Category: isolated by abuser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Tracy’s control-freak behavior–to me, in my house

I wrote to my mom on New Year’s,

Now I find there’s trouble with Tracy.  I mentioned in an earlier e-mail that she kept making these cracks which sounded jealous and suspicious, but I couldn’t tell if they were just jokes.

Well, I’ve been trying to spend some time with Richard, trying to talk like we used to, watch movies, etc.  We used to talk for hours about life, our histories, our marriages, our families, theology, Orthodoxy, cultural differences between [our regions], etc.

We’d sometimes stay up until 3 in the morning and end up exhausted the next day.  We’d go to a local bar and grill at around 9pm, find a table away from the smoke and chatter of the bar, and get so deep into conversation that we don’t realize it’s closing time already.

These were conversations that you can only have when it’s just two people; if you start adding people, somebody clams up (usually me) instead of opening up, and has no control over the conversation.

Richard and I have interests that we don’t share with Jeff or Tracy; for example, Jeff’s not Orthodox, and Tracy is not theologically inclined.  They’re all into roleplaying games and movie genres that I’m not interested in.

I have struggles and private things that I don’t feel comfortable telling other people.  Richard and I started exchanging e-mails and calling each other well over a year ago, so we’ve built up the kind of relationship where we can talk about those things.

Everybody needs that kind of friend, not just a spouse.  For me it’s been absolutely wonderful that my friend is no longer on the Internet or on the phone, but right here in person [because I don’t have a friend like that around here].

But every time we start getting deep into a conversation, or want to watch a movie, Tracy breaks in, gets upset, and tells Richard she wants to play a game or some other thing.  I leave the room or go to bed, and hear her chewing him out over something.

It’s gotten so bad that if I want to talk to him about anything private, I have to either slip him a note or ask him to step outside.  But when we step outside alone together, she chews him out.

On Sunday [December 30] I wrote him an e-mail about my concerns, how upset I was over things, my frustrations, but he hadn’t had a chance to read it, so on Monday [December 31] I printed it up for him.

All yesterday, [they were out until late taking care of some family business].  So last night, after we finished watching a movie and he’d had some time to relax, I asked him to step outside with me for a few minutes.  [Tracy was right there.]

I didn’t say so, of course, but I wanted to slip him the printout someplace where nobody would be looking over our shoulders.

He looked very uncomfortable [and fearful] and glanced over at Tracy.  He then said okay, and then Tracy says, “You’re going outside for a smoke?  Why don’t I go with you?”  NOOOOO!

I felt a sudden ice in the room [probably from Tracy’s scary, angry, threatening expression], and stepped into the bathroom.

When I came out, I didn’t know if Richard and I were going outside or not, or if Tracy was coming, meaning there was no point in me going outside.  But they apparently came to an agreement that he would go one way and Tracy would go another for a few minutes.

Once we got out of hearing range, I slipped Richard the printout, and he read it in the streetlights.  I hoped he’d tell me that I totally misunderstood Tracy, that she wasn’t jealous of me at all.  But instead, he told me that I had a correct understanding of what was going on.  She IS jealous and suspicious….

I’m told that in [their old region], it’s so hard to find a good man that women are out for themselves, not principled in who they go after.

Part of the problem is that I’m busy all day long, doing housework and taking care of [my son] and such, so I don’t talk with her much and she hasn’t had a chance to get to know me.

But I’ve been so annoyed over the noise, the crowded conditions, the scolding [by Tracy] of Richard and the kids, and this feeling of suspicion, that I’ve just wanted to be by myself.  That and it’s hard for me to get to know people.

It’s so frustrating that because I happen to be a woman, I have to feel cut off for a time from my best friend.  Sometimes I want to scream; sometimes I want to cry….

I have no intention of breaking up our families by trying to steal him away.

I’m careful to use the term philia, which is the Greek term for the love between best friends.  Jeff trusts me, and I’ve done nothing to betray his trust.  He and [one of our female friends] are great friends, and I have no suspicion about them.

