Category: hypnotism

More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare: Repost

Note 6/15/17: This was originally posted here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/tracy-part-24/  This post has received more than 3500 hits since it was first published in January 2014.

Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.

The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect

Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.

Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.

When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.

You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized

Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….

How is this relevant to the topic of narcissism? I am convinced that the narcissist has learned intuitively how to hypnotize people….

Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.

I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power….

The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions. –Anna Valerious, This is your brain on hypnosis

(The first comment on the above blog post also links the commenter’s research on covert hypnosis to what the narcissists in her life did to her.  The site is now down, so go here.)

There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes.  But he kept staring.  (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)

He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life.  I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.

Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.

When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here.  When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:

The Narcissistic Stare

The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.

The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.

A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.

Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.

Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2

1. Narcissistic Stare

Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissist’s Stare

It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”

They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…

Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….

The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.

However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….

Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”

I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…

Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.

Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others. –PND, The Stare of the Psychopath: What Lies Behind Those Eyes?

The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages.  Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …

Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”

It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look.  Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.

Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.”  Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …

Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths

So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.”  Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is!  You kiss pieces of wood!”

 

Hypnosis and Trump

Today (or, rather, yesterday now), I read several blog posts which claim that Trump has been using hypnosis to win the Presidency.  For those of us watching from outside the Trump rallies, his strange rise and win has been baffling because we can see he’s a showman, a con-man, a braggart–and nowhere near qualified to be President.

(We also wonder how the Electoral College became so ineffective, because it was supposed to prevent this kind of travesty from happening, but has turned into a rubberstamp instead.  Since nobody else elects leaders like this, we might as well abolish it.)

Now, him using hypnosis is not all that surprising to those of us who recognize the techniques of narcissists and of salesmen.  Hypnosis is not some mystical myth that belongs in fantasy movies, but actual psychological manipulation.  But the following posts have been enlightening:

Adams explains the hypnosis and persuasion methods he believes Trump has used, and since Adams is a trained hypnotist, Scott has plenty of research and background knowledge to pull from. The writer uses the terms persuasion, hypnosis, and negotiating as part of a three-legged branch all belonging to the same stool. –Paula Mooney, Donald Trump Uses Hypnotism And Persuasion, Says ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams

 

Would Trump use his negotiation and persuasion skills in the campaign? Of course he would. And we expect him to do just that.

But where is the smoking gun of his persuasion? Where is his technique laid out for us to see.

Everywhere.

As I said in my How to Fail book, if you are not familiar with the dozens of methods of persuasion that are science-tested, there’s a good chance someone is using those techniques against you. —“Clown Genius” by Scott Adams, not just a cartoonist, but also a trained hypnotist

 

“I teach hypnosis, and if you want to learn hypnosis, look at the way Trump’s doing it,” says Barker, author of the book “Selling Hypnotically: The Art of Suggestion.” –Judy Kurtz, Hypnotist: Trump winning with ‘Trumpnosis’

I also became fascinated with these posts because one of the main characters of my novel uses hypnosis.  These posts help me flesh out how the character persuades the heroine to trust and help him.

Another interesting post I found, somewhat related, and certainly of interest to victims of narcissists:

To be clear, at no time did Navarro diagnose Trump as having a narcissistic or predator personality. He says we should leave formal diagnoses to professionals — but that each of us still needs to be able to identify and protect ourselves from harmful people in our lives. And so he created behavior checklists and published them in his book to let you do just that.

Navarro’s book warns that if a “person has a preponderance of the major features of a narcissistic personality,” then he “is an emotional, psychological, financial, or physical danger to you or others.” As the book The Narcissism Epidemic explained, “A recent psychiatric study found that the biggest consequences of narcissism—especially when other psychiatric symptoms were held constant—was suffering by people close to them.” –Joe Romm, What a Top FBI Profiler Taught Me About Extreme Narcissists Like Donald Trump

 

Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–July 1994, Part 5

On July 24, I wrote the reasons the “subconscious” told me he was coming out.  One was that Phil “doesn’t know what he wants and won’t listen to him.”

I don’t want to publish everything here on the second point, but basically, Phil was clumsy and tried to get me to do things I found gross (oral) or painful (anal), which didn’t work, so he lost his passion.

He wasn’t passionate enough to satisfy his subconscious, so the sub. came out to rectify things by going more slowly and teaching me to do the things I didn’t want to do.  Once I was ready and able to do these things, and Phil became more passionate again, the sub. would stop taking over.

Looking at this with more knowledgeable eyes, it basically sounds like the “subconscious” was yet another attempt to coerce me into doing things which grossed me out and/or caused excruciating pain.

Especially since me doing these things, was the way to get Phil more passionate so the subconscious would no longer “need” to come out….

Basically, it was my “fault” he was losing his passion.  And if he could behave so “tender” and “passionate” and “gentle” as his subconscious, why not drop the act and just do this as himself?

Also, the subconscious said he could tell from my “aura” that my own subconscious actually wanted to do the things I didn’t want to do.  So Phil’s purpose in this big hoax was to manipulate me into things I did not want to do, in every way possible!

Then I wrote,

He says Phil’s forgetting about this diary, but that it’s probably better if I don’t tell him things.

Last night, Phil told me he felt his subc. was more intriguing and “neat” to a person like me, and that when it’s me and his subc., he can have no part of it.  Even in dreams, he can have a good dream and remember it when we do something.  He doesn’t like that his subc. is with me.

So now there’s guilt-tripping, when in reality Phil was awake and present the entire time, playing a joke on me.  He was practically accusing me of an affair–with himself.

And, from this and the parts I’m not quoting, he used this as a ploy to get even more sex than usual, so “Phil-awake” wouldn’t miss out.  A couple of times I sent the subconscious away because I needed sleep; the third time, guilt came out again, as he said, “Please don’t send me away again, or I’ll never come back.”

Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you.  When he came back, maybe the first time, I told him Phil feels like he’s competing with his own subc.

“So?” he said.

“Don’t you care how he feels?  He is you,” I said, upset.

“No.”  But later on I found that wasn’t because he was bad, but because he wanted Phil’s passion to return, and this was the way to do it.

…After [the subc.] left again, Phil woke up once while I slept, and sat whispering to our stuffed rabbit-son Benny, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?  Yes, she is!”  I heard him and woke up.

On July 25, I wrote,

He, the subc., whom theory says cloaks the messages into images in dreams, really doesn’t know what they are, either.  They aren’t always messages, either.

Phil does still dream when “he’s” around, sometimes, and whether or not the sleep is refreshing depends on the sleep, not on the subc. who’s visiting me.

Phil [in the van], as I tried to explain the subc.’s purpose in coming, said, “My subc. is a jerk.  He’s seeing you behind my back.”  I hooted with laughter.  “Hey Jealousy” was playing; I said, “Hey, Jealousy, you sound like a house divided against itself.”

Later, I said to the subc., “I suppose you know what Phil called you today.”  He laughed.  “What do you think of it?”

He said, “If only he knew what I’m doing for him.”

I paged through books and encyclopedias looking for any references to the subconscious coming out, often while sitting right next to Phil at the computer.  On July 27, I wrote:

This is no deception by Phil, neither is it him dreaming.  I’ve talked to him both ways, grilled him, watched him, and detected no tricks, no lies, nothing but what points to it being as he (subc.) says.

Here’s what the subconscious does all day: He takes in what the five senses detect.  He prioritizes things, puts them in order, tries to tell them to Phil.  He can’t see me unless Phil can.

He has no part in dreams, despite all those dream “codes” they talk about and all those theories that dreams are cloaked messages from the subc.  (As a matter of fact, he called those codes “a bunch of hocus-pocus like fortune-telling and astrology.”)

He’s awake pretty much all the time.  (I asked when he’s not awake, but all he said was, “How should I know?”)  He’s got so little to do, so few jobs, that he has a lot of free time on his hands (so to speak) and likes to fantasize.  And what about?  Me, of course, and a lot….

He needs me so badly that if I don’t have sex with him almost every time he appears, he may not be able to come back to me ever again.  He says he’ll probably disappear for a while during my fertile period.

And I can’t wake up Phil directly; he has to do it, or else the shock of jumping from one mind to another could make him mentally and emotionally unstable, or make him forget years of his life, or even kill him!

So he’ll have to be very careful with his appearances back at his house, where family members like to burst into the room unannounced and make life very perilous for us.

He says I’m the ember for his fire; he needs my passion; he needs my carnal desires.  Without them, he can’t return.

He also says he’s the part that comes out under hypnosis.  I told him I got hypnotized a couple times, and that a link [with Peter] was set up for a while which I’m glad no longer exists.  Maybe I’ll tell him more details later.

Oh, yes, I mustn’t forget what he said the other night: That the love he felt at first sight was the knowledge that I was the one.  We’re meant for each other, meant to be together for our whole lives.

And he says he loved me first [instead of Pearl], he loved me when he first laid eyes on me; Phil-conscious loved me when he decided he did.

