Of course, it was still many years before I started initiating the “hi/bye,” but at least I knew to say it back.

In my teens, I had no idea that I was supposed to thank a person for a ride until a girl in my youth group chewed me out.  While it was embarrassing and I felt bad, I was also grateful to her for pointing this out.  I became a very gracious ride-taker after that.

I also didn’t see the point of saying “thank you” to a waitress because she was just doing her job, not a favor.  But in time I began to see how  much better it is to do so.

I am not intentionally rude.  I just never picked up on some of the social rules that other people figure out instinctively.  If nobody ever points it out, I miss it completely.

I don’t want to be chewed out, just have it gently mentioned.  Now Jeff never heard of the “compliments starting a conversation” rule, either,  so it may very well be a difference between [their region and our region] culture.

I didn’t actually send this e-mail because I spoke to Richard on the phone between the last draft at 3pm and an e-mail to Jeff at 4pm.  But I wrote it because our talk got interrupted before it could be finished.

So you see, old stuff was being drudged up again that I thought had long since been put to bed because nobody was doing them anymore, and because Tracy had made it very clear back in August of 2008 that the old restrictions on me were gone!

But when I called him about it after 3pm, I said I was tired of the whole thing (had been for a while, in fact).  I said I had a list of defenses but wanted to just drop the whole subject, and he said he did as well.

(The only one who actually kept the subject going in the first place, was Tracy.  Richard and I had wanted to drop it a long time ago.)

I told him I was sorry for my own part in things, and said so, to him and in an e-mail to her, which she accepted.  It sounded like he and I had so resolved things that their misunderstandings of me were cleared up.

More on this here.

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

 

Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house

On June 10, 2009, I was still smarting from the sexual harassment, and thought relations between Tracy and me had long since been resolved.

This was a rough couple of weeks:

  • On June 1, I learned that Richard (claimed to have) secretly hypnotized me while he lived with us.
  • Probably between the 1st and the 5th, the sexual harassment occurred.
  • On June 5, I learned that Richard used to be a Mafia thug.
  • On June 6, he told me they were about to get evicted again, and he was plotting to kill his apartment manager in retaliation–then called back and said his wife told him not to.

I believe it was also around June 6 when I discovered Tracy’s old restrictions on me were back up again, and I had no idea how long they’d been back up. 

I didn’t even know that going out for coffee was verboten again, until Richard now told me on the phone that it was–and that, as he fervently put it, “I want to go out for coffee!”

(This did come up once during the fall or winter of 2008/2009, when I wanted to do something and Richard said he couldn’t.  I forget what it was.

(Exasperated, I sighed and said we could make sure the kids were with us so we weren’t alone–but he said, no, it was NOT about me, but because Tracy was pregnant and hormonal–and would have the same reaction to him doing the same thing with ANY woman.

(Basically, no, the restrictions were NOT back up on me: He couldn’t do this with anyone during her pregnancies or she would get jealous.  That was a relief.)

Now on June 6, however, he told me the restrictions were up.

Again?  Not only that, but the way he talked, it seemed like they never had been taken away.

???!!!

He said something about Tracy wanting to have a certain kind of conversation with me.  It’s hard to remember his words now, but basically, a kind of easy back-and-forth conversation–which is notoriously difficult for both NLDers and introverts. 

I believe the next day was my church’s name-day celebration; they attended that and the reception afterwards.

I carried on such a conversation with her, because for once there was something to talk about (her hair color change)–and things naturally flowed out of that.

I later asked him how I did; he said I did well–and she told him we never had a conversation like that before.

But that was another lie, because we had such conversations back in December 2007, before she turned on me.

So–

What the heck was WITH this woman????!!!!

Now I know this is a common trait of narcissists and abusers, called gaslighting or crazy-making.  Because yeah, it’s meant to make you feel like you’re crazy.

He said that if they couldn’t find a place, they’d go back to their previous state.  I couldn’t bear the thought of my BFF Richard leaving, so I offered to let them stay with us, but done differently this time:

I told Richard I would be a better host and treat Tracy differently.

I came up with ways to make things run more smoothly, such as pooling laundry and setting up a makeshift room in the basement.

You see, I didn’t just say everything I did before was right and Tracy just had to suck it up: I felt bad about the past, and said I would do better.

On June 10, I called Richard to ask what he thought about my ideas and offer.

That’s when he shocked me with the revelation that Tracy spit on my hospitality: Even with all the offers I made to make things easier on everybody, and saying I would be a better host, Richard said Tracy refused to do this because of how “badly” I supposedly had behaved to her before.

This is when I discovered that Tracy spit on my hospitality because I hadn’t spent all my time chattering away with her instead of keeping up with the house and getting time to myself.

(See here to find out what really happened, however:

Part 1,

Part 2,

Part 3,

Part 4,

Part 5,

Part 6

At this distance, away from the FOG machine, I see more clearly–and believe that they finally gaslit me into thinking I had been the problem, when they actually had been horrible guests, taking advantage of us and manipulating us.)

Richard told me some revelations that floored me, that devastated me, that overshadowed the sting of sexual harassment which I was still dealing with.

These things went all the way back to the time they stayed with us–

things they never told us–

things that would have made a huge difference, if only we had known and had a chance to discuss them as a group–

things that explained why Tracy had turned so hostile to me.

Yet they had decided to mention none of them to me!

One of the revelations was that she eavesdropped when I vented to Jeff.  I always thought this was a private conversation.

Richard said she “heard every word.”  This wording and his tone were like she caught me lying.

She even told him I was “manipulating” Jeff.

Note that she was the one listening; she then told Richard what she heard.

Which tells me now, very clearly, that she actually lied to Richard about what I said to Jeff, just as she lied to everyone in the game forums about what Todd did a year earlier. 

Every word I told to Jeff was the truth.

I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT MANIPULATE HIM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

Especially since my husband is the type to resist and resent any form of manipulation.  And he says that no, I did NOT manipulate him.  The very accusation offends him, because it’s his JOB to listen to my complaints.

As you can see if you click on this link, what I really told Jeff, then and at other times during those few weeks, was how Tracy had been abusing everyone, including me, and how it made me feel.

He then, like a man, came up with a way to help the situation.  I probably hoped he’d lay down the law with our offensive houseguests, but instead he suggested a way to make things better.

This and the following revelations prove to me now that Tracy had motive all this time for psychologically abusing me, manipulating me, constantly changing her rules, and giving me permission/taking back permission to be friends with her husband:

(see chapter 5, which starts here)

Her motive was that I saw her for the abuser that she was. 

So she had to destroy me, had to drive a wedge between me and her husband–

so I couldn’t wake him up to the truth of her abuse. 

But in June 2009, I didn’t yet recognize this, did not yet understand the mindscrew capabilities of abusers and narcissists.

Apparently they thought it was somehow wrong of me to even talk to Jeff about what was happening!  So, of course, I objected about that to Richard.  (How dare they tell me not to tell my own husband how they were bullying me!)

Richard and I had long, revealing talks on the phone that made tears of remorse run down my face, that made me shut down and be quiet and thoughtful all evening long, until finally our son was in bed and I could tell Jeff something of what had happened.

This is when I discovered how they reacted to what I told Jeff and the solution he came up with.

