jealousy

Seeing abuser again: Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later

[Edited since first written]  It’s been a few years, but from what I can recall, after the sudden appearance on August 1, 2010, Richard and Tracy came to my church once more.  Maybe twice, but this is the time I remember:

I came to my church’s Christmas service in 2010, and sat in my usual spot.  I heard a voice like Tracy’s, saying the hymn on the handout was all in Greek.  But I didn’t turn to look, and just assumed it was somebody else.

I wasn’t able to partake in the Eucharist because I was not aware one was offered during the Christmas service, being a new convert.  So I had not properly fasted from all food and drink, which you have to do for many hours.

As I stood waiting for the communion line to go through, I happened to look to see who passed me, as I often do absent-mindedly.  My usual spot is right next to the aisle.

There, right next to me, was Richard and Tracy!  In disgust, I drew myself up and turned away.  Just who I did NOT want to see while celebrating the birth of Christ.

The anger and bitterness filled me, especially as I saw Tracy, that unrepentant abuser, that bully, take the Eucharist without ever having lifted a finger to apologize for her disgraceful, unChristian actions against me.  She was the worst hypocrite I had ever known.

I felt, basically, the same way so many other abuse victims feel when they see their abusers again, especially their abusers pretending to be good Christians.

Fortunately, they all cleared out of there so quickly after the service that they were already gone when I left my pew.  So I did not have to encounter them yet again.

Why did they do this?  Why did they keep coming to my church without even trying to make peace?  How could they violate my right to be left alone by them?

Heck, Tracy forbade Richard and me from even talking to each other unless I allowed her to scream all my “offenses” at me, so why would she take him anywhere near me?

How could she tell me I’m so horrible, treat me like a whore, treat me like a stalker because I made the horrible “offense” of sticking up for myself against her rages, then come to my church?

How could they so transgress every rule for dealing with your fellow Christian, yet still take the Eucharist as if they were in good standing?  You’re not supposed to do that without trying to make peace, because the Bible actually warns that you’ll bring condemnation on yourself for partaking in “an unworthy manner.”

They had listened to the still, small voice of Satan, and tainted the Eucharist with their actions, so it’s a good thing I did not share it with them.  (Whether you believe Satan is a person or the evil within humans, it still applies.)

[The following was written, some of it taken from e-mails to my mom, between June 19 and 30, 2011.]

I doubt that Tracy would have acted the way she did if she thought I was ugly or plain.  This thought does make it easier to start forgiving her, as it makes her seem less like a monster and more like a deeply flawed and scared human being.

But extreme jealousy is still wrong, and recovering from abuse is still a long and hard road of anger, hurt and pain.

It also makes our decision to break off the friendship seem ever wiser.  We were caught up in a bad situation, with two people in a tumultuous marriage.  Being involved with them just drew us into their own quagmire, and we couldn’t help them at all.

I never had a problem with Jeff being friends with beautiful women, even though I know people will look no matter how happily they’re married.

You just have to accept that your husband will look, and realize that getting upset and jealous will annoy him and make him feel like he might as well do the thing if he’s being punished for it anyway.  I feel secure in our marriage and trust him implicitly.

It must be horrible and exhausting to feel like you have to keep vigilant with your husband to make sure he never strays, but I have far too many and far better things to do with my time.

I hope that one day Tracy learns how to trust Richard–before he finally loses his resolve and she pushes him into the arms of another woman.  Or at the very least, out the door.

Jeff saw Richard and Tracy at the store on June 12, 2011, almost a year after the Incident.  He knew this would happen eventually, since they and Jeff go there a lot.

They said nothing to each other, but Jeff did make sure the kids knew this wasn’t about them: He saw the three younger children in the store’s daycare, hugged them and talked with them, and let our son play with them.

Then he went off to find the items we needed, passed the adults and the oldest child (who quietly and secretly waved at Jeff), and nobody said a word to each other.

Jeff did not want to speak to these people, gave them the cold shoulder on purpose.

The oldest child was sitting with Richard while Tracy went off and got some stuff.  [This became a lot more shocking after I learned that Richard had been charged with choking this same child.  But that’s for later.]

But sure enough, Richard was getting henpecked again, for who knows what reason.  Jeff hated the sound of Tracy’s criticizing voice: “Bark bark bark bark RICHARD!”  Jeff wondered how Richard can stand that.

Exactly one week later, I ran into them at my church’s Greekfest.  Almost literally.

I didn’t go to their church’s Greekfest and hoped they wouldn’t go to mine, but there they were.  I was passing through the crowd to get to work in the kitchen, at a distance behind my son and Jeff because I had to throw away our lunch trash.

