houseguests from hell

Tracy turns jealous of and hostile toward me because I’m an introvert with NVLD

Ever since my conversations with Richard first began two years before, they had been one-on-one.  Our conversations for the past two months had gone on for hours, one-on-one.

There was a dynamic, a shared history of confidences, an understanding between us that made these conversations special.  As a quiet, shy introvert, I could open up in a way I couldn’t when more people were added.

Introversion includes a preference for one-on-one conversations, and hating small talk.  It also means you have trouble contributing to conversations with more people because it’s hard to process, think what you want to say, and then find a spot to say it, before the conversation has moved on.

It has nothing to do with our intelligence, willingness to speak, or what we think of the others in the conversation.  It is, rather, how our brains are wired:

Our brain processes require us to think before speaking, going through our long-term memories for experiences and knowledge to find something to say.  Extroverts think as they speak, using short-term memory.

It takes longer to go through the long-term memory.  So small talk makes us very quiet, while an in-depth, interesting conversation inspires us to speak a lot more.

Now, you may say, if introverts have to take extra time to think of something to say, then why are your brains so quick in this case?

It’s simple: If we are already interested in a topic, then we study it and think about it a lot, so we already know what to say.  If we don’t already know about a topic, then we have very little to pull from our experiences or knowledge, so there is very little to say.

The same goes for questions put to us by significant others or friends: Since this question has only just been put to us, we need time to examine it, and figure out what we think about it and the best way to answer it.

I have had people get upset with me for not answering yet, when they haven’t even given me a chance to think it over first.  This is very annoying for an introvert, so stop doing that.

But Richard told Jeff that I needed to “push” myself.  Uh, no.  That reminds me of my second-grade teacher (I loved her otherwise because she was awesome, but this one thing annoyed me):

She complained that I did not participate enough in class.  That’s because I didn’t always know the answer.  One day I was in a little circle with the “smart” group; she asked us for types of construction equipment.

I said nothing because I was into “girl” things, like dolls and Cinderella, and had no clue what types of construction equipment there were.  But she kept saying, “Raise your hand, Nyssa!  Raise your hand!”

What was I supposed to say if I raised my hand–“I have no clue and don’t have an answer for you”?

That’s exactly how I feel if somebody–such as Richard–tries to push and force me into a conversation when I have nothing to say.

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days…..

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers.

That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.)

Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ. —Carl King, 10 Myths About Introverts

So I resented it when Richard kept trying to make these into three-way conversations with Tracy, whose judgment, temper and humor I began to find questionable.  The more I saw of her temperament, the less I wanted to open up to her.  She put me off with crass humor.  She also seemed to be very reactionary when someone disagreed with her, and conservative where I was liberal.

For example, she ripped on my priest for saying that their marriage had to be blessed in the Orthodox Church before they could take the Eucharist.  She made all sorts of disrespectful and nasty comments about him, such as not listening to an “old man.”  But this was an Orthodox requirement which somehow had been neglected after their conversion, so she was extremely unfair to this wonderful priest.

She also decided she hated my church and wanted nothing to do with it, because somebody told her there was a children’s area in the basement where she could take the kids when they get noisy.

(In fact, even though Richard loved my church when it was just him and me going, they both now came up with all sorts of reasons why they didn’t like my church, and chose a different church two counties away.  My church is full of lovely people and has an awesome, wise priest.)

For another example, I felt comfortable talking with Richard about things that turned me off about fundamentalist Protestantism, such as the rejection of science.  Some time long before, he and I looked over an Orthodox website which said that the obsession with Creationism was not Orthodox.  But I mentioned this in front of Tracy one day, and she just went off on me.

Also on the Forum once, I posted some link that said the Catholic church was not concerned with biblical literalism, which to me showed that even the ancient Churches aren’t strict about this like Protestant Fundamentalists.  I meant it as a refreshing change from what I’d grown up with, but she railed against the Catholic Church for this.

Richard had a far different view, from what I could see.  Apparently she thinks that Christians must reject evolution (and global climate change) despite all evidence that it is true.  I was not comfortable discussing religious issues with her after that.

Then–after all that insistence on biblical literalism–she supported shooting illegal immigrants on sight!  Richard and I both found such a policy morally abhorrent–him because he once was told to do just that as a border guard, and was scarred by it.  (At least, so he says, though I have trouble finding supporting evidence for such a policy.)

My participation in three-way conversations was already limited because they kept going on about subjects I found boring, and because it was much harder for me to break in when two other people were talking.

But it was even more limited because I didn’t want her knowing my private thoughts.  In the beginning I told her private things, but a few weeks later, I no longer trusted her enough to do that.

I kept telling Richard I wanted some one-on-one conversations, not just three-ways, but he just didn’t get it.  I resented being forced into friendship with someone I found abrasive, whom I witnessed verbally abusing him and the kids.  I told him, “I have to choose my own confidantes.”  But it just kept falling on deaf ears, and I resented that.

How could he even think our awesome conversations should start including a third person?  We could have three-way everyday conversations, but there was no way our special, hours-long, in-depth conversations were going to happen with a third person.

That destroyed the dynamic, the mutual trust, the similar interests and backgrounds.  Did he want to ruin them?  My husband didn’t even try to get in the middle of our conversations, but went to the basement (where the computer is) so we could talk.

It seemed Richard was one of those extroverts who think introverts should be just like them, that being introverted is somehow a fault that has to be corrected, rather than a different way of processing social situations.  He often gave unasked-for advice that might work for him, but not for me.

The more is not the merrier: Not for me, anyway. If we make plans, please, please don’t invite other people to join us–at the very least, check with me first.

Introverts usually prefer one-on-one to groups and I’m bummed when the nice cozy visit I anticipated turns into a convivial racket. –Dr. Irene S. Levine, The Inside Scoop on Your Introvert Friends

I had no idea yet that Tracy actually required me to be an extrovert, to be Chatty Cathy with her all day long, along with socializing with her at night.

I CAN’T STAND SITTING ON MY BUTT FOR HOURS ON END WITH NOTHING TO DO BUT SOCIALIZE.  It drives me absolutely batty.  Except, maybe, for Richard or my mother or catching up with some girl friend from college.  But these are people with whom I already have an established rapport and can keep up my end without trouble.

Even after she had been in my house for days, and I no longer could put off housework, and needed a quiet place to recharge, away from all these people.

