politics

Freedom from Richard’s Political Stranglehold

There is an unexpected blessing inside all of the trauma and ugliness of the friendship breakup with Richard (and Chris, as well, who had been posting some really weird stuff on Facebook before he unfriended me): I’m no longer dominated by his crazy Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) politics.

I was so tolerant, and so afraid of offending my bestest friend, that I didn’t tell him how I really felt about his politics, and I let him go on about how he hated Democrats, they were the enemy, they vote for killing babies, etc. etc., even though I tried to gently tell him that good, Christian people also vote Democrat.

Some of the most religious people I know (including a very conservative, anti-abortion Christian from college, and a preacher) are Democrats.

But inwardly I hated the way he railed against Democrats, even though I was an Independent myself, sometimes voting for Democrats, sometimes voting for Republicans.

I hated how he talked about Obama, how he talked as if the people who voted for him in 2008 were just mindless dupes–as if they couldn’t have honestly voted Democrat because they felt he was the best candidate with the best ideas and values.  (And McCain’s running mate sure didn’t help.)

Then he went into that Tea Party and Anarchy, and really went off the deep end in wacko politics.  I was afraid to tell him what I really felt about these things, because he started scolding me for disagreeing with him.

Like during a citywide controversy in 2009, when we were about to lose Mercury Marine, a company which is extremely important to our local economy.

But he pooh-poohed that, even though I had already seen my engineer husband lose his job at another company because sales at Merc had gone down, and even though other cities in our state had already gone into the crapper because of big companies moving out.

I “liked” the Facebook status update of the city council president because he helped keep the company in town.  Then Richard actually scolded me for liking it!

When he started spouting off on Facebook about nutty things like how we don’t need the police, I disagreed with him, so got chewed out and basically told that my opinion didn’t matter and that I didn’t care about liberty etc. etc.

He even scolded me for posting on Facebook one day (after seeing on Hotel Rwanda how political hatred led to so much violence) that we need to not hate our political enemies!  I really began to feel like I was the heretic to his orthodoxy, in his own mind.  [Update and disclaimer: When I went back into my Facebook timeline in 2014 to review this post and its responses, I saw that I may have confused his reply with those of some other people.]

In 2000, when the candidates were first being nominated, I looked at Al Gore as a possibility, though later on I did not vote for or like him.  But around 2000 I noticed, whenever I took an online political quiz, that I kept leaning more toward the middle, or even toward liberalism.  I had been a lifelong Republican, so this surprised me.

When I became Presbyterian (USA, the liberal one) in 2005, I found myself agreeing with the more Democratic leanings of their denomination’s monthly magazine.  It was actually refreshing to find liberal instead of Republican politics in a Christian magazine.  Which, of course, was surprising for a lifelong Republican.

But in 1998 I was so disgusted with the Republican crusade against Clinton (even though I did not like Clinton, thought he was slimey) that I told my Irish penpal I no longer considered myself Republican.  So by 2005 I believe I was a moderate Independent, neither one nor the other.  [Wait: I also began thinking more Democratically after reading Cornerstone Magazine.]

I voted for McCain, but that was only because Richard told me about a video (which I found online) in which Obama, doing a stump speech, said he was going to make states pay for abortions, something to that effect.  Well, he never actually did that.

I always liked McCain, especially since he kept partnering with the Democrat Feingold (whom I also liked), so I didn’t mind voting for him.  But I was still happy to see Obama win.  But try to tell Richard that, and oh, you get told how wrong you are….

In the past few years, especially with the rise of the Tea Party, its eventual connection to the Republican Party, and the maddening denials of science and reason and human rights and rights of the poor, which I’m seeing come out of the GOP lately–I cannot in good conscience have anything to do with the Republican Party anymore.

My opinion of the Tea Party did not come from the media, but straight from what Richard and Chris kept posting on their Facebook walls.

I believe in global warming.  I love Obama and will vote for him, think he’s a good person/president, he’s just being stymied by Republicans who don’t believe in compromise.  I believe compromise is a virtue and essential for good government.  I can’t stand Ron Paul, think he’s a kook whose policies would destroy the country.

I don’t believe in a New World Order or Illuminati conspiracy.  I think the John Birch Society is also kooky.  I don’t believe the government is going to round us up into concentration camps, take our guns away, or force martial law.

I don’t believe there is a “liberal media,” but I do believe Fox News has a deliberate and deceitful bias trying to make people vote Republican.  I love the Daily Show and Colbert Report because finally, I found there some sanity!

I believe in teaching science and not religion in a science classroom.  I believe God created using evolution, that evolution has been proven, is no longer just a theory.  I believe unions are absolutely necessary to keep businesses from exploiting their workers.

