Category: loss of friendship

How and when I first realized Richard was a false friend

It wasn’t in the two years of pondering, researching and blogging about our supposed friendship.

It wasn’t when I wrote Realizing I was used and manipulated by my best friend.

It happened in the last half-year of our “friendship.”  For example:

But now, I began wondering how well I really knew him, as his violent nature began to swell up again, he complained about not cussing or showing certain movies when we were there (making me wonder what kind of movies he played when his own children were around), and just kept making remarks about bending over backwards for me.

I never asked him to, he kept complaining about it even when I told him he didn’t need to do it, and it made me wonder how much of the sweet guy I got close to, was real.  Or if maybe his wife was somehow influencing him toward the violence again.

He told me before that he felt cussing was unladylike, he wanted his wife to stop doing it, and he wanted to stop doing it himself as a Christian man–but now he complained that they had to cut the cussing when I was there (even though I never asked them to).  He was treating me like a china doll, which I resented.

But what do you expect from someone who hangs out with people from 4chan?  I have no idea if he himself liked to go over to 4chan, but I know some of his online friends either were or behaved like 4chan people, posting 4chan “goatsees” in IRC or on the game forums.

(4chan, as he and others have described it, is for people who like to be nasty for fun, posting anything they like.  What I’ve accidentally seen of goatsees are bizarre porno pictures.)

Once, I typed to Richard after someone did this in the IRC channel for his group of creepy friends, that of course I wouldn’t click on any links they posted in this channel, and he said that he clicked on them all!!??

He knew that these kids/overgrown kids were probably posting hardcore porn, yet clicked on the links anyway?  (And even gave them a picture of his wife’s breasts???)

I no longer knew what to believe.  His wife crowed during the “incident” (next chapter) that she no longer had to be “quiet and nice,” making me wonder when she was secretly seething in my presence when I thought things were fine, and over what?

Her passive-aggression drove me mad, especially since it never seemed to be based in anything I actually DID, but just imaginary crap that was only in her own head.

What was real?  What was fake?  I thought Richard was always honest with me; now I wondered if he had lied, when, and how often?

Was he anything like the great and spiritual and caring man of God I had thought he was?  How many of his stories were true?  How much of what he told me about himself, his dealings with his wife, and his past, was true?

Or could it be that it was true, before, but she had corroded him so much with her abusive acid, convincing him of things about me that were not true, just as abusers do with their victims in order to isolate them from their support network–that he had changed toward me and was not the same person he was before?

Two years before he had seemed a whipped and passive husband, who I wished would stand up for himself more.

But recently I saw him either fighting back or looking sick and tired of being scolded; could he be starting to give back what he was getting?

How many of his sweet words about me and our friendship, were true?

…..Richard acted like he knew better than I did what was going on in my head.  He became very short and cutting with me, when he used to be kind.

This was the weekend; I was going to go to a water park at the local fairgrounds with Jeff and my son, but Richard’s e-mails made me so upset that it affected me physically, and I couldn’t go.

They made me feel I had put my trust in the wrong person.  After all the private things I confided in him, all the trust and love and concern I had shown toward him over the years, I now regretted ever telling him anything about myself at all!  

I wondered if the many things I confided in him, hoping he would understand me better, had instead made him think I was a freak.

I lost my trust in him.  I no longer felt he had my best interests at heart.  I had no idea who else to turn to, but it sure didn’t seem like I could turn to him anymore.

So you see, the suspicions were in my head even before I ended the friendship.  Imagine the devastation of suspecting your five years of close friendship were a lie.  But then, if you’ve been in some sort of long relationship with a narcissist, you don’t have to imagine: You know what it’s like.

The red flags were already getting my conscious attention, so much so that I started e-mailing another close friend, Mike, for help.

Also, during this time Richard was making me feel insecure by criticizing everything I did or said, another way abusers catch you off-guard, gaslight you, and make you think you’re the one with the problem, so the focus is taken off them:

In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that Chris, while a nice guy, is clinically paranoid–I realize:

At first Richard idealized me, called me the most awesome person he knew, and made me feel like his BFF, and like he wanted to spend time with me more than with any of his other friends.

But now Chris seemed to have taken over that role, and I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy that Richard never seemed to have time for me, but had plenty of time for Chris.

So he valued the guy with the crazy paranoid political rantings more than he did me, the sane one who helped him out financially and emotionally during very difficult times.

And he was married to someone showing all the signs of Borderline, Narcissistic or some other personality disorder.  And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD. So–okay–apparently Richard prefers the company of personality disordered people.

