smear campaign

The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

Before we were to call, I wanted him to read the e-mail and respond.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I got the idea to suggest a movie night to Tracy through Facebook, as a peace offering, and expected a kind reply.

However, though I told Richard that if we were to work on reconciling, I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had done a month earlier, and though she seemed pleasant enough that day when face-to-face, via Facebook message the monster returned in complete disregard of my feelings:

She said she’d blocked my e-mail address from his, so he never even got my apology!  She said he consented to this, which showed that he out-and-out lied to me in the church basement!  (What was the point, then, of him telling me to re-send it?)

That she made him block his Facebook from our entire family, not just me but Jeff and our little boy as well!

Then she justified it because during the Incident, when she used his Facebook to send me her raging e-mails, I had tried to defend myself and find out from him what the heck was going on!  She said this made her “sick.”

Well, her saying this, makes ME “sick.”  That sick you get when you see something repulsive, disgusting, horrendous.

Somehow this made her think she should treat me like some kind of stalker–even though we broke things off with them!

You see how bizarre her thinking is?  It also fits what Sam Vaknin writes here:

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. —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

It also matches what Anna Valerious writes here:

Recognize the reality that the narcissist will never give you “permission” to defend yourself against them. Quit being confused as to your rights to self-defense when confronted by the threatenings and breathings against you by the narcissist for doing so.

Is it reasonable to expect the despotic ruler to grant you the right to mount a defense against his capricious demands? Hardly.

It is time to recognize your fundamental right to live which is connected to your fundamental right to defend your life against threats. This is as true in the emotional, mental and spiritual realm as in the physical. —Your Most Fundamental Right

I never had any intention of stalking Richard, was blocking him out of my life: I took out Firefox bookmarks for a couple of forums he used to run.

I even deleted my posts from his Facebook wall and pictures on July 1 before sending a good-bye message and unfriending him on Facebook the morning of July 2.

I only sent one e-mail–the apology–to find some peace and close the book, and he never even got that.

In fact, from what I recall, I deleted his e-mail from my computer address book (but then put it back so I could send this e-mail), and deleted their numbers from my cell phone.

Was she projecting onto me what she herself would have done?  

Based on her behavior toward me described in this linked post, I believe she was indeed projecting.

So blatant lies–in church–from him, and more ridiculous and overblown behavior from her which, of course, she said I deserved.

Insult piled upon insult!

She pulled her claws out again and petulantly said that “YOU were the ones who ended it and unfriended us on Facebook, not US” [the YOU being Jeff and me and the US being her and Richard], that THEY didn’t want to, and that Jeff “stormed into” their place and broke things off–

–Um, as opposed to her “rational” behavior, I suppose?

I tried very hard to restrain myself and speak to her kindly, in hopes of turning away her wrath in the way prescribed by Proverbs.  I sent her a copy of the apology e-mail, hoping that it would calm her down, show her the misunderstanding, and inspire her to apologize for her overreaction.

But she wrote all sorts of things that showed not only did she not care about my feelings or trying to break things to me gently, but she was still steamed over things I had long since apologized for and/or stopped doing.

Richard had told me he blamed himself for everything, so I knew if it were just him, we could work things out.

But Tracy was another story.  She seemed to pay no attention to the things I actually wrote in my e-mails, but twisted them into what she wanted them to say, so she could feel justified in raging.

She went on and on about things I had supposedly done that were so horrible, saying “you were wrong” about things that I still do not feel I was wrong about, that I should’ve known this or that was wrong or against convention (when no, I hadn’t, and had seen no evidence of such conventions among friends).  I go into this in previous chapters.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry for offending her, no matter how kindly I wrote to her, no matter how much I bit my tongue and how little I said, no matter how much I refrained from defending myself or telling her how badly she had been behaving all through this–it made no difference, put no chink in her rage armor.

I couldn’t think she was right and I was wrong when I found plenty of blog posts, forum posts, articles and the like which actually sided with my way of thinking.

Expecting me to act the same way she did in the same situation, when no, I think about these things entirely differently than she does, haven’t reacted like she did in similar circumstances, or wouldn’t react like she did.

How could I possibly have known that she thought befriending the wife before doing stuff with the guy friend was a form of showing respect for the wife, when I didn’t demand such things from my husband’s female friends?

She said everyone knows this, learning disability or not–er, no, NOT everybody knows this.

I do not know this, never required it from my husband’s friends, never expected it, never even would’ve thought that she would require it until she started treating me like a slut and getting enraged at every little thing I innocently and obliviously did that she didn’t like.

For me, respect from Jeff’s friends simply means they’re not mean to me; I do not require them to befriend me as well!

It was impossible to tell if she was completely wrong about this being a convention that “everybody knows,” especially with the way so many of the old conventions were done away with and people started doing their own thing in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s–or if this was yet another example of people telling the NLDer, “I shouldn’t have to tell you!”

I also go into this here.  But now, after a bit more experience added to what I already had, I see that no, Tracy was wrong, though she tried to tell me I was:

There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated.  This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.

