Category: manipulation

Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs

This is jumping the gun a bit, but here’s an e-mail I wrote Jeff on July 22, 2010, after I finally read the threatening e-mails for myself:

Actually, near the end of “The Burning Bed,” I was suddenly inspired to go into the e-mails and find out just what Richard wrote you on Facebook on about 6/28, when we were arguing about NLD and such.

I saw 3 messages he wrote to you that night, including the one about hitting you with a brick and not having been that mad in years and being easily provoked to physical violence.

It was…scary.  It was hard to say if he was actually threatening you, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse. 

I mean, WHY?  What about what you wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

It reminds me, also, of how Tracy blew up a few days later, and that when she was living at our house, there was a time when she got so mad at me that she, according to Richard, almost killed, or could’ve killed me…I forget the exact wording. I don’t know if he meant it literally or verbally.

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.”  Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.  I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her.  And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

These are violent people. And something seems to have been stirring them up, because I don’t know what we could’ve done to inspire the verbal tirades we were getting those few days.

Or what I could’ve said in my e-mail to him, near the end of March, about [the Creeps on IRC], because that also provoked him to write a rather nasty e-mail (the final draft of many).

All I know is that for the past year, I’ve really struggled with getting friendly with Tracy because on some night that I can’t identify, she could’ve attacked me in my own house–for something that seemed to me perfectly innocent.

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times.

I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.  Me going to the hospital.

This has gone through my mind many times for the past year, since it was a year ago that Richard told me about this.  And yet, somehow, *I* am painted as the one who has just been too stubborn or mean to treat Tracy right.

Right now, rather than wishing to have my friend back, I just feel this weird sense of having escaped but still dealing with the traumatic fallout…..

But back to the evening on June 27th, 2010.  All this came while I was reading the last few chapters of Gone With the Wind, which are dark, surreal and depressing.  As I wrote in my review for Mysteries of Udolpho,

It amazes me how, lately, the books I’m reading keep matching my mood.  I read the last chapters of “Gone With the Wind” on the night of a terrible e-mail argument with my former best friend.  I apologized and we tried to patch things up, but it left a pall over the evening, and the next few days as well.

(Incidentally, in an attempt to finally fix things and restore our friendship to the kind and sweet way it used to be, several days later I sent an e-mail–which, unfortunately, got taken wildly out of context and misunderstood, and left me vilified and the friendship in shambles, much like Shirley Sherrod without the later apologies [from Obama].)

At the same time, in between e-mails that evening, I was reading about Scarlett’s devastating last night before Rhett left her for good.

First Melanie dies, just as Scarlett realizes she loves her and Melanie has been her strength.  Then she finds out that Ashley was only infatuated with her, that his true love was for Melanie.  Then she realizes that her own true love is Rhett, and she’s been terrible to him.

She goes out into the night, which is foggy and appears supernaturally terrifying.  Her long walk finally leads her to her safe place, Rhett–only Rhett is fed up and leaving her.

I didn’t know yet about the threatening e-mail Richard sent Jeff.  I didn’t want to lose my BFF, my Frodo.

It seemed the only way I could get anywhere with Richard was to apologize–even though that meant my complaints were tossed aside as if I had no right to make them, while Richard made petulant little remarks to Jeff that we had resolved things, but Jeff already knows.

I was getting the distinct impression, from this and other times, that I was not supposed to confide in Jeff, my own husband, about my problems with them.

Jeff then discussed the e-mails with me, though I did not see them myself for nearly a month.  To calm him down, he sent Richard an apology.  On the morning of the 28th, Jeff wrote to me,

( He tells me that an apology wasn’t necessary.  He says he wants to hit me in the head with a brick, but I don’t have to apologizeI trust when he talks about “Drama”, he’s talking about *himself*. )

It was unbelievable.  It also shows another way that NLDers need to be careful in choosing friends, because if your friend arrogantly dismisses your NLD without knowledge, tells your husband that you just need to push yourself harder, warns you not to mention the NLD to his wife because it could be dangerous, and dismisses your explanation of what you need to help you socially, then this “friend” is no good for you.

Especially if he’s married to a very abusive person who could turn around and rip you a new one because of these social problems which you could not help being born with, which she took personally.

Who could demean, humiliate and belittle you with filthy language and unChristian words for having social problems with her that you could not help.

Leaving you with a huge, gaping wound emotionally, lasting for years because people with Asperger’s or NLD tend to ruminate over things long after other people have moved on.

It was always me who went crawling back.  It was always me who was contrite.

There was no winning with H–not that I was the one making it a competition…far from it.  Rarely did she acknowledge that I had wisdom or insight.

Occasionally we would spar when I began to push back on her superior attitude.  More and more often, there were periods of estrangement, yet there was always that “makeup session” followed by a brief “honeymoon period.”

Yes, those “makeup sessions,” where everything was glossed over or more often simply ignored altogether, never to be discussed!

Those “honeymoon periods,” during which our respective motives for being in the friendship were quite dissimilar–even though a trained therapist would probably conclude that at the time, I was an Invert Narcissist and Codependent–therefore possessing some of the same characteristics as H.

Recently I came across a comment on a message board:  “Sometimes I believe a Narcissist can almost cause these other defects in people who fall for them.”  How true that is!  How insidious it is.  It’s called FLEAS.

Neither of us understood the extent of our dysfunctional relationship, nor did we want to.  We had many things in common.  We had a history together that was unique.

We had many long and deep discussions about spirituality, various esoteric methods, and the history and intricacies of our spiritual community. We had similar music tastes.  We had children the same age. 

We were both married to men who eschewed the spiritual life.  We needed each other (she would probably deny that).  Still, there was an ever-present undercurrent of tension and conflict. —Joyful Alive Woman, “My former [platonic] girlfriend, the cunning abusive narcissist”

But after the apology, it seemed that we were starting to make headway.  I thought he wanted to take a break from me for a day or two, and didn’t say much to him, though I missed him terribly.

Then I pinged him, wondering if we were still “estranged.”

He was surprised and said that was over with already.  We had a conversation that demonstrated that we were still good friends and that he wasn’t angry with me anymore.

He sent me a link to a video, since we often shared music videos with each other from the genres we both liked.  I sent him a heart and a rose on Facebook as a demonstration of goodwill:

After thumbing through my Language of Flowers book and reading that white roses stand for innocence and purity and in no way mean romance or passion, I sent him a white rose for peace.

To show restoration of goodwill, I sent a simple friendship heart, one of those Facebook hearts that people were constantly sending to their friends and family at that time.

(By the way, I have never sent these flowers or hearts to anyone since, when I used to send them all the time to my friends and family, because they were now associated in my mind with Richard.)

I don’t know if he saw the white peace flower, but he posted the heart on his wall saying, “From me Nyssa [sic].”

Then the following morning, July 1, 2010, I woke up happy that our friendship issues were finally resolved, happy for the first time in weeks.

When he lived with us and the day he moved out, he gave me some sweet bearhugs which I took as being meant strictly in friendship, and in gratitude for what I had done to help out his family in their distress.

Therefore, there was no harm either in mentioning them, or in doing them again, including in front of others, including Tracy. 

Especially since a year earlier, Richard wrote to me, “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.” 

I thought Jeff or the neighbors had seen these hugs, as well, and I had felt no qualms about this, because the hugs were completely innocent.

I always wondered why Richard hadn’t hugged me that way since.  Once, in maybe late winter or early spring 2008, I asked him online about them, and he said he’d been holding off because of how jealous Tracy had been acting.

But that was long since in the past, we had been sharing quick hugs in front of Tracy for the past two years, and in that e-mail a year earlier, he said the hugs and “whatnot” are good with her. 

Also, through a signal I had asked for in late 2009, he showed me that Tracy was completely fine with me doing all the things his other friends could do with him. 