And when Phil-conscious told me he wasn’t the guy who called my name from an upper window in the library [happened junior year as I walked by, and I never knew who or why], he was right, but he wished it had been him.

On August 2, I wrote to Clarissa,

Speaking of minds, the following is something I only want to tell a few people because I don’t know how the hearer would react to it.

There were some times that Phil himself didn’t really believe it, and I’ve had to test to see that it’s true and not him tricking me or talking in his sleep.

Don’t tell anyone about it, or they might get the wrong idea or think I’m crazy.

But lately truth has certainly been stranger than fiction.  I don’t know how, though I’ve tried to research it, but Phil’s subconscious has been using Phil’s mouth to talk to me while Phil’s asleep!

I figure I might as well tell you because, for one thing, you’ve been my roommate for two years and I’ve told you a lot of things, and for another, I don’t think you’d decide I’m just either gullible or nuts.

But this happens without any hypnotism; “he” comes out on his own volition, or when I call to him in a whisper.  Phil has to be asleep because both can’t be “present” at the same time, and I can’t wake Phil up myself when his subconscious mind is “out.”

“He” has a theory for the why, why he comes out, which is too personal for me to tell even you, but has no idea about the how.

I’ve been asking him about the subconscious, what it’s like and what it does; it doesn’t have a whole lot to do, so in its spare time it likes to fantasize about things.  At least, he does.

And forget all that stuff they tell us about dreams being messages cloaked by the subconscious mind.  He says he doesn’t even know what dreams are, and that those dream interpretations are a bunch of hocus-pocus, like astrology.

I’m going to have to talk to our psychology major, Sharon, abut some of this, and probably my Intro to Psych teacher as well.  Suddenly I’m quite glad I’m taking Psych, and that I’m taking it this next semester.

So you see how Phil’s hoax was beginning to spread, how I even planned to discuss it with my Psych teacher.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

More information on hypnotism used by narcissists

Last night I clicked on one of the search terms used to find my blog, “what to do when ex narcissist smears you; speak up?”  (My blog post “On smear campaigns…” had come up #7.)

One of the other links which came up was Lisa E. Scott’s “Narcspeak.”  From her post:

Remember, Narcissists are not normal. They don’t think like we do. They don’t speak normally either.

Most of what they say is meant to confuse us, throw us off and manipulate us. They use backward-talk, projection, martyrdom and almost ALWAYS provoke us to respond in a manner they can then use against us. They are brilliant manipulators.

NarcSpeak is a huge red flag. If it happens more than once – you need to get out of the relationship – before you end up too brainwashed or too abused to think straight or function.

They often use NLP = NeuroLinguistic Programming – used in sales, marketing, politics and… seduction/ mind control.

Neuro-linguistic Programming Techniques

Entire websites are dedicated to teaching people how to manipulate and control others:

http://www.cultcontrol.com/?hop=20754

http://www.dating-advice-coach.info/SeductionTechniques.htm

http://www.coverthypnosisguide.com/nlp-mind-control.php

A GREAT GRAPHIC THAT EXPLAINS HOW NLP WORKS:
http://www.nlpmind.com/images/ss.gif

Scary, huh? It is critical you are aware of this tactic so you can recognize when it is occurring.

Then she gives a long list of various things a narc can say to you, and what they really mean, as a “narc decoder” that also demonstrates some of this hypnotic “programming.”  I recommend checking it out; I’ve heard some of those things from narcissists, myself.

But the part about hypnotism and mind control especially interested me, because my ex-narc-best friend Richard used this crap on me.  I still have a printout of an IRC conversation in which he explained it to me, so I know I’m not making it up.

(You have to check that every once in a while with narcs, because they gaslight you and try to make you think you’re imagining things.  But I haven’t had any more e-mails like that from them, not since I reported that e-mail to the police.  It’s on record, though I didn’t have the police take action.)

He told me he used it, when single, to get girls to dance with him, that he learned it from a guy who was a professional hypnotist.  Richard also told me he used to be quite the womanizer, a dog with women, before he got married.

He told me he used it on me because I would occasionally put up blocks while we were talking, so he would break through them using hypnotism, and I would say whatever I didn’t want to tell him.

As you can see when you follow the links up above from Scott’s article, this kind of hypnotism uses eye tricks and words planted into conversation, so you don’t know it’s happening.

It’s the sort of thing used all the time by high pressure salesmen and marketing campaigns.  The kind of hypnotism described to me by Richard, is in this same line.  And I had no idea he’d been doing it.

So this quote from Scott’s article especially interested me:

Narcspeak: “I can change the tone of my voice and convince anyone of anything.”
Decoded: Truth! He’s admitting he hypnotizes, mind controls, uses NLP and does whatever he wants with people’s hearts and minds. And he’s proud of it (can we say SOCIOPATH?)

 

The Hypnotism Conversation with Richard: Things Narcissists Do

The conversation with Richard, about him hypnotizing me without my knowledge, happened on June 1, 2009 at 4 in the afternoon.  Quotes from that conversation:

Me: So–How do you hypnotize and what are your purposes (since you’re no longer trying to pick up chicks)?

Richard: How do I hypnotize?  Magick.

Me: Oh, come on.  🙂  Is it an eye thing?

R: Yes.

Me: I do remember one time when you seemed to be staring me down….

[That references the possible narcissistic stare mentioned in previous posts and here.  It happened in August 2008 while we watched The Apostle.]

Me: But other than that, I don’t recall anything unusual…..

R: It’s an eye thing, as well as many different semantics.  Also, questions.  A lot is in how you say things, not just with what I say…

Each gesture, movement and comfort you have towards the person initiating contact makes the process easier.  In essence, a handshake….

I unintentionally get you to open up.  A few times even when you did not want to.  I hit resistance.  But I pressured just enough. 

You do not remember because it was all conversation, nothing more.  The only thing I do is bring a picture about that you travel though, in your own mind.  You are able to recall things easier though. 

Now I can bring about an Alpha Trance.  I was also trained to do that.

He did not do that to me; an Alpha Trance is when you’re put to “sleep.”  He used conversational-style hypnotism on me.

As I can see in the conversation, at the time it all sounded totally cool.  He made it sound so benign.  Said he was doing it to help and not hinder, or break me down.

But now–especially after discovering how many people use these mind control techniques without another’s knowledge, and for what various purposes–it seems so manipulative.

What did he get me to say?  When did he use it?  As you see above, he did it at least several times, a few times getting me to open up to him even when I did not want to.  And I never had a clue.

Is this why I was so easily led by anything he told me?  Why I believed and trusted him even when I shouldn’t have?  Why I became his acolyte of sorts, not just influenced spiritually, but in other ways as well?  Why I followed him so easily into behaviors which led to my downfall?

It may not be magic, it may have the best of intentions, but how can I be sure he was telling me the full truth about why he used it when I can’t even remember him doing it?

Was this all part of grooming?  When I think back over what he did, I really think this was part of grooming me into various things: getting me to trust him, keeping me around as a valuable narcissistic supply because of my generosity and intelligence, influencing me into accepting certain behaviors as being perfectly normal and natural, basically setting me up….

Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior….

Grooming can feel exhilarating – at first. The predator employs attentiveness, sensitivity, (false) empathy and plenty of positive reinforcement to seduce their victim.

For their part, victims can be so enthralled with, or overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving; they will often overlook or ignore red flags that might alert them that the person who is showering them with that attention is somehow “off”.

Little by little, the abuser breaks through a victim’s natural defenses, gains trust, and manipulates or coerces the victim into doing his/her bidding.

The victim finds themselves willingly handing over money or assets, engaging in inappropriate, illegal or morally ambiguous actives, or acting as a proxy for the abuser, fighting the abuser’s battles, and carrying out their will.

The victim often feels confusion, shame, guilt, remorse and disgust at his or her own participation. Equally powerful, is the panic that comes with the threat of being exposed for engaging these activities.

There may also an overwhelming fear of losing the emotional bond that has been established with an abuser. The victim becomes trapped, depressed or despondent. —Grooming

Is hypnosis real?  The Mayo Clinic says so.  While the effectiveness of covert hypnosis is debated, there is some evidence it’s for real.

 

Svengalis, Love Bombing, Hypnotism, and Narcissists

Svengali keeps reminding me of Richard.  Svengalis exist in real life, not just in fiction.