I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike.  I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends.

Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.  Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town.

No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”

I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper.  Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course.  Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.

Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.

Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.

I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.

If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.

After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

A commenter wrote,

I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.

This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Apparently Tracy knows absolutely nothing about NLD if she thinks she did anything here but prove my assertion of NLD!  Apparently she has no concept of how NLD and Aspergers affect the brain so that even common social conventions, things that people can intuit without being told, are unknown to the NLDer or Aspie.

She talked as if I couldn’t blame this on a learning disorder, as if I were just being stupid or stubborn or malicious or “moving in on” her husband, when the reality was I could very easily blame it on a learning disorder!

Not only that, but more and more, I am finding officially diagnosed NLDers who identify with what I write about my experiences. The more she argued against my NLD, the more ignorant she made herself sound, yet she probably thought she was winning the argument.

And not only that, but the things I wanted to do, for two months Richard had freely done these things with me, and never gave me any reason whatsoever to believe that they were in any way “inappropriate,” so I had absolutely no reason to think that they had to be cleared with Tracy first.

Such as, the way he and I would talk for hours, or going out for coffee/ice cream.  This is crazy-making behavior from Tracy, more of her obvious borderline personality disorder/malignant narcissism, no matter how much she may try to spin it into somehow being her “right.”

The “shoulder thing,” as Richard termed it, hadn’t been done for more than two years because it upset her, yet here she was bringing it up yet again, as if we had never stopped doing it, as if I needed to be lectured again and again on how evil this was–even though at the time it had been done innocently of wrongdoing.  Jeff, too, was upset over how I was being treated over it.

I was already sick of hearing about it because it kept getting brought up by Richard all the time, even though it had stopped, and because Richard once told me how she kept bringing it up again and again with him as well as an example to him of how horrible I was.

She used it as a tool to defame my character to Richard, when I have never done anything even remotely like cheating on Jeff.  I found it horribly embarrassing and I just wanted her to shut the **** up about it, yet here it was yet again.

Did I mention I had only done it a few times, and only because Richard had done it first and taught me that it was perfectly fine and ordinary and innocent for platonic friends to do, and we hadn’t done it for more than two years?

I also have another friend who does this with his friends all the time, and right in front of his wife, who laughs.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems, making a mountain out of a molehill, so that I greatly resent being treated the way I was over it.

What about this was worth all the fuss?  The same behavior made Jeff shrug–and it had been Richard’s idea in the first place.

There is absolutely nothing sexual about it, or else I’d have to push my son off me when he does it.  There are far worse things that people do, things Richard and I did not do, and steered clear of out of respect for our marriages.

And I have no problem with anyone who wants to sleep on a friend’s shoulder.  I have no problem with a woman, maybe late at night around an SCA campfire, falling asleep on Jeff’s shoulder, even if I don’t know her.

Tracy assumed that I would, but I wouldn’t–and my husband wouldn’t, either, because he saw the same thing, shrugged, remembered all the faithfully married people he knows who do such things with friends, and went back about his day.

I have no problem with Jeff wanting to hug a friend.  I have no problem with Jeff e-mailing or online chatting or phone chatting with any of his friends, female or male, whether I know them or not.

I do not bother “approving” his friends, and find that to be very controlling and infantilizing.

Some people are reserved, and some people are touchy-feely, comfortable touching close friends, anybody they talk to, co-workers, whoever.

I always just stuck Richard in the “touchy-feely” category.  I saw him online and off, flirting with his male and female friends, and asking female friends for “huggles”; that’s just the way he is.

If he meant more by it than he let on, that’s not my fault, that’s his.

Just because my boundaries are looser than Tracy’s, does not make me wrong or a whore.  It just means I disagree with her, which I should be allowed to do without her verbal abuse.

In fact, I believe that more people should do what I did, that American society should be more open and free with affection for all loved ones, not just children or spouses or romantic partners.

I want to be more like this, myself, which I have trouble being because of a lifelong reserve, but I see people around me in the SCA being far more open all the time.  Caring gestures, hugs, sleeping on shoulders–I want to do all these things freely with my friends, male and female, and break out of that shell.

I find Tracy’s reaction to these things, her refusal to rest until I heard every little thing she considered to be “inappropriate,” her character assassinations of me, her insistence that I agree with her that they are “inappropriate” even though they in no way involve sex or groping–to be very offensive and close-minded, very backward-thinking.

I’d rather follow the philosophies of the Cuddle Party people, not the must-not-touch philosophy of American reserve!

So I will freely admit these things here, because I feel I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, or that Tracy has any right to make me feel as if I did!

If that makes me a hippie, so be it–I’ll fit right in in the SCA!

As Ayla felt in Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters” when thinking over her past, a Cro-Magnon girl being raised by Neanderthals:

She, too, had broken taboos and paid the harsh consequences, but she had learned from them.  Perhaps because she was so different to begin with, she had learned to question whether what she had done was really so bad.