I’m even beginning to believe–contrary to what I’m “supposed” to believe as an Orthodox Christian–that homosexuality is often something gays/lesbians are born with, not something they choose, so God must have made them that way, and that they should be allowed to settle down with whomever they love, and legally marry.  I believe that people should be allowed to make whatever marital arrangements they wish (such as plural) as long as they’re consenting adults.

I believe the poor and old should have help from the government.  I like Obamacare, though what I really want to see is something more like Canada.

I despise what Walker did to the state of Wisconsin, believe he cut or tried to cut everything that’s wonderful about that state’s government, and the Republicans steamrolled over the Democrats to get there.

I don’t believe in abortion, but I do fear the unexpected ramifications of changing the laws on that (such as making the birth control pill illegal in some states).  I believe in Social Services being allowed to help the ones who can’t help themselves, i.e. abused children.

I believe in having the police, a fire department, etc.  I believe in helping illegal immigrants instead of abusing them.  I believe in renewable power, and regulations on banking and business.  I believe in supporting public schools and that we can pray any time we like in our heads.

I believe that Islam is not the enemy, that there are many wonderful, pious Muslims.  I don’t think political systems are inherently evil; it’s what is done with them that makes them evil.  I don’t think Socialism is the enemy, nor do I believe our president is a Socialist.  Or a Muslim.  Or a Kenyan.

And even though I am Orthodox, I keep finding Democrats in my local church.  One of the elderly men is Democrat, for example.  My new friend in the church is not just pious, but Democrat.

I have finally come out of the closet and said I am a Democrat, and proud of it!

–Can you imagine the fallout if I told this to Richard (and Tracy) and was still friends with him?  Especially when I noted how his other friends tend to be Republicans or Libertarians like him?  I can, and it isn’t pretty.

I can be friends with people of other parties; my friends have always been a mix of Democrat and Republican.  So I can change from one to the other and still keep the same friends; I just avoid political discussions with them.

For the past two years, I have finally felt free to post what I like on my Facebook about politics!

And about pretty much anything else, since with Richard and Tracy no longer on it, I was no longer derided for not liking gory movies, or treated like I needed to be “pampered” when I don’t, or punished for being too quiet, or scolded for saying that pesticide is bad for the environment and our health, or made fun of for posting about new raffle rules for Greek Fest, or had my comments deleted all the time, or got yelled at for saying “I’ll miss you dearly on your trip, but have fun!”

I can gently flirt with my friends without an angry Tracy on my back, or a hypocritical Richard acting like it was wrong, while he did far more blatant flirting with others all the time!

No more scolding for being too “liberal” in my religious beliefs about marriage, or lectures on how I should be submissive!  No longer told that everything I do is wrong, that my childrearing is “spoiling” my kid, while they defend their own abusive behaviors!  No more bullying both on Facebook and in real life!

I’m free to be myself again!  It felt like a noose had suddenly been taken from my neck.

[Update: Unfortunately, it seems like whenever I get rid of one extremist, another one replaces him.  Especially after Scott Walker turned Republicans and Democrats against each other, nobody listens to each other anymore, and I’m afraid to post anything political at all.  I always seem to get at least one snarky comment no matter what the subject.  😛  ]

 

Recall Primary Tomorrow–and how this nastiness is affecting friendships

[Update 6-29-18: Looking back, it seems this was–unfortunately–only the beginning.]

We are on the eve of a primary to nominate the Democrat who will run against our governor [Scott Walker] in the state recall election.  I intend to vote for the Democrat who has the best chance of winning, and then vote for the Democrat in the recall election.

I find the governor’s behavior to be disgusting, bullying, violating rights which had been held by public unions in this state for 50 years–human rights to prevent them from being bullied by Scrooge bosses.

He and his fellow Republicans ramrodded through their despicable elimination of these human rights, violating the rules of the state government procedures, not giving the Democrats a proper chance or say in the matter, ignoring the voices of thousands who protested for weeks outside and inside the state capitol building.

I saw the disgraceful way the governor and Republicans tried to malign the poor for needing help, and tried to remove various environmental regulations and social programs that had made our state such a wonderful place to live.

…These are views which would alienate Richard and Tracy, if we were still friends.  If the Incident had never happened, or if nothing else had happened (though something must have eventually happened, given Tracy’s cycling back into frequent rages during that time)–this would have done it.

Considering the current political climate of our state during this recall process, and that Tracy backs the Republican governor and Richard is almost sure to back him as well (the TEA party backs him, and Richard, a Libertarian and TEA Partier, also hates unions with a passion)–Our friendship would have been chucked by them by now, whether we were still friends after the Incident of 7/1/10 or not.

The political climate is so volatile that close friends and family members are no longer speaking to each other.  And since Richard, as early as spring 2010, told me that he considers his political opponents his hated enemies (which might explain why he grew so cold to me that year and stopped calling), he probably wouldn’t want to speak to me at all if he knew how I felt about the governor after spring 2011 (and the Republicans after his beloved TEA Party took them over).