The word “svengali” has come to refer to a person who, sometimes with evil intent, controls another person by persuasion or deceit. The Svengali may feign kindness and use manipulation to get the other person to yield his or her authority. –Wikipedia, Svengali

The story of Svengali is neatly summarized in Steve Taylor’s classic song, “Svengali”:

Blue shadows
a Venetian parade
eyes on a starlet who was yet to be made
he had the thin blue lips
and a fingerless glove
he was a hunter for a prey
to put his prints on

chorus:
Oh, Svengali
oh, Svengali
wide eyes mesmerize
ain’t he clever
oh, Svengali

He set stages from Vienna to Rome
he promised flowers and footlights
if she’d only leave home
when he secured her passage on an Aegean ship
she didn’t know of the power
in an evil man’s grip

Gone
cried the madman
as he slapped her to life
and then a cold wind slowly sucked him into the night
so come away
to the refuge they can never control
they’ll try to steal your body
but they can’t touch your soul

It was popularly believed that George du Maurier later used the hypnotic control Nicolas-Charles Bochsa is said to have had over Anna Bishop as the basis for the characters Svengali and Trilby in his 1894 novel Trilby. —Anna Bishop, Wikipedia

Anna Bishop was a famous opera singer and Bochsa her manager and accompanist (he played the harp).  While investigating the sources cited by Wikipedia, I found this quote (posted online by the National Library of New Zealand) in the Poverty Bay Herald, 28 October 1896, from Frederick Lyster,

a well-known manager, who was business head of Mme. Bishop’s company in an Australian tour.

Mr. Lyster says: –“The book of ‘Trilby,’ and the play as produced by Manager A.M. Palmer, seem to be founded on the career of Anna Bishop, for Svengali is simply an exaggerated presentation of Bochsa, her musical director, while the Madame of the story is a replica of Lizzie Phelan, dame de champagnie, the very shadow of the great artist for nearly 40 years.

“The relations between the singer and the harpist were purely professional yet his will dominated her every action.  He rehearsed her songs in the strictest privacy, and when illness prevented Bochsa’s presence at general rehearsals Mme. Bishop would also remain away, leaving me to rehearse the band without her.  On these occasions some of the clever instrumentalists would remark, ‘Bishop’s brains are sickabed.’

“Although Bochsa’s influence over the prima donna was evidently paramount, I never saw him descend to the slightest familiarities.  He was her maestro, her friend, her guide, and nothing more, while she was almost childlike in her meek submission and dependence upon him.

“Personally she was a sweet, amiable woman, apparently without individual will power, and without even the faintest sense of ambition.  She sang and acted because she was told to do so, seemingly as if in a prolonged dream.  Even when pitted by Bochsa against Jenny Lind she appeared to take no interest in the rivalry, but obeyed and trusted to Bochsa and the management for the rest.”

I haven’t read the book Trilby or seen the other movie versions, but sandra-168 writes in an IMDB review,

Both the Svengali films (1931, 1954) differ from the Trilby novel, especially in the endings. In the book, after Svengali died Trilby was left in a weak psychological state that led to physical illness from which she never recovered.

A mysterious painting of Svengali in a military uniform arrived by courier to symbolize his return to take her. She uttered his name three times and died shortly after. Billy also died not too long after that.

Mrs. Bagot forgave Trilby and actually admired her for her humility and good nature. Taffy eventually married Billy’s sister and they lived a happy life.

The films dwelt heavily on the hypnotic trance that Svengali used to control Trilby. In the earlier film, Trilby never awoke as she immediately followed Svengali to her own death.

In the later film, it was implied that she awoke from the trance to start a new life with Billy after Svengali died. Both of the accounts are creative departures from the novel, and the later film is even misleading.

You can watch the 1931 version here.

The first few minutes of the movie, especially, remind me of Richard’s power over me.  The ill-fated singing student was so under Svengali’s spell that she would die for him.  When he cut her loose, she committed suicide.  And he wasn’t even at all handsome, and with his poor hygiene, must have smelled awful.

I, too, was devoted to Richard, and I noted–from a combination of his stories and what I observed in his other friends, such as Todd, and Chris, who even fought tooth and nail with his own wife to be with Richard–that he had a powerful effect on people.

He didn’t shower often enough, but after a short time in his presence, it no longer mattered.  When he devalued and discarded me, I, too, began to wish for death to end the pain.

I also noted that when Todd felt devalued and discarded by Richard, he was sucked into the whole drama, showing signs of dismay which came out in the things he wrote online.

And that when Todd found out that Richard choked one of his children, he felt sick over letting himself be friends with–and influenced by–Richard.  Demonstrating that he, also, felt influenced and persuaded by Richard.

He, too, has moved away from Richard’s political influence in the years since Todd was devalued and discarded, now becoming more of a Democrat like me.

And there were various other influences as well, at least on my end: His religious influence is subtle but strong.

Real-life Svengalis don’t use the magical hypnotism of the movies, but there are real-life versions of hypnotism.  I was hypnotized once by my child psychologist, a trained professional, not a stage hypnotist.  I was aware the whole time, and didn’t think it was working, but when taken out of it, realized that I had indeed been put under a spell.  I was relaxed, felt very odd, and noted the change in my perceptions when I came out.

Svengali taking away the girl’s headache through hypnotism, brought back to mind my ninja ex-boyfriend Peter’s claim to do the same.  He would put two fingers together, press them to his temple, then take the pain from my head into his own, where he would then use his ninja training to eradicate the pain.  Peter also hypnotized me a few times–though it was done with my knowledge and at my request.  Story here.

Sonny’s powers of persuasion in The Apostle seem hypnotic; note that it is real-life, high-pressure salesman style, not magic.

Also, if you’ve ever been to a contemporary-style worship service, note how the music leader does a few rock/pop songs, then slows it way down with repetitive choruses which are meant to get you swaying, throwing up your hands and “feeling the Spirit.”

Altar calls can be similar, with slow, inviting, repetitive music (such as “Just As I Am”) playing with or without the congregation singing, and the preacher repeating in a low-toned voice, “Come to the altar….Say yes to Jesus….”

Doesn’t that sound like hypnotism and mind control?  It’s done without the congregation realizing they’re being controlled, and though they did come to the service, they did not outright say, “Yes, please hypnotize us into thinking we’re feeling the Spirit rather than an emotional high from the music; please hypnotize us into becoming Christians.”

I began checking out of Evangelicalism and looking elsewhere, in my late 20s and early 30s, as I began to realize how I was being controlled.

Richard probably had experience with this as well, having grown up in and once been a preacher in Pentecostal churches–where he faked speaking in tongues, and the congregation bought it.  He also had just the kind of voice–deep and sonorous–that could hypnotize easily.

There is also (allegedly) conversational hypnosis, along with various other forms of mind control.  See here, in which Anna Valerious writes,

At the end of my commentary I’ll be providing a link to an interesting article on what is going on in your brain during hypnosis. Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….

Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.

I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power. But I am convinced that it is imperative to understand how hypnosis works because we’ve all been affected by it at some time or other.

The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions.

For the easiest and best handbook on how to recognize when hypnosis is coming at you I will again highly recommend the book, “Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry” by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D. He takes all the mystery out of hypnosis and gives practical advice on how to evade it.

Joyful Alive Woman writes,

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

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

That isn’t to say those relationships weren’t challenging, but there was a ‘hypnotic and obsessive quality’ to the relationship with H (strong characteristics of a codependent, dysfunctional relationship). —Joyful Alive Woman, from her blog

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

Richard actually came out and told me one day that he had learned a form of hypnotism from a professional hypnotist, a combination of eye tricks and words.  He said this guy taught him how to hypnotize girls to dance with him and go out with him–and it worked.  He used it often.  He said he used it on me.

It was during the time he lived with my husband and me, during our many conversations.  He said I would resist telling him something, put up a “block,” but he would use the hypnotism to get me to open up and tell it to him.

He didn’t tell me what I said, how often this happened, or when he used it.  I certainly had no idea he ever did this to me.  But he said he was so used to doing this to people that he would do it without even realizing it.  But another time after this, he told me he had stopped doing it.  So–could he or could he not control it?

I know I did not imagine this conversation, because much of it was on IRC, so I printed it up and saved it.  I’ve re-read it; my husband has read it.  At the time, I thought it was really cool.

Now, I see it as highly manipulative.  After all, he had gotten me to open up so much with him–so much more than I usually do with people–that for me to resist telling him something, it must have been very personal, very private.

Conversational techniques help even a stranger open up to you. With this powerful hypnosis you can quickly build up a rapport with a stranger who can reveal many inner things and you can easily instruct her to do things your way.

It is important to constantly smile while performing this way of hypnosis. Look straight into her eyes and maintain the contact for two seconds while you remain confident. You may now shift your eyes but keep the smile.  This will put the girl at ease and while you perform hypnosis successfully.

Start with some smart talk and keep appreciating and showering her with sweet words. Once you build a sexual rapport, the girl is yours and you know what to do. —Conversational Hypnosis

Richard did have this magnetism about him that I couldn’t explain, what with his hygiene issues and losing his looks.  It seemed to constantly be catching women in its tractor beam, and even men, heterosexual men!

The websites and videos I’ve been finding about hypnotism and influencing people, talk about how to make people love being around you by reflecting to them what they’re like, what they want to find in a friend, and doing various other things that pull them to you.

So–what exactly did he get me to say?  But when he told me about this, it was more than a year later, and it just sounded cool.  I trusted him too much to suspect he was not telling me everything.  But now, I do suspect.

Even now I have trouble breaking free from the spell he wove.  I keep thinking of the good things, and have to remind myself of the bad things, why Jeff and I broke off the friendship.  I see him reading something on my blog that makes it look like he still cares, and have to catch myself, fight off getting back into his control.