Because of the crowd, I didn’t see Richard and Tracy and the kids until I was right upon them.  And suddenly, there was Richard, just inches from me. 

Though I couldn’t look in his eyes, he appeared to have seen me.  I had heard that you should coldly nod at your enemies in passing, but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that.  All I could do was pass by without saying a word.

By the way, I had only just checked with Social Services to make sure they got my letter about Richard and Tracy’s child abuse.  They reassured me the letter had been received.  So that was on my mind as well.

There was no shrinking away as if I were ashamed–no, I kept my head up, and may have changed my expression to one of disgust, though I’m not sure now.

There, Richard, that is what snubbing is.  It’s not about being quiet around Tracy.  A real snub is this.  And it has been done to you because of what you’ve done to me.

[Note written 5/3/12: This was after the choking incident and after Richard was formally charged and posted bail, but before I heard about it.]

Is it necessary to view the narcissist as evil in order to go no contact? Is just seeing the situation as being a case of incompatibility enough rationale to make an escape?

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog….

If someone doesn’t call the narcissist’s so-called good what it really is…evil…then there is likely little hope of helping the victim out of their victimhood.

They will continue on believing that the evil is centered in themselves, that they are the one who is crazy, that they are the problem. You know, all the lies the narcissist has taught them to believe in order that the narcissist can escape accountability….

If someone was able to just cite “incompatibility” as a rationale for leaving the situation do you think they’d need to come to my blog for insight? People who come here are suffering. There is a reason for their suffering and I’m not afraid to name that reason. —Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Life Line?

I hesitate to call Richard “evil” or even a full-blown narcissist.  Perhaps the evil he’s done has been because of Stockholm Syndrome, not narcissism.  Maybe he has narcissistic tendencies but not full-blown NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

But Tracy is the reason I began Googling to find out what the heck was going on here, first in 2008 to research abusers and jealousy because of her treatment of Richard, then in 2010 and 2011, to find out how anyone can be so cruel to the same person who had put herself to great financial and personal trouble to help Tracy find a better life.

I do not hesitate to consider Tracy “evil,” a malignant narcissist, maybe even a psychopath.  Who portrayed me as the evil one and herself as the offended, virtuous one.  While Richard was the lackey doing the bidding of the narcissist, and also doing sneaky things of his own.

If this had been of the more common variety of disagreements between friends, even breakups between friends, I would have had no need to Google it, as noted in the above quote from “Narcissists Suck,” and I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to write such a long memoir about it.

Most of the time, it really is a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion, nothing “evil” that can’t be resolved either by not being close friends anymore, or by dropping the subject and moving on.

But Tracy has a history of blowups and ended friendships, of “wars” with people.

If I saw her as a basically good person with whom I had a difference of opinion, this could’ve been resolved, especially with the amount of guilt and reflection I’ve dealt with over the past year [July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011].

I’m willing to deal with my own issues, and tried very hard to do so all through this relationship.  My apologies were sincere, and I tried to mend what I could.

But it has to go both ways, and Jeff and I both saw nothing but more pain and fighting in our future if we didn’t write her off and go no-contact.

Well I was there and I saw what you did, 
I saw it with my own two eyes 
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been 
It’s all been a pack of lies 

–Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”

You wear a Sunday suit and tie
Everybody thinks you’re such a guy

You’ve got the glow, a shining face
Respectable man with holy taste
Got that family pew reserved
When the hymns are sung your voice is heard

But late one night you got your plan
You’d be religious on demand

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, it’s a mask you wear to hide
Got a notion God’s a potion and it works most every time

I really think you do believe
Yet you use religion to deceive

–Whiteheart, “Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian”

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

 

Working through the grief, pain and anger

Others have emotionally abused and bullied me in the past, such as kids at school and my college boyfriends; then, as now, the experience left me very angry, and the anger lingered for some time.  Eventually, however, it went away, and I began to rebuild my self-esteem and build a new life without that baggage.

So I know the Tracy/Richard incident will heal eventually as well.  But for now, I feel furious at the bullying, psychological manipulation and gaslighting of me, and the spousal/child abuse Tracy inflicted, and want the pain to end.  (Keep in mind this was a very recent breakup after more than two years of covert and overt bullying.)

I’m having a lot of trouble trusting again or getting the gumption to try to build bonds with people, except for ones I’ve already known for years.  Even then, I keep wondering, “They seem to like me, but do they really mean it?  Or are they hiding something?  Do they secretly hate me?  If I tell them my deep secrets, will they betray and abandon me later?”

I feel lonely but keep crawling into my shell.  As a very shy person and introvert, it’s hard for me to make friends, so losing one is far more devastating than it might be for an extrovert.