And then he and/or Tracy calls me crazy–yeah, that’s so ironic and ludicrous as to be hilarious.

Yet he kept criticizing everything about me, practically accusing me of stalking all my friends because I like to keep all my e-mails and letters to and from them, treating me like I was somehow clingy because I wanted the consideration of him either keeping to his appointments with me or letting me know right away when he couldn’t.

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.  He treated me like a prude for not wanting to go around nude in my house, or for not wearing my nightgown around him without a robe.

He called me a prude because I don’t like sex-soaked TV shows like Sex and the City, or gory movies like zombie movies or Alien.  He even made it somehow personally offensive and inconvenient for him, because if he wanted to show me an exceptionally good movie like that, he couldn’t.  (So?  Show me something else, then!)

He talked like Jeff and I were prudes for our lack of sexual experience before each other, compared to his own.

In the beginning he love-bombed me and treated me like I was wonderful, but now he kept criticizing me for things that were none of his business.

One of his friends is a creep, but when this friend sexually harasses me, Richard makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it and considering this guy a creep.

I find conspiracy theories about government wanting to control us, to be a bunch of paranoid crap, so I’m the sheeple, the one who doesn’t care about personal liberties, who isn’t worth talking to about politics.

Okay…Sounds like the lunatics running the asylum.

Same thing with Tracy, who in her own way–considering how she accused people of insulting her, lacking respect for her, and needing to grow up, while she herself was doing the insulting and raging, lacked respect for them, and needed to grow up–is the lunatic running the asylum.

Shows me just how much stock I should put in the opinions and criticisms of both Richard and Tracy.

I also noticed that he would start treating me like an annoyance, but when I gave him some money or some other thing he needed, I suddenly became his best friend.  I believe this is in my story as well.

These quotes come from here and here in my story.  May it help you recognize red flags yourself, when you’re being abused by “friends” and/or suspect you’re being used by a narcissist.

If ever I start thinking that no, he was not using or manipulating me, that I have him all wrong–I can just re-read this chapter and see that I recognized the red flags even before I ended the friendship.

I didn’t know what narcissism entailed (other than loving yourself too much), but I had already encountered liars, users and sociopaths at various times in my life.  This chapter tells me I was correct.

May this chapter help you figure out whether your own loved one is really using you.

 

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It’s Gone. The Depression is Gone!

I just realized: This past week, I just don’t feel it anymore.

Actually, I have been feeling down in the dumps at times, but that’s because of a NEW situation: My husband suddenly having a blowup with different friends, and wondering if they were ever really his friends.

But those are other people, and I think he may have made it into more than it was, thanks to his own version of being traumatized by what Richard and Tracy did.  I’m waiting to see how that turns out; in the meantime, my own friendships with these people have not been lost….

But as for Richard and Tracy, the depression is all gone, vanished.  I first began to realize this Monday night, after my second visit to the local writer’s club: fresh faces, happy people, nice people, funny people, potential friendships with like-minded people.

I don’t think I grieve Richard anymore, that my mind and heart have finally processed that he’s not what I thought he was.  I’m no longer troubled by the things Tracy said and did to me, as if it were just some mist of the past.

I also haven’t seen their little LG-P870 Android on this blog for nearly a month.  There has been no sign of them anywhere since they saw this post on January 29.

Before and after they found my blog, I would see them once in a while, on the street, at Greek Fest, or at church.  My husband would see them at the store.  Sometimes I saw their pictures in the newspaper, online or print.

After they found my blog, I could swear I saw them around more often: Last August, for example, they came to my church, then afterwards I saw them pass our car as we waited to leave a fast-food restaurant driveway.  Then another time that summer or fall, Tracy drove past me as I biked to an errand.

But since they saw this post, I haven’t seen them AT ALL.  Not at church.  Not at Greek Fest.  Not even my husband has seen them at the store.  I haven’t even seen them on the street!  Heck, I haven’t even seen pictures of them in the newspaper.

I know they’re still in town because I see them in my stats once in a while, from this town.  Did they get a new vehicle/license plate?  Or could they be doing this deliberately so as not to scare me anymore?

Or could it be related to a post (now removed) which they read on January 30, in which I posted part of an e-mail conversation which proved that either Richard and/or Tracy had lied to me about our sticking point, and falsely accused me?

In any case, my heart now feels healed.  I’ve read about this sort of thing happening when you’ve been talking and writing about your abusive experiences for a while.