More pages about this kind of hypnosis, showing why I find it appalling that he used this on me.  They talk about such things as making a person “addicted” to you through hypnosis.

I was addicted to Richard, which is common among those who are caught in the web of a narcissist, not just those who are romantically involved but friends, even same-sex heterosexual friends.  Todd, Chris and other friends also seemed addicted to him.

And these pages show how such a web could easily have been woven through these techniques, such things as using a deep, slow tone, pointing to yourself at certain times, using certain wording, or arousing pity, things which don’t require “magic” or even a crystal, things which you can find every day in advertisements, and even in many church worship services:

Conversational hypnosis: how to hypnotize women
Conversational Hypnosis.net
Using NLP Hypnotic Language Patterns
Put Girls Under Hypnosis In Three Easy Steps
Conversational Hypnosis Tricks

The science of hypnotizing others without someone being aware of it is all about the art of subconscious communication. Whatever may be your motive behind it, you can use the phenomenon of subconscious mind control to effect a marked change in the way others view you and respond to you, leading to their acting in the manner you want them to do….

Arouse pity in others: It has been observed that when feelings of pity, mercy and sympathy are stirred in people’s hearts their crystallized egos melt away, leaving them vulnerable to your influences.

One of the ways to bring it about is to use your power of imagination to invent a pitiable and pathetic condition for yourself and confide it in them. An instant rapport will be established between both of you enabling you to implant your suggestions. —How to Secretly Hypnotize Someone in 3 Minutes Or Less

“Yes, Thomas! I Want To Learn The Secrets Of Controlling Others And Make Them Do What I Want With Conversational Hypnosis!”–Conversational Hypnosis.net

I Also Reveal How To:…’hypnotize’ seemingly ordinary people to follow you simply because you have an attractable presence they’re almost addicted to. —The art of covert hypnosis.com

I have developed a way to get women to imagine “doing sexual things you with you” and doing it by directly saying it to her (but smoothly removing yourself from the picture where you’re there–meaning she’ll unconsciously associate those things with you, but to her conscious mind, you aren’t there.

This technique is astounding and even funny. Hardly anybody ever notices that you’re doing it. –Nathan Blaszak, Secret Seduction Techniques

If you are the hypnotist you should maintain eye contact with the subject for just a couple of seconds longer than normal and then shift your eyes away.  This should be frequently repeated during the conversation and will lead to arousing primal thoughts in her mind making her open to being seduced….

Mirror and match her gestures during the conversation….She will experience a strong feeling of familiarity and will want to be close to you….You can also try matching speech patterns and posture. —How to Hypnotize Women

Weasel Phrases come in two forms both useful in covert hypnosis: 1 – A combination of words that when put together form another word in the middle that is not perceived by the conscious mind, but is heard by the subconscious mind. …

2 – A “set up” phrase which is used to set up the following command as a powerful suggestion. –Learn to Use Covert Hypnosis; page has disappeared from Web, but a snippet can still be found here

 

One site–which unfortunately I didn’t copy down and am having trouble finding again–talked about telling stories and making suggestions about things that get her subconsciously imagining doing these things with you.  And Richard did occasionally make remarks that were “TMI” or brags about his sexual prowess that sound very much like this.

I wondered at the time if he told me these things to get me curious.  I still wonder.  And with his past as a self-professed dog with women, it was possible–even with his now-religious persona.

Of course, I can’t be certain this was on his agenda.  He could have just been using hypnosis to get me to open up about things I didn’t want to talk about.  But it’s still manipulative, either way.  And I know that the “other” agenda was on his mind when he used this technique to get girls to dance with him.

Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.

The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect

Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.

Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.

When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.

You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized

 

There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes.  But he kept staring.  (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)

He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life.  I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.

Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.

When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here.  When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:

The Narcissistic Stare

The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.

The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.

A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.

Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.

Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2

1. Narcissistic Stare

Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissist’s Stare

It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”

They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…

Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….

The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.

However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….

Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”

I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…

Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.

Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others. –PND, The Stare of the Psychopath: What Lies Behind Those Eyes?

The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages.  Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …

Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”

It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look.  Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.

Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.”  Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …

Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths

So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.”  Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is!  You kiss pieces of wood!”

You see, even Jeff had noted how strongly Richard influenced me and others into converting to Orthodoxy, where you kiss icons.

Richard was very persuasive with his words; even his wife noted it, when explaining why he was not to assault the apartment manager.

Love bombing is also a common tactic used by abusers and narcissists.  Not only does it happen in spiritually abusive cults and churches, but it also happens in other cases.  It’s used by narcissists/abusers to suck in their narcissistic supply.  Then when they hook you, they devalue and discard you, leaving you wondering what just happened.

This happened with Richard, who initially would tell me things like, “You’re the most awesome person I know,” and make me feel like his most special platonic friend, then began to subtly devalue and discard me, making me wonder why–and leaving me constantly feeling paranoid.  I don’t feel that way with other friends.

“Love Bombing” refers to the show of (genuine or feigned) love and affection that a motivated individual or group bestows upon their “mark” in order to endear themselves.

The “mark,” (the person that a manipulator “marks” or targets as an object to be exploited) in a very subjective response to the overwhelming, pleasant experience of the great show of affection, becomes highly unlikely to recognize or even consider any negative information about the manipulator.

The “mark” does not realize the subtle and very powerful influence that the manipulator has initiated because their experience has been so pleasant.

The “mark” does not realize that their reasoning shifts from an objective perspective into a very subjective, emotional and experiential one.

The situation exploits deeply personal, very human needs, wants and desires so that the “mark” will likely not notice any hint of manipulation until they are deeply invested, entrenched or dependent upon the manipulator in some way so as to make leaving the relationship very difficult. –Cindy, Beware the Love Bomb

Many women and men have died hanging onto this fallacy. If you do some studying of how cults gain the trust and loyalty of their members, you will see that the machinations that the psychopath uses to lure you into the relationship are NO DIFFERENT.

What is very frightening about this, is that cult members will hang on so tightly to the pseudo love the psychopath instilled in them at the beginning, they would DIE for the leader.

There are too many examples in history to show us the power of love bombing. David Koresh is one example, as was Jim Jones. While looking at it on the outside, it’s hard to fathom, right?

But why? This is exactly what we were doing in the relationship.  Fortunately, many of us will get out, but there are so many more who will not, as they blindly and dependently hold onto the psychopath’s initial presentation with love bombing and feigned devotion.

There is more to it than all the illusion that comes with this. Many of us are vulnerable when the psychopath happens on the scene. Many of us come from abuse backgrounds and psychopaths know it. Even loneliness can make you a target, but generally speaking there is more going on within us, that makes it open season for the psychopath to infiltrate our lives….

When you are out of the relationship,  the love bombing the psychopath has done will be the greatest force with your cognitive dissonance, your obsessive and intrusive thoughts.

Your thoughts will not go immediately to the bad, it will go to THAT stage in the beginning when he was so NICE and LOVING and GIVING to you…it will not take into account the abuse. It will feel very much like an uncontrollable, addictive pull.

The addictive pull is related to the confusion regarding the love bombing he has done, and the abuse he committed afterward. Which one is the man you got into the relationship with?

People fail to understand that the abuse didn’t begin with the first WTF moment or evil act. It started at the very beginning with manipulative deception. —Why The “Love Bombing” stage Is The Most Dangerous Phase of the Psychopathic Bond

Julie Anne also speaks of being love-bombed at the church which sued her for defamation for her blog, and lost.  She writes,

I know when we arrived at that church, if I would have been told that spanking of adult children was acceptable, I would have said, “I’m outta here – that’s crazy/abusive stuff.”

So . . . . . it led me to question . . . . . when did this subject get brought up during our two years there?  It was definitely in the first year because Hannah left after the first year and she was spanked.

When it was brought up, how did the shift happen in my mind – where initially I would have rejected it and labeled it as abuse, but later spanking teens/adult children was somehow considered acceptable, permissible, even more appropriate than not spanking adult children? …

Thinking back, in my mind, I always hated it.  But I think I justified the hate because I was physically abused my entire childhood. I squelched my normal emotional response because I didn’t trust it to be valid based on my frame of reference with my childhood abuse.

Also, this seemed different.  This spanking was not done in a rage or in anger.  It was done with a purpose.  When I was abused, it was about rage and anger, it was unpredictable, for no apparent reason.

So, I justified this “discipline” in my mind as “good” – after all, a pastor has our best interest in mind, right?  He wouldn’t lead us astray.  I needed someone to trust.  So many of my father figures had abandoned or abused me, but this man was caring for our souls – he was caring for us as parents and for our children, right???

We were told it was love to discipline our children.  That it was unloving or even hatred against God to NOT discipline them – essentially, we would be enemies of God for not doing the right thing by disciplining (abusing) them in love.  And besides, everyone else was doing it.

