no contact

What if The Abusers Changed?

A question which can come up any time you deal with an abuser, is, what if they change?

What if, through the court’s forcing them to cooperate with Social Services, Richard and Tracy turn their lives around?

What if they get education, get skills, get steady jobs, and that stressor is removed?

What if they go through counseling which eliminates the child and spousal abuse?

What if Richard decides not to be narcissistic anymore?

What if Tracy gets a diagnosis and treatment for whatever is causing her behavior?

That is a good question.  I’m not sure what my answer would be.  But unless someone who knows them tells me of these changes, or unless they come to me and demonstrate these changes, I have no way of knowing if they’ve happened, or if they’re for real.

Narcissists/Abusers are often able to pretend to have changed so they can suck the abused back in again.  And Richard told me things like, he was violent in his past but turned away from that, and he abused the kids once or twice in the past but doesn’t do that anymore–only to demonstrate that to be a lie.

Not only did his violence in other ways begin to show itself here and there over time, in comments he would make about his feelings toward violence, but he nearly killed one of his children, a few years after he told me that he had turned away from past child abuse.

So would I even be able to trust him if he came to me and said that he’s turned away from violence and abuse?

If they did come to me and beg forgiveness for the things they did to me and for how Richard threatened and intimidated my husband, I would probably want to grant them that forgiveness.

But to trust them? to let them back into my life?  That would take long, hard thought before doing it, and even if I allowed it, it would take a long time to trust either one of them.

Richard would no longer be my “bestie” because that trust in my best friend had been sorely betrayed and broken.  Not only will he have been on probation with the state, but he would now be on probation with me.

And I even find their politics disgusting, now that the true nature of their political parties has come more to light, and I know Richard and Tracy to be rabidly partisan to the point where they insult the intelligence of people who disagree.

Would I really be able to let them back in again and hear them say things about politics that I find repugnant because of the way their parties treat the poor and elderly, and deny reality?

If they supposedly “change” but do not come to me asking forgiveness, then I will have no basis on which to put a belief in their changing at all.

If they “change” but continue to think I’m at fault for Tracy’s abuse and bullying of me–

–that I need to be the one to go to them–

–that Tracy can rage with filthy and belittling comments and accusations, yet I’m supposed to believe Richard when he says I did worse (just by being a quiet person and scared of her) and that Tracy is “not a monster”–

–then that will be incontrovertible proof that they have not changed at all–

–just pushed the abuse down deep where they can fool social workers and probation officers and friends that they have changed.

I know from the newspaper that Tracy has been inducted into an honor society at a local college, so that means she’s getting an education which would help her get stable, better-paying employment.

So if Richard and Tracy do get stable employment and start being nicer to their kids and each other, then hey, that’s cool for them.  Maybe those kids will finally have a chance at a better life.

But if they never demonstrate to me that any change has happened, then all I have to go on is how they treated me in the past, how they abused each other in the past, and I will have no proof that they have truly changed at all.

I tried making peace with them before, only to find that their version of “peace” was for me to allow them to continue bullying and abusing me, without letting me have a voice or opinion of my own.

I can’t go by some fantasy fairy land dream; all I can go by is what I know from my own experience.  And that means that all the world can tell me they’ve changed, but I cannot, should not, must not believe it without it being proved to me.

Otherwise, I’ll just set myself up for disappointment, and probably more abuse and bullying in future.  And the first step for them to prove it to me, is to come to my husband and me and apologize for the bullying and abuse of me, and threatening and intimidating of my husband.

Here’s a blog post on this subject, just posted today, called Learning about predators from nature: leopards do not change their spots.  Shrink4Men’s blog was timely, not just because I posted this blog before I saw that one, but because I’ve been doing it again–missing Richard and wondering if he and Tracy are not really so bad as all that.  I have to keep reminding myself of the truth, lest I forget.

My trouble is, I’m way too freaking gullible.  I knew about Richard’s past–violence, dog with women, fooling a whole congregation as a preacher by faking speaking in tongues–but I believed he had changed.

I believe the lies of predators far too easily, and sometimes the lies are some real howlers.

I have to stay strong and remember that I know what Richard and Tracy are really like, even if their friends think they’re awesome.

I have to remember how pleasant and peaceful it’s been without that nasty Tracy in my life.

 

After his conviction, Richard comes to my church

To my shock, Richard showed up at my church today.  I hadn’t seen him there since last Christmas, and thought that–ever since I reported him to Social Services and he got convicted of choking his kid–he would never show up at my church again, out of shame, knowing or suspecting that I know what he did.  (The Forum was shocked as well.)

