Brett Kavanaugh’s Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don’t speak up

The Kavanaugh debacle is triggering for many women.  Seems like every woman in my Facebook/Twitter feeds is being triggered.

And in a case that–for now–is he said/she said, how do we tell who to believe?

First of all, reporters have been doing more work than the senators apparently, digging up alumni and evidence all over the place.  For example, see the following:

Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer’s compelling story here.

Kavanaugh accuser’s friend says she has told him she needs more than one exit from her bedroom

A classmate who originally said that the incident with Ford was well-known at school, before retracting

The classmate’s original Facebook post on the subject

Affidavit from Accuser #3, accusing Kavanaugh and friends of predatory behavior

Kavanaugh Classmate Tears Into His ‘Blatant Lying’: I’ve Witnessed Him ‘Stumbling Drunk’

How we know Kavanaugh is lying

Old friend of Kavanaugh’s claims that his depiction of himself is a lie

As I watched the opening statements yesterday for both Ford and Kavanaugh, I paid close attention to their body language and demeanor.  Because yeah, I may have trouble with such things, but I’ve been studying narcissism/sociopathy for years now, and how to spot a predator or an abuser claiming to be the victim.

Ford was timid, terrified, quiet, on the verge of tears.  Like someone who has been attacked and traumatized and is scared of it happening again.  Even Fox News commentators and even Trump are saying she seems credible.

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, was on the attack: loud, raging, gesticulating, snarling.  Complaining about how this affects him–but never a thought to how it has been affecting Ford.  Instead of welcoming a full investigation, he evades the question, and derides the whole fact-finding process–a process which, if he’s innocent, should exonerate him.  Cold, dead eyes and a terrifying snarl.

Images of Kavanaugh are subject to copyright, and I don’t have $300 to pay for the rights to use one, so I don’t have images of him to clip and paste here.  So click on these links instead:

https://goo.gl/images/3aRGdB

https://goo.gl/images/cJ1T6G

https://goo.gl/images/aKwngR

https://goo.gl/images/e7AKoj

And then look at this:

Brett Kavanaugh's Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don't speak up 1

Genchi.info

And then this:

Brett Kavanaugh's Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don't speak up 2

Genchi.info

 

Look familiar?

Kavanaugh’s snarls are not the face of an innocent man defending himself/his family from attack.  They are the face of a predator whose prey has just exposed him.

My post on DARVO has been getting a lot of hits the past couple of days, especially after it was shared by somebody on Facebook.  It quotes Jennifer J. Freyd, who writes,

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases.

Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior.

This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on. —Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory

DARVO means deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender.  It was done to me by Richard and Tracy in their e-mail here.  It was done to me by my abusive ex Phil.  It has been done countless times throughout the ages to victims by abusers and sexual criminals.  This frightening power play keeps countless victims from seeking help, as well, because they are terrified of what will happen to them.

One of the excuses used to not believe and to attack Kavanaugh’s accusers is that they didn’t say anything before.  That there should have been a police report if it really happened.  But girls and women who are victims of sexual assault or harassment are often too terrified to tell anyone.

If you want to know why they’re so scared, just look at accusations made against Ford:

“She shouldn’t have been at a drinking party.”

“She was going around in a bathing suit.”  (1, it was one-piece, 2, a bathing suit or bikini does not mean “rape me,” and 3, it was covered by her clothes.)

“Why was she in that room?”  (She just wanted to go to the bathroom, but got pulled into a bedroom.)

“Look how long she took to tell!  She’s just doing this for political reasons.”

She’s being blamed.  She’s being accused of lying.

Just like happens countless times when victims do speak up.  So often, we just stay quiet.

I never told my parents anything that happened to me in school, either.  My mom didn’t know that I stopped wearing dresses to school because a couple of boys lifted up my skirt and laughed one day.  My parents didn’t know that my high school ulcer and TMJ came from boys sexually harassing me in class and in the cafeteria.   They thought that going to classes about stress relief would help.

They didn’t know that–similar to what happened to another accuser, Ramirez–one of the boys pulled out his penis and put it next to me on the table as I ate my lunch, that I think I felt it brush my hand, though I refused to look at it, that the other boys laughed.

They didn’t know how one time, in the line to leave the cafeteria, the boys were harassing me so badly that I crumpled up against the wall to try to protect myself.  I don’t even remember what they did or said.

I also didn’t tell teachers about this.  I was too shy, too terrified of strangers in general, even though my friends were witnesses and told me to tell.

(That’s why friends should do the telling and not leave it to the traumatized victims.)

My parents didn’t know that my ex Phil tried to force me into anal sex, making me feel raped at least once, or that he forced me into oral sex when he hadn’t even bathed.  And no, I never reported it.

No, I don’t remember every detail.  I don’t remember who the boys were in high school, or what all they did or said.  But I remember it happened.

And I do remember exactly which teacher ridiculed and sexually harassed me in class.  There were witnesses.  But I never even thought to tell the principal.  I just switched classes the following semester.

As for Phil, I told a few friends some of what happened.  I don’t remember telling them everything.

I told his new girlfriend, Persephone, about it.  I hoped she would be appalled that her boyfriend would rape a girl.  Instead, her dismissive reply seemed to suggest that if I were telling the truth, and weren’t just being hysterical or hyperbolic, maybe even looking for attention, that I would report it to the police.

But I was too terrified to tell the police.  There was no physical evidence, so how could I prove it, for one.  (And this is often the case.)

For another, I didn’t know if a rape charge would hold up in court since I had agreed to have sex–I just had not agreed to have anal or oral sex.  I also didn’t want my parents to know we had had sex, because they were fundamentalists who didn’t know about our spiritual marriage, and were definitely against me having sex before marriage.  Even when your parents are not abusive, a combination of old-fashioned ideas and parental disappointment can be frightening.

Another reason to stay quiet is hearing “Get over it already!”  I’ve been seeing a lot of this in reactions to Kavanaugh’s accusers, when even WOMEN have been saying, “It was 36 years ago!  It was just a touch!  How can she not have moved on?”  or “All teenage boys grope!  Who cares?  It’s not a big deal!”