He knows what’s going on, and understands.  He’s been trying to get Tracy into conversation or roleplaying games so that Richard and I can have our own conversations.

It’s annoying to be suspected of something I’m not doing.  I can’t wait until the rent money is saved up and their family can move into their own place.

Did Mom, in her wisdom, say that Tracy was somehow in the right and I was in the wrong, that I wasn’t respecting her as Richard’s wife, that she was allowed to be jealous?

No, she did not.  She said they needed to move out soon.

My priest said the same thing, because I confided in him, too.

Several months later, my mom said to me on the phone, referring to Tracy’s behavior during her stay at my house, “It sounds like that Tracy needs to grow up!”  (Which is funny and ironic, considering that Tracy accuses other people of this all the time.)

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Tracy’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard (IN MY HOUSE)–and Richard reveals his own abuse

I wrote my mom detailed e-mails all during this time, because I badly needed to talk to SOMEBODY.  I told her that Tracy was controlling and possessive, everything she was doing, how jealous she was acting, how abrasive she was, and about the verbal abuse I witnessed every day.

I first tried to get these things sorted out with Richard and Tracy myself, but just kept feeling ganged up on, like I was being overruled again and again, as if my opinions and views and feelings held no merit and were of no importance whatsoever.

In one of those e-mails, written the afternoon of Wednesday, December 26, 2007, when everyone was at home for Christmas, I wrote that “I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this.”

As a considerate host who did not want to use up all the hot water before my guests could shower, I’d wait for hours for people to take showers before I could start the laundry or take my own.  But nobody would.

That morning, I was the first adult awake, and Jeff had to run some errands, so I had to wait until another adult would get up and watch the four kids, before I could take my shower.

Jeff came home and Richard and Tracy got up.  I told them I wanted to start the laundry, and asked who should take a shower first–them or me–but got no real answer.

Soon I overheard them talking about going somewhere, and it sounded like Richard was about to shower.  But then Tracy started ripping into Richard and screaming louder and louder, angrier and angrier, accusing him of things!

Now I know that I witnessed a narcissistic rage, a common means of intimidation and control used by narcissists and abusive borderlines, further proof that Richard told me the truth about her abuse of him and the children.

(Can you imagine being subjected to this as a child?  In 2010, I also witnessed her in a screaming rage against the children.)

The trouble is that, while borderlines are supposed to feel sorry later, I never witnessed her feeling sorrow for her rages against him, the children, me, or Todd.  This is why I tend to think of her as either a narcissist, or a narcissistic borderline, rather than just borderline.

(When I say “scream,” I don’t mean raised voices or yelling or shouting.  I mean “scream”: screeching, hysterical, high decibels, Exorcist-style, at the top of her lungs, wild, out of control.  This is also what I mean when I say she screamed at her kids.

(I thought everybody understood that “yelling” and “screaming” are two different things, but later discovered that some people think they’re the same thing.  Everybody yells from time to time, but screaming is verbal abuse and intimidation.)

A number of behaviors are considered verbally abusive, including angry outbursts, screaming rages, and name-calling. Verbal abuse often includes blaming, brainwashing, and intimidation.

Hidden aggression is a part of verbal abuse, as well. Verbal abuse is extremely manipulative, as insults are often disguised as caring comments. Verbal abuse can be overt or covert, but it is always about controlling and manipulating the victim. —What is Verbal Abuse?

I recall the basic nature of the argument, but won’t reveal it online.  I will tell you it had nothing to do with me or my house, and that her accusations sounded very unfair, that he was deceiving her.  He said it was a misunderstanding; she wouldn’t hear of it (sounds familiar); everything turned heated.

Richard just took it without arguing back.  He didn’t even try to defend himself.  He said little, even agreed with her at times.  Yet she just kept getting angrier and angrier and screaming louder and louder.

I was furious with Tracy for treating Richard like this, and furious that nobody was taking a shower.  Jeff and the kids were all in the basement, and the whole house could hear the screaming.