In some old posts to friends on a web forum, friends whom I believe he knew in person, he asked them for and they offered “huggles,” showing me that he’s just a “huggy” type of guy.

Yet he still had not hugged me like he did in November 2007 and January 2008, making me feel like our friendship had lost that bond.

I desperately needed reassurance that our friendship was still like it was back in 2007, which I think you can understand after all I’ve described.

His friendship was so special to me because he was my spiritual mentor, my “brother from another mother,” the Frodo/Diana/Ted/Gus I had always wanted.  I was scared of losing his friendship.

Those hugs were like a symbol of our special friendship.  You can see this in the e-mail I wrote him a year earlier, which said,

“Yes, I’ll hug you and such on IRC and you’ll just sit there or scream, when I was hoping for a bearhug back, etc.  You know, signs that despite everything that’s gone on, our friendship is intact.”

So I wrote a Facebook message to him the morning of 7/1/10, reminded him of those specific hugs and said they had meant a lot to me.

I was happy after sending the message, because I knew he would say something like “Awwww, how sweet.  Yes, I remember those hugs” or–like he did to an e-mail I sent him a few months before about how much his friendship meant to me–“You’ve made me cry–like a chick!”

Since he gave me those hugs many times,

and since we had already spoken about them without him acting like there was something wrong with me bringing them up,

and since he had never, ever said they were “verboten” now, and

since he talks like that with his friends all the time,

and since he specifically told me many times that hugs are okay with Tracy,

I expected this to be a perfectly fine topic for an e-mail.

I went on about my day, exercising, doing housework, and the like, expecting the day to be absolutely wonderful, full of caring and friendship.

Then maybe a couple of hours later, I checked Facebook, hoping to see some wonderful little message from Richard.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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


I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband

On June 15, I wrote to my pastor friend Mike,

I finally got my friend [Richard] to talk to me [in Facebook chat].  I was waiting for him to ask what was wrong, since the last message I got from him made me think he’d yell at me if I brought it up again.  But I couldn’t stand waiting and wondering any longer….

I won’t go into boring details, but we talked. He apologized for hurting me [being so mean to me in his e-mail response when I had simply asked to talk with him about something that was bothering me], and we had a long discussion about what was bothering him, and how I felt about such things as what an apology is for.

Turns out his Facebook political messages are part of some political platform thing he’s doing.  For some reason, he made this seriousness part of his personal account, instead of making a separate, “professional” account to go with his position in the local Libertarian party.

AND he never told me.  I, naturally, assumed the same thing Jeff did: that whatever he posts on his personal account is fair game for anything anybody might want to say.

Agree, disagree, tease–as long as you’re not nasty, everything is fine.  Same as on anybody else’s Facebook account.  I find it very confusing and suggested he make a separate account for the political stuff, not go mixing it up like this.  But for some reason, he doesn’t want to.

Another problem is that he is very much the stereotypical guy in how he relates to women.  Jeff taught me that apologies are necessary and not an admission of wrongdoing.  My friend was taught that apologies should be made as little as possible.

And he also prefers bluntness and actually gets upset if somebody doesn’t use it.  He thinks it’s a bad approach, not “assertive.”

I prefer diplomacy, “I” expressions, not putting someone on the defensive, which IS assertive according to the reading I’ve done.  Not being assertive would mean either aggressiveness (treating people like crap to get your way) or passiveness (being a doormat and never saying what you want).

Jeff sometimes helps me with diplomacy, and I figure, he’s a guy so he should know how to talk to guys.  So I was amazed when my friend told me to stop being delicate and be blunt instead, even rude.  To talk to him even if he’s been nasty to me, hit him with a brick.

I just don’t understand why he thinks that’s better and my way is “wrong” or somehow annoying.

Anyway, our friendship is salvaged.  The other things are still annoying, however: the mansplaining, being “right” on pretty much every topic (not just politics), the stereotypical behaviors that make me sometimes wish he were a woman. 

And I don’t know what’s up with his wife.  Normally I get along just fine with wives, but this one is hard to get along with.  (Not just for me, either.  She has a history of not getting along with some of his friends.)

We see so much going on when we’re at their house lately, that I wonder what goes on when we’re not there.  My friend mentioned that when I tried to talk to him on Friday, he was tired of the drama going on in his own house and didn’t want to deal with any more.

I’ve seen so many of my friends get divorced in the past 10 years that I don’t just assume anymore that everything will turn out fine.

It certainly makes me glad to have the marriage I have.  My husband has flaws, but is not afraid to acknowledge them.  He doesn’t understand everything about women, but he knows how to deal with me pretty well. HE has no problem with diplomacy, and even encourages it.

And my son seems to be turning out okay, even though [contrary to Richard] I don’t believe that constant hard spanks or screaming is a good way to raise a child.

(As my mom said once, I shouldn’t be getting any more child rearing advice from Richard.  😛  Or marital, either, for that matter.)

Mike replied the next day,

What one says professionally speaks what they believe personally.  What one says politically speaks what they believe personally.

He knows that he gets more bang for his buck if he posts things on his personal account. On a professional account it would only be likeminded people reading his stuff.

By posting it on his personal page he gets to have people who disagree with him read his stuff too, which I am sure gives him some sort of thrill.  He wants you to become upset and comment on his postings.  It gives him a cheap thrill to know that he has gotten under your skin.

Being blunt is one thing, being rude is another.  Yes, there is a time for being blunt.  If I constantly were making sexist comments, or I was making rude comments about orthodox folks all the time, you might need to say, “Mike, I don’t appreciate it.  Please stop.” [Bolded because I used this approach in my e-mail to Richard later.]

I agree with you and Jeff though.  Assertiveness is speaking the truth with love.  It’s using I statements. Don’t assume that Jeff will know how to talk to guys….There are different species of men.  Jeff and I are one species….Another species is the kind who are aggressive and rude.

Richard told me his political friends were complaining about my posts.  This was ridiculous, because it’s a personal account, and I wish he would’ve stuck up for me instead of blaming me for something I had no way of knowing was a problem.

Making a separate page connected to your personal account is ridiculously easy and free to do, as I later found out when connecting a page to my Facebook for my books.  Yet he refused.

We seemed to have resolved the issues we had up until then, though I didn’t go into how Tracy had been treating me.

That night, I spent eyestrain-causing hours scouring my books and the Web on how women and men relate to each other. 

Most sites and books are annoyingly about love relationships, not friendships, so I had to wade through all the lovey-dovey stuff.  But I gleaned what I could.

On the 27th, after the events of this section, I wrote to Mike,

I keep feeling frustrated….Last night my friend wrote me e-mails that I found very distressing.

He used to be the one I turned to (other than Jeff) who could be the most comforting in times of trouble.  I started confiding all sorts of things in him, deep secrets, that sort of thing, believing he was safe, and hoping to help him understand me better.

But instead I find that he’s gotten these ideas in his head, opinions of me and my behaviors and opinions, which he refuses to deviate from no matter what I say.

Basically, he’s right in everything.  He’s right about politics, childrearing, the habits of introverts, life issues, etc. etc., and he won’t consider my opinions.

He greatly misjudges me in various things and what he wrote in his e-mails last night, was alarmingly OFF.

I spoke with Jeff about these issues, and he assures me that no, I’m not what my friend thinks I am.  I’m amazed because I’ve told Jeff most of the same things, along with many other things that have happened over the years, things which I never told my friend about–yet Jeff has a vastly different opinion of me.

After all the confiding I’ve done in my friend, I find this extremely disappointing and heartbreaking.

It’s hard to know what he’s thinking oftentimes because for whatever reason, he doesn’t respond to e-mails that often, and it’s often hard to get him on the phone.

I had been so looking forward to summer and having more time to call him and get our kids together to play, but now I just can’t bring myself to do it because I’m so disheartened….