I had no idea that otherwise she would not “approve” my friendship with Richard, would not consider me her friend despite how I put myself out to help her, would see every move I made as a move on her husband.

While if I were an extrovert, she would “approve” me instantly and I could go to the bar and grill with Richard, could chat with him alone for hours, could even put my head on his shoulder and she’d consider it cute and join in.

Even though she did indeed approve me within the first few days, and called me her friend, now she and Richard claimed she never approved me.  I was so bewildered and angry by this, that I did not call them out on this big, fat, obvious lie.

It was my first red flag warning that they were manipulative, emotional cons, liars, doublespeakers and users–but I did not catch it.  Down the rabbit-hole with me!

But when I found out about her secret rules, I resented that Tracy began treating me like I was out to steal her husband because I wanted to continue having one-on-one conversations with him, as I had been allowed to do for the past two years without anyone even suggesting this was “wrong” or “inappropriate.”

Because I wanted to go to the bar and grill with him, as I had been allowed to do for the past two months without anyone even suggesting this was “wrong” or “inappropriate.”

This constant insistence that I turn into Chatty Cathy with her (when it’s neurologically impossible for me to open up and be chatty with mean, abusive people), or else she would continue being hostile toward me and treating me like the Other Woman, infuriated me over the next couple of years.

It also enraged my husband.  Both of us constantly complained to each other about her ingratitude, treating me like this when I had allowed her into my home for six weeks, and never threw her out, even though she forced herself into my house and was constantly rude to me.

Extroverts tell us to change, and the abusive types punish us and treat us like stubborn creeps for not changing.  But introverts cannot change our behavior.  This is the way our brains work, and the reason we are able to come up with creative ideas and works of art.

If we needed lots of social time like extroverts, and found it rejuvenating instead of draining, then we would not have enough alone time to write or invent.

Also, in February 2008, Richard claimed that he saw me ignore her attempts to make conversation, or saw me get up when she sat down.  But I recalled no such attempts, so for all I knew, he was making this up to gaslight me.

I suggested that my NVLD kept me from recognizing these attempts, since I could not remember them, and had no idea what she had supposedly done or said that was my cue to converse.

Also, when I got up, maybe I had to do something.  Or maybe I was so angry with her for some recent incident of hostility, jealousy or abuse, that I did not want to be around her right then.  Or maybe they were driving me crazy with the PDAs and I just wanted to be by myself for a bit.

It felt like even my right to choose my own company was now supposed to be under Tracy’s control.  Who the heck was she (or he) to tell me who my friends should be, or when I should hang out with someone?

In just a few weeks after she moved into my house, I felt a distinct jealous vibe off Tracy.  She began to hover.  If I sat next to Richard as he played on the basement computer, ten minutes later, there was Tracy.

I felt treated like a homewrecker for wanting to spend more than ten minutes just sitting down and having a nice chat with my best friend and roommate, as I had grown accustomed to.

She stared daggers at Richard or angrily whacked him on the arm if he dared to have a conversation alone with me, or do any number of things–WHAT things he did wrong, I had no idea.

I also had no idea just how bad it could be until one day I asked Richard to talk to me by himself about some things.  It had been a few weeks since I last spoke to just him.  Tracy was right there, so it was not sneaky.  It seemed to me like a simple, ordinary request.  He decided to take me with him to get cigarettes.  Again, seemed simple and ordinary to me.

Then Richard said as we pulled out of the driveway that she was staring daggers at him.  That surprised and baffled me.  I said, “Why?”  He said she feared we were going to talk about her.

Her ridiculous behavior shocked me.  It had nothing to do with her, but we ended up talking about her anyway because of her jealous reaction.  I don’t think I got much time to talk about what I really wanted to talk about.  I don’t recall if I had noticed her jealousy towards me just yet, or if that was just beginning to catch my notice.

I also felt largely ignored by Richard, like my days were just housework and sleep and no joy or relaxation, in a crowded, noisy house with no way to get peace.

My routine was simple and, as an NLDer, I did not like deviations: housework, personal grooming and childcare in the morning/afternoon, my time on the computer for a couple of hours around the time my son took a nap and Jeff came home, then evenings for relaxing and–with these people here–socializing.  (That meant about six hours every night spent socializing with Richard and Tracy.)

(I’ve mentioned a forum through which Richard, Tracy, Todd and I all met.  I’ll call it The Forum to make things easy.)

The housework had to get done, especially with all the extra people and all the children running around.  I did not want their health compromised by playing in a basement covered in cat puke/kitty litter, for example.

My child’s Pull-Ups had to be changed, since potty training abruptly stopped when everyone moved in.

And, as an introvert, I desperately needed time to myself in the basement (the “Dungeon”) on the computer.  I needed that time to myself to recharge, to get my computer time before Jeff’s time on it began, to e-mail my mom, to check in at the Forum and an Orthodox forum, to complain on a Goth Christian forum about the noise, and to get away from all the children’s noise and Tracy’s annoying, grating, constantly yelling voice.  Otherwise, I would go mad.

I had no clue that attending to my household and recharging in a quiet corner, was taken by Tracy as a personal, unforgivable, inexcusable offense to her.

That a host doing what a host must do, especially when guests stay for more than a few days, was an insult that cannot be borne, and proves me to be a loose woman of bad character who must never be allowed to be alone with her husband.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  That’s because it IS ridiculous.  Yet I was forced to accept it as a universal rule that EVERYBODY knows, even those with learning disorders.

I was often upset with Tracy because of her screaming at the kids all day long, or being mean to Richard, though I kept my mouth shut to her about it.  Meanwhile, Tracy began making occasional snarky and jealous-sounding remarks to me.

During the two months it was just Richard, he occasionally took me to the nearby bar and grill for ice cream, where we talked until closing time.

One day near Christmas, I e-mailed him through the Forum (the only way I could say anything private to him anymore) that I was going crazy, that every time I tried to talk to him it was cut off, and asked him to please go to the bar and grill to get some ice cream with me like we used to.  This way we could take a break, get away from all the people and sit and talk privately.

It seemed like a simple, ordinary request to me.

I asked him again later in person because he hadn’t responded, but he said no, and it sounded like we wouldn’t for some time.  I don’t remember now what all he said, just that it made me feel like spending time with me no longer mattered much to him.  Tracy came upstairs.  I went over to do the dishes, but couldn’t control my tears, so I had to rush off to bed so they wouldn’t see me cry.

