Category: sexual harassment

Response to mansplaining denials of sexual harassment

Someone on my Facebook shared this webpage, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.  As I posted on Facebook when re-sharing it,

I was actually viciously sexually harassed online in front of my “friend” Richard, yet he still claimed it was not sexual harassment, that it wasn’t “real” because it was online, and that I needed to get over it.  His wife Tracy even went online while this happened, and started joking around with my harassers, and even invited them to her house!

Then he continued to be friends with the people who did it, tried to convince me these people were okay, and thought I was “ridiculous” for not wanting to hear him talk about these people around me.  He said he has other friends who can handle this kind of “joking.”

We’re not friends anymore, and this was one of many things contributing to that….Since he witnessed it, I wanted him to publicly stand up for me against these people, tell them to stop, and then make them apologize.  Not just sit there.

To these things I wrote on Facebook, my friends responded:

“cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.”  (my old friend Mike)

“what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.”  (old college classmate Persephone)

I replied,

“Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.”

Persephone wrote,

“ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  🙁  ”

For the full story, see here and here.

It is so good to finally tell my friends this happened, after years of silence.  It is so GOOD to get validation from my friends, instead of treating me like I’m just too sensitive.

I mean, come on, these guys were making lewd and disgusting comments about my genitals, and I’m too sensitive?  As the above linked webpage notes,

So what can you do…?…Believe us! Don’t deny or minimize our experiences!…

Recognize what harassment looks like, and speak up when this happens. Whenever it’s safe for you, be the guy who shuts these a**holes down.

Turn ‘not all men’ into a force for good: Let harassers know that not all men share their toxic views, that most men aren’t like them. This is just as important when the people they harass aren’t around!

The webpage assumes that most men are NOT like this, just don’t realize what’s happening because it doesn’t happen when the husbands/boyfriends are there.  But it tells how men can step up and help curb the problem, by speaking up against the harasser.

The webpage explains how sexual harassment of women shows a sense of male ownership, as if women are objects and their attractiveness–or lack thereof–is up to the harasser.

Just as my harassers said things like, “I like my girlfriends hairless.”

Um….Considering I said absolutely nothing to you and am married and have no desire to be your girlfriend, who asked you what you think of women shaving their genitalia??!!  If you like women who look like prepubescent children, that’s your business, but it has absolutely nothing to do with me or whether or not I am “desirable.”  Or worthwhile as a person.

As is written in this article,

When he finally gave me his answer, I was disappointed. He said he trolled/bullied people because it was an outlet for him to relieve stress. He said he didn’t view the people as real, or what he was doing as anything other than a joke, and if it hurt feelings, “those people have bigger problems and it’s not my fault.”

We all know that we’re living in an age where it’s easy to post something online and have a lot of well-meaning people assume that it’s real. I know this could very well be an elaborate hoax. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume this is real.

Here’s the thing—this Reddit post might be fake, but I guarantee you that there are tons and tons of trolls doing exactly what she described her husband doing, who probably have wives, girlfriends and children who have no idea they’re sitting online in the middle of the night stalking people on social media and telling them to commit suicide.

She’s pregnant and she just discovered her husband aka the father-to-be of her child is telling women online to kill themselves.

Holy shit. His comments to her are extremely telling about the kind of person who engages in the trolling many of us have come to know in these parts.

He dehumanizes women and the other people he trolls online to the point that he doesn’t even see them as “real.”

 

Sign of Sociopathy: Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Others; I’ve Seen It Many Times; Why It’s Okay to Be Angry About Bullying

I have witnessed people taking pleasure in the pain of others.  For example, my blog stalkers sending me a message saying that they “had a good laugh” at my pain, anguish and anger over their many abuses of my husband and me, then threatening me if I tell about it (proving that they knew they did something wrong, or it wouldn’t bother them for the truth to be told).

Or one of those blog stalkers, Tracy, posting on Facebook right after ripping me to shreds over a misunderstanding complete with cussing and aspersions on my character, “I’m having a GREAT day!”

(And this after all the kindnesses I had shown her over the years, because she could not accept that introverts are different from extroverts, that I am quiet and that she is too scary and mean to draw out a person like me.)

My own brother (who I suspect is a narcissist) turning to me and laughing every time a villain did something horrible on TV.  My brother burning ants with a magnifying glass.  My brother ridiculing everything I did, said or liked, even if he himself liked it first.  Hearing from my mother that my brother tried to kill me once when I was a baby.

Bullies making fun of me on the playground.  My ex Phil passive-aggressively embarrassing me in front of my friends more than once, for doing something he didn’t like.  Richard, the other blog stalker, laughing about turning his former best friend, Todd’s, Internet forum into a Hello Kitty theme, out of vengeance.