Yet they never mentioned it to us, never got it out into the frickin’ open,

just dealt with it passive-aggressively instead, through Tracy’s constant punishments of me and remembering what I “did.”

(Yet somehow Jeff wasn’t punished for this at all, even though it had been his idea and I just passively went along with it.  Why is that?  Just how badly did Tracy paint me when she misrepresented me to Richard, I wonder?)

Now I discovered that she knew full well that I overheard the snarks she made on the phone to her mother about me–and that this was why.

So it was on purpose!

This is when I discovered that she almost killed me one night–

which made me shake and wince, every time I saw someone on TV get beaten up, at the thought that it could have happened to me–

and over something which was nowhere near worth this reaction.

Over and over again the following year, I imagined her fists coming at me, Jeff coming into the room (whether from the basement or his bed), screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.

Me going to the hospital (or grave).  Her going to jail.

All because I, who was very sick and very sleepy, desperately needed a nap but couldn’t sleep on that crowded couch until I found a soft shoulder.  Heck, I did the same thing one night while she was right there on the couch, but she said nothing then!

Also, at some point–I’ve long forgotten when–Richard wrote to me in a chat that he’d tell Tracy I was just shy, and she’d say I wasn’t shy because of sleeping on his shoulder.

Um…

  • For one thing, I am indeed extremely shy, but why on earth would I be shy with my besties?
  • For another, I know people who do things like this with their friends.
  • And for another, HE TAUGHT ME that sleeping on shoulders is perfectly innocent and appropriate among friends.
  • And for yet another, ever since I learned in January/February 2008 that it upset her, I NEVER DID IT AGAIN.

But this was not enough for Tracy, who refused to ever let me live it down–

or stop reminding Richard of it, since Richard told me she’d bring it up periodically to him–

which you can see was meant to smear my character to him.

Now, hearing that she actually wanted to kill me over it, the depths of her violence troubled me greatly, and I told him it was probably impossible for her and me to ever be close friends.

He was surprised to hear that I was scared of her.  (Why would that surprise him?)

He said that he was telling me these things because he now felt he could be more open with me.

This shocked me, because for the last year and a half, I thought he could be open with me about anything!

I was open with him about everything, after all, and encouraged him to do the same.

During the two months he lived here by himself, we bonded; he opened up his heart about all sorts of things, even things that scared me.  Also, whenever he told me a complaint about me, I listened.

As I later told him, I may get upset about it at the time, but I need to hear it, and afterwards I would think it over and try to make changes.

But now he said he’d been keeping things from me this whole time? that he didn’t feel he could be open with me?

It felt like our entire friendship for the past year and a half had been a lie! 

That he treated me like some China doll instead of being honest with me, and I had no clue WHY, when I always tried to be the person he could talk to about anything!

Unlike narcissists, normal people are willing to acknowledge wrongdoing, and get distressed at the thought of hurting somebody.  Through Richard’s smooth words and manipulation of this natural tendency, he got me to feel like a horrible host, when in reality they had been horrible guests

I believe they used and abused my hospitality, were freeloaders taking advantage of my generosity–not just when they stayed with us, but for the following two years–then used these weasel words to make me think I was the problem, not them.

When I caught their narcissistic FLEAS and did something I shouldn’t have (the solution Jeff came up with), to them it was somehow far worse than all the insults and bad behavior they were themselves guilty of.

(In reality, the solution seemed okay to me because Jeff had already been doing this on his own–

his own idea, which he told me about AFTER he started doing it–

as I describe in earlier e-mails to my mom.) 

This is a form of gaslighting which narcissists and abusers are good at.

These revelations made me feel like a horrible person.  I did not yet see how they were manipulating and gaslighting me into thinking the problem was all mine, and that they had behaved above reproach. 

When I could finally bring myself to tell my husband what they said, he could see this better than I could, and got angry again. 

But I was so into a remorseful funk that I could see nothing but my own sins, that I was nothing but a worm who deserved to be punished for what I did, that I was lucky they were so graceful and forgiving with me so far as to still be friends with me.

When a non-personality-disordered individual (Non-PD) begins imitating or emulating some of the disordered behavior of a loved one or family member with a personality disorder this is sometimes referred to as “getting fleas”.

Sometimes, when a person has been exposed to an abusive situation for a sustained period, they will look for ways to escape – and sometimes they will experiment or resort to behaviors which are not characteristic but serve as a mechanism to demonstrate their anger.

These behaviors are often destructive and counter-productive and rarely get the abuse victim what they want. These behaviors usually result in regret, shame and apologies from the abuse victim towards their perpetrator.

Some perpetrators may seize on such incidents as justification for their own abusive behavior or as a diversion from it. Lie Down with Dogs & You’re Bound to Get Fleas

I wrote down some things I was upset about, my side of things, for a later conversation, because we weren’t able to finish before he had to hang up.

More on this here.

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

 

Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye

The rest of the family had gone to their new apartment, while Richard finished packing the car.  Before he left, Richard gave me three bearhugs–hugs which I took as being in friendship, in gratitude, in platonic love and caring, as a huge “thank you for all you’ve done for my family.”

Jeff was there in the house during the first two.  The last was right out in the open, by the garage.  The line of garages faces the front doors and windows of our condo building.  I saw my husband in the kitchen, and thought for sure he saw us through the kitchen window.  There was a streetlight nearby.

The neighbors could easily see us, yet I did not fear what they thought, because we did nothing wrong or inappropriate.  I think I even told my mother about these hugs.  Hugs just like the ones he gave me good-night numerous times while he lived here alone.

But he had reassured me his actions were all in platonic friendship, so that’s how I took these hugs the day he moved out.  They were sweet, special, and treasured in my heart.

One day, I saw him give the exact same hug to one of his little daughters.  She was small, so he cuddled her in his lap, which, of course, he never would’ve done to me.  But he gave her a long bearhug and nuzzled the top of her head.

It was cute and sweet–and the proof I needed that this was just a loving and affectionate kind of guy, who probably gave this exact same kind of hug to his mother, his sister, his female cousins, his platonic female friends.  That it never had a hint of romantic feeling, and was totally appropriate.

(It also made me believe that he never could hurt one of these little ones.  So it was a shock to learn that he later choked one of them.)

I figured this was common where he grew up, which was thousands of miles away, and supposedly a more laid-back and open culture.

(I recently read an abuse blog by a woman over there, whose male friend also gave her hugs like this.  He had no romantic interest in her; the hug was for support because of her abusive marriage.)

Richard made it sound like over there, flirting is more blatant even when it’s innocent and just being playful, and people put their heads on the shoulders of their friends to go to sleep….

Also, unless you’re a pervert, you don’t do anything “romantic” with your own daughter, so those hugs he gave me, had to be perfectly innocent and appropriate.

I also have SCA friends who do things like this, while being faithful husbands.  One in particular can get very huggy and nuzzly with you, but his wife is right there, laughs, and makes it clear that this is as far as it goes.  🙂

(I also just found a blog post by a girl with a platonic male best friend; he has a girlfriend, and they don’t think of each other romantically at all, but they will chat for hours, each with an arm around the other.)

So I have been in both very reserved and very open groups of friends/family.  I am typically more reserved, but my friend Catherine–another very huggy, flirty and cuddly kind of person, despite being a faithful wife–has always wanted me to open up.