Most of the people there I’m sure did not have the abusive background that I had, they were more emotionally stable and rational, and if they believed our pastor to be trustworthy and to show us the biblical way of parenting, and they followed through with his ways of doing things, then my negative emotions were really not valid and I shouldn’t trust them.

I loved the people at church.  They were good parents who loved their children.  That was plain to see.  They were kind and loving and I know they wouldn’t do anything to hurt their children.

They became my barometer for me.  If they were doing it and had no problems with it, then it must be the right way of doing things.   Of course our church would have the best ways of parenting – we did everything better than other churches.  That is how my mind worked.  That is how I came to condone the ABUSE of my daughter.

So you see that love-bombing is all part of keeping you under control.  In the same way, after he’d been love-bombing me, Richard found me susceptible to believing him about all sorts of things: politics, spanking of children, his unbelievably eventful and wild and name-dropping life story, and of course, the perfect innocence and appropriateness of the things he did here.

If I was upset with him, all he had to do was talk to me about it (over the phone) or look at me a certain way and my anger would evaporate.  I noticed even then how quickly and easily he made it go away, and mentioned it to my husband once, wondering how he did it.

So while magical hypnosis of the kind used by Svengali may be Hollywood fiction, and the kind used on the college circuit may be parlor tricks–hypnotism, love-bombing, and other mind control tactics used by narcissists, cults and high-pressure salesmen, are very real. 

Svengali could be your pastor, your lover, your best friend, your employer, your senator.  Keep an eye out.

 

Peter, My Ninja Boyfriend, Hypnotizes Me and Starts a Mental Link–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–October 1991, part 1

According to MTV, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” debuted on 120 Minutes and on the airwaves in early October.  It debuted at number 144 on the charts, and went gold only 17 days later.

This song introduced grunge alternative rock to mainstream music.  It was unique, it was new, and it was so not what was popular at the time.  Bandmembers wore T-shirts and jeans instead of classy clothes or costumes for concerts or videos; their hair was long and stringy instead of long and permed and/or perfectly coiffed.

It blew people away, me included.  I thought it rocked in a way I had never heard anywhere before.  This unknown band named Nirvana eventually became one of my favorite bands in college.

Not everybody liked it, though: One of Candice’s friends sat ripping on it one day in February or March when it came on MTV.  She soon discovered that I liked it, and said, “When they get to the chorus here, let’s both headbang to it.”  When they got to the chorus, she headbanged.

With her head down like that, she couldn’t see me.  I didn’t join in because I didn’t want to look silly.  I may have suspected that she was making fun of me and/or the song.  Besides, headbanging gives you a headache.  Unless Candice told her, I don’t think she ever knew I didn’t join along.

Songs from this time which stand out for me: “Real Real Real” by Jesus Jones, “Kiss Them for Me” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, the entire Powerhouse CD by Whiteheart (which I had only just acquired).

On October 1, Peter and I decided that the summer hit “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams would be “our” song.  That evening, Peter finally kissed me in a secluded spot in the woods after dark.  But, while my journal goes into detail, I won’t describe the scene, because it’s one of my private memories.  Yes, it was just kissing, no farther.  I will tell you that we saw foxfire.

Peter would put two fingers together and press them to his temple, telling me he was using his ninja ESP to see someone who’s far away.

Once, after some guy teased him while driving past, he put his fingers to his temple, closed his eyes, and said in distaste that the guy was, of course, drinking.  He said if anybody ever tried to rape me, he’d know, and be there immediately (he was also interested in learning telekinesis).

How much of this he really believed and how much was just playing on my gullibility, I couldn’t tell you–I do know that he told others about traveling through time in his dreams:

This started in probably December or January.  He videotaped himself while sleeping, and saw that his body went rigid whenever these dreams started.  The way he looked was far different than for other dreams or other times of the night.

He met a ninja master in ancient or medieval Japan, he understood the language even though it was old Japanese, and the master taught him things.

You could say he was just trying to pull my leg, trying to make his girlfriend think she was dating an amazing person whom she would never want to break up with, except for one thing: He told another person about this, too, and she wrote about it in Fiction class the following year.  She never dated him.

Peter said his relatives were a bit strange, having a Halloween party every year as a family reunion instead of the typical cookout-type-thing.  This year, it was on Saturday, October 5 at about 5:30 or 6:00.  I was a bit of a celebrity at it, being Peter’s first girlfriend.  This was his dad’s side of the family.

His mom lent me a gorgeous, green, princess dress from her wardrobe.  To our surprise, it fit me perfectly.  I used two white hair-fabrics, which were a style of puckered fabric-wrapped ponytail holder popular in those days; I put my hair in two pigtails and then wrapped the hair-fabrics around them, to imitate as close as possible Helena Bonham Carter’s version of Ophelia.

I discovered that the dress fit me perfectly because I forgot to zip it when I tried it on.  Fortunately, the train of the dress hid the zipper.  I borrowed a crown from Peter’s mother.  Because my ancestors included Scottish kings and queens, I said that I was the princess and Peter (the ninja) was my knight.

When Heidi opened the suite door to Peter in his ninja garb, she stopped, got a strange expression on her face, and looked him over from head to toe.  And what toes: ninja boots have separated toes.

We had a fun time there, though I didn’t know anybody and his family did seem to be a peculiar bunch.  I don’t remember why now, though, or I’d give you some stories.

***

Sometime in October, I first heard the music of the Bradley Clock.  It played at certain times of the day–maybe it was every hour–when the clock struck.  The music was whatever it had been programmed to play, such as hymns, the school song or, come Christmastime and until January, February, or perhaps even March, Christmas songs.

There was one hymn I was always trying to identify, but I couldn’t quite.  In fact, I believe it was after Christmas Break when I brought an old hymnbook to school with me so I could look up that hymn and remember its lyrics.

The striking of the clock mimicked London’s Big Ben.  That clock would seem like a constant friend for the rest of my college years.

My first brat fry was right outside the Campus Center on October 6, a Homecoming event hosted by the Sigmas.  I cared little for brats, though.  Even in 2006, after living in Wisconsin for 15 years, I’ve had only two brats my entire life.  The second one, I had because nothing else was available.

That evening there was a Swiss dinner in the little basement of Ley Chapel.  This basement had long tables, chairs, a little kitchen, and small bathrooms, and was a popular meeting place.  Heidi and Ruth were probably the ones who made the food, since it was a Swiss dinner.  Heidi was very proud of it.

I said a word or two in a S– accent, without thinking about it.  Peter grinned and teased me, saying about my accent, “It’s changing!”

One of the dishes had been cooked with alcohol, and I ate it, so Peter teased that I had to change my claim that I had never had one drop of alcohol before.  But I told him that alcohol was cooked out, leaving flavors but no alcohol.  He didn’t believe me, but it was true.

We had something with rhubarb, probably rhubarb pie with a cream topping.  Heidi told the few of us who were there (probably people from the language suites) that you weren’t supposed to drink pop after eating it.  Acids from the vegetable and from the pop would interact to destroy your tooth enamel.

Peter worked as Photo Editor for the school newspaper, The Mirror.  I became his assistant in the darkroom.  No, nothing indecent went on.  It wasn’t like that joke about going into the darkroom to see what develops.

I took Photography class in high school, and knew something about developing pictures.  I even got a credit in the paper for being Darkroom Assistant, and got mailings about Mirror meetings even though I wasn’t signed up to get class credits for working there.  The staff met in a suite a few doors down from my suite.

One of his first assignments was to take pictures of the Mr. Muskie Football Fashion Show on October 9.  The comedian, Marvin Bell, may have been the guy who said that in your first few months you open doors for your girlfriend, and then after that you’re like, “Open it yourself.”  We laughed, but Peter and I insisted to each other that it would never get that way for us.

For the fashion show, which was run by the cheerleading squad, the football players dressed in drag–formal dresses, bathing suits–and paraded around the stage.  Some looked disturbingly good.  From the article in the paper (which spoke flirtingly of sexy dresses, fine figures, muscular bodies and little smiles), one of the “contestants” must have been losing his bosoms.

At the end, all the contestants came out in cheerleader costumes and began doing Muskie cheers as the audience joined in.  Then they formed a pyramid.  The article read (keeping all the spelling errors in place), “The pyrmid was strong and sturdy which help prove that they were some real men.”

Peter laughed as he took pictures.  Awards were given for Best Leg(s) (awarded to a contestant with a cast), Best Formalwear, Best Swimsuit, and the biggest honor, Mr. Muskie.  Mr. Muskie also won Best Smile.

As Mr. Muskie left the stage after the “pyrmid,” “we saw that [he] just couldn’t keep that dress down because it was covering his back and not his rear end.  What a sight!”  Bell remarked as the contestants left the stage, “I hope I never have to walk in a room when you girls are present.”

****

Yes, we did go to the Semi-Formal Homecoming Dance on the 12th.  At long last, I had a date for dances, and my church would not disapprove.

I don’t remember when this happened; it could have been early on, such as in September or October, or it may have been in January.  And I think it happened every once in a while.