I feel numb or gun-shy or cynical when I hear about anything connected to love or marriage or friendship, even though I have good friends (still connected via Internet) and a good, trusting, supportive marriage.

Despite apologies and confessions and absolution, the thoughts keep spinning around in my head.  Seeing Richard or Tracy on the street or at church, or even Tracy’s name on a mutual friend’s Facebook post, makes my heart race, and I feel shaky long afterward.

I’ve distanced myself from mutual friends on Facebook, out of fear they might mention Richard and Tracy to me.

Many times I’ve wished for death, in the first months of grief, but that’s finally abated.

This combined with an NVLD/Asperger’s tendency to ruminate long after everyone else has forgotten an incident.  Hopefully writing about it will help.

The way out of the morass of depression, and at times even feeling like I’m a whore who somehow deserved it, is slow, but I’m making my way up again.

Some people might think they have the right to treat a spouse like property and control the spouse’s thoughts and actions, and feel justified in bullying opposite-sex friends.  The spouse might even act flattered, like this must really be love.  But it’s never okay to bully, whether for jealousy or whatever reason.  

If you feel you have to monitor your spouse’s friendships to keep him/her faithful, if you feel you have to okay the friendships, check up on them, read their online chats and e-mails, etc. etc.–then either you’re an insane control freak or you need to divorce this person for not being trustworthy.  

If your spouse has no actual history of cheating, then don’t put your spouse and their friends through this hell because of your own insecurity and lack of trust.  

This behavior is NOT okay, and don’t expect your spouse to “respect” your feelings when you’re not respecting his ability to choose his own friends and stay faithful.

I felt very strongly that the Lord had removed me from a very toxic situation that he no longer wanted me to be a part of. So I did not call her or make any attempts to get back together.

I figured that she had been the one to end our relationship- if she had a change of heart, then she needed to be the one to restore it. I was heartbroken at first, but eventually I became at peace with it.

And after a while, I felt relief, joy, and profound gratitude.   I understood that my Father was protecting me, and that he loved me so much that he had taken this burden from me. –Rev. Renee, Desperate Measures–When they sense they’re losing their grip on you

This experience has made me appreciate my own marriage much more, with its trust and mutual respect.  Sure we’ve had our problems, but we’ve worked them out.  And we never, ever get jealous over opposite-sex friends or try to control each other.

I read online and in advice columns, about spouses suspecting affairs or blaming friends for trying to start affairs or whatever.  Commenters go on and on about how you can’t trust people, what’s “inappropriate,” etc.

But I can attest that just because you read one person’s letter to a columnist about a suspected affair, doesn’t mean there is one.  Just because the writer thinks they have reason to be jealous and suspicious, doesn’t necessarily mean they do.

I got a very strong impression that some of their friends had no idea of Tracy’s dark side, that she hid it from them, because they seemed too sweet to want to be around a mean, manipulative, aggressive person.  

But I knew of other friends who had broken off relations with Richard because of Tracy.  How many, I don’t know.  Many of their friends are through the Internet.

I bet Tracy has told people that I was after her husband and now she has proof, gives her reasons, and they nod their heads and say yep.  But there is another side of the story which is quite different.  Always take care who you meet through the Internet.

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

 

An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends

I found my old high school friend Becky on Facebook in February 2011.  On the 2nd, I sent her this message:

What a year it’s been.  I actually saw a friendship crash and burn last year because of Facebook posts and messages.

I had a very close, dear friend, R., who I met on an Internet forum about 5 or 6 years ago.   I was searching for a spiritual home, a church which I could believe in, and he helped me find my way, so he became my spiritual mentor.

A few years ago he needed to find a better life for his family, and couldn’t stand [old states] anymore, so he came to stay with us for a while until he found a job around Fond du Lac.

We were getting along great, he finally found a job, but then somehow the rest of his family followed and ended up staying in our tiny condo before he had the means to get an apartment lined up.

I don’t remember okaying it; one day he just told us they were coming, though it wasn’t part of the agreement.   Wife and 3 little kids.

So we’re talking 4 adults and 4 small children in one 1100-square-foot condo.  Who don’t clean up after themselves.   For a month and a half. !!!  And the wife, T., turned out to be abusive of her family and very jealous of me.  Argh!

I kept wanting to toss her out on her ear for the things she said and did, but instead I was stuck with her 24 hours a day for weeks.   I didn’t want anything more to do with her, but didn’t want to give up my friend R., either.

It had been so long since I had a good friend right in town to talk to.   That, and my son loved playing with their kids, and Jeff loved playing D&D with them.

So I tried to tolerate her, even though she kept bullying me for being quiet and shy.  The more she bullied me, the less I was able to speak to her.