She had come to understand that it wasn’t wrong for her to hunt, with sling or spear or anything she wanted, just because the Clan believed it was wrong for women to hunt, and she didn’t hate herself because she had stood up to Broud against all tradition (p. 259-60).

Also, on page 649:

He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so.

A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost.  In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

Since many social conventions seem like a waste of time to me, I’m not so judgmental of people who break them.  It’s a good brain for a writer to have. —Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability

Sociologists representing symbolic interactionism argue that social rules are created through the interaction between the members of a society.

The focus on active interaction highlights the fluid, shifting character of social rules. These are specific to the social context, a context that varies through time and place.

That means a social rule changes over time within the same society. What was acceptable in the past may no longer be the case. Similarly, rules differ across space: what is acceptable in one society may not be so in another. —Convention

I don’t need someone like you
Expecting me to share your views
‘Cos I don’t expect that what you see has anything to do with me
“Your Crusade” by Jesus Jones

I saw this very same disproportionate rage come out when Tracy raged at Todd over a game.

I saw her disproportionally rage at Richard, or at her children, on many occasions.

Being told her rage over this was somehow justified, that most people would be worse–tells me that maybe Richard and Tracy have been spending too much time around other narcissists and have a perverted view of what’s “normal” or “justified” behavior.

Richard’s hints that he would assault and possibly kill if his wife ever cheated, are very telling.  Richard’s wanting to assault the woman who sent him an eviction notice, is very telling.

There were other things that I had apologized for a year earlier, by e-mail with her and over the phone (with tears) to Richard, that hadn’t been done since, yet here they were being brought up yet again.  During the conversations a year earlier, I felt horrible about the things I was told had been seen in my behavior.

Things came out horribly badly and, though they weren’t meant that way, I could see the problem, could see, for example, that a certain action had been manipulative; it had actually been Jeff’s idea, so I went along thinking maybe he knew best, so he felt horrible as well; I apologized and never did those things again.

For months I kept feeling horrible over them, even though they weren’t meant the way they were taken, even though I had confessed and been absolved by my priest.  For some months I had every reason to believe that the past was now over in her mind as well, and I tried to move on from the past.

But here, in August 2010, I was being accused all over again of things that had not been done for at least a year or two.

Over the month since the July 1 Incident, I had also reflected quite a bit over my own behavior, and repented to her now for some things (even though, on reflection, I wonder why I thought I needed to, and think it was her poisonous verbal abuse working on me).

But instead of pacifying her, it only seemed to spur her on to more verbal beatings and more descriptions of how horrible I had been.

It was as if she saw me as somehow unable to change from past offenses, that she had to beat me for them over and over again.  (Richard also complained that she treated him this way.)

Meanwhile, she treated her own offenses as if they did not exist, as if they were her right to do them, as if I deserved them, and I remember she got angry when she overheard me telling Jeff what she had done.

On the one hand Tracy claimed she knew I didn’t mean anything nefarious, yet on the other she treated me as if I did, playing with my head, pulling up things I had supposedly done which really weren’t so bad, but she had a way of making them sound bad.

I almost wish she had indeed tried to kill me when she had the idea: Jeff would have pulled her off and had her arrested, thrown her out of our house and into jail on a domestic abuse charge, and the friendship and our support would have been over right then.

But it was more than a year before I even heard about this, more than a year of wondering why the heck she refused to like me and I just seemed to be treading water with her, more than a year before I knew just how violent she could potentially be.

It confirmed that she was not the type of person I wanted to befriend.  But I was being forced to do just that.

On August 1 and for a day or two after, I showed her e-mails to Jeff.  He also thought they were over-the-top, nasty, blaming–and, at times (such as the “shoulder thing”), he’d say, “Oh, baloney!”  

There was no openness here to different points of view, no hint of conceding that she could have done some things wrong as well, no hint of apologies for her nastiness over the years or on Facebook or on the day of the Incident, nothing but wanting me to bow down and submit to her and say that everything she said was correct.

Yet with all this, she kept saying there was MORE to be said.  I didn’t know what on earth could be left to say: I had done nothing else!

All the things I could think of, were done more than two years before, and not again unless and until I was led to believe that it was safe.

And how was it such a terrible breach of boundaries, etiquette and respect for her, for me to want to speak privately with or go to a coffee shop with my BFF, after having already spent several weeks living with Tracy and getting to know her and telling her secrets?

It would not have been a secret meeting, but one I fully expected Richard to tell her about.

Isn’t living with someone the most effective and thorough way to get to know them, far better than small talk?

And didn’t I watch movies with her, joke around with her, have long talks with her, change her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, keep an eye on the kids while she walked to school to pick up the eldest?  Did this count for nothing?

I was being treated as if things I had no desire to do, were in my heart.  And I was sick of and disgusted with it.  It’s bad enough being blamed for things you actually have done, without being blamed for things you have not done.