He’s supposed to be studying psychology, on the way to becoming a priest.  But I feel he really needs to work on empathy if he’s going to do that.  😛

As you see above, Richard told me he didn’t like my diplomatic way of dealing with problems, that he didn’t want me sparing his feelings, that he wanted me to be blunt and “hit him with a brick.”

So when he sent me that e-mail about NVLD, equating it with Asperger’s, and accusing me of being a “victim,” I decided to honor his wishes and be blunt.  

On Sunday I wrote him an e-mail, and–using Mike’s recommended pattern above–told him I don’t appreciate it and to please stop.

I don’t remember exact wording because I later deleted the e-mail.

But I told him I put a lot of research into NVLD–researched it obsessively for many years, in fact–and to stop acting like he knew better than I did if I had it or not.

I said to stop telling me what to think,

judging me (because of the shy/quiet thing),

trying to change me (from being my own quiet self),

and scolding me for disagreeing with him on things (such as politics or NVLD or food choices).

The anger over these things had been building up for weeks as he kept yelling at me online even when I tried to bring up the problems we were having and how he was making me feel.

Since this was exactly what Richard told me to do, I thought for sure he would write back thanking me for finally “asserting” myself the way he wanted me to.  I thought he would be impressed and respect me. 

I know I felt released and relieved after sending this.

But even though he specifically told me to be blunt, he became furious at my bluntness. 

He denied trying to change me or judging me or calling me a victim or scolding me.  (What do you call saying “I want to strangle you for thinking you have NVLD”?)  

He said I had to get over my hurt feelings–essentially said I had to change my opinions of how he’d been acting–before talking to him again.

He sent an e-mail to Jeff about me “biting hard,” though he didn’t want to “dump” us “as friends,” nor did he want us to “dump” him “as friends.”

Since Richard brought him into this argument, Jeff responded that Richard himself had been “biting hard” of late, and he’d give examples if asked.

Richard responded with an e-mail, dated June 28, 2010, 12:22am, that sounded very much like a threat of assault, highlighted emphasis mine.  A policeman who reviewed it in May 2012, also said it sounded very threatening:

I typed this out three times now, and it would be best if you said to me nothing about your opinion.

I do not want to hit you with a brick the next time I see you, as for some reason I am racing with adrenaline right now like back when I worked for the INS and was ready to open fire on the lineup with rubber rounds.  

I am pumped and psyched out at the moment, ready to fight, verbally and physically.

I have to admit I have not felt this for years, and if could apply it to working out I just might get my metabolism back in line, which would be a good thing.

Problem is I get physically violent easily if triggered.

It’s no excuse and wrong, I admit.  Hence why it would be best if you not say anything.  I am going to jog this off right now.

Cheers!  Contact me this week, and let’s drop the subject.  I cleared it up with Nyssa already anyways.  But you already know.

He hadn’t been so angry in years as he was then?  That seemed ludicrous, considering all the things that happened to make him far angrier in those years than a friend disagreeing with him:

his wife smacking him around,

getting evicted,

wanting to kill the manager for evicting him,

the arguments with Todd.

It was scary.

It was hard to say if he was actually threatening Jeff, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse.

I mean, WHY?  What about what Jeff wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

Richard was incredibly unstable.  Todd also described him later as “unstable.” 

I already knew Richard had a temper problem, but up until now, he kept it in check around me.  Supposedly he was trying to “quell his passions” with the tools of Orthodoxy–but lately, it seemed that his temper and politics had become far more important to him than religion or friendship.

The past few months had shown an entirely different Richard: the old one, the pre-Orthodox one, the agnostic Goth, the Richard who called himself Rlyeh, the one I only heard about in Richard’s stories of his old life. 

I saw Rlyeh once before, maybe 2006, when he decided to stop being Mister Nice Guy and rip into some guys on the Forum, and changed his handle to Rlyeh–but then he turned back into the usual version of himself on the Forum.

However, by this point I had seen several of his online personas:

One, used on Orthodox forums, was pious and gentle.

One, used most often between 2005 and 2009, was middle-of-the-road, charismatic and charming, fun but occasionally biting, sometimes crass, Libertarian, Orthodox, the one I was taken with, the one who seemed larger than life across the Net.

One was a game persona, leader of a certain alliance, of which I was part.

One was purely political, the TEA Partier.

Now in real life he had turned into Rlyeh, the psychopath.

What is this, multiple personalities?  Now Richard was Sybil, too?

The narcissist acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally. This serves to demolish in others their carefully crafted worldview. They become dependent upon the next twist and turn of the narcissist, his inexplicable whims, his outbursts, denial, or smiles.

In other words: the narcissist makes sure that HE is the only stable entity in the lives of others – by shattering the rest of their world through his seemingly insane behaviour. He guarantees his presence in their lives – by destabilising them.

In the absence of a self, there are no likes or dislikes, preferences, predictable behaviour or characteristics. It is not possible to know the narcissist. There is no one there.

The narcissist was conditioned – from an early age of abuse and trauma – to expect the unexpected. His was a world in which (sometimes sadistic) capricious caretakers and peers often behaved arbitrarily. He was trained to deny his True Self and nurture a False one.

Having invented himself, the narcissist sees no problem in re-inventing that which he designed in the first place. The narcissist is his own creator.

Hence his grandiosity.

Moreover, the narcissist is a man for all seasons, forever adaptable, constantly imitating and emulating, a human sponge, a perfect mirror, a chameleon, a non-entity that is, at the same time, all entities combined.

The narcissist is best described by Heidegger’s phrase: “Being and Nothingness”. Into this reflective vacuum, this sucking black hole, the narcissist attracts the Sources of his Narcissistic Supply.

To an observer, the narcissist appears to be fractured or discontinuous.

Pathological narcissism has been compared to the Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly the Multiple Personality Disorder).

By definition, the narcissist has at least two selves, the True and False ones. His personality is very primitive and disorganised.

Living with a narcissist is a nauseating experience not only because of what he is – but because of what he is NOT. He is not a fully formed human – but a dizzyingly kaleidoscopic gallery of ephemeral images, which melt into each other seamlessly. It is incredibly disorienting. —Sam Vaknin

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


Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud

On April 29, 2010, I read in Annie’s Mailbox,

Dear Annie: I’m a 14-year-old girl, and in my group of friends, there is one girl who never talks. “Nicole” sits at our lunch table because she has nowhere else to go.

The problem is, when we don’t invite her to our outings, she starts to cry. We don’t like including her because she’s no fun. I don’t know what to do.

We’ve confronted her many times and suggested many solutions, but she always uses the excuse that she’s shy. I’m — Out of Ideas

This letter burned me up.  It reminded me not just of growing up quiet, shy and introverted, but of being a quiet and shy adult, with people thinking all you have to do is talk more so why don’t you talk more?

The girl who wrote this letter was like so many girls I knew in school.  I wanted to give support to that quiet girl, and tell the world what it’s really like to be like us introverts.

My Facebook was also full of old classmates who I don’t think were mean to me, but probably didn’t understand my quietness.  So on May 4, 2010, I posted on my Facebook,

When I read the letter “Out of Ideas” the other day, I knew how the quiet girl felt, and was so upset I wanted to speak out on her behalf. So I sent this to Annie’s Mailbox:

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if, next year when the lunch schedules change, this quiet girl will be happy to switch tables to a more welcoming and accepting group, and wonder why she stayed with this one for so long.

I’m willing to bet she actually is an interesting person, but these girls never let her get a word in edgewise, and when she does think of something to say, somebody scolds her for not talking enough and she keeps her mouth shut instead.

All that pestering about her not “behaving” properly, saying her shyness is just an “excuse,” and constantly excluding her from fun activities, is probably making her feel like a freak and pushing her further and further into her shell.

The way to draw out a shy person is to ask for her opinion on a subject, maybe make a compliment or two, because maybe she just hasn’t been able to push into the conversation before the topic changed.

