Category: loss of friendship

Things to make you go hmmmm….

I get newsfeed updates from Psychopath Free on my Facebook.  Something in today’s update which made me go hmmmmm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

??!!

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

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

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

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

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

This is going into my web book on this situation.

It’s also going into my college memoirs, because this stuff also applies to what Phil did in September 1994.  It explains everything that happened during this month and the following months, changing “online” to “on a college campus,” where I saw Phil and Perspehone constantly–especially when they both sat right there with my friends and me at lunch–getting all cuddly and cute with each other.

It explains Phil’s behavior, refusing to accept any of my complaints as valid or anything but a shrew who has to cut him down.

While I was supposed to accept everything he wanted or complained about as gospel truth or my wifely duty, no matter how cutting, no matter how painful, no matter how it slandered my character.

The friend he talked to, was Dirk, whom he manipulated into thinking I was an abusive shrew, and who then became Phil’s tool of controlling me by proxy:

 

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

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

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

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

After the breakup, they will openly brag about how happy they are with their new partner [Persephone, whom he dated immediately after the breakup], where most normal people would feel very embarrassed and secretive about entering a new relationship so quickly.

And even more surprising, they fully expect you to be happy for them. Otherwise you are bitter and jealous.

During this period, they make a post-dump assessment. If you grovel or beg, they are likely to find some value in your energy. They will be both disgusted and delighted by your behavior.

If you lash out and begin uncovering their lies, they will do everything in their power to drive you to suicide. Even if you come back to them later with an apology, they will permanently despise any target who once dared talk back to them. You’ve seen too much—the predator behind the mask.

This is why they constantly wave their new partner in your face, posting pictures and declaring their happiness online. Proving how happy and perfect they are.

It’s a final attempt to drive you insane with triangulation. To make you blame the new target, instead of the true abuser.

 

Not only does this article help me understand better what happened with both Richard and Phil, but it can help other people understand their own situations.

 

 

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More support for keeping diaries and saving letters/e-mails: to defend against gaslighting from abusers and narcissists

Here in several posts by Grace for my Heart, are reasons why we must keep diaries and save our letters/e-mails when dealing with psychological and narcissistic abuse:

Second, write things down.  I am a strong proponent of good records and journals in these relationships.  When you have a disagreement, even something as simple as the conversation I related above, write down your thoughts about it.

Tell what you remember and why and how you felt when the conversation ended.  Write down his lie/excuse/challenge as well.

You don’t have to do anything with this, but you may find that a pattern emerges and you can see what is really happening.  And you may take your journal to a counselor you trust to learn even more someday. —Gaslighting

This is especially important because

Also, narcissistic abuse is difficult to prove.  What evidence can you give?  Usually narcissists are not physical abusers, so there are no marks to show.

The continual criticism and the gaslighting can be hard to show to others.  And the effect is cumulative.  Taken as individual instances, these things often seem insignificant.

It’s when it happens every day over a period of years that the effects of the abuse are felt.  People who know you realize that something is wrong, but can’t put their finger on the cause, even when they see it happening.

The sad truth is that narcissists often win in the court of public opinion.  They have lived their whole lives manipulating the perspectives of others and they are invested way beyond anything the rest of us would consider reasonable.

They are usually ruthless in their willingness to attack, even to lie.  They tie others to themselves through manipulation for support. —Why Won’t They Believe Me?

You can use this to make your story believable because:

Last week I wrote about the difficulty many have in explaining the actions and abuse of the narcissist.  Some find that they simply are not believed when they begin to describe the kind of attacks and manipulation they have suffered.

I wanted to suggest some ways to prepare for telling your story.  Please understand that there is no magic incantation to make someone believe you.

As I explained last week, there are times when the recipients of your story feel that they cannot support you, even if they do believe you.  And, at other times, the narcissist simply wields his super ability to persuade others and you lose.  I wish it were some other way.