(You don’t forget.  You don’t move on.)

I had my own version of this a year after Richard’s friends sexually harassed me in a chat room.  He saw the whole thing, and how vile their words and behavior actually were.  Yet his wife treated it like it was nothing at all, and then Richard tried to mansplain me into believing that I was being “ridiculous” for still being upset over it (and over his continued friendship with these people) a year later.  He said it “wasn’t real” and he thought I understood that.

The only one being “ridiculous” here was Richard.

The Kavanaugh hearings are triggering for many of us because we see our own traumas being relived in the accusers, our own fears realized as the accusers are treated just as we were, or as we feared we would be treated if we spoke up.

We see nothing changed, even after decades of feminism and then the #MeToo movement.

We see men treating the hearings as a charade, even going into self-righteous tirades about it: not just Kavanaugh, but Lindsey Graham as well–who seems to have conveniently forgotten how Merrick Garland’s appointment was blocked by the Republicans.

And there was absolutely no legitimate reason to block Garland, while Kavanaugh’s temperament and character have already been proven to be narcissistic and dangerous.

Because yes, what we saw in Kavanaugh yesterday is known as narcissistic rage.  This happens when a narcissist or sociopath is called out on their crimes.

So I believe he is guilty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how do you move on then? …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Links to help for abusive friendships

There’s plenty of help out there for abusive romantic relationships, but what about friendships?  Here are some links:

Friends with a Narcissist

What makes a friendship abusive?

Coping with a verbally abusive friend

Joyful Alive Woman’s “My 32-year friendship with H – A Woman with Early Narcissistic Injury and Many Narcissistic Traits”

Scroll down to ‘A “Christian” Abuser in Action’

I have had two abusive friendships.  The first was Shawn; story here.  The second was Richard and Tracy; story here (summary, which leads to the book-length version if you are so inclined).

Shawn and I eventually came to peace, but Richard and Tracy have been stalking me for the past year; you can follow the stalking story starting here, and especially here.

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The Difficulties and Rewards of Breaking Ties with Narcissists/Borderlines

(This is one of my most popular posts.)

Here’s a good post by One Angry Daughter, on reasons to go no-contact with a narcissist: Why a “Healthy” Relationship with a Narcissist is Not Possible

Her reasons are so true.  I have learned in my own life, dealing recently with two people with Cluster Bs (narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, high-conflict personality disorders), that they do not change, do not accept responsibility, will just keep blaming you for everything wrong if you stick around.

I felt guilty for so long for cutting these Cluster Bs out of my life, often wondering if I did the right thing–

–but as I discovered a couple of years later, they were still blaming me for everything wrong, still justifying their own Cluster B rages and abuses, still crossing my boundaries of insisting that I be treated with respect and kindness.

While a layman can’t make an official diagnosis, a layman still has to deal with the behaviors of abusers, whether the abusers ever get diagnosed with Cluster B or not.

And if all the behaviors are there, the abuser must be treated as if they were officially diagnosed: In other words, cut them out of your life and don’t look back, without feeling guilty.

An official diagnosis only gives an official stamp on the behaviors of this person; it does not create them.  An undiagnosed Cluster B is still a Cluster B, still causes destruction, and his victims need to act as if he had been diagnosed.

Or to put it another way, an abuser is an abuser no matter what’s driving his actions.

As Shrink4Men’s Tara J. Palmatier puts it in the comments here:

Diagnosing an individual with a personality disorder can be difficult for several reasons:

1) PD’d individuals tend to lie/minimize/blame others/portray themselves as victims to therapists. They can be very proficient at playing the sweet, injured party and as such, are able to fool a lot of people, even well-trained therapists.

2) They often refuse to acknowledge their problems, blame others and drop out of therapy once the therapist starts to recognize the real issues and tries to make the PD’s behavior the focus of treatment.

3) Many therapists, even when they strongly suspect/believe the individual has a PD, do not give them the diagnosis for a variety of reasons.

This video, “NPD and BPD” by [email protected], on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline), makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline.

It even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar.

It also says that when you break up, the BPD is more likely to try to get you to reconsider, while the NPD is more likely to say “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” (Tracy’s reaction).

Many of my clients and participants on Shrink4Men comment on the overlap of narcissistic and borderline behaviors in their wives, girlfriends, exes, parents, and siblings, etc. This is because narcissism is very frequently present in individuals with BPD. –Dr. Tara, The New Face of Borderline

I had my own experiences and the testimonies of Richard and Todd to go by before, saw how well they fit in with all the traits of Cluster B.

But now I have proof because Richard and Tracy began stalking and trying to intimidate me, sent me an e-mail which made it glaringly obvious that they are both Cluster Bs, no doubt left about it.

I did the right thing in cutting these people off, sized them up correctly.  If I had stuck around instead of ending the relationship with them, they would just have continued their abusive behaviors, and sucked my soul away.

I see clearly that I lost nothing of value, that Richard was no true friend.  Now, without them–and knowing that I was correct about them and did the right thing–I can go on with life, much happier without them.

Because of the psychological “spell” which narcissists put you under, you begin to think you can’t live without them.  Maybe they are your lover, your mother, your best friend, or some other such relationship which you feel you can’t break off.

But it isn’t true.  It may hurt for a time, just like cutting off a diseased limb, but eventually it will get better, life will return to you.

For example, I felt forced to cut my best friend out of my life, only to discover later that his character was not what I thought it was, because of a horrible, violent act he committed (choking his daughter to unconsciousness) and was convicted of after the friendship breakup–

–and the lack of remorse he showed for this act, in the e-mail he and/or Tracy wrote to me.  The truth of his character was forced to my notice.

My husband Jeff says Richard is afraid of me because I know about this and so many other things he’s said and done, and that he wants to keep me under his thumb.

Not only am I much happier not dealing with his wife’s constant dramas, but I am now making friends with a person who has many of the traits I so admired in my former best friend–but none of the narcissism.

This is a fellow parishioner who has the piety and zeal of a convert while being cradle Orthodox, and knows about our faith’s theologies and oddities such as the toll house controversy, is someone I can talk to about such things.