I remember how Richard spoke to Jeff and me because we didn’t agree with his kooky Libertarian/Anarchist politics.

I’m staying friends with and still speaking to friends/family who back the governor, basically avoiding the subject with them, but there are many people who are letting politics divide close, loving relationships.

I have seen enough reason, from their past behavior and comments, to believe that Richard and Tracy are behaving the same, and that they would have ended our friendship in 2011 or 2012, even if we had not ended it in 2010–but over politics.  Politics!  So it’s just as well that that toxic friendship is over.

Wisconsin Recall Election Pits Friends Against Each Other

The Wisconsin recall elections are being called an “epic battle,” a “civil war” and even an “un-civil war.”

While no one is firing upon each other with muskets and cannons, neighbors are being pit against neighbors and relationships between family members are becoming strained over competing visions for the future of the state…..

“I’ve never seen a state torn apart in such a short time,” said Pat Nolan-Burger, another lifelong Badger State resident who attended the Clinton event. “This happened within months of Gov. Walker taking office.” –Amanda Terkel, Wisconsin Recall Divisiveness Affecting Personal Relationships

Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud

On April 29, 2010, I read in Annie’s Mailbox,

Dear Annie: I’m a 14-year-old girl, and in my group of friends, there is one girl who never talks. “Nicole” sits at our lunch table because she has nowhere else to go.

The problem is, when we don’t invite her to our outings, she starts to cry. We don’t like including her because she’s no fun. I don’t know what to do.

We’ve confronted her many times and suggested many solutions, but she always uses the excuse that she’s shy. I’m — Out of Ideas

This letter burned me up.  It reminded me not just of growing up quiet, shy and introverted, but of being a quiet and shy adult, with people thinking all you have to do is talk more so why don’t you talk more?

The girl who wrote this letter was like so many girls I knew in school.  I wanted to give support to that quiet girl, and tell the world what it’s really like to be like us introverts.

My Facebook was also full of old classmates who I don’t think were mean to me, but probably didn’t understand my quietness.  So on May 4, 2010, I posted on my Facebook,

When I read the letter “Out of Ideas” the other day, I knew how the quiet girl felt, and was so upset I wanted to speak out on her behalf. So I sent this to Annie’s Mailbox:

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if, next year when the lunch schedules change, this quiet girl will be happy to switch tables to a more welcoming and accepting group, and wonder why she stayed with this one for so long.

I’m willing to bet she actually is an interesting person, but these girls never let her get a word in edgewise, and when she does think of something to say, somebody scolds her for not talking enough and she keeps her mouth shut instead.

All that pestering about her not “behaving” properly, saying her shyness is just an “excuse,” and constantly excluding her from fun activities, is probably making her feel like a freak and pushing her further and further into her shell.

The way to draw out a shy person is to ask for her opinion on a subject, maybe make a compliment or two, because maybe she just hasn’t been able to push into the conversation before the topic changed.

Another way is to have some one-on-one time with her, give her a chance to talk. If she’s included in activities, she may surprise them with being a fun person after all.

There is something called “social mutism.” I don’t like the term because it, once again, makes a quiet person feel like there’s something “wrong” with her, instead of just accepting that she has a different idea of when it’s time to speak.

Still, research done into social mutism has shown that pestering and scolding a quiet person is counterproductive. This person needs to feel safe enough to open up, or it just isn’t going to happen.

Also, the extrovert brain has also been shown to work differently in social situations than an introvert brain: The extrovert can easily make small talk, while the introvert simply cannot keep up.

The quiet person may actually despise small talk, but if allowed to mull over an issue, can come up with something brilliant to say. Is quantity really more important than quality?

–A Quiet Person With Lots to Say

On June 25, I posted on Facebook (NVLD=NLD):

I found this on an NLD (non-verbal learning disorder) support forum. It was posted by a parent of an NLDer as an example of what you can give teachers to help them understand your child. I think it’s so awesome, that I’m reposting here.

Much of it sounds so familiar. I wish I could’ve had something like this when I was in school, but nobody ever heard of NLD back then, so I was just the “weird” one that everybody misunderstood.

Two teachers, especially, were very hard on me, and I could never understand why because I was doing the best I could.

Several years ago, I found papers from junior high that reminded me just how much trouble I had in school. I was supposedly smart, but my best efforts resulted in sometimes mean-spirited teacher comments scrawled all over my papers. Whatever the reason why I didn’t number my paper properly, oh French teacher, it certainly wasn’t to tick you off.

There’s another thing I could’ve added, because people in college kept saying I wasn’t assertive, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck they were talking about. The only thing I can think of, is that they mistook my rule-driven inner code of how to treat people nicely and properly, as a lack of assertiveness.