But eventually, I thought everything was finally sorted out.  Then early last year, R. started getting snarky with me on Facebook, especially over politics, and T. even more so; he and I had some arguments via e-mail.

Just when I thought he and I finally had things sorted out, T. saw something I sent him and completely misinterpreted it.  (Remember the bit about her being jealous.)

The resulting fallout led to Jeff and me saying that’s it, we’re through with her drama, and we’re not too happy with R., either, for throwing me under the bus.

You’d think she’d be happy to have me gone, but no, she got mad at us for breaking things off and had quite a few choice words to say about it.   I don’t get her at all.

Both of them seem to think that I should just roll over and take all the verbal abuse she threw at me, even though when I tried in a far more polite way to discuss the problems I had with him, he talked as if I should just shut up about it or leave him alone.  It’s a huge double standard.

And after all we’ve done to help them out, too….

It’s been 7 months now and I’m still trying to recover from it. 

It’s affected me spiritually as well because R. had so much to do with me choosing the Orthodox Church, and now I get so cynical about religion at times, especially when I see T. going up for communion without ever apologizing for the things she’s done to me.

(I’ve apologized to her, because I know I did some things wrong as well, but never got [an apology] from her.)  When I met R. online I thought he was a different person from what he actually turned out to be.  I thought he was pious, but it’s like he never quite left his old life behind….

I just keep hoping T. will realize her own part in things and apologize, but Jeff says it’s not likely.  Until she does, the friendship is over….

Then while I was still reeling from that, one of my old high school friends suddenly remembered who I was.  When I first friended him on Facebook, he didn’t recognize my name because it had changed.   But then he figured out, “Oh, it’s YOU!”

Turns out he had this major crush on me senior year.  We talked every day in class, but he never said a word about it, so I thought we were just friends.  He tried to find me after graduation, but didn’t know how.

It makes me wonder how many other guys had a thing for me but never said anything.  And I keep thinking that the summer of 1991 could’ve been like Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court (Say Anything)…..

Seeing me on Facebook brought it all back.  He was going through a separation from his wife, so he didn’t have a stable marriage to keep him grounded.

He couldn’t deal with the feelings, since I’m happily married and can’t return them, so he finally unfriended me.  It was very sad, surprising, shocking….I miss seeing his posts in my news feed…..

I had told him about the problems I had with R. and T., and he said, “Don’t take it personally.  You’re beautiful and intelligent and any woman would consider you a threat.”

Of course, I had never thought of myself as a threat, but far too shy and reserved for that.  I certainly never had problems with friends’ wives before this.

Becky responded on the 9th:

This whole thing with the friend is horrible!  I think you are so much sweeter than me because the minute the rest of the family would have showed up … they all would have been dismissed and your friend would have received a full lesson on proper boundaries and etiquette.

You are very gracious because his wife sounds like a manipulator and he sounds like a mess so you are actually better off without him.. because he sounds like he was a manipulator too and he was using you and your husband.

I am surprised your husband didn’t throw them all out and I really can’t believe he let a man come live with you guys.  Most men would never allow that.  I am amazed.  He is either just a very nice guy or he trusts you completely or both.

You have always been shy and kind and it is nothing to be ashamed of.  Those are very rare qualities -especially in today’s world and you should not feel bad about that.

I replied:

Yeah, Jeff’s parents told him he shouldn’t have let things go so far, that as soon as I started hearing T. complain about the food etc., we should’ve politely shown them the door.

I remember getting Jeff alone in a spot on the stairs while they were in the basement one night, and telling him everything that was going on.  He was so upset that I thought he was going to kick them out, but instead he just put on his mad face to them and said nothing….

After that I started overhearing some really catty remarks about me while T. would be on the phone….It was a year and a half before anybody told me she overheard my conversation with Jeff and got furious.

I noticed these last few years that I was always supposed to suck up to her and befriend her and such or else I wouldn’t be allowed to do much of anything with R. that his other friends could do with him.   But she never apologized for her own behavior or admitted that it was in any way wrong….

She was mean, a bully, catty, crass….If it weren’t for R., I would’ve wanted nothing to do with her at all.  But he had wrapped himself around my finger somehow and kept saying I was a very dear friend to him.

Yes, Jeff is both very nice and very trusting of me.  He’s also used to SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) culture, where people crash at other people’s houses all the time when going to events far away from home.

At first he did wonder, Wait a minute, I’ve never met this guy and I’m letting him stay here with my wife and child?  But after the first meeting, he decided he was harmless.

And at the time R. seemed very sweet.  We’d talk for hours upon hours about life, religion, music.  He was planning to become an Orthodox priest.