I see nothing wrong with it, and wanted to be more open like she is.  I didn’t want to be the one with Asperger/NVLD reserve, the odd one out, because it seemed so lonely and cold in comparison to what my extroverted, “normal” friends did.

But I had no clue that Tracy would one day use these hugs as justification for a hysterical narcissistic rage episode.

I did absolutely nothing wrong here.  Richard had always reassured me that hugs were okay with Tracy, and I even have an e-mail from him saying so.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our hugs, or with my reminding him of them or remembering them fondly as a sign of our close friendship and his gratitude.

But Tracy was so entrenched in the idea that I must be destroyed at all costs, especially after I began speaking up about their child abuse in 2010 (and I must have shown obvious shock and distaste the few times she abused the kids right in front of me in 2010), that she used anything she could grab ahold of as justification to bully and verbally abuse me in May, June and July 2010. 

So on July 1, 2010, she had her revenge.  (More on this in chapters 7 and 8.)

She did the same thing to Todd, as I will demonstrate later, because–according to the story told to me–he once beat her (or nearly beat her) at Risk.  He also preferred talking to Richard instead of to her, was wary of her.  So one day in June 2008, she had her revenge by publicly humiliating and smearing him.

As I have explained above, I believe this is all because she is abusive and wants to isolate her husband from anyone who could point that out to him.

But more on that later.  Back to January 16, 2008.

I was depressed not just since they moved in, but for at least two weeks after they moved out, because I got used to Richard being around all the time, and missed him dearly.

I was also distressed because of how Tracy treated people, and how she had twisted a good, pure friendship into something dirty.  I could no longer listen to a couple of CD’s which I got while Richard was here alone, because those two pleasant months were now tainted with Tracy’s suspicion and abuse.

After they finally moved out, a day or two later Tracy stopped over to get something.  My son saw her, thought she was moving back in, and curled up into a whimpering ball.

Coincidentally, when she stopped over, I happened to be blasting “Let Him Go” by Animotion.  I had no idea she was coming, and she may have walked right in, so I found this quite ironic, considering the anti-jealousy message of that song and how badly she needed to hear it:

Let him go
Do the things he’s got to do
Give him the freedom that he needs even though it worries you.
Let him go
Have the faith that he’ll be true
It’s the only way you can be sure he’ll come back to you.

I understand your desire to keep him near
But you poison love when you mix it up with fear.
Trust yourself to be the woman that you want to be
If you both have room to grow
Then you’ll live in harmony.

For a short while after that, Richard kept bringing Tracy along when he came to visit.  Jeff would be at work.  I felt like they were ganging up on me, ripping on me, telling me what I should or should not be doing (potty training, meals, whatever), making fun of me, helping each other do that.

Memories of the hugs and other signs of his friendship, I held close to my heart, hoping he would do these things again, and stop joining in on Tracy’s bullying.  It was a strange disconnect between how he acted while here alone, and how he ganged up on me and criticized me with Tracy around.  It hurt deeply, and confused me.

When Richard was by himself (whether on the phone or online or here with his kids), I relaxed.  He was pleasant and fun, or empathetic, or supportive as I dealt with religious questions, or whatever.  But Tracy kept tagging along, and I hated that because of her nasty attitude and their ganging up on me.

The same thing happened online as well, with them starting to pick on me.  I have often wondered if–the times I talked with just him in a chat room–his moods depended on whether she was nearby.

Even though this situation was forced on me, even though I was forced to be hostess to people we had no room for, even though I was never asked if I wanted to host them, I was accused of not being properly “welcoming.”

Looking back, Jeff and I wish we had been more assertive.  Friends and family tell us we should have been more assertive, that these were freeloaders using us and only pretending to be our friends.

But we thought it our duty as Christians and friends to be obliging and let them stay instead of kicking them onto the street in the bitterly cold, snowy, northern winter.

No, we never got a thank-you from her.  Ever.  From him, but not from her.

Something I read on 1/5/14 which made me go hmmmmm:

To draw you closer, the psychopath creates an aura of desirability—of being wanted and courted by many. It will become a point of vanity for you to be the preferred object of their attention, to win them away from a crowd of admirers.

They manufacture the illusion of popularity by surrounding themselves with members of the opposite sex: friends, former lovers, and your eventual replacement. Then, they create triangles that stimulate rivalry and raise their perceived value. (Adapted from “The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene).

Psychopaths, like most predators, seek power and control. They want to dominate their partners sexually, emotionally, and physically. They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities.

This is why they love-bomb you with attention and flattery in the beginning of the relationship—because no matter how strong or confident you are, being in “love” makes you vulnerable by default.

Psychopaths don’t need physical aggression to control you (although sometimes they do). Instead, relationships provide them with the perfect opportunity to consume you by manufacturing the illusion of love.

This is why it’s so damaging when bystanders say: “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” You never entered a relationship with the psychopath expecting to be abused, belittled, and criticized—first, you were tricked into falling in love, which is the strongest human bond in the world. Psychopaths know this.

…The psychopath’s ability to groom others is unmatched. They feel an intense euphoria when they turn people against each other, especially when it’s over a competition for them.

Psychopaths will manufacture situations to make you jealous and question their fidelity. In a normal relationship, people go out of their way to prove that they are trustworthy—but the psychopath does exactly the opposite.

They are constantly suggesting that they might be pursuing other options, or spending time with other people, so that you can never settle down into a feeling of peace. And they will always deny this, calling you crazy for bringing it up.

….The final triangulation happens when they make the decision to abandon you. This is when they’ll begin freely talking about how much this relationship is hurting them, and how they don’t know if they can deal with your behavior anymore.

They will usually mention talking to a close friend about your relationship, going into details about how they both agreed that your relationship wasn’t healthy.

In the meantime, they’ve been blatantly ignoring frantic messages from you. You’ll be sitting there wondering why they aren’t chatting with you about these concerns, considering it’s your relationship.

Well, the reason is that they’ve already made the decision to dump you—now they’re just torturing you. They only seek advice from people they know will agree with them. That “friend” they’re talking to is probably their next target. —Torture by Triangulation

If you take away the focus here on marital relationships, and adapt it to friendship, the same thing applies.  Richard’s relationship with me was a platonic friendship, but the same dynamics were at work:

The first couple of months he stayed with us, his cell constantly rang with all sorts of friends.  He’d ignore them to talk with me, or answer and then say he was in the middle of a conversation, and get back to me.

He’d tell me about all the women he had to fight off–not just in his single days, but after getting married.

After this love bombing phase ended, the criticism began and I was discarded for a month.  I could do nothing right, and he didn’t want to spend time with me anymore.

Then he gave me special hugs–throwing me a bone to keep me thinking that things would be as they were at first.

But after that, despite the occasional bone-throwing (kind words etc.), he kept me off-balance.  Other friends constantly clamored for his time, and I became lower on the totem pole than they were.

Then a new friend, Chris, came along, and got all the attention that I used to get.  They’d go out and do things, talk, etc., and I would be the one sitting at home, or abandoned at the picnic table while they went walking along the beach.

(It sure wasn’t about Richard getting less drama by spending time with a male BFF instead of female, because even though they were the same sex, now Chris’ wife caused trouble with her jealousy and controlling behavior, trying to separate them.  She behaved the exact same way with Richard, as Tracy did with me!)

