No Contact has grown centipede feet since its inception, running away from its original intention protecting victims. This is a predictable scenario since narcissists identify as victims. Perpetually. They may stalk, cheat, plagiarize, abuse and betray people, yet consider themselves to be victims, their victimizing behaviors justified. Perpetually. Well, what can you expect from a disorder preventing accurate self-appraisal, inhibiting the capacity for self-reflection? If someone is unable to introspect and own their aggression, they will view people’s defensive reactions as unpredictable and threatening. From the narcissist’s point of view, people are attacking without any provocation on the narcissist’s part. They believe they are defending themselves from aggression. Since pathological narcissism is defined by distorted perceptions, what narcissists see is not what is. Their provoking behavior is outside their awareness. This does not mean they aren’t consciously aware of their aggressive tactics. They believe their aggressive tactics are warranted.
…Being told a friend, family member or partner is using No Contact to protect themselves from YOU is confounding. Reality is turned upside-down when the narcissist refuses your phone calls, deletes your emails, bans you from their Facebook page. Through the grapevine, you’re told the narcissist avoids office luncheons because you’re there. She can’t be the bridesmaid if you’re the best man. He can’t go to the neighborhood picnic since you volunteered to flip the burgers. Your entire social circle from Earth to Jupiter has been informed of this tragic predicament and people wonder how YOU managed to make someone’s life so miserable they had to use No Contact (or take out a restraining order). You didn’t seem to be a dangerous person but who in the blue hell knows who anybody really is behind closed doors? You have now, my friend, entered the surrealistic world of DARVO: Defend, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. DARVO is the terrain of the narcissistic personality which means the No Contact plan has switched from self-protection to the intention to harm.
That night was awful. I tried to talk to Phil about what the counselor said. I didn’t yell or scold or anything.
But he stonewalled, suddenly abandoned me for a time to talk to Dirk, treated me like a stupid witch who had nothing worthwhile to say, then treated me like I had no right to wonder when we were going to get back to our conversation. These are abuse tactics.
They sat in the foyer of the library, while I was inside the library, on the other side of the wall/windows and glass door.
So Dirk, who knew absolutely nothing about marriage, became Phil’s choice of marriage counselor. So Dirk became privy to who knew what, while I was given no chance whatsoever to tell Dirk my own side of things, and was left out of the conversation about me.
Dirk basically was put in the middle of everything, and probably fed Phil all sorts of bullcrap.
But I wasn’t even supposed to wonder how long this conversation was going to keep us from our own conversation, because when I went to the windows/door and looked at them, he made a gesture toward me as if to say to Dirk, “See what I mean?”
What on earth he meant by that, I had no clue, because I’d been left waiting by myself for quite a long time already, and this was extremely rude of Phil.
Earlier, he had given me every reason to believe that reconciliation was possible. But now, after talking with Dirk, he suddenly said we couldn’t even be friends. It is interference like this that led to me loathing Dirk, so much so that 20 years later, I still won’t even friend him on Facebook.
This stunned me. I can’t remember why he said this. I doubt that I knew then what changed the course of the conversation, because he only communicated through yelling and stonewalling.
But now as I look back over this, I’m certain it was Dirk’s doing. I don’t know why on earth Dirk was so determined to split us up, since he did not want me for himself. Unless, of course, Dirk was actually Phil’s pawn, manipulated into believing that I was the abuser instead of Phil.
I have every reason to believe this is why. Abusers recruit others to help with the abuse, by making them believe that the victim is the abuser. This is called control by proxy.
When I first made notes of this argument a couple of years later for my memoir, I wrote that Phil probably either overreacted–or was only acting. He’d done a lot of acting those few days, as he told me a few days after this event–and as I realized when I contrasted his words to his actions.
All I could do was leave him and not talk to him again.
I didn’t realize yet that his actions proved he had never loved me, no matter what he told me before or his insistence that he still loved me. When you truly love someone, you don’t treat her this way.
In 1996 or 1997, as I worked with Cugan’s friend Laura on ideas for my wedding dress, she told me she knew Phil. He used to come into the gaming shop where she was a clerk, and buy dice and other Dungeons and Dragons items. She knew that Phil had to marry his girlfriend. And that shop was in M–, not S–! Small state, eh?
He used to go there with his high school friends, with whom he kept in touch after high school. Laura told me they were upset with him over something, and that he’d been ostracized for it, but she didn’t know what the thing was. I always wondered if they finally saw how he treated his women.
Laura used to think he was a nice guy, but she had been an abused wife herself, and stopped liking him as soon as I told her he was “borderline abusive.”
I’ll say this as well, in case any of you finds yourself in a similar situation. I have heard and read other stories of emotional abuse. In one, the guy made a date with another woman while lying in bed with his girlfriend, and then told his girlfriend she deserved that.