Another way is to have some one-on-one time with her, give her a chance to talk. If she’s included in activities, she may surprise them with being a fun person after all.

There is something called “social mutism.” I don’t like the term because it, once again, makes a quiet person feel like there’s something “wrong” with her, instead of just accepting that she has a different idea of when it’s time to speak.

Still, research done into social mutism has shown that pestering and scolding a quiet person is counterproductive. This person needs to feel safe enough to open up, or it just isn’t going to happen.

Also, the extrovert brain has also been shown to work differently in social situations than an introvert brain: The extrovert can easily make small talk, while the introvert simply cannot keep up.

The quiet person may actually despise small talk, but if allowed to mull over an issue, can come up with something brilliant to say. Is quantity really more important than quality?

–A Quiet Person With Lots to Say

On June 25, I posted on Facebook (NVLD=NLD):

I found this on an NLD (non-verbal learning disorder) support forum. It was posted by a parent of an NLDer as an example of what you can give teachers to help them understand your child. I think it’s so awesome, that I’m reposting here.

Much of it sounds so familiar. I wish I could’ve had something like this when I was in school, but nobody ever heard of NLD back then, so I was just the “weird” one that everybody misunderstood.

Two teachers, especially, were very hard on me, and I could never understand why because I was doing the best I could.

Several years ago, I found papers from junior high that reminded me just how much trouble I had in school. I was supposedly smart, but my best efforts resulted in sometimes mean-spirited teacher comments scrawled all over my papers. Whatever the reason why I didn’t number my paper properly, oh French teacher, it certainly wasn’t to tick you off.

There’s another thing I could’ve added, because people in college kept saying I wasn’t assertive, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck they were talking about. The only thing I can think of, is that they mistook my rule-driven inner code of how to treat people nicely and properly, as a lack of assertiveness.

But here is the post, with name removed:

• *** is a bright student, but his slow processing speed means that, at times, he can become overloaded with new material, and appear not to be retaining it. We have yet to find anything that *** has not been able to learn given enough time and a supportive environment. He may take a little longer to grasp something, but once he learns it, he won’t forget!

• *** does not handle novel situations or material well. This manifests as an extreme reduction in his processing speed, and rigidity of thought that can appear to be “oppositional”. Since, by nature, much of what goes on in a teaching environment is the introduction of novel material, this can crop up again and again during the school year, not just at the beginning of the year. ***’s speed increases when material becomes more familiar.

• People with NLD often have problems with both judging time, and with visual/spatial tasks. Don’t be surprised if *** has trouble getting to the right class at the right time for the first few weeks of school. Please be patient with him, this will improve!

• *** is EXTREMELY literal, honest and rule driven. Sometimes things that are said in a joking manner are taken very seriously by him. Try to avoid saying things in jest that you don’t really mean. He often doesn’t “get” sarcasm and often will miss double meanings.

• Please watch for other students taking advantage of him, because he often does not realize it himself. Even if he does, he often doesn’t know how to deal with it. This has become a particular problem since he has become more interested in the “social scene” in the last 6 months.

• If something *** says appears to be a “wise crack” type response, think carefully about his response. Often you will find that it is simply a too-honest literal reply to the question asked. Other times, he may copy something he heard elsewhere, but doesn’t understand that it is inappropriate. We’ve found that if he is told that the response is inappropriate, and is given a better alternative, is he usually quick to comply.

• If *** is being argumentative, it may be that something in the conversation has been misinterpreted. Most arguments with him stem from a basic miscommunication, but he will sometimes become really rigid and “stuck”. In these cases, it’s usually best to just disengage and approach the subject a different way at a later time. If necessary, call in someone who knows him well and whom he trusts to talk through the problem.

• Assignments that include the wording “Choose your favorite” or “What do you like least” will almost always result in *** becoming stuck. Try to word things as “Choose something you liked” or “Name one thing you didn’t like”

• *** is a very hard worker, and avoidance behaviors are a sign that something is very, very difficult for him. He is rarely able to verbalize or even identify what these difficulties are, and we adults have to work together to figure it out for him.

• Many times, even with us, the misunderstanding at the root of a problem with *** is only clear in hindsight. Flexibility and humor are the best tools in dealing with these misunderstandings.

PLEASE feel free to call us any time you feel that you are having trouble.

But now, after all the things I confided in Richard over the years, all my trust in him with my innermost thoughts–

After I posted the above Facebook post, that evening he sent me e-mails talking about the NVLD suspicion as if it were somehow making me a “victim.”  (Do you accuse a blind person of playing the victim because they can’t see?)

He said he always had wanted to “strangle” me for still believing in it.

Apparently I should’ve bowed to his superior knowledge and wisdom back in 2007 when he laughed it off, because after some phone conversations, of course he knew far better than I did if I had struggled all my life with undiagnosed NVLD.

And apparently shaking it off would somehow make me more talkative so Tracy would be pleased.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as I was quiet long before I even heard of NVLD/NLD or Asperger’s.

Rather, discovering NLD in 2000 has meant discovering that I’m not a freak after all, that there are reasons why I have trouble driving, or crossing a busy street, or dealing with an automatic car wash, or talking to people, or knowing instinctively how to handle myself in new social situations like other people seem to do.

It explained why my college “friend” Shawn had so many criticisms of me that didn’t seem to fit or make sense.

It’s empowering to discover that you are not stupid because you don’t understand volleyball.

Discarding the NLD as a possibility would mean taking back on that lead cape of feeling like a stupid idiot and freak because of the problems I had dealing with life.

But apparently I was supposed to abandon all the research I had done into NVLD since 2000–

–obsessive research involving probably hundreds of hours, printed-up websites, books, surveys, and spending time on NVLD forums discovering my stories are like those of so many others with NVLD–

–because Richard said it was wrong.  Or else he would want to “strangle” me.  Such violent wording because I preferred to make up my own mind instead of listening to an arrogant know-it-all.

But for Richard to talk as if I were being a “victim” made me think back over all the things I’d ever confided in him, and wonder my gosh, what the heck did he actually think of me for these things?

I felt like he was judging me for not being an outgoing extrovert like him.  I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore.

Why did he think I didn’t have NVLD and say he wanted to strangle me for continuing to think it and I was making myself a victim?

Because he read in a textbook that it was the same as Asperger’s and he didn’t see any autistic traits in me.

Um, no, while some do think it’s the same thing, there are many differences between Asperger’s and NVLD–autistic traits being one of the major ones.  NVLD is not the same as autism, is closer to Asperger’s than to High-Functioning Autism, and whether even Asperger’s is autistic, is debated:

It is a common mis-belief that individuals with AS are autistic–they are not. AS is a separate disorder and NOT just a form of higher functioning autism (as you will often hear). The deficit in social relationships in AS differ significantly from autism, as does the basis of the language disorder.

You can have both at the same time, with the Asperger’s diagnosis trumping the NLD diagnosis.  But if you have NLD traits and don’t fit Asperger’s, you’re NLD.  (An informative discussion on this very controversy is here.)

Here is an article by a director of neuropsychology which explains the many differences between NVLD and Asperger’s.  Also, from Byron Rourke:

Final Note. Many students of AS and NLD seem to think that they are one and the same. Of course, they are not. Reflections on the relevant sections above and the NLD and Neurological Disease section will show this assertion of identity to be absurd.

So Richard’s claim that he would not diagnose me NVLD because I don’t have autistic traits, was based on a faulty premise.

And I know far better than Richard does what goes on in my head and how difficult social situations actually are, even more so than for a typical introvert.

I felt incessantly badgered by him over the past two years about this, badgered for being shy, badgered for not having the social skills he had, badgered for not thinking the same way he did on this and many other things.  

Rather than assume my social problems were well-meant errors, Tracy would assume they were done on purpose to hurt her. 

