Category: slander

Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like

I felt singled out as a terrible person because I simply could not do the social gymnastics Tracy expected me to do.

I must have missed nearly all her cues to start conversations, because I’d go for months thinking I’d been perfectly fine socially with her, then find out she was still offended and mad at me because I wasn’t “befriending” her or making conversation.

To this day I could not tell you what cues I was missing, or when, or any specific details about times, dates, places, words spoken, or what I did to offend her.

Richard would say he saw me do this this and this, but I’d think, WHEN?  I remember NONE of this! 

If she used hidden meanings or subtexts in her speech, I couldn’t tell you that, either, though I recently read that women often do that.

I was fine socially with Richard, but he was a special case: that rare individual with whom I could relate like a socially normal person.  It helped that as a man, he was more likely to say things directly instead of expecting me to read his mind.

I could even “read” him nonverbally quite well, at least for the first couple of years, before he started getting hard to understand.  He seemed to think I could be that way with everyone, when in fact I was only that way with him, my husband, my child and my cats.  (It probably has to do with familiarity.)

I find making conversation with most people to be an exhausting chore.  Most of what I “read” is from the words spoken and a few standard, obvious body language indications.

More subtle body language trips me up, such as–for example–I recently discovered that breaking into a conversation with a group of people is accomplished through eye contact and other subtle body movements.  I had to read this in an article, because I didn’t know it instinctively.

No wonder I’ve always had so much trouble breaking into conversations with a bunch of chattery people!  Usually somebody talks over me when I barely open my mouth, and then somebody else replies while I wait for that person to complete the thought.

Small talk is trouble because I just don’t know what to say, and saying “how are you” over and over seems too repetitive and dull.  I’d much rather listen and wait for someone to bring up something I can contribute to.

I wasn’t being passive-aggressive, promising one thing and then doing another: No, I kept telling Richard that I couldn’t be close to Tracy because of all the crap she kept pulling, that I couldn’t open up to someone who treated me like an enemy, that I had to choose my own confidantes.

But I was kind to her, for his sake.  I paid her compliments, sent her links to a local women’s forum so she could make friends, gave her a flower, changed diapers for her, asked for recipes….

I just wasn’t going to be “besties” with her.  I had to keep my boundaries up or be subject to all sorts of hurt and pain from a mean girl.  And, though I didn’t voice this, I wanted to be there for him and believe him whenever he told me about her abuses of him and the children.

From the horrible things she said to me when I ended the friendship, Tracy apparently thought I was being childish somehow (comments about me needing to “grow up and TALK”), or that it was deliberate.

In fact, when she behaved like a normal, decent person there was nothing deliberate about it: I’m quiet with most people, especially with more than one person at a time.  I’ve always been quiet even with my longtime friend Catherine, usually letting others carry the conversation until I have something to contribute.

Whenever I saw Tracy behave well, I sighed with relief that this time, I had nothing to object to.

But whenever she started abusing her children, snipping at Richard or making fun of me, that’s when I just plain did not want to speak to her.  I think most people would be the same, unless they’re good at faking pleasantries.

I tried to ignore her bullying because I’d always heard that’s what you should do, that bullies want to get a rise out of you, but she kept doing it anyway.  I couldn’t read her at all except when she showed hostility.  Even then, I didn’t know what the hostility was about.

So she was like a ticking time bomb.  Usually, if she smiled I thought things were okay and maybe she liked me finally.

This blog post on intolerance and its comments resonate with me, because I tried to tell Richard time and time again what was really going on, explaining every reason I could think of for whatever incident he described (though not actually remembering it), and he’d supposedly tell Tracy.

But he would reject it as an excuse, and she would reject it outright because I wasn’t shy with him.

But that’s because I was very comfortable with him in particular!  Being shy or quiet doesn’t mean you are that way with every single person on the planet, including your mother, children, husband, roommate, and best friend!

Also, this page sounds very familiar.

I believe she deliberately set me up to fail, and that the standards she sets for Richard’s friends are ridiculous and meant to weed out anybody she doesn’t like, especially ones who don’t see her as this wonderful person–as a means of controlling him, keeping him under her thumb, cutting him off from his support group who recognizes the abuser.

Our mutual friend Todd did not talk to her, just him, she said (like me).

Richard said Todd was wary of her (like me).

Todd is an introvert (like me).

He has been abused before (like me).  I think people are more likely to recognize toxic people when they’ve been abused.  He saw many of the same things in her that I did.