The next morning, I cried to Jeff in our bedroom that I felt like the friend (me) was being tossed aside now that the wife was here.

When Richard was here alone, he wanted to spend most of his time with me and talk with me, kept me up till three in the morning chattering away about anything and everything, showed me Goth music videos on the Net, told me I was the most awesome person he knew, and we told each other everything that was going on in our lives.

But now he didn’t seem to care if I was alive.

In fact, most evenings, while Jeff was on the computer in the Dungeon and I was socializing, it felt like Richard and Tracy constantly ganged up on me, making jabs at me, criticizing me, making fun of me.

They often did this after they moved out, too, when Jeff wasn’t there, so I hated it whenever she came along with him when he stopped over.  I remember mentioning this once or twice in an e-mail to Richard.

Then they’d get all cuddly and kissy on the couch while I sat on the other end of it, feeling extremely uncomfortable (like I always do when people get all PDA around me).

I often felt like a third wheel in my own house, like I wasn’t welcome, not just during the cuddling but wherever Tracy was.  Richard once asked me to join them in a card game in the basement, but I got a distinct impression that Tracy didn’t want me there.

I felt unwelcome in my own house, like Tracy wanted to tell me where I could and could not be in my own house!

The insults began coming, fiercer all the time; I felt closely watched; I had no moment’s peace.  I couldn’t even take Richard out of the house for a ten-minute private conversation without her getting angry.  Tracy had been okay with Richard moving in with us, and probably knew we were having conversations that lasted for hours.

Why was it okay for him to live with us by himself for two months, and spend hours talking with me every day, but now that she was here, he couldn’t spend ten minutes talking with me?

Why was it okay for him to take me out for ice cream while he lived here by himself, but now that she was here, it was horrendously disrespectful of me to even think of such a thing?  (I’m not sure when, but I eventually discovered she was the one who said we couldn’t do this.)

It was like putting the cart before the horse.  It was completely illogical and irrational, and baffling.  But things really began to escalate around Christmas and New Year’s.  I did not know why, because no one had explained anything, and all I saw was this increasingly hostile person who kept yelling at and bullying everybody (except Jeff).

I couldn’t stand the way she talked to Richard, and I kept wanting to stick up for him.  I couldn’t stand the ways she kept cutting him down.  I remembered a thing she had done while they were still separated, a thing I won’t tell here but which had filled me with so much empathy and sympathy for Richard that I broke down in tears on his behalf.  I wondered how anyone could do that to him, and hadn’t forgiven her for it.

One day Richard would agree with me that Tracy’s treatment of him wasn’t right–that she was too jealous, needed to let him have time with his friends, ordered him around–when he had a few minutes while she was out of the room.

(This is when I began writing this page, trying to figure out why one spouse would require another to spend all his time with her and not with friends, why someone would put marriage so high up there that having friends seems completely unimportant.  It eventually grew to include the problems with jealousy.)

Then another day he would excuse and justify her behavior and get mad at me for being mad at her nasty and controlling behavior.

I felt like she was steamrolling all over me, and he let her do it, like she could do no wrong no matter how horribly she treated people.

Sometimes I wonder if his defenses of her were not because he really believed I was wrong, but because she’d beaten him into submission verbally and/or physically, because he’d be punished if he didn’t agree with her and stick up for her no matter what crap she was pulling or how badly she treated me.

Even if she was a guest in my home, even if I was her benefactress at great personal and financial expense.

Basically, she bullied me and discriminated against me for having different brain wiring than hers, and for needing to take care of household business and have time to myself during a six-week home invasion.

She also bullied me because I wanted to spend time with my BFF, with whom I had bonded over two years of friendship and two months of him staying in my house, while I was naturally shy with her, as I am with everyone when I first meet them.

I believe that borderline personality disorder drove her to see insults where none existed, and that narcissism led her to continue insisting there were insults even when the truth was explained.

I believe that the need of abusers to control their victims, led to her insisting on her being right even when she was wrong, because she soon discovered that I saw her as abusing her husband and children.  After all, if her husband listened to me and saw it, too, then he might leave, and borderlines are deathly afraid of abandonment.

Also, keep in mind that I did not know all her “reasons” yet.  I write this from the perspective of what I learned over two years of dealing with her, things which were not revealed to me until later.

All I knew at this time was that she wanted to know me better.  Not only did I think that spending 24/7 in a house with someone for several weeks was plenty long enough to get to know somebody, but I spent six hours each evening socializing with her.

After they moved out, I thought she’d finally be okay with me, only to find that she still wasn’t satisfied.  In August I thought for sure she knew me well enough by now and was past this, only to find that she was not.  But then shortly after, she did okay me finally.

Then in 2009 I thought this was long in the past, only to find that she had removed her approval at some unknown time.

At first, I thought she just wanted to know me better.  But then in June 2009 I was required to have a certain kind of conversation with her.  So one day I did so, and thought that settled it, that she had a conversation like that with me (again) and could relax.  (It was weird, because Tracy told Richard that had never happened before, even though it DID happen back in early December 2007.)

Then I was told all the horrible things I supposedly did during her stay here, but I apologized and heard from Richard, shortly thereafter, that all the restrictions were gone and everything was fine.

Then in July 2010, she once again acted like she never had a conversation with me, never approved me, never removed her restrictions.

And now she demonstrated that it was my introverted nature that ticked her off so much, that it was impossible to satisfy her because she required my very personality be changed before she’d approve my friendship with Richard.

But not only that, but this is what she grabbed onto as a reason to give me, while the real reason was that I became more outspoken about how she and Richard were both abusing their kids.

So she had to make up offenses that did not exist, and pretend she never approved me, to justify her narcissistic rage against me–and push me away before I reported them to CPS.  I base this on events that happened in 2010, as you will see here and here.

It was maddening, narcissistic crazy-making!  The only way I can explain such behavior from her, is that she did it deliberately because (as you will soon discover) she knew that I saw her as abusing her husband and children.  And if Richard didn’t go along with it, saying and doing all the right things, he would get punished.

From Oscar Wilde’s “Portrait of W.H.”:

Of course it is a hypothesis, but then it is a hypothesis that explains everything, and if you had been sent to Cambridge to study science, instead of to Oxford to dawdle over literature, you would know that a hypothesis that explains everything is a certainty.

And yes, this hypothesis explains everything.