Maybe now, forgiveness will come.

Though I still don’t ever want to see “them” again unless they’re ready to accept responsibility for the things they’ve done to everyone, and make amends.  Forgiveness and healing, does not mean being stupid.

Some people take down their abuse blogs after healing, but some keep their blogs up, so that others can read them and be helped along in their own healing journeys.

I’m keeping mine up.  Of course, this blog is kind of a hodgepodge, not just an abuse blog, but I’m keeping it all up, not just the posts on other subjects  🙂  From the amount of traffic I get to those posts, I see the desperate need for these abuse blogs.

As Christina Enevoldsen writes,

For the most part, when I talk about my abuse now, it’s for someone else’s benefit.  However, when a new memory surfaces or I delve into a deeper layer, I share it with my friends and I give myself all the time I need to process it.

As she also writes,

This past year, I’ve stood up for myself in big and small ways. One of the most significant ways I’ve objected to abuse is when I confronted my dad for sexually abusing me.

I knew there wasn’t much chance of any change of heart or action on his part, but just speaking up was liberating. I’ve never felt so empowered in my life.

I didn’t feel any smaller when he refused to apologize or admit his crime. It wasn’t about his response or lack of response. Standing up for myself was an expression of what I already knew about myself—I matter. I knew that no matter what he did or said, it didn’t define me or inform me of my value.

That’s the truth I know today that I didn’t know when I was a child. The way I’m treated doesn’t actually define me. I’m valuable whether or not others recognize that.

Knowing that truth empowers me. Now, I’m free to act independently of other people’s actions. I can afford to acknowledge the impact others have on me since I’m the one with the biggest impact in my own life.

 

 

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Struggling to Trust Again After Being Discarded by Loved Ones

Going through my college memoirs for publication on this blog, and adding all sorts of things which I kept private before, has brought something very forceful to mind: the experience of being repeatedly thrown away with disgust by people whom I opened up to and loved in special ways:

1. Shawn: I loved him, opened up to him my deep dark secrets, wrote him long letters over the summertime hoping that revealing my innermost thoughts would inspire him to love me back.

But he kept using my body in various ways, constantly pushing me to do more with him, taking all he could get, then verbally and emotionally abusing me afterwards.

Then he finally tossed me away in disgust and refused to have anything more to do with me for some time, because our religious beliefs told us we were sinners for having sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage.

2. Phil: He got me to forget about Shawn and Peter.  He was the love of my life.  I told him my secrets; we secretly formed a spiritual marriage; we passionately desired each other.

Then he, too, tossed me away because I refused to let him break my spirit and make me an obedient wife who did everything he wanted no matter how painful, degrading or disgusting, and refused to let him verbally and emotionally abuse me without my fighting back.

3. Richard: Because we were both already married, this was friendship and platonic love, no sexual elements at all.  But it was a deep, emotional and intellectual connection: my spiritual mentor, my best platonic friend, a roommate for a time, so I told him very personal things, all my secrets.  Those secrets included details about my exes and religious struggles.  I trusted him and called him my brother.

Then his own dark secrets began coming to light: physical violence, manipulation, child abuse, vindictiveness.

After seeing with horror just how violent he could become with his own best friends over misunderstandings, because his wife forced him to do her bidding and abuse his own best friends (my husband, me, and at least one other friend), my husband and I broke off the friendship–only to receive no attempts at all from Richard to reconcile.

No apologies, just the expectation that all apologies and changed behavior would come from me and me alone.  And, a couple of years later, the beginning of a year-long campaign of intimidation and stalking which continues to this day.

They just don’t want to face the fact that we broke off the friendship not because of me doing anything “wrong,” but because my husband and I both see them as abusive, histrionic, deceptive and manipulative.

Once I got out of the FOG during the process of writing about this, it was much easier to trace the lies and manipulations and put them all together, to recognize how they tried to gaslight me from the very beginning and still tried as recently as last year.

For them to admit that their own actions led to the breakup, would shatter their delusions and make them admit they behaved badly and wrongly.

I feel once again discarded with disgust by someone to whom I had opened up and shared my life story and secrets, to whom I told all the musings which my introverted mind usually keeps locked up for its own use.

I am quiet, shy, introverted, and have NVLD/Asperger tendencies.  Making friends has never been easy, finding dates was never easy, and for many years I’ve lived far away from family and the people I grew up with.

So while I have made many good friends over the years, some of whom I still keep up with, I have been through many periods of loneliness.