But there he was, so who knows when he could show up again.  Every week maybe?  And my church is TINY.  It’s hard to stay at opposite ends of the church in a church that small.  Staying at opposite ends means staying a yard or two apart.  Because of this, even though Jeff normally drops me off and leaves (he’s Lutheran), he stayed nearby as moral support–or a kind of bodyguard.

But I did note a few things.  They may mean nothing, or they may mean something, I don’t know: Richard was very quiet during the service, even during the Creed.  I didn’t hear him and he was just two or three pews back with nobody in between.  He did not go to get the Eucharist.

Only two children were with him: The child he choked was not there.  The youngest also was not there, and neither was Tracy.

He was right behind me in the line to get blessed bread from the priest, but said nothing to me.  Of course, I was sending out clear body language to “stay away.”

Unlike the first or second time I saw them at my church after everything went down, this time I’m given strength by the knowledge that I should not cower in shame from someone who did such a horrible thing to a little kid.

During coffee hour, my son played with the two children who were there.  Child #1 is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens.  She’ll pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug.  Child #2 is older, and upset at Jeff and me for not coming around anymore.

Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Jeff and my son had already gone out.  I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got Child #2’s scolding eyes.  She said things like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”

Jeff tells me he also got her scolding eyes.  But you can’t tell a little child, “Sorry, but we can’t come to your house anymore because your mother is nasty and your father choked your sister.”  So instead, I said, “We miss you, too.”

I hate to see children suffer from the sins of the parents.  I keep praying that the probation officer and Social Services are working to change things for those girls so they can break the cycle.

Jeff does not want to be friends with these people again.

[The case also showed up in the local newspaper’s printed listing of court cases, in November, showing his name, the ruling, and the amount of the fine.]

I posted on Facebook a dedication to Richard: “Suedehead” by Morrissey:

Why do you come here?  And why do you hang around?  Why do you come here When you know it makes things hard for me?  When you know, oh…Why do you come?

I also wrote:

Today I was put in the extremely uncomfortable and heartbreaking position of talking to a child who didn’t understand why I don’t come around anymore, and seeing the scold in her eyes.

“It was fun playing at your house,” she said.  “We miss you,” she said.

But you can’t tell a child that her parents’ disgraceful behavior is the reason.  “We miss you, too,” was all I could say.

I don’t get it–Why does he come to my church if he’s not going to try to make things right with us?  It’s supposed to be my refuge, my peaceful place.  But he keeps showing up there like a bad penny.

He has his own church.  What he did to me, has put me into my own Long Dark Night of the Soul; when he choked his daughter, I was horrified; and when I see him again, it’s a setback, when I’ve come so far along.

Every Sunday service, I’m afraid to go because he might be there.  Why doesn’t he leave me alone?

Dude, I don’t hate you, but I am extremely disappointed in you.  I expected much better of you…….

Then I posted a link to my blog post, Healing Takes a Long Time.  Some excerpts:

I had thought I’d never see Richard at my church again, but there he was on Sunday.  A wound I thought was healing has been ripped open again, gaping and oozing.

It’s hard for me to even get myself up and going to church on Sunday mornings, for fear that they will be there.  They’ve surprised me a few times at church, or at my church’s Greek Fest, since the breach, even though I rarely ever saw them there before.  (They go elsewhere.)

It felt like they were doing it on purpose to terrorize me.  Every time I saw them, I’d barely make it through, feel like collapsing, have to fight to keep from trembling.  Only anger at all the abuse could give me strength to get through.

This time, Hubby and I saw their vehicle in the parking lot, so Hubby stayed to give me moral support.  (He has his own church and normally just drops me off at mine.)

This time, it was just Richard and two of his kids, not the one who was choked.  It was all very quiet, no scenes or anything.  He didn’t even take communion.

During coffee hour, my son played with the two kids.  One is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens.  She’d pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Just the sweetest, most adorable little girl.

The other one is 7, and upset at Hubby and me for not coming around anymore.

Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Hubby and my son had already gone out.  I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes.

She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”  Hubby also got her scolding eyes earlier.

My heart broke right there.  I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the reasons.

I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the abuse, how Tracy had verbally eviscerated me over a misunderstanding and had no remorse, how her father had done a terrible, evil deed to her sister, how he had once planned to do a terrible, evil deed to a lady who had upset him two years ago, and made me afraid of him, afraid of what horrible deeds he could do to me.

I couldn’t explain to her in a way that she could understand it had nothing to do with her.

All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry.  I’ve been miserable ever since, missing her and the other children.