And false accusations like this are common from abusers, especially insidious because they have a way of getting under your skin and making you think they’re right and you’re the one with the problem.

(I recently read a blog comment from a guy whose wife had so convinced him he was the one with the problem that he spent years in therapy getting nowhere, until he finally realized that she was sneakily abusing him, that she has borderline personality disorder.  He got out, but still struggles with feeling like he’s the one with the problem.)

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

 

 

Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone

Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.

Tracy vilified, demeaned, cussed at, humiliated, and belittled me for something I had not said, had never said–and then blamed me for her behavior.

(A month later, she even accused me of needing to “grow up” and get over hurt feelings for actions [her verbal abuse] caused by my behavior.  This is classic victim blaming!  She has only herself and her temper to blame for the end of the friendship, but of course she blames me.)

Then she turned it around on me when Jeff said that throwing around F-bombs was not helpful, saying that I somehow had been “hurting” her for “the past two and a half years.”

Hurting her???  All I had done was be myself and go about my usual routines and live day by day and try to be polite and nice to her and try to maintain a friendship with my BFF!

Maybe it was because I didn’t just shut up and pretend that her behavior was perfectly normal and justified.

But I have never been one to sit and be quiet while my friends are being bullied: I keep putting myself into the fray, setting myself up for fire to come at me, by sticking up for my friends/husband.

I didn’t talk directly to her about her abuse, which would be dangerous, but I was honest with Richard about it, and she overheard me telling Jeff about it.

It was extremely insulting: I am not and have never been the type to go messing around on my husband.  I had never, ever propositioned Richard or touched him in anything like a sexual manner.

Yet I was being treated not only as if I had done so, but as if I had always been doing so.  It was a strange reality shift that made me feel like I was in an alternate universe.

All I did was remind Richard of something he himself had done to express his thanks and platonic caring, something that was completely innocent and perfectly fine for platonic friends to do–

At least, that was how I perceived it, since this was what he told me after he found out I first thought he was making the moves on me.

No, hands never went to where they shouldn’t.  These hugs were completely nonsexual, no kissing, nothing.  Just things that you could do with a sister.  I saw him give this very same kind of hug to one of his daughters.

He never said these hugs were somehow verboten now.  In fact, he had said more than once that while it was no longer okay to use each other’s shoulders as pillows, hugs were fine.

Through these hugs, he expressed the thanks that I never got from Tracy for taking her in despite having this sprung on us, for not kicking her out despite all the crap she pulled, for feeding and sheltering her family for six weeks of strained resources, dwindling money, no room, messes and noise all over the house, constant work and the stress of having a hostile person living in your house.

She never thanked me for any of this, and got furious with Richard and/or me for the way he thanked me.

These hugs reassured me of his friendship after all the crap that had gone on, all the drama that Tracy had brought into my house for six weeks.  This reassurance of his friendship was badly needed after the six weeks Tracy had lived with us.

And it was badly needed now in July 2010 after all the crap that had been going on, all the ways he had cut me down and made me feel like a whiner when I complained about how he was treating me lately.

I reminded him of the hugs, describing them so he would remember them, so that I could find out why he had stopped doing them after he moved out.  Had he just forgotten?  Was his friendship for me declining?  What was it?  I didn’t express these things, but they were questions I had.

I had brought up the hugs once before; not only did he not freak out as if I had propositioned him, but he remembered them and said that he was holding off (same as I was at that time) because in those days Tracy had been acting very jealous.

But those days had long since passed, and we had been hugging freely in front of her and others for a long time.  They just hadn’t been like the ones I now reminded him of, the ones he gave me to express our friendship and thank me for all I did for his family, the ones I also saw him give one of his daughters.

At least, that was how I understood them at the time.  As I explained them to Jeff that evening, I said, “At least, that’s what he told me,” because I began to realize that maybe Richard had meant more with those hugs than he’d let on.  

Why else would he let Tracy treat me like this instead of explaining to her the truth, that it was much ado over nothing?  

I began to feel tricked, lied to, used, manipulated, exploited because of my naïveté and a gullibility which I had unwisely brought up in our conversations once.  

I began to feel angry not just with Tracy for her insults, but with him for his duplicity.

But anyway, let’s back up to the time before Jeff got home from work.  Tracy had told me, “Don’t go crying to Jeff because we don’t need the headache.”

Um….EXCUSE me?  And you are WHAT authority over me?  Talk about violating boundaries!  Talk about a control freak, trying to control even what I tell my own husband about her abuse!

This, by the way, is yet another thing that abusers do, try to silence their victims.

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. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

Right after she wrote me this, I saw a message in the corner of the computer screen that Jeff had a new e-mail–from Tracy.  So I copied it to Jeff:

She sent him an e-mail labeled “sigh” that said–as if I were this whiny little tattletale–

–that I probably already told him what was going on,

–that they “valued our friendship” (HA–You value our money!),

–that we were going to have a “conference” after she got home from work where she would tell me things I wouldn’t like but supposedly “needed to hear.”