The parts about not feeling “welcome” because I followed my schedule of housework and computer during the day, and personally insulted because as an introvert I had to carve out time to myself every day to recharge, that was not revealed to me until a year and a half later!

So I had no chance to explain what was really going on, until she dug in her heels and refused to budge an inch.

I also had no idea that I was required to carry on long conversations with her like an extrovert and share secrets with her and be best buds with her.  I just thought that spending every night socializing with her for SIX HOURS should be plenty for her to get to know me, and that insisting on more was being controlling and petty.

I also felt that she put far too much pressure on me, trying to force me to talk when I didn’t know what to say.  I felt that if she wanted so badly to chat with me and get to know me, then she needed to stop being so nasty to everybody:

Stop hovering over Richard, stop pressuring me, stop snarking at me, stop screaming at the kids, stop being possessive and controlling with Richard, stop smacking him and picking at him and ordering him around.

I’m also trying to recreate the events of 2007 in an easily digestible manner, and without remembering everything that happened (having shredded much of my records of it in early 2008).  So keep in mind that our discussions/arguments on this issue, had not yet happened when the next sections occurred.

Isolation

  • limiting outside involvement
  • making another avoid people/friends/family by deliberately embarrassing or humiliating them in front of others

Emotional and Mental Abuse

  • putting another down/name-calling
  • making another feel as if they are crazy in public or through private humiliation
  • unreasonable jealousy and suspicion
  • playing mind games

Intimidation

  • making another afraid by using looks/actions/gestures

Using Privileges (perceived or cultural)

  • treating another like a servant
  • acting like the master or queen of the castle

Physical Abuse

Isolation
Abusers isolate their victims geographically and socially. Geographic isolation includes moving the victim from her friends, family and support system (often hundreds of miles); moving frequently in the same area and/or relocating to a rural area.

Social isolation usually begins with wanting the woman to spend time with him and not her family, friends or co-workers. He will then slowly isolate her from any person who is a support to her. He dictates whom she can talk to; he tells her she cannot have contact with her friends or family. —Warning Signs of an Abuser

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

 

Houseguests From Hell

This is not a hotel, nor is it a large house.  The only place we had for the two adults was the basement floor in sleeping bags; they didn’t want that.  So one slept on the couch while the other was in a sleeping bag on the living room floor.  Our house is plenty big enough for the three of us, but the living room is far too small for furniture and a sleeping bag.

The three children squeezed into my child’s twin bed while he squeezed in with my husband and me–making it hard to sleep, and giving me the ever-present dread of a wet bed.  There was no privacy for the adults.

We only have one full and one half bath; the bathrooms, to allow for more living space, are very small.

The basement was half full with our storage, and only half finished, with a painted floor and a vent from the furnace.  We “finished” it with dirt-cheap Wal-Mart rugs and some furniture to make a computer room/library.  I sweep, vacuum and dust it regularly, and vacuum it out once a year to get rid of webs.  It works for us, but there was no place to accommodate guests except on the floor.

I don’t know why on earth Richard did not listen to me and either keep them with his mother, or find a cheap motel to stay in.

Richard talked so much of Tracy’s emotional and verbal abuse while he lived alone with us, that for me to hear all this constantly, hear all the horrible things she was doing to him and the children, and then be expected to just accept her into my home with open arms and befriend her–Richard was in denial.

But I gave it my best shot anyway, hoping the abuse would end and she and I could be friends.

I had no idea I was being evaluated when Tracy and I first met and made acquaintance, since I don’t do that with my husband’s friends.

I thought we got along quite well, in fact.  I suggested that Richard buy her flowers when he met her at the airport.  I was very welcoming.  I smiled and chatted with her.

I was uneasy because of what Richard told me, but made my best effort to be friends with her anyway.  I told Richard we were getting along just fine.

I asked Jeff, who got coupons to fancy restaurants through work, if we could share one or two with Richard and Tracy so they could have a nice date.  All this to befriend her and to help her and Richard resolve their differences.

When we were alone together while I was stuck on the couch, too sick with a stomach bug to do housework, we had long conversations, and I confided one or two girly secrets in Tracy.  I asked her if Richard told the truth in his outlandish stories, but she didn’t seem to know.

I asked her to buy me some Coke from the corner grocery store because I needed fluids; somebody called her cell phone; she smiled at me as she told the caller that she was going out to do a favor for “a friend.”

So you see, she officially called me her friend within a very short time.  Which means I passed her private test.

But shortly afterward, she forgot these things ever happened, and treated me as if I never had a long conversation with her, never confided in her, never was her friend.  How soon she changed history and made Richard believe it!

By the way, I got sick quite often while they lived in my house.

One evening, when only Richard lived here, I had been feeling fine when all of a sudden I moved my head a certain way and got overcome with dizziness.  My eyes went back and forth, back and forth; I couldn’t control them; I now knew what it meant for the earth to spin around and around.  Eventually, I threw up.

Such a thing had never happened to me before and I had no other symptoms of illness, so at first we all thought I was pregnant.  (He said, “How will it look, Richard comes here and Nyssa gets pregnant!”  I about choked on something when he said that.)

Richard was very worried and attentive and Jeff put me in his care while out of the house–another reason I felt that Richard and I had bonded and become very close friends during these two months.

Then the vertigo left as mysteriously as it came, returning every now and then for the next year, with no other symptoms of illness, though not as intense as the first time.  Even cleaning out my left ear caused me to cough so hard I nearly threw up at least once.

I never knew what caused it, if it was a bug, if I had developed a medical problem, what.  I went to the doctor during one episode; he said it was probably an inner ear issue.  He saw no reason to do further tests, though I could see a specialist if I wanted to.  I took some medication and ginger pills.  Then the vertigo stopped bothering me, leaving just as mysteriously as it came.

Also, right after Tracy and the kids moved into the house, they brought in a nasty stomach bug.  Then another stomach bug went around the house a short time later.

I already expected the occasional illness from my young son picking things up at Sunday School.  But all these illnesses coming in such a short time, and all the same kind–stomach bugs, even the grownups throwing up–made me suspect poor sanitation.

I began cleaning the doorknobs every time a child used the toilet, and asking them if they washed their hands.  It was exhausting and disgusting to keep cleaning doorknobs and toilets, but the stomach bugs stopped going around.

I also–as the one washing the towels–noted their distinct lack of regular showers.  The house was saran-wrapped for the winter, so I couldn’t even crack a window.  I sprayed a lot of Febreze.