I just kept hoping during coffee hour that Richard would come to Hubby and me and apologize for all the things he’d done to us, and was very disappointed when he didn’t.  I still keep hoping.

[5/4/14: Instead, he just spent the whole time ignoring us, making no move to make peace with us, instead telling one of my fellow parishioners about his conversion to Orthodoxy. 

His conversion–hmph–What a joke!  Was that an Orthodox way to treat us, Richard?  You’re no Christian!]

I hope that, because of the criminal conviction, he’s using his probation as a second chance to change things around.  I hope that one day things will be different, that his abusive home environment will become healthy and good, that he will come to us.

Websites on abusers keep saying, “Don’t hope for change.  Let go of the hope for change.  Accept that this is the way they are and will always be.  Don’t listen when the Church says they can change.”  But in my heart I just don’t believe that.

I was angry.  I tried to hold onto my anger to distance myself from Richard and all the pain.  But it’s all just vanished and sadness has returned.

When he came to our city four years ago, I had no idea things would turn out like this.  I gave them so much of myself, trying to help them, because Richard’s friendship was so important and special to me.  He had never said anything about an abusive homelife, not until then.

One person on an Orthodox message board noted that I sound emotionally and spiritually traumatized.  This is certainly true.

If you are religious, please pray for me and this whole situation, which affects not just me but four innocent children.

[Below was added in spring 2014.]

Tracy accused me of breaking off relations with her because I needed to “grow up” and accept the “consequences” of my “behavior.” 

No, we broke off relations with her because she’s a screaming harpy, a child abuser, a husband beater, and an abusive friend who bullies shy, quiet, gentle people. 

We had already considered breaking off relations with her several times before that, even considered reporting her to CPS before the breakup. 

Her behavior on July 1, 2010 was the last straw. 

And now we have proof, in black and white, and in the state’s court records, that Richard is also a child abuser, making his loss no longer the tragedy I thought it was.

But I still suffered from residual pain and grief over his loss.

On October 31, 2011, the newspaper published this letter I sent to the editor:

I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.

An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers.  Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies.  But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.

How can this happen with such a despicable act?  Is that child being protected?  Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.

And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates.  People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically.  Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.

I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves.  And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.

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

 

 

Seeing abuser again: Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later

[Edited since first written]  It’s been a few years, but from what I can recall, after the sudden appearance on August 1, 2010, Richard and Tracy came to my church once more.  Maybe twice, but this is the time I remember:

I came to my church’s Christmas service in 2010, and sat in my usual spot.  I heard a voice like Tracy’s, saying the hymn on the handout was all in Greek.  But I didn’t turn to look, and just assumed it was somebody else.

I wasn’t able to partake in the Eucharist because I was not aware one was offered during the Christmas service, being a new convert.  So I had not properly fasted from all food and drink, which you have to do for many hours.

As I stood waiting for the communion line to go through, I happened to look to see who passed me, as I often do absent-mindedly.  My usual spot is right next to the aisle.

There, right next to me, was Richard and Tracy!  In disgust, I drew myself up and turned away.  Just who I did NOT want to see while celebrating the birth of Christ.

The anger and bitterness filled me, especially as I saw Tracy, that unrepentant abuser, that bully, take the Eucharist without ever having lifted a finger to apologize for her disgraceful, unChristian actions against me.  She was the worst hypocrite I had ever known.

I felt, basically, the same way so many other abuse victims feel when they see their abusers again, especially their abusers pretending to be good Christians.

Fortunately, they all cleared out of there so quickly after the service that they were already gone when I left my pew.  So I did not have to encounter them yet again.

Why did they do this?  Why did they keep coming to my church without even trying to make peace?  How could they violate my right to be left alone by them?

Heck, Tracy forbade Richard and me from even talking to each other unless I allowed her to scream all my “offenses” at me, so why would she take him anywhere near me?

How could she tell me I’m so horrible, treat me like a whore, treat me like a stalker because I made the horrible “offense” of sticking up for myself against her rages, then come to my church?

How could they so transgress every rule for dealing with your fellow Christian, yet still take the Eucharist as if they were in good standing?  You’re not supposed to do that without trying to make peace, because the Bible actually warns that you’ll bring condemnation on yourself for partaking in “an unworthy manner.”

They had listened to the still, small voice of Satan, and tainted the Eucharist with their actions, so it’s a good thing I did not share it with them.  (Whether you believe Satan is a person or the evil within humans, it still applies.)

[The following was written, some of it taken from e-mails to my mom, between June 19 and 30, 2011.]