Then Richard would scold and, as the one who knew “better” about socializing, lecture me, and say how could I not know these things when even children knew this?  This, by the way, is not the way to get an NLDer to behave the way you think is more socially acceptable.

In fact, the more I learn about NLD, add things to my NVLD page, and participate in NLD support forums, the more convinced I am that I have correctly identified this in myself: a mild or moderate form, but still there nonetheless.

The more I learn about NLD, the more I see things that could have contributed to my difficulties with understanding Tracy and her mysterious, always-changing rules:

  • Were there things I would’ve been able to figure out if I were better able to generalize?
  • Was it the fact that I only considered those things restricted that Richard actually told me were restricted, and didn’t apply it to other things as well?

Or was she crazy-making as an abusive person often does, so that even a neurotypical person would have had trouble with her?

It’s impossible for me to tell, to be honest, because I can see either possibility, especially since I’m not the only person she’s had problems with, or the only person whose friendship with Richard has been ended because of difficulties with her–and they can’t all have NLD.

But I did inform Richard of the NLD, so I did my part in helping them understand me.

(Jeff was told that it would actually be dangerous to mention a learning disability to Tracy because her mother had blamed her own abuses on something she had.  So even though I never abused Tracy, I never mentioned the NLD to her.  But she apparently found out about it somehow, since she ripped on me for it on 7/1/10.  But I did tell Richard what I needed from Tracy to open up.)

If they had taken my concerns seriously, my identifying it as NLD, and my requests for how to deal with it properly, this whole situation could have had a very different outcome.

Also, whether my quietness was due to selective mutism or NVLD or Aspergers–

–or if it’s just that so many extroverts told me over the years that I’m behaving badly by being myself, and made me feel like a freak for being quiet, when it was actually just natural introversion–

–I was not being a “victim” just because I don’t behave the same way as extroverts in social situations.

Scientific studies (easily found through Google) have shown that introverted brains actually differ from extroverted brains.

We don’t speak so much because we have to think before we speak, while extroverts speak to find out what they’re thinking.

We need to listen to what’s being said, then go through our long-term memories for knowledge and experience about the topic.  By the time we’ve done this, the extroverts have changed the topic.

We despise small talk because it’s empty and meaningless and our brain doesn’t start giving us things to say.  If the conversation is in-depth and interesting, then we attend and can speak just as much as anybody else.

So extroverts telling us to “try harder” is actually a form of bullying, because “trying harder” will make no difference whatsoever.

It is impossible to change an introvert into an extrovert, because it’s a fundamental part of who we are, just as much as gender, and cannot be changed, in fact will cause all sorts of frustration to try to change.

We need to accept ourselves as introverts, and extroverts need to accept us as introverts and stop getting upset with us for not being like them!

The world needs both our “kinds,” because extroverts are the doers and introverts are the thinkers.

Everything I read on scientific studies into introversion tells me that my behavior was perfectly normal for an introvert, and that Richard and Tracy trying to force me into extroverted behavior to please Tracy, was a very bad idea, doomed to failure–and without me having to be “stubborn” or “hating” Tracy.

I was truly tired of being scolded or lectured for not measuring up.

I got too much of that from Shawn, that college “friend” who criticized everything about me,

lectured me on how I should be more social/talk more/talk to strangers,

took away the measure of self-confidence I had gained at college from my friends,

and made me feel like a social freak who didn’t dress right or act right or do her hair right or wear makeup.

He apparently saw me as freakish because I didn’t act like a goofy college kid, like I wasn’t worth being his girlfriend because of this.

Then my ex Phil’s friend Dirk talked to me in a similar fashion later on, telling me I’d end up an old maid because I didn’t do the things other girls did “instinctively.”

In my adult life, I got sick of people giving me social advice I had not asked for, such as one person who cornered me and said I should be more “lively,” the random people who said “Smile!” when I did not feel like it, and the constant “you’re so quiet!” remark rather than trying to draw me into the conversation.

I got so sick of it that I wrote an essay about it for the SCA, which was published in a newsletter.

Now here I was getting more of it from Richard, who wondered why I got mad at him for it, and being treated like a creep by Tracy because I wasn’t the kind of person they were used to dealing with in their former social circles back in their old region.

Richard told Jeff that I asked him how to be more social.  But I never did, and can tell you this is nothing I ever would’ve done, not after how frustrated and annoyed I had been over the past 20 years at all the people telling me how to be more social!

“Mutism not only hijacks our words but also our ability to think.  To use the ‘needle on the record’ analogy, the needle gets stuck on the same unpleasant lyric, and we can’t shake it free to move on to the next line.” —Aspergirls by Rudy Simone

Above all, “we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that’s the desired state,” says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you’re not, that’s your problem. –Laurie Helgoe Ph.D., Revenge of the Introvert

Do you ever wish you were an extrovert?

Not really. That may be because my “faking it” skills are pretty good.

But I do think a lot of us are tired of being told that there’s something wrong with us–of this lazy assumption that if you’re not an extrovert, there’s something wrong with you.

I think my article may speak to people in part because of its defiant message. It says, “No, I don’t wish to be an extrovert. Not everyone has to be one. And why don’t you people get it?” –page on Introversion

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, so 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.

In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that his other BFF 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 him to have enough consideration of me to either keep to his appointments with me, or let 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 extensive experience.

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 friggin’ 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.

As I described here and here, I was a lonely person who thought I finally found the Frodo for my Sam.  We had bonded; we were a mutual admiration society; he was my brother, my friend, my BFF.

I loved him with pure philia and agape.

I trusted him with my deepest, darkest secrets, saw him as my spiritual mentor, leading me into Orthodoxy and helping me all along the way.

I saw him as the most awesome person I knew, and he once said the same to me.  I saw him as pious and loving.

We’d been close friends for five years; he was interesting; my life seemed more exciting with him in it.

When I wondered around April 1 if he was really still my friend or not, he reassured me that he loved me like a sister, and often wanted to come visit me–but kept falling asleep instead.

And now…

it began to dawn on me…


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


Richard grows distant and Tracy’s insane jealousy flares up

On April 26, 2010, I posted on my Facebook, “is shaking her head in amazement at some of the conspiracy theories she’s running across lately….”

Richard replied, “If you look for them you will find them.  Any reason you are looking for conspiracy theories?”

I wrote to my husband, “Since he was the reason–I saw on his wall that he’s into a couple of howlers these days–I didn’t reply.  lol”

Then I wrote to Richard, “You don’t even have to look for them to find them.  I see them just reading my FB news feeds.  😉  ”

Then I wrote to Jeff:

He sent me an e-mail saying I might be interested in a certain website.  I went to it; it was your typical nutjob website, explaining that whole thing about the military vs. civil flags.  I wrote back not to put any stock in it, and showed how just a few minutes of digging refuted it.

Then I saw–either on his wall or in my news feed–that he had joined a FB group that refuses to pledge allegiance to the flag.  Wondering why the heck anyone outside Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jihaders would do that, I checked out the group.

I saw the flag website posted there, along with another website telling how the pledge was written by an evil Nazi socialist who had people seig-heiling to the flag and that’s where the Nazis got it.

Just two minutes of Googling brought up a page which simply described the life of the writer: He was a Christian socialist, decades before the Nazis came to power, who loved his country, and he got the so-called seig-heiling from the same place the Nazis did: the Roman Empire.  Apparently lots of countries did it back then.

Like the swastika, lots of people used it until WWII and the Nazis made them into symbols of hatred.  Then they were dropped in favor of other things; in the pledge’s case, putting your hand over your heart.

Two wacky conspiracy theories that get me shaking my head at why anybody comes up with these things–unless, of course, they hate our country. It sounds like the sort of thing an enemy of the US would come up with to rally the suicide bombers.

I noted that the friends Richard was still kind to, that the other people on his Facebook, that the new BFF who seemed to have taken my place in Richard’s heart (Chris), were political conservatives.