The filth described above–my own house began turning into this, as hard as I tried to fight it back.  I had to clean up after everyone who used the bathroom, because they didn’t do it themselves, and that got GROSS.

I spent day and night cleaning, doing laundry, and running the dishwasher.  Richard left his cigarette butts all over the parking lot.

We couldn’t afford to feed them, yet got no financial help, and then they complained about the food and how I ran the house.  They violated every rule of houseguest etiquette, and showed very little sign of trying to get full-time jobs or their own place.

They made me feel like sh** for going about my normal, everyday routine, taking care of business, and carving out time for myself.

Tracy considered it a personal offense to her, for me to try to get back to normal life, have clean towels/clothes/dishes, keep my son in clean diapers, and take a break from all the noise and crowding that went on for weeks.

I only did what any host would do, must do, with guests who stayed for more than a few days with no sign of leaving.

But she punished me for this through passive-aggression, forcing me over the years to jump through hoops to get her approval to be friends with her husband, giving her approval and then taking it back again and again without word or warning, smearing me to others, raging at me for imaginary offenses, and then claiming that she “owed” me nothing–not even apologies or kind treatment.

(Actually, they “owe” me well over $2000 for damages, food, utilities and various other things.  Kindness and hospitality were the only reasons I never presented them with a bill.  In other words, I was a sucker.)

I was also punished for being naturally shy around her (especially after her fangs came out), but wanting to spend time with my BFF, to whom I had grown close over the past couple of months.

Well, excuse me for caring about and wanting to spend time with my best friend!  I did nothing wrong here!

I finally gave up on vacuuming the living room, longing for the day when they would move out and clear that filthy mound of dirty clothes off my floor.  And of course, there were the cockroaches and lice they brought into the house.

At first, I thought Tracy and I were indeed friends.  I told Richard that when they found their own place, I wanted to visit her one day and him another day.  I did not notice her abusing the children or Richard.

But then little things started happening here and there.  First, one morning as we got out of the car at church, she screamed at her oldest (who was 6), “You tucked your pantlegs into your boots?  You know how to dress!  That’s tacky!”  The shrill tone of her screams was bizarre for what this poor girl did.

I mean, come on, the girl, who was now enrolled in a nearby school, probably saw all her classmates do the same thing.

I took it as personally insulting because I know how to dress, I’d been tucking my pantlegs into my snowboots for 34 years, and nobody ever called it “tacky.”  Everybody does that around here out of practical necessity, because it protects your pantlegs from the snow and mud, and your legs from the wind.

That poor girl had done just what she was supposed to do, but got screamed at and belittled for it.

I mentioned it to Richard that night, asking him to calm her down and get her to ease up on the poor child, because that’s how we wear boots here.  He already knew that the place where he grew up (no snow there) and this region have different ways of wearing boots.

He also said that I witnessed what his own family complained about, Tracy picking at the children.

Soon after, I began hearing Tracy scream at the kids all day long.  During the six weeks she lived with us, then the following two years, I witnessed her tirades, online and off.  I also recalled her rants on the Forum before she ever moved in.

Video Number Two made me think of Tracy, the way she goes off on people.  I heard her scream at the kids like this, only around me she kept out the cussing; I have it documented that she cussed at them, too.  Sometimes it frightened me; sometimes it angered me.

This is what I mean by screaming, not “scolding,” not even “yelling.”  Screaming like this is indeed child abuse.  I’ve also heard her scream at Richard like this.

I’ve heard her scream at others like this, only with all that cussing included for adults.  Her online tirades, both to me and to Todd, were exactly like this.

In fact, this video is indeed triggering me a bit, as the blogger warns can happen.  Not just the tirades, but the hitting, because I saw Tracy smack her kids around, and because Richard told me she almost killed me once.

(In the comments to the above blog post, I wrote about Tracy stalking my blog.  The blogger responded, “The fact she stalks your blog tells me she knows the truth, and hates the fact you tell it.”)

I’ve heard other parents yell at their kids, but not normally like this.  My mother yelled on occasion, but she sure never sounded like this.  It just is not right!  Screaming like this severely damages people, no matter how old they are, or what their relation to you.

Her very voice grated on my nerves so much that even a few years later, it still was like fingernails on a chalkboard whenever she even raised her voice at the kids.

(I couldn’t tell you if her voice aggravated me because of NLD making me more sensitive to loud noises and yelling, or because it would aggravate anybody, but the NLD certainly didn’t help.)

And the yelling and screaming seemed to happen every two minutes, often for reasons I couldn’t fathom.  It seemed the kids weren’t even allowed to act like kids!

I became convinced that she was at the very least a verbal abuser of her children and Richard, because I saw and heard it constantly.

On December 17, 2007, I wrote in an e-mail to my mother,

I already heard that Tracy can be hard on the kids at times, and I’ve seen some of it.  It seems her mom was emotionally abusive, her dad was abusive in other ways, and when she and the kids stayed with them the past few months, she started acting like her mom.

Richard and I really hope that being away from there, and around Jeff, Richard and me, will influence her away from that.  Poor Richard tries to get her to stop doing something, then gets an earful.

But I’m trying to look past that and remember that he loves her, he married her, so I can’t just judge her and reject her.  [Proving that I also made a good-faith effort to befriend her.]

She kept ordering around and making fun of and trying to control Richard.  He seemed like such a great person to me, yet she kept treating him like dirt and cutting him down.  She even said one of the children was cuter than he was, when with his weight and health problems, he needed his wife to say he was handsome.

She accused him of not wanting to spend time with his family, of staying away from the house just to get away from them, when for two months I saw how sad he was at being separated from them.

Then a few weeks in, she began to act jealous and hostile toward me.  I had no idea why, after all I had done for her and her family, and how nice I had been to her, even though she and her children invaded my house without my okay.

I had no idea how she could justify behaving this way toward her benefactress and hostess.  Didn’t she realize I could turn her out at any time?

She complained about not knowing me, but after living with me 24 hours a day for weeks, and socializing with me every evening for some six hours, how could she not know me, how could I still be a stranger to her?

This made everyday life in my own house ten times more stressful than it already was with all these people here.  I had nowhere to go to get away from the stress, except for the computer, in a long and bitterly cold winter.

And I had no idea when these invaders were going to leave.  But she even resented and hated me for that temporary respite on the computer, as if I were supposed to slowly boil away in all the stress and constant company.