I doubt that Tracy would have acted the way she did if she thought I was ugly or plain.  This thought does make it easier to start forgiving her, as it makes her seem less like a monster and more like a deeply flawed and scared human being.

But extreme jealousy is still wrong, and recovering from abuse is still a long and hard road of anger, hurt and pain.

It also makes our decision to break off the friendship seem ever wiser.  We were caught up in a bad situation, with two people in a tumultuous marriage.  Being involved with them just drew us into their own quagmire, and we couldn’t help them at all.

I never had a problem with Jeff being friends with beautiful women, even though I know people will look no matter how happily they’re married.

You just have to accept that your husband will look, and realize that getting upset and jealous will annoy him and make him feel like he might as well do the thing if he’s being punished for it anyway.  I feel secure in our marriage and trust him implicitly.

It must be horrible and exhausting to feel like you have to keep vigilant with your husband to make sure he never strays, but I have far too many and far better things to do with my time.

I hope that one day Tracy learns how to trust Richard–before he finally loses his resolve and she pushes him into the arms of another woman.  Or at the very least, out the door.

Jeff saw Richard and Tracy at the store on June 12, 2011, almost a year after the Incident.  He knew this would happen eventually, since they and Jeff go there a lot.

They said nothing to each other, but Jeff did make sure the kids knew this wasn’t about them: He saw the three younger children in the store’s daycare, hugged them and talked with them, and let our son play with them.

Then he went off to find the items we needed, passed the adults and the oldest child (who quietly and secretly waved at Jeff), and nobody said a word to each other.

Jeff did not want to speak to these people, gave them the cold shoulder on purpose.

The oldest child was sitting with Richard while Tracy went off and got some stuff.  [This became a lot more shocking after I learned that Richard had been charged with choking this same child.  But that’s for later.]

But sure enough, Richard was getting henpecked again, for who knows what reason.  Jeff hated the sound of Tracy’s criticizing voice: “Bark bark bark bark RICHARD!”  Jeff wondered how Richard can stand that.

Exactly one week later, I ran into them at my church’s Greekfest.  Almost literally.

I didn’t go to their church’s Greekfest and hoped they wouldn’t go to mine, but there they were.  I was passing through the crowd to get to work in the kitchen, at a distance behind my son and Jeff because I had to throw away our lunch trash.

Because of the crowd, I didn’t see Richard and Tracy and the kids until I was right upon them.  And suddenly, there was Richard, just inches from me. 

Though I couldn’t look in his eyes, he appeared to have seen me.  I had heard that you should coldly nod at your enemies in passing, but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that.  All I could do was pass by without saying a word.

By the way, I had only just checked with Social Services to make sure they got my letter about Richard and Tracy’s child abuse.  They reassured me the letter had been received.  So that was on my mind as well.

There was no shrinking away as if I were ashamed–no, I kept my head up, and may have changed my expression to one of disgust, though I’m not sure now.

There, Richard, that is what snubbing is.  It’s not about being quiet around Tracy.  A real snub is this.  And it has been done to you because of what you’ve done to me.

[Note written 5/3/12: This was after the choking incident and after Richard was formally charged and posted bail, but before I heard about it.]

Is it necessary to view the narcissist as evil in order to go no contact? Is just seeing the situation as being a case of incompatibility enough rationale to make an escape?

I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn’t for those people. They don’t need to read what I have to say.

In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they’ve gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog….

If someone doesn’t call the narcissist’s so-called good what it really is…evil…then there is likely little hope of helping the victim out of their victimhood.

They will continue on believing that the evil is centered in themselves, that they are the one who is crazy, that they are the problem. You know, all the lies the narcissist has taught them to believe in order that the narcissist can escape accountability….

If someone was able to just cite “incompatibility” as a rationale for leaving the situation do you think they’d need to come to my blog for insight? People who come here are suffering. There is a reason for their suffering and I’m not afraid to name that reason. —Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Life Line?

I hesitate to call Richard “evil” or even a full-blown narcissist.  Perhaps the evil he’s done has been because of Stockholm Syndrome, not narcissism.  Maybe he has narcissistic tendencies but not full-blown NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

But Tracy is the reason I began Googling to find out what the heck was going on here, first in 2008 to research abusers and jealousy because of her treatment of Richard, then in 2010 and 2011, to find out how anyone can be so cruel to the same person who had put herself to great financial and personal trouble to help Tracy find a better life.

I do not hesitate to consider Tracy “evil,” a malignant narcissist, maybe even a psychopath.  Who portrayed me as the evil one and herself as the offended, virtuous one.  While Richard was the lackey doing the bidding of the narcissist, and also doing sneaky things of his own.