But over time it seemed like conspiracy politics started taking over his good sense, and he’d tell me things that showed a violent underside…. He gave me every reason to believe when he lived here that he had conquered it, but it started coming back out again.

I’m torn because on the one hand I keep hoping they’ll try to work things out with us.  I keep dreaming about it.  I keep missing R.

On the other, I just can’t stand T.! I never could. And she won’t allow R. to have friends who don’t like her.   She made him block Jeff and me (and even our son) on Facebook and blocked my e-mail from him as well.

The thought of making nice with her to be allowed access to him again, just turns my stomach.

I’ve been writing all this stuff down [on my website] and trying to process it.  I’ve been trying to determine, should I pray for reconciliation or decide I’m better off?  The religious part is especially hard.  I read some articles about narcissists and thought, dang, he’s a narcissist cult leader.  lol

He was so integral to my conversion to Orthodoxy that everything about it reminds me of him, but I came here looking for what I didn’t find in any other church.  I can’t just leave because of him.  But my heart in it has gone, making it hard to pray or anything else.

The other thing is that twice since the blowup, his family has shown up at my church for a service.  AND my church is dying, his church is dying, and our two churches have been discussing merging to survive.   Or sharing the work at Greek Fests.   (We live in the same city, but he prefers the church in A—.)

So the possibility of seeing them at church again in the future is rather high.  I would prefer some sort of peace to come about, instead of the whole family completely ignoring me. The kids aren’t even allowed to speak to me, though they do look.

I feel sick when I see T. go up to the Eucharist, after she bullied me, humiliated me, and made me feel like a wretched whore.   Somehow I have to keep from losing my faith no matter what happens….

Becky’s reply got me thinking that maybe Richard was a liar and manipulator, never actually my friend:

If you want my honest opinion Nyssa.. I believe you are better than them and I don’t think R was as good of a friend as you think. 

I am an outsider but from reading the situation and between the lines, it sounds like you were a very good friend to them and they used and betrayed that friendship to get where they wanted and then made you feel bad after you gave so much and that is called SIN any way you turn it hon.

If it were me, I would ask the Lord to send someone genuine and true to replace that friendship you had with R…. You can appreciate the good things that came from you befriending R and let go of the poisonous things….

I would also suggest ignoring them but be polite to the children if they ever cross your path because T does not deserve your friendship or respect.  You are special and scripture also says you do not have to cast the pearls (of your friendship, concern, or kindness) before swine, and she acts like a pig so if the shoe fits… you know the rest.

I also understand how your husband could allow that now that you explained about the SCA.  I think maybe from now on you will have more wisdom in these situations with these type people so at least you can look at this as a learning experience you know?

In my reply, you can see the wheels turning as I pondered the possibility of Richard being deceptive:

When I think about it and the fact that I do know other people who know them, I don’t think R. was out to get us or use us up or anything.  [This changed the more I pondered it, however, now that Becky got the wheels turning.]  (T., however, I don’t trust in the slightest.)

However, he has told me so many outlandish stories over the years that I had no way to verify, that I think he may be a habitual liar….I do see ways he could very easily have been manipulating me, whether to get us to help him or just to feed his ego.   He has a very big ego, after all, and his wife keeps beating him down….

T., on the other hand, struck me from the very beginning as someone I did not want to be around.  She’s chased off other friends as well, male and female, with her temper.

Here’s one of the strange things he told me: Some time after they moved out, he told me that during our talks while he lived here, he sometimes used hypnotism to get me to open up to him.

That he learned it from a hypnotist, it was something about eye tricks and psychology, and he used to use it to get girls to go out with him.  He said he would do it without even meaning to.  Then some time later, he told me he didn’t do it anymore.

So…he can control it, or he can’t?   Which is it?  When did he use it, and what did he make me do or say?  Was he some Svengali or Rasputin?   And is he telling the truth about hypnotizing in the first place?….

I have trouble believing that everything was a lie; I think there’s a good chance that some of it was genuine, at least from him.  (Not from her.) However, too much stuff just doesn’t add up. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to unravel it….

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

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

5. My frustrations mount

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

Before we were to call, I wanted him to read the e-mail and respond.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I got the idea to suggest a movie night to Tracy through Facebook, as a peace offering, and expected a kind reply.

However, though I told Richard that if we were to work on reconciling, I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had done a month earlier, and though she seemed pleasant enough that day when face-to-face, via Facebook message the monster returned in complete disregard of my feelings:

She said she’d blocked my e-mail address from his, so he never even got my apology!  She said he consented to this, which showed that he out-and-out lied to me in the church basement!  (What was the point, then, of him telling me to re-send it?)

That she made him block his Facebook from our entire family, not just me but Jeff and our little boy as well!

