no contact

Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex

The letter to Mike continued:

I pray every night, trying to remember the prayer my priest gave me.  Of course, the prayer he gave was so long and detailed that I can’t possibly remember it all, so I go with the main ideas.

It’s a prayer for softening of hearts, forgiveness, peace, blessing.  I can only hope that my former friend’s priest has given him a similar prayer, that one day he will realize that fierce anger, the belittling his wife did of me, and refusing to apologize or listen to another’s point of view are the wrong things to do if you want to preserve a friendship.

Just before I spoke to my priest–it was more than a couple of weeks ago, now–I sent an apology e-mail.  I hope and pray it actually got to its destination and was read, because I couldn’t think of a better mode to use.

Calling seemed dangerous because SHE might answer and rip me a new one.  If I sent a letter, the wife would probably rip it up without even letting him read it.

But the e-mail was sent; it’s out there….Unfortunately, the only response I got was to get blocked on Facebook.  Looks like Jeff and I are both blocked.

It’s weird because the wife has not blocked either one of us.  I would’ve thought it would be the other way around.  Jeff says he doesn’t want to even try to figure them out.

He also says they weren’t good friends, to do what they did.  That they weren’t grateful, since we’ve done so many things to help them out the past few years.

He says we do have other friends, good friends, NICE people, and shouldn’t think we’re so desperate for friends that we’d keep bad ones–It’s just hard to get together with them these days.

My little boy is very sad because my former friend has four young children who loved to play with him.  He’s lost friends because the adults couldn’t get along, and it just isn’t fair to him.

It makes me wish I could change things for his sake, but there’s nothing I can do–other than become the sacrificial lamb who must submit to verbal abuse to satisfy the wife’s long-held grudge.

A year ago I was told that she kept calling me “that woman” and bringing up a mistake I made way back when we were all living together.  She just didn’t let go.  I thought we settled this a year ago.

In the interest of burying hatchets, I decided to Facebook friend the pastor of our old Evangelical church, even though we had problems there that made us resentful.

And Jeff, evaluating his own behavior compared to the wife’s, decided to give a certain SCA person a second chance.  He realized that just because their personalities clashed, doesn’t mean this SCA person was a bad guy.

I also think back to old exes.  I had bitter estrangements from Peter and Phil, lots of hurt feelings and anger, and also from Shawn, who was not exactly an ex but not exactly not an ex. (Friend with benefits, you could say.)

And yet–Two years later, Peter called me out of the blue and befriended me again.  Then he “warned” Phil about me, which put me on the outs with him again, but we became friends again later on.

In 1996 we had an e-mail argument over religion, but a year or so later, I apologized and we reconciled.  I forget who befriended whom on Facebook, but a couple of months ago he chatted with me online–his idea.  The old bitter past is long in the past.

Same for Phil: I still don’t want to be friends with him, but we’re no longer enemies.  A while back I found him on one of the alumni websites, and apologized for some stuff.  He apologized as well.

And get this–He said that he shouldn’t have let me go.  He was going through a divorce at the time, and thinking of me.

Even his mom said I was the one girlfriend he should’ve held onto.

Of course, I let him know I was happily married, so he wouldn’t try to start anything again.  That was more than 3 years ago, and I haven’t e-mailed more than once since then. But the bitterness is over.

Shawn started calling me again, a couple of years after he made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me.  He had a breakdown which made him want to hold onto the friends he had.  He called once or twice after graduation as well, and we also e-mailed each other about 6 years ago.

There are also people who teased me in elementary/middle/high school but were friendly at the 10-year reunion, and also those who friended me on Facebook and apologized for teasing me.  So I do know that time can heal even bitter estrangements and make people reflect on what they did to contribute to the situation.

I’ve already sent my apology to help things along, so I’ve done my part. I can do nothing more except pray and try to move on.  Everybody says that’s all I can do, that the ball is in their court now.

Our conversation continued into the weekend, and I spoke of needing to confess to my priest on Sunday.

I spoke of Richard and Tracy sniping at each other.  I said that I vented on Facebook because I wanted to counteract whatever our mutual friends might be hearing from Richard/Tracy or seeing on their Facebook walls.  But I felt guilty, and removed the posts.

Mike had his own struggles with forgiveness of toxic people, so I wrote, “You tell me to forgive and let go, I can tell you to forgive and let go, but actually doing it is a huge struggle.  We can help each other keep from giving into the dark vortex.”

On Saturday night, July 31, I saw Boondock Saints for the first time.  This movie becomes significant later.