If this had been of the more common variety of disagreements between friends, even breakups between friends, I would have had no need to Google it, as noted in the above quote from “Narcissists Suck,” and I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to write such a long memoir about it.

Most of the time, it really is a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion, nothing “evil” that can’t be resolved either by not being close friends anymore, or by dropping the subject and moving on.

But Tracy has a history of blowups and ended friendships, of “wars” with people.

If I saw her as a basically good person with whom I had a difference of opinion, this could’ve been resolved, especially with the amount of guilt and reflection I’ve dealt with over the past year [July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011].

I’m willing to deal with my own issues, and tried very hard to do so all through this relationship.  My apologies were sincere, and I tried to mend what I could.

But it has to go both ways, and Jeff and I both saw nothing but more pain and fighting in our future if we didn’t write her off and go no-contact.

Well I was there and I saw what you did, 
I saw it with my own two eyes 
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been 
It’s all been a pack of lies 

–Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”

You wear a Sunday suit and tie
Everybody thinks you’re such a guy

You’ve got the glow, a shining face
Respectable man with holy taste
Got that family pew reserved
When the hymns are sung your voice is heard

But late one night you got your plan
You’d be religious on demand

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Christian, it’s a mask you wear to hide
Got a notion God’s a potion and it works most every time

I really think you do believe
Yet you use religion to deceive

–Whiteheart, “Dr. Jekyll Mr. Christian”

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

 

An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends

I found my old high school friend Becky on Facebook in February 2011.  On the 2nd, I sent her this message:

What a year it’s been.  I actually saw a friendship crash and burn last year because of Facebook posts and messages.

I had a very close, dear friend, R., who I met on an Internet forum about 5 or 6 years ago.   I was searching for a spiritual home, a church which I could believe in, and he helped me find my way, so he became my spiritual mentor.

A few years ago he needed to find a better life for his family, and couldn’t stand [old states] anymore, so he came to stay with us for a while until he found a job around Fond du Lac.

We were getting along great, he finally found a job, but then somehow the rest of his family followed and ended up staying in our tiny condo before he had the means to get an apartment lined up.

I don’t remember okaying it; one day he just told us they were coming, though it wasn’t part of the agreement.   Wife and 3 little kids.

So we’re talking 4 adults and 4 small children in one 1100-square-foot condo.  Who don’t clean up after themselves.   For a month and a half. !!!  And the wife, T., turned out to be abusive of her family and very jealous of me.  Argh!

I kept wanting to toss her out on her ear for the things she said and did, but instead I was stuck with her 24 hours a day for weeks.   I didn’t want anything more to do with her, but didn’t want to give up my friend R., either.

It had been so long since I had a good friend right in town to talk to.   That, and my son loved playing with their kids, and Jeff loved playing D&D with them.

So I tried to tolerate her, even though she kept bullying me for being quiet and shy.  The more she bullied me, the less I was able to speak to her.

But eventually, I thought everything was finally sorted out.  Then early last year, R. started getting snarky with me on Facebook, especially over politics, and T. even more so; he and I had some arguments via e-mail.

Just when I thought he and I finally had things sorted out, T. saw something I sent him and completely misinterpreted it.  (Remember the bit about her being jealous.)

The resulting fallout led to Jeff and me saying that’s it, we’re through with her drama, and we’re not too happy with R., either, for throwing me under the bus.

You’d think she’d be happy to have me gone, but no, she got mad at us for breaking things off and had quite a few choice words to say about it.   I don’t get her at all.

Both of them seem to think that I should just roll over and take all the verbal abuse she threw at me, even though when I tried in a far more polite way to discuss the problems I had with him, he talked as if I should just shut up about it or leave him alone.  It’s a huge double standard.

And after all we’ve done to help them out, too….

It’s been 7 months now and I’m still trying to recover from it. 

It’s affected me spiritually as well because R. had so much to do with me choosing the Orthodox Church, and now I get so cynical about religion at times, especially when I see T. going up for communion without ever apologizing for the things she’s done to me.

(I’ve apologized to her, because I know I did some things wrong as well, but never got [an apology] from her.)  When I met R. online I thought he was a different person from what he actually turned out to be.  I thought he was pious, but it’s like he never quite left his old life behind….

I just keep hoping T. will realize her own part in things and apologize, but Jeff says it’s not likely.  Until she does, the friendship is over….

Then while I was still reeling from that, one of my old high school friends suddenly remembered who I was.  When I first friended him on Facebook, he didn’t recognize my name because it had changed.   But then he figured out, “Oh, it’s YOU!”