The last part also reminds me of mid-2010, when I could feel things were going wrong.  But when I tried to discuss it with Richard, he shut me down, made me feel paranoid.  He also told me his political friends were messaging him on Facebook complaining about the things I posted on his FB threads.

This article also makes me wonder how much of the whole situation was Richard manipulating me to make Tracy jealous, to keep her from leaving him.  If he played each of his friends, family, spouse, the way he played me, on purpose to control us all.

I think back and remember little things he did, which individually may not mean much, but taken together make one big picture of him playing people off each other.

He did once say that being fought over gave him a big head.  Another time, he deliberately skewed what I said to make Tracy jealous:

Somebody on TV used the phrase “love on.”  It’s a new Evangelical phrase which sounds soooo wrong, but they’ll say, “we’ll love on you.”  I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I think it’s about showering people with agape love.

I commented on how weird it sounds, and said, “I don’t say ‘love on you,’ I say ‘love you.'”  Then Richard turned to Tracy and said, “She just said she loves me!”  So Tracy started hissing at me.

??!!

I think it was a joke, but I’m not entirely sure.  Or if she knew it was a joke.

I also remember him complaining to me privately about her jealousy over women friends, at various times over the years.  He complained to me about her jealousy over another friend when she first moved into my house.

But while sitting on the couch with both of us, he’d tell her the jealousy was sexy, a compliment.  Meanwhile, she drove me crazy with her jealousy toward me in my house.

He complained to me about her being mean, then in front of her would tell the kids that he married her because she’s mean.

Individually these things may not seem like much, but taken all together, they become a big picture of control and manipulation, playing people off each other to gratify his ego.

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

 

 

Verge of nervous breakdown as houseguests from Hell abuse our hospitality

Tracy complained about the food we provided, even though they never gave us money or ideas for other food, we were financially strapped (paying for 8 people’s food and utilities with not a bit of financial help) and, with a small child running around (now four small children), didn’t have the time to prepare from-scratch meals every day.

If they found our food so offensive, why didn’t they plan, buy and then prepare meals for us?

I did two dishwasher loads a day, along with extra towels and sheets.  And of course, you can’t run a washer and dishwasher at the same time, because it strains the hot water.  I stayed up till 1 in the morning doing these things, then heard complaints from Richard and Tracy about how late I stayed up.

I’d overhear wailing children, arguments, and criticisms from the wife about how I run things.  I’d walk in on various things.  The TV was on all day and evening, which drives me crazy.  (I must have my music!)

I felt claustrophobic, wading through people and things just to get dinner or find a seat.  We did not have room for a proper dining room table (I told you this place is small), so people ate in the living room when they couldn’t fit around the little island.

The living room was full of STUFF.  I couldn’t believe what I found in each room as I began cleaning up after they moved out.

There were new illnesses all the time.  My son had to share his room and toys, and even had to give up his own bed, so he got pretty naughty for a while there and I had to lay down the law.  His behavior greatly improved after they moved out.

And with all that, I had this hostile, jealous, abusive woman in my house 24/7, and I was expected to excuse and accept her behavior.

Jeff didn’t like having to give the kids breakfast every morning because the parents were asleep.  He didn’t like never getting help taking out the extra trash.

And never a thank you from Tracy for putting up with all this, with her–just hostility.  Richard alone we could handle: He was far more gracious and easygoing.  But all these people, whom we didn’t know previously and who weren’t even family?

I also confided in my priest during this time about some of the things going on, especially since they kept neglecting to go to church with me, when Richard used to go with me all the time.  I felt stressed and sad even during the service, unable to get away from it in my head even at church.

My priest said that his own parents had once hosted family who arrived from Greece, that things got very tense after a while, and that it was time for Richard and Tracy’s family to leave.

Once I heard Tracy getting short with Richard on the phone while he was at work, then hanging up and saying “Bullsh**”–with kids nearby!

I did not just quietly seethe, but brought it up with Richard whenever I had the chance.  We agreed to chat with each other in the evenings while Tracy was on the computer and I was doing chores in the kitchen; this helped a bit.

Since I was not comfortable around her, she was too scary and hostile to safely confront, and he was my best friend, I felt it best to tell him I was upset so he could take things up with her in a way that she would respond to.

Also, it seemed proper to do things this way.  For example, the advice column Annie’s Mailbox typically advises to let your husband/wife/friend deal with his/her own family even when you have a problem with them.  Like, for example, here, on 1/26/15, when they say the writer’s husband should deal with his own grown son, not her.

I let my husband deal with his family, and I deal with mine.  So to deal with a friend’s wife, it seemed right and proper to go through him.  Something Miss Manners would approve of.

I told Richard every problem as it came up, through snatches of conversation grabbed when Tracy was on the computer, or letters, or e-mails, whatever I could manage, since she was being so overprotective about our time together.

But he did not tell me crucial information I needed to know, like the fact that she overheard my venting to Jeff, or that she had forbidden sleeping on shoulders.

I told Richard I was very upset about the complaints to her mother about the food while I was right there in the bathroom, but he didn’t tell me that she knew I overheard her, that she was deliberately being catty, that she felt herself justified in this cattiness.

It wasn’t until a year and a half later, June ’09, that he told me she knew I could hear her and that it was in response to my complaining to Jeff.

I was amazed that he scolded me in June ’09 for venting privately to my husband about real problems, rather than scolding her for being vindictive.

I wanted to throw them out–or, at least, her.  Keep Richard and the kids, but throw Tracy out on her ear.  But I felt bound by the rules of hospitality, and Jeff was being far too nice.

We didn’t realize that it was within our rights to go ahead and (kindly) show them the door, that if we didn’t, we were actually allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of by freeloaders.

I kept telling Richard from the very beginning that I wanted them to leave, but he didn’t until he made up his own mind that it was time to leave, after the events in the last section.  When he first told me this in June ’09, I thought it strange that he said they decided it was time to leave, when I had been telling Richard for four weeks that they needed to set a date and leave.

But this memory faded a bit until a few days ago, when it finally dinged in my head (after reading various comments online about freeloaders) what really happened: that they had it cushy here, we were not assertive enough about bills and pitching in and getting out, they were obnoxious houseguests whom we were sick of, but they wanted to decide when to leave.

We have cheap motels around here where people in their position often stay; they could have moved into one of those.  But no, instead of letting us decide how long they get to stay, they figured it was up to them, even though neither my husband nor I ever approved them all staying here to begin with.

Meanwhile, it seemed they never had enough money for a downpayment on an apartment, even though Richard had been working part-time for a few weeks before they all moved in, and they didn’t contribute to their expenses.

We were too nice, they were intimidating and forceful, they took charge and decided when to stay and when to go, meanwhile sponging off us and not contributing financially or getting full-time work.

And then they guilted me for making things “unpleasant” for them by disapproving of abusing spouses/children, and not being properly “welcoming.”

This letter to the Annies sounds very familiar:

Dear Annie: My brother and his wife recently stayed with us for nine months. He did some part-time work every now and then. His wife refused to find a job and mostly stayed home.

My wife and I work long hours. We also then had to do the grocery shopping, cooking and taking care of our kids afterward. During this time, my brother and his wife never spent a penny on food or anything else.

We politely said that we think it is time for them to find their own place and move out. A few hours later, they left screaming and shouting at us. We were speechless.