But there may be a few things that could help.

  1. Keep records.  Contemporaneous notes, records written very near the time of the event, are considered to be stronger evidence than just a story later.  If you can write down, within an hour or so, the exact words used or the particular times of the event or some very specific information, you will find that people receive your words with greater trust.  This is a well-respected technique in negotiations, probably because it seems more difficult to fabricate.  Use different writing tools from time to time to accent the fact that you are not writing this all at once. —Overcoming the Disbelief

I believe this is the real reason why Richard and Tracy tried to make me feel somehow stalker-y for saving my letters and e-mails to and from friends.  I believe they wanted me to feel just as creepy as they told me I was acting, so I would destroy all those letters and e-mails.

I believe they feared that I was writing down the things they were doing and saying, and that their house of cards would soon fall when I added it all up and realized they’d been deliberately deceiving and manipulating me.

And well, they were right about that.  These posts by Grace for my Heart, which I just found tonight, are also added support for my conviction that I did nothing wrong or “creepy” in saving these letters and e-mails.

Unfortunately, I shredded/deleted a bunch of letters and e-mails in 2008 after listening to bad advice, in an attempt to “forgive” Tracy and “move on” so we could be friends.

But a Providential “mistake” led to me discovering some of those old e-mails in draft form, a few in particular which I especially wanted back.

Basically, in May 2010, we got a new computer.  I didn’t understand how to transfer Thunderbird e-mails from one computer to another.  I had the old data files on a portable hard drive, but didn’t know how to re-connect them on the new computer.

So I used a very cumbersome method to look through my e-mails: opening them with WordPad and WordPerfect.  This left me with a tremendous amount of HTML junk to sift through (one little bit of HTML in an e-mail will turn into hundreds of pages of lines of junk characters), and far too much data at one time to be opened easily.

BUT then one day in September 2012, I discovered that my Drafts file had preserved all the different stages of each draft, even ones I had deleted!  These files did not have HTML like my Inbox, and were much easier to read through.

I could see the very first version of a draft before I first saved it, all the way up through various changes, to the final version!  And every version had its own time and date stamp.

I could see an e-mail written to Richard, full of venting and complaints about abuse in an early version, then later on changed to be far more diplomatic.

Shortly after this, I discovered how to connect my e-mails to a new computer, so I could use my e-mails normally through Thunderbird.

But I also saved a copy of the original data files, and the files I made to use with WordPad, so all those old drafts still exist.  If anyone questions if the WordPad files have been altered, they can verify them with the original data files.

I have used these e-mails to make my account far more accurate than it was before, since I had forgotten some things by the time I wrote it, and to prove that I used words like “bullied” and “abused” way back in December 2007 when complaining about how I was treated.

They prove that Richard told me he was being abused.  They prove that I saw acts of verbal and physical abuse when they lived in my house.

Drafts of e-mails sent to my mother describe the abuse I witnessed while Richard and Tracy lived in my house, so even though I deleted the e-mails and my mom does not keep e-mails that old, I still have copies.

And I have e-mail exchanges with my husband in 2009 which were never deleted, which prove that Richard complained of abuse.  I also have copies of an e-mail which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am telling the truth about their domestic violence, because of who it’s from and what it says.

I probably also found people more easily believed my story, when they themselves had dealt with Richard/Tracy, and/or when Richard’s criminal conviction of choking his daughter gave my story that outside verification through official sources, of plausibility.  Lots of narc victims don’t have this.

These records prove that I am not crazy.  That I am NOT “not all there.”  That this was Richard and Tracy gaslighting me again into thinking I was crazy and lying–or trying to, but they couldn’t because I have proof of the truth.  I have resisted exes trying to gaslight me in the past, so I know I can resist it now, too.

Do this yourself, keeping records and e-mails, when you feel something is going weird, so you can figure it out later and prove it to others.