Outgoing people tell shy people to just “be more social” and “talk to people” as if it were something everyone can just do and if you’re not doing it you’re just being stubborn.  That isn’t the case at all.

Introverted brains work differently in social situations than extroverted brains do, and if shy people could just flick a switch and stop being shy, then they would never be shy in the first place.

When I open up to someone, and especially if I love him/her in some way, it’s because that person makes me feel safe emotionally.  My quietness ends as I begin pouring out my innermost thoughts in long letters/e-mails to that person, whether it’s a lover or a friend, male or female.  In person, the two of us can talk for hours.

When that person turns around and discards me with disgust, I feel that something about me is deeply unlovable, that the innermost thoughts people say they want to hear, must be bad somehow.  Then the next time, it’s even harder to open myself up to someone else, for fear that it will happen again.  I grow even quieter, even more reserved.

Extroverts and outgoing people should take note that these things do happen, that maybe that shy/quiet person is still like that because opening up to others keeps leading to pain and heartache.

This is why it’s been even harder after Richard’s discard of me, to move on to a new best friend.  The more pain you get from opening up to people, the harder it is to open up to someone new.  But I have opened up to three new people in the last year and a half, who have not discarded me.  I think I can trust them.

I need to focus on the ones who have not discarded me: My husband knows me intimately in every way, yet has not discarded me after 18 years.

My best friends from college are still there for me.  Mike still loves to hear from me.  Sharon still loves to visit me.  Catherine made it very clear on July 4 that she still loves me.

Old friends are still very kind on Facebook even though we have lived in separate states for many years.  Friends nearby with whom I lost touch, are there for me again.

I need to realize that the ones who discarded me, are abusive and probably narcissists as well.  That it is not a reflection on me, and does not make me unlovable in the least.  I just need to be more careful whom I care about.

You will find that you have changed during the course of the relationship with a narcissist. You will walk away completely far removed from the beautiful woman you were when you entered it.

You may have gone from soft, sweet and feminine to hardened and bitter. From trusting, open and receptive to suspicious and untrusting. From self-assured and confident to being full of self-doubt and insecurities.

It will take some hard work on your part to let this damaged part of you go and find your old self again.

A NARCISSIST HAS A CALLOUS DISREGARD – FOR YOU

For most of us breaking up with a narcissist can leave us feeling confused, devastated, and untrusting of all men in the future.

Usually, when a relationship ends both parties grieve some, both parties have regrets and both parties have done things that they feel remorseful for.

But not a narcissist! He walks away from you with a cold, callous disregard. He feels nothing.

……A narcissist can turn from loving you to discarding you almost abruptly as it took for him to ‘idolize’ you after his first meeting you. Uh, what was that? About one date would you say?…….

Truth is, you didn’t exist to the narcissist. He is so totally and completely self-centered to the point of his being the only person in his life – ever.

You simply were a temporary ego-boost. A narcissist supplier (an enforcer and validation of his self-love). His mirror.

You were taken in by his phony charm simply because you trusted men. And now you are left with doubts, insecurities, questions, and extreme hurt that one you cared for could so easily ‘dismiss you’ and then walk away completely unmoved and untouched by the experience.

You want him to hurt, too. To show sorrow. To feel remorse.

So that you can feel important again. Like you mattered.

But you didn’t. And it has nothing to do with you. He simply is unable to care for anyone other than himself, no matter whom they are.

And deep inside you know that you have just wasted years of your life on someone who is an empty fraud. It’s like you imagined everything; nothing was real.

He was a masterful actor when he was getting his ego fed; but now that he is not getting his narcissistic supply from you anymore he simply – and completely – has totally erased you from his life.

It is important to remember that narcissists are ‘plotters’ and he has been plotting the destruction of the relationship since the very first moment his charming, but fake persona met you.

Expect your world to fall apart whereas his world will remain unscathed – as will his emotions. OOPS, pardon me, I made a mistake! Make that “his ‘lack of’ emotions”.

Narcissistic men haven’t any empathy for others, and will never take any direct responsibility for any pain they may have caused. They will never acknowledge their wrongdoings, or apologize to you, because they truly believe themselves to be perfect.

They project all their faults and flaws onto you, accusing you of the very things that they, themselves, are guilty of.

In fact, throughout your entire relationship, you probably were lead to believe that you were the problem when in actuality it was their narcissism that was at fault. You have subconsciously learned to take his attacks personally, because he is so very good at manipulating the people around him….