I wanted to scream at her to shut up.  I went upstairs to do some chores.  I screamed in my room for it to stop.  I slammed a door in frustration and anger, and was on the verge of breaking down.  But still she did not stop hounding him.

I wanted to rescue Richard, defend him.  I flew downstairs to the basement to Jeff.  The children were also there playing.  I complained to him about how Tracy was treating Richard, and how frustrated I was.

He would have more force and authority as the man of the house (and as the person who Tracy was not constantly insulting).  So I asked him to tell her to STOP treating Richard like this.

It was either that or go into the living room and scream at her to stop screaming at Richard.  Calling on Jeff to assume his role as man of the house and lay down some rules, seemed the most civilized thing to do.

He went upstairs and simply said that we’re not going to throw you out of the house, but please don’t do this in the house, and please take your showers now so Nyssa can take hers and start the laundry.  Tracy apologized to Jeff.

After that, she didn’t scream at Richard inside my house.  When she wanted to scream abuses and cuss at someone (like her ex), she took her cellphone outside.  But we should not have had to rescue Richard like that.  His own wife should be his partner, not his abuser.

I hid in the basement until they left with the kids about an hour and a half later, because I didn’t want to face them.

I described the whole argument to my mom.  I wrote,

For the last few weeks, I’ve been very depressed. I’ve already talked to Richard about this, but I’ve been feeling cut off lately.  I don’t have a lot of time to talk to him anymore.

I didn’t tell him that one reason I have trouble connecting with his wife is I often find her rather abrasive.  She orders him around and picks at the kids and picks at Richard.

At least twice during this time period, I saw him give her a look as if scared of what she would do if he stepped out of line.

My mom e-mailed back that things were getting out of hand, that we needed ground rules, that I shouldn’t wait for them to shower, just go ahead and start the laundry.

After they returned in the evening, I avoided both of them in my room, but finally had Jeff call Richard to me.

I was still furious with Tracy for abusing Richard, and for disturbing the peace of my household like this.  (In Shogun, the abusive husband had to grovel in repentance for doing this in the main character’s house.)  Note again that this conversation took place on the evening of December 26, 2007:

I said, “I can’t stand the way she picks at you and orders you around!”

She kept picking on him and getting mad at him for the slightest thing, making fun of him, ripping on him, ordering him to go get her some ice cream etc. without even a please, and one night he commented to me privately how annoyed he was at this.

He and I both noted that he had not argued back.  But to my shock, he began to say these things: “Actually, she’s being nice to me.”

“She’s being NICE to you????!!!!!” I cried in disbelief.  This is NICE for her?  What is she like when she’s not “nice”?

“…My father abused me as a child, but I was a little rat who deserved it, and it made me a better person….I’ve had to put the children in the closet before to get them to listen to their mother.  It looks like I’m going to have to do it again.”

WHAT????!!!!

I couldn’t believe he’d say such things, wondered if I’d misjudged him somehow.  How could my spiritual mentor, the same guy who complained to me for two months about how his wife verbally abused him and the children, about how she always screamed at the children and he had to be around to keep her in check, that she was jealous, that she got furious with him for talking to an old female friend she had been “at war” with–

How could he turn around and tell me these things?  How could he tell me that he, too, was abusing the kids, that he justified it with that tired old Stockholm Syndrome chestnut: that his parents did these things but he deserved it?

I expected him to be grateful for my support and sympathy, especially after he had courted it for two months.  But now that Tracy was here, he was like a totally different person, content to abuse and be abused.

He did once tell me over the phone that he recently abused the kids, but he gave no details, and said he was sorry for it.  But now he was excusing abuse?

Other times, too (during this time and in the following years), he told me she didn’t trust women, that pregnancy hormones made her jealous of any attention he paid to other women, etc.

So no, this wasn’t about me causing her jealousy, but about her being naturally jealous to start with.  If some other woman had been in my place, if he stayed with some other couple for two months, she probably would’ve treated her the same.