So in 2008, she made up an imaginary offense by Todd against her, refused to believe it did not exist, and smeared him with lies all over a game forum.  So he broke off relations with her and Richard both, because Richard let her do it and eventually joined in.

This is very familiar….. More on this below.

So it wasn’t just about Tracy being afraid of other women stealing Richard, even though Richard did tell me about her jealousies of other women.

And who knows who Richard betrayed before us, since we weren’t the only friends he lost?

Richard told me one day that people would come up to them, say, “We’re sorry, but we just can’t deal with Tracy anymore,” and break off relations with them both.  I don’t know how many have done this.  He said this with her in the room listening, so I know it was true.

I wonder what she did to tick off those other friends so much.  What kinds of things come up that make her so nasty to so many of her husband’s friends that they dump the friendship with him to get away from her?

They must have broken off relations with both of them because Tracy insisted on being friends with Richard’s friends.

Another friend was “at war” with her, told him (before they married) that Tracy would bring him trouble.  Tracy got furious when she discovered that during the two months he lived with us, Richard had been talking to her.  (How controlling!)

Another friend kept clashing with her, as well, and left.  These are the ones I know about.

Todd hoped that Richard would wake up to how she was “driving all his friends away.”

Most people call me sweet, nice, innocent, kind, caring, loyal–but she eavesdropped and knew I found her possessive, controlling and abusive, so I was on her sh** list.

Meanwhile, if she got along fine with his other friends, she acted perfectly normal with them.  See a pattern here?

If I treated Jeff and his friends that way, he’d complain to high heaven.  Her ways lead to strife and lost friendships; our way leads to peace and contentment in the marriage and with others.

Why should I submit and say she’s right and I’m wrong?  That would be a lie!  Our way is innocent-till-proven guilty; none have been guilty, though many have been flirty and a few have offended me.

Tracy’s way is guilty-till-proven innocent.  Look for guilt and you’ll find it, even where it doesn’t exist.  Going further, treat a man like a cheater and he will cheat.

This video (by Sam Vaknin, himself a malignant narcissist, with insights into how they think) sounds like Tracy.

While Richard told me things Tracy was doing, Tracy–when Jeff drove her places–told him the bad things Richard was doing: lazy, unmotivated, etc.  

She was upset that Richard wasn’t doing chores–

–while Richard was upset that he cleaned all the time but got yelled at for not cleaning, that she never did a thing to help out, that when he told her he needed help with chores she’d fume and pout for days.

Todd stayed with them a couple of times, and could vouch for Richard’s complaints.

It has been suggested that we were used as pawns by these people in their own power struggle.

Jeff also thinks that Tracy saw me as a threat to her marriage, but that it wasn’t about a potential affair, rather about me being Richard’s confidante.  

He thinks she wanted a confidante, but didn’t want Richard to have one.  He thinks she was afraid I’d convince Richard that he and the children were being treated badly, and he would leave.

Now, I never told Richard he should leave her.  I did, however, say what I thought about how she treated him.  Jeff kept his mouth shut, and he thinks that’s why he got along with her better.  But now he wonders if he should have spoken up more.

Tracy yelled and screamed and cussed at any person who upset her, throwing tantrums–over a game–even at Todd, a family friend of six years.  When he did something on an online game which she took as a power grab, instead of

  1. seeing it as just a game after all,
  2. calling Todd on the phone to ask what’s going on while giving him the benefit of the doubt, or
  3. refraining her temper because it was after all a friend–

–she cussed at him and accused him right there on the game forum for all to read.

I saw the whole thing, because my husband was in that game, so I used his account to read the forums.  Todd also opened up the private forums so we could see how the argument originated.  From what I saw, it went from civility and Todd trying to help her, to Tracy all of a sudden freaking out over nothing.

It’s not at all surprising that Todd–who also has a fierce temper–got defensive instead of working with her.  He asked a couple of people to help with talking to her, but they said she had “a stubborn as a rock mentality.”  Richard, too, called her “immovable,” not just then but in general.  (More on this incident is on the next page.)

Sometime during this whole mess, came allegations against Todd in his personal life.  I won’t post them because I have no idea if the allegations were true, or if they were all part of the smear campaign against Todd, since they ended up on the forums.

But the next day, Jeff and I went to visit; Tracy gleefully said Todd needed to “grow up.”