Tracy ripping Todd to shreds and smearing him on the Internet, making people think he was crazy, because he did something to help her, and she interpreted it as an attack.

My 18-or-so-year-old Marine brother choking me (I was about 11 or so) and saying, “I’ve been trained to kill.”

A guy who called himself a light bringer, who openly admitted to being “on a campaign against Christianity,” turning a disagreement over my SCA group’s website, into a campaign against that SCA group, posting our names online and claiming he was being religiously persecuted by us–when we just wanted our group site to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and not make the non-religious, educational SCA look like a Pagan religious group.

A girl cyberbullying all sorts of different people on a little BBS, and bringing her friends along to help.

Being sexually harassed day after day my freshman year of high school, by one of my teachers, one of the guys in the cafeteria (who even put his penis on the table next to me), and two guys in the row behind me in Biology class.

Being sexually harassed in filthy words again by a couple of Creeps in an IRC chat room, while Richard and Tracy did nothing, while Tracy in fact egged them on, and later being told by Richard that I was “being ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that it wasn’t real sexual harassment.

My aunt constantly ridiculing and scolding her mother during visits.  My aunt, as my mother put it, “destroying” my grandmother, who is very old and losing her faculties.  My aunt alienating everyone in the family.  My aunt scolding me for everything I did or said, and accusing my innocent dad and brothers of sexually molesting me, because of the “way” I was (selective mutism, shyness).

I take no pleasure in writing about these things, only pain that’s being dredged up in order to release mine and help others.  But someone who enjoys the pain of others, would giggle while posting real names and/or pictures and clicking “post.”

Some sites I look at say that narcissists/psychpaths/sociopaths lack conscience and empathy.  But the blogger of Narcissists Suck puts it another way, that they do have conscience and empathy, but it’s malfunctioning:

How do we know the narcissist still has an operational conscience? Let’s ask the question another way. How do we know the narcissist is aware of the difference between right and wrong? Because of the multiplied and extensive efforts they make to hide their bad acts.

The truly insane person is defined as an individual who is unable to distinguish right from wrong and will therefore commit their crimes regardless of who is looking on.

Their lack of any attempt to hide their crimes is how we determine they are insane, i.e. they lack rational ability and conscience. (By this definition, psychopaths are not insane. Rarely will our justice system allow a psychopath to claim insanity when the evidence shows the psychopath’s many efforts to hide his crimes.)

We don’t see true insanity in the narcissist. We see them presenting an image of perfection to outsiders then going home to beat the wife and sexually abuse the kid.

Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong.

They are careful as to when and where they commit their base acts. Only the helpless and the vulnerable get to see the fully unmasked narcissist. This is all the proof we need that they do indeed possess a conscience. Albeit, a perverted, abused and malfunctioning one.

The narcissist still has a conscience, as evidenced by their multiplied efforts to hide their bad acts. We have clear proof they know the difference between right and wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

This writer would agree, then, that Richard knew that how he and Tracy were treating me was wrong, by the way he spit, hissed, threatened, yelled at, got into the face of and towered over, and tried to intimidate my husband for sticking up for me.

Psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists are not just high-profile criminals, SS officers, cult leaders, or colorful fictional villains.  They also can be otherwise ordinary people living next to us in the suburbs or apartment building.  The damage they do is mostly psychological or emotional rather than criminal, though many of them commit physical or sexual abuse as well.

From the two-part article “Who Does That?”:

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short-even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems.

It’s also where survivors of PLR’s are likely to trip up yet again since the ‘types’ of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others.

While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others. –Sandra Brown MA, Who Does That?

 

The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people. In fact the sociopath is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case.

They don’t care that they damage and destroy other people’s lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want. —How to recognize a sociopath

A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt.How to recognize a sociopath

The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The sociopath cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person. Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage. —How to recognize a sociopath

Bancroft’s PROFILE of the TYPICAL ABUSER (actually, of a malignant narcissist):

“The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family’s money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends.

He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.

He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family’s agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy.

He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex.

He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding.

He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.

The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him.

This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it.

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized.

He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple “abuse each other” and that the relationship has been ‘mutually hurtful.”

It seems that CONTROL is the problem – not VIOLENCE.

Bancroft writes:

“A significant proportion of batterers required to attend counseling because of a criminal conviction have been violent only one to five times in the history of their relationship, even by the victim’s account.

Nonetheless, the victims in these cases report that the violence has had serious effects on them and on their children, and that the accompanying pattern of controlling and disrespectful behaviors are serving to deny the rights of family members and are causing trauma.

Thus the nature of the pattern of cruelty, intimidation, and manipulation is the crucial factor in evaluating the level of abuse, not just the intensity and frequency of physical violence.