Yet it wasn’t as if she arrived and I started spending a couple hours hid away on the computer every day.  No, that did not start until days had passed after they all moved in, and they became roommates instead of guests, so my job as hostess had relaxed a bit.

I believe I had already gone through a bout of stomach flu before that happened, so it had to be at least a week, long past the time most hosts would feel obligated to keep a guest entertained.

And I had no idea when they were going to move out.  It was not supposed to be for long, yet they ended up staying six long weeks!

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 reveals his wife’s abuses

Ever since we first decided on plans for him to stay with us (the original plan was that he’d crash for a couple of days or weeks while looking for a job and apartment), he began telling me things about his wife that made me uncomfortable at first.

First there was the filthy living.  He even wrote in his public Myspace blog that what would be between him and his wife, remained to be seen.

I won’t go into all of the details here in my public story, or everything that happened while he was here, but things between them were very bad.  Jeff and I were there for Richard, supporting him emotionally through all this, putting me on a constant, exhausting emotional roller coaster.

He said she abused him emotionally, that emotional abuse is as lethal as physical, because of the stress.

He complained she was mean to him over the phone.  His family was there at the time; when they scolded her for it, she scolded him for not sticking up for her!  Say what?

(My ex Phil did the same thing to me after embarrassing me to my friends–then getting a different response from them than he hoped for.)

I witnessed a screaming fight that scared and shocked me.  They argued over the phone all the time.

At first, his wife and children stayed with her family.  He said that without him there to keep her in check, she and her mother both verbally abused the children.

He said Tracy screamed at the kids all the time.  He kept asking her on the phone, “Why are the girls crying?”  He explained how each girl reacted to abuse, such as one who comforted the abused one.

Her family was very narcissistic and abusive.  Todd called them all “nuts.”

Tracy’s father was a con man and molester.  Richard told Todd that her mother had borderline personality disorder (BPD) and multiple personalities.

Richard hated her mom and how she got coddled for all the crap she kept pulling.

He told me that Tracy and all her sisters were like their mother to varying degrees, though Tracy was the “good” one who didn’t have as much of it.

He told Todd, too, that Tracy had many of her mother’s traits.  However, Todd told me she actually has all the traits, but Richard puts her on an undeserved pedestal.

Richard called Tracy a mean girl and queen bee.

One time, he said he deliberately married a mean girl because she was different from the subservient women he usually dated.

Yet another time, he said he married her because she believed in wifely submission.  He said he’d jokingly tell his other girlfriends to submit, and they’d say, “In your dreams!”  (An example of his baffling doublespeak.)

I wondered why on earth Tracy took the girls to stay with her parents with that kind of history, especially her dad.  I cheered when she finally escaped and took them to Richard’s mother’s house.

But I didn’t realize she soon would bring all this–the kids, the drama, the abuse–into my own house for six weeks instead of staying with her in-laws.

Even though Richard had been with us for two months already, I didn’t mind him staying longer.  My husband felt crowded, but I loved the company.  I also felt needed, nurturing my best friend through a difficult time, doing all I could to help him so he could get back on his feet–and back with his wife and children ASAP.

As a shy introvert with NVLD, it’s hard to hold conversations with most people, but with him I could talk freely and easily, like an extrovert.  For someone like me, this is a rare gem, while for extroverts it’s Thursday.

It had been a long time since I had a friend like this in my own town.  And ever since 2010, I’ve had no one here in my town with whom I can talk like I talked with him.

I do have some friends and family with whom I can talk like that, but they live far away.

With him, I could talk this way every day, for hours, on all sorts of different subjects, especially Goth music, Orthodoxy and religious backgrounds!  Even with some of my best, longtime friends, I struggle to talk like this.

It was fun having him here.  We got along great.

His mother, unlike her mother, is a great person, from what I hear.  She also had a huge house with lots of room.  The family could have been fine living with her.

The original plan was for Tracy and the kids to stay out in their original state with Richard’s mother, until a new apartment was secured and all their things were moved in.

But then one day, Richard just sprung on us a change: Tracy bought plane tickets that were on discount for a limited time.  She and the three children were coming to stay in my house!

This was never part of the agreement, because we lived in an 1100-square-foot house, had no spare bedroom or beds, and already Richard slept on the couch!

Instead, they all got stuck in this little place.  I felt forced into this, like I had no say in the matter.  I had no idea how long they would stay.

I wondered why she didn’t stay with his family until he saved up enough money for a security deposit on an apartment, instead of coming up here where there was no place for them to live.

It also caused them some issues that never would’ve been a problem if she had waited.

I said it would be too crowded, too noisy, and I’d have nowhere to go to get peace.  It was going to disturb the peace and quiet, our settled routines and ways of doing things.

We did not have the room or resources; Richard already taxed our pocket book.

I told Jeff she screamed at the kids, and I didn’t want this in my house, or the arguing.  My loyalty and protectiveness for friends emerged.

But Jeff saw it as an adventure, Tracy was determined because of fare rate increases, and Richard was anxious to see his girls again.

So did anybody listen to me?  Noooo….Even though it was my house and not theirs, I felt I had no say in the matter, especially since Jeff didn’t seem to mind.

Richard wanted his family to discover the serenity of my house.  He didn’t think things through, obviously: How can you bring another adult and three little children into this tiny house and still have serenity?

I didn’t even know these people!  I had been friends with Richard for two years already (online and on the phone) when he came to stay with us, but I had never met the rest of the family except online.

Nobody knew how we would get along.  We had no place for all these people to sleep, no privacy at all.

But nobody listened.  Richard and Tracy just went ahead and did what they wanted to, and Jeff was easygoing and didn’t see the problem, so I was overruled.  Which was odd, since Jeff felt crowded with just Richard staying there.

So I grabbed some apartment listings and tossed them to Richard, asking him to please find something ASAP.

Around January 1, Jeff said I was very perceptive and brilliant, and he should have listened.  (Now, in 2012, he tells me that he thought I had approved it!  So if I didn’t, and he didn’t, then who did?)

“Surprise, we’ve decided to bring the family and stay with you for the weekend.” Anyone anywhere on the -vert spectrum could find such a declaration objectionable, but it’s more likely to bring an introvert to a boil, according to Nancy Ancowitz.