But here is the post, with name removed:

• *** is a bright student, but his slow processing speed means that, at times, he can become overloaded with new material, and appear not to be retaining it. We have yet to find anything that *** has not been able to learn given enough time and a supportive environment. He may take a little longer to grasp something, but once he learns it, he won’t forget!

• *** does not handle novel situations or material well. This manifests as an extreme reduction in his processing speed, and rigidity of thought that can appear to be “oppositional”. Since, by nature, much of what goes on in a teaching environment is the introduction of novel material, this can crop up again and again during the school year, not just at the beginning of the year. ***’s speed increases when material becomes more familiar.

• People with NLD often have problems with both judging time, and with visual/spatial tasks. Don’t be surprised if *** has trouble getting to the right class at the right time for the first few weeks of school. Please be patient with him, this will improve!

• *** is EXTREMELY literal, honest and rule driven. Sometimes things that are said in a joking manner are taken very seriously by him. Try to avoid saying things in jest that you don’t really mean. He often doesn’t “get” sarcasm and often will miss double meanings.

• Please watch for other students taking advantage of him, because he often does not realize it himself. Even if he does, he often doesn’t know how to deal with it. This has become a particular problem since he has become more interested in the “social scene” in the last 6 months.

• If something *** says appears to be a “wise crack” type response, think carefully about his response. Often you will find that it is simply a too-honest literal reply to the question asked. Other times, he may copy something he heard elsewhere, but doesn’t understand that it is inappropriate. We’ve found that if he is told that the response is inappropriate, and is given a better alternative, is he usually quick to comply.

• If *** is being argumentative, it may be that something in the conversation has been misinterpreted. Most arguments with him stem from a basic miscommunication, but he will sometimes become really rigid and “stuck”. In these cases, it’s usually best to just disengage and approach the subject a different way at a later time. If necessary, call in someone who knows him well and whom he trusts to talk through the problem.

• Assignments that include the wording “Choose your favorite” or “What do you like least” will almost always result in *** becoming stuck. Try to word things as “Choose something you liked” or “Name one thing you didn’t like”

• *** is a very hard worker, and avoidance behaviors are a sign that something is very, very difficult for him. He is rarely able to verbalize or even identify what these difficulties are, and we adults have to work together to figure it out for him.

• Many times, even with us, the misunderstanding at the root of a problem with *** is only clear in hindsight. Flexibility and humor are the best tools in dealing with these misunderstandings.

PLEASE feel free to call us any time you feel that you are having trouble.

But now, after all the things I confided in Richard over the years, all my trust in him with my innermost thoughts–

After I posted the above Facebook post, that evening he sent me e-mails talking about the NVLD suspicion as if it were somehow making me a “victim.”  (Do you accuse a blind person of playing the victim because they can’t see?)

He said he always had wanted to “strangle” me for still believing in it.

Apparently I should’ve bowed to his superior knowledge and wisdom back in 2007 when he laughed it off, because after some phone conversations, of course he knew far better than I did if I had struggled all my life with undiagnosed NVLD.

And apparently shaking it off would somehow make me more talkative so Tracy would be pleased.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as I was quiet long before I even heard of NVLD/NLD or Asperger’s.

Rather, discovering NLD in 2000 has meant discovering that I’m not a freak after all, that there are reasons why I have trouble driving, or crossing a busy street, or dealing with an automatic car wash, or talking to people, or knowing instinctively how to handle myself in new social situations like other people seem to do.

It explained why my college “friend” Shawn had so many criticisms of me that didn’t seem to fit or make sense.

It’s empowering to discover that you are not stupid because you don’t understand volleyball.

Discarding the NLD as a possibility would mean taking back on that lead cape of feeling like a stupid idiot and freak because of the problems I had dealing with life.

But apparently I was supposed to abandon all the research I had done into NVLD since 2000–

–obsessive research involving probably hundreds of hours, printed-up websites, books, surveys, and spending time on NVLD forums discovering my stories are like those of so many others with NVLD–

–because Richard said it was wrong.  Or else he would want to “strangle” me.  Such violent wording because I preferred to make up my own mind instead of listening to an arrogant know-it-all.

But for Richard to talk as if I were being a “victim” made me think back over all the things I’d ever confided in him, and wonder my gosh, what the heck did he actually think of me for these things?

I felt like he was judging me for not being an outgoing extrovert like him.  I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore.

Why did he think I didn’t have NVLD and say he wanted to strangle me for continuing to think it and I was making myself a victim?

Because he read in a textbook that it was the same as Asperger’s and he didn’t see any autistic traits in me.

Um, no, while some do think it’s the same thing, there are many differences between Asperger’s and NVLD–autistic traits being one of the major ones.  NVLD is not the same as autism, is closer to Asperger’s than to High-Functioning Autism, and whether even Asperger’s is autistic, is debated:

It is a common mis-belief that individuals with AS are autistic–they are not. AS is a separate disorder and NOT just a form of higher functioning autism (as you will often hear). The deficit in social relationships in AS differ significantly from autism, as does the basis of the language disorder.