Jeff reacts quite differently to the same things that made her jealous and furious.

I think people online or in advice columns who just automatically assume the wife must have a reason to be jealous, don’t realize a wife can be so naturally jealous that she sees offense even in innocuous behavior, and drives everyone around her crazy with it.

Another shock: Now that I saw her abuse for myself, and no longer just took his word for it, he made excuses for what she did, and claimed she was being “nice” to him.

In other, later conversations, he told me she was justified in her anger at him during the time they lived with us, or that screaming at children was not abuse but necessary to keep them from being spoiled, and I could swear he told me that yelling at a spouse can be a good thing.  (My mother told me not to get any more childrearing or marital advice from him.)

I began to feel gaslit, a tactic of abusers of which I was already aware because of my 2006 research into my ex’s behavior.  But then one day in 2009, Richard told me things that proved I was not imagining abuse.  These things are here in my accounts.

Jeff wrote a Myspace blog about this: He wrote that with our son squeezed into the bed, a squirm who kept getting sick, he had only a foot or so of space for himself.  No raise for 2007, a 2% raise for 2008, and here we were trying to make that stretch for eight people.

The couch could not take the strain of Richard’s weight: One day, the kids jumped on this already-compromised frame, and it broke down.

We sat on the right side now, having no other chairs.  We were supposed to get together with some friends from out of town on New Year’s, but it was cancelled because of lice.

Yes, lice.  Yet another gift they brought us, along with the cockroaches.

The paperwork for a new apartment finally went through, but they still had to get rent and deposit money, so I had no idea when they were going to move out.

I complained about Tracy’s jealousy and controlling behavior to Richard through a letter, since letters and e-mails were now the only way I could talk to him.

First, he said it was indeed jealousy causing her to act this way, then he said it wasn’t jealousy but some other thing.  But whichever it was, her behavior was still that of a jealous wife who wanted to control her husband’s every move.

That rubbed me the wrong way.  Not only did it insult the hostess and benefactress helping her family and providing her with room and board.

But it raised my hackles because anyone who hurts my dear friend or child or husband, it’s as if they hurt me.  I have always been protective of family and friends, going back at least as far as middle school when my best friend kept getting harassed by other kids.

It demonstrated Tracy’s own insecurity and possessiveness, but when I spoke up about it, I was treated like I was somehow the one in the wrong.

It also seemed quite ridiculous and unreasonable to try to keep two roommates from speaking privately once in a while.  What are you going to do, shadow our every move?  She did try!

She looked ridiculous, and this gave a full picture of her abusive hold over the family, an emotional terrorist trying to keep her family under tight control.  It was like my abusive ex Phil all over again.

Don’t allow yourself to be isolated from others against our own better judgment. Insist on your right to have your own friends and family. —Gaslighting

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seemed like a simple, ordinary request to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yes, this hypothesis explains everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isolation

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

Emotional and Mental Abuse

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

Intimidation

  • making another afraid by using looks/actions/gestures

Using Privileges (perceived or cultural)

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

Physical Abuse

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

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

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana

Richard said he wanted a friend like Sam was to Frodo on Lord of the Rings, so I told him I would be.  Finally I had a close friend in my own city whom I could see often, talk to often, someone who could get my normally quiet self to talk for hours, someone to understand me.

We had deep discussions, not about the weather but about music, religion, life experiences, movies, subcultures such as Goth (which he’d been heavily into while I had been interested in it), cultural attitudes, all sorts of things.

Because of my shyness, introversion and NVLD, and moving far from friends or family, it has been hard for me to make lasting friends in this city.  I used to make geek friends through local BBS‘s, but the Internet rose and the BBS’s died.  I changed jobs and churches; friends had squabbles and I became collateral damage.

I had always wanted a friend like Frodo/Sam or Anne/Diana or Bill/Ted, that one bosom friend who is closer to you than any other platonic friend, who wants to be with you all the time, but who is NOT your spouse or in any way a sexual partner.  Finally, I found that Friend.