Introverts count on their downtime to rejuvenate their resources; an extended presence in their homes robs them of that respite. —Laurie Helgoe, PhD, “Revenge of the Introvert”

Tracy and the kids flew in on December 4, Richard went to fetch them to a hotel, and they arrived here the following day.

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

 

Discovering they live in squalor

After they moved out, they lived in squalor, no matter how nice the place was at first.  I feared for their children, growing up in a place like that, especially for their health because of the lack of sanitation.  It could be considered child neglect!

Tracy got furious whenever Richard insisted that she help out more around the house, that he couldn’t do it all himself and take care of all their kids.  A mutual friend also saw this for himself.  I’ve been told that the house got so filthy in their last city, that the state had to step in, though I won’t go into detail on what the state did.

Yet Tracy complained about me doing housework when she lived in my house, as if she expected me to sit on my butt all day talking to her and somehow the house would be clean.

When Richard described the house he was living at before he moved to our place, it sounded like hoarding and/or squalor conditions: Cockroaches and mice running around.  Trash piled up.  Black mold.  The kids named one of the cockroaches, like a pet.  The kids also hoarded food in their rooms, not snacks but lunchmeat.

But whether they were technically hoarders or not, wherever they lived was soon filthy and stinky and looked like a dump, whether a broken-down old house or a 10-year-old apartment.  Even their vehicle had the same stench, and was full of trash and stains.

Even the mutual friend–a bachelor!–called their house disgusting, and still mentions it from time to time, especially if somebody accuses him of bad housekeeping.

Richard was delayed moving into our house because he had to throw out so much trash and mold-ruined clothes.

I went to the trouble of extra-cleaning the house before he arrived, so he could go from squalor to nice.  My son and I even cleaned the marks off the walls, including his drawings.

Unfortunately, one or two of those cockroaches apparently hitched a ride with Richard, as much as he tried to avoid it, because I saw a couple of cockroaches in my clean house for the first time ever in my entire life.  I sprayed and set out traps, and never saw them before or since November 2007.

In 2010 or 2011, I developed a fascination for shows about hoarders, because of this exposure to real-life squalor and trash hoarding.  What I saw looked familiar, not so much the hoarding as the poor housekeeping.

I wanted to see if their behavior qualified, and what drives people to live like this.

I have also seen many toilets on these shows which look just like Richard and Tracy’s–the element of their squalor which most horrified me and probably caused most of their stomach bugs.

That thing must have been infested with e-coli with all the fecal matter covering the seat and floor.  I mean, come on, when your own children’s health is at stake because they must sit every time they use the toilet–CLEAN IT!

I am a housewife, ever since my son was born.  Before that, I worked part-time.  My husband and son have always made a clutter-free house impossible, and my husband slacked off on his own chores all the time, but (in the eyes of everyone except my mother-in-law) I have always kept a clean house.

Not neat, but clean.  No mounds of trash, and bathrooms cleaned weekly.  At least, when I was in charge of cleaning them.  But even when my husband did that, I still spot-cleaned the toilets daily, so nobody had to fear using them.

Being exposed to their squalor drove me to be even cleaner, as if staving off the horror of my house becoming like theirs.  I use their house as a bugbear for my son, what will happen to his future place if he doesn’t clean it.  I joke that I’ll spank him if I come visit and it looks like theirs.  He wrinkles his nose and says he doesn’t want it to be like theirs.

I even felt a bit traumatized, so when I told my mom that we broke off relations with them, I finally poured out to her by e-mail and phone the filth I had experienced.  I also needed to talk about the filth with Todd.  I had to purge it, just as I do the entire abusive experience through this memoir.

Already I never knew what to expect in other people’s bathrooms, but this made me especially nervous when visiting other friends.  I fear such squalor anywhere I go, even though I haven’t seen it since.  I feel immense relief even if a bathroom hasn’t been cleaned recently, because it still is nowhere near the horror of Richard’s toilet and bathroom floor.

They didn’t have mounds of stuff in the living room, or bugs in the refrigerator, but there were unsanitary conditions.

Even the chairs and couches all had what looked like brown butt-marks, as if the filth from the toilet seat had been ground into them, so I had to force down revulsion just to sit down.  (This cause of the marks was plausible.  Don’t ask how I know this.)

The dishes, pots and pans piled in the sink often looked like they’d been sitting there for some time, with food long since dry and stuck to them.

The house smelled like decaying trash and body odor.  The bathroom sink was neglected like everything else, cluttered with stuff and filthy, and once I even found a disposable diaper in it and couldn’t use it.  And that was the only bathroom, so how were people supposed to wash their hands?

Jeff said the condition of the house was even worse when they expected only him and not me, which made him feel like he wasn’t worth cleaning up for.  (They said they cleaned for me, and I thought, “This is clean?”)

Jeff was also disgusted by the toilet.  It also sounds like the mutual friend saw even worse conditions than I did.  It sounds like I never saw just how bad it could really get, because they cleaned up for me.

But from what Richard, the mutual friend and Jeff told me, there was indeed trash hoarding along with unsanitary conditions.  Maybe “cleaned up” means they pitched the trash.

In my house, they left a huge pile of dirty laundry (including underwear!) on my living room floor!

First Richard started doing this, so I got disgusted and bought him a frickin’ laundry basket.  But he only put clean laundry in there, and still piled the gross dirty stuff on my floor.  ARGH!

But being a nice hostess, and already starting to fear his sarcastic wit (such as calling me Mom for wanting him to call if he’s going to be late in a snowstorm), I wasn’t assertive about it.

In fact, once I did try to get him to clean it up, he called me pushy, I apologized, then he laughed at me.  (This is a narcissistic trait: backwards reactions to things.)

When Tracy arrived, I hoped she would get him to improve his hygiene and habits, but hers turned out to be just as bad (she bathed every three days), and the laundry pile stayed put.

I didn’t feel comfortable hinting at her like I did at him, since with him I felt as comfortable as a twin sister, but she was scary.  (Once, when they visited after moving out, I had to re-wash a freshly washed blanket after she used it.  It stank that bad.  I sometimes wonder if they bathed even less often after moving out.)

Day after day I kept telling them when my laundry was done, but they still neglected their laundry, until they reached crisis levels.  If I tried to help, I was treated like I was creepy.

After they moved out, I vacuumed and wiped up the carpet before I could feel okay walking around there.  Then I saw them make the same pile (including underwear) on their own living room floor!