You can have both at the same time, with the Asperger’s diagnosis trumping the NLD diagnosis.  But if you have NLD traits and don’t fit Asperger’s, you’re NLD.  (An informative discussion on this very controversy is here.)

Here is an article by a director of neuropsychology which explains the many differences between NVLD and Asperger’s.  Also, from Byron Rourke:

Final Note. Many students of AS and NLD seem to think that they are one and the same. Of course, they are not. Reflections on the relevant sections above and the NLD and Neurological Disease section will show this assertion of identity to be absurd.

So Richard’s claim that he would not diagnose me NVLD because I don’t have autistic traits, was based on a faulty premise.

And I know far better than Richard does what goes on in my head and how difficult social situations actually are, even more so than for a typical introvert.

I felt incessantly badgered by him over the past two years about this, badgered for being shy, badgered for not having the social skills he had, badgered for not thinking the same way he did on this and many other things.  

Rather than assume my social problems were well-meant errors, Tracy would assume they were done on purpose to hurt her. 

Then Richard would scold and, as the one who knew “better” about socializing, lecture me, and say how could I not know these things when even children knew this?  This, by the way, is not the way to get an NLDer to behave the way you think is more socially acceptable.

In fact, the more I learn about NLD, add things to my NVLD page, and participate in NLD support forums, the more convinced I am that I have correctly identified this in myself: a mild or moderate form, but still there nonetheless.

The more I learn about NLD, the more I see things that could have contributed to my difficulties with understanding Tracy and her mysterious, always-changing rules:

  • Were there things I would’ve been able to figure out if I were better able to generalize?
  • Was it the fact that I only considered those things restricted that Richard actually told me were restricted, and didn’t apply it to other things as well?

Or was she crazy-making as an abusive person often does, so that even a neurotypical person would have had trouble with her?

It’s impossible for me to tell, to be honest, because I can see either possibility, especially since I’m not the only person she’s had problems with, or the only person whose friendship with Richard has been ended because of difficulties with her–and they can’t all have NLD.

But I did inform Richard of the NLD, so I did my part in helping them understand me.

(Jeff was told that it would actually be dangerous to mention a learning disability to Tracy because her mother had blamed her own abuses on something she had.  So even though I never abused Tracy, I never mentioned the NLD to her.  But she apparently found out about it somehow, since she ripped on me for it on 7/1/10.  But I did tell Richard what I needed from Tracy to open up.)

If they had taken my concerns seriously, my identifying it as NLD, and my requests for how to deal with it properly, this whole situation could have had a very different outcome.

Also, whether my quietness was due to selective mutism or NVLD or Aspergers–

–or if it’s just that so many extroverts told me over the years that I’m behaving badly by being myself, and made me feel like a freak for being quiet, when it was actually just natural introversion–

–I was not being a “victim” just because I don’t behave the same way as extroverts in social situations.

Scientific studies (easily found through Google) have shown that introverted brains actually differ from extroverted brains.

We don’t speak so much because we have to think before we speak, while extroverts speak to find out what they’re thinking.

We need to listen to what’s being said, then go through our long-term memories for knowledge and experience about the topic.  By the time we’ve done this, the extroverts have changed the topic.

We despise small talk because it’s empty and meaningless and our brain doesn’t start giving us things to say.  If the conversation is in-depth and interesting, then we attend and can speak just as much as anybody else.

So extroverts telling us to “try harder” is actually a form of bullying, because “trying harder” will make no difference whatsoever.

It is impossible to change an introvert into an extrovert, because it’s a fundamental part of who we are, just as much as gender, and cannot be changed, in fact will cause all sorts of frustration to try to change.

We need to accept ourselves as introverts, and extroverts need to accept us as introverts and stop getting upset with us for not being like them!

The world needs both our “kinds,” because extroverts are the doers and introverts are the thinkers.

Everything I read on scientific studies into introversion tells me that my behavior was perfectly normal for an introvert, and that Richard and Tracy trying to force me into extroverted behavior to please Tracy, was a very bad idea, doomed to failure–and without me having to be “stubborn” or “hating” Tracy.

I was truly tired of being scolded or lectured for not measuring up.

I got too much of that from Shawn, that college “friend” who criticized everything about me,

lectured me on how I should be more social/talk more/talk to strangers,

took away the measure of self-confidence I had gained at college from my friends,

and made me feel like a social freak who didn’t dress right or act right or do her hair right or wear makeup.

He apparently saw me as freakish because I didn’t act like a goofy college kid, like I wasn’t worth being his girlfriend because of this.

Then my ex Phil’s friend Dirk talked to me in a similar fashion later on, telling me I’d end up an old maid because I didn’t do the things other girls did “instinctively.”