Many times, an abuser will hit his wife because she did something he thought she shouldn’t have done. She will then start to believe she deserved what she got. Don’t let yourself get into this trap.
In the following months, my friend Helene said, “It sounds like he’s trying to control you even after the relationship is over.”
Did he break up with me because he couldn’t control me? (Sort of like in the song “Control” by Puddle of Mudd: “I can’t control you/ You’re not the one for me, no.” Or in “Special” by Garbage: “I have run you down into the ground/ Spread disease about you over town/ I used to adore you/ I couldn’t control you.”
Also, in a letter to the editor in the 9/28/98 edition of US News and World Report, speaking of the Clinton/Lewinsky/Starr scandal and Hillary’s insistence on standing by her adulterous husband, a reader wrote, “Even women battered and bloodied will defend their abusers.” A typical response of an abused woman is, “He was right and I was wrong. I deserved what I got.”
In one way I was typical, in that I didn’t see the abuse for what it was. In another I wasn’t, in that I refused to say I deserved what I got and that Phil was right to treat me the way he did. This refusal to be a victim, to just sit back and take it, to act like a victim, may be a subconscious reason why Phil left me–which was actually a mercy.
Of course, some people might say I did sit back and take it like a victim, because I didn’t just tell him to leave. But it’s common for abused women to say, as I did, that I loved him and didn’t want to leave. After all the trouble I had finding a Christian man at a Christian college, and one who actually wanted to be with me, where else would I find one, especially one I had so much in common with?
Also, during the summer, even when I felt like telling Phil, “Go back to Wisconsin,” I didn’t because we were married. I saw marriage as a lifelong commitment that was not to be broken lightly.
This may be why he married the new girl, who had been abused by a boyfriend before. (We see the common trend of a woman subconsciously seeking out abusers, and finding them. Cindy said she probably thought Phil wasn’t abusive because he didn’t seem as bad as the previous abuser.)
Years later, April 9 and 10, 1998, what can I say? That he treated me like the bad guy when, all along, he was the bad guy. He was emotionally abusive, and didn’t listen to a word I said, didn’t treat my feelings or ideas or words like they were worth his attention or care.
He’d said he’d be my husband, said we were meant for each other, even said he was my husband–yet had no respect for his commitment, or for me. All he cared about was himself. Just before the breakup, he told his friends that he still loved me–but he didn’t show it.
He also didn’t talk to me about whether or not a breakup was necessary, or even try to work out the misunderstanding of the night before the breakup, but to other people. And then told me after he had already decided, all by himself.
(When did he talk to them? There wasn’t much time in between Thursday night and Friday afternoon. And how long did he take to process the things they said? Did he even give himself enough time?)
He talked with my parents on the phone, at their request, but didn’t listen to them; he didn’t even want to go to a counselor for help. It was all what he wanted, and he didn’t listen to any of my suggestions for what we could do to fix things.
He seemed to think I was the problem, but was too blind to see that very similar things would happen all over again with other girlfriends. He refused to see his own failings, while I was willing to see mine.
But when you look at why I did them–because he was so hard to deal with and I didn’t know how else to get through to him, and he was so irresponsible that I was forced to nag at him for things–you can easily see they were tiny compared to his own failings. (It’s called catching fleas from your abuser.)
Being forced to act like a mother and make a guy get up in time to go to his own job, being forced to nag at him until he gets his brakes fixed because this is the last day he’ll have a chance (before you go on a long road trip back to campus) and he just wants to be a slugabed–
These are nothing compared to the sin of emotional abuse, sexual abuse by forcing someone to do unnatural acts, and the threat of physical abuse if he finally decided to carry out his threats to hit.
He threatened me once or twice with physical violence (I have described at least one such instance to you), and really did slap Persephone while they were together. (She slapped him right back, and he never did it to her again.)
And my second husband, Cugan, considers some of the sexual abuse to be physical as well, because after all, it took physical force to do the things he did.
Phil said he was a better person when not around me–a convenient phrase taken from Mrs. Doubtfire–but this was not true. He was no better with Persephone, as I describe later.
Sharon said in 1996 or 1997, that watching him and his new girlfriend was like watching him and me all over again, only worse because she would lie about where she was when she missed Phi-Delt meetings for him.
Cindy heard him yelling at her the way he used to yell at me, and she was not happy with him at all. When the new girlfriend got pregnant, Pearl tried to warn her not to marry him; she didn’t listen. And in 2007, they divorced.
At a Christmas party at Sharon’s house in 1997, my friends, not me, brought up the subject of Phil, soon after somebody said they saw Dave working at Dunham’s Sporting Goods. Pearl said with a laugh that Phil and his new wife’s kid should be taken away by the SPCC, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
My friends told me he treated me like a child, and that’s one reason why they no longer liked him soon after we started dating–besides the fact that they considered him annoying.