Her smile was vindictive and happy, malicious, the cat who swallowed the canary, smiling lips but dangerous eyes–what I now know as a sociopathic smile or sociopathic smirk.

Which was yet more indication to me, during the 7/1/10 “incident” described later, that further discussions with her would be useless.

Todd couldn’t take it anymore and broke off the friendship with them both.  Even months later, Tracy said she wanted him “at the bottom of the sea.”  More details of this story are here.

She put the responsibility for her anger and abuse on others, but accused others of being “childish” and needing to “grow up.”  She wouldn’t respect others, but demanded respect from them.

Being allowed full friendship benefits, however, was like a carrot constantly dangled above my head.  Just whenever I thought I finally caught it, it was yanked away again: emotional blackmail.

It soon became very clear that my quiet, shy, introverted temperament was somehow a personal offense to her, that she expected me to turn into an outgoing extrovert, which is impossible.

I was supposed to participate in conversations with her just like an extrovert would, or someone who is not shy, but that is neurologically impossible for me, except with a few select people.

I felt like I was being forced to jump through hoops in order to be a normal friend with my best friend, hoops that kept getting placed higher and higher while I was constantly blamed for not making them.

Tracy was very manipulative of me through Richard, very manipulative and controlling of Richard, with all her threats and intimidation.  Whether it was marriage or childrearing, I began thinking, “What would Tracy do?”–and doing the opposite.

They strategically plan how to break people down and hurt them or make them weak. This is done in either a surreptitious manner, an overt manner, or both.

They are a control freak.  If they know something is important to you, they will use it to punish or control you, or try to prevent it from taking place (such as an important goal you are working toward)….

If they know something is important to you, they will in some way try to deprive you of it or make you jump through hoops for it. –Joyful Alive Woman, Behaviors and attitudes of the narcissist

It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.

They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly.

In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD, 7 Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies

If you know a narcissist’s history, you will usually see a track of mysterious upheavals in his life. He suddenly up and moves to a different school or job in a different town every few years.

That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged.

In one narcissist I know of, these upheavals began with one in the eighth grade. “What Makes Narcissists Tick” pg. 79

…This history of past upheavals can be more subtle than the narcissist having to physically pull up stakes and move to a new place….

As I look back over [my mother’s] life for the last four decades it is very evident that she indeed does defecate all over her Pathological Space requiring her to abandon particular social circles with predictable regularity. This has been repeated over, and over, and over again….

If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party–you are witnessing a “history of past upheavals” and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist.

Moving about geographically is only one outward sign of past upheavals. High turnover in social circles and relationships is the subtler sign.

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

Unfortunately, most people out there in the world…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. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags: History of Past Upheavals & Hated for Mysterious Reasons

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

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Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance with smear campaign

I finally got a chance to vent privately to my husband on Wednesday, January 2 about what all went on in his house while he was out of the house or the room.  I told him the same things I told my mom, about all the abuse, possessiveness and controlling behavior, including the story of her getting jealous just because Richard took me to a corner store so we could chat.  (Jeff said in shock and disbelief, “She was jealous of you?”)

He got so furious with Richard and Tracy that I thought he would throw them both out onto the street right then.  He says I asked him not to, and that’s the only reason he didn’t, the only reason he didn’t even yell at them.  But they came upstairs and were shocked at how angry he was.

I must have asked him not to throw them out because I didn’t want to throw the children onto the street in the middle of a cold winter.  He was angry and shocked at Tracy for being jealous of me, of all people.

He felt her behavior was ungrateful and insulting to the hostess, after all I had been doing for them, basically accusing me without cause of being a slut.  I wrote to my mother the next day,

I had a long talk about this with Jeff yesterday.  He knew some of it, but apparently I hadn’t told him the full extent of what had been going on.

He agreed that Tracy has to stop getting mad at Richard and chewing him out whenever I want to talk with him alone, that he needs to have friends, that we own the house, and that chewing out Richard for talking with me alone is not the way to treat me after I’ve been providing hospitality.

Now that Jeff and I had full agreement on this, I had the strength I needed to take charge.  I told Richard that I own the house and she is not to do that anymore, that it’s getting in the way of me being friends with her.

He said that he believes he has it squared away now and there shouldn’t be any more trouble.

Richard and Tracy were in the basement and I was on the main stairs with Jeff, the only way we could talk privately.  But I wasn’t even allowed this private grievance session with my own husband:

Tracy must have come upstairs very quietly, because she eavesdropped without my knowledge on this conversation with Jeff.  She never told me she heard everything I said.  I had no clue until the summer of 2009, when Richard finally admitted it.