In my adult life, I got sick of people giving me social advice I had not asked for, such as one person who cornered me and said I should be more “lively,” the random people who said “Smile!” when I did not feel like it, and the constant “you’re so quiet!” remark rather than trying to draw me into the conversation.

I got so sick of it that I wrote an essay about it for the SCA, which was published in a newsletter.

Now here I was getting more of it from Richard, who wondered why I got mad at him for it, and being treated like a creep by Tracy because I wasn’t the kind of person they were used to dealing with in their former social circles back in their old region.

Richard told Jeff that I asked him how to be more social.  But I never did, and can tell you this is nothing I ever would’ve done, not after how frustrated and annoyed I had been over the past 20 years at all the people telling me how to be more social!

“Mutism not only hijacks our words but also our ability to think.  To use the ‘needle on the record’ analogy, the needle gets stuck on the same unpleasant lyric, and we can’t shake it free to move on to the next line.” —Aspergirls by Rudy Simone

Above all, “we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that’s the desired state,” says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you’re not, that’s your problem. –Laurie Helgoe Ph.D., Revenge of the Introvert

Do you ever wish you were an extrovert?

Not really. That may be because my “faking it” skills are pretty good.

But I do think a lot of us are tired of being told that there’s something wrong with us–of this lazy assumption that if you’re not an extrovert, there’s something wrong with you.

I think my article may speak to people in part because of its defiant message. It says, “No, I don’t wish to be an extrovert. Not everyone has to be one. And why don’t you people get it?” –page on Introversion

Richard acted like he knew better than I did what was going on in my head.  He became very short and cutting with me, when he used to be kind.

This was the weekend; I was going to go to a water park at the local fairgrounds with Jeff and my son, but Richard’s e-mails made me so upset that it affected me physically, so I couldn’t go.

They made me feel I had put my trust in the wrong person.  

After all the private things I confided in him, all the trust and love and concern I had shown toward him over the years, I now regretted ever telling him anything about myself at all!  

I wondered if the many things I confided in him, hoping he would understand me better, had instead made him think I was a freak.  

I lost my trust in him.  I no longer felt he had my best interests at heart.  I had no idea who else to turn to, but it sure didn’t seem like I could turn to him anymore.

In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that his other BFF Chris, while a nice guy, is clinically paranoid–I realize:

At first Richard idealized me, called me the most awesome person he knew, and made me feel like his BFF, and like he wanted to spend time with me more than with any of his other friends.

But now Chris seemed to have taken over that role, and I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy that Richard never seemed to have time for me, but had plenty of time for Chris.

So he valued the guy with the crazy paranoid political rantings more than he did me, the sane one who helped him out financially and emotionally during very difficult times.

And he was married to someone showing all the signs of Borderline, Narcissistic or some other personality disorder.  

And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD.

So–okay–apparently Richard prefers the company of personality disordered people. 

And then he and/or Tracy calls me crazy–yeah, that’s so ironic and ludicrous as to be hilarious.

Yet he kept criticizing everything about me, practically accusing me of stalking all my friends because I like to keep all my e-mails and letters to and from them, treating me like I was somehow clingy because I wanted him to have enough consideration of me to either keep to his appointments with me, or let me know right away when he couldn’t.

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.

He treated me like a prude for not wanting to go around nude in my house, or for not wearing my nightgown around him without a robe.

He called me a prude because I don’t like sex-soaked TV shows like Sex and the City, or gory movies like zombie movies or Alien.  He even made it somehow personally offensive and inconvenient for him, because if he wanted to show me an exceptionally good movie like that, he couldn’t.  (So?  Show me something else, then!)

He talked like Jeff and I were prudes for our lack of sexual experience before each other, compared to his own extensive experience.

In the beginning he love-bombed me and treated me like I was wonderful, but now he kept criticizing me for things that were none of his friggin’ business.

One of his friends is a creep, but when this friend sexually harasses me, Richard makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it and considering this guy a creep.

I find conspiracy theories about government wanting to control us, to be a bunch of paranoid crap, so I’m the sheeple, the one who doesn’t care about personal liberties, who isn’t worth talking to about politics.  Okay….Sounds like the lunatics running the asylum.

Same thing with Tracy, who in her own way–considering how she accused people of insulting her, lacking respect for her, and needing to grow up, while she herself was doing the insulting and raging, lacked respect for them, and needed to grow up–is the lunatic running the asylum.

Shows me just how much stock I should put in the opinions and criticisms of both Richard and Tracy.

As I described here and here, I was a lonely person who thought I finally found the Frodo for my Sam.  We had bonded; we were a mutual admiration society; he was my brother, my friend, my BFF.

I loved him with pure philia and agape.

I trusted him with my deepest, darkest secrets, saw him as my spiritual mentor, leading me into Orthodoxy and helping me all along the way.

I saw him as the most awesome person I knew, and he once said the same to me.  I saw him as pious and loving.