When they lived with us, I had to clean up after the adults and the children every time they used the bathroom.  I don’t want to go into a lot of disgusting detail, but this was not your usual ick left behind by the inconsiderate person ahead of you.

No, this was a dusting of filth all over the toilet and floor, or various other leavings, depending on who it was and what happened.  Didn’t they see it?

So I was constantly busy cleaning the bathroom, constantly using bathroom wipes.  (We went through four tubes of wipes a week!)

As the months passed after they moved out, I noticed whenever I used their bathroom that nobody kept up with it like I did–and the toilet and the floor around it grew worse and worse all the time.  There were layers of filth!  I’ve seen toilets on hoarder shows that remind me of this.

I feared for the health of those little girls.  I also feared what kind of crap (literally) they were tracking around the house on their feet.

I don’t consider myself excessively clean, but they already considered me practically OCD (I suppose I am in comparison), and I wanted to be a good guest, so I bit my tongue, swallowed my revulsion, and sat on the couches/chairs anyway.  Then changed my clothes when I got back home.

I began holding it in for as long as I could whenever we went over there.  But sometimes, I couldn’t help using the toilet.

But first, I was forced to use wet toilet paper and soap to scrub the seat, the front of the toilet under the seat, and floor as best I could, so that filth would not get on my skin and clothes.

Even that could not fully clean it, and all that caked-on filth, left black stains behind.  The bathtub was also neglected.

I wondered if they even noticed the smell or how filthy it was in the bathroom–another question I have when watching hoarder shows.  Other friends occasionally have dirty or cluttered houses, but nothing close to this.  Hoarders do not seem to notice the filth, because they live day-to-day in conditions that require others to wear hazmat suits!  And get angry when others remark on the filth!

Richard kept cancelling (at the last minute) some get-together we planned for the two families, because some child had a nasty stomach bug.  Richard blamed it on the cold weather; I knew the real reason: the lack of sanitation in their bathroom.

As an SCA person with geek friends, I have been in homes where the housework was low on the priority list, and am used to turning a blind eye to such things; I have been in a gaming store in which the bathroom was apparently kept up by apes; but I have never seen anything like what was in their bathroom.

From what I saw and was told by others, including Richard, an appalling level of filth was normal in their household, not just in my city but before they moved there.  They moved twice while I knew them, and both places ended up looking exactly the same over time–even an apartment which was only maybe 10 years old!

They kept pointing the finger at each other, or at the kids.  I wondered how two grown adults, at least one (usually two) of which was unemployed the whole time I knew them, could have no time to clean.

What did they do all day if they weren’t at work?  If they lacked money for cleaning supplies/wash machines, why not wash clothes in the tub and use vinegar to clean?

When Tracy’s mother visited them for a few weeks, and started cleaning the place, Richard and Tracy got furious with her.  I felt sorry for her, forced to stay in this place for so long, but not allowed to clean it.

I also see this reaction on hoarding shows, as the hoarder screams at people for throwing away rat-pee-covered books.

I got yelled at just for wiping honey off a table before setting down my books; Jeff got yelled at for helping clean up because the place would still be a mess when he got there; I got snapped at for giving Jeff a bottle of wipes to clean up after our son when he used the bathroom.

Richard made me feel like I had deeply insulted him by giving my son those wipes, that I implied his bathroom was not clean.

Well…even though the wipes were to clean up after my son, who was still potty training…instead of feeling insulted when people point out the obvious truth, just clean the frickin’ thing!

Even when they gave me a blanket during the winter, I often had reason to believe it was not clean, from what fell off it onto the table.  (I don’t want to be more specific on the Web).

Between this and the cramped conditions of their apartment/house compared to our own two-story condo and the field out back, where kids could freely roam and play and make noise without annoying the adults–I kept wishing they would come to our house more often.

(Heck, my house was even cleaner now because I had to stave off the specter of being like their house, and “cleanse” myself of it.)  Our house was a lot roomier without eight people sleeping in it and a mountain of dirty laundry in the living room.

But Tracy complained about our cats making her allergic (another reason that Richard bringing his family into my house to stay for a while was a very bad idea), and they wanted to play D&D on their dining table rather than in our basement, so we kept having to go over there.

So afterwards I came home, changed clothes, and cleaned the inside and outside of my shoes.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t refuse to go over there, period.  But Richard had me so enwebbed in his spell–and afraid to tell him my true opinion lest he make me feel like a prissy clean freak and a disgracefully bad-mannered guest–that I put up with it quietly.

When other people stayed with them, I wondered how they could stand the filth.  Even Jeff, when we ended the friendship on 7/1/10, said how glad he was to not be going back into that house with that smell and the filth.

And starting in 2010, when it became clear I was not going to have another child, and I no longer needed to hold onto baby things in case Richard’s little ones came over–I began deep-cleaning my own house.

I gave away the baby things, turned the changing table/baby room back into a library, and started cleaning things I never bothered with before.

My son was older, so with no little ones around we could bring down the breakables again, and I had more time to go deep into cupboards, clean behind furniture, and start cleaning more things more often than I did before.

(I even discovered some beautiful wedding-present-dishes and glasses that had been completely forgotten about.  They were good for daily use, so I washed them and put them into circulation, replacing our tired old ones.)

This was how I dealt with my grief in the summer of 2010, and it became a yearly summer routine.  Now that my son was older and I had more time, I took the toilet job back from my husband, because he didn’t do it the way I liked and had to be reminded all the time.

I now needed sparkly clean toilets, and floors swept every day.  My house would be CLEAN! cleaner than it ever had been! because I couldn’t stand even the faint resemblance to the filth I saw in THEIR house!  I’m not sure if “traumatized” by their filth is the right term, but it was something like it.

They all lived in my house for six weeks.  And while I was forced to constantly deal with the filth they brought into my house, constantly cleaning day and night for weeks, dealing with the mess and bad hygiene and cockroaches and lice and laundry on the floor and allergy medication left in reach of the children and bathroom cleanups every time somebody used it–

Tracy was constantly hostile to me, showering me with insults which should have led to her getting kicked out the door.  And she then tried to force me to grovel to her for her forgiveness and approval, because she twisted my treatment of her into something it was not, and her own treatment of me into sweetness and light.

I found myself down the rabbit hole.

Things were so bad that the only reason I can think of for staying friends with them for so long, was Richard’s hold over me.  I could not imagine life without him.

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