Since she was the one listening, not Richard, she got away with blatantly lying to him about what I said.  She told him I was manipulating Jeff.

The truth is that I told Jeff what was happening and how I felt about it.  If that’s “manipulation,” then proper, direct, open communication with your spouse is “manipulative.”

Then Jeff came up with a way to help me.  It wasn’t a good way, but neither of us realized this at the time.

I think what I really wanted him to do, was to sit down Richard and Tracy and explain the rules of the household and being a guest, rather than leaving it all to me to deal with these people.  But I don’t remember if I said so, or if I was even able to articulate this at the time.

(Sometimes I don’t know how to explain what I want while I’m speaking.  The words I need tend to come while writing drafts of e-mails–or blog posts.)

This is the first time I know of that Tracy lied to Richard to smear me and slander my character; there were other times to come, when she either lied to him about me, or twisted my actions and slandered my character to him over and over again, while I was in my house blissfully unaware (until he told me about it).

When she later accused me in 2012 of defaming her character, this was hypocritical, because she defamed my character to her mother, husband and on Facebook, and defamed Todd’s character to an entire web forum/gaming group.

And I did not defame her: To defame is to lie and tell half-truths to make a false representation, and I have been scrupulously honest in these accounts.  (I have been honest to the point of fear, which I bravely faced and posted anyway, because I want to be a trustworthy narrator.)

I also do not name her or post her personal identifying information, because this is about telling the story of my trauma in my own way, NOT about smearing her to her friends/co-workers/etc. or getting it to show up in Google searches for her.  But I digress.

She then decided I hated her, was biased against her, was a terrible person, had bad character, must not spend any time alone with her husband without her okay, and was “moving in on” her husband.  Anything and everything I did was evidence supporting this theory.

During this time period, I’m told, she almost killed me for something she wrongly interpreted as vixenlike behavior, though I wasn’t aware of this for a year and a half.  (I have no idea if this was meant literally or metaphorically.)

As for what I did: I have already explained how Richard taught me that putting your head on another’s shoulder and sleeping is an innocent expression of friendship, nothing more.  That our arms stayed folded around ourselves, NOT each other, and in a friendship manner.  He made it sound like this was normal friendship behavior where he grew up.

(From what I just read in an abuse blog by a woman around that area, and her descriptions of caring gestures by a close platonic friend with no romantic feelings for her, this may actually be true.)

I was wrapped in a small couch/throw blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, and was now cold with illness; I was NOT sharing it with him, he was NOT under this blanket, had no blanket on him at all.  Even if I wanted to share it, this little blanket couldn’t possibly stretch far enough to cover him, too.  But no, I did not share it with him, despite her later claims to the contrary.

I was sick, desperately needed a nap, my son was asleep in my room, and the couch was crowded.  Normally back then, I often took naps during the day (probably exhausted from caring for a toddler), and preferred to nap on the couch instead of on my bed.  It’s just a quirk, hard to explain why, but I don’t like lying down to nap.

All these people interfered with my normal nap routine, along with everything else.  I also did not want to wake up my son by going in the bedroom, and sickness makes it hard to breathe when sleeping on your back.  I felt just rotten, but couldn’t get a nap or any rest at all.

I was wrapped in a blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, but my sickness made it worse.  Richard was beside me on the couch; finally, I put my head on his big, squishy shoulder, which was just like a large pillow, not some bony skinny shoulder, and fell right to sleep.

An innocent act, no more “vixenlike” than the guy who put his head on another guy’s shoulder on the subway.

But it inspired Tracy–in a massive overreaction which showed the violent truth of her character–to kill me!  She only kept herself in check because of fear that we’d throw her out.  (Well, yeah, if you kill me, or even if you just beat me up, my husband won’t let you stick around.  He’ll get your *** thrown in jail.)

Richard later told me that Tracy’s reaction was based not on the act itself, but that if, say, a certain other friend from the Forum did it, Tracy would find it cute and join in, because she was friends with Tracy….

Which is, of course, maddening, because Tracy had already told me that she and I were friends.

But she changed her mind on that without telling me so, or why, because I had trouble carrying on conversations with her, and because I desperately needed time by myself every day to recharge (things I did not know until the summer of 2009).