But I pondered asking Peter to make our relationship more open, so we could also see other people.  I was still attracted to Shawn, which made me chafe a little at the bit of being in an “exclusive relationship,” and may have had a little crush on Darryl.

I had always been boy crazy, often had huge crushes on more than one guy at a time, and have never stopped being boy crazy no matter how much I liked/loved the guy I was with.

I probably never will stop, even when I’m old and gray, judging by how the Greeks at my church still flirt shamelessly well into their 80s.

I thought Shawn was attracted to me as well.  But since I believe in loyalty and faithfulness, I wouldn’t date Shawn without Peter’s permission.

Maybe I should have said something, but was afraid of how Peter would take it.  I wrote this in a letter in 1997:

“I’d liked [Shawn] from the time I met him, and while I was with Peter, there were times I considered asking Peter if we were allowed to date other people.  I thought if we were, I’d ask out Shawn and be dating two guys and then be able to decide which one I liked better.”

***

For years, I would see one of my pets twitching in her sleep, and try to influence her dream by petting, meowing, barking, or whatever.  She would react by barking, twitching, or whatever.  So Peter started putting himself into REM sleep to see what dreams I could give him.

He would talk or move in his sleep.  At least one of those dreams I gave him ended up being elaborate and hilarious.  I kept scratching something, maybe a plastic notebook, and he kicked and made karate chops in his sleep.

After he woke up, I made that sound again to find out what it was in his dream.  He cringed and said that sound belonged to a strange person or being which was attacking me.  He kept ninja-fighting to protect me from it.

On a Thursday night around October 10, at 11:10pm, I wrote in my Freshman Honors notes, “Interesting what you can do to influence a person’s dream!”

On October 10, Peter hypnotized me.  According to him, his ninja training included this ability.  I told him I’d been hypnotized once before, by my psychologist, as a pre-teen.

(I wanted to remember every single moment in my life so I could write it down and be a modern Laura Ingalls Wilder.  To my disappointment, hypnotism doesn’t work like that.  Though it might have helped me remember better.)

After Peter hypnotized me the first time, I knew I was truly hypnotized because I had a point of reference.  I knew that I couldn’t expect to be unconscious while hypnotized.  I knew that it would seem, the whole time, like I wasn’t really hypnotized at all.  But I also knew that when the hypnotist took me out of the trance, I felt suddenly more alert and awake, and also refreshed.  I have been told that hypnotism makes you feel like you got a full night’s sleep.

So yes, kiddies, Peter truly did know how to hypnotize.  This was my own brain this happened in, so I can tell you for a fact that it was true and not just a trick.  Peter also noted that I was probably more easily hypnotized because it had been done to me before.

Since he had no crystal or anything else to hypnotize me with, he used a peculiar “Ninja look.”  Before I closed my eyes, I stared at him and couldn’t look away, even when I tried.  I didn’t know that he couldn’t look away either, an unplanned occurrence and very odd.  If I hadn’t closed my eyes, we thought, we might’ve stared at each other forever!

Then he felt this pressure, maybe a headache, in his head, and took a moment to recover from it.  He had me sit on the bed, and gave me a long kiss.  I thought, Oh, don’t be silly.  This is great, but I want to do some more, really cool things while I’m under.

He told me to forget that kiss until he reminded me of it, thinking if he could make me forget a kiss like that, he must be really good at hypnotizing.  After a few other things, which I now forget (though I have irrefutable evidence that he did not “take advantage” of me sexually), he woke me up and asked if I remembered the kiss.

What kiss?  Later on, the memory began to come back to me, but at the time I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.

I will copy here some notes I jotted in my day planner.  You will see that many of the things can be easily explained by an older, wiser mind: body language, similar slang terms, deduction, coincidence, etc.

But to our young, impressionable minds, shaped by science fiction, fantasy, the mystical TV show Beauty and the Beast and Peter’s belief in his own ESP, they seemed mysterious and paranormal.

It’s also possible that Peter was deliberately trying to manipulate my impressionable mind, not yet turned cynical, though I can’t possibly prove it one way or the other:

Sat., Oct. 12–Strange things have been happening.  On the way back from the dance, [Peter] wrote in the frost on a car window, “Cool Mustang Dude.”  I knew he’d write “Dude” before he even started to!

Later on, while watching American Ninja 3, I blinked with sudden and temporary sleepiness, and, for some reason, I looked over at P. and he was asleep!  At 2:14, I think it was (yes, AM–the movie was from 1 to 3AM), he either looked at his watch or the clock.

I looked at mine, said nothing, but, even though he didn’t see my expression, he said, “That’s what I thought” or “That’s how I felt.”

Then he said, “How did I know what you were thinking?”

Earlier, the second time we went on the [dance] floor but I stopped because the lyrics were bad [full of sex], he had a feeling I’d stop, and I did immediately after.

I’m not sure if I had stopped before during a sexy dance song or if this was my first time, so it’s hard to say if he could have figured that out logically without a Link.

Also, on Sat. or Sun., whichever it was, how’d he know to describe Mom’s wordless reaction by saying, “Our little Nyssa, watching a movie like that [American Ninja 3]?”?!

Mon., Oct. 14–Odd: This morning we both dreamed about the very desserts [we were to have] for lunch–me about eating a cream puff, P. about strawberry shortcake!

These were our favorites, and both were served for lunch that day.

Tues., Oct. 15–Found P.’s “preoccupied” feeling, which a co-worker also had, broke at 10:55PM when one of the men in the nursing home [where he worked] died!

Wed., Oct. 16–Curiouser and curiouser.  Remember Tuesday night close to 1 when I’d just gone to bed [in my suite room], and, tired, had already begun to go into a dream?

A few seconds later, just as Peter [who was at home] banged his heel on a desk or something, in my dream a shadowy female suddenly hit my right heel, and I woke up jerking my foot away from her fist!

Also, as he lay on my bed doing his Spanish homework in his workbook, I saw a list of words similar to English and probably French.  I went down the list, translating them.

Peter said (so I thought), “Naturally I did know that.”

“Did or didn’t?” I said.

After a confused exchange, he said, “What did you think I said?”

I told him, and he said, he was muttering in Spanish and thinking what it meant in English!  He said sometimes he’s talking with his mom, he thinks something and she hears him and [answers him].

His mother got upset once when, as she substitute-taught at a middle school, a guy tried to prove to everyone that ESP does not exist.

Thurs., Oct. 17–P. didn’t know if he’d be able to come over this evening.  Somehow, I knew he’d either call or, most probably, come [around] or at 7:00.

I kept watching the clock, and figuring what I should do until 7:00.  No, he hadn’t given me a time when he might arrive.

And he came at a few minutes till [7:00]!  ([He was] only allowed to because he chauffered his mom for the 7:30 Japanese film [shown in the Muskie]).

I greeted him at my door with, “I knew you’d come at 7!”

Peter tried to figure out what was going on.  He eventually remembered reading in a book that you could set up a mental link by hypnotizing someone you really care about.

This Link amazed us.  As Peter told me on the way to the Campus Center one day, his mom said that if you know each others’ thoughts, it means you’re meant for each other.

I think a bit of the mental link already existed, but got much stronger after the first time he hypnotized me.

I wrote in my day planner on October 19 that I had Peter “hypnotize me again, but he was tired, so he had to use my watch.”  

First, he put himself into a trance and secretly programmed himself to say certain things to me.

Then, while still in the trance, he hypnotized me, had me stare into his eyes, and said to “imagine a telephone wire…that went between our foreheads.  

When he reached zero after counting backwards from 5, I was to close my eyes again.  We both felt pressure on our foreheads at about the time he was counting.  It worked.  Our minds have a much stronger link now.”

I think he only hypnotized me one more time after that, because it gave him an awful headache.  That time, he used a crystal decoration from his window shade string.

We often spoke of the Link not as possibility but as fact, a new thing which cemented us together even more.  We both loved to use and speak of it.

We amused ourselves by using this Link to get each other to do things: I would think to him to put his arm around me and he would do it, he would think to me to kiss him and I would do it.

We didn’t hear the thoughts, or at least I didn’t hear his, but they gave us the sudden desire to do whatever thing it was.  Then I would tell him or he would tell me, “You did just what I used the Link to tell you to do.”

I felt like we were living the 80s show Beauty and the Beast, in which Catherine and Vincent shared a link (though theirs was stronger), transmitting words and feelings to each other even over great distances.

Though I sometimes feared it, wondering if it was demonic, I also thought it was probably all right.

Because of my fear, I didn’t always want to use it.  A couple of months later, it began to fade, and neither of us knew what was wrong with it.

I later learned from a visiting hypnotist that if someone is afraid of a link, it can fade.  No, the idea of a mental link was not Peter’s invention.

One night as we walked from the suite parking lot around the building to my door, I told Peter it was so wonderful and that “I always wanted a relationship like in Beauty and the Beast.  Now I’ve got one!”  Few people could ever have that, and I had always thought it was just fiction.