In my decade of working with abusers, involving over a thousand cases, I have almost never encountered a client whose violence was not accompanied by a pattern of psychological abusiveness.”

“An abuser’s desire for control often intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping away from him. He tends to focus on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence.” —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

My blog stalkers can read these posts and enjoy all the attention, which I’m sure they’re doing, since they show such avid interest in my thoughts and life that they’ve been here several times this week.  But I don’t care.  And I’m certainly not talking “behind their backs,” because they’re reading everything and I’m well aware of it.

Because they are so interested and I have no other safe means of communication with them, they have made this blog into a vehicle for me to confront them with what they have done and how their behavior affects people, to show them how their actions fit in with the established behaviors of abusers, to show them that their salvation is at risk as long as they do not own what they’ve done, and change how they treat people.

I do this rather than sneak silently into the shadows as if I were doing something wrong, as if I were telling lies instead of the truth I have witnessed and can document.

These posts are for other victims of narcissists and sociopaths who need to understand that it’s not their fault these things have happened, that they’re not crazy, that it’s okay to speak out about what’s been done to them.

These posts are to help you understand what these behaviors look like, not just some clinical traits in an abuse list or the DSM.

Take courage.  There really are people who do these things, and quite a lot of them, from the keyword searches I see.

“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm”Happiness and Evil.

“He thrived on intimidating me.  He derived pleasure from causing me pain” —Taking Pleasure From Pain.

The next red flag is, “Hated for Mysterious Reason by People Close to Them”:

In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of.

If, say, a person’s adult son or daughter doesn’t even visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral,* there is a heavy-duty reason for that. Fortunately, it’s not our responsibility to judge.

But we do need to appreciate the weight of such a startling fact. People do things for reasons. They are not always good reasons or just reasons, but people do things for reasons.

*Good examples: Abraham Lincoln did not go to his father’s funeral, and Barbara Bush did not go to her mother’s funeral. “What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79

This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.

We would be very unlikely to judge someone else harshly if we found out they had inordinate hatred for a particular person even a parent or sibling. So this red flag is one most of us would readily understand.

Unfortunately, most people out there in the world do not have any of this understanding. They are far too quick to judge what they don’t know.

They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong. They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us.

This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing: Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of.

Remember, Kathy is talking about a mysterious, intense hatred for a particular person in someone whom you know doesn’t go around routinely hating people.

Narcissists, on the other hand, have a very long “enemies list” so it can’t be said it is uncharacteristic of them to hate others. It is their default and normal setting.

But when you meet someone who typically gets along well with most people then know for sure that if they hate someone there is a reason for it. It isn’t for you to judge whether or not the reason is “good.” Frankly, it isn’t anyone’s damn business. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags, Narcissists Suck

 

The sensitive, tender little feelings that the narcissist has for themselves is an extension of the empathy they have for themselves. They refuse to feel your pain, but they expect you to feel theirs!

I use the word ‘refuse’ advisedly. It is a willful act on their part to unacknowledge the pain they inflict upon you. They know what they’re doing. Their empathy allows them to know how you feel. They simply refuse to feel anything for your sake.

I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.

People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking.

The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times! The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”.

The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.

Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better.

It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system….

Every psychopath has feelings for himself. The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings.

Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle. Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?, Narcissists Suck

No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature — if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified.

In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive.

His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother’s abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right, his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account…all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself.

Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse.

Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves….

Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic.

They use it to manipulate you to their own ends. Or else they will use it to feel for their sorry-assed selves. These uses of their ability to empathize are profoundly selfish and often cruel.

There is no merit whatsoever for the fact that the narcissist is indeed fully in possession of the ability to empathize. In fact it is a solid basis for our condemnation of them.

They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it.

If the narcissist was incapable of empathy we could grant them a pass for having some sort of disability.

We must acknowledge the reality that the narcissist is all the more evil because they do possess this ability but choose to use it for their own selfish ends against you. They have managed to completely pervert their ability to empathize. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You

ProzacBlogger gets it, writing about his stepmother, who scolded him for cutting off contact with his father, and defended his father.  Heck, what he says about her is just what I want to say to Richard for sticking up for how Tracy treated me:

My father was a monster and she sticks up for him. I know she doesn’t know him that way, which is fine. But respect another person’s experiences, I DON’T CARE IF HE’S YOUR HUSBAND. —Writing to Exhale, Because F*CK! I Need It

From the same writer:

The world is filled with bullies such as the busdriver I ran into yesterday. Your abuser was one of them, bullies at schools are the same trash, my father is one of those idiots; pathetic people compiled of a bunch of failures and insecurities wrapped in a shiny box and coated with a bunch of wild fantasies and lies.

Understand this, these people NEED to do what they do in order to stay alive. Do you think they can look at themselves in the mirror and think: I’m such a nice, good looking person!