They could be sexual harassers and abusers like the filthy creeps in the IRC chatroom, and harass the person who had done his family so much good, given them money, given them a place to stay, given them food, given them other stuff they needed, listened to and sympathized with all his troubles–and he would still be better friends with the creeps on IRC because they vote conservative!

It was quite all right to abuse and bully that same friend who did so much for them, because she sympathizes with liberals on many things, because she does not think socialism is inherently evil, because she thinks anarchy is dangerous, because she looks on the TEA Party with distrust, because she does not think unions are the Antichrist, because she does not like guns or believe in spanking kids so hard it hurts.

It’s disgusting.

I also notice, from the arguments of various conservatives during the current political climate of 2010-2011, that they’ve begun calling people “victims” for looking at where the problems came from and saying that what’s going on is not right.

It sounds remarkably like Richard calling me a “victim” for believing NLD is the source of my social, driving, athletic and other issues!  (More on this later in the chapter.)

Many months earlier, Richard told me that he hates Democrats.  He also grumbled about compromise and ethics as if these virtues were somehow vices.

I tried to tell him that many Democrats are God-fearing people, including a friend of mine who is a very conservative Christian–but that didn’t sway him.  He said after the 2008 election that he didn’t want to hear about anybody voting Democrat, and made noise about voting to kill babies.

It’s ridiculous to vote against one party for one issue, and vote for a party which allows all sorts of oppression against the poor through letting corporations do whatever they like to make a profit.

I had been an Independent for as long as he knew me, with Democratic leanings on some things and Republican on others.

I suppose if our friendship had lasted beyond July 2010 and into the crazyness of 2011 politics in Wisconsin, when Republicans seemed to declare outright war on the Democrats, it still would have ended, because he and Tracy would have been on the side of the TEA Party and the crappy things the Republicans were pulling, while I would have become a Democrat.

Which would mean, to him, that I was somehow voting for killing babies and removing freedoms, when to me it was about voting for the poor and disadvantaged.

You know, people like him.  I voted Democrat to help people like him in a much larger fashion than I could help one such person (or family) at a time.

I wondered how he could be so hateful toward the police and toward political opponents.  I wondered how he could reconcile this with his religious beliefs–

and noticed that he rarely discussed religion with me anymore.

Whenever he called, he kept talking politics with me.  And he began calling less and less, except when he wanted something.

I missed my religious friend.  We were both on the same religious forum online, but he seemed to be using it for political arguments nowadays; he hadn’t even been on it for a year, according to his profile, which tracks such things.

Some post or profile he had somewhere–probably on Facebook or Todd’s Forum, where Richard returned for a time early in 2010–stated that he was taking college courses, but they seemed to contradict his claim that he was heading for the priesthood.

You see, he told me he still wanted to do that, but why would he need to major in Business to be a priest?

He told me he was majoring in Psychology as a precursor to seminary.  The profile said he was also majoring in Business.

I asked Jeff about this, and it was very confusing to both of us.

He also was telling me so little about his life now, that it seemed I had to find things out via Facebook or forum posts or IRC posts to other people–and what he said would surprise me.

One day in late 2009, on IRC I asked him how things were, he said he didn’t want to talk about it, then I went away for a bit with the IRC window still open.

I came back, scrolled back over what had gone on while I was away from the keyboard–and discovered something quite shocking and devastating was happening to his family.

Something he told these people on IRC, whom he possibly had never even met in person–

but not to me, his devoted friend, who was right here in town and–as it turned out–was able to help him and stop the devastating thing from happening.

Basically, I started to get a strong impression that I just didn’t know the guy anymore, if I ever really had, despite all the long, revealing conversations we used to have about our lives and opinions.  

Strange or shocking things he said to me over time, and things he said to others online, began to reveal a huge disconnect between who I thought he was and who he really was.

It seemed like he wasn’t telling me anything at all about his life anymore, his opinions, anything.

While I kept sending him long e-mails about my own life, things that were going on, funny stories, my hopes, my dreams, my past, church, my opinions on religion and movies and such….

We used to talk all the time about all sorts of things, and he told me all about his life and opinions and such.  You know, like any intimate friendship or family relationship.

Now we were talking about very little.  I didn’t even see him on Facebook chat or IRC, when I used to see him there all the time.

He didn’t call anymore, except when he wanted something; if I answered the phone, he might chat with me for a few minutes, then ask if we could babysit the kids tonight or bring over a cat carrier….

But Richard’s increasing distance was not the only problem.  Tracy was also acting jealous again, just out of nowhere, for no reason:

She ranted and raved at me publicly on Facebook in early June 2010 in a jealous rage because I posted to them, “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!”

She posted that they hoped to visit their former state in September, if they could get the money together.  She made no mention of how long it would be.  It would either be all of them, she said, or Richard and the kids.

So I posted, word for word, making no mention of whom I meant, just meaning it generally, “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!”

I expected an “oh, how sweet!” in reply from one or both of them.

Richard posted, “Um, it’s only for a week,” which I thought was not only a strange and disappointing reply from my BFF, but rather rude.

Especially considering that these were close friends we saw all the time either in person or online, not distant friends living in some other city or state whom we were used to not seeing, a week could seem like a long time.  So I wrote, “What difference does that make?  🙂  ”

Which doesn’t seem like a terrible thing to post.  Or even at all odd.

But then Tracy started scolding me in a wall-o-text diatribe for “making a fuss” over a “man going on vacation with his family for a week,” saying you make fusses over missions trips, other long trips, etc., but not over that!






Especially after finding the same wording used on sites supporting victims of abuse.

Shrink4Men calls an abusive woman “the crazy.”  For example, Crazy B**ch the Musical! The Abusive Woman’s Script and Why She Won’t be Different with the Next Guy.  Words like “crazy” and “deranged” are used quite a bit on that site and others to describe abusers.

This is how we victims of our Cluster B abusers, look on our abusers.  If you don’t want us to call you deranged, then don’t act deranged.

But back to the story.

I, who got off Facebook before she replied, was completely oblivious, expecting my comment to be happily received by Richard and Tracy.

I was watching TV when Jeff told me she snarked at me and he stuck up for me.

Before I saw it, I thought for sure she was just making some tongue-in-cheek joke, because that’s the only thing that made sense.

But when I read it, it was so ridiculous and possessive and obviously not a joke that I–rather than post right there publicly what I really wanted to say, and bring on more trouble–removed my pleasant well-wishes from the thread completely.

Jeff stuck up for me, posting, “But we make a fuss over you guys all the time!”

I wanted to say, “Fine, have a terrible time, then.  See if I care!”  But I figured that wouldn’t be a good idea….

Meanwhile, I saw another friend on Facebook post on another friend’s wall, “I’ll miss you dearly [on your week-long trip].  Have fun!”  And the friend responded, “Aw, how sweet!”  GAH!  I KNEW I DID NOTHING WRONG OR UNUSUAL!

Tracy’s behavior was just so BIZARRE. 

With this combined with all the other rages she kept flying into around that time, was she going off the deep end? 

It seemed that with both her and Richard, I was dealing with a couple of nutcases, Richard politically and her emotionally. 

It drove me crazy, and now both of them were snarking at me and bullying me so much online and off that I didn’t know what the heck was going on.

Richard kept telling me how I should live my life, so I identified with this June 1 letter to Annie’s Mailbox:

Dear Annie: Why do people feel the need to offer advice that is unsolicited and unwanted? Isn’t that completely out of line?

A friend of mine sends me e-mails telling me that nearly everything I do is wrong. I have not asked this person for their opinion.

I am not hurting or offending anyone, and I do not welcome the criticism or want her input.  Ultimately, it is insulting. Why does she know better than I do? — Ft. Wayne, Ind.

In the comments on Annie’s Mailbox webpage, you may note that one person said, When a friendship is harder to maintain than a marriage, it’s time to let it go.  That comment resonated in my head after I read it that day.