Notice she didn’t bother to ask about our own plans before making this decision: Our son had a T-ball game that evening.

Since I never intentionally harmed her, since I tried to be polite and nice to her at all times, this was ridiculous. 

Whatever she was going to say, I’m certain that I did NOT “need to hear” ANY of it.  

I won’t let an abuser who probably has borderline personality disorder and/or is a clinical narcissist tell me how to behave “properly.”  She doesn’t even know how, herself.

So: Tracy raged at me, demeaned, cussed at and humiliated me, insulted me again and again, treated me like a naughty child who needed to sit and take whatever she threw at me, accused me of needing to “grow up” (August 1) for standing up for my dignity.

Then she told me not to go “crying” to my husband about what she was saying “because we don’t need the headache.”

And then to top it all off, she posted on Facebook to all her friends and family that she was having “a GREAT day” because she no longer had to “sit back and be quiet and nice.”

(If she thinks that she was being “quiet and nice” before, then she’s not just Borderline Personality Disorder, she’s Delusional Disorder as well!)

To an abuser like Tracy, raging is basically the equivalent of a satisfying bowel movement: Once it’s over, you feel much better, and forget the pain you went through getting it out.

And the abuser expects you to just “grow up” and “get over” being crapped all over, thinks there’s something wrong with you if you don’t.

But don’t believe this lie of the abuser, either: The responsibility belongs to the abuser that you got hurt, not to you!  You are not responsible for someone abusing you!

So they attack just because this is a golden opportunity to dump a load of projection and projective identification on someone. It’s a golden opportunity to feel powerful by having a powerful effect on someone.

They feel great afterwards. They not only relieve their moral constipation by dumping their load on you, they get high off the power rush in trampling you or tearing you to pieces.

And what’s to restrain those urges? Any morals? Any conscience?

So, if this has ever happened to you, you probably just had a close encounter with a malignant narcissist. Be glad that you had to serve as her toilet only once in your life. –Kathy Krajco, The Rewards of Befriending a Narcissist

It was all I could do to hold myself back, not respond in kind, since I knew that it would just make things worse, yet she just kept getting worse anyway.

I did say a few angry words, because she had pushed me too far this time, but still held back on what I could have said.  But of course, I was not allowed to defend myself.

Then she e-mailed my husband in calmer, “adult” words and talked about discussing this like adults–

Yeah, lady, all you have to do is ACT like an adult and then we can discuss it like adults.

I was certainly not the one acting like a child–that was all on her.  I barely said a word to her.

I saw her do the exact same thing to Todd, speaking to the general forum in “adult” words after having raged on him like a screaming banshee, while he tried to respond in a more adult fashion.

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. The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

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

And all this after we had done all sorts of things to help them out and be there for them until they could get back on their feet, even went way out of our way to help them, even begging friends for money for them so they wouldn’t be evicted, out of a simple generosity that wanted nothing back but friendship.

It was all quite disgraceful.

They inflict pain on others and actually enjoy doing it. —Joyful Alive Woman, Behaviors and Attitudes of the Narcissist

Narcissists are addicted to the high they get from harming others. Yes, they DO act out of malice, because they will to hurt you.

That’s no accident: they hurt you on purpose and as much as they can. But only because hurting you makes them feel good. –Kathy Krajco, Malignant Narcissism and Evil

She also called me too stupid to understand, just because I said “I don’t understand” to Richard and tried to find out what the heck this was all about, rather than just rolling over and saying, Oh hey, I deserve all this you’re giving me.

When I saw what Tracy posted about me, it disgusted me that she would actually ENJOY hurting somebody.  That’s sociopathic.  So I blocked Tracy.

“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm” (Michele Moore, Happiness and Evil).

“He thrived on intimidating me.  He derived pleasure from causing me pain” (Tina Swithin, Taking Pleasure From Pain).

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 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. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You

I posted on Facebook, publicly for all to read (since I might as well if Tracy was going to post nasty crap about me for all our mutual friends to read), a few posts about losing my best friend because of jealousy, how they were telling me the friendship wasn’t over but it was, because “I’m SICK of being bullied, sick of it, sick of it!”–and how this was the thanks I got for being there for his every need, emotional and financial.

No, I didn’t say who I meant.  Yes, this was visible to Richard, who I saw go online around this time, leaving the usual “scat” on my newsfeed from his Facebook games.

But he said nothing, too beaten down and emasculated by Tracy to do anything not okayed by her.  And because playing stupid games was more important to him than salvaging a friendship.

Posting on my news feed was the only way to get any messages to him at all, now that Tracy had taken everything over.  So during that afternoon/evening I posted messages about being gravely misunderstood, about jealousy destroying a dear friendship, things like that.

It was not just to get emotional help from my real friends who would never do these things to me, but to send messages to Richard that this was not right, not right at all, that I was SICK of Tracy’s bullying, that it was indeed bullying, and that I wasn’t going to take it anymore.  

This was what I got for believing all his stories of abuse, even though society finds it laughable that a woman can abuse a man?