He posts quotes from various saints on Facebook.  He listed Goth music in his Facebook “likes.”  But he is against getting too concerned about outward form such as headscarves and pews.

He’s shown no signs of extremist politics; he posts about religion, not politics, on Facebook; he voted the same way I did the other day.  As far as I can tell, he has no violent past, and eschews violence.

Through him I’m also making new friends who interest and amuse me, who want to convert to Orthodoxy, so we can relate to each other.  I feel my zeal for God returning.

It’s almost as if God is telling me, Don’t worry, I really am here, I just needed to get this false friend out of the way so you could make much better friends–and reconnect with your true, old friends.

I go to parties or get-togethers with old friends, meet up with my old roommie, and it’s fun.  People are free to be themselves; nobody judges me harshly for being a shy, quiet person with little oddities.

One friend will flirt shamelessly with me, and his wife and my husband just laugh at the silliness of it all.

My old roommie does social work and is a liberal; she can relate to my outrage over child abuse.

Another old friend is a preacher, but also a liberal with a huge heart, and very silly at times; he’s fun to chat with on Facebook.  I can tell him I just watched a Muppet movie, and thought of him.

Another old friend told me he used to be passionately in love with me back in high school but never had the courage to say anything.

I’ve comforted someone who was dealing with an abusive marriage.  I’ve connected with a cousin (by marriage) who went through a painful breakup with a narcissistic girlfriend at the same time I went through this painful friendship breakup, and who has Asperger’s, so we relate to each other in many ways.

For a while, Hubby and I went to SCA dance classes in the neighboring barony, before they moved on to fighter classes instead.

We’ve traveled.  My husband found a new, fun group with which to play D&D.

My husband finally found a good-paying job, with health benefits, right here in town.  I’ve been making friends with other parents at my child’s school.

Though for a long time it seemed like I could not go on without my former best friend, like I just wanted my life to end, I’ve slowly been breaking free of his narcissistic hold over me.

Which is good, because recent events have shown me that he is a full-blown narcissist, not a true friend at all, not capable of being the kind of friend I once thought he was.

Here is a blog post written by a guy who used blogging to realize what really happened during his relationship with his probably borderline ex, and get over her.  He’d been so beaten down by her that it took this step for him to remember the truth.  Some quotes:

Finally, one thing that this exercise also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia.  “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”

When those thoughts come into your head (and even now, they still do for me, occasionally), go back and read the story you’ve written. Remember, this is your narrative – not hers.  Things were that bad.

You’ll remember that pretty quickly—and you’ll never want to let yourself fall into that trap ever again.  Write it out.  And remember: You get to….

As I write this, I’m approaching 2 years of no contact with the ex. I am by no means “all better.”  I don’t know if I ever will be. But if I’m not “all” better, I’m at least better than I was two years ago at this time.

I hope this post and other posts I contribute will be more like postcards from the voyage. I want to say “the voyage back to wholeness,” but that would be an assumption.

It may seem impossible now, but you must cut off that Cluster B, regain your own memories of what happened, research Cluster Bs, learn how to reject the abuser’s words and cuts at you (such as Tracy’s rages at me) as mere sewer sludge to be washed off.

Eventually, you will get to the point where you can say to your bully/abuser, as Sarah did to the Goblin King, “You have no power over me!”

I can now laugh at Tracy and Richard trying to call me crazy, knowing that I’m actually quite sane and that life is again good.

The comments in this blog post (May 3, 2009 post) by One Angry Daughter are very reassuring; one poster wrote,

Angry, I love this blog, you, the whole concept of blogging to “get back” at selfish people anonymously, get it out of your system.

Sometimes I just tell people in your situation, You gotta’ blog, get support on the web, there are people in your EXACT situation. And here you are, doing it.

But maybe there’s a direct way to get to them, too, a therapeutic approach for all of the fam. I just started reading so if that’s impossible, don’t get angry 🙂 at me. Just sayin, people can change, it can take a while, no doubt.

OAD writes in “My Man” (Update: probably in the comments, which are not archived) that her reason for her blog is the same as mine:

I think venting about NM (narcissistic mother) is a good thing, but perhaps look for a different outlet for that venting besides DH (dear husband).

A journal, blog or one of the DONM (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers) message boards are a great place to get it all out. I started this blog to spare my DH and my friends. I know they are supportive, but I think the topic gets old and there comes a point to move on.

Your Abusive Female Friend or Relative–What to do about it by Joyful Alive Woman: This link sounds very much like Tracy.

From Ben Leichtling’s Stop Toxic, Bullying, Abusive Pseudo-Friends:

Toxic, righteous, controlling, bullying, abusive pseudo-friends usually don’t change.  The relief and freedom you feel when you clear them out of your environment tells you that it was worth the effort.  You’ve reclaimed your spirit and your life.

 

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Part One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges

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

INCIDENT or “Acting Out” phase

–Any type of abuse occurs
–Physical
–Sexual
–Emotional
–Or other forms of abuse as found in the power and control wheel. –hidden hurt, The Cycle of Abuse

Instead, I found a horrid message from Tracy, telling me to f— off [which no one has EVER said to me before or since),

which would be followed by other messages,

full of foul language, the most baffling accusations, the most horrid things anyone had ever said to me,

abusive, filthy, controlling, manipulative, demeaning, humiliating,

and completely undeserved.

It was a bunch of deranged ranting, making her sound like some insane madwoman.  It came completely out of the blue, blindsided me, baffled me, mystified me.  I was horrified.  THIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.  THIS IS A NARCISSISTIC RAGE.  ABUSERS AND THE CLUSTER-B PERSONALITY DISORDERED DO THIS.

This is when I felt beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was a crazy, abusive monster, just as bad as any man who beats his wife, with an irrational hatred toward me because I knew what she really was. 

(This has also been proven by how she’s been acting ever since finding my blog, by threatening, stalking and trying to intimidate me.  You can follow the progress of her terror campaign on my blog, starting in May 2012.)  