Turns out he had this major crush on me senior year.  We talked every day in class, but he never said a word about it, so I thought we were just friends.  He tried to find me after graduation, but didn’t know how.

It makes me wonder how many other guys had a thing for me but never said anything.  And I keep thinking that the summer of 1991 could’ve been like Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court (Say Anything)…..

Seeing me on Facebook brought it all back.  He was going through a separation from his wife, so he didn’t have a stable marriage to keep him grounded.

He couldn’t deal with the feelings, since I’m happily married and can’t return them, so he finally unfriended me.  It was very sad, surprising, shocking….I miss seeing his posts in my news feed…..

I had told him about the problems I had with R. and T., and he said, “Don’t take it personally.  You’re beautiful and intelligent and any woman would consider you a threat.”

Of course, I had never thought of myself as a threat, but far too shy and reserved for that.  I certainly never had problems with friends’ wives before this.

Becky responded on the 9th:

This whole thing with the friend is horrible!  I think you are so much sweeter than me because the minute the rest of the family would have showed up … they all would have been dismissed and your friend would have received a full lesson on proper boundaries and etiquette.

You are very gracious because his wife sounds like a manipulator and he sounds like a mess so you are actually better off without him.. because he sounds like he was a manipulator too and he was using you and your husband.

I am surprised your husband didn’t throw them all out and I really can’t believe he let a man come live with you guys.  Most men would never allow that.  I am amazed.  He is either just a very nice guy or he trusts you completely or both.

You have always been shy and kind and it is nothing to be ashamed of.  Those are very rare qualities -especially in today’s world and you should not feel bad about that.

I replied:

Yeah, Jeff’s parents told him he shouldn’t have let things go so far, that as soon as I started hearing T. complain about the food etc., we should’ve politely shown them the door.

I remember getting Jeff alone in a spot on the stairs while they were in the basement one night, and telling him everything that was going on.  He was so upset that I thought he was going to kick them out, but instead he just put on his mad face to them and said nothing….

After that I started overhearing some really catty remarks about me while T. would be on the phone….It was a year and a half before anybody told me she overheard my conversation with Jeff and got furious.

I noticed these last few years that I was always supposed to suck up to her and befriend her and such or else I wouldn’t be allowed to do much of anything with R. that his other friends could do with him.   But she never apologized for her own behavior or admitted that it was in any way wrong….

She was mean, a bully, catty, crass….If it weren’t for R., I would’ve wanted nothing to do with her at all.  But he had wrapped himself around my finger somehow and kept saying I was a very dear friend to him.

Yes, Jeff is both very nice and very trusting of me.  He’s also used to SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) culture, where people crash at other people’s houses all the time when going to events far away from home.

At first he did wonder, Wait a minute, I’ve never met this guy and I’m letting him stay here with my wife and child?  But after the first meeting, he decided he was harmless.

And at the time R. seemed very sweet.  We’d talk for hours upon hours about life, religion, music.  He was planning to become an Orthodox priest.

But over time it seemed like conspiracy politics started taking over his good sense, and he’d tell me things that showed a violent underside…. He gave me every reason to believe when he lived here that he had conquered it, but it started coming back out again.

I’m torn because on the one hand I keep hoping they’ll try to work things out with us.  I keep dreaming about it.  I keep missing R.

On the other, I just can’t stand T.! I never could. And she won’t allow R. to have friends who don’t like her.   She made him block Jeff and me (and even our son) on Facebook and blocked my e-mail from him as well.

The thought of making nice with her to be allowed access to him again, just turns my stomach.

I’ve been writing all this stuff down [on my website] and trying to process it.  I’ve been trying to determine, should I pray for reconciliation or decide I’m better off?  The religious part is especially hard.  I read some articles about narcissists and thought, dang, he’s a narcissist cult leader.  lol

He was so integral to my conversion to Orthodoxy that everything about it reminds me of him, but I came here looking for what I didn’t find in any other church.  I can’t just leave because of him.  But my heart in it has gone, making it hard to pray or anything else.

The other thing is that twice since the blowup, his family has shown up at my church for a service.  AND my church is dying, his church is dying, and our two churches have been discussing merging to survive.   Or sharing the work at Greek Fests.   (We live in the same city, but he prefers the church in A—.)

So the possibility of seeing them at church again in the future is rather high.  I would prefer some sort of peace to come about, instead of the whole family completely ignoring me. The kids aren’t even allowed to speak to me, though they do look.

I feel sick when I see T. go up to the Eucharist, after she bullied me, humiliated me, and made me feel like a wretched whore.   Somehow I have to keep from losing my faith no matter what happens….