One of my friends responded,

I have known you, although admittedly not well, for quite some time, and I’ve never known you to get this upset. Truly, this doesn’t seem to be within your character. Something really serious must have happened.

My brother sent me a message, asking who I’m not friends with anymore.  I said, “My friend Richard.  His wife has gone into a jealous frenzy.”

My brother’s wife said, “be careful, keep your distance let them cool off for awhile.”

I said, “They can have all the time in the world to cool off.  I’m sick of the crap I’ve had to put up with from her over the years.”

Sometime around this time, I also blocked Tracy on Facebook, disgusted by her posts about having such a wonderful day because she was abusing me.

These posts came before mine, making me feel like–since we shared several friends on Facebook–I had to do damage control, show that there’s another side to the story, that Tracy wasn’t as justified or in the right or reasonable as she wanted to seem.

No, I didn’t reply to her posts directly, because that would’ve told everybody she knew–including her family and complete strangers to me–whom she was referring to.

And, of course, responding with something like, “The fact that you’re having so much obviously orgasmic pleasure from ripping me to pieces for NOTHING is proof that you are a nasty, horrid, abusive person who I don’t want in my life anyway”–would have only led to a Facebook flame war.

So even though Tracy was telling me the friendship wasn’t over, even though her words sure made it sound like it was–I was saying that yes indeed, it was over.

I never wanted to be her friend in the first place after seeing how she treated Richard and the children, wanted nothing to do with her after the way she treated me while living with us, only tolerated her for Richard’s sake,

and noweven Richard wasn’t worth the price I had to pay to have her in my life.He was proving to be a very bad friend, disloyal and deceitful, willing to throw even dear and loyal friends under the bus for the sake of peace in his house.  (I was hardly the first one.)

I wanted nothing more to do with this drama queen Tracy.

I was sick to death of every move I made, everything I said, everything I wrote, being interpreted by her through green-colored glasses.

I was sick to death of her histrionics, of having to explain myself, of having to apologize to her, but her not apologizing to me.

I was sick to death of being told I was somehow offending and hurting her again and again, just by being my natural introverted self, or by wanting to spend time with my BFF,

while she didn’t seem to care one bit that she was hurting and offending me constantly and deliberately.

What I initially thought was her decision to end the friendship, became my own.  But I was e-mailing Jeff at work about what was going on; he told me, “Ok: stay low, stay out of sight, and don’t rile her.  Let Richard &  I deal with it.”  He said we had no time to be doing some “conference.”

I wrote to him just before 2pm,

She’s screaming at me in messages about inappropriate behavior and crap.

After all the crap going on the past few weeks, I just felt the need to remember the hugs Richard and I used to have. Just to make him go “aww.” Somehow she saw it and went ballistic….

I’ve been trying to deal directly with him, but she keeps intercepting and yelling at me for it….

I’m so stunned by it all that I can’t even cry. I just don’t understand. I don’t know what’s going through Richard’s head because I’m not allowed to talk to him.

She’s talking about “inappropriate behavior” over the years.

What? I told him to tell me if something makes him uncomfortable. And I see how he jokes around with other people, male and female, and feel that must be in the bounds of “okay” for him.

I just don’t get it. And she calls me stupid for not getting it. And crows on her FB page about how happy she is right now.

She talks about preserving the friendship, but screw this. I’m not going to be friends with either of them anymore. They’ve both caused me so much freaking drama over the past few years that I’m sick and tired of it.

If you saw the way she’s been abusing me in her messages….

She’s talking about some sort of conference tonight.  We’re supposed to have a [T-ball] game tonight.

I don’t want to sit in some sort of conference with the one who you know has been so mean to me over the years.

She ripped on everything I ever did or said, and I don’t want to listen to more of it just because she thinks I “need to hear it.” 

I’m disgusted with Richard for letting her treat me like this.

Todd saw my posts and guessed who it was about, having been through this himself.

At first, I wasn’t going to tell him.  But then I realized that he and I had this in common, and he was the best person for me to talk to.

He knew what it was like, what Richard and Tracy were really like, and how it felt to be Richard’s close friend but suddenly jilted because Tracy went all psycho-b**ch on you.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–A Quiet Person With Lots to Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here is the post, with name removed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you ever wish you were an extrovert?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD.

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

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

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

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I loved him with pure philia and agape.

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

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

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

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

And now…

it began to dawn on me…

IT WAS ALL A LIE!

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

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

5. My frustrations mount

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake

Since Richard had successfully convinced me into Orthodoxy, he joked to me in 2007 (and told Todd) that he was going to turn me Libertarian as well.  He often spoke about politics with me.

He also often joked to my husband that he would influence him out of Lutheranism and into Orthodoxy.  It was a common joke between the three of us.