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

 

E-mail to Mike: processing my pain

I wrote to my pastor friend Mike on July 27,

My dear true friend and brother, I don’t want this to be a long e-mail, since I don’t want to poke my emotions too much.  But we’ll see how it goes….

I can’t believe nearly a month has already passed since everything went down.

I still get sad, but I’ve spoken to my priest and with some people on an Orthodox forum, and it’s been helping me get through.

One person on the forum said I’m experiencing what’s called “joyful sorrow.”

Instead of giving in to resentment, anger or despair, I’m trying to pray “Lord have mercy” whenever the negative thoughts start breaking in again, and it’s helping me to reach what seems to be serenity and a start towards forgiveness.  I’m told this is how to let things go and give my problems to God.

Of course, the negative thoughts do occasionally remind me WHY I don’t just run over there and try to patch things up.

They remind me how my friend was increasingly frustrating me, getting snarky and condescending on Facebook, refusing to see things from my point of view when he used to be more accommodating, refusing to apologize for anything without it being ripped out of him, when he used to say “sorry” for every little freaking thing when he lived with us.

They remind me how he seems to have been entertaining violent thoughts when he should’ve been praying them away.  I remember things he told me in the past year or so which made my hair stand on end.  I also found an e-mail he sent Jeff just a few days before the “Day”:

He had been sending me these e-mails with unsolicited advice, about something I didn’t want to talk about with him [NVLD] because he had this attitude that I was just being silly.

I felt like he was judging me and trying to change me, got upset, and sent him a blunt e-mail because he told me he wanted me to be blunt.

He got furious with me over it.  He told me he wasn’t judging me or trying to change me and that he misinterpreted my “sharing” as asking him for help.

He e-mailed Jeff, saying something about not wanting to dump us as friends but I “bit hard” and he was distancing himself for a bit.  Jeff and I were on two different computers and didn’t tell each other what was going on; I sent an apology,

while Jeff sent a terse e-mail about knowing what’s been going on, that my friend had been viciously snarling at me lately, and if my friend wanted to know, he’d give him his reasons.

My friend e-mailed back that he didn’t want to hear these opinions, that he doesn’t want to hit him with a brick next time he sees him, that he hasn’t felt so violently angry in many years, that he’s easily provoked to physical violence and will go jogging to get rid of it.

This made no sense to me because he has told me about several different things just in the past few years which must have inspired him to more violence than anything Jeff could possibly have said.

When I saw this e-mail, I stuck it an archive so I could remember why I shouldn’t just run over there and patch things up.

With his wife being a boiling rage-pot who WON’T LET THINGS GO and his own rage (which, when he lived with us, he gave me every reason to believe he had conquered)–Something is gravely wrong over there. 

I pray for him to realize before it’s too late that he has to take seriously the teachings of the Philokalia, the Ladder of Divine Ascent, and Jesus.

How can he become a priest or a psychologist with such things going on?  He used to be my spiritual counselor.  But now, I’d far rather go to my own priest for spiritual counsel.

I’m sending out e-mails trying to get together with people I know here in town, but haven’t seen much of lately.  I haven’t gotten a lot of response yet, but I know they like me, so I guess I just have to keep trying. These are NICE people. 

Like my friend was way back when he lived with us, by himself, before everybody else moved in and my serene house turned into chaos, before he started judging my personality as an “excuse” rather than just the way I am.

Last week, we spent Wednesday evening at SCA dance practice and then another hour or so with the [SCA] people at a nearby bar and grill.  I felt *happy*.  Then on Saturday, two old friends came over for a movie.  These are people I used to know, part of a larger group I used to hang out with.

For some reason–probably a dispute over one person–they stopped coming to my parties, so I stopped asking.  But I kept in touch with them by e-mail over the years, then found them on Facebook, where they’re friendly with me.

So I figure, what the hey?  Maybe I can get back into that group that I’ve missed so much for the past 9 years.  The group where one person is called Yoda and another one had his name legally changed to Merlin’s Welsh name.

Lose one friend, but regain several old ones whose loss I have always mourned…..

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

 

Struggling to process what the F**K just happened

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.

On July 22, I sent this e-mail to Jeff:

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

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

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

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

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

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.” Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.

I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her. And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

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

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

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

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times. I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house. Me going to the hospital.

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

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

Jeff and I both feel that the e-mail that sparked the “incident” did not deserve the reaction it got.  Yes, he saw the e-mail, and when he told a group of our friends about it, they all agreed that it’s something that friends will tease you over and embarrass you over, but that would be that and everyone would move on.