Then she justified it because during the Incident, when she used his Facebook to send me her raging e-mails, I had tried to defend myself and find out from him what the heck was going on!  She said this made her “sick.”

Well, her saying this, makes ME “sick.”  That sick you get when you see something repulsive, disgusting, horrendous.

Somehow this made her think she should treat me like some kind of stalker–even though we broke things off with them!

You see how bizarre her thinking is?  It also fits what Sam Vaknin writes here:

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized. —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

It also matches what Anna Valerious writes here:

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so.

Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly.

It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical. —Your Most Fundamental Right

I never had any intention of stalking Richard, was blocking him out of my life: I took out Firefox bookmarks for a couple of forums he used to run.

I even deleted my posts from his Facebook wall and pictures on July 1 before sending a good-bye message and unfriending him on Facebook the morning of July 2.

I only sent one e-mail–the apology–to find some peace and close the book, and he never even got that.

In fact, from what I recall, I deleted his e-mail from my computer address book (but then put it back so I could send this e-mail), and deleted their numbers from my cell phone.

Was she projecting onto me what she herself would have done?  

Based on her behavior toward me described in this linked post, I believe she was indeed projecting.

So blatant lies–in church–from him, and more ridiculous and overblown behavior from her which, of course, she said I deserved.

Insult piled upon insult!

She pulled her claws out again and petulantly said that “YOU were the ones who ended it and unfriended us on Facebook, not US” [the YOU being Jeff and me and the US being her and Richard], that THEY didn’t want to, and that Jeff “stormed into” their place and broke things off–

–Um, as opposed to her “rational” behavior, I suppose?

I tried very hard to restrain myself and speak to her kindly, in hopes of turning away her wrath in the way prescribed by Proverbs.  I sent her a copy of the apology e-mail, hoping that it would calm her down, show her the misunderstanding, and inspire her to apologize for her overreaction.

But she wrote all sorts of things that showed not only did she not care about my feelings or trying to break things to me gently, but she was still steamed over things I had long since apologized for and/or stopped doing.

Richard had told me he blamed himself for everything, so I knew if it were just him, we could work things out.

But Tracy was another story.  She seemed to pay no attention to the things I actually wrote in my e-mails, but twisted them into what she wanted them to say, so she could feel justified in raging.

She went on and on about things I had supposedly done that were so horrible, saying “you were wrong” about things that I still do not feel I was wrong about, that I should’ve known this or that was wrong or against convention (when no, I hadn’t, and had seen no evidence of such conventions among friends).  I go into this in previous chapters.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry for offending her, no matter how kindly I wrote to her, no matter how much I bit my tongue and how little I said, no matter how much I refrained from defending myself or telling her how badly she had been behaving all through this–it made no difference, put no chink in her rage armor.

I couldn’t think she was right and I was wrong when I found plenty of blog posts, forum posts, articles and the like which actually sided with my way of thinking.

Expecting me to act the same way she did in the same situation, when no, I think about these things entirely differently than she does, haven’t reacted like she did in similar circumstances, or wouldn’t react like she did.

How could I possibly have known that she thought befriending the wife before doing stuff with the guy friend was a form of showing respect for the wife, when I didn’t demand such things from my husband’s female friends?

She said everyone knows this, learning disability or not–er, no, NOT everybody knows this.

I do not know this, never required it from my husband’s friends, never expected it, never even would’ve thought that she would require it until she started treating me like a slut and getting enraged at every little thing I innocently and obliviously did that she didn’t like.

For me, respect from Jeff’s friends simply means they’re not mean to me; I do not require them to befriend me as well!

It was impossible to tell if she was completely wrong about this being a convention that “everybody knows,” especially with the way so many of the old conventions were done away with and people started doing their own thing in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s–or if this was yet another example of people telling the NLDer, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”

I also go into this here.  But now, after a bit more experience added to what I already had, I see that no, Tracy was wrong, though she tried to tell me I was:

There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.

I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.

Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.  Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.

No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.

Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.

I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.

If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.

After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.

This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Apparently Tracy knows absolutely nothing about NLD if she thinks she did anything here but prove my assertion of NLD!  Apparently she has no concept of how NLD and Aspergers affect the brain so that even common social conventions, things that people can intuit without being told, are unknown to the NLDer or Aspie.

She talked as if I couldn’t blame this on a learning disorder, as if I were just being stupid or stubborn or malicious or “moving in on” her husband, when the reality was I could very easily blame it on a learning disorder!

Not only that, but more and more, I am finding officially diagnosed NLDers who identify with what I write about my experiences. The more she argued against my NLD, the more ignorant she made herself sound, yet she probably thought she was winning the argument.