But then on June 10, 2010, he posted on Facebook a link to a political (Libertarian) broadcast and said be warned, they might convert you.  I joked that “If I can resist you, I can resist anybody!  😉  ”

I expected him to laugh at our running gag.  But instead he let loose on me publicly with scathing words, saying,

*sighs*  I do not try to convert those who are not willing to change, or see the need to change. Take no offense, but you like Socialism, or portions of it at least so I dont even bother with politics with you. At most I wil complain about something but that is not ‘converting’ you.

Personal Liberties to me are worth dying for. Some of those Liberties is pointless to ‘convert’ you with because you take them lightly, disagree with people having such liberties or the loss of such liberties does not affect you.

But to me, if anyone is hindered in their Personal Liberties, I too am hindered because it is wrong to impose moral or ethical laws upon a society which constrains people’s personal Liberties, and also someday it will be me that they will go after.

(Ever notice that when people say “No offense,” they’re about to say something extremely offensive?)

What is this, more gaslighting?  What about the many times you called me up and I hoped to talk about religion or life or other fun stuff and all you wanted to talk about was politics?  What about getting mad at me because I “liked” that the city council president helped keep Mercury Marine in town?

Is that why you hadn’t been calling me lately unless you wanted something?  And what’s with insulting your BFF right in front of everybody on your friends list??

I wrote for him to geez, lighten up, it’s a joke!

He made me sound like some selfish jerk who doesn’t care about freedom unless I’m affected by it, which is completely false.  I’ve always loved my country and its liberties, and supported the idea of fighting to keep them. 

I don’t know where on earth he got all this crap from about me–unless, of course, he got it from the usual Tea-Party-style rhetoric demonizing liberals, and applied it to me as guilt by association. 

While I joked sometimes about being “socialist” based on some online political tests, the truth is I don’t want the government running all our businesses, which is what “socialism” really means.

But the truth is better summed up by the Slacktivist, who argues here that Ron-Paul-style “individual liberty” means, for example, the liberty to discriminate against others in a place of business, or for the powerful to steamroll over the powerless:

If you believe in civil liberties, then you will believe that things like the Civil Rights Act, DADT repeal, marriage equality, hate-crime protections, Ledbetter, etc., are necessary and vital to ensure than non-majority individuals will experience some measure of the freedoms that the powerful enjoy.

If you believe only in individual liberties, then you’ll oppose all such measures as Big Government meddling that restricts individual freedom (including the freedom to discriminate).

If you believe only in individual liberty, you can even find yourself in the absurd position of defending the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as some kind of principled defense of the freedom of speech.

If you believe in civil liberties, then in your view that decision is clearly one that gives free rein to the powerful to exercise their rights against the powerless, and thus you will believe that government action is justified to protect the rights of the powerless from being trampled by the powerful.

The basic distinction is that an advocate of individual liberty mainly perceives of the government as a potential threat to individual liberty, whereas an advocate of civil liberty also sees a vital role for the government in constraining the liberty of the powerful to inhibit the liberty of the powerless.

The two perspectives overlap quite a bit — both would agree, for example, that torture and indefinite detention by the government are utterly unacceptable — but they also diverge far too dramatically to be used as interchangeable terms.

So because I support the Civil Rights Act, am I now “against personal liberties”?

I wrote to Jeff, who was at work,

So…..Not only could he not take a joke, but I’m a Socialist (which is a bad word to Tea Partiers and Republicans lately) who doesn’t care about personal freedoms?

And what’s this about not bothering with politics with me or not trying to convert me?  What about the many “You’re Libertarian and just don’t know it” comments and constantly talking about political things when we we’re chatting?

Hmmm….Is this why he doesn’t call me anymore except when he wants something?  😛

Seriously, I get so tired of getting criticized for everything I do, say or think, from the both of them.  He used to love talking with me, but lately he doesn’t even call and barely answers any of my e-mails.  It’s not friendly behavior.  It’s heartbreaking.

Jeff saw the post and said that I said nothing to deserve it, that Richard’s post made him look bad, not me.

The next day I saw Richard online and tried to discuss things with him, find out what was going on and get things resolved, tried to get him into chat because I didn’t want to talk about it via e-mail. 

From what I recall, all I said was that I had some things I wanted to discuss and please come into chat, which would work better than e-mails. 

But he threw up defenses, was very nasty to me, and shut me down before I even had a chance to say what was bothering me.

I was miserable for days because I didn’t know the status of our friendship anymore.  

I sat at the computer crying over these things, and said to Jeff,

“Are they really my friends or is it all just a facade?”

I told Jeff I felt bullied.  He said, “It’s because you are being bullied!”  He said I had done nothing wrong and I wasn’t crazy.

On the 13th, I wrote to my pastor friend Mike (the one whom, above, Richard called an “idiot”), whom I’d known and been close to since college, to vent.  I wrote,

I’m feeling bummed out at the moment….I have these two friends, married couple, who live here in Fondy.

The guy’s always giving me unsolicited advice in such a way that it’s less like “I think this would help you” and more like “I know better than you do and everybody should do it this way!” 