This was the last straw: I no longer wanted anything to do with her.  I began to remove my posts from Richard’s Facebook page, and later that day, blocked her on Facebook.

Her accusations of me were all false.  Her justifications of raging were all false.  I prove that here, here and here.

I NEVER snubbed her, but they tried to make me think I did it all the time!  I was always polite and kind to her, holding my tongue even as she was rude to me, yet she accused me of snubbing her. 

Sometime in just the past few weeks, I gave her a lily from my garden, and sent her an e-mail telling her she was gorgeous last time I saw her, and asking for a recipe for that wonderful dish she makes.

I NEVER tried to steal her husband away, but she talked and acted as if I were some slut ho-bag after her husband.

It sounded like my e-mail would have been perfectly fine with her if she had approved my friendship with Richard and I had met all her requirements. 

But I HAD met all her requirements, I HAD been approved as Richard’s friend, and I WAS allowed to hug him, banter with him, go for coffee with him, as I prove here–but now they pretended that this never happened.

Richard told me himself that “the hugs and the whatnot” were “all good” with Tracy, but now they pretended that they never were–and told Jeff that the hugs etc. would have been fine if I had met requirements that I never met.  Even though the proof I give here shows that I had met her requirements a year previous.  !!!!!!

This is also proven by the exchange I reproduce here, which came just a few months previous to July 2010.  In it, he stated that her getting mad and restrictions on him calling me were “over with a long time ago.”

Does it sound confusing?  Because it is!  Does it make no sense?  Because it makes no sense!  More gaslighting!  And also proof that the e-mail itself was not the problem, and that Tracy was deliberately trying to confuse (gaslight) me.

Also, the e-mails I posted here prove this to all be one big lie which Tracy told to justify her rage episode. 

These e-mails are all more evidence that her true reason had nothing to do with what she claimed here, but with her desire to drive me away before I either called CPS on her or got Richard to admit she was abusing him. 

(Actually, he admitted this back in 2007 while by himself, but conveniently forgot after she arrived, apparently sucked into the FOG machine.)

Or maybe they both used this as an excuse to drive me away, because I was turning Democrat and openly said their actions were child abuse.

Also note that one of Richard’s exes, a longtime girlfriend, sent him a passionate e-mail back in 2007.  It overtly said that she wanted him back as her lover. 

For the time being he put her off, but a couple of years later, she was back, calling him this time. 

He once spoke with her at the same time he carried on an IRC conversation with me. 

YET HE WAS NOT FORBIDDEN TO TALK TO THIS OLD GIRLFRIEND. 

Also, after Tracy came here, she discovered he talked to some old friend which she did not like.  They were never lovers, and this girl made no romantic overtures. 

YET TRACY WAS FURIOUS THAT HE SPOKE TO THIS OLD FRIEND.

Yet more evidence that this was not all about jealousy, but about control, weeding out Richard’s friends who saw her as abusive.

I was amazed that anyone could be so cruel and vicious to a friend, to someone who never harmed anybody but had done so much to help her.  I sat in shock for some time before I could even start crying.

The friendship I had worked so hard to build, maintain and restore–was just gone in the blink of an eye.  Had slipped out of my fingers.

For something I hadn’t even done or said,

but something that Tracy had intimated,

had imagined,

had put into that e-mail herself,

subtext she read into it that did not exist,

lines she had read between and found something that was not actually there,

because she had been bound and determined ever since we first met to be jealous and treat me as guilty until proven innocent. 

(Witness this incident a few weeks earlier, in which she went off on me for wishing them a fun trip!) 

The neurotypical (normal) practice of reading subtext into things is far more trouble than it’s worth, so I’d rather stay literal-brained.

And of course, borderlines are quick to take offense where it does not exist.  If it weren’t this, it would’ve been something else I did or said eventually.

She told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff because we don’t need the headache.”

Just like any bully on the playground, or any other kind of abuser:

Don’t you dare go and tell anybody how I’ve treated you.  Don’t tell your mother I touched you like this.  Or don’t tell the police I’m slapping you around.  Or don’t go crying to your friends/husband/ boss/teacher about how I’m beating you down verbally or physically, because I don’t need the headache….

Abusers of any stripe deserve to be brought into the light and their deeds exposed.

I wrote to Richard, saying I don’t understand, saying he told me that hugs were fine, that we’ve always been brother/sister, begging him to get into chat and talk to me, give me the dignity of that much if this friendship is over, explain this to me, why was I being treated like a whore when we had never done anything wrong and he had told me that hugs are okay?????!!!!!!

But she, acting like an insane control freak, refused to even allow that much, just took over all his messages and wouldn’t let him respond himself, wielded control over him, treated him like a slave or a child.

She said, “You’re too stupid to understand!”  THIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.

She told me she was taking over his Facebook, said I couldn’t speak to him, and when I tried to defend myself and not listen to this screaming harpie and get him to give me the respect of talking to me about this,

she called me stupid for trying to talk to himTHIS IS VERBAL ABUSE.

Basically, I had been tried, judged a whore, and sentenced to jail without a chance to defend myself.  It was ridiculous.  It was overblown.  It was nasty.

And yet she had the audacity to write, “No, the friendship is not over.”

Um…after what you just said to me?  You do realize you’re not the only one who gets to decide if this friendship is over?

What kind of frickin’ DOORMAT do you think I am?

Maybe Richard coddles your abusive crap and lets you get away with this,

maybe your kids have no choice but to let you get away with this,

but I am allowed to cut my own arm off if necessary (what it felt like to give up Richard) to get away from you.

I felt betrayed by Richard as well, Richard, who after all these years, knew I didn’t deserve things like this.  Richard, who had called me “sweet, innocent and nice.”  Richard, who had said I was “very dear” to him.

The one whom I had poured out my heart to, my secrets, my fears, my religious musings, all the thoughts I’d have over books and movies, the one who had stuck up for me on Internet forums.

And now he was allowing his wife to flay me alive over something I hadn’t even done, when he knew full well what had really happened.  

I had only just re-read Gone With the Wind, watched the movie the night before, and felt like Scarlett and Ashley being treated like adulterers over an innocent hug.  (That’s where the comparison ends, by the way.)