Or do you even think they can honestly say to themselves: I didn’t do anything wrong right after they beat the shit out of you or someone else? No.

Instead of that they don’t look in the mirror at all, but instead go with what any other person (besides you) says about them.

They will never look at themselves after they ruined someones life, instead of that they will come up with millions of reasons (lies) why YOU DESERVED IT! –Prozacblogger, How to Prevent Bullies and Abusers From Getting to You

Like ProzacBlogger and Anna Valerious, the writer of Narcissists Suck, I’m not concerned with hearts and flowers and how we should try to “understand” our bullies and sociopaths.

They don’t care about our feelings, so why should we care about theirs?  Trying to “understand” the bully and get the victim to “let go” is just defending the bully and letting him get away with what he did.

Stick up for the victim instead, acknowledge his pain and that he has a right to it, and hold the bully accountable.  As Anna Valerious writes,

You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist.

They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of ‘healing’ if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage.

People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get.

Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist–pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I’m not going there for anyone….

I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with ‘evil personality disorder’ I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I’ll explain why as I go.

It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly.

I’m sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly ‘healed’ from my past.

I’m not going for any silly little awards like that because I don’t believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it…

I’m all about being real here. Here’s how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you’ve endured.

When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you’ve endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage.

To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat’s ass about you.

I do give a rat’s ass. Which most of you ‘get’ when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them.

You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice…surely I would give you the same latitude. –Anna Valerious, An Accurate Measure of Mental Health ISN’T Lack of Anger

 

This blogger describes a sociopath as a child bully ganging up on anyone who disagrees with him or her, and giggling at them–but this is emotionally stunted behavior, not normal:  Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD

 

Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes

In March of 2010, when Jeff came home from D&Ding with Richard and Tracy one Friday night, he told me we wouldn’t be able to D&D with them the following weekend: They were planning to have those jerks from the IRC channel come visit them.

Here in my town.

In their house.

?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was irate, telling Jeff, “It’s disgusting!”

If I saw somebody sexually harass one of my closest friends, I’d have nothing to do with him!

How could Richard not cut these people out of his life for being so horrid to women, to one of his best and closest friends, to the one who helped him above and beyond what most people would do?

And how could he invite sexual harassers to his house?  Wasn’t he afraid of letting these people anywhere near his little girls?

I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell Jeff just what these people had said to me in the chat, but tried to make him understand that he would’ve wanted to punch them all out if he saw it.  It took quite a while before I could tell him just what went on.

I ranted about it to Jeff, wondered what I should do about it, what should I say?  We pondered the wisdom, or lack thereof, of an ultimatum.

Jeff told me I had to make a decision on what to do, whether to say that Richard should drop these friends.  He also picked up some brochures about a circle of respect, which he was going to “plant” at Richard’s house so the jerks would find it.

The following day, I think it was, we went to their house for Dungeons and Dragons.  When Jeff had already left the house with our son and I was making final farewells to Richard, he and Tracy mentioned the party and said it had been cancelled or postponed.

I was relieved, but watched and listened intently to Richard as he spoke about it.  But then the thread of something he was saying got interrupted, and I had to leave, so I never got the chance to say how I felt.

But I began to ponder it, what to do about it, how to handle it, whether it was my problem or his.

A week or two later, I had almost forgotten about it, when something brought it back to my mind again, making me feel dirty and gross with the memory of what the creeps had said to me.

After all this time, it still haunted me and interfered even with my most private moments with my husband.  So I knew this was important.

So I wrote an e-mail to Richard about it.  This was around April 1.  It took me some three hours, carefully crafting it so he wouldn’t feel like I blamed him or anything, and carefully leaving out any hint that he should drop these friends.

I used all the tips that counselors recommend for dealing with difficult conversations, without putting people on the defensive.

I kept out how I found it disgusting that he would invite these jerks to his house.  I restricted my request to him please refraining from mentioning the names of these people around me, to help me to get past this and move on.

After all, the time he spent with me was only a few hours every week or so, most of which were taken up with D&D, and he rarely talked about them around me in the first place.  So this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

He said no.  In fact, he wrote such a scathing e-mail–saying that he had actually written other drafts which he scrapped, which were even more scathing–that I thought here was proof that no, he didn’t care about me at all anymore.  Our friendship was dead, and I didn’t know why.

I cried, and was so upset that it affected me physically.  I even had to ask a neighbor to take my son to school, because I just couldn’t handle it.

Richard didn’t care how I felt about anything.  He defended sexual harassers to me instead of breaking with them.  None of it made sense for someone who claimed I was very dear to him or that he was going to become a priest.