But then his wife got jealous of me and within a few years, it all fell apart.  I thought Richard cared enough to have my back, since he said I was very dear to him, and showed in various ways that he loved me like a sister.

But in many things, he didn’t seem to want to understand me.  He let his wife tease me for being different and bully me for being quiet.  He refused to listen when both Jeff and I tried to explain my shy, quiet, introverted personality, that he was too hard on me.

In the moment of testing, he let me down.  Majorly.  He became my Judas.

So here I am alone again, wondering if I’ll ever have a friend like (I thought) he was again, someone who doesn’t live two or three hours away.  It may have to be a socially inept or shy person, like I usually befriend, rather than an outgoing extrovert like Richard, the type who thinks that everyone can be just like him.

I hope it’ll be a woman, so I don’t have to deal with a jealous wife again, but finding a woman who’s into the same music I like, is into Orthodox theology and has grown up in the Fundamentalist/ Evangelical subculture–that could be hard.

No, I don’t want to hear about the evils of opposite-sex friendships, because it’s a bunch of BS.  We’re liberated Gen-Xers; trust is a virtue.  I treat the topic in greater detail here, along with flirting, displays of affection between friends, and jealousy.

My husband was perfectly fine with our friendship, was glad whenever I got a chance to chat with Richard for more than a few minutes, and Richard had all sorts of female friends, with whom he innocently flirted (guys, too).

People put far too many rules on their friendships and on each other, when they should just let things be.

Tracy was abusive verbally and physically to Richard and their children.  I spoke up about it to him and shied away from her aggressive personality.

Instead of realizing she’s far too abusive and aggressive and needs to change herself, she tried to force me to accept her behavior as okay and twist mine into something it wasn’t.

She insisted on approving his friends, that she had veto rights; I know this because they both told me so.  She said so in a forum post, calling it “respect” to give up friends your spouse does not want you to have.

While he told me at various times about the rules his friends had to live up to, that she had to meet them, approve them, be friends with them too.  He said even his male friends were under this initial scrutiny, subject to her approval.

While he only wanted to meet her male friends before they went off to some political conference together.  (He just wanted to know what they looked like so he could beat them up if they tried anything.)

He had to live by far stricter rules than she did, you see.

(12/19/13: Tracy also felt entitled to read Richard’s e-mails and chats, and got mad at him once when she found someone she hated in his cell phone records.  Just tonight on Facebook, an old school friend asked,

If you are in a relationship does that mean that you have no privacy?  Does that mean that your significant other is entitled to go through your phone, check your text messages and Facebook messages?

The response: a resounding NO!  The various responders said you must have trust and privacy, and if your SO does not respect that, you’ve got major problems ahead. 

One said if he doesn’t stop this in its tracks, it’s going to get worse; one said “STALKER”; one said he’s going to have female and she’s going to have male friends, so you have to trust each other; another said, Get out, run fast!)

As soon as I learned this, red flags sprang up because of my abusive ex Phil, and all the research on abuse I did while writing about him in 2006.  As I explained above, Phil also tried to separate me from my best and dearest friends.

So I already knew about jealousy and control as forms of abuse.  I did even more research because of Tracy, and began posting links and comments on jealousy and abuse on this page and this page.  (They did not know about these pages.)

During this time, I also read a forum thread in which a woman described her abusive marriage.  She said, “He had to approve my friends.”

Instead of becoming the kind of person Richard’s friends would like, Tracy treated them like creeps if they didn’t like her, thereby driving them away as one after another of Richard’s friends ended the friendship, or she forced him to end friendships, showing a huge lack of trust in him and his judgment.  There was Todd; there were at least two more whom I know of.

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

Projection and projective identification play a part in her controlling behaviors. She maps her feelings onto you and controls you by inducing these feelings within you.

Her controlling facade masks her true internal experience. Deep down she feels frightened, out of control, incompetent and helpless.