I posted on June 13 that my church was doing GreekFest, and

I do have some raffle tickets; unfortunately, because of the post office’s crackdown on a federal law nobody knew about, I can’t send them (or collect money) through the mail. So if anybody wants them, we’ll have to meet up in person.

Tracy replied as if we were morons, poking fun at us for not knowing about this, because the Post Office had been publishing this information on the radio for weeks.


Aaaaaaaand…..we’ve known about it for weeks.  The Post Office informed us directly, as it did every other fundraising organization in town, since for decades nobody in town ever heard of this law.  Even the Post Office was not aware of it until now, but sent out letters as soon as they found out.  Your point???

How on earth did her comment even logically relate to what I wrote?  Nowhere did I say that my church only just learned about this today, because it wasn’t true at all.  I merely said nobody (meaning, nobody in the entire town) knew about this before.  As in, during past raffles. 

Is she just reading crap in wherever she wants to so she can make a snark, even when it is totally unrelated to facts or anything a person even said?

It’s also kind of weird because Fond du Lac has no decent radio stations for the under-50 set.  I don’t listen to local stations at all.  It seemed like her snark was mostly directed at me, so–

You can’t expect to reach everybody simply through radio, and it’s pretty stupid to treat someone like an idiot for not hearing ads on stations she never listens to.

I deleted her post, because if she was going to delete my well-meaning posts on her page, which she kept doing, I was going to delete her snarks from mine.

Also, I decided to refrain from posting ANYTHING to her wall–whether replies to posts, “likes,” or anything at all–if she was going to respond to everything I wrote with snarks, no matter what I said or what the subject.

Richard had been posting very insulting messages to me on political posts, as well:

On June 7, I complained on Facebook that I discovered the school sprayed its lawn with pesticide the same day all the kids had a festival outside.  My son told me they were on the grass there at the school.

When a lawn is sprayed, you always see warning flags to stay off it, because it’s toxic.  If it weren’t toxic, there wouldn’t be flags telling you to stay off it. 

And there were flags on the school grounds.

Also, when my condo association sprays our lawns, they send out notes to warn us to keep kids and pets off the grass.  Because it’s POISON.

Other people reacted the same way I did.

Tracy’s response seemed condescending, but surprisingly helpful, and for once Richard’s was worse.

Richard was very condescending, as if talking to an idiot, such as, “I smell paranoia?” and talking down to me, then taking things into his own hands, saying he’d do something I obviously hadn’t done, and calling the school about it.

I resented him pushing himself in like that.

As it turned out, the school said the kids were not on the grass, though this contradicted my son, so I’m not sure who to believe.  Tracy said the school would’ve used a nontoxic kind.  I never heard of a nontoxic pesticide.  Okay, this may be true.

But the condescending and snarky tones they both took with me in response, rather than behaving as FRIENDS would by kindly reassuring me and calming me down, were absolutely insulting.

Also, Richard made comments about dandelions being worse than pesticides, something about splitting a garage floor–even though nobody used pesticides when I was a kid, and people survived. 

I am against pesticides, because dandelions are useful and nutritious herbs, NOT WEEDS,

while pesticides are making lawns more dangerous and hurting the ecosystem.

Seriously, bees are DYING OFF because of this crap.  Monarch butterflies are DYING OFF.  And I can’t let my kid or cat play on my lawn when the condo association sprays it.

Richard could’ve been a lot nicer about it than he was, being reassuring rather than condescending and insulting.  I deleted that entire post.

I was appalled at how they were now both treating me.  

These things also showed, when Jeff and I looked back in July, that it didn’t matter what I did, that Tracy was just looking for an opportunity to go off on me.  

If the 7/1/10 “incident” didn’t happen, something else would eventually have set off her verbal abuse.

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


Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics

Richard was getting into a form of anarchism, and writing on Facebook in 2010 about how horrible cops are, that we should get rid of the police and defend our own families, weird stuff like that.  He wanted us to get rid of various government-run and necessary programs, including public schools and fire departments.

He thought the government was going to force everyone to take the swine flu vaccine in 2009/2010 (which it never did), and he told me he would refuse.

He said that even if his second daughter died from swine flu, he would be sad, but he would resist the government’s intrusion.

(You’d let your own child die to make a political point???!!!)

Chris also posted about the dangers of the vaccine, but my family took it, and we all did fine.

On or before May 5, 2010, Richard made a strange post on Facebook asking do we really need the police?

I wrote–baffled that he would even say such a thing, since a police force is absolutely necessary to keep law and order and investigate crimes–

“Some bad seeds don’t negate the need for a police force to protect the public. That just flies in the face of all reason.”

Jeff and I both got into an argument with him on the wacky stuff he wrote about not needing the police to protect us, investigate crimes, etc.

Richard later claimed that he enjoyed the discussion, rather than being upset about it.  But I was miffed that he wrote in reply to my post,

Reason dictates that we should have the right to protect and defend ourselves.

When the Police require us to have them do it for us, that throws reason out the door and thus requires us to be subject to their inquiry, searches and seizures, their questioning and their actions upon our liberty all in the name of what you would suggest is “reason”.

You see it as the Police protecting you from the criminals.

I see it as the Police are the criminals I need to be protected from.

Ever been pulled over for no reason, your car searched and you are handcuffed in the back of the squad car, all done without the police answering your question of “what am I being pulled over for?”  Ever have that happen to you often enough to make you feel a bit threatened by the Police, especially when they never give you an answer.

How about having them step into your home unannounced and then start asking questions when all you did was wake up on the couch and see an officer there, and you door was locked, and the questions they are asking is about how many kids live there with you.  Experience this, and get back to me.

I wrote to Jeff,

Apparently now my opinion isn’t valid because I haven’t been abused by the police…..I guess having a desire to be safe and a desire for the well-being of my family (and having common sense) doesn’t give me a right to an opinion…..

And Richard said in our real-life conversation at the park a few days later (which would be May 8 or 9, 2010), that (if I recall correctly) he had been arrested more than 100 times.

Er–What?  To both claims–that my opinion was worth nothing because I’d never been abused by police, and that he’d been arrested 100+ times?

For what?  What the heck was he doing to get arrested 100+ times???

He couldn’t claim racial profiling, because he looks like any white guy, and his court records call him “Caucasian.”

If he were black, I would be far more sympathetic.

He is half-white; if his appearance made his other heritage obvious, I would be far more sympathetic.

But he looks like any other white guy.  His hair looks Caucasian; his clothes are not at all “ethnic”; if you don’t know his other heritage, his features look Caucasian.  Nothing about his appearance explains why he’d get pulled over–except maybe if he did something wrong.

When Jeff wrote,

Logic dictates that law enforcement be handled by capable people, and not left to just anyone.

I have had about a dozen encounters with law enforcement professionals from a variety of counties throughout this state, and I have been pulled over multiple times without knowing why.

While circumstances and dispositions varied, I have found police to be professionals doing a job, and when I offer co-operation I find that all my questions are answered in due time.

Richard replied,

I do not find that logical at all. It is illogical to give over our freedoms to a state controlled mafia, whom we neither appoint nor vote for. If we could vote for our officers things may be different.

(State-controlled mafia?  But I thought you liked the Mafia?)

To which Jeff wrote,

If you’re suggesting that some police act in an excessive manner in one way or another – I can see that.  If you’re suggesting that the police need to be held personally accountable for their actions, I’m listening and am inclined to agree.

If you’re actually suggesting that we rid ourselves of a trained police force and instead live in a city filled with 25,000 pistol-wielding yahoos … well, that’s where I draw the line.

I wrote to Jeff on May 6, “I’ve bowed out of this conversation.  It’s just too ridiculous to keep trying to argue the point.”

Jeff wrote to me a short time later, “… and I’m going to leave him alone.  I like Richard, but he’s not a wholly rational person.  I expect something’s happened that has upset him.  Given time, he may get better.”