Instead of writing back, I called him up.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that online sexual harassment isn’t “real” and he thought I knew that.  He said, “I love you like a sister, but you’re driving me crazy.”  (Jeff said to this, “What’s with the ‘but’?  Brothers and sisters drive each other crazy all the time!”)

For the first time, he said he loved me like a sister, something I had always wanted to hear from him–

–but at the same time, he blamed me, treated me like there was something hysterical about getting upset over guys online making personal remarks about my genitals and ripping into me for getting mad at them and not showing them naked pictures.

He complained about “pampering” me (more about this here), something I had no idea he was even doing, something I never asked him to do, but which he just assumed he should do.

Apparently, part of “pampering” me meant not being rude to me.  He actually complained because he felt he couldn’t be rude to me, saying that other people are rude with their friends all the time and it’s okay.

I said, maybe where you came from, but not here.  He said it was here, too.  Which surprised me, because most of the people I know aren’t rude to their friends, but understand that you shouldn’t do that.

It made me wonder just which circles he was running around in, anyway, that would be rude to their own friends.

It seemed like he excused bad behavior, and treated me like some china doll for believing–same as all my friends–that bad behavior is inexcusable.  It also seemed like he was being rude to me more often lately.

He also talked like there was something ridiculous about not wanting to hear the names of your sexual harassers spoken around you.

Yet even my husband feels the same way, cringing at the very name of someone who has abused or otherwise mistreated him.  My husband thought I was not being at all unreasonable, and did not like how Richard treated me over this.

Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors.

I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off.

Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things. –Anna Valerious, Do They Have Feelings?

During the same conversation, he also defended the way Todd treated people online (he had a temper of his own), just saying, “He’s a troll!” as if this made it somehow okay.  (And Richard wants to be a priest?)

This was one of the things that eventually led to the two of us having major falling-outs just a couple of months later, and contributed to my ending the friendship.

I just couldn’t stand that he would call this “ridiculous” or tell me to just “get over it”–or that he and Tracy were still friends with the main harasser, the Creep, after this incident, that a year later he was talking with them about a get-together at their house and in my city.

I told Richard I didn’t want these guys to know what city I lived in, who I was, or anything.  But he said they already knew.

He said the Creep was actually shy and quiet in real life, not like his online persona at all–but that didn’t impress me, because you’re still a jerk even if you’re only a jerk online.  He said he did tell these guys they were being jerks to me, but now he so downplayed what they did, made it sound like I was just irrational and silly, that I couldn’t believe it.

He talked as if these guys were just behaving normally and did this to Richard’s other friends, but those friends would play along and be good sports about it.  It made me sound like a combination of prude and party pooper.

He also complained that he “pampered” me whenever we came to visit them in 2008, until his wife complained.  I remember very pleasant visits in those days; isn’t that what visiting friends is all about?

He complained about how he was still doing all these things to bend over backwards and make me feel comfortable, but I couldn’t tell what the heck he was talking about.  I never told him he had to do that!

I’m pretty easygoing with friends, actually.  Even if they cuss around me, I learned in college to shut up and ignore it.  And I kept my mouth shut about other things, as well.

Was his wife complaining because he was being a good host and paying attention to a dear friend?

Were they feeling put out about being good hosts, cleaning up their mess a little for company, not insulting their guests, not being rude, not going around naked or in boxers, what?  

Is it really so terrible not to cuss around my son, and do they cuss like sailors around their own children?

Apparently Tracy actually got mad at him for holding back on saying things she could tell he wanted to say.  What things were this??  Was he about to be an a**hole to me and she complained because he held back? 

What kind of people ARE these, anyway?

His complaints made me wonder what the real him was really like.

When it was just the two of us getting acquainted and forming a friendship, and when he stayed at my house by himself, he seemed sweet and respectful, insistent on putting his violent past behind him, pious and gentle, willing to lend a hand when I asked him to.

I didn’t even know to what extent his past had been violent, but I knew he was determined to follow the practices of his faith.

We developed a camaraderie, poking fun at each other like brother and sister, joking around with each other so easily that our jokes played off each other as if they’d been rehearsed.  (One guy online said he loved being in IRC with us.)

I occasionally tickled him like a sister when he got too cheeky.  We were comfortable with each other, a comfort I felt around very few people.

But now, he seemed to want permission to insult me, to consider me weak because I–LIKE MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD–would get upset at this.

Richard had a strange way of making me feel inadequate.  First, there was the way he’d make me feel like a stalker for, say, saving all my letters to/from people, or for knowing what channels in IRC he was subscribed to (they showed up automatically whenever I opened a private chat with him, just part of the regular workings of the program, nothing I asked for).

Then there was the way he tried to make me (and, from what he said, anybody else he spoke to about this private issue) believe that his idea of fun sexual practices was what everybody should do.