Don’t let your narc tell you it’s “creepy.”  Those e-mails and diaries could save your sanity one day.  Or even help you in custody battles or with proving your side of the story.

I also highly recommend that you read all the articles I linked to in this post, because there is far more information in there about defending against gaslighting, telling your story and being believed.

 

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Oh Stalkers, Why Do You Creep? (To Creepy Blog Stalkers)

Oh stalkers, why do you creep?
Why do you come here
Read my innermost thoughts
Follow the chronicle of my pain
Watch the path of my healing?

Oh stalkers, why do you creep?
Is it penance for your sins?
Is it curiosity?
Is it arrogance, ego, your excessively swollen head?
Is it to feed off my angst like vultures on the dead?

Oh stalkers, why do you creep?
You have left my life yet keep watching
Are you watching for my resurrection from Hell?

You are gone
And you pass out of me like water
The negativity, the abuse, the soul murder

You are gone
I can breathe again
I excrete your words like waste

 

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Narcissists/Abusers: Will they be the same with somebody else, or is it just me?

From what I’ve experienced and researched, it’s extremely common to get out of an abusive relationship of some kind (any kind of abuse, and any kind of relationship), and feel like you’re the crazy one.  “Is it all just me?”  “Will the next girlfriend get the nice version of him, and prove me to be the nutty one?”

But here is my experience with ex-boyfriends:

Peter made me believe he was the One, that he was just like me, that we had a psychic link proving we were meant for each other.  After he broke up with me, he began spreading lies about me, changed into a completely different person (mean, smoking, underage drinking, doing weed, cussing), then had a string of girlfriends after me.

I didn’t know them personally, or what happened, but one day, a girl working in the cafeteria told me he had broken up with her, too, so we both had something to be mad at him for.  At that point I had moved on and didn’t want to talk about such things, but still, there was another one.

Then senior year, when my roommates got a modem and we began going on local BBS’s, a couple of guys on one BBS told me Peter had been preying upon the girls there.  He’d get them to believe he was the man of their dreams, but it wasn’t true.  They had no idea I had dated him freshman year.  All this is in my college memoirs.

Phil, who emotionally and sexually abused me, had another girlfriend after me whom I knew.  I found out, through her, that he was exactly the same with her as with me, and even slapped her one day.  His depths of immaturity went even further with her than with me.  When she finally broke up with him for good after a string of short-lived breakups, her friends practically threw other guys at her.

I found out through my other friends that his girlfriend after that, after I graduated, was treated the same way.  They had to get married because he got her pregnant; they divorced several years ago.

As for my recent experience with abusive friends:

Richard, the narcissist fake friend who used and manipulated me, did the same thing to his friend Todd that he did to me.  He also choked his 9-year-old daughter, resulting in probation.  I also know, from Richard’s own admission, that he abused an ex (psychologically, I believe) as punishment for her cheating on him.

He even sent an e-mail threatening physical violence to my husband, which you can find posted here.  He also told me once that he used to be a Mafia thug, and that he planned to assault (it sounded like kill) the lady who just evicted him.  (His wife wouldn’t let him.)

But I bet the people still on his Facebook friends list think he’s a great guy with a “big heart,” as two people have described him.  However, not everyone is fooled, as I know from the enemies he has also made on forums–ones who said, for example, that he was a narcissist, or (to Todd), “He always was an a**hole, but you were his friend and didn’t notice.”

His wife Tracy, who abused him and her kids, bullied and psychologically abused me, then later terrorized me by stalking me online and off when I told what happened.  She pulled a lot of the same crap with Todd as well.

Also, she has so ticked off Richard’s friends over the years that many have told him, “Sorry, but we can’t be friends with you anymore, because we can’t take Tracy anymore.”  Richard TOLD me this with Tracy right there, so I know it to be true.

When I accidentally come across something online which presents her “religious woman, pillar of the community, smart and successful” persona, this is so entirely different from the Tracy I knew (or that Todd knew) that I start to feel like the crazy one.  Her e-mails to me sure didn’t help, as they blamed me for everything and treated me like sh**.