Yet, the narcissistic ex continually acts in abusive, bewildering and confusing ways. He is not above committing destructive acts. When the breakup becomes a reality, it is likely that his ‘false persona’ will completely disappear all together and you will most likely experience the most hurtful of behavior from him.

He is completely lacking in empathy, and – since he is not receiving any admiration from you anymore – he will dismiss you and discard you as worthless to him, consequently dropping any fake front that he use to put up in order to keep you in the relationship. –SexandMiami’s How falling in love with a narcissist has changed me forever

The above quoted post applies in various ways to all my ex-relationships with probable narcs, both boyfriends and friends.

The same goes for friends. A Narc likes friends that are shiny and new. That are entertaining or amusing.

That are reliable, even though he won’t be reliable when they call for him, or if he is, it’s because he is trying to keep them staying loyal to him, not because he cares about them, but because of the benefits they bring to his life.

Also, the Narcissist will immediately size up his friends as either capable or incapable of dominating. The Narc is always aware of whether he is in the dominant or submissive role in his relationships and friendships.

This is instinct to the Narcissist, who understands only power, not love or empathy. –Comment in thread How are narcissists with their friends?

 

Yeah, don’t go around thinking everyone’s a Narcissist just because they’re putting their needs and wants above yours. So much of Narcissism occurs in the Narc’s own mind that it’s hard to pick them out.

Some clues: do they live a transient lifestyle, move from place to place, or from job to job? Do they dump friends a lot?

Do they think very highly of themselves without an objective reason to do so (i.e., do they think they’re smarter or more attractive than they are, or do they pride themselves in whatever ability they really do have to an unhealthy, egotistical extent)?

Do they have trouble getting close to people? Do they seem controlling or manipulative? Do they have trouble with boundaries being set between them and other people? Do they fear intimacy?

Do they start a new relationship by building the other person up and acting like they’re perfect, only to tear them down over time and then dump them? Do they get offended when you criticize them for even minor reasons? –Comment in thread How are narcissists with their friends?

Yep.  These last two quotes apply.

 

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Trudging Through Five and a Half Years of Hell…..Do I See Light Up Ahead? (Surviving Depression After Abuse)

I thought I had found a religious and spiritual mentor in my search for the True Church, and a best friend here in my own town instead of far away, one who would always be there for me throughout life.  But I believe this is what really happened:

I fell prey to a con man who eventually decided my husband and I were of no further use to him and his wife.  He used to be a Mafia thug, and was easily provoked to violence.  He hypnotized me without my knowledge.

They wanted to get political connections, but we were too “liberal” and not politically driven; he kept getting money and stuff from us, but the economy tanked and we had money trouble; I was his confidante of his wife’s abuses of him and the children, so she, who has a family history of personality disorders, smeared me to him to drive a wedge between us; and I spoke up against the way they both had been treating their kids.

So instead of addressing the real issues, they made me a scapegoat, made up offenses and kept me always jumping over hoops.  Then because we no longer had much money to give them, I started doubting Richard’s wild stories, and I had let them know they abused their kids, they started treating my husband and I both very badly.

They found an imaginary complaint to skewer me over, so we would break off the friendship in disgust, but they would still be able to claim that it was my fault and not theirs.

Richard threatened my husband with physical violence and intimidated him.  Then in 2010, I was proven correct about the abuse, when Richard choked his oldest daughter until she passed out.  He plea bargained and served a year of probation.

I have often wondered why it has taken three years to get through this depression after abuse, despite functioning normally by carrying on with life, traveling, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, taking care of my child and house like normal, helping out with my church.

It took many months for the occasional tears to stop, but they did stop eventually; however, I still feel sad often.  I have been depressed in the past, but it would pass within a year or two.

Then I remembered: This depression has not lasted for three years.  It has lasted for five and a half years, six years this December, and I know when and why it began:

My Hell began in the middle of December 2007, a few weeks after Tracy arrived in my house, when her fangs began to show and I saw that Richard’s claims of verbal abuse of him and the kids were true, along with the occasional smacks on his arm and a disturbing possessive and vindictive streak.

What seemed like a special friendship with Richard, a very dear friendship, began to deteriorate as he stuck up for not only his wife’s various snarks and other nasty behavior toward me, but her abuses toward him and the children, contradicting what he had told me before.

I felt alone, abandoned by the person I thought cared and had my back, like all my other closest friends through life had my back.

With my other friends, even though we disagreed on occasion, I could count on them sticking up for me whenever somebody dissed me.  But Richard joined in, not only allowing the dissing, but constantly criticizing me as well.  Nothing I did or said was right.