Basically, because I am an introvert with NVLD, who desperately needed time alone every day during a house invasion which had gone on for weeks, she began acting jealous and controlling toward me, but never told me why.

Then I recognized her verbal abuse and controlling behavior for what it was, rather than saying she was right and justified.

So she eavesdropped when I told my husband what was going on, did not tell me she overheard, was prejudiced against me for being an introvert, and made me jump through impossible hoops before she would consider me her friend and allow me to do things like this, which she would allow her other friends to do.

So she wanted to kill me because I was sick and needed a nap, and because I followed Richard’s directions to do this when she was not in the room (and fell asleep), NOT because I actually “did” anything.

I made no moves on her husband, did not try to get him to kiss me or go to bed with me or any crap like that which would have deserved her ire.

By the way, my husband came home and saw it, remembered we have SCA friends who do this sort of thing, shrugged his shoulders, and went on with life, never saying a word about it.

In fact, a month or two later, I even mentioned it to him to explain why Tracy was mad at me this time, without fear that he would berate me over it.

Not only did he not berate me, but he understood it was platonic, and still did not tell me he already saw me.  I did not find out until August 2010, when he told me Tracy’s reaction was overblown and ridiculous!

Basically, I did something which would have been perfectly fine with her if I were an extrovert without NVLD, and if I accepted all her abuse as okay.  It was a double standard which discriminated against me for what I was and could not change.  Nobody told me she saw this and was upset, until a month or two later.

Once I found out this upset her so much, I thought she overreacted, and was puzzled because I thought it was normal behavior where they came from?

However, I never did it again, respecting her boundaries–but continued to pay for it constantly for two more years as she kept bringing it up with Richard as evidence of my bad character, and then ripped into me for it in the summer of 2010.

Because I was sick and desperately needed a nap on a crowded couch.  Because I had been taught by Richard that such behavior was perfectly fine, normal and appropriate among friends.  (The jerk set me up!)

You will also note that it was the middle of the afternoon, in the main room in full view of the kitchen and front door, while she was awake and my husband was about to come home.

NOT late at night or while the house was empty, like when Richard did it before.  Which is further proof of the innocence of my actions.

There was also another time when they were up late watching TV, she was on one side of him on the couch and I was on the other, and I tried to nap against his shoulder because the TV was boring and I was sleepy.  But she never mentioned that I did do this in front of her once, did she?

No, I was falsely accused of bad motives and character, and constantly slandered by this woman, who knew that I saw her abusing her husband and children.

And now I was supposed to suck up to her and court her favor or else I’d stay on her sh** list and be “that woman” who wasn’t her friend and couldn’t say or do much of anything to him without her getting upset.

This is a common abusive tactic: Slander your spouse’s friend and make his life miserable, because the friend could open his eyes to the truth of the abuse.  Use intimidation and pressure to get him to only be friends with people you approve.

Memories of Phil were still fresh in my mind from writing and researching about his abuse in 2006/2007.  This was a tactic he used to try to separate me from my group of best friends, who saw he was treating me badly.

Richard kept things from me that I needed to know, such as the fact that Tracy overheard my complaints to my husband, and saw me asleep on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, I overheard her complaining about me or my son to Richard or her mother on occasion, sometimes quietly, and sometimes so I could hear.

Rather than get them out in the open and deal with them directly with us, she was passive-aggressive.  (Note that I did not go to Jeff until after I tried to sort things out with them, but conditions continued to deteriorate.)

And I was not allowed to object to her jealous, abusive and controlling behavior, or say how she treated Richard was wrong, or say that I will not be disrespected in my own house–or she would lose all respect for us and go back across the country to the state she came from.  (Right there: intimidation, delivered through Richard as her proxy.)

But it was well within my rights to object to abuse and other mistreatment of my friends, and to say that no one was to be abused and mistreated in my house.

That included objecting to her telling Richard not to go to the bar and grill with me.  She thought I was horrible and disrespectful of her to even ask him in the first place!  Say WHAT?

Even two and a half years later, she still got on my case about this, saying “everybody knows” you don’t do this without being friends with the wife first, and making me into a horrible person for “violating” this “rule.”

First of all, there is no such “rule.”  I have occasionally gone out to lunch or some other thing with a friend or boss, or had conversations with him, without consulting the wife first–or even knowing her, period, let alone being friends with her.  And the wife never put up a fuss about it.