It also doesn’t help when I come across something which makes it look like they both cared so little for me that they just moved on with their lives after we broke off relations with them, without bothering to make things right, without caring about us at all, without grieving our loss.

But then, I remember–since we had mutual friends on Facebook and she wasn’t blocked at that time–her commenting “lol” on a friend’s post in the few days right after Richard had been to the court, got his mugshot taken, and started the course of getting convicted of choking her daughter.

So I have seen firsthand how her public persona does not reflect her real life.  And I also noticed another mutual friend’s profile showed absolutely no sign of knowing that Richard had been convicted of choking his daughter, even though they were close friends.

The community persona she presents, is not the real her.  I’ve seen the real her, nasty, abusive and lazy.  So has Todd.  So have others.

I can tick off on my fingers the people whom I know she has ticked off so badly that they broke off relations with Richard, too (since she forces his friends to be friends with her, too): Todd.

A woman whom Richard was good friends with, also a popular forum moderator.

Another of his female friends, with whom Tracy was “at war,” and this was AT CHURCH; the friend told Richard that Tracy was going to cause him trouble; Tracy later hit the roof when she discovered Richard phoned her while he lived with my husband and me.

Then there are others I have seen her go off on, online.  That included a girl who made the same mistake Tracy did at 19, but Tracy ripped her apart for it.  I also know that Richard’s family would scold Tracy for being mean to him/the children, and that she complained his family treated her like a child.

She got upset with Richard for not sticking up for her when they said she was mean to him, even though she had indeed been mean to him.  Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the ex, at whom Tracy would scream obscenities over the phone (they shared a child and still had to contact each other).

That persona your narcissist/abuser presents to other people, that sweet, nice, wonderful person who couldn’t possibly abuse anyone, so you must be lying?  That is not the real narc.

You’ve SEEN the real narc.  You’ve had the–as Shrink4Men so delicately puts it–WTF moment, when the narc’s mask came off.  What the narc shows to everyone else, is the same mask she showed to you, pulling you in.  It isn’t real.

Remember that next time you start missing the narc and thinking it was all your problem.  Next time you start wondering, Is he treating her better than he treated me?  Even if he’s treating her well right now, the mask will come off eventually with her, just as it did with you.

Narcs can have the ability to fool an entire community or church for years; this is why it’s often hard for their victims to come forward.  If they do, nobody believes them, and the narc paints them as crazy.  But the victims have seen the real narc.  Some of those people the narc has fooled, will one day be their victims, and think again about what you said.

Narcissists often display a façade self based on impressive and admirable traits. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, if it weren’t mere window dressing. Their façade self is fake, covering up a real self that’s insecure and vulnerable…..

  • Narcissists are great masters of disguise, describing their behavior in the best of terms, (i.e. I’m only doing it for you!) Hence, it may take awhile for you to ‘get’ what’s really going on.
  • Though narcissism has a bad rep (egocentric, egotistical), narcissists also have positive traits. Indeed, they may be quite charismatic and charming. Hence, it may be hard to believe that narcissism is driving their behavior. –Linda Sapadin, PhD, How to Live With a Narcissist

 

 

Is he/she really a narc? If you were idealized, devalued and then discarded, just say yes, he is and be FAIR TO YOURSELF.

If he/she isn’t a narc, by the time that conclusion is drawn with clarity from enough distance through NC, you will have moved on from the encompassing toxicity of a dysfunctional relationship – regardless of what labeling helped you to be able to do that.

Allow yourself to heal. Doubt only holds you back and keeps you holding onto a fantasy of what you wanted it to be and are now afraid to let go of, instead of embracing reality and the emotional freedom that acceptance of truth brings. –Lisa E. Scott, Who Really Benefits from Doubt? (read the whole thing–excellent help!)

 

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