The depression began then.  I remember breaking down in tears more than once while they lived in my house.  I cried often during our friendship.

I spent a weekend in tears and sobs shortly after they moved out, because the way they were screwing me over made me think I had to break off my friendship with Richard.  My husband tried to ease my mind by making the decision for me, and saying I would not break it off.  (No, he’s not controlling; he was trying to help.)

I don’t want to go into detail because it’s all in my blog, and especially in the long version of the story.

But that weekend was repeated other times as well, as well as a time when I could barely get through walking my son to/from school without breaking into embarrassingly public tears on the sidewalk.

In between those times were constant tears, sadness, or resentment of Tracy’s lack of apologies for her nastiness.

This proves that the toxicity began in December 2007, dooming the friendship from the beginning of Tracy’s time in my city, because I was targeted by two very selfish, self-centered, abusive people, manipulators and users.  I thought Richard was a good person, but he, too, was toxic.

After my husband and I could not take the abuse anymore and broke things off, I had to tell my friends everything, so I could drain out the poison Richard and Tracy had filled me with over two and a half toxic years.  Also, for five years I had told Richard about things that upset me, but I no longer had him to talk to.

I vented on Facebook.  I told Todd everything.  I told high school friends.  I told college friends.  I told a few new church friends.  I told people on my favorite forums, begging for answers on how to keep in Orthodoxy, and how God could allow this.  I told my family.  I told my priest, starting back in December 2007.

I read and posted on blogs about narcissists and abusers, which showed me that my feelings and difficulties in healing, are all perfectly normal, that it often takes years to heal, that seeing the abuser again is traumatic.

I leaned on my husband, who recovered much more quickly because he was not the main target of abuse, but who became enraged at Richard and Tracy for putting me through this.

What our friends kept telling my husband and me: These people are toxic, manipulators, moochers, abusers, narcissists, a**holes; people on a couple of Orthodox forums used the word “evil” to describe Richard’s actions (choking his child).

But two and a half years of abuse, including both covert and overt verbal and emotional abuse, especially without physical abuse you can point to as proof, essentially gaslights you.

You wonder about your sanity, if you saw things correctly, especially when the abusers will tell you one thing then contradict it later on, and when only a few of their friends see the real them.

Every day I pray for Richard and Tracy’s children, that they be kept safe from abuse from their parents, because I worry about them and fear that the system has failed them by sending Richard back home with them instead of putting him in jail.

Richard’s lawyer ran for city council and won, but not with my help: I refused to vote for her, because I wondered about her character, getting such a sweet deal for him.

I have no way of knowing if CPS forced Tracy into counseling for abusing the kids as well.  I have no way of knowing if CPS finally convinced her that what she was doing to them was evil and would scar them for life, would cause them to want nothing to do with her when they grow up, just as she hates her own mother for treating her the same way.

If she doesn’t shape up, and if Richard doesn’t stop his own physical violence and narcissism, then their kids are going to grow up and write blogs of their own about Richard and Tracy.

I am an intensely analytical person.  I must know the hows, whys, whats.  Being targeted by narcissistic abusers is extremely hard to figure out, especially when you don’t understand why a person can act that way, how they can live with treating someone that way.

I am certain I have been depressed for five and a half years, starting in December 2007.  I am also fairly sure that I have had a form of PTSD, or a similar stress disorder, for the past several years, caused by the abuse and gaslighting of Richard and Tracy.

It was starting to heal, until they found my blog and began gaslighting me anew, adding threats as well, so I plunged back into the pit–in a year with several new emotionally traumatic experiences to add to the stress disorder.

Unfortunately, as a middle-class housewife and mother of a young child in the middle of the recession, with no health insurance provided by the husband’s job and no money to pay for it, and with heavy debt–professional diagnoses and trained counseling have been an impossible dream, at least during the worst of the depression and stress disorder.

All our money had to go toward physical necessities.  (This also explains why my 13 years of research into NVLD and Asperger’s has to suffice for now, because getting an actual diagnosis for NVLD is beyond our means.)

You can’t expect a pastor to know how to treat stress disorders.  My family and most of my friends live far away.  I have had to do this the hard way: by myself.  I’m sure that’s one reason why it’s taken so long to get through this.

Also, when you’re being abused, you don’t want to go to therapy to help you feel better about being abused.  First, you want the abuse to STOP, and justice of some kind to be done; then you can work on feeling better about being abused.