But back to September 1994. When you’ve been married to and living with someone all summer and they suddenly cut off all contact with you, even though they’ve been abusing you, you feel like a part of you is lost.
Wednesday, September 14. On one of these early days of the week, Helene came to the library and saw me. That’s probably when I told her about the breakup, while updating the card catalog.
She said she had been engaged three times since her husband died in a plane crash, and each engagement had been broken. She was numb for the first few days afterward.
I felt similar, and could barely get through my shifts at the library. Time was molasses, so slow I could hardly bear it. Everything I did at the library, including updating the card catalog, made me restless.
I confided in Helene, called her on the phone once, and often sat with her at lunch during the next several months. I talked about my feelings and got her advice; we discussed a book she lent me about dealing with a divorce.
For both of us, a favorite part of the book described a counselor’s experience in his support group for divorcees. One woman saw her ex-husband having a picnic with a new girlfriend. She ran her vehicle over them. The people in the group said, “Ooh! Did she back up and run over them again?”
While I confided in Helene, Phil confided in her best friend Kay. He seemed to think of her as a sister.
I think it was Helene, or maybe Anna, who first said Phil seemed like good marriage material, but needed to grow up. But later on, Helene said his turning to Persephone confirmed her worst fears about him, that he would go on to somebody else right away rather than trying to work out problems.
I told her how Phil treated me during the marriage; she liked him less every time I talked to her about him.
I spent most of my time with my friends or working or in class or eating or alone in the apartment, trying to do homework and deal with things and get on with life.
As much as possible, I wanted to go on with my daily life without grief interfering. I lost very little, if any, sleep, and kept eating properly. I dealt with things much better than when Peter broke up with me.
And after what Phil said on Tuesday night, I kept my distance from him. No, I was never the stalker-type; if somebody told me to stop talking to them, I stopped.
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil
Related articles across the web
From Cherilyn Clough’s Is It Un-Christian to Go No Contact?:
No contact does not mean you haven’t forgiven. One of the myths about adult children of dysfunctional families is they are bitter and have not forgiven if they are still talking about their pain.
I disagree. I would say many people are still in the process of healing and may have trouble moving on because the pain of a broken relationship is like a death in the family.
Those who accuse people of not forgiving have either not experienced the betrayal and abandonment of a parent–or they are in denial of their own issues. Sadly, as long as some people are alive they will continue to deny what they’ve done and continue to bully others.
So is it un-christian to go no contact when Jesus tells us to love our enemies? To determine the truth, we need to take into account everything Jesus says.
….One way to stop being a victim is to stand up for yourself and go no contact.
….Most people raised in dysfunctional families know all too well how unhealthy anger rages and accuses and yells and swings a belt or slams a fist. Healthy anger does none of the above–it simply rises to the occasion by constructive action toward the abusive situation.
Read more here.
Finally, my web host has finished whatever they were doing to protect us against botnet attacks, and my blog is back to normal functioning (I hope)!
But it was down for about a week, a long, frustrating week as my blog would go up and down, up and down. I often had to turn off the redirect sending readers here from my old blog.
During uptimes, I installed better security and made adjustments, since you can’t rely on your host to protect you completely, especially on a free server.
I see from my security files that just in the last 24 hours, some bot from the Ukraine continuously tried to get into my blog’s dashboard for malicious purposes. Apparently it would try, Wordfence would block it for a short time, then it would come back and try again.
But because of my security fixes, it could not come in. 😀 And now, because of Wordfence, I’ve blocked it permanently from trying again.
I have seen my stalkers trying to get in as well. They are aware of this new blog, and have done searches for it which led them to my old blog, but not the new one.
I’ve seen them go to my old blog, but because the redirect for mobile phones was turned on, they got redirected here–and couldn’t get in.
I saw them try six times one evening to get in, when the mobile redirect was on, but they failed!
All they can ever see is the old blog, which is rarely updated now. Now that my blog is back up and more stable again, the mobile redirect is back up, so they can’t get to the old or new blogs at all.
When the redirect is up, the only trace I can see of them is in Blogger’s stat page, when an Android browser is accompanied by a search term which I can recognize as theirs. They do not show up in any other hit count trackers, because they are blocked.
I haven’t seen them back in a little more than a week, even though they had a long-established routine of checking in at least once a week, often twice or more–and several times a day when they discovered me trying to block them on my old blog a couple of months ago.
Strange how they won’t say a word to me otherwise, but will express their displeasure with me through their unwanted blog hits…..
Must be because they know I’ve been to the police about them already because of the e-mail they sent me, so they know I’m capable of doing so again.