The only “rule” is that you are open and honest, don’t sneak around and lie about where you went or who you were with, because that’s a red flag of cheating.

Second, she herself TOLD me I was her friend weeks before I even asked him!

Third, it was Richard’s idea to take me to that bar and grill in the first place.  He never informed me that one-on-one conversations and going to get ice cream, which were all perfectly fine and allowed for the past two months, were suddenly verboten.

I had absolutely no reason to think there was anything wrong or “inappropriate” about continuing to do these things.

It is gravely immoral to be mean to your close friends, to restrict your husband’s friends, to be jealous without cause, and to be hostile to the person who is sheltering you in her own home.

It is gravely immoral to treat close friendship as if it were expendable, as if it could just get tossed away.

It is gravely immoral to verbally abuse your kids all day and your husband all evening.  It is gravely immoral to be violent, whether verbally or physically.

Yet I was treated as if my feelings on the matter, my opinions, were just so much garbage to get tossed out with the rest of the trash, that I was a horrible, hateful person to even have them.

Richard’s own behavior was baffling through all this.  The first day she moved in, he told me she was a jealous person who went through his cell phone logs.  She discovered that while he lived with us, the female friend she was “at war” with had called him, and he called her back.

She got furious with him for it, even though he and this friend had always been platonic, and the friend was thousands of miles away.

I heard his conversations with this friend; they were appropriate, just catching up and news of the church the friend still went to and that Richard and Tracy used to go to.  He was upset with Tracy’s behavior, and I found it bizarre.

In just a short time, I had a full picture of a domestic abuser who considered me a threat to her control.  Especially after she eavesdropped on Jeff and me, she knew I recognized her abuse for what it was. 

Because I now know that she eavesdropped, I am confident that this was her true reason for the smear campaign and making me jump through hoops to please her.

I remember Richard saying she “heard every word” of what I said to Jeff, in that scolding tone which implied that I lied to Jeff, or that there was something wrong in what I said to him.

But I told Jeff nothing but the truth–and they obviously had no qualms talking to each other about me.  Yet more intimidation and control, not just from Tracy but from Richard as well, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I have always wondered what all Tracy told Richard I said.  I know she lied about me manipulating Jeff; what else did she lie about?  This is how domestic abusers operate when they know they are found out:

Domestic abusers use various methods to separate their victims from anyone who could open the eyes of the victim to the abuse.  An abuser will object to your friends and family, either unilaterally or just the ones who recognize the abuse.

She’ll lie to you about that friend/family member.  She’ll tell you that person is bad and you should not associate with her.  She’ll smear her to you, slander her character with lies and half-truths, to drive a wedge between you and your friend/family member.

She’ll tell you a friend made moves on her, even though it is a lie.  She’ll forbid you to be friends with someone she has not approved, or allow it but make life difficult for you whenever you see that friend.  Or she’ll make life so difficult for that friend that he breaks off relations with you.

She’ll reward you for sticking up for her, and subject you to more abuse if you object to how she treats your friend.  This, also, drives friends away, because nobody will put up with that for long if they don’t have to.

In the end, you are isolated from everyone who could open your eyes and help you out of the abusive relationship.

One day Richard complained that his wife should allow him to spend time with his friends, too, and was it really so wrong for him to do so?

But whenever I myself complained about how she treated me, or how she treated him, he defended her, spoke like I didn’t know what I was talking about and there was nothing wrong with her behaving this way.

Even a year and a half later, he told me her treatment of him during this time was his fault because of this and this and this.  This is Stockholm Syndrome, also known as the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt), which drives an abuse victim to defend the abuse.  For example, the wife who’s beaten and then says, “It was my fault.  I shouldn’t have upset him.”

As for consideration for Tracy’s feelings, Jeff and I had many conversations about this situation, and he did try to get me to see Tracy’s side as well.  This led to me going to Richard, contrite.

I do acknowledge that I did a few things wrong myself during this time.  I spoke to Richard about these things, some of them during this time, others later on after they moved out.  I also stopped trying to get him to go to the bar and grill with me.

But even though I told him she did many things to hurt me, he told me not to expect any apologies from her at all, that it was very difficult for anybody to get apologies from her (including him).

Even though twice I suggested apologizing to her on Forgiveness Sunday (which begins Lent in Orthodoxy), the first time he said it was not necessary (that she only wanted apologies from him), and the second time, he gave Jeff the impression that my apologizing would somehow be dangerous for me.