My abusers still justify their actions and haven’t stopped spying on me.  Rather than somebody telling me how to feel better about it, I want somebody to tell them to STOP, and to tell them their actions are wrong and sinful.  Not just me, but someone they’ll listen to.

That’s why, if they were to start going to my church full-time, I would be forced to request mediation from my priest or someone else in the church.  Because no one can expect you to be in the same church with your abuser/stalker for years on end without it causing all sorts of stress and anxiety disorders.

Not to mention, sharing the Eucharist with that person, contaminates the Eucharist.  There are Bible passages on how seriously we are to treat taking the Eucharist, lest we bring condemnation on ourselves.

Or is it depression now so much as it is anger, disappointment, and sadness?  Disappointment that as a shy introvert with NVLD/Asperger tendencies, I thought I had finally found a friend, one who lived here in my town, someone to talk to about everything and hang out with, only to find that friend was narcissistic, abusive and probably conning me the whole time?

I recall spending the entire 90s pondering and writing about the abuses of Peter, Shawn and Phil, analyzing everything, writing my college memoirs.  Then in the 2000s I would post about Phil on forums whenever the topic of abuse came up.

Maybe I’m at that stage now, moving out of wanting reconciliation, but figuring out what happened, labeling it, analyzing it, just as I did with my college abuse experiences, long after the trauma had passed.  Putting it into fiction or poems, posting memoirs, but seeing it as part of the past instead of the present.

Or, rather, it would be the past if my abusers would do as my past abusers did: make peace with me instead of stalking me, especially if their church closes.  [Update: Their church did close, but they did NOT start coming to mine after all.]

People disparage blogging, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got to really dig into what happened.  Not everybody can just go to a therapist, and even then, a therapist only gets an hour with you at a time.

(I also had a disappointing experience with counseling in college: I only had 6 sessions free, an hour each, and while I wanted to work on getting over Shawn‘s sexual and psychological manipulations and breaking free of him and Peter, the counselor kept talking about my shyness and how to fix that.  I didn’t go there to fix my shyness!)

People also don’t always realize that the Internet is the only way some of us have to communicate about these things, especially transplants into small cities where everyone has known each other since high school, and doesn’t think of inviting you out for coffee because they already have their circle of besties from Kindergarten.

Where, when you finally found someone to be your own bestie and go out for coffee with you, you were treated like a f—ing whore by that person’s spouse for wanting to go out for coffee, so even that concept brings back bad memories.

It’s the reality of modern life in a disconnected age where even neighbors don’t know each other: It takes time and breaking through cliques to get to the point of sharing such intimate details of your life with people.

So many of us have to use Facebook and e-mail to communicate with old friends, rather than just going out for coffee with a new friend to tell them everything you’re going through.

And even those friends don’t want to hear about it after a while, so if you don’t have a therapist, you have to get your emotions out somehow.  And sometimes even therapists recommend blogging; I occasionally visit an ACON (adult child of narcissists) blog which was started because the blogger’s therapist recommended it.

It’s also worth it when you see comments such as this one just posted on Paula’s Pontifications:

To Paula, Anonymous, and others who have described what it’s like to be subject to emotional abuse:

You are putting words to experiences that are most difficult to explain and it is immensely helpful to all of us trying to grapple what we’ve been through and why we weren’t able to understand what was happening at the time; how our vision was shrouded and our judgment systematically deluded by sociopathic influences.

Recognizing that the reactions of others have parallels to our own alleviates feelings of guilt or shame, and also, sharing your experiences helps us realize that we are not alone or impossible to understand and believe.

Thank you all for your efforts! You are making a big difference in the world.

Blogging is an outlet.  The names are changed because it’s not about revenge.  It is exposure, but if the subjects don’t out themselves, no one knows who they are.  (My close friends and some others know who the subjects are and what they’ve done, but they have not read the blogs.)

No, it is an outlet, a way to pour out all those feelings which bottle up inside, without annoying your loved ones.  A reader can read as much or as little as he/she likes, but be helped by whatever he/she reads.

For me, as a writer, blogging is also working through various ways of saying things until I find a gem: a book, a blog post with a thousand hits, a poem.  My blog is a writing journal, where the best way to figure out how to express a thought, is to keep writing it different ways until you find the best one, the best metaphor, the best wording.

I often repeat myself in my blogs as I think of a better or different way of expressing something, an insight I did not have previously, or just something that springs to mind that was not there when I wrote about this a year ago.