And not only that, but the things I wanted to do, for two months Richard had freely done these things with me, and never gave me any reason whatsoever to believe that they were in any way “inappropriate,” so I had absolutely no reason to think that they had to be cleared with Tracy first.

Such as, the way he and I would talk for hours, or going out for coffee/ice cream.  This is crazy-making behavior from Tracy, more of her obvious borderline personality disorder/malignant narcissism, no matter how much she may try to spin it into somehow being her “right.”

The “shoulder thing,” as Richard termed it, hadn’t been done for more than two years because it upset her, yet here she was bringing it up yet again, as if we had never stopped doing it, as if I needed to be lectured again and again on how evil this was–even though at the time it had been done innocently of wrongdoing.  Jeff, too, was upset over how I was being treated over it.

I was already sick of hearing about it because it kept getting brought up by Richard all the time, even though it had stopped, and because Richard once told me how she kept bringing it up again and again with him as well as an example to him of how horrible I was.

She used it as a tool to defame my character to Richard, when I have never done anything even remotely like cheating on Jeff.  I found it horribly embarrassing and I just wanted her to shut the **** up about it, yet here it was yet again.

Did I mention I had only done it a few times, and only because Richard had done it first and taught me that it was perfectly fine and ordinary and innocent for platonic friends to do, and we hadn’t done it for more than two years?

I also have another friend who does this with his friends all the time, and right in front of his wife, who laughs.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems, making a mountain out of a molehill, so that I greatly resent being treated the way I was over it.

What about this was worth all the fuss?  The same behavior made Jeff shrug–and it had been Richard’s idea in the first place.

There is absolutely nothing sexual about it, or else I’d have to push my son off me when he does it.  There are far worse things that people do, things Richard and I did not do, and steered clear of out of respect for our marriages.

And I have no problem with anyone who wants to sleep on a friend’s shoulder.  I have no problem with a woman, maybe late at night around an SCA campfire, falling asleep on Jeff’s shoulder, even if I don’t know her.

Tracy assumed that I would, but I wouldn’t–and my husband wouldn’t, either, because he saw the same thing, shrugged, remembered all the faithfully married people he knows who do such things with friends, and went back about his day.

I have no problem with Jeff wanting to hug a friend.  I have no problem with Jeff e-mailing or online chatting or phone chatting with any of his friends, female or male, whether I know them or not.

I do not bother “approving” his friends, and find that to be very controlling and infantilizing.

Some people are reserved, and some people are touchy-feely, comfortable touching close friends, anybody they talk to, co-workers, whoever.

I always just stuck Richard in the “touchy-feely” category.  I saw him online and off, flirting with his male and female friends, and asking female friends for “huggles”; that’s just the way he is.

If he meant more by it than he let on, that’s not my fault, that’s his.

Just because my boundaries are looser than Tracy’s, does not make me wrong or a whore.  It just means I disagree with her, which I should be allowed to do without her verbal abuse.

In fact, I believe that more people should do what I did, that American society should be more open and free with affection for all loved ones, not just children or spouses or romantic partners.

I want to be more like this, myself, which I have trouble being because of a lifelong reserve, but I see people around me in the SCA being far more open all the time.  Caring gestures, hugs, sleeping on shoulders–I want to do all these things freely with my friends, male and female, and break out of that shell.

I find Tracy’s reaction to these things, her refusal to rest until I heard every little thing she considered to be “inappropriate,” her character assassinations of me, her insistence that I agree with her that they are “inappropriate” even though they in no way involve sex or groping–to be very offensive and close-minded, very backward-thinking.

I’d rather follow the philosophies of the Cuddle Party people, not the must-not-touch philosophy of American reserve!

So I will freely admit these things here, because I feel I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, or that Tracy has any right to make me feel as if I did!

If that makes me a hippie, so be it–I’ll fit right in in the SCA!

As Ayla felt in Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters” when thinking over her past, a Cro-Magnon girl being raised by Neanderthals:

She, too, had broken taboos and paid the harsh consequences, but she had learned from them.  Perhaps because she was so different to begin with, she had learned to question whether what she had done was really so bad.

She had come to understand that it wasn’t wrong for her to hunt, with sling or spear or anything she wanted, just because the Clan believed it was wrong for women to hunt, and she didn’t hate herself because she had stood up to Broud against all tradition (p. 259-60).

Also, on page 649:

He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so.

A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost.  In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

Since many social conventions seem like a waste of time to me, I’m not so judgmental of people who break them.  It’s a good brain for a writer to have. —Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability

Sociologists representing symbolic interactionism argue that social rules are created through the interaction between the members of a society.

The focus on active interaction highlights the fluid, shifting character of social rules. These are specific to the social context, a context that varies through time and place.