Different people have different tastes, but he had this idea that his way was “enjoying yourself,” and more plain and simple ways were not, even though others might find it painful or gross or weird.  (No, I don’t know what all he did, fortunately, but he told me enough to make me want to take an ice pick to my brain to get it out.)

And now there was this “pampering” crap.  I think the first time I heard about this was on IRC one day.  This may have been earlier in 2010, or maybe late 2009, though I think 2010 is more likely.  He complained that he had to do this for both Jeff and me.

For example, when he lived with us, he didn’t wear just boxers and no pants in front of Jeff and me.  (Um…  Actually, that’s not “pampering” us, that’s just plain good manners!)

Apparently to him, it was “prudish” for Jeff to not be the sort who wanted to see another man in boxers.  He made it sound like it was prudish for me as well, even though another time he said he was taught by his parents to only do this in front of men.  (More confusing doublespeak….)

He also called me “prudish” for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him.  I saw this as proper modesty around a man I was not married to, but he called it prudish??!!  

He said one of his female friends had no qualms about going around in her nightclothes in front of him. 

Er….So you WANT me to put everything on display for you, hmmmmm?  You do realize nightgowns tend to be see-through or at least poke-through? 

The most repulsive thing is realizing that I LISTENED to this guy, when I should have seen right through his obvious manipulation. 

I felt like a prude, when I should have realized that he was trying to get me to put myself on display for him against my better judgment, that he was playing me like a fiddle.  (Probably more of his hypnotism.)

Then he told me about something his family does which I found repulsive, but I won’t say what, just that it was really a very private thing that he should not have told me.  This is also why I suspect the brown stains all over the furniture were actually butt skid marks.

He made me feel “prudish” not just because I wore a robe around him and he didn’t feel “free” enough to wear boxers around me, but because I didn’t do this repulsive, unhygienic thing!  Ew!

Once again, I was under the influence of someone who could talk me into believing anything at the time, then when I got away from his influence, I’d realize he was full of crap.  (This happened before in college: first Shawn, then Phil’s friend Dirk.)

But he always had a way of reassuring me on the phone when we were having problems.  (Probably some more of that hypnotism.)  He talked me into calming down.

He told me that this kept happening: The house full of kids and wife would finally all be asleep, he’d think, “I should go see Nyssa,” but fall asleep on the couch from exhaustion instead.  Or he’d go driving off by himself, intending to see me, but be so glad to be alone that he’d just drive off somewhere.

I was touched, having no idea this was going on, and told him to actually carry through these ideas once in a while.  (Keep in mind that at that time of night, Jeff would be home and probably still awake, so there was nothing improper about this.)

I said that whenever he didn’t respond to my calls, I wondered if he wasn’t allowed to call.  He said, “No, that was over with a long time ago.”  Which was yet more proof for me that Tracy’s restrictions were long since over with.

Somehow, he softened me yet again, like usual when I was mad at him.  He finally agreed to stop mentioning these people around me.

But that didn’t quite end the subject for me.  I was still hurting over the sexual harassment, still wincing every time I came across something that reminded me of what the creeps had said–

–such as a disturbing article I stumbled upon on the Net.  It said that the newer generations of women were being taught in the Millennial culture to believe they must be clean-shaven.

Apparently this was being driven by guys wanting their women to look like porn stars.  It sounded like a modern version of foot-binding, forcing women to do this to please men, or else they’ll get tossed aside as not “sexy” enough.

And it stung that Richard mansplained away my claims of sexual harassment.  Any time you’re a victim of some kind of abuse, bullying, rape or harassment, to be told it didn’t actually happen–

–That’s part of our culture’s problem with victim-blaming.  It inspires people to shut up and not talk about what happened, because they won’t be believed anyway.

I bet Richard and Tracy are still friends with these creeps, but they just let Jeff and me go without doing what it would take to get us back, after all the love and caring we showed them.

In August 2014, old college classmate Persephone shared this webpage on Facebook, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.

I then shared it myself, along with a short description of the above incidents.  My friends responded:

cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.” –(my old friend Mike)

what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.” –(Persephone)

I replied,

Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.

Persephone wrote,

ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  🙁  “

So even from this little bit, Persephone–herself a victim of narcissists, including my ex Phil, in her past–recognized Richard as one.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous,” and said, “I just thought you didn’t go in that chatroom anymore because you didn’t like it.” 

!!!!!!!!

Did he even frickin’ READ what I wrote to him?

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

Funny thing: After Richard convinced me that his “pampering” of me was somehow my fault, I felt guilty, and told him not to pamper me (though I did not say to be rude).

Our very next D&D session, he, the game master, set up a world which was full of–basically–zombies.  I’m almost certain this was done on purpose, to test me, gross me out to my limits, and, well, screw with my mind.

Then I foiled him by not reacting as he expected, but taking it all in stride.