Les Parrot (The Control Freak) writes, “People who want to exert control over everything can make those around them feel inadequate, insecure, nervous, angry, anxious and physically sick. Their message is: I don’t trust you to be able to do it right; I don’t respect your judgment; I don’t think you are competent; I don’t value your insight.”

Whether or not this woman is aware of it, this is how she feels about herself. Once you recognize the defense mechanisms at play, it becomes a little easier to take her hurtful behaviors less personally. She’d be like this with anyone.

My awkwardness in social situations can lessen around kind people, even if I don’t talk much.  But it becomes far worse in the presence of a hostile person, which Tracy is not just to me but to many people.

Instead of doing her best to draw me out and be kind, Tracy just kept punishing me and sending hostile waves at me for being unable to open up to her, which pushed me further into my shell–yet she and Richard both blamed me for it.

This all made my husband furious, especially when Richard finally allowed Tracy to vent her fury on me in such horrible language and words (such as “f— off,” which nobody has ever said to me before) that made me wonder how any Christian woman could justify this treatment of any other person.

Jeff and I told others what she said; they were flabbergasted that anybody would cuss me out like that.  Jeff and I finally threw up our hands and tossed her out of our lives for good.

Unfortunately, this meant Richard was tossed out as well, even though–at long last for me, who had been starved of good local friends for years–Richard had been my dearest and closest friend for 5 years.

He had been my spiritual mentor, the one who led me into the Truth I’d been searching for, the one who helped me decide on Orthodoxy and thirst for the Eucharist.  He helped me find love for God and my faith once again.  He helped open up the Scriptures for me, by leading me in the right direction.

But then he turned on me and betrayed me, threw me under the bus, letting Tracy tear me apart instead of giving her the key piece of information which would have proven to her my innocence.

Then, a month later, he said that not saying two sentences together to Tracy for a month and a half (WHAT month? and I don’t count my sentences! what, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about?) was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?  What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This makes me struggle to keep in the same faith as him and Tracy, and even causes me to doubt the very existence of God (who seemed to place him into my life just as I prayed for a friend, and to cause our families to be there for and bless each other).

After their abuses of me, I also struggle to make social connections with anyone else who isn’t already in my circle of friends (friends I mostly keep in touch with via the Internet).  I’m afraid of what’ll happen if I open up to anyone else the way I opened up to Richard, that they’ll hurt me like he did.

The problem first started with Tracy misunderstanding me, and me not having a clue about it until she was already digging in her heels and treating me badly and I had no idea why.

I noted over the years that she responds to problems by snarking at and being mean to the supposed offender, which she never so much as apologizes for.  This offends the offender and leads to nothing but arguments and bad feeling.

I complained to Richard about it and then, finally, started hearing what she was so upset about.  But trying to clear up the misunderstanding did no good at all because she was apparently determined to think badly of me.

Nobody informed me of a test I had to pass for Tracy to let me be friends with Richard, or what I was expected to do or know, until long after I already failed.  And after that, it seemed that no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough to make up for it.

In fact, it reminds me of Hell Week during my short-lived stint pledging a sorority: having no idea how I’ve offended the actives or what rule I’ve broken until I see a roster that’s already in the hundreds below zero.  And each day, more points are taken away, finding my points down in the negative thousands with no idea what rules I broke and no hope of getting back up.

I could concede that some of her rules seemed reasonable enough in normal circumstances–but we were not in normal circumstances, we were sharing a house.

When you live together for weeks on end, when you must keep in the good graces of the host and hostess who are doing you a huge favor that few people would do, getting in a snit fit about things that go against your usual rules, makes no sense.

And it makes no sense to say you don’t “know” somebody when you live in the same crowded house for six weeks, and spend nearly every night socializing with that person for hours.

When we shared a house, both our families for six weeks, it was a disaster.  It was never part of the deal.

We lived in a tiny house, about 1100 square feet.  The spare room (a library, not a bedroom) was filled with the changing table and baby supplies, so already Richard slept on the couch.

It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, helping out a friend until he found a job and a place to move into with his family, NOT an indefinite address for the entire family.

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