This has been extremely helpful in restoring my broken spirit. For almost a year I have feared what they may be planning next:
- Will I get served with a lawsuit for telling the truth?
- Will they send me another nasty message, threaten me, or assault me as Richard had once almost done to the person who evicted them?
- Will they come to my church again on purpose to upset me and rub my nose in their lack of remorse for hurting and abusing me?
But none of this has happened. No lawsuit. No more nasty messages. No assaults. I haven’t even seen them at church since last August. Their presence on my blog has been a constant irritant, but now I have successfully blocked them.
They are beginning to disappear from my life, even on the edges (ie, checking my blog), since I switched to WordPress.org and blocked them. They are also beginning to disappear from my thoughts. Not completely, but it is a huge step forward.
There is still the risk of seeing them more often eventually at church, if one of our parishes fails financially and our separate congregations begin blending. I dearly hope that does not happen.
But for now, our two parishes remain open, and they are not directly in my life (just occasionally seen on the street). My spirit is moving toward peace, toward calm.
I am working to accept that Richard was never the friend or the person he claimed to be, or he would never have let things get this way, that he must have been conning and using me.
I have become the webmaster for my church, and that has predominated my thoughts (and time) lately as I struggle to understand the content management system it uses.
My son just bought a couple of adorable spice finches who are very attached to each other.
Life is slowly but surely moving on.
As for my blog stalkers, Richard and Tracy–Fine, let them go ahead and look. Let them come to my church and GreekFest. I no longer care. My fear of them is gone. Their power over me is gone.
The blockers weren’t working anyway on their cell phone, but I see every page they read, using my four stat counter trackers. Maybe they’ll learn something.
They want me to fear them; they want to silence me; as long as they do that, they still have power over me. I’ve lived in fear of them far long enough. ENOUGH!
Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom as great… Damn. I can never remember that line…..You have no power over me. —Sarah, Labyrinth
But they must leave me alone, not speak a word to me except in repentance for the many hurtful things they’ve both done to me, which they’re already well aware of, since they read everything (or at least glanced over it).
If they don’t speak to me, especially in anger, if they refrain from nastiness if I’m serving coffee hour, if they stay away from me and don’t cause trouble for me, then going to my priest requesting a contract to protect the bullying victim–
(as I mentioned in “Mutual Friends,” which they seemed so enraged about and called a “threat,” but would be my right and duty to ask for, to protect myself as a bullying victim)–
would be unnecessary. That is, after all, the entirety of what I would ask for in such a contract.
From what I could gather from context, this is the “threat” they referred to in “Now I’m Being Stalked,” of my going to “members of the church.”
Considering it was not addressed to them but was a musing over how I would have to deal with it if our churches merged, and was my right as a victim–
If they take it as a “threat” then it must have scared them to think I would do this and show the priest proof of Richard’s conviction (to establish my credibility and show I had reason to be scared).
But showing a criminal record is not in any way “defamation,” but truth, and it is not “defamation” for a victim to request help from her priest because she has been bullied or abused in some way.
This threat to sue me is merely an empty, groundless, baseless threat made by bullies to keep their victim under their thumbs.
Interesting how they felt they could say all sorts of terrible things to me and treat me like crap, but if I turn around and call them on their BS, tell them they’re abusers and need to knock it off, they act like I’ve committed a horrible crime.
Things could have ended so very differently, and I would never have felt driven to release the hurt and pain and frustration through writing, if not for their hard hearts.
If I never cared about Richard, if there weren’t some part of me which still cared even after all this crap and the choking incident, I would’ve been able to walk away from this whole thing, put it into a work of fiction perhaps (as I did with the sociopath who caused our shire trouble back in ’99, and with the “Avenger” back in college), and that would be that.
The depths of my pain and trouble getting past it, are testimony to just how much it mattered to me, how much I cared about my so-called best friend and the kind of person I thought he was. I’ve tried to stomp on that piece of my heart that still cares about Richard, shoot it, rip it to pieces, hammer it, stab it, and yet that little piece of caring still remains.
And there was a time when I cared about Tracy, too, and craved her good opinion as well, wanted her to become a friend I could watch TV with and such. But forgiveness is still there for the taking, if they only would ask.
But I don’t expect they ever will, because narcissists care as much and are just as sorry for the destruction they leave behind them, as a homeowner is when killing off the ants who’ve invaded his bedroom.
[Update 6/11/14: Up till I posted this, they had fallen down on their threat to stalk me at church all summer long. They showed up a couple of times, showed up at GreekFest, then stopped. Then I posted this, they read it in the wee hours of the following morning, and they showed up again on August 19.
They were remarkably well-behaved–just as I laid out in this post as a requirement for the “contract” I would want, if they began going to my church full-time.
But that’s the last time I ever saw them at church or at GreekFest.]