So much wacky stuff, actually talking about getting rid of the police force and replacing it with everybody having guns to protect their own houses with.  He talked about replacing them with the sheriff’s department, because the sheriff is elected.

But…the sheriff and police have different functions.  Though the biggest difference between the two is that police are for local cities etc., while the sheriff is for the whole county.  So–You want the sheriff’s office to handle all the police work in an entire county???  Talk about inefficiency and backups!

When I wrote that I want to be able to call 911 and get a cop here right away, like the way it is now, he said he’d be able to protect my family himself!

Does he have a siren on his car?  Does he even HAVE a reliable car, or is he, yet again, relying on us for rides?  And how in heck is he going to do that when he doesn’t even answer most of the time when we call?

Just wacky, deranged stuff that flew in the face of all reason, yet he treated Jeff and me like we were being irrational and illogical.

In retrospect, I wonder if Richard was truly becoming unhinged, due to TEA Party and anarchist friends, a chronic state of sleep apnea, taking care of four children, and dealing with a wife who yelled at him all the time and sometimes smacked or punched him….

I came across a site called–maybe he referenced it, I forget–that said the same stuff he did.  He also got very hateful toward soldiers, and both my brothers had been soldiers, one of them even going to war!

Richard said I should cut up my credit card and pay it off (a laughable prospect until Jeff could find a better job after he lost a good-paying job in the recession) because banks were soon going to go to something like 80% interest.


That was 2009/2010; here it is 2016, and my rate is still around 10%.

Chris talked about some kind of apocalyptic economic collapse coming in 2010, and how he wanted to buy a farm and live off the land because that would be the only way to survive.

Hasn’t happened.

Well, he moved to a farm.

Richard told me in 2010 that Obama was getting a military force in place around Iran, because he wanted to start a war there. 


It’s 2015–where is this war with Iran?

The very fact of Obama’s negotiations with Iran in 2015, even against the objections of Congress, proves this to be yet another unfounded rumor.

Yet Chris and Richard called dissenters “sheeple.”

From what I’ve seen on the Net, a lot of this is coming from sources such as Glenn Beck and militia organizations–hardly reliable sources.

Richard’s politics got so strange that I wondered how someone of such high intelligence as he claimed, could fall for these things.  Todd has also wondered this.

Chris was also into the birther and 9-11 conspiracy theories, against vaccines and fluoridation–

–and posted strange things about the Illuminati and New World Order and international bankers running everything and such

–things I hadn’t believed since I stopped watching Pat Robertson back in the early 90s!

(For a sane debunking of such things, see the 5-part The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols, and the Slacktivist, who connects these things to Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series, since LaHaye was a member of the fanatical John Birch Society.  Also here, here, here, here and here.  And here and here.)

Chris even began posting about Facebook persecuting users who used the board for political reasons, and joining with the CIA to keep an eye on people.

Meanwhile, Richard told me things like, when Obama started his term, “We’ve woken up in a different America than we did yesterday,” that Obama was doing shady things, the government was trying to take over our freedoms….

He posted a blog in 2009 comparing Obama to a Soviet officer based solely on a striking facial resemblance.

From what I recall, he enjoyed Photoshopped pictures that made Obama into the Joker (the Dark Knight, Heath Ledger version) or some other such horrible thing.

It was disgraceful.

Read here about the John Birch Society, its beliefs, and its connection to Fred Koch.  All these conspiracy theories are here, along with the desire to abolish the Federal Reserve–and the Koch Brothers have been shown to have connections with the current TEA party-backed governor of Wisconsin and with the TEA party itself.  (Also see here and what Koch Industries has to do with the global warming debate.)

The paranoia coming out of both Richard and Chris was insane.  All this Bircher conspiracy crap being spewed out by Richard and Chris was, to them, the “truth,” and people like me who did not believe it, were somehow deluded and (in an allusion to Neo in the movie “The Matrix”) had taken the wrong pill.

Somehow I was “sheeple” and a “socialist” who didn’t believe in or care about the freedoms Richard would die for.

Meanwhile, Richard, with all his claims of intelligence and being able to tell when a politician was lying, was taken in by all of this.

While I rejected it years ago when I woke up to Pat Robertson’s lies and stopped watching “The 700 Club.”

As I told my friend Mike in spring 2010, I knew two TEA partiers, and wanted to be able to tell people that the TEA partiers are not as wackadoodle as the media portrayed them, but sadly, I could not.

I based my opinion on the TEA party on what these two people posted on their Facebook and told me via phone and chats, NOT on the media.  Todd also saw Richard as going off the deep end, and tried to reassure me that not all Libertarians are like that.

These things were not at all what I would want in a priest, who should be far more politically neutral, and is forbidden to run for political office.

I certainly agree with this article, Religious Right Must Not Set Agenda for Orthodox Church.

And I was beginning to wonder if Richard’s interest in religion had been supplanted by his fervor for extreme right-wing politics, that apparently wanted to dismantle government and build some supposed utopia where everybody does whatever they want and has lots of guns to defend themselves with.

And I wondered if this was why he no longer called me except when he wanted something, if this was why he had cooled to me, because I did not believe his conspiracy theories.  No, I did NOT use words like “wackadoodle.”  Those words began popping into my head later on, after I saw the destruction these theories caused in our friendship.  As I usually do when interacting with people (and not diaries), I bit my tongue.

He also told me all sorts of stories about Clinton, Bush and Obama, things which because of his background he supposedly had the inside scoop on.

I believed him, of course, though when I tried to verify these things, I scoured the Net and found nothing.

On the contrary, it seemed that these things may not have happened at all.  He, of course, told me these things were being kept off the Net, and he refused to post about them himself on the Net because he didn’t want government officials showing up at his door.

So these things could have been true, or they could have been tall tales told by a narcissist, but I have no way of knowing either way.

A very telling incident, however, was when he told me, before the 2008 election, about a video with Obama which was appalling enough to change how I voted.

(Though I fixed that mistake in 2012 by voting for the right guy this time: Obama.)

He told a Wisconsin pro-choice group that he would force taxpayer abortion funding, or something like that (it was 5 years ago, so I forget).

I later checked into it, and he never actually did this; it was just stump-promising.

This video did indeed exist, but whenever somebody tells you something like this, you’ve got to see it for yourself.  But when I asked Richard for a link to this video, he got offended at me for not believing him without seeing it!  So I had to Google it.

Richard always seemed to have all sorts of stories about various organizations, even proof that the Free Masons were as shady as people think they are–proof which I never got to see, of course, but which he claimed to know through various connections and personal experience.  This, of course, made him seem even more awesome, back in 2007.

On the weekend, just a few days after our argument on Facebook about the need for police, we had that birthday party at the park, which I mentioned earlier.

I had just gotten through an illness so bad that it scared me for a time, made me afraid for my life, because I rarely got so sick.  It seemed to give me a new perspective on life, just as going through labor had done, with all of its frightening complications: I didn’t want to take crap from anyone, but fight for things to be right.

I felt sad through the whole party, staring out at the lake, feeling like I didn’t belong there, didn’t want to be there, like it was all falling apart.

I was miffed about the way Richard ripped on me during the police argument, and I thought he was angry with both Jeff and me, though he now told us he actually enjoyed the discussion.

But I felt sad, as if I felt our friendship slipping far away and I had no idea why.  Why was he being so mean to me lately?  Why did he only call when he wanted something?  Why was it so hard to get him to respond to e-mails?

Once, Tracy wanted to talk (using her words to tell me this for once).  She called me “buddy.”

I looked at her warily, because it was hardly characteristic of her to call me that.   What did she want?  Was she being sarcastic?

(As I mentioned before, though we got things sorted out a year earlier, she never really lost her snarks and general prickliness–and now she was starting to get bad again.)

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