He hugged me for that, and said how glad he was to have brought such a wonderful thing into my life.  He also loved it, himself.  He said with an impish grin, “Though if anyone calls you a beast….”

Once, in the car, he said, after I told him my future plans and asked his opinion, he said, “Depends on what part I have in them.”  When I asked what part he wanted, he patted my leg and said, “If things go as I hope, a very big part.”

***

I had examined a list of S– churches and told Mom that there were no Nazarene churches around there.  She and Dad came up to Roanoke to visit me on October 12. Their S– hotel room had Marcus Cable, not Warner Cable like Roanoke had.

Marcus Cable had a S– public access station which showed ads.  My parents turned it on and found an advertisement for a Nazarene church in S–!  They wrote down the information and brought it to me.

We were to find out later that the people who ran that church had been getting so few results that they were going to pull the ad the next day!  Since my parents only happened to find the ad, and they only happened to find it just before it was pulled, we believed these weren’t coincidences, but God directing me to this church.

Finally, on October 20, Peter and I went to church together.  The first surprise was that there was only an evening service.  I don’t remember if we dressed up; I may have told Peter that Nazarene evening services were often more casual, with men wearing jeans and women wearing pants.

We had some trouble figuring out where it was, because when we got to the right address, all we could see were houses, no churches.  Peter was the first to figure out that the church was actually in one of the houses (a modest Victorian).  I’d thought such churches hadn’t existed in years!  (The last one I knew about was back in the 50s, when my own church got started.)

The pastor wasn’t a real pastor, just the person sent to plant a church.  He and his wife had other jobs besides this church.

Jim and Sharon were an easygoing, fun couple in their forties, and with three kids: eight-year-old Tiffy, or Tiffany, almost nine, a dark-haired, sweet girl; Jonathan, almost twelve, a light-haired scamp and Casanova who didn’t believe his dad when he told him he’d been the same way; and Angela, a fourteen-year-old, dark-haired girl who loved Troll dolls.

Sharon told her once that maybe I had been put into her life as a mentor.  Of course, even if I was, I didn’t have a car, so I only saw her when there was a service.

They had a little peek-a-poo dog named Duchess.

They were from Ohio, and had reluctantly moved to S–, pausing to ask God, “Do you really want us to go there?”  It was colder than Ohio, and no one had come around to welcome them into the community, so it seemed cold in more ways than one.  But they were adapting, and by then may have finally gotten to know some people in the neighborhood.

The house was small to medium-sized, with two stories.  In the living room, where the little group met, was a piano and plenty of comfortable places to sit.  Peter and I liked to sit with his arm around me on the couch.

The bathroom was at the head of the stairs, and I found out too late that the drain didn’t work properly and that was why the stopper was in the sink.  But they laughed, and understood that they hadn’t warned me in time.  I’d wondered why the sink draining made such a funny noise, like it was pouring into something other than pipes.

There were maybe two or three other people there, one a married and thirtyish mother, who was so happy to come here to this new community and find a Nazarene church, that she cried as she told her story.

Sharon played the piano as we sang songs from Nazarene hymnbooks.  Peter loved the songs, and I loved singing familiar songs again rather than the ones sung in the campus chapel’s Wednesday services.

The hymnals were the same brown “Worship in Song” ones we used in my church back home, with three gold-leaf crosses on the front cover.  Of course, while Peter had expected me to sing like an angel, in reality I am a very timid singer who whispers more than sings.

It was very comforting to let the piano drown me out.  I never have liked singing a cappella in church, because it makes me more self-conscious about my voice, which gets even tinier.

It felt so good to be back in church.  One and a half months without a church had been far too long.  And this little, friendly group was a lot of fun to worship, learn and chat with.  The services were very informal; we had discussion, not just a sermon.

Peter loved the services so much that he told his parents how great they were, and they wanted to join.  (He and his parents had had trouble finding a church, since they didn’t like the Catholic or Lutheran Church, and had trouble with the Episcopalian Church as well.)

We didn’t have a morning service because Jim and Sharon took the family to a Nazarene church in Milwaukee.  The following year, however, they would switch to the morning, and try to start a little Sunday School with the few children there.

It also felt wonderful to be in a house in a city neighborhood again, to see neighborhood blocks and walk on the sidewalks.  Once, we all went outside, maybe for a cookout one evening or afternoon, and I loved to look up from the backyard at the surrounding houses.  I hadn’t even had a backyard view in so long, it seemed.  Yes, I was homesick for the city, though I loved the country.

***

I wrote in a letter to my Irish pen pal on October 22,

“My parents came up weekend before last [on October 12], met Peter, took a bunch of pictures, and replenished my supplies.

“Just as I predicted, Peter and my dad got along great.  They both like computers, [Radio Shack,] photography and fixing electrical things, so they had a lot to talk about.

“But–poor Peter–Dad tried to talk to him about football, and Peter, who hates football, had to act like he knew something about it.  We’d decided not to tell [Dad] that [he hates football], among other things, so Peter could make the best impression he could on him.

“Now my parents have some pictures of him, and my mom’s been showing them around at home as if Peter were the winning entry in a pie contest.”

That’s probably because I had so much trouble getting dates in high school.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t

This video, “NPD and BPD” by Delusion Dispeller, on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline) makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline.  DD shows that the narcissist will just let you go, while the borderline will try to hold onto you.

She even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar.  She says you never know what will offend them because it will one minute, but not the next.

The danger of researching personality disorders, of course, is not just falsely labeling your friends and enemies (so I only say this after probably dozens of hours of research and reflection), but beginning to think you yourself identify with this or the other one.

But then, if I were these things, I don’t think Jeff would have stuck with me for so long, telling everyone he can what a great wife I am.  Things were rocky for us in the beginning because of the baggage left over from my exes (at least one of which also fits with this), but that has long since passed as Jeff and my desire for me to be a good person, worked together to eradicate the baggage.

I do recall things in my past that are very embarrassing, and cringe that I ever did them; maybe everybody has done such things, and the cringing is a sign that they are NOT actually crazy.  While if they didn’t cringe at all, maybe they really are crazy.

Perfectly normal people do have various traits that show up in the lists of abusive or personality disordered traits, because we are human, not perfect; what makes a person fit the criteria of an abuser is the number of traits, all working together as a whole.

Also, the things I did, were usually because I didn’t know any better.  I didn’t know intuitively that they were bad ideas, a common problem with NLDers, who often either smother or neglect friendships or relationships because they don’t know intuitively how to proceed, don’t pick up on signs of what their friend or SO wants without being directly told, or if they do pick them up, don’t understand them.

I had no idea that the things I did would receive the reactions and consequences they did.  I never did them again.

While if it were a personality disorder, they would stay with me, and probably be done deliberately in order to gain control and dominance over others.

The people who know me best tend to say glowing things about me, though they do have criticisms from time to time.  But the thoughts still keep creeping in from time to time–maybe Tracy was right.

On the one hand I could be alarmed at this, and see it as evidence that she was crazy-making me, which is indeed something abusers do to take the focus off their own dysfunctions and accuse you.

But on the other hand, I can also embrace it as evidence that I’m not crazy, because if I were BPD or narcissistic or the like, I wouldn’t even consider the possibility that I might have done some things wrong.

Rather, there are things I look back on in this whole experience with Richard and Tracy that sometimes make me go inside myself and shiver inwardly in shame, while those around me probably think I’m just quietly watching a movie with them.

Friends and Jeff have at times scolded me for even considering anything Tracy said, telling me (friends) to consider the source, or (Jeff) that I did nothing wrong.  This is reassuring, but I have trouble releasing the occasional feelings of guilt or shame that let me know I am not a monster myself.

It should also be noted, that a person involved with a Borderline for even a limited time, will be prone to adopting psychotic (BPD) symptomology, due to proximal exposure. That’s why we call their behaviors, “crazy-making.” —The Borderline/Narcissist Couple

This explains some of the things I’ve done in dealing with the BPDs or narcissists or abusers who have come and gone in my own life, including Richard and Tracy.

For example, the narcissist abuser Phil who kept trying to tear me down and telling me it was all my fault, that I always had to get my way–while his way involved painful or disgusting sex positions that I didn’t want to do.

Or Peter, who may very well have been BPD because of his “chameleon-like” way of making a girl think he was her perfect man, before his true colors came out later and he treated her like crap for being upset at getting dumped.

Not only did he do this with me, but a few years later I was told–by a person who had no clue I had once dated Peter–that he was doing this very thing again and again to girls on a local BBS.

As for some of the crazy things I’ve done myself while dealing with these people, they’re things I felt driven to do out of desperation.  Later on, I usually felt ashamed of it and wondered how I could ever have done it, never doing it again.

I know from research that normal, healthy people don’t stay normal and healthy for long in dysfunctional marriages, or family relationships, so if I acted crazy myself a few times during dysfunctional relationships or friendships, it’s understandable even if not excusable–but doesn’t mean I will permanently retain the taint of their dysfunction.