Even the most benevolent act can be turned into its opposite by the assignation of bad motives.

The narcissist reserves to themselves the right to determine your own mind for you.

They will tell you what was really motivating you in order to take away from you the truth, reality or rightness of whatever you have done.

It can be an amazingly effective sleight-of-hand. –Anna Valerious, Thought Crimes

I have a history of saying things to people that sound entirely different from what I actually meant.  It’s caused me much grief because I can’t seem to forget what I said or how it affected them, so years later I’ll still beat myself up.  This, or at least the long memory, may be from NLD or Asperger’s.

Anyway, it happened yet again: Apparently some rule had been broken yet again, some rule I was not aware of, one of the many little rules that I thought–as soon as Richard sent me the “signal” by inviting me to sushi–had long since been set aside because she had finally accepted me, with full friendship benefits.

I did absolutely nothing wrong here.  Richard had always reassured me that hugs were okay with Tracy, and I even have an e-mail from him saying so.

Also, he had let me know that things were fine between Tracy and me, the previous winter.  In the spring, when I said I got concerned when he ignored my calls that Tracy was upset, he said, “No, that was over with a long time ago.”

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our hugs, or with my reminding him of them or remembering them fondly, because I was friends with him and Tracy.

But now, Tracy decided for some unknown reason that I wasn’t friends with her, had never been, and for that reason, the hugs were not okay.  ????

This tells me that it had nothing to do with the hugs or the e-mail, but that it was all about my telling them their actions were child abuse. 

Or that we no longer had the money to keep giving them handouts, while Tracy now had a full-time job, so they no longer needed us. 

Or that I was turning Democrat.  Or all of the above. 

But she had to gaslight me into thinking I had done something wrong, to justify her narcissistic rage episode and abuse. 

And God help Richard if he doesn’t go along with her, though he knows full well that I’m innocent and have done nothing wrong.

Jeff noted the e-mail was perfectly fine when you knew the context, which Richard knew very well and should have explained to her, especially since I was referring to things he had done.

It was truly ridiculous because if she’d waited to get the context before reacting, as Jeff did, she would’ve known there was nothing to get upset over, and our friendship would have continued.

But she wouldn’t even allow Richard to call me and sort things out, and ranted and raved at me in an outrageous rage episode every time I tried to e-mail Richard or get him into Facebook chat to discuss this ridiculous crap and what the freaking HECK was going on.  More of her power play.

But no matter what Jeff or I tried to say in my defense, whether apologies or explanations, she wouldn’t listen to any of it, so trying to explain the e-mail was useless.  (You know, like it was when she raged at Todd for something he hadn’t even done, but refused to believe his intentions had been to help her.)

From her crowing on Facebook, she obviously didn’t want to believe that I was innocent of her charges, because she was getting far too much perverse pleasure from beating up on me.

I think now that she also was getting perverse pleasure from believing that every woman is after her husband and that she must defend the household from attack.

She just doesn’t understand that letting your husband be himself and befriend whomever he likes and express himself to them however he likes (within reason), is the way to freedom, joy and peace in your marriage, rather than constant vigilance and stress.

I would post her e-mails to show you just how bad they were, since I still have some of them.  But that would require me to go back into a bad place, a dangerous place, and I just can’t do that yet.  Not even five years later.

I wrote to Jeff at 1:06pm,

Tracy has just gone ballistic on me.  I don’t know why because she won’t let Richard even talk to me.  I’m afraid the friendship is over with because I can’t deal with jealous spouses anymore.

I also sent him a copy of an e-mail Tracy sent him, because I saw an alert for it in the corner of the computer screen.

I won’t go too far into these e-mails because there are bombs (ie, copies of Tracy’s e-mails) in there, and I just can’t deal with that again.  You know, like anyone who has been traumatized.

But I explained what was going on, and he said,

Ok: stay low, stay out of sight, and don’t rile her.  Let Richard & I deal with it.

I’ve since learned, after reading an article in probably early 2011 about Aspie women having trouble understanding other women who use subtext, that people with neurotypical brains read subtext into everything.  She and Richard both seemed to read a subtext into the e-mail that did not exist: I, being literal, mean what I say and say what I mean.

I said nothing suggestive because I meant nothing suggestive, meaning just what I wrote: only that the hugs were sweet and meant a lot to me.  Why shouldn’t they mean a lot to me?  They were given in friendship and caring!  I took them as being meant in friendship and caring!

Yet somehow Tracy apparently read something suggestive into the e-mail, just as she did when I posted a simple “I’ll miss you dearly.  Have fun!” a few weeks earlier.

I still don’t know where she got it from, in either case.  Even Jeff, who doesn’t seem to have my neural problems, can see where she got it from in the Incident e-mail, but nowhere did I state or imply anything about romance or sex or passion or romantic love, so I don’t know where she got it from.

Basically, Jeff had to explain to me that it came across that way, because I was completely baffled at her reaction and Richard allowing it.

I had expected that when Jeff went to talk to Richard, he would find that Richard was upset at Tracy’s reaction, knew the truth, remembered the hugs and what they were really all about, but was afraid of angering Tracy further by countering her.

I did not expect to hear the things that Richard actually did say, the ways he reacted to Jeff.

But I still don’t know why or how the e-mail came across that way: I never even said “I love you,” and expressed only platonic caring for a dear and close friend. 

I certainly would’ve expected Richard, of all people, to know that any suggestive “subtext” was not there, because he was the one who gave me the hugs.

I expected him to explain them to Tracy and reassure her, that this would calm her down and make her realize that she was misreading and misjudging, that there was nothing to worry about or get mad about.

You don’t treat friends the way they treated me: You give them the benefit of the doubt and ask them for the truth before freaking out, especially with e-mails, which are so easily misunderstood, as everybody knows.

But then, should I expect any different from the same people who freaked out on good friend Todd over a game? from the same person who went into rage episodes and started ripping Todd to shreds over a game?

As Todd said, she doesn’t try to change anything herself, just keeps yelling at other people to do it.  And I was told by both Todd and Richard that people keep breaking off friendships with Richard because of Tracy.