Becky’s reply got me thinking that maybe Richard was a liar and manipulator, never actually my friend:

If you want my honest opinion Nyssa.. I believe you are better than them and I don’t think R was as good of a friend as you think. 

I am an outsider but from reading the situation and between the lines, it sounds like you were a very good friend to them and they used and betrayed that friendship to get where they wanted and then made you feel bad after you gave so much and that is called SIN any way you turn it hon.

If it were me, I would ask the Lord to send someone genuine and true to replace that friendship you had with R…. You can appreciate the good things that came from you befriending R and let go of the poisonous things….

I would also suggest ignoring them but be polite to the children if they ever cross your path because T does not deserve your friendship or respect.  You are special and scripture also says you do not have to cast the pearls (of your friendship, concern, or kindness) before swine, and she acts like a pig so if the shoe fits… you know the rest.

I also understand how your husband could allow that now that you explained about the SCA.  I think maybe from now on you will have more wisdom in these situations with these type people so at least you can look at this as a learning experience you know?

In my reply, you can see the wheels turning as I pondered the possibility of Richard being deceptive:

When I think about it and the fact that I do know other people who know them, I don’t think R. was out to get us or use us up or anything.  [This changed the more I pondered it, however, now that Becky got the wheels turning.]  (T., however, I don’t trust in the slightest.)

However, he has told me so many outlandish stories over the years that I had no way to verify, that I think he may be a habitual liar….I do see ways he could very easily have been manipulating me, whether to get us to help him or just to feed his ego.   He has a very big ego, after all, and his wife keeps beating him down….

T., on the other hand, struck me from the very beginning as someone I did not want to be around.  She’s chased off other friends as well, male and female, with her temper.

Here’s one of the strange things he told me: Some time after they moved out, he told me that during our talks while he lived here, he sometimes used hypnotism to get me to open up to him.

That he learned it from a hypnotist, it was something about eye tricks and psychology, and he used to use it to get girls to go out with him.  He said he would do it without even meaning to.  Then some time later, he told me he didn’t do it anymore.

So…he can control it, or he can’t?   Which is it?  When did he use it, and what did he make me do or say?  Was he some Svengali or Rasputin?   And is he telling the truth about hypnotizing in the first place?….

I have trouble believing that everything was a lie; I think there’s a good chance that some of it was genuine, at least from him.  (Not from her.) However, too much stuff just doesn’t add up. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to unravel it….

 

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

Grief that my abusers keep coming to my church but not apologizing to me

Here is an article on dyssemia, a word coined in 1992 to describe the trouble people with NVLD have with social situations.  Here [in an earlier version of the page on Wikipedia] you’ll find a quote from the back cover of Helping the Child Who Doesn’t Fit In:

We’ve all known children like this:
–they stand too close and touch us in annoying ways;
–they laugh too loud or at the wrong times;
–they make stupid or embarrassing remarks;
–they don’t seem to get the message when given a broad hint or even told outright to behave differently;
–they mistake friendly actions for hostile ones, or vice versa;
–they move too slowly, or too fast, for everyone else;
–their facial expressions don’t jibe with what they or others are saying, or
–their appearance is seriously out of step with current fashions, they don’t dress well for the occasion, etc.
–they are known to stare at people, stalk people, or do something that annoys other people or makes them feel uncomfortable
–they have problems dating and interacting with the opposite sex in a romantic way. Many dyssemics are love shy.

There are many more descriptions of dyssemia below on that webpage.  This sounds very much like me, such as with fashions, hair and makeup, difficulty fitting in, lack of punctuality, social awkwardness, a difference in ability between receiving and expressing nonverbal messages, growing senses of grief and despair over loneliness, saying things in a way I didn’t intend and suffering consequences, and various other things you’ll read here.

Which makes it all the more angering that Richard didn’t listen to me, that Tracy acted as if it were just excuses for bad behavior, that Tracy and, eventually, Richard became the adult bullies targeting me.

Tracy would probably agree with “they don’t seem to get the message when given a broad hint or even told outright to behave differently.”  But no, Tracy thought I just needed to “grow up and TALK” as if it were something I could just do on command like a trained puppy.

She made jabs at a “self-diagnosed learning disability” as if that invalidated everything I ever said.  Richard talked as if my social troubles with Tracy, or with anyone, were just a simple matter of willpower.

It makes me very angry with the both of them for thinking they could judge me like this.  I have seen the face of wickedness in a supposed Christian: It is Tracy.  I have seen the face of betrayal and unfair judgment in a friend: It is Richard.  He is dead to me.