HA!

Frickin’ narcissist.

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

 

Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

In late May or early June of 2009, while I was in an IRC chatroom with Richard–there only because I could find him there, not from any particular love of the place–two of the admins started sexually harassing and bullying me.  Several of the other members–including a woman!–egged them on.

I did nothing to bring this on, was just sitting in the chat waiting to start talking with Richard.  I had said nothing for some time, and probably wasn’t even watching the screen at first, while doing other things online.  I sat there in silent disbelief when they started doing this.

(As for the woman who egged them on: At an earlier date in that same IRC channel, Richard posted, “Richard is sexing” [her handle], and Tracy posted that she was grabbing popcorn.

(I was amazed because I thought Tracy got insanely jealous and furious over that sort of thing.  So I wrote him privately, asking about it.  He wrote back that Tracy is friends with that person.

(Um…What was I, chopped liver?  I was friends with Tracy, so why was I not allowed to do the same thing?  And how could Tracy know this person from the Internet better than she knew me?–

(–Not that I wanted Richard to post “Richard is sexing Nyssa.”  On the contrary, I directly told him I didn’t want him to joke like that with me.  It was too–weird and icky to say you’re “sexing” someone other than your wife.)

Here’s what happened: I was just sitting there in the channel, which did sometimes amuse me.  I may have been completely silent on the channel, maybe chatting a little with Richard in the channel or privately, because he was the reason I went there in the first place: It was easiest to find him there.

Then the Creep, who was one of the admins, because my handle was a hobbit, began making cracks like, was I hairy all over.  His comments turned to my private parts.

I was just sitting there quietly and in disbelief, not responding at all, when he started going on and on about how awful it is for women to not shave that area, and how his girlfriend shaves.

And then one of the other Creeps, also an admin, started insisting I post pics of that area.  I said nothing to these guys to bring this on; I don’t think I said a word through much of this.

I thought Richard would stick up for me, but he said nothing, at least not publicly so I could see it.

Richard quickly went onto a channel I myself had made recently for personal friends, so I could get away from these people and still talk with him.  (He knew about this channel, which I hoped he would use all the time so I wouldn’t have to go into that nasty IRC channel.  But he rarely used it.)

While this stuff was going on, Tracy came in the main chatroom.  I expected that she had seen everything and was going to give these creeps a piece of her mind, complete with her usual cussing.

But instead, when one of the admins told her I was being a b**ch for refusing to show him a picture of my private parts, she just said, “You know how hobbits are,” and started joking around and chatting with them about having a get-together at her house.

I finally told the main harasser to bite me.  The other admin said that was a stupid thing to say.  Then they kicked me off the channel, and banned me for several days.  I kept checking to see if I could get in, but just for information’s sake: I intended to have nothing more to do with that channel and those jerks.

These filthy creeps were actually friends of Richard and Tracy!  Nearly a year later, I learned that Richard told them they were being jerks.  But he never made them apologize or anything.  And they knew I was his real-life close friend, but did this anyway.

I was shaken and upset for days, trying to watch movies on TV, but this was constantly on my mind.  It was disturbing, made me feel gross. 

For probably at least a year, even making love to my husband would bring it back to mind, because of how gross it made me feel. 

This was no joking around–This was sexual harassment!  And Richard and Tracy did absolutely NOTHING to stick up for me!

On this page, I describe guys who sexually harassed me in high school, not just students but even a teacher!  And here it was happening all over again!

I once mentioned the teacher to Richard.  And as I wrote in an e-mail to Richard on June 5, 2009,

I’m sending this by both e-mail and [online game] because I obviously have no idea which one you’ll check first.

I’ve been feeling this massive boredom and sadness the past few days because of so many things happening at once….Family and friends dealing with problems, and being blindsided with my own issues at the same time….

This strange feeling of not knowing if I want to be around people or just hide away even from my best friends, waiting and waiting to hear that something has changed or been resolved….

I try to be happy and it almost feels like I’m manufacturing it, it’s not really felt.

I try to ignore the [IRC] thing, try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it just isn’t working.

I have to be honest with myself.  I have to put my finger on the problem: Why should I be upset about being banned from a place with people I don’t even like?

If that’s all it is, then I’d feel like an idiot.  So it can’t just be that.  Is it pride because I’m not the sort of person who gets banned from *anywhere*?  It’s part of it, maybe, but not all.

Is it the crying out for justice?  Maybe that’s it.  I want somebody to get chewed out.  I want apologies.  I feel humiliated.

That’s part of it: The humiliation.  I’ve been in flame wars before; I recall once sticking up for my friends and getting ridiculed for it, until finally the sysop put a stop to the whole thing.  I learned how not to feed the trolls.