We’d been close friends for five years; he was interesting; my life seemed more exciting with him in it.

When I wondered around April 1 if he was really still my friend or not, he reassured me that he loved me like a sister, and often wanted to come visit me–but kept falling asleep instead.

And now…

it began to dawn on me…

IT WAS ALL A LIE!

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party

As for Richard treating me like crap–

Among other things, I got the impression that because I didn’t share his political fervor and views (which struck me as often wacky or heartless–especially for a Christian who wanted to be a priest), I was no longer worthy of his time or respect:

He stopped calling except when he wanted something, even though we still all got together for D&D, and even though he told me he kept wanting to come visit me after the kids went to bed.

This seemed to happen in late March or early April 2010, before the spring election.  He stopped over because I watched the kids while he did an interview for the position he ran for.

I told him that while I could understand theology fairly well, a wall of text on politics (usually by him, Todd or somebody else on the Forum) completely baffled me.  I couldn’t concentrate on it, couldn’t understand it, didn’t want to bother.

Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability: “I literally cannot concentrate on things that don’t interest me.”  

This does seem to be true with me as well.  Also, NVLD makes reading comprehension and speed more difficult, which for me was confirmed in a college placement test in 1991. 

So these “walls of text” probably take me two to three times longer to read and comprehend, and I simply don’t have that much time to spend on these things. 

In 2012, I noted in my blog stat checkers, that it took me at least twice as long as Richard/Tracy to read my posts–and I wrote them!

I told him I didn’t have time to do more than read the daily paper most of the time, that I had a house and family to take care of, things that I found more interesting and important.

In late May or early June (while my account was inexplicably blocked from his and I had to use my husband’s), he posted on his Facebook page about a web radio program on politics, using the term “we.”

I wondered if he was somehow involved in this radio program, and how, especially since he hadn’t been telling me much of anything about his life lately.

So I posted, What’s this?  He simply wrote back, “It’s political.  You wouldn’t be interested.”

How insulting!  Especially since, as it turned out he was actually participating in these broadcasts, it would have interested me.

Also, even though I had no interest in reading walls of texts on politics in forums, when elections come around, I gather information and start studying to decide which candidate to vote for.

I’m not an idiot just because I don’t obsess over politics or spend my time reading walls of text.  And I do spend time reading about political issues.  But it’s not my driving force.

Back in August 2009, before wacky politics started filling Richard’s Facebook wall, the city convinced Mercury Marine to stay after a union vote drama.  The city council president posted about it on Facebook and I “liked” it.

Richard wrote to me, “You ‘liked’ that?  Seriously?”  And then proceeded to tell me why I shouldn’t like it.

He’d also been trying to tell me that Fond du Lac would survive without this company, even though it’s the biggest employer around, with connections to all sorts of other businesses which rely on it.

My husband lost his job in 2008 because Mercury Marine was in a slump and couldn’t order as many parts from my husband’s employer.

Other cities in the state had already lost their biggest employers, and gone to the dumps, with high unemployment and a dying city.

Did he want us to turn into Manitowoc or Janesville?  But somehow Richard thought we could avoid that if our own biggest employer left!

I had lived there for 14 years, not two like Richard.  We were in the middle of the Great Recession, and couldn’t afford to lose this company.  Yet I was “wrong” because I didn’t think unions were evil and was glad to see the city convince the company to stay.

Another time, my college friend Mike said on Facebook–in response to one of my posts or Jeff’s posts, I forget which–that Obama was doing the best he could with what he was dealt.  He said Bush left things a mess.

So Richard began arguing with him about it.  Then Richard messaged me one day in chat, saying that Mike “is an idiot.”

I was disgusted: Not only did Richard call one of my oldest and dearest friends an idiot, but I thought Mike’s words were true and sensible!  But no, don’t dare say that to Richard now, or he’ll call me an idiot, too, I bet!

Richard was a Libertarian/Anarchist Tea Partier who wanted all “entitlement programs”–such as food stamps and various social programs–to end, with the burden of helping the poor transferred to the churches.

This is ridiculous, because in today’s society, in which so many people choose something other than Christianity, churches are often so small that they struggle just to keep their lights on and pay the pastor a pittance.  They certainly can’t afford to take on all the burden of the poor!

About Richard’s plan to cut “entitlements,” and let churches/capitalism/whatever work together to cover the need, Jeff said, “You know, if this happens, there will be extreme suffering for many people for at least a decade before it all gets sorted out.”  

Richard’s response: “Oh, well, if that’s what it takes.”

Jeff found this response extremely disturbing, heartless and horrible, showing a lack of concern, a lack of human feeling, for the people who would suffer.

Richard and his family would themselves suffer, because they benefited from the social programs he wanted cut!  They struggled enough already as the recession made it hard for either of them to find and keep work; this would make it even worse!