My brother says we are cheap because we asked them to leave. What do I tell him? Please help. — Cheap Brother

Dear Brother: Listen closely: You did nothing wrong. Your brother and his wife are first-class freeloaders. They took advantage of your generosity, making no effort to contribute to their upkeep.

They would have allowed you to support them financially for the rest of their lives.

They are angry because they couldn’t bamboozle you longer than nine months, which is plenty long enough. People who take advantage of others are always the first to cry “foul” when things don’t go their way.

We know you care about your relationship with your brother, but nothing will make him happy short of letting him move back in. Please ignore him. Do not defend yourself against his accusations.

Do not, under any circumstances, let him guilt you into helping him out again unless it’s to help him find a full-time job. Simply say as calmly as possible, “I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you.” Repeat as necessary.

Then this comment from a reader:

Listen very closely: The best defense is offensive attack (and as offensive as possible), especially when you’re dead wrong. What the Annies said – EVERYTHING they said.

We didn’t get screamed at for telling them to move out, but I did get chewed out (and, later, screamed at) for other things, as I show in this memoir–things related to how I was supposedly such a horrible host of these freeloaders.

I felt all along, for the next two and a half years, that Tracy should be making it up to me, NOT me making it up to her.  But she started throwing her weight around with Richard and making it sound like I had to suck up to her, or else I was a horrible person and couldn’t be friends with Richard.

This whole thing sounds very much like “echoing”: Basically, the abuser finds a way to accuse the victim of doing what the abuser is doing, then uses it as license to continue the abuse.

Another very destructive habit which I have identified in my relationship I refer to as “echoing”. This habit takes two distinct forms. The object is to feel whatever the partner feels whenever an “attack” is detected by the abuser….

The second form is to accuse the partner of whatever the partner accuses them of.

Scenario 2:

Partner: Please don’t raise your voice at me.

Abuser (Screaming): You’re the one that’s yelling.

or

Partner: Please stop cutting me off and let me finish my sentence.

Abuser (angrily): You’re the one who cuts me off all of the time.

When the conversation is discussed later, the abuser quickly takes the opportunity to first accuse the partner of the infraction and seize the high ground.

The abuser will then take every opportunity in the future to accuse the partner of doing what they do saying “See, you do it too.” This is generally viewed by the abuser as a way out.

Anytime they accuse you of an action similar to one of their destructive actions, that is viewed by them as a license to do it at will and a “win”. —An Analysis of the Abuser’s Language by Abused Judge

I was criticized by them both for everything I did: not being harsh enough with my son, my habits, not eating right, not potty training right, standing and quietly waiting my turn in the little kitchen when somebody was in front of me rather than pushing them aside (apparently they like rudeness, and politeness “drives them crazy”).

If I wanted Richard to call me and let me know he was going to be late and not dead in a ditch during a snowstorm, I was being his “mother.”  (Actually, it’s one of the rules of being a houseguest, so your host doesn’t worry about you.)

Tracy may have overheard me complaining to Jeff that she was abusing the children as well, because during one conversation, she said she figures she’s not abusive if her children love her.  (Actually, that’s Stockholm Syndrome and a natural defensive tendency of children.)

I confronted her for telling my son that he’d better stop doing something if he knew what was good for him.  To me, that sounded like a threat of violence.  She said she meant that I would punish him.  But I don’t know whether to believe that or not.

Then the couch–not up to the strain of holding some 300 or 400 pounds every night–began leaning towards one side, then finally that side broke down one day when a few of the kids jumped on it.

We had to quick buy a futon, which cost us even more money we didn’t have and put us even further into debt.  I wanted to be paid back for the utilities/food/futon, but they never had the money to pay for it.

We had a futon when we were first together, and that couch had been a wonderful replacement when we finally had the money in 2001.  No more metal bars! no more springs hitting you in the butt!

But now our wonderful couch–complete with washable fabric (great for kids and pets) and end recliners–was broken after only six years.  We only had money for yet another wretched futon.  Well, actually, we had no money for that, either, but everybody sitting on the floor was not an option.

Then Jeff put the futon together when it arrived (mail-order), but Richard complained that it wasn’t put together right.  While “fixing” it, he broke it, and we had to buy another futon frame with money we didn’t have.  But then he turned his puppy-dog look on me and melted me into forgiveness.  He had a way of doing that, of getting me to not be mad at him no matter what the infraction….

After they moved out the next day, I believe it took me about a week to clean the place properly, systematically going room to room, filling grocery bags with stuff they left behind and mail they were still receiving.

Then when I asked Richard to come pick up these bags and get them out of my house, Tracy would fight him “tooth-and-nail” and make life extremely unpleasant for him if he came over!

Then in the springtime after the melt, my son and I had to go around the parking lot around our condo, picking up all the cigarette butts which Richard and Tracy never picked up after themselves.

While they were still there, I had at least two breakdowns, one a crying jag that must have lasted for hours, the other just shutting inside myself and sitting and doing nothing.  I wanted them GONE.  NOW.  But Jeff had to be on board or it would be just little, cringing me against two big, forceful people.

I did tell Richard in a letter I slipped to him, that I wanted him to get an apartment right away because I couldn’t handle all this anymore, told him how it was affecting me, and begged him to come up with a move-out date.

But kicking him and his little children out on the street in the middle of a long, cold winter?  I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

In order for me to win, you must lose.

Because this is a matter of psychological survival to her, she has to steamroll you in order to avoid feeling helpless. “To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed” (Schumacher).

Unfortunately, her fears also fuel her lack of empathy toward you and create the mindset: “Victimize or be victimized; dominate or be dominated.”

To the emotionally abusive woman, it’s not enough to merely control you. She only feels in control and good about herself if she makes you feel less than. Her mood becomes buoyant as she cuts you down. She has to make you feel useless, disoriented and helpless, so that she doesn’t feel this way.

This is evidence of a faulty belief system. She has a one-up/one-down mentality. She believes that in every interpersonal interaction there’s a winner and a loser and she will fight tooth and nail against being the “loser.”

This is why it’s virtually impossible for this woman to compromise or make concessions. To her, compromise and concession are humiliating defeats. She’d rather blow the house up and everything in it than compromise or take personal responsibility.

Her need to control, however, will come back to bite her on the backside. Instead of feeling and appearing in control, this woman comes across as out of control when trying to exert control and the people who are under her tyranny eventually stage a revolt and/or bolt from the relationship.

I did indeed feel steamrolled; this is the very word I used once to Jeff, and here it is in a webpage about controlling women.

Apparently it was “offensive” to Tracy for me to do housework, take care of my little boy’s needs, and take time to myself each day to recharge, rather than sitting on my butt talking to her day in, day out, for six weeks.  And she refused to see it any other way than as a deliberate, personal offense.

She decided that Jeff was “welcoming” while I wasn’t.  This despite the fact that I spent six hours socializing with her every evening/night, while Jeff spent that time in the basement on the computer.

What, was I supposed to let my son’s diaper stay wet and the house get filthy and the laundry stay undone?  You must allow your hosts to get back to normal life as soon as possible, because while you may be homeless and unemployed, your hosts are not, and have responsibilities, routines, and ways of doing things.

6. Let your presence interfere as little as possible with your friend’s normal routine, household duties, and career.

You friend may of course wish to take time out to hang with you, but you should never be the one to impose on their time. Do your best to conform your routine to the routine of the household, as to not get in the way or create an imposition….