I did a lot of research into abuse to see if I had been abused, validate my experiences, reassure myself that I did not deserve it, and hopefully learn to heal.  When I first came across Sam Vaknin’s site on narcissism, it was through his articles on abuse.

I had already used them when writing about my abusive ex Phil, and when researching abuse between 2008 and 2010.  (I did that because of Tracy’s behavior, and so I could make my own page on abuse.)

On one page was a list of narcissistic traits of abusers which sounded just like Tracy, so the lightbulb went on.  I also came across sites which pointed to borderline personality disorder in many abusive women.

But as I read Sam Vaknin’s articles on narcissism, an uncomfortable little voice kept saying: Oh my gosh, that’s Richard, too!

This cemented the idea that not only did I not deserve what happened, but I was targeted by two narcissists, one with BPD that made her abuse obvious, but one charming narc who makes you believe he cares–more dangerous because it is subtle.

Also, this sounds very much like Richard and Tracy.  Now, when it goes into the childhoods of NPDs (narcissists) and BPDs (borderline personality disordered people), I know Tracy came from a very dysfunctional family, while Richard said glowing things about his parents–even excusing it when he hinted at his dad abusing him in some way.

As for narcissism, the know-it-all traits under the subheading “What’s Love Got to do with It” sound very familiar, coming across as an absolute authority, one-upping, mansplaining, telling you what you’re thinking or feeling, and yes, it is very infuriating.

Then he’d wonder why I was getting upset over something he said.  “Where did that come from?  I was only….[etc. etc.]”

I can imagine the same thing happening with Tracy.  So no, I don’t believe the abuse was all one-sided in this relationship, and as much as I don’t want to see Richard as a narcissist, he fits far too well.

Not only from what I’ve seen, but from what Jeff has observed, from his Forum enemies calling him “arrogant” and him agreeing, and from things he has told me about his past–not just boasts, but also confessions of his own bad behaviors, whether with women or with people in general.

Not only did he overwhelm people with charisma, but he also kept overwhelming me with TMI that made me want to take an ice pick to get it out of my brain.

Then in June 2010, made some strange comment about needing to set some boundaries about his past relationships, even though he’d been the one volunteering all sorts of information to me–even stuff I really didn’t want to know.

But thanks to this, I can identify from the above link that he has a tendency of getting enmeshed with BPDs.

Also note that BPDs who have issues with their mothers (such as Tracy) can hate all other women.  This sounds very familiar, as well.  Also, people would note that Tracy was never satisfied, a trait which comes up again and again in articles on abusers and BPDs.

I believe Richard is a narcissist who used me for narcissistic supply, maybe unintentionally or without realizing it, but still did it.  He had told me enough about his past which seemed so different from the way he was now, that it was amazing he was talking about the same person.

It was an arrogant, abusive person who was a dog to women and violent to men, who would judge people based on their smarts.  I have to wonder now if that old Richard was really gone, or just hidden.

Based on how he would brag about his past and all the women who would chase him then and now, and how his exes would sit and talk to each other about how evil he was, and his outrageous flirting that was carried on with his various female friends (and male), even via text message while he proposed to his wife–I do believe he is a casanova figure.

He wants to be desired, wants to be the ladykiller even though he’s married and not allowed to touch any of them.  He wants to be the casanova even though he’s long since let himself go quite a bit and no longer looks anything like he did back in his youth.

So he toyed with me, played with my head, when he was separated from his wife for so long and they were having problems.  He told me beforehand that modern American society is far too prudish and reserved.  We should be freer!

(Months later, he even told me one day that I was prudish for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him, that they had another friend who just wore her nightclothes freely around both of them, no robe.)

Then one evening he took a few liberties with me, but holding back just enough that he could feign innocence when I called him on it later.  I won’t rehash that story; it’s already here, here and here.  From here on out I will just assume my reader has read those sections, so I don’t have to repeat what happened.

I’m not sure what exactly to make of it–I’ve seen him get flirty with everybody he knows, and ask for “huggles”–but the way he threw me to the wolf (Tracy) over it, suggests to me that his motives were not pure.

I told him not to put his head in my lap anymore, that if Tracy had trouble with just using each other’s shoulders as pillows then she’d really have a problem with that, and it’s a very questionable thing to do anyway.  (He only did it once.)  Though I really felt the “shoulder thing” was much ado about nothing.

Some part of me knew that he was only telling me part of the truth.  It was the best kind of lie: the one that is mostly true.  But I trusted him, became a good little acolyte, taking in my mentor’s instruction and making it my own belief.

It is indeed true that many people are far freer with flirting and nonsexual touch than the average American.  It is indeed true that these things can be completely platonic.  Everything he did could indeed be completely platonic, and some of my other friends do these things.

But there were the little things here and there, things he said or did, that tell me he didn’t mean them completely platonically at the time.  That he was going a little too far.  

He should’ve told me this honestly when I first confronted him with what he was doing, and I would’ve known what we needed to do: pull back, stop doing these things, not spend so much time together.  

But he didn’t, I trusted him to tell me the truth, I set aside the little suspicions, I trusted him that everything he did was platonic and innocent–and he let me take the fall for him.

While re-reading The Italian by Ann Radcliffe, a Gothic novel I first read many years ago while in college, I was also writing this account, and was struck by the similarities in one scene:

The black monk, Schedoni, is about to stab the heroine, Ellena, when he sees a miniature around her neck of himself as a young man.  She wakes up, and he soon tells her he is her father.

He doesn’t tell her why he was there, and after he leaves, she begins to wonder what he was doing in her room (where she was imprisoned) at midnight, anyway?

Then she finds the dagger lying on the floor.  The truth is right there staring her in the face, but she doesn’t want to believe that her own father would kill her, even though he didn’t know who she was at the time and was her captor.

Instead, she decides to believe that it was his henchman who tried to kill her, and that Schedoni rescued her.  She has no reason to believe this, but she wants to, and Schedoni lets her.  The mind can believe what it wants to even with much evidence to the contrary.

From his actions the day of the “incident,” from the things he said to Jeff, from the way he just threw me under the bus instead of explaining to Tracy what the e-mail was really all about, from the way that he justified her actions and words, it was as if he were now saying to me,

“You piece of f**king trash, how dare you remember the things I did to you, how dare you hold the memories close to your heart?  I wish I had never given you these hugs!  How dare you ever speak of these things I did as if I had ever actually done them?  I can do them, but you can’t speak of them!  I am a liar and will treat you like a liar and a manstealing whore for even bringing them up!”

…This despite the fact that we had discussed these hugs via online chat in the past, and back then he acted as if we had done nothing wrong, as if I had done nothing wrong by mentioning them, that he wanted to do the things again, that he was just avoiding them because of the way Tracy had been acting at the time, that in the future it would be okay with her.

And I had no reason to think that these hugs had ever been forbidden, but that he was just holding back for a while.

His actions the day of the “incident” proved him guilty, when if he had explained to Tracy the truth, he would have exonerated both himself and me….Unless, of course, what he told me was not the truth.

I gave him the opportunity to tell me the truth.  Why didn’t he tell me the truth?  Why didn’t he admit he’d gone too far and he shouldn’t have done those things and they needed to stop?

Why did he lead me to believe that they were perfectly normal things for close platonic friends to do, that they were done platonically, and didn’t need to stop?

Probably because he didn’t want to stop.  Probably because it fed his ego when he was at a very low point in his life.

I wish he would have been honest with me; it all would have stopped, I never would’ve brought it up again, and all this never would’ve happened.  My naïvete and gullibility stares me in the face and shames me.

I know enough about his past with women–a self-described “dog”–to think these things I write are probably true.  He says he respects women now, but I have plenty of reason to believe that the dog is still inside him, just taking a nap, waking up every now and then.

I wanted a friend who could be playful but without being dangerous.  He turned dangerous.  He became like Shawn from college, who lured and manipulated me into giving him what he wanted, then treated me like a cheap whore for it.

He became like Phil, my ex-fiance/husband, who wove a web of lies which I only believed because of NVLD, and wore me down until I did things with him that (in Christian morality) were wrong, but which he told me were perfectly fine and not wrong at all.

Because of the NVLD, I was far too trusting, thinking a pious Christian would never do such things.  I thought as a married woman I was beyond being so taken in.

But then another seemingly pious Christian man came along and started breaking down my reserves just as Shawn did, convincing me–just as Shawn did–that we were doing nothing wrong, then letting me drown in the fallout when (in Richard’s case) the wife found out.

Leaving me baffled as to what just happened because Richard had convinced me we were doing nothing adulterous or even out of the ordinary for close platonic friends.

I thought his days of going to Bible college while womanizing and being a violent “gumba” were over, that his days of faking piety and speaking in tongues for the congregation (as a Pentecostal preacher in his early 20s) were over, covered by the blood of Jesus.

When I asked how he was able to get over/forgive his ex–who was (from what I heard) a psychotic nympho who cheated on him all the time–he said he abused her too, as punishment; I thought this sort of behavior was all in his past.  Now I wonder if, when we watched Elmer Gantry together, it gave him ideas.

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