As a housewife with a small child (not potty trained) and a cold northern winter outside, I was in a tiny house 24/7 with this jealous, hostile person, who also had no job.

One night, I even overheard her talking to Richard and saying my son’s name several times, angrily.  (I don’t know what else she said.)  How on earth could she speak badly about a 3-year-old child???!!!

It was extremely stressful and insulting after all I was doing for her, and after she overheard me venting to my own husband about it, she got even worse.

Shortly after, while I was in the bathroom next to the kitchen, I heard her in the kitchen lying to her mother about me (and on my phone, too, using my long distance!).

She went on and on about the dinners we were providing, and that “No, your grandchildren are not eating vegetables.”  This was an outright lie, because I put vegetables in nearly every dinner.

She b**ched about that week’s dinner menu.  I made that menu in the midst of cleaning up the lice they brought into the house.  I had no time to worry about balanced meals, just had to come up with something quickly so my husband could get groceries, and so I could get back to combing nits and washing every single thing our heads had touched.

Also, we were spending $300-$400 a week on groceries with absolutely no financial help from them, so we had to get meals as cheaply as we could.  (In today’s prices, that’s like $340-$450.)  Everything from scratch is far too expensive when you’re feeding eight people, and who has time for that with small children running around?

Other meals were up to them, but I made sure we had vegetables for dinner.  We also had a lot of fasting days during this time, so many meals were heavy on vegetables.  (The Orthodox Church asks believers to fast from certain food items–especially meat–for a few weeks during the Christmas season.  So you have to eat vegetables or go hungry!)

So she was even going to smear me to her mother with lies and half-truths?  And I later learned from Richard that she did this on purpose to get back at me, as vengeance for what I told Jeff!  This woman was frickin’ vindictive!

But no, one week’s lapse because we were far too busy cleaning up lice to make up a proper meal plan or grocery list, and she rips on me for it as if that’s always the case.

Then she b**ched at her mother that I don’t cook, Jeff does.  Apparently there was something “wrong” with this, too, though what, I have no clue.

This was none of her frickin’ business!  He did the cooking because I was exhausted from taking care of the house and our small child all day.

What’s so terrible about a husband sharing the load while the kids are small?  Was this related to her refusing to help Richard with the house and kids, expecting him to take care of it all himself?

Apparently, in her mind, her abusing her husband and children and being nasty to me was somehow nowhere near as bad as me providing food she didn’t like, or letting my husband cook.

(I mean, seriously, I accuse her of being an abuser and this is all the “dirt” she can come up with on me to “throw in my face”?)

When the kids got into some children’s medicine, I did not wish to assign blame, even though she was supposed to be watching them every day so I could do my normal daily tasks without keeping an eye on four wandering children.

But I heard her on the phone with Richard, pinning the blame on me, saying “I guess she was going about her–” insert extremely snotty tone here–“routine,” even though the medicine had been in the medicine cabinet where it belonged–and she was just a few feet away from the bathroom.

And even though she tended to leave her allergy meds on the coffee table.  I believe the youngest child was with me at the time.

Oh, so now I was expected to watch the children, too, on top of all the other work these people made for me?

I was only beginning to get a picture of just how vindictive, controlling, blame-shifting and hysterical this woman really was.  She claimed to not know me, yet I was beginning to know her quite well–and I did not like what I saw.

So today’s dose of truth and reality is this: Evil must mask itself with good in order for it to make a living. Evil must hide itself by hiding the truth of who and what they are. Therefore, full truth (light) is anathema to evil.

You know this is true. You’ve tried to bring just a smidgen of truth to the table with the narcissist and you saw the hissing, spitting and reviling it invoked.

The extreme reaction is the narcissist’s attempt to get you to drop the holy water before he gets burned.

That is not the moment to fumble or drop the truth. Thrust that stake deep into his heart and then put him in the ground. Metaphorically speaking, of course. –Anna Valerious, Narcissists Suck: They Hide From the Truth Because Their Deeds Are Evil

 

Abusers believe they have a right to control their partners in the abusive relationships by utilizing the tactics found in the power and control wheel, by:

  • Telling them what to do and expecting obedience
  • Using force to maintain power and control over partners
  • Feeling their partners have no right to challenge their desire for power and control
  • Feeling justified making the victim comply
  • Blaming the abuse on the partner and not accepting responsibility for wrongful acts. —Power and Control Wheel in Abusive Relationships

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

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