For some time, I put a message on my Facebook profile for him, saying that I hoped one day we’d be friends again.  I have long since removed it.

Though a part of me still longs for him to recognize what he’s done and make things right, and a part of me misses that BFF to whom I told all my secrets and day-to-day stuff and musings.

Since Richard was my roommate for three months, he was that for so long that I grew accustomed to having such a friend in my life, after so long without one (other than Jeff, of course).

From this blog post:

I regained a degree of confidence, and was able to reclaim the narrative of my life.

She had stolen that from me, repeating to me over and over again during the countless all-night “discussions” she’d make me have about how I’d done something wrong again, that I “don’t get to” have a reaction, a response, a reason, a say, a thought, a feeling other than one that was dictated by her perpetually warping delusions.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this is what Tracy’s “conference” would have turned into.

I had every indication from her that it would, not just from 7/1/10 but from the e-mails exchanged 8/1/10 and after, where she essentially beat me over the head for everything I ever did that she thought was somehow wrong–and also from the two and a half years before that, whenever I had an opinion about her actions towards me or anybody else.

I also know from the “conference” she had with Todd in June/July 2008 over that stupid game argument, that this is how it would’ve gone with me, because she did not listen to him at all, did not even try to understand his point of view, but just kept saying over and over again that he was wrong and childish.

More from the above link:

Finally, one thing that this exercise [the author blogging about his abusive ex] also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia.  “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”

For me, it’s been the same: the constant feeling for quite some time that maybe she wasn’t so bad, that I was the one who was bad–quickly diminishing as I write about what really happened.

They rarely come to my church, but they have a couple of times in the months since the Incident.  I felt a distinct cold shoulder, as if not only were they avoiding speaking to me, but their children had been instructed to avoid me as well.  (I might add that this is an extremely small church, so you can’t just melt into the crowd.)

It’s very much the impression that because I refuse to let Tracy yell and scream at me and dictate to and scold me like a child or an idiot, she’s decided to freeze me out and treat me like sh** on the bottom of her shoe.

Not at all Christian behavior, yet there she is at church taking the Eucharist like she’s right with God even while she’s treating those around her like crap.

But the reality is that she refused to accept that I’m not like her, that I’m my own kind of person, with a brain that seems to work differently than most other people’s, and will not change myself just to suit her, that she might as well ask someone who’s bad at math to be an astronomer, or a ballerina to be a truck driver, or a dog to be a cat.

Tracy treats me like sh** at church because I objected to her demeaning, belittling, cursing, verbally violent, deliberately hurtful behavior.

So now Richard and even the children cannot even say hi to me, or e-mail me or talk to me on Facebook, because:

  1. I demand to be treated with respect, kindness and understanding.
  2. I refuse to let her vilify me for believing my communication and social problems with her are not from stubbornness or meanness or childishness, but from either introversion or NLD/Asperger’s or (at the very least) selective mutism (or, even more likely, from her own crabby attitude).
  3. I can’t figure out what she’s so upset about all the time.
  4. I refuse to listen one more time to her grievances while my own are ignored or ridiculed or tossed aside yet again.
  5. I will not accept abuse for my brain processes being different from hers.  (I got quite enough of that in elementary school, and dealing with her is like dealing with those childish childhood bullies all over again.)

Why she comes to my church at all if she’s going to act this way, I can’t say, since they have their own church, do not like mine, and almost never came to it before the falling-out.

Is it to twist the knife in further?  Is she such a sadist that she’s not satisfied with going our separate ways?

How can I even want to be in the same room with her after she posted, “I’m having a GREAT day!” on Facebook because she was screaming at me online and cussing me out? because she no longer had to sit back and be “quiet and nice”?  (That was quiet and nice?)

She was happy because she was allowed to scream at me and cuss me out and make all sorts of accusations.  From FAQ about Verbal Abuse:

Why does it seem that after he abuses me verbally he is happy, like he feels relieved? Also, he will act like it never happened. It’s like he has no memory of it….

This is what verbal abusers do. Verbal abusers almost universally act like nothing happened, like they feel fine and the relationship is fine. This is because they feel they have more control.

Maybe they got you to back down, believe them or doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself then you might go with what they tell you, be more compliant and more slave-like. This makes them happy.

And from What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

When does she come close to being in a good mood or smile with pure pleasure? When she feels like she’s in the catbird seat because she’s gotten her way, pulled one over on you or pulled the rug out from underneath you. The size of her smile is in direct proportion to the number of times she twisted the proverbial knife.

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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