In fact, watching him deal with poverty inspired me to finally make the leap to be a Democrat instead of Republican!

I don’t remember all the specifics, since I didn’t record the things Richard posted on Facebook.  But his politics got quite vitriolic around 2010, especially on Facebook.

My Facebook newsfeed filled with his biting comments against political opponents (even in his own party during nominations), wacky conspiracy theories, and him getting into the swirling rancor of that time against liberals and “socialists.”  (They obviously had no clue what socialism really means.)

The big problem for me was not so much that he was into wacky politics, but the way he treated even friends who disagreed with those wacky politics–even Jeff and me, who had done so much to help him and support him over the years.

During this time, and looking back on this time in 2010/2011, I got the distinct impression that I was getting shoved aside to make way for new friends.  And why?  Because I refused to fall for the bizarre crap coming out of the Tea Party. 

I noted that this seemed to begin around April 2009 or afterwards, when Richard first went to Tea Party rallies and I first heard of this lunatic fringe.

I didn’t come out and tell Richard or Chris what I really thought of Libertarians, Constitutionalists and the Tea Party, just tolerated that–as Jeff put it–“our friends are kooks.”  (He said that after I read in the newspaper about comments Chris made about fluoride at a city meeting.  Chris bought into the idea that fluoridated water is somehow harmful.)

But I started getting the distinct impression that what little I did say–

–I like Feingold, I think Christians can vote Democrat, I agree with what the city did to keep Mercury from moving out and turning us into a ghost town, I debunked that website Richard referenced in two minutes–

–was enough to turn him against me as one of his political “enemies.”

And he made it clear that he had no scruples about hating his political enemies, even though Christians are supposed to fight against hate, even for their own enemies.  (He once told me that he hates Democrats.)

At the time I was a moderate Independent (used to be Republican) who thought the Tea Party was silly, but not much more about it.  I wasn’t “anti” any party.

But the more I learned about the Tea Party from Richard, his friend Chris and what they posted on their Facebook walls, the more ludicrous and dangerous it seemed.  The media did not influence this; the media merely confirmed what I already saw from these two Tea Partiers.

For example, at the end of April 2010, Richard e-mailed me a website claiming that the US flag was actually the military flag and that the American people were duped into using it instead of the “civil flag,” meaning we’re living under the Law of the Military Flag without realizing it.

I wrote back that I debunked it within two minutes via Google, so I wouldn’t put much stock in it.

Jeff heard Richard and Chris discussing this in mid-2009 while they moved Richard’s family into a new place, so I had already heard of it, and Jeff and I thought it was wacky.

Richard even had his children refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance because it was written by a socialist.

I also saw that such nasty politics were becoming quite common, on Facebook and off.

Chris also posted wacky stuff on Facebook, and accused people who disagree of being “sheeple.”  He posted about fluoride eroding the intelligence of local voters, conspiracy theories such as birther or 9-11, how our freedoms were supposedly being taken away, and the usual Illuminati/New World Order-style conspiracy theories that have been around for decades.  There were also posts about Annunaki aliens.  (As of 2018, he is also a Flat Earther.)

I couldn’t tell for sure if Richard was influencing Chris, or Chris was influencing Richard–

or if they were just two like-minded individuals who were both nuts all along and I just didn’t know this about Richard until 2009 or 2010.

But the two of them together posted all sorts of wackadoodle political stuff that showed up in my news feed every day in 2010, when they used to be pretty quiet about that stuff, posting more personal and fun stuff on Facebook.

But now their personal accounts were turning into platforms for bizarre and paranoid conspiracy theories.

I also saw Richard treat dissenters on his wall the same way he treated me: A guy in a union complained about how he spoke about unions, another one told Richard that he was part of the problem in the Libertarian Party, I think because of the way he poked fun at the guy he didn’t want to win in a party election.  I think another one complained about how he painted all military troops as evil, same as he did the police, because of some bad ones.

It was becoming very obvious that he did not tolerate people disagreeing with him on politics.

Now I tend to just post an opinion on Facebook or forums and then let other people post theirs.  Even if I disagree with their views, I don’t want to stop being friends with them over it, or ridicule them, which is not how decent people treat their friends.  What I post here is venting that I never, ever said to them while we were friends.

But Richard was actually scolding and lecturing people, including Jeff and me.

But of course, when I complained to him on June 28, 2010 that I didn’t want him telling me how to think and scolding me for disagreeing with him (not just in politics but regarding NVLD), he got furious, acted shocked, and talked as if I were falsely accusing him.

After this, in July and August 2010, I couldn’t stand to hear anything at all about politics–especially the TEA Party. 

I could handle just watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, because they made fun of politics and were full of sense. 

I loathed the TEA Party, Libertarianism, Anarchism, and anything like it, because of what they did to my friend–how they made him turn against even loyal, loving friends who were not like-minded.

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

 

%d bloggers like this: