Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager

I knew bits and pieces of Richard’s past, which I thought were all behind him now, tamped down by religion.  But other things came out that showed his own violent streak, appalling ideas of what is “justified” behavior in certain situations, things that violated Christian principles, violent things that made my hair stand on end.

One thing was, that if his wife ever cheated on him, it was okay for him to assault the guy.  We watched The Apostle, during which Richard said that if his wife cheated on him, he’d take a baseball bat to the guy just like Sonny did.  This statement chilled me to the bone, and I told him he should never do such a horrible thing.

Another time, we were chatting on the phone and he made comments to the effect of, if he found his wife in bed with another guy it would be okay to commit murder.

I was amazed that a pious Orthodox Christian who wanted to be a priest, would say such incredibly wrong things.

According to the Annies in their March 11, 2011 column, threatening to kill guys who sleep with your wife is controlling and manipulative.

Also note what the Highlander said about this issue in the sixth-season episode “Justice”: A man (Armando) killed his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together.  The wife, Elena, was the adopted daughter of an Immortal, Katya, who now wants revenge because Armando was acquitted at his trial.

Duncan says to Katya, “Killing’s not the answer….The emptiness you feel won’t be filled by anger.  Or revenge, or hate.  Armando’s death will just leave you feeling emptier.”

In another scene, when Armando says he loved Elena, Duncan says, “So much that you killed her?”

Armando says, “You weren’t there.  You didn’t see them!  Castillo was my protege.  He was like a brother to me.  With my wife.”

Duncan says, “So they had to die because you got your feelings hurt.”

Armando: “No.  There was no thought.  No plan.  The courts understood.  It was a crime of passion.”

Duncan: “It was murder.  And you beat it.”

This episode may be fiction, but the lesson it teaches is real: Crimes of passion are still crimes, still murder.  And no one has that right, not even a wronged husband.

This is what Orthodoxy teaches.  Anyone who claims such a right has no right to be an Orthodox mentor, whether as a spiritual father, informal mentor and friend, or priest.

There were a lot of revelations the first couple of weeks of June 2009.  On June 1, I learned about the hypnotism.  A little more than a week later, we had the revealing talks that both shocked me and (I thought) fixed everything.

In the middle, on June 5, I learned that, some 20 years ago, Richard’s girlfriend and best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels.  They made him their “goomba.” 

He hung around with goombas, or thugs, who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information “in a not-so-friendly way.”

The Russian and Italian mobsters had nicknames for him, which I won’t name here for safety reasons.

Since it involved jewels, not drugs, he felt he did nothing criminal–or which should be criminal, according to the Constitution and free market principles.  He never “killed” anyone while doing this goomba stuff.  

He ran these jewels between L.A. and Las Vegas.

Not only that, but he openly and freely shared it, did not see it as a secret.  He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.

He didn’t seem at all repentant about helping the Mafia

The Mafia! 

Dangerous people, the kind who would kill a toddler!  Especially being involved with them as a Christian:

In Sicily, the birthplace of Mr. Rizzuto’s Mafia, some Church leaders have called for a tough stand. This summer, Bishop Antonino Raspanti said convicted mobsters would be refused a funeral, declaring:

“Being a Christian is incompatible with having links to Mafia organizations.” —National Post

Richard justified it by saying his mother knew about it and didn’t seem to care, he did this while at Bible college (!), and he did worse things when he worked for the government.  He said Clinton’s government did terrible things that nobody knows about (which I won’t divulge here without proof other than his word for it).

But there were these hints at illegal activities when he was a Mafia thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.

All this was in an IRC conversation, most of which I printed (the first part, unfortunately, vanished before I could print it).  I like to remember what I can about my best friends, save Internet chats and e-mails, as a personal diary.  I used to print up ICQ chats with friends.

However, I did not see this as cool, like I did the hypnotism: It was startling, shocking, baffling.  How could he not see this was wrong?  Still, it was part of my BFF’s history, and worth remembering.

Now, I see it as proof that I did not imagine this conversation.  In 2012 I thought maybe Richard was pulling my leg–but then Todd spoke of Richard’s past as a “mobster” and “mook,” gave me more details.

The next day, Richard called and said they were being evicted, that he was furious with the apartment manager.

He made it into a personal offense, and had some ideas about why.  But it was probably because they trashed the place, left cigarette butts all over the yard in front of their apartment, were unreliable with the rent, and kept having domestic disputes.  

(He told me a couple of months before that they had been “at each other’s throats” for more than a month; somebody could very well have reported this to the manager or the police.)

He said he was going to kill the apartment manager while she was in her office, do it so she’d never see who it was, “And I’ll make it look like I was never there.”  Because of his past as a Mafia thug, he knew how to do this.



This pious, righteous guy who wanted to be a priest, whom I saw as my spiritual mentor, was telling me all this???!!!

I cried, “It’s my duty as your friend to talk you out of this!”  I tried and tried, and begged, “Talk to your priest before you do this!”

He chuckled and said, “I’ll talk to my priest after I do this.”  Then the kids did something, or his wife wanted something, so he had to hang up.

While I was still reeling from this and thinking what the–

He called back again. “My wife won’t let me do it,” he said.  She told him to use his words to persuade, which he’s so good at doing.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  If he had gone through with this horrible deed, I’d have to call the police.  It was my duty to warn the police before he did it, or legally I’d be an accomplice, and that woman’s blood would be on my hands.

I thought these things were in his long-ago past, that he was sorry for his past violence, that he was now sweet and gentle and wanted to be a priest.  But this…?

It was quite baffling the things both Richard and Tracy either said to me or did in front of me, apparently confident that I wouldn’t call the police or CPS:

Richard told me things like this, and violent things his wife did.

Tracy whacked her little toddler on the back of the head right in front of me, began spanking and screaming furiously at two children who did nothing wrong, right in front of me!  Didn’t she realize I could’ve called the police on her for this?

Didn’t either of them realize that when Richard told me he put his children in the closet once, that when Tracy abused her children right in front of me, if I couldn’t convince them these things were wrong, I was honor-bound to report them to Social Services?

If they did these things in front of me, what did they do when I wasn’t around?  Since I lived behind closed doors with them for a month and a half and Tracy controlled herself well enough not to punch Richard, but he told me she whacked and punched him about a year later, this showed she could control herself around me.

Richard became so closed-off about his life, that it’s entirely possible–or probable–that things were much worse at home than he ever told me.  I’d see them once a week or so, getting cutesy with each other, being mostly controlled–though not controlled enough, because Jeff and I both noticed things that looked very wrong.

But I knew very well what I had seen and what Richard told me.  I kept hearing over time that things were hidden from me.  It makes you wonder what else was hidden.

Not only were they hiding things from me, but my own family had done this as well, hiding a huge chunk of my parents’ life from me while my brothers knew all about it.  When the truth finally came out, it was devastating, shattering the image I had always had of my father, of the values taught in my family.

Now here it was being done again, with Richard and Tracy hiding things from me.  How could anyone not turn paranoid in this situation?

(The incident involving my father was also a bonding experience for Richard and me, as far as I was concerned.  Even though I e-mailed my college friends about everything ever since I left college, instead of talking to them, I called up Richard and told him everything that was going on, all the secret things that I didn’t feel I could tell others.

(He and my priest were my two confidantes outside the family.  This was during Lent 2007, before I even met Richard in person.  That’s how close we got before we even met.)

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


More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare

Note: This is one of my most popular posts.

Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.

The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect

Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.

Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.

When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.

You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized

Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….

How is this relevant to the topic of narcissism? I am convinced that the narcissist has learned intuitively how to hypnotize people….

Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.

I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power….

The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions. –Anna Valerious, This is your brain on hypnosis

(The first comment on the above blog post also links the commenter’s research on covert hypnosis to what the narcissists in her life did to her.  The site is now down, so go here.)

There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes.  But he kept staring.  (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)

He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life.  I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.

Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.

When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here.  When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:

The Narcissistic Stare

The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.

The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.

A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.

Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.

Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2

1. Narcissistic Stare

Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissist’s Stare

It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”

They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…

Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….

The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.

However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….

Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”

I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…

Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.

Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others. –PND, The Stare of the Psychopath: What Lies Behind Those Eyes?

The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages.  Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …

Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”

It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look.  Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.

Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.”  Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …

Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths

So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.”  Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is!  You kiss pieces of wood!”

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 says he hypnotized me without my knowledge

Note 2018: This is one of my most popular posts.

Richard was a Pentecostal preacher for a short time after college, a rising star whom some televangelist wanted to get into that line of ministry, before Richard left the church for a time.  But he admitted to me that he faked speaking in tongues for his congregation.  So he knew how to deceive.

Also, one day in 2009, Richard told me that he once knew a hypnotist who taught him how to get girls to dance with and date him, by hypnotizing them without their knowledge.

He said he hypnotized me as well!  I think it was the next day when we had this conversation on IRC, on June 1, 2009 at 4 in the afternoon:

Me: So–How do you hypnotize and what are your purposes (since you’re no longer trying to pick up chicks)?

Richard: How do I hypnotize?  Magick.

Me: Oh, come on.  🙂  Is it an eye thing?

R: Yes.

Me: I do remember one time when you seemed to be staring me down….

That was the possible narcissistic stare described in the next section.  It happened in August 2008 while we watched The Apostle and talked about life in fundamentalist Protestant churches.

Me: But other than that, I don’t recall anything unusual…..

R: It’s an eye thing, as well as many different semantics.  Also, questions.  A lot is in how you say things, not just with what I say…

Each gesture, movement and comfort you have towards the person initiating contact makes the process easier.  In essence, a handshake….

I unintentionally get you to open up. A few times even when you did not want to.  I hit resistance.  But I pressured just enough. 

You do not remember because it was all conversation, nothing more.  The only thing I do is bring a picture about that you travel though, in your own mind.  You are able to recall things easier though.

Now I can bring about an Alpha Trance.  I was also trained to do that.

He did not do that to me; an Alpha Trance is when you’re put to “sleep.”  He used conversational-style hypnotism on me.

Narcspeak: “I can change the tone of my voice and convince anyone of anything.
Decoded: Truth! He’s admitting he hypnotizes, mind controls, uses NLP and does whatever he wants with people’s hearts and minds. And he’s proud of it (can we say SOCIOPATH?)–Lisa E. Scott’s “Narcspeak

As I can see in the rest of the conversation, at the time it all sounded totally cool.  He made it sound benign.  Said he was doing it to help and not “hinder,” or break me down.

But now–especially after discovering that many people use these mind control techniques without another’s knowledge, and for what various purposes–it’s manipulative.

What did he get me to say?  When did he use it?  As you see above, he did it at least several times, a few times getting me to open up to him even when I did not want to.  And I never had a clue.

Is this why I was so easily led by anything he told me?  Why I believed and trusted him even when I shouldn’t have?  Why I became his acolyte of sorts, not just influenced spiritually, but in other ways as well?  Why I followed him so easily into behaviors which led to my downfall?

It may not be magic, it may have the best of intentions, but how can I be sure he told me the full truth about why he used it, when I can’t even remember him doing it?

I think this was part of grooming me into various things: getting me to trust him, keeping me around as a valuable narcissistic supply because of my generosity and intelligence, influencing me into accepting his line-crossing behaviors as perfectly normal and natural, basically setting me up….

Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior….

Grooming can feel exhilarating – at first. The predator employs attentiveness, sensitivity, (false) empathy and plenty of positive reinforcement to seduce their victim.

For their part, victims can be so enthralled with, or overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving; they will often overlook or ignore red flags that might alert them that the person who is showering them with that attention is somehow “off”.

Little by little, the abuser breaks through a victim’s natural defenses, gains trust, and manipulates or coerces the victim into doing his/her bidding.

The victim finds themselves willingly handing over money or assets, engaging in inappropriate, illegal or morally ambiguous activities, or acting as a proxy for the abuser, fighting the abuser’s battles, and carrying out their will.

The victim often feels confusion, shame, guilt, remorse and disgust at his or her own participation. Equally powerful, is the panic that comes with the threat of being exposed for engaging in these activities.

There may also be an overwhelming fear of losing the emotional bond that has been established with an abuser. The victim becomes trapped, depressed or despondent. —Grooming

Is hypnosis real?  The Mayo Clinic says so.  While the effectiveness of covert hypnosis is debated, there is some evidence it’s for real.

I know I can be hypnotized because my childhood psychologist hypnotized me once, and my boyfriend Peter hypnotized me a few times with his ninja training back in 1991.

I know I can be hypnotized because, even though it doesn’t feel like I’m “under” at all, and I’m conscious the whole time, when coming out of it I feel like I’ve just been under.  And Peter made me forget things, which I didn’t remember until he reminded me of them.

But of course, my psychologist and Peter hypnotized me because I wanted them to.

First Richard said he did it without meaning to.  Then later he said he had stopped doing it.  So–can he or can he not control it?

This undetected hypnotism is manipulative, and makes me think of Svengali or Rasputin.  Especially when I find information about this very technique on the Web, and read things like this:

Conversational techniques help even a stranger open up to you. With this powerful hypnosis you can quickly build up a rapport with a stranger who can reveal many inner things and you can easily instruct her to do things your way.

It is important to constantly smile while performing this way of hypnosis. Look straight into her eyes and maintain the contact for two seconds while you remain confident.

You may now shift your eyes but keep the smile.  This will put the girl at ease and while you perform hypnosis successfully. Start with some smart talk and keep appreciating and showering her with sweet words.

Once you build a sexual rapport, the girl is yours and you know what to do. —Conversational Hypnosis Techniques for Seduction

Richard did have this magnetism about him that I couldn’t explain, especially with his hygiene issues and how he had really let himself go.  It seemed to constantly catch men and women in its tractor beam.

The websites and videos I find about hypnotism and influencing people, talk about how to make people love being around you by reflecting to them what they’re like, what they want to find in a friend, and doing various other things that pull them to you.

But when he told me about this, it was more than a year later, and it just sounded cool.  I trusted him too much to suspect he was not telling me everything.

But now, I do suspect.

Even now I have trouble breaking free from the spell he wove.  I keep thinking of the good things, and have to remind myself of the bad things, why Jeff and I broke off the friendship.

Below, more pages about this kind of hypnosis, showing why I find it appalling that he used this on me.  They talk about such things as making a person “addicted” to you through hypnosis.

I was addicted to Richard, which is common among those who are caught in the web of a narcissist, not just those who are romantically involved but platonic friends, co-workers, and the like.  And these pages show how such a web could easily have been woven through these techniques:

Conversational hypnosis: how to hypnotize women
Using NLP Hypnotic Language Patterns
Put Girls Under Hypnosis In Three Easy Steps
Conversational Hypnosis Tricks

The science of hypnotizing others without someone being aware of it is all about the art of subconscious communication. Whatever may be your motive behind it, you can use the phenomenon of subconscious mind control to effect a marked change in the way others view you and respond to you, leading to their acting in the manner you want them to do….

Arouse pity in others: It has been observed that when feelings of pity, mercy and sympathy are stirred in people’s hearts their crystallized egos melt away, leaving them vulnerable to your influences.

One of the ways to bring it about is to use your power of imagination to invent a pitiable and pathetic condition for yourself and confide it in them. An instant rapport will be established between both of you enabling you to implant your suggestions. —How to Secretly Hypnotize Someone in 3 Minutes Or Less

“Yes, Thomas! I Want To Learn The Secrets Of Controlling Others And Make Them Do What I Want With Conversational Hypnosis!”–Conversational

I Also Reveal How To:…’hypnotize’ seemingly ordinary people to follow you simply because you have an attractable presence they’re almost addicted to. —The art of covert

I have developed a way to get women to imagine “doing sexual things you with you” and doing it by directly saying it to her (but smoothly removing yourself from the picture where you’re there–meaning she’ll unconsciously associate those things with you, but to her conscious mind, you aren’t there.

This technique is astounding and even funny. Hardly anybody ever notices that you’re doing it. –Nathan Blaszak, Secret Seduction Techniques

If you are the hypnotist you should maintain eye contact with the subject for just a couple of seconds longer than normal and then shift your eyes away.  This should be frequently repeated during the conversation and will lead to arousing primal thoughts in her mind making her open to being seduced….

Mirror and match her gestures during the conversation….She will experience a strong feeling of familiarity and will want to be close to you….You can also try matching speech patterns and posture. —How to Hypnotize Women

Weasel Phrases come in two forms both useful in covert hypnosis: 1 – A combination of words that when put together form another word in the middle that is not perceived by the conscious mind, but is heard by the subconscious mind. …

2 – A “set up” phrase which is used to set up the following command as a powerful suggestion. –Learn to Use Covert Hypnosis; page has disappeared from Web, but a snippet can still be found here

One site–which unfortunately I didn’t copy down and am having trouble finding again–talked about telling stories and making suggestions about things that get her subconsciously imagining doing these things with you.  And Richard did occasionally make remarks that were “TMI” or brags about his sexual prowess that sound very much like this.

I wondered at the time if he told me these things to get me curious.  I still wonder.  And with his past as a self-professed dog with women, it was possible–even with his now-religious persona.

Of course, I can’t be certain this was on his agenda.  He could have just been using hypnosis to get me to open up about things I didn’t want to talk about.  But it’s still manipulative, either way.  And I know that the “other” agenda was on his mind when he used this technique to get girls to dance with him.

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


My Friend Richard, the Narcissist

For his own part, Richard neglected to call when he said he would, and kept changing plans at the last minute, for everything from picking up his stuff to family get-togethers–but if I objected, it was my problem.

Once I e-mailed asking him to please send me an e-mail with an apology and explanation if he couldn’t call/come over as he’d promised–just a simple, “I’m sorry I can’t/didn’t call; I was tied up with a family crisis”–but he acted as if I were being silly, paranoid.

And he didn’t do it, just kept blowing me off and leaving me hanging all day or night, waiting for his call, putting off other things I could’ve done, as if his were the only time that mattered.

(But then in 2010, I saw him post that same message on Facebook to some politician he was supposed to call and didn’t.  So–Political connections are worth simple courtesy, but not me?)

He’d treat me badly online one day, then be sweet the next in person.

I kept feeling like something was wrong, but then I’d talk to him and everything seemed all right again.

He was very charismatic, drawing all sorts of male and female followers to himself, the phone constantly ringing from some old friend or a new friend he’d picked up on the Internet.  (At least, it rang all the time when he lived with me.)

He kept converting people to Orthodoxy just by talking about it, but denied trying to.  He claimed to have been quite a womanizer in his past, that all the guys in high school hated him because their girlfriends wanted to date him, to still have women chasing him all the time.

He was very arrogant, and admitted it.  He name-dropped so much that I often wondered if half his stories were true:

He seemed to be connected to big names in Hollywood, religion, Goth music and politics;

to have done every activity that could be interesting (such as Goth clubbing, moviemaking, ghost hunting, scriptwriting, even making a movie that was popular locally);

to be some way involved in movies that had been released;

to have family members connected to the Illuminati or a Nazi (though the Nazi was probably true);

to have a family member working on an amazing discovery that would revolutionize the world;

to know all sorts of secret things about political dealings.

It seemed like every time he Googled a religious subject we discussed, he discovered it was linked to someone he used to know or was related to.

He claimed a hypnotist friend taught him how to hypnotize.  He spoke of his high intelligence and ability to tell when someone was lying–though, of course, the material on covert hypnosis also says you can tell when someone is lying to you or trying to hypnotize you.

Todd confirmed that Richard was in the Mafia and used to be a preacher.  But I could not verify most of the stories, which Richard told me were not on the Web because the government wouldn’t allow them to get out.

His story of his brother getting a huge salary for an invention–So why is this invention still a dream of the future, when Richard told me it would revolutionize the world soon–back in 2007?

Why do I find that lots of people have been involved in developing this invention for decades, not just one guy around 2007? 

Then he tells me that the invention won’t come out because Al Gore won’t allow it.  Why would Al Gore block it, when this invention continues to be developed by companies all over the country? 

And biggest of all, I ask why doesn’t this brother help Richard with his dire financial straits, and get told that his brother isn’t actually making that money yet–so we give them a large sum of money?  That, there, is a big sign that these people were conning us.

I discovered a potential lie: about his weight.  I know a guy, a friend of a friend, who incidentally, Tracy worked with in the past.  He’s Richard’s size, but told us a much larger weight.  Richard admitted to getting that high, but the weight he gave me was almost 200 lb less.

When the friend of a friend gave his weight, a couple other guys at the party gave theirs; they were much smaller than Richard, yet the same number he gave me.  Then the court records said a number in between.

So with all the lies I’ve caught him in on small things, I wonder how many of the wild stories are also lies.

I have also caught him in a lie which was easily investigated: In 2010, he told my husband and me that he once met Siouxsie Sioux after a concert.

He was always name-dropping like this.  He said she was so short and tiny that he knew he could never date her (if such an option were ever open), because at 6’5 and several hundred pounds, he could break her easily.

Well….One day I googled her height.  The woman is six feet tall!  She’s taller even than his wife, who is several inches shorter!

When I was mad at him for something, he got so charming I couldn’t stay mad at him for long: He could just give me a puppy-dog look and the anger melted away.  Or he’d talk to me about it over the phone.

I thought it was just because of our close friendship, but now it seems more like covert hypnosis.  In fact, a certain old picture of himself seems to have the same effect–something about the angle….

Male and female friends spoke of him in glowing terms and wanted to be with him.  It was like a spell he wove, and I got caught up in the headiness of it.

When he found another friend in town, Chris, it felt like Chris and I were assistants of the Doctor, since we were both friends with such an awe-inspiring person.

But I thought I was a special friend to Richard, that we had bonded in one of those rare platonic friendships that are very close and lifelong–a Frodo/Sam type thing.

In short, he was bigger than life, and special to me.

But there was a dark side.

He would tell me how I should run my life, then act all offended and angry if I called him on it, saying either that he was doing no such thing, or that I had invited his advice by telling him about my problems.  (Uh–no.  That’s called sharing.  It’s how you grow closer to your BFF.)

The more time passed, the more it felt like with either Richard or Tracy, I could say or do nothing right because at least one of them criticized it–even posts I made on Facebook.

It seems I was dealing with two kinds of narcissists:

  1. Tracy, the malignant narcissistic abuser and/or Borderline Personality Disorder, the high-conflict person.
  2. And Richard, a more benign but still maddening narcissist, who pulls you into his web so you don’t want to get out, idealizing you and then devaluing and discarding you over time.

Mutual friend Todd says Tracy and her whole family are “nuts,” that you don’t find that out the easy way.  He said that one day she’ll go off on you and get Richard to help and it’s all over.  He said that Richard has lost other friends because of her.  This matches what I’ve witnessed and what Richard has told me.

While he lived with us alone, Richard called me his “dear, sweet Nyssa.”  Now, sometimes he treated me like his best and dearest friend, and sometimes he devalued and discarded me.

It kept me on my toes, always wondering how he really felt.  I recognize most of the signs on Psychopaths & Love’s How to tell if you’re being manipulated.  For example:

  • Sometimes s/he gives you a lot of attention and love, and sometimes he gives you the cold shoulder for no reason. You’re left wondering what you’ve done wrong.
  • Your feelings have gone from happiness and euphoria to anxiety, sadness and even desperation.
  • You never feel sure of where you stand with your [friend, in my case]; you feel you’re in a constant state of uncertainty and anxiety.
  • You feel confused about the relationship and frequently ask your [friend] what’s wrong. He becomes angry or frustrated and he consistently denies responsibility for any problems.
  • You may frequently feel angry and resentful toward your [friend], yet are not allowed to express it. Communication feels restricted or even forbidden, causing feelings of extreme frustration and even hostility.

(Also see The difference between narcissism and Asperger’s.)

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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


The emotional vampires suck me dry–and accuse me of being too sensitive

From what I saw, whenever anyone hurt Richard or Tracy, whether intentional or accidental, it was terrible.  But if they hurt other people, it was their right to do what they did and you should just deal with it.

At first, Richard apologized to me all the time for all sorts of things, so much that it annoyed me.  But over time, he began resisting apologies and got upset that anybody was upset with him.

It seemed that he and Tracy both saw apologies as confessions of guilt and utter remorse.  But I saw them as a way to show you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, a way to show that relationship is more important to you than pride, the “lubrication that keeps society moving smoothly,” as written here.

If you really go around intending to hurt people, then you must be a horrible person!  Most people don’t mean to hurt the people they love, but do it anyway because they don’t realize how they sound or what they’re doing.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that what they did is awful; oftentimes, it’s just a matter of point of view.

So when I saw Tracy doing things that bothered me, if I felt she was abusing and controlling her husband and children, if I felt she was bullying me, I was a horrible person who hated her and was biased against her.

But if she constantly made fun of me, or blew up at me and accused me of all sorts of horrible things and vilified, belittled and demeaned me, I was supposed to just bend over, take it, and say, yes ma’am, may I have another.  And if I didn’t see it as my due, then I was being childish.

Though–because she kept it hidden from me–I did not actually see the full extent of this until her narcissistic rage in July 2010, I did see some of it.

I finally refused to listen to Richard when he said not to apologize, and apologized to her for my own mistakes and for hurting her feelings (both in June 2009 and August 2010).  I tried to offer to do things that would make up for them.

But she used my apologies against me, as if they somehow justified what she did, as if they were capitulations and confessions of guilt rather than regret over unintentionally hurting her.

It’s affected my psyche so much that I sometimes wonder if I’m crazy to think these things have happened, that I start to feel guilty over the abuse she heaped on me.  I suffer from frequent, long-lasting headaches.

I have to remind myself of what really happened, or else I’ll sink into a morass of self-flagellation, or even try to go back to her and patch things up with no evidence that she’s repented of her own wrongdoing.

Even worse is knowing that Richard–a person I once thought of as awesomely devout and a devoted friend–lied to me, even excused and justified the abuse, my own personal Judas.

Richard kept conveniently forgetting important details at crucial times, details of his own part in things that upset her, which would’ve exonerated me to Tracy (if she were at all reasonable, that is).  So I was left looking pathetic, guilty, sheepish.  I was too afraid of Tracy to do anything but hope Richard would explain things and defend me to her.  At times, Jeff did defend me, but even he wasn’t listened to.

Richard once called me too sensitive after I got upset about something he said.  This is a common defense used by emotional abusers and gaslighters, to make you think you’re the problem.

(Also see The Perceived Threat Syndrome.  And see an awesome defense of sensitivity here.  It says, what’s so bad about being sensitive?)

How can you not be sensitive if an adult, supposed to be beyond such things, nitpicks you every chance she gets, even though you try very hard to ignore her snarks and not respond?  How can you not get upset, if your attempts to show love and concern are criticized as if you did something wrong?

You start getting jumpy and paranoid, afraid your bully is also influencing her husband, once your biggest fan, into thinking you’re just an annoying twerp.

Especially when even your friend nitpicks as well, acting like you do everything wrong and you should start doing things his way.

That’s everything from what you feed your child, to how to deal with social situations, to what movies or TV shows you watch, to which political party to support, to whether you should save all your letters, to whether you should abandon the mutual submission that’s been working so well for your marriage and put the husband in charge (and then bragging that his own marriage is like that when you know different), to what sexual positions and frequency you should enjoy (none of this, especially this last thing, being any of his business).

And then you get the comments like: “Even little children know that compliments are meant to start conversations!  How could you not know that just saying thank you is rude?”

Er–what?  Since when did it become rude to simply smile and say thank you to a compliment?  How would you know that more is expected, when you weren’t asked a question?  So the compliment isn’t real, but a means to get something out of the other person–a conversation–and obligate her to you?

Here you go, a time when Richard said, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”–which people often say to the NLDer.  Here he was proving I had NLD, while thinking I didn’t.

But this was one way that Tracy considered me “rude” to her or “snubbing” her.  It was ridiculous.  I had never heard of such a thing, and here I thought I had always been graceful in accepting the very few compliments Tracy gave me.  (I remember maybe three, and that we were already in a conversation.)

Jeff, also, had never heard of such a thing, and always thought that smiling and saying “thank you” was all that’s required.  We could only conclude that it was a regional difference.  But of course, this probably made no difference to Tracy.

I had an etiquette book as a child (Manners to Grow On by Tina Lee), along with the many things I had since learned about etiquette.  So I wasn’t completely lacking in social skills.  But it specifically said the way to answer a compliment is to smile and say “thank you,” rather than “Oh, this old thing.”  It said absolutely nothing about how you have to start making conversation or you’re being rude.

It was affirming to see a Peanuts cartoon, originally run in 1998, re-run on May 6, 2011:

Little girl: “Those are nice shoes, Rerun.”

Rerun: “They feel good.  My other shoes were always a little tight..I like the color, and the soles feel bouncy, and the laces are easy to tie..”

Girl: “When you get a compliment, all you have to say is, ‘Thank you.’

Rerun: “I’m sorry…I’ve never had a compliment before.”

So it’s not a faux pas to simply say thank you–but correct?

Then I found this in a webpage about freeloaders:

If you compliment Rhonda on her dress, instead of saying “Thank you” and leaving it at that, the first thing out of her mouth will be that her sister gave it to her, or that she bought it at a 75% off sale.

Yet again, the assumption is that you are supposed to say “thank you”–but nothing is required beyond that.

A little Googling came up with the same thing, including from Miss Manners: All that is required is a simple “thank you.”  While you can use it to start a conversation (especially if some hot chick compliments you on the bus), it is not expected or required.

Then it showed up in Carolyn Hax’s column on 6-15-21, a conversation about compliments that made it clear that a simple “thank you” is all that anyone actually expects.

I suspect this was yet another way the two of them tried to gaslight me into thinking I was somehow “snubbing” Tracy when I was doing nothing of the kind, to mindscrew and scapegoat me and make me think I was the problem–taking the focus off Tracy’s bullying and abuses.

Then there’s putting down your opinions and one-upping your problems: Whatever problem you have, is not really a problem because he’s had it worse.

If you’re upset about some arguments at home, well, they’re not really a problem because he’s seen much worse, and you’re too sensitive because you should allow more yelling.

If you had a difficult, traumatizing childbirth–well, his wife had much worse childbirths and they considered it all wonderful just the same.  And Indian mothers used to birth all by themselves in the wilderness, so you don’t really need doctors to survive childbirth.  Even though you probably would’ve died in earlier centuries, because you were a small person giving birth to a baby of 10 and a half pounds, could not progress after 23 hours, and had to be cut open.