13. Don’t overstay your visit. Try to keep your stay shorter than three days. Your host has things to do and they can’t put their life on hold forever. —How to be the Perfect Houseguest

I was very welcoming to her when she first arrived.  But I think even extroverts get tired of a small, crowded house after a few days, and want those houseguests to leave.  After all, Benjamin Franklin himself said that “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

We had no spare beds or extra couches.  We had debts, a child in diapers, and all the expenses of home ownership and association fees, so we had no spare money.

They left their dirty laundry in a pile on the living room floor.  They left messes in the bathroom for me to clean up, and didn’t shower more than once every two or three days, but it was too cold to open windows.

They criticized everything from how I ran the house to my various introverted ways.  (So what if I “don’t go anywhere”?  Maybe I don’t want to go anywhere.  And where exactly was I supposed to go, anyway, especially with a toddler and no car?  All my business was in the house.)

I didn’t let them into my house to tell me how to run my life and that everything I do is wrong!  Is there anyone (at least in our culture) who would still be “welcoming” for long in this situation?

Of course, we are not just animals but social animals. Social norms requiring politeness and hospitality usually override overt territorially defensive actions (e.g., “You have to leave my territory, NOW, or harm may come to you”).

Instead, hosts typically communicate feelings of invasion through social withdrawal and short-temperedness.

Primary territories are also the most private of territories. We can control others’ access to us, which reduces stress and promotes recovery.

Most of us need time at home alone or with a few trusted others to recharge before we go back into the world. This varies based on culture and individual differences. For example, introverts, like me, have high privacy needs.

Mack upped his fishiness quotient by inserting himself into private conversations, intruding in private spaces (my bedroom!), and being omnipresent (in spite of the fact that he was not a Holy Mackerel).

Altman’s privacy regulation theory would predict that houseguests are stressful to the extent that they create a “disconnect” between hosts’ actual and desired levels of privacy. —The trouble with houseguests

They really could have used this list of houseguest etiquette; they violated all sorts of things here.

I had no idea I was offending, only that she was suddenly acting very hostile toward me and also toward Richard and her children.  In the beginning I had no problem with her at all, wanted to befriend her, chatted with her, told her a few secrets, had no desire to upset her–but then her hostilities began.

I kept begging Richard to set a move-out date.  He finally set one, January 16, 2008, and I counted the days.  Then as the day got closer, I’d hear, “We may not be able to move out then after all.”  But when the day came, they left.

And there was much rejoicing.  Except that I was so used to having Richard around to talk with and watch TV with, that I missed him dearly.

But for the next couple of years, every time I cleaned the basement and otherwise went about my normal household routine, I heard Tracy’s snotty little voice ripping on my “routine” as if there were something wrong with an orderly household.

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

 

Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance with smear campaign

I finally got a chance to vent privately to my husband on Wednesday, January 2 about what all went on in his house while he was out of the house or the room.  I told him the same things I told my mom, about all the abuse, possessiveness and controlling behavior, including the story of her getting jealous just because Richard took me to a corner store so we could chat.  (Jeff said in shock and disbelief, “She was jealous of you?”)

He got so furious with Richard and Tracy that I thought he would throw them both out onto the street right then.  He says I asked him not to, and that’s the only reason he didn’t, the only reason he didn’t even yell at them.  But they came upstairs and were shocked at how angry he was.

I must have asked him not to throw them out because I didn’t want to throw the children onto the street in the middle of a cold winter.  He was angry and shocked at Tracy for being jealous of me, of all people.

He felt her behavior was ungrateful and insulting to the hostess, after all I had been doing for them, basically accusing me without cause of being a slut.  I wrote to my mother the next day,

I had a long talk about this with Jeff yesterday.  He knew some of it, but apparently I hadn’t told him the full extent of what had been going on.

He agreed that Tracy has to stop getting mad at Richard and chewing him out whenever I want to talk with him alone, that he needs to have friends, that we own the house, and that chewing out Richard for talking with me alone is not the way to treat me after I’ve been providing hospitality.

Now that Jeff and I had full agreement on this, I had the strength I needed to take charge.  I told Richard that I own the house and she is not to do that anymore, that it’s getting in the way of me being friends with her.

He said that he believes he has it squared away now and there shouldn’t be any more trouble.

Richard and Tracy were in the basement and I was on the main stairs with Jeff, the only way we could talk privately.  But I wasn’t even allowed this private grievance session with my own husband:

Tracy must have come upstairs very quietly, because she eavesdropped without my knowledge on this conversation with Jeff.  She never told me she heard everything I said.  I had no clue until the summer of 2009, when Richard finally admitted it.

Since she was the one listening, not Richard, she got away with blatantly lying to him about what I said.  She told him I was manipulating Jeff.

The truth is that I told Jeff what was happening and how I felt about it.  If that’s “manipulation,” then proper, direct, open communication with your spouse is “manipulative.”

Then Jeff came up with a way to help me.  It wasn’t a good way, but neither of us realized this at the time.

I think what I really wanted him to do, was to sit down Richard and Tracy and explain the rules of the household and being a guest, rather than leaving it all to me to deal with these people.  But I don’t remember if I said so, or if I was even able to articulate this at the time.

(Sometimes I don’t know how to explain what I want while I’m speaking.  The words I need tend to come while writing drafts of e-mails–or blog posts.)

This is the first time I know of that Tracy lied to Richard to smear me and slander my character; there were other times to come, when she either lied to him about me, or twisted my actions and slandered my character to him over and over again, while I was in my house blissfully unaware (until he told me about it).

When she later accused me in 2012 of defaming her character, this was hypocritical, because she defamed my character to her mother, husband and on Facebook, and defamed Todd’s character to an entire web forum/gaming group.

And I did not defame her: To defame is to lie and tell half-truths to make a false representation, and I have been scrupulously honest in these accounts.  (I have been honest to the point of fear, which I bravely faced and posted anyway, because I want to be a trustworthy narrator.)

I also do not name her or post her personal identifying information, because this is about telling the story of my trauma in my own way, NOT about smearing her to her friends/co-workers/etc. or getting it to show up in Google searches for her.  But I digress.

She then decided I hated her, was biased against her, was a terrible person, had bad character, must not spend any time alone with her husband without her okay, and was “moving in on” her husband.  Anything and everything I did was evidence supporting this theory.

During this time period, I’m told, she almost killed me for something she wrongly interpreted as vixenlike behavior, though I wasn’t aware of this for a year and a half.  (I have no idea if this was meant literally or metaphorically.)

As for what I did: I have already explained how Richard taught me that putting your head on another’s shoulder and sleeping is an innocent expression of friendship, nothing more.  That our arms stayed folded around ourselves, NOT each other, and in a friendship manner.  He made it sound like this was normal friendship behavior where he grew up.

(From what I just read in an abuse blog by a woman around that area, and her descriptions of caring gestures by a close platonic friend with no romantic feelings for her, this may actually be true.)

I was wrapped in a small couch/throw blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, and was now cold with illness; I was NOT sharing it with him, he was NOT under this blanket, had no blanket on him at all.  Even if I wanted to share it, this little blanket couldn’t possibly stretch far enough to cover him, too.  But no, I did not share it with him, despite her later claims to the contrary.