I see this in my old diaries as well, where I wrote endlessly about my experiences with Peter, Shawn and Phil until I finally got them out of my system, then later–when writing my memoirs–found these records valuable.  I would come across a passage or poem written 20 years before, and think, Dang, that’s beautiful.

I will write a post which gets a little attention, but not much.  Several months later I’ll write another one on a similar topic, which will get all sorts of hits.  It’s trial-and-error, see what works, what doesn’t, so that if I decide to turn all of this into a published book, I’ll know what to use.

Also, this record will be invaluable one day if I turn the emotions from this experience into fiction.  When writing stories for The Lighthouse, which drew on my college relationships for inspiration, I tried to, for example, write Jenny’s love letter to Scott, but could not write it authentically.

So I pulled out letters I wrote to Peter, and adapted them to my needs.  The result was an authentic-sounding love/grief letter.

If I wish to turn the Richard/Tracy experience into fiction as well, then these blog posts will help me write true emotions which readers can feel and identify with.

We blog because narcissists and abusers get their tentacles down deep into your psyche, so deep that it takes an enormous amount of work to pull them back out again–without damaging the rest of yourself in the process.

It takes an enormous amount of work to peel away the layers of two and half years of abuse and gaslighting, to figure out what criticisms may have been genuine, and which may have been the products of a (Tracy’s) deranged and/or personality disordered and/or bipolar mind (made that way by abuse, then spreading that abuse to everyone nearby).

It takes an enormous amount of work to get through the sadness of losing your closest friend due to betrayal, when everything around you reminds you of this person, so you have to give up beloved music/movies/activities which remind you of this person.

It takes an enormous amount of work for your heart to catch up with your head, for you to reconcile what you thought was a pious man, with the reality of his threatening your husband with physical violence and his almost murdering his little girl; and to do this while being endlessly stalked and threatened by this person because you dared to speak the truth and say it loud.

It takes an enormous amount of work to survive when every day you fight just to keep from stepping in front of a bus, and you fight this solely because your child needs a mother.  (It took me many months, possibly a year, to get past this stage.)

But I see the end coming.  I see the light up ahead.  I see the strength returning.  I’m beginning to stand and walk instead of crawling toward it.

I think it helps to write about it and to have confronted my abusers in this way, to have a church family, to realize my true friends are still there for me and love me, to have reconnected with a few old friends, to have made two new friends, to go from a daily walking/exercise bike routine to strength training at the gym, to buy a bike which widens my range of travel without a car.

It is coming.  I just have to keep going forward.

Maybe my faith will return as well.  Maybe that light is God’s beacon to me, leaving His light in the window so I don’t miss my destination as I fight through the darkness.

(As I titled another post which has long since been taken down, but was written in fall 2011, “The Light is Shining Through.”  I was going to revise it, but forgot about it.  But if you click on that link, you will see the revision I finally made in August 2013.)

Some time ago I answered a comment in which the commenter noted that the feelings surrounding the narcissistic injury still hurt after a considerable period of time.

That has had me thinking about why these injuries hurt us so deeply.  There are many kinds of hurt in our lives and people do mean things almost regularly.  Why do these seem to last longer than others?…

So, you see, there are several reasons why the pain continues.  Like a sore that never quite heals, narcissistic injury can last a long time.

But how do you move on then? …

You can move on with your life, even though the memory of the offense still brings pain. —For the answers to these questions, read Why Does It Still Hurt? by David Orrison.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us learned how to get through the tough times. We have learned to use denial as a coping mechanism. What we fail to realize is that the very method we thought was helping us is really killing us inside…..

When something hurts in life, we typically avoid it. We rarely think of it as something we are meant to learn from. In fact, we immediately try to find a way to get rid of the painful feeling. We run away thinking we can avoid our reality, but what we don’t realize is:

NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY UNTIL IT HAS TAUGHT US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.

We can lie to ourselves or run all we want, but the lesson will keep returning in different forms and manifestations until we learn what it is trying to teach us about our reality.

The very first noble truth the Buddha points out is that pain is inevitable in human beings. It is part of the human condition. We cannot avoid it.

We must accept pain and open our hearts to look at what we can gain by facing it. Only then can we discover that the very thing that terrifies us is in fact a way for us to reconnect with our true self and experience a rebirth.

Facing reality shows you who you are and what is true. Confronting our pain and fear tells us something about ourselves. We must get to know fear, become familiar and intimate with it.

It teaches us something. When we stop running and don’t act out, repress or blame, we encounter our true self. –Lisa E. Scott, Experiencing Your Rebirth After a Narcissist

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