But in this case I wasn’t even feeding the trolls.  I was just bored and playing a little here and there to pass the time, not being mean or nasty to anybody.

Another part is that I went there in the first place simply so I could find you and play with you on IRC.  We could all play off each other instead of me trying to think up something to do or say with just you….

It was fun to play with you and your friends and now for no fault of my own, I can’t do it anymore, I feel cut off, pushed aside like the kid nobody wants to play with.

I have nowhere else to go; none of my friends seem to want to play on IRC even though it can be like the old BBS’s we miss so much.

The humiliation comes from, mostly, being verbally abused for no reason and the others standing by and letting it happen–heck, some even joining in, saying don’t let the door hit me in the a** etc. etc., even a *girl* playing along like it was funny.

I remember it was [The Creep], [a few others], and possibly one other though I don’t remember now.  You say you were chatting with [The Creep];

I want to hear that you told him to knock it off and that he’s being an a****** to a dear friend of yours and that he’d better be apologizing to me ASAP because his “joke” is not at all funny.

These guys remind me of this “popular” guy my freshman year of high school who spent the whole year sexually harassing me every lunch period. He even exposed himself to me twice.  His “popular” friends just laughed.  

It gave me an ulcer; after lunch I would practically double up in pain.

Actually, come to think of it, he wasn’t the only one: There were also two guys in Biology class who [sexually] harassed me.  Once they even got so loud that the teacher had to stop his lecture and tell them to be quiet.  I never did anything to these guys; I was just minding my own business.

When Tracy came in I thought she’d seen everything and was going to chew out [The Creep], especially after he said I’m being b*****y for not posting obscene pictures of myself, but instead she just says “that’s how hobbits are” and starts joking with him and arranging some get-together….

They start talking about doing it here in [our hometown]….

I don’t want these people anywhere near me if that’s how they treat women.  All I ever did was be nice; I thought being your friend would mean good treatment; in return I got sexually harassed and verbally abused and banned. As far as I’m concerned, these are not good people.  Even as a joke–That just isn’t funny.

Now after I get it all out I finally understand why I’m having trouble getting past this as just some other stupid Internet thing that can vanish simply by not going to that forum/channel/chatroom/newsgroup/mailing list anymore.

And also why I have to tell you how I feel.  I feel sick inside.  I know you were disgusted by the whole thing as well; I’m not blaming you for anything.  I just can’t keep bottling it up.

On June 9, I wrote to Richard,

Oh, look, I’m banned from [the IRC channel] again.  Whatever.  I have no time or energy for [The Creep’s] games.  I only go there for a split second to see if you’re around, anyway.

I just finished watching Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.”  A knight, Antonius Block, returns from the Crusades to a plague-ridden Sweden, only to confront Death in a fateful chess game.  Death is bloodthirsty and begins stalking his traveling companions as well.

There’s also a cool fire-and-brimstone sermon which is made even better by the Swedish language, with its accents and trills.  What Baptist preacher can match that?

What’s up with the baby having no diaper?  The baby is only a year old, yet I never saw a diaper on its butt once.  In fact, I never saw *anything* on its butt.

To think it only got made because another of his movies was successful at Cannes.  The theme seems to be that we can’t know if God, Satan, Heaven or Hell are real until after we die; even Death tells Antonius that he doesn’t know.

We see the fear of various characters that they’re going into emptiness.  The supposed “witch” is full of terror as she faces emptiness at the stake; she says she sees Satan and talks with him, but we can’t tell if she’s crazy or lying, so Antonius still can’t get his answer.

This is why I don’t understand atheists who say it’s a wonderful thing that after death is nothing.  Who wants to go into emptiness?

(The last part shows that spiritual doubt and despair already plagued me, and had for a few years.  Richard’s betrayal of me in 2010 was the last straw plunging me into a spiritual pit of fearing that death truly is the end and nobody is up there helping us.)

I thought he would distance himself from them, stop hanging out with them, because they were so horrible, because they would treat a woman like that, because they were sexual harassers.

But no, he still kept going into that channel, still kept talking to the worst offender on the phone.  He occasionally brought them up in conversation.  I couldn’t understand how he could do this.

But he only mentioned them once or twice over the next year, so I said nothing–until I heard he was going to have them all over to his house in 2010.  More on this below.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how nonchalantly he kept associating with these people, especially the Creep.  I can excuse my other Internet friends, who weren’t there, since I never told them about it.  But he was an eyewitness!

Then, as I describe below, he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous”!!!!!!!!

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing about internet trolls. I’m sick of hearing about them too—but I’m also sick of hearing from them.

I’m sick of women being treated like shit and then being treated like shit for complaining about being treated like shit.

So anyway, don’t shut up. Keep complaining. This is your internet too. –Lindy West, We must not shut up about how women are treated on the Internet

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