If a job loss or severe cut in pay (during the recession of 2008-2009) makes you fear you can’t afford food, well he’s gone through much worse so stop complaining, and (even though you have a mortgage and association fees and various costs that renters don’t have) how can you possibly not live on that much?

Even if your doctor calls it migraines, even if you often lie on the couch with a heating pad because of the pain, pain that won’t go away for days–well, unless you sit up at night unable to sleep because of terrible pain, then it’s not really a migraine.

You say you’ve been depressed in the past (depressed for months, wanting to die).  But he’s been depressed and knows what it’s like, so doesn’t let anyone else tell him they’ve been depressed.

My views on childrearing would spoil the child, while he knows the right way to do it (including screaming, smacking in the head, and, once or twice, sticking the kids in the closet).  And how ridiculous of me to think screaming is child abuse!

If he thought I didn’t have NVLD, I didn’t have NVLD and was just making excuses, and he wanted to strangle me for continuing to think so.  (How dare I keep believing something he thought was wrong!  He is all-knowing, after all.)

If I had a problem with him, my diplomatic way of dealing with it–taking three hours to craft a message–was wrong: It had to be blunt and not care about sparing his feelings.  But when I was blunt, followed the examples he gave, and took far less time to craft a message, he got furious.

Even though I always told him if there was a problem, and I stated my problem clearly while trying not to hurt his feelings, I wasn’t being “assertive” enough.  If I had a problem with him, I had to just deal with it–but why didn’t I tell him sooner that I had this problem?

Whatever comment I made to one of his Facebook posts, was wrong somehow.  Whatever comment I made on one of Tracy’s posts was also wrong somehow.  My responses kept disappearing and not showing up later.

By agreeing with my priest on ecumenism, I “just offended most of the Greeks” in our area.

When I found an article on a church website he showed me, by a priest who said that the husband had to take responsibility for everything that went wrong in his home/marriage, I told Richard that this wasn’t true: The wife should take responsibility for what she’s done, as well!

I thought that he, as an abused husband, would be very glad to hear this from me.  But no, he told me that I’m very liberal (to which I said “thank you”) and 90% of the world disagrees with me!

I thought he was more into equality–heck, he admitted his wife ruled over him, and claimed he married her because she was bossy.

But on other days he claimed he was in charge, that he married her because she believed in obedience, that I should abandon my practice of an equal marriage (which worked just fine for us) and adopt one like his (barf), that I should read that infamous passage in Ephesians about women submitting to their husbands (I had perused it many, many times already!).

He one-upped and mansplained me all the time.

(The mansplaining wasn’t necessarily because he was a man, but because of his arrogance due to his high intelligence.  It included everything from childrearing to politics to religion, and he did it to others as well, sparking arguments.)

I got the impression that I was supposed to just accept anything he said as true: One day in 2008, before the election, he told me there was a video of Obama saying he would force Wisconsin to use taxpayer money to fund abortions (which he never actually did).  I asked for a link so I could see it for myself.

Reasonable request, right?  But he got offended!

(Yet Tracy treated me like “the other woman”?  There was nothing but a harmless flirtation, such as I carry on occasionally with friends and which is considered normal in my circles–there was no attempt to be “the other woman”!

(Who would want to leave a husband like mine for someone who was revealing himself more and more to be the kind of person I wouldn’t want to be married to, no matter how good he was at charming people–and someone who didn’t even have a job?)

I had to admit that at times I could understand why Tracy got so mad at him, though she handled it poorly.

I finally began seeing this as a hopeless cause when, in June 2010, I tried to bring up a problem with him one day when I saw him on Facebook–but without even knowing what the problem was, he just tore into me via e-mail with such meanness that I would never have imagined him using with me.

Whether your friend has abandoned you or not, the bully’s verbal abuse begins to affect your psyche, a kind of psychological rape, or drawing and quartering, until you can no longer trust the friend and want nothing to do with the bully.

But of course, if you decide to put up boundaries between yourself and the bully, to protect yourself from the constant barrage of insanity, you get accused of being far more offensive than any harsh wordsdemeaning, humiliating, vile, filthy, belittling words–that have no business coming from a Christian woman’s mouth.

The abusers blame the victim for causing the abuse. For example, the abuser would say to the victim, ‘If you cleaned up more, I wouldn’t call you names'” (Love Shouldn’t Hurt).

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


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