So should I expect any different from her toward myself?  And why should I take any of her criticisms or accusations to heart?

Heck, in June 2009 I had e-mailed Richard, regarding a discussion on a Christian forum we were both on:

As for other kinds of love, I want [my son] to be able to say it freely, that he loves his friends, loves his family, loves his fellow workers at whatever task.

[My pastor friend Mike] once brought up how reluctant people are to say it.

On the one hand, I see the wisdom of saying “philia” when referring to how you feel about friends.

On the other hand, I want to be able to say “I love you” to a guy friend without having to qualify it with “philia” or “But not in THAT way,” especially when they might have a crush on you or there’s a spouse who might misunderstand.

So much is tied up into that one word in our language that it has so much baggage.  But if you use a different word, like “philia,” it doesn’t feel like you’re saying what you mean, because it comes from Greek, not your native tongue.  You know what I’m saying?

To you and to Mike I’ve signed letters/e-mails saying, “In philia.”  But it didn’t “feel” like what I really meant.  I want to freely say “I love you” just as I would to, say, [my female college friends].

It’s the same emotion and loyalty to each.  If Mike [or various female and male friends] were to die, I would be devastated.  If I had to, I would stick up for any of them, and occasionally I have done so.

But in this culture, you start fearing the wives will freak out if they read a note saying “I love you,” or your friend will misunderstand and think you’re professing your undying passion, and freak out.

How did Americans end up so screwed up, anyway?

Mike once wrote in an e-mail to friends that he wants to break down our society’s barriers that make people think they can’t say “I love you” to friends or colleagues without making people uncomfortable.  That he’d told a colleague in a staff meeting that he loves her, and she just sat in uncomfortable silence.  I loved the concept.

An NLDer on a support forum I frequent, recently had to deal with his father reading subtext into something he said, when he had meant it literally, no subtext–and he got into trouble for something he had not even said.

It seems to me that while subtext may be considered “normal,” it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and having a literal brain is much safer.

Even neurotypicals misunderstand each other’s subtext all the time, especially by e-mail and on Internet forums.

Somewhere recently I read an article by a guy who assumed a friend was sarcastic in an e-mail to him.  This greatly offended him so much that he didn’t speak to this person again for months–only to find the friend wasn’t being at all sarcastic, and was actually paying him a compliment.

Subtext can more easily be read and understood in person, but over the Internet, everyone becomes “Aspie” or “NLD.”  It’s dangerous to read subtext into any e-mail or Internet post.

Everyone must be willing to recognize that misunderstandings happen by e-mail, and calm down and accept explanations of misunderstandings as being valid.  In fact, we are told this again and again by moderators who try to calm people down on forums and e-mailing lists.

(I do seem to use a kind of subtext, but it’s basically using an explanation to communicate why something can or cannot be done.  That message is included in the explanation.  It drives me nuts when my husband keeps asking a question I’ve already answered, and then says I didn’t answer it.  But this is not emotional subtext, the kind women supposedly use.  I try not to presume an emotional subtext in e-mail because e-mail is so easily misunderstood, even among neurotypicals.)

Narcissistic Rage is something you, as the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, will no doubt have experienced. Narcissists hate being challenged.  Because they’re such superior, perfect people, how dare you, a mere nobody, challenge them in any way?

This is why Narcissists react out of all proportion to the smallest slight, or perceived slight.

Or even, to the slightest request for better treatment.  Any challenge threatens their wellbeing.  Their persona is so fragile that it cannot withstand any challenge whatsoever.

This is why they go on the attack so viciously.  They really are fighting for their life, or it feels like it to them.

There are no limits to what they’ll do or say in the throes of this rage.  They’ll eviserate your personality, your very Self.  It’s like soul-annihilation.  It’s so destructive and vicious.  It’s a self-esteem destroyer. 

Sometimes this Narcissistic Rage can turn physical, but even if it remains at being verbal, it’s terrifying. Narcissistic Rage

 This type of individual has dysfunctional problem-solving skills. Instead of holding herself accountable for her bad behavior and making positive changes, she tries to solve problems by shifting blame, making excuses, verbally attacking others, vilifying others and fighting or fleeing.

In her reality, these are problem-solving techniques. To a rational adult, these behaviors create the majority of the problems and conflicts in a relationship. –Shrink4Men, Blame and Rage: What Abusive Women Call Problem-Solving

Perceived Insult. It is easy to think of this as the “trigger.” Problem is, this is no ordinary trigger. It is a hair-trigger. Anything that portrays her as less than perfect or holds her accountable will trigger her for sure.

You need to evaluate what triggers your partner. If you were the one that actually triggered the response, it will be easier to identify. However, sometimes it wasn’t your finger on the trigger. More on that later.

Disproportionate Rage. This phase could easily be labeled “shock and awe.” You will be in awe because in your mind the perceived insult will not warrant the level of rage you receive.

If your infraction is deemed serious enough, she is most likely to use nuclear weapons first. Don’t be surprised if you are subjected to flying objects, yelling, divorce threats, and false 911 calls. There will definitely be memories that last a lifetime! –Shrink4Men, High-Conflict Phases of Abuse, Blame Shifting, Distortion, Rage and Manipulation Diagram

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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Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign

I was hardly the first friend of Richard’s to be driven off by Tracy, or even the third, and probably won’t be the last.  I don’t want to enumerate them all–especially since I don’t know how many there are–but there are several I’m aware of.  I take solace in this, because it shows I must not blame myself: It’s not me.

It also wasn’t just about her being jealous of other women.  She had various reasons to drive away these friends.  She also was nasty to and ran off one of Richard’s close male friends, “Todd,” in June 2008, because he did something on an online game which she did not like.

Richard later told Todd that she did this because, back when Todd first came to visit them, he nearly beat Tracy at Risk.  This made him her secret enemy.  So one day, she had her revenge:

I still have the printouts, because most of the argument was posted online, except for some private conversations which weren’t posted, and I wanted a full picture of just what th’ freaking heck was going on.  So I printed up dozens of pages, in order to read them closely without the glare of the computer screen.