I was sick, desperately needed a nap, my son was asleep in my room, and the couch was crowded.  Normally back then, I often took naps during the day (probably exhausted from caring for a toddler), and preferred to nap on the couch instead of on my bed.  It’s just a quirk, hard to explain why, but I don’t like lying down to nap.

All these people interfered with my normal nap routine, along with everything else.  I also did not want to wake up my son by going in the bedroom, and sickness makes it hard to breathe when sleeping on your back.  I felt just rotten, but couldn’t get a nap or any rest at all.

I was wrapped in a blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, but my sickness made it worse.  Richard was beside me on the couch; finally, I put my head on his big, squishy shoulder, which was just like a large pillow, not some bony skinny shoulder, and fell right to sleep.

An innocent act, no more “vixenlike” than the guy who put his head on another guy’s shoulder on the subway.

But it inspired Tracy–in a massive overreaction which showed the violent truth of her character–to kill me!  She only kept herself in check because of fear that we’d throw her out.  (Well, yeah, if you kill me, or even if you just beat me up, my husband won’t let you stick around.  He’ll get your *** thrown in jail.)

Richard later told me that Tracy’s reaction was based not on the act itself, but that if, say, a certain other friend from the Forum did it, Tracy would find it cute and join in, because she was friends with Tracy….

Which is, of course, maddening, because Tracy had already told me that she and I were friends.

But she changed her mind on that without telling me so, or why, because I had trouble carrying on conversations with her, and because I desperately needed time by myself every day to recharge (things I did not know until the summer of 2009).

Basically, because I am an introvert with NVLD, who desperately needed time alone every day during a house invasion which had gone on for weeks, she began acting jealous and controlling toward me, but never told me why.

Then I recognized her verbal abuse and controlling behavior for what it was, rather than saying she was right and justified.

So she eavesdropped when I told my husband what was going on, did not tell me she overheard, was prejudiced against me for being an introvert, and made me jump through impossible hoops before she would consider me her friend and allow me to do things like this, which she would allow her other friends to do.

So she wanted to kill me because I was sick and needed a nap, and because I followed Richard’s directions to do this when she was not in the room (and fell asleep), NOT because I actually “did” anything.

I made no moves on her husband, did not try to get him to kiss me or go to bed with me or any crap like that which would have deserved her ire.

By the way, my husband came home and saw it, remembered we have SCA friends who do this sort of thing, shrugged his shoulders, and went on with life, never saying a word about it.

In fact, a month or two later, I even mentioned it to him to explain why Tracy was mad at me this time, without fear that he would berate me over it.

Not only did he not berate me, but he understood it was platonic, and still did not tell me he already saw me.  I did not find out until August 2010, when he told me Tracy’s reaction was overblown and ridiculous!

Basically, I did something which would have been perfectly fine with her if I were an extrovert without NVLD, and if I accepted all her abuse as okay.  It was a double standard which discriminated against me for what I was and could not change.  Nobody told me she saw this and was upset, until a month or two later.

Once I found out this upset her so much, I thought she overreacted, and was puzzled because I thought it was normal behavior where they came from?

However, I never did it again, respecting her boundaries–but continued to pay for it constantly for two more years as she kept bringing it up with Richard as evidence of my bad character, and then ripped into me for it in the summer of 2010.

Because I was sick and desperately needed a nap on a crowded couch.  Because I had been taught by Richard that such behavior was perfectly fine, normal and appropriate among friends.  (The jerk set me up!)

You will also note that it was the middle of the afternoon, in the main room in full view of the kitchen and front door, while she was awake and my husband was about to come home.

NOT late at night or while the house was empty, like when Richard did it before.  Which is further proof of the innocence of my actions.

There was also another time when they were up late watching TV, she was on one side of him on the couch and I was on the other, and I tried to nap against his shoulder because the TV was boring and I was sleepy.  But she never mentioned that I did do this in front of her once, did she?

No, I was falsely accused of bad motives and character, and constantly slandered by this woman, who knew that I saw her abusing her husband and children.

And now I was supposed to suck up to her and court her favor or else I’d stay on her sh** list and be “that woman” who wasn’t her friend and couldn’t say or do much of anything to him without her getting upset.

This is a common abusive tactic: Slander your spouse’s friend and make his life miserable, because the friend could open his eyes to the truth of the abuse.  Use intimidation and pressure to get him to only be friends with people you approve.

Memories of Phil were still fresh in my mind from writing and researching about his abuse in 2006/2007.  This was a tactic he used to try to separate me from my group of best friends, who saw he was treating me badly.

Richard kept things from me that I needed to know, such as the fact that Tracy overheard my complaints to my husband, and saw me asleep on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, I overheard her complaining about me or my son to Richard or her mother on occasion, sometimes quietly, and sometimes so I could hear.

Rather than get them out in the open and deal with them directly with us, she was passive-aggressive.  (Note that I did not go to Jeff until after I tried to sort things out with them, but conditions continued to deteriorate.)

And I was not allowed to object to her jealous, abusive and controlling behavior, or say how she treated Richard was wrong, or say that I will not be disrespected in my own house–or she would lose all respect for us and go back across the country to the state she came from.  (Right there: intimidation, delivered through Richard as her proxy.)

But it was well within my rights to object to abuse and other mistreatment of my friends, and to say that no one was to be abused and mistreated in my house.

That included objecting to her telling Richard not to go to the bar and grill with me.  She thought I was horrible and disrespectful of her to even ask him in the first place!  Say WHAT?

Even two and a half years later, she still got on my case about this, saying “everybody knows” you don’t do this without being friends with the wife first, and making me into a horrible person for “violating” this “rule.”

First of all, there is no such “rule.”  I have occasionally gone out to lunch or some other thing with a friend or boss, or had conversations with him, without consulting the wife first–or even knowing her, period, let alone being friends with her.  And the wife never put up a fuss about it.

The only “rule” is that you are open and honest, don’t sneak around and lie about where you went or who you were with, because that’s a red flag of cheating.

Second, she herself TOLD me I was her friend weeks before I even asked him!

Third, it was Richard’s idea to take me to that bar and grill in the first place.  He never informed me that one-on-one conversations and going to get ice cream, which were all perfectly fine and allowed for the past two months, were suddenly verboten.

I had absolutely no reason to think there was anything wrong or “inappropriate” about continuing to do these things.

It is gravely immoral to be mean to your close friends, to restrict your husband’s friends, to be jealous without cause, and to be hostile to the person who is sheltering you in her own home.

It is gravely immoral to treat close friendship as if it were expendable, as if it could just get tossed away.

It is gravely immoral to verbally abuse your kids all day and your husband all evening.  It is gravely immoral to be violent, whether verbally or physically.

Yet I was treated as if my feelings on the matter, my opinions, were just so much garbage to get tossed out with the rest of the trash, that I was a horrible, hateful person to even have them.

Richard’s own behavior was baffling through all this.  The first day she moved in, he told me she was a jealous person who went through his cell phone logs.  She discovered that while he lived with us, the female friend she was “at war” with had called him, and he called her back.

She got furious with him for it, even though he and this friend had always been platonic, and the friend was thousands of miles away.

I heard his conversations with this friend; they were appropriate, just catching up and news of the church the friend still went to and that Richard and Tracy used to go to.  He was upset with Tracy’s behavior, and I found it bizarre.