That means a social rule changes over time within the same society. What was acceptable in the past may no longer be the case. Similarly, rules differ across space: what is acceptable in one society may not be so in another. —Convention

I don’t need someone like you
Expecting me to share your views
‘Cos I don’t expect that what you see has anything to do with me
“Your Crusade” by Jesus Jones

I saw this very same disproportionate rage come out when Tracy raged at Todd over a game.

I saw her disproportionally rage at Richard, or at her children, on many occasions.

Being told her rage over this was somehow justified, that most people would be worse–tells me that maybe Richard and Tracy have been spending too much time around other narcissists and have a perverted view of what’s “normal” or “justified” behavior.

Richard’s hints that he would assault and possibly kill if his wife ever cheated, are very telling.  Richard’s wanting to assault the woman who sent him an eviction notice, is very telling.

There were other things that I had apologized for a year earlier, by e-mail with her and over the phone (with tears) to Richard, that hadn’t been done since, yet here they were being brought up yet again.  During the conversations a year earlier, I felt horrible about the things I was told had been seen in my behavior.

Things came out horribly badly and, though they weren’t meant that way, I could see the problem, could see, for example, that a certain action had been manipulative; it had actually been Jeff’s idea, so I went along thinking maybe he knew best, so he felt horrible as well; I apologized and never did those things again.

For months I kept feeling horrible over them, even though they weren’t meant the way they were taken, even though I had confessed and been absolved by my priest.  For some months I had every reason to believe that the past was now over in her mind as well, and I tried to move on from the past.

But here, in August 2010, I was being accused all over again of things that had not been done for at least a year or two.

Over the month since the July 1 Incident, I had also reflected quite a bit over my own behavior, and repented to her now for some things (even though, on reflection, I wonder why I thought I needed to, and think it was her poisonous verbal abuse working on me).

But instead of pacifying her, it only seemed to spur her on to more verbal beatings and more descriptions of how horrible I had been.

It was as if she saw me as somehow unable to change from past offenses, that she had to beat me for them over and over again.  (Richard also complained that she treated him this way.)

Meanwhile, she treated her own offenses as if they did not exist, as if they were her right to do them, as if I deserved them, and I remember she got angry when she overheard me telling Jeff what she had done.

On the one hand Tracy claimed she knew I didn’t mean anything nefarious, yet on the other she treated me as if I did, playing with my head, pulling up things I had supposedly done which really weren’t so bad, but she had a way of making them sound bad.

I almost wish she had indeed tried to kill me when she had the idea: Jeff would have pulled her off and had her arrested, thrown her out of our house and into jail on a domestic abuse charge, and the friendship and our support would have been over right then.

But it was more than a year before I even heard about this, more than a year of wondering why the heck she refused to like me and I just seemed to be treading water with her, more than a year before I knew just how violent she could potentially be.

It confirmed that she was not the type of person I wanted to befriend.  But I was being forced to do just that.

On August 1 and for a day or two after, I showed her e-mails to Jeff.  He also thought they were over-the-top, nasty, blaming–and, at times (such as the “shoulder thing”), he’d say, “Oh, baloney!”  

There was no openness here to different points of view, no hint of conceding that she could have done some things wrong as well, no hint of apologies for her nastiness over the years or on Facebook or on the day of the Incident, nothing but wanting me to bow down and submit to her and say that everything she said was correct.

Yet with all this, she kept saying there was MORE to be said.  I didn’t know what on earth could be left to say: I had done nothing else!

All the things I could think of, were done more than two years before, and not again unless and until I was led to believe that it was safe.

And how was it such a terrible breach of boundaries, etiquette and respect for her, for me to want to speak privately with or go to a coffee shop with my BFF, after having already spent several weeks living with Tracy and getting to know her and telling her secrets?

It would not have been a secret meeting, but one I fully expected Richard to tell her about.

Isn’t living with someone the most effective and thorough way to get to know them, far better than small talk?

And didn’t I watch movies with her, joke around with her, have long talks with her, change her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, keep an eye on the kids while she walked to school to pick up the eldest?  Did this count for nothing?

I was being treated as if things I had no desire to do, were in my heart.  And I was sick of and disgusted with it.  It’s bad enough being blamed for things you actually have done, without being blamed for things you have not done.

And false accusations like this are common from abusers, especially insidious because they have a way of getting under your skin and making you think they’re right and you’re the one with the problem.

(I recently read a blog comment from a guy whose wife had so convinced him he was the one with the problem that he spent years in therapy getting nowhere, until he finally realized that she was sneakily abusing him, that she has borderline personality disorder.  He got out, but still struggles with feeling like he’s the one with the problem.)

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