I even have the original, private conversation between members of their alliance “government,” because Todd opened it to the rest of the gamers some time later.  So I can go back and read it over closely, without Richard whispering in my ear all the bad things Todd was doing, unlike the first time I read it.

Right here in the printouts is a fully documented case of DARVO, or Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.  Because I can see it so clearly here, involving a different target than I, I can see how easily Tracy can pull that DARVO trick on any target.

And what I see burns me with the injustice Todd suffered from her.  People in these games argue and war and flame each other all the time, but Todd was supposedly Tracy and Richard’s friend–and one of Richard’s best friends, not just online but off.  This got personal.

Have you ever marveled at how your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex is able to do and say the most hurtful, underhanded and contemptible things and then portray herself as the innocent victim?

Have you ever wondered how she is able to convincingly accuse others, usually her victims, of the abusive behaviors and attitudes of which she is actually guilty? Wonder no more, the answer may be DARVO. –Shrink4Men

This was a browser-based game in which you set up your own moon colony, could form alliances with other colonies, and the alliances could declare wars on each other.  Todd and Tracy were in the same alliance, and in the “government.”

One night, they disagreed on the rules of the alliance’s hierarchy.  Todd had set up the rules for the alliance, a system of government which he worked hard to write, and which was his baby.

Todd was just trying to keep to the rules as he wrote them, while helping her get what she wanted regarding who got what position in the government.  She wanted some things which he said were against the rules.  She disagreed with him over this.

So in an effort of peace and helping a friend, he posted for the alliance to vote on an amendment so she could shuffle around some “ministers” the way she wanted.

But she completely misunderstood what he was doing and suddenly went off on him, posting a profanity-laden message publicly to the alliance’s main forum, also cussing him out in chat, accusing him of acting like a spoiled child and pouting.

Instead of picking up the phone and asking him in a non-blaming fashion what he was doing, she publicly posted this rage episode in the forum, and then, as he put it, he woke up to her screaming at him in chat the next morning.

I read this part of the printouts closely, but could not figure out where the heck she got the idea that Todd was somehow trying to thwart her or do a “power grab,” as Richard claimed.

All I saw was Todd doing his darndest, even staying up late, to bend the rules to help her get what she wanted.

This looked like someone with a Cluster B personality disorder finding insult where none existed, and using it as an excuse for a narcissistic rage episode.

(In fact, this reminds me of someone I encountered on a BBS back in college, a teenager with the handle Avenger who started a huge flame war with my friend Sharon and me.  It was all because Sharon wanted to be considerate of the kids on the BBS when setting up times for an evening BBS bowling party.  The Avenger and Tracy are very much alike–both mean girls who take offense at the weirdest things–and I could not stand the Avenger.)

Jeff and I both wondered where on earth this came from after a 6-year friendship.  Shouldn’t Todd be cut some slack?  Todd was also baffled, just as I was on 7/1/10 when Tracy raged at me about an e-mail I sent to Richard.

In re-reading the printouts, I saw absolutely no evidence that Todd pouted about anything, or acted spoiled or childish.  He just had concerns about what was allowed by the rules.  He did not argue about it, just decided to help her by requesting an amendment to the rules so she could do what she wanted.

Just as it did with me, her raging, cussing, accusations and cuts on Todd’s character, shocked him, dismayed him, and put him on the defensive.  At first, he tried to be more diplomatic, but it was completely understandable when he noted, “And as for that utter tripe you stated about my character?  It’s offensive….”

She continued raging at him and telling everyone he was being awful.  It’s amazing how much stamina this woman has for rages.  I also wonder where she found the time, with four kids.

They went into a chat on IRC, which went on for many hours.  He tried and tried but could not get her to see things from his point of view.  A mediator tried to calm her down and tell her to stop taking things personally, but even he couldn’t do it.  Eventually, both sides turned ridiculous, not just Tracy.

As I read this thread over again, I really feel for Todd, because I see Tracy going on a rage episode for some imagined slight that did not actually occur, all because she thought she wasn’t getting her way–when Todd’s actions were specifically meant to give her what she wanted.

I see her picking a fight and poking and prodding Todd, calling him a baby, not listening to his point of view, accusing him of having a temper tantrum.  (This is called projection.  Abusers will accuse you of doing things they’re actually doing.)

A common tactic of a narcissist is to project their own issues on to their victim. This is an attempt to hide any actions or truths they do not want brought to light about themselves.

It is their hope that by projecting issues of their own onto you it will distract you from their malignant behavior. –Lisa E. Scott, The “Crazy-Making” Behavior of a Narcissist

I see her trying to get her own way and THAT’S IT.  (My abusive ex Phil was like that, as my friends noted.)

So–like anyone else who keeps getting poked and prodded–he got angry.  Abusers will do this to provoke you into doing something mean, so that they can point to you as the abuser.  This is called baiting.

Then Tracy took it from the alliance forum to all the other alliances, making it a gamewide argument, using her more “mature” language (just as she did to Jeff after writing foul obscenities to me) to accuse Todd of starting a coup and being childish.  Then she declared war on him.

Her explanation to the other alliances of what happened, is not what I actually saw happen in the alliance forums.  She changed some important details to make Todd look bad and her look right.  She made it sound like she was being rational and adult while he was flying off the handle.

Basically, she bald-faced lied and kept on lying blatantly about Todd to everyone in the game.  Then she booted him from the alliance.  This was a smear campaign.

She continued twisting facts while arguing with him publicly in the gamewide forums.  Then other people–who were not in their alliance and did not have access to their forum, so did not see what really happened–started backing her up and accusing Todd of going crazy.

This is all part of an abuser’s modus operandi, making the target of abuse appear to be the abuser, appear to be crazy, so no one will believe him.

And things went out of control for days, with both sides doing terrible things, including Todd calling her nasty names.  She baited him, and unfortunately, he took the bait.

This also happens in physically abusive relationships: An abusive woman will slap, smack, etc. until her husband fights back–then he ends up in jail.

Then Tracy posted that as long as she’s going to be called a b**ch, she might as well act like one.  Which is totally not the way to solve problems with a friend, and a horrible attitude.  Nice people would not behave that way.