But a woman who is so full of jealousy that she feels she has to approve her husband’s friends, who is so full of jealousy that saying “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun” sparks a rage episode from her

–She’s not rational, and anything she says in such an irrational, raging state should be taken as just a bunch of BS that should never be taken to heart.  

She must have been reading this Wikihow-to on how to isolate your man from his friends.  (Check the comments, too: the later ones sound very familiar.  Here I link to a blog post about the Wikihow-to, but the original is here.)

More than one person has commented that Tracy is never satisfied; I saw this for myself because she was never satisfied with me.

My mistake has been going over the things she said again and again in my head as if they should be taken even slightly seriously, as if maybe there were something to my actions that was shameful.

But I know what was in the e-mail, what it was for, what it was about–and that it was all perfectly innocent.  My husband, too, has read that e-mail and the ones after it, and to him also it’s all perfectly innocent.

I did not deserve Tracy’s response.  

And Richard was Judas because he allowed her to do this, when he knew dang well that there was nothing about what I said that was in any way shameful or that in any way deserved her response.

There was nothing sexual in my e-mail, though it was treated like some sort of proposition.  Heck, I did not even want to see Richard naked, so why on earth would I proposition him?  My e-mail was that of one close friend to another.

Richard should be the one ashamed.  

Tracy should be ashamed of herself.  

I was sick of all the accusations coming from left and right when I had done nothing wrong.

But because I believed Richard, because I trusted Richard, Tracy treated me this way.

This made me feel set up by Richard, that he wasn’t telling her his part in the whole thing, but throwing me to the wolves for something that he did.

I thought Richard had eradicated the violence that had once been in his heart and actions, only to find it still there.

It makes me want to seek out the ones who love, and who want to stamp out all forms of violence, hate and suspicion, since I know they’re out there, finding traces of them on the Internet and in music by the Beloved, Shamen, and the like.

Even if they are some other religion than my own, they express the love for mankind that my own religion is supposed to be about,

instead of the hate I found here in two members of my own religion.

After all the loving things we had done for Richard and Tracy, to help them, to be there for them, things which I had been the one to initiate, Jeff the one to carry out–I was being treated like sh**.  I was told to f*** off.  I was treated like some hoebag slut.

After we had given them what they needed again and again and again, I was treated like some skanky tramp who steals husbands.

All because I reminisced over an innocent hug.  A hug!  A hug which had no groping, no kissing, no hands in the wrong places, no gazing into the eyes, nothing loverly, but was an expression of platonic love and caring for a dear friend who had helped Richard’s family!

I was full of rage, of fury.  Yet unlike Tracy, I did not throw f– bombs around, did not start cussing and screaming at her, kept myself in check, kept my tongue in check, though I was rapidly losing my temper and part of it was spewing into my messages.  I wrote, for example, “WHY AM I BEING TREATED LIKE A WHORE????!!!!!”

You’d think this would be a big huge flag that I did NOT see anything about my behavior that was whorish, that she should calm down and find out the true meaning of my message instead of reading all sorts of crap into it that wasn’t even there.

But no.  She’s always right about everything.  What she says your motives are, are indeed your motives.  If she sees your Facebook post of “I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!” as moving in on her husband, then that’s indeed what it is.

Truth be d**ned.  The only truth is HER truth.  Whatever she dreams up in her pathetic imagination, is Truth.

–And don’t forget how cool Richard had become to me because I didn’t agree with his TEA Party politics, because I didn’t agree that Democrats and liberals were Antichrist, because I thought that Universal Health Care would be a good thing if Congress could get it to work.

My husband became furious with Tracy and Richard both for treating me like sh** over the e-mail.  

He was so furious with Richard and Tracy that he said to me that Tracy needs to go sit in a corner like a naughty child,

that there was no call for her to throw f-bombs at me,

that no she does NOT get her way this time,

and that he wouldn’t allow me to try to patch things up with them until Tracy got down on her knees and apologized to me.

When I was still in shock over everything and mourning what had happened, wishing the friendship would be restored, my pastor friend Mike asked WHY–saying that even if we did reconcile, this would always be between us, and that whatever friendship had been there in the past, “these people are TOXIC!”

Catherine, when I told her Tracy took my quiet nature as a personal attack, laughed and said, “How long has she known you?”  She also said that it sounds like Richard talked a lot but didn’t really listen to me.

Jeff even got upset with me during the week or two after the “incident” for even considering making apologies and reconciling, for thinking this is what the Orthodox Church says I should do:

Though he missed the children, as far as he was concerned, it was good riddance to Richard and Tracy after the way they’d treated me (and him for sticking up for me).  

He felt that if anyone was to apologize, it was her to me.  

He wouldn’t let me anywhere near her.

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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