In just a short time, I had a full picture of a domestic abuser who considered me a threat to her control.  Especially after she eavesdropped on Jeff and me, she knew I recognized her abuse for what it was. 

Because I now know that she eavesdropped, I am confident that this was her true reason for the smear campaign and making me jump through hoops to please her.

I remember Richard saying she “heard every word” of what I said to Jeff, in that scolding tone which implied that I lied to Jeff, or that there was something wrong in what I said to him.

But I told Jeff nothing but the truth–and they obviously had no qualms talking to each other about me.  Yet more intimidation and control, not just from Tracy but from Richard as well, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I have always wondered what all Tracy told Richard I said.  I know she lied about me manipulating Jeff; what else did she lie about?  This is how domestic abusers operate when they know they are found out:

Domestic abusers use various methods to separate their victims from anyone who could open the eyes of the victim to the abuse.  An abuser will object to your friends and family, either unilaterally or just the ones who recognize the abuse.

She’ll lie to you about that friend/family member.  She’ll tell you that person is bad and you should not associate with her.  She’ll smear her to you, slander her character with lies and half-truths, to drive a wedge between you and your friend/family member.

She’ll tell you a friend made moves on her, even though it is a lie.  She’ll forbid you to be friends with someone she has not approved, or allow it but make life difficult for you whenever you see that friend.  Or she’ll make life so difficult for that friend that he breaks off relations with you.

She’ll reward you for sticking up for her, and subject you to more abuse if you object to how she treats your friend.  This, also, drives friends away, because nobody will put up with that for long if they don’t have to.

In the end, you are isolated from everyone who could open your eyes and help you out of the abusive relationship.

One day Richard complained that his wife should allow him to spend time with his friends, too, and was it really so wrong for him to do so?

But whenever I myself complained about how she treated me, or how she treated him, he defended her, spoke like I didn’t know what I was talking about and there was nothing wrong with her behaving this way.

Even a year and a half later, he told me her treatment of him during this time was his fault because of this and this and this.  This is Stockholm Syndrome, also known as the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt), which drives an abuse victim to defend the abuse.  For example, the wife who’s beaten and then says, “It was my fault.  I shouldn’t have upset him.”

As for consideration for Tracy’s feelings, Jeff and I had many conversations about this situation, and he did try to get me to see Tracy’s side as well.  This led to me going to Richard, contrite.

I do acknowledge that I did a few things wrong myself during this time.  I spoke to Richard about these things, some of them during this time, others later on after they moved out.  I also stopped trying to get him to go to the bar and grill with me.

But even though I told him she did many things to hurt me, he told me not to expect any apologies from her at all, that it was very difficult for anybody to get apologies from her (including him).

Even though twice I suggested apologizing to her on Forgiveness Sunday (which begins Lent in Orthodoxy), the first time he said it was not necessary (that she only wanted apologies from him), and the second time, he gave Jeff the impression that my apologizing would somehow be dangerous for me.

As a housewife with a small child (not potty trained) and a cold northern winter outside, I was in a tiny house 24/7 with this jealous, hostile person, who also had no job.

One night, I even overheard her talking to Richard and saying my son’s name several times, angrily.  (I don’t know what else she said.)  How on earth could she speak badly about a 3-year-old child???!!!

It was extremely stressful and insulting after all I was doing for her, and after she overheard me venting to my own husband about it, she got even worse.

Shortly after, while I was in the bathroom next to the kitchen, I heard her in the kitchen lying to her mother about me (and on my phone, too, using my long distance!).

She went on and on about the dinners we were providing, and that “No, your grandchildren are not eating vegetables.”  This was an outright lie, because I put vegetables in nearly every dinner.

She b**ched about that week’s dinner menu.  I made that menu in the midst of cleaning up the lice they brought into the house.  I had no time to worry about balanced meals, just had to come up with something quickly so my husband could get groceries, and so I could get back to combing nits and washing every single thing our heads had touched.

Also, we were spending $300-$400 a week on groceries with absolutely no financial help from them, so we had to get meals as cheaply as we could.  (In today’s prices, that’s like $340-$450.)  Everything from scratch is far too expensive when you’re feeding eight people, and who has time for that with small children running around?

Other meals were up to them, but I made sure we had vegetables for dinner.  We also had a lot of fasting days during this time, so many meals were heavy on vegetables.  (The Orthodox Church asks believers to fast from certain food items–especially meat–for a few weeks during the Christmas season.  So you have to eat vegetables or go hungry!)

So she was even going to smear me to her mother with lies and half-truths?  And I later learned from Richard that she did this on purpose to get back at me, as vengeance for what I told Jeff!  This woman was frickin’ vindictive!

But no, one week’s lapse because we were far too busy cleaning up lice to make up a proper meal plan or grocery list, and she rips on me for it as if that’s always the case.

Then she b**ched at her mother that I don’t cook, Jeff does.  Apparently there was something “wrong” with this, too, though what, I have no clue.

This was none of her frickin’ business!  He did the cooking because I was exhausted from taking care of the house and our small child all day.

What’s so terrible about a husband sharing the load while the kids are small?  Was this related to her refusing to help Richard with the house and kids, expecting him to take care of it all himself?

Apparently, in her mind, her abusing her husband and children and being nasty to me was somehow nowhere near as bad as me providing food she didn’t like, or letting my husband cook.

(I mean, seriously, I accuse her of being an abuser and this is all the “dirt” she can come up with on me to “throw in my face”?)

When the kids got into some children’s medicine, I did not wish to assign blame, even though she was supposed to be watching them every day so I could do my normal daily tasks without keeping an eye on four wandering children.

But I heard her on the phone with Richard, pinning the blame on me, saying “I guess she was going about her–” insert extremely snotty tone here–“routine,” even though the medicine had been in the medicine cabinet where it belonged–and she was just a few feet away from the bathroom.

And even though she tended to leave her allergy meds on the coffee table.  I believe the youngest child was with me at the time.

Oh, so now I was expected to watch the children, too, on top of all the other work these people made for me?

I was only beginning to get a picture of just how vindictive, controlling, blame-shifting and hysterical this woman really was.  She claimed to not know me, yet I was beginning to know her quite well–and I did not like what I saw.

So today’s dose of truth and reality is this: Evil must mask itself with good in order for it to make a living. Evil must hide itself by hiding the truth of who and what they are. Therefore, full truth (light) is anathema to evil.

You know this is true. You’ve tried to bring just a smidgen of truth to the table with the narcissist and you saw the hissing, spitting and reviling it invoked.

The extreme reaction is the narcissist’s attempt to get you to drop the holy water before he gets burned.

That is not the moment to fumble or drop the truth. Thrust that stake deep into his heart and then put him in the ground. Metaphorically speaking, of course. –Anna Valerious, Narcissists Suck: They Hide From the Truth Because Their Deeds Are Evil

 

Abusers believe they have a right to control their partners in the abusive relationships by utilizing the tactics found in the power and control wheel, by:

  • Telling them what to do and expecting obedience
  • Using force to maintain power and control over partners
  • Feeling their partners have no right to challenge their desire for power and control
  • Feeling justified making the victim comply
  • Blaming the abuse on the partner and not accepting responsibility for wrongful acts. —Power and Control Wheel in Abusive Relationships

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