(It also sounds very familiar, because after she found out I thought she was being possessive and controlling with Richard, over the years she did everything she could to prove me correct.)

It makes me wonder how often she twisted facts when telling Richard things I supposedly had done.  I am aware of several times that she lied.

I see firsthand how she manipulated things with Todd, flying off the handle over a slight which only existed in her mind, and then lied to others with just enough of the facts to make it believable.  I see how she refused to let Todd tell her that things were not the way she thought they were.

So I see that with me, she was able to manipulate things to make me seem like I was trying to move in on her husband, and her seem like the rational principled one, leaving me feeling for quite some time like I didn’t know what was really true.

But now I see far more clearly just how easily she manipulated Richard and me.  I see how she refused to hear that things were any different than what she thought, how she refused to listen to reason, or to let anybody else have an opinion different from hers.

So she got her own way while I felt steamrolled over–and like not even Richard cared.  There was no compromise here: It was all her way or the highway, and she had to be right, because nobody else’s feelings mattered.

I see in the printouts from the Todd situation that she did the same thing to him, making him feel like Richard didn’t care anymore, like he was stabbing Todd in the back.

It is yet more evidence that I need to take everything she ever said about me, all her opinions on my motivations and actions and what was “appropriate” or not, all her cuts on my character, all her quick insults, and throw it all in the trashbin, because this is something she does.  And refuse to let Richard back into my life until he sees just what she did.

I know of two other former friends of Richard whom she used to butt heads with as well (though I don’t know details), so this is a pattern with her.

Nowhere do I see her calming down during the arguments with Todd and saying, You know, a longtime friendship isn’t worth all this; I should step back and cool off.  And I see Richard getting pulled into it and feeling he had to stick up for Tracy, which was unfair to Todd.

I see it becoming, for Todd, not so much about a game but about a long, close, dear friendship which suddenly blew up in his face for no good reason.  I see him trying desperately to keep it from happening, but going totally the wrong way about it.

But I understand how he felt, because being publicly condemned by your friend over a game, is madness and infuriating.  All Todd wanted was for Tracy to stop accusing him of things he didn’t do, and see that he was actually trying to help her out, so he wouldn’t feel like his best friends were backstabbing him over a stupid game.

But Richard and Tracy both began doing things that made it worse:

Richard helped Tracy write a declaration of war, worded in such a way to appear that anyone who agreed with Todd, was one of her alliance’s targets–though later he said it didn’t mean that.

(So he really should understand how easy it was for my own e-mail to him to not mean what Tracy thought it meant.  Unless, of course, he lied about the meaning of that DOW.)

Richard also kept telling me that Todd was doing a “power grab,” and telling me the horrible things Todd was saying to Tracy, while here was Tracy being nasty all along to Todd.

Her lies were obvious, cold and calculated, all because she imagined a slight that did not actually exist.

I saw how other people on the board got her side of the story and assumed she was right, but they didn’t have Todd’s side.

I saw Todd accused of going crazy because of a game, by people who had no access to the logs of what really happened.  Or when they got access, they didn’t care enough to actually read it all.

It all fits the behavior of an abuser or narcissist going on a smear campaign.

Even though she was the first one to make nasty cuts on Todd’s character in public, Richard got angry at Todd for making nasty cuts (“quick insults”) on Tracy’s character, and said Todd couldn’t take it back even if he wanted to.

But what about the nasty things Tracy had said to Todd long before he got fed up?  Did they count for nothing?  Was it okay for her to say things for which Richard yelled at Todd?

The problem lay with both sides, two very volatile and young personalities who had to be right.  But Tracy fired the first shot, took it from an ordinary discussion of game politics and made it personal, made it nasty, all over a frickin’ GAME, and all over a slight which was only in her imagination.  She ruthlessly libeled him and defamed his character.

And Richard kept trying to tell me that it was all Todd’s fault, that it was a “power grab,” when I could see different, from what was posted on the game forums, and when I already knew some of Tracy’s temper.  I can see that same pattern all through my own interactions with her.  By seeing what happened with Todd, it’s obvious that I’m not crazy or imagining it.

Both sides were to blame for what happened: One person said Tracy had a “stubborn as a rock mentality,” and Todd, who has a temper of his own, really shouldn’t have cussed at Tracy and called her names.  But I saw that Todd did try to give her some of the things she wanted.

And to be fair to Todd, as I wrote above, and find in various accounts on the Net (see here, for example), abusers can get after you so much that you finally snap and start behaving badly yourself.  The abuser then uses this as proof that you’re the abuser.  This is “crazy-making,” “projection,” “gaslighting,” “baiting.”

And no, in the beginning Todd was not being nasty at all:  His own nastiness appears to have started after hours in chat of Tracy’s refusing to back down and listen to him, and continuing to accuse him of a power grab.  Then he began lashing out in frustration.

None of his concessions were enough; they went on for hours online, arguing about this, back and forth, posting much of it on the game forum.

He wasn’t “power grabbing”; he just understood the alliance constitution (which he himself constructed) differently than Tracy did.  Richard should have called Tracy on her insults of Todd, but didn’t.

So of course Todd felt ganged up on, like Richard backstabbed him and let Tracy get away with whatever she wanted.  It’s very familiar, in fact….

Todd was like me, wary of Tracy because he knew she was evil, but friends of a sort with her because she was married to Richard.

Yet, after the way she kept treating me, the things I saw her do or say to Richard, the kids, Todd, and others, and the things Richard told me she did to him and the kids–Richard and Tracy kept acting like it was somehow my fault, my problem, something I had to fix, that I couldn’t get close to her, didn’t want to confide my secrets in her, didn’t seek out her company.

[Update 11/16/11: Note also how narcissists and abusers can turn things around so that you appear to be the manipulator, such as with Judge Adams, who has made his daughter Hillary appear to be manipulative and spoiled, after she posted the smoking gun video of him beating her.]

More details of this story are here, including her sociopathic smile over something Todd supposedly did, but I don’t have room to put everything in this post.

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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