And it’s about things which really don’t make a difference to anyone what I do, like whether or not I should go into the bathroom when Jeff is [in] there.

This is annoying enough.  😛  He also has this tendency in political matters to think that his way is the way everybody should go, that all Christians should agree with him on not voting for Democrats, etc. (even though he is NOT an Evangelical).

This is the friend I mentioned recently who’s getting all into the TEA party thing, and now anarchy as well.  I read his posts on Facebook and think, “That sounds more like some weird conspiracy theory than the truth.”

But I don’t normally say anything, and when we’re on the phone or in person, just kinda nod here and there.  For the most part I’ve been keeping my political opinions to myself.

Lately, his wife has turned critical with me, ripping on me for things that don’t really matter.

She posts on Facebook that they’re going on a trip in September.  I post that I’ll miss them and hope they have fun. She posts this really weird, snarky message in reply.  WTH?????  Jeff and I looked over it several times and saw no indication that she was just teasing me.

Meanwhile, I see OTHER people posting about short trips to Disneyland or whatever, and their friends saying, “I’ll miss you.  Have fun!” and not getting snarked at for it.  I just don’t get it.  Jeff doesn’t get it either.

On Thursday night, I made a little joke on Facebook and the guy started going off on me, pretty much saying I’m a Socialist who doesn’t see the need for or doesn’t care about freedoms he sees as necessary and would die for etc. etc.

Jeff saw it and said that I did not say anything to deserve this, that he made himself look bad, not me.  Jeff is not just a “yes-man,” so if he thought I said something I shouldn’t, he would tell me.

And I don’t think my friend really knows my political views, because I keep most of them quiet around him, so I don’t know why he thought he knew them so well.

I already wondered if the real reason he doesn’t call much lately is not busyness, but politics.  This really made me wonder if TEA Party politics has come between us.

On Friday I tried to discuss things with him, find out what’s going on and get things resolved.  But he threw up defenses, was very nasty to me, and shut me down before I even had a chance to say what was bothering me.

I’ve been miserable ever since because I don’t know the status of our friendship anymore.  Jeff says I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not crazy, the both of them are in fact bullying me.

Jeff hopes that things will turn out to be all right.  He tries to reassure me.  He says that they’re under a lot of stress lately, so much so that we can see it when we visit.

It’s true: Jobs are scarce, they’re lower-income, a large family in a small run-down rental.  He has sleep apnea which keeps her awake.  She snaps at the kids all the time, she and her husband snap at each other….They even do it in front of us, which makes me extremely uncomfortable and nervous.

We’re hoping it’s the stress, that the doctors will finally figure out how to fix the sleep apnea so they can sleep, that things will calm down and they’ll snap out of this.

My friend used to be nice to me, said he loves me like a sister, etc.  He said that just a few months ago [around April 1].  He used to apologize when he upset me.  Nowadays, he treats apologies like annoyances that he should not be “forced” to make.

At times I just want to shut myself up somewhere away from the world. 

I keep hoping to make a connection with someone at church who’ll be as close and dear to me as my friend has been for so long, because I don’t know if I can trust him to stick around or not. 

There was once a close platonic bond between us, but he’s changed so much in the past year or so [which, by the way, is how long he’d been involved in the Tea Party] that I’m not really sure what’s the real him. 

It was at least endurable until this past week, but now I just want space from him for a while.

It’s all very distressing and depressing.  🙁

My friend replied that the problems were probably less about me than they were about things going on in Richard and Tracy’s own lives.  He said that

rational people would not treat a good friend the way they are treating you….

Don’t lose too much sleep over your friends. It’s probably nothing you did.  It’s most likely all theirs to deal with.

They may choose to throw your friendship away, but that is their choice. It may hurt…but it is their choice that only they get to make. You can’t make them stay your friends. You can merely pray for them, and ask God to take care.

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

 

E-mails proving my innocence, that Tracy lied in July/August 2010, that I respected boundaries, and that I asked for a “signal”

To provide some context for the following for latecomers:

(You can also read here.)

In my circles, ever since I left college, whether computer geeks or SCA or D&D or work or some of my college friends, it has always been considered perfectly normal and acceptable for even married people to flirt playfully and innocently, sometimes even shamelessly.  It’s okay with my husband, okay with me.

Richard, too, is a shameless flirt, saying naughty things not just to other women but to other men!  He also is a touchy-feely type who is free with his playful or affectionate gestures.

I have other friends, male and female, who are also free with their affectionate gestures to friends.  But always you know that it is only platonic affection, or playful flirting, and that it will never, ever cross over to infidelity.

I just wanted to join in on the fun my more extroverted friends have, who are so free with their shows of affection for friends.  Infidelity, on the other hand, I find disgusting.  The two are not at all the same.

Also, my flirtatious friends have tried to get me to open up with hugs and other gestures of affection and flirting, because of my Asperger-like reserve.

I see nothing wrong with what they do, and I don’t like being the odd one out, where it seems cold, lonely and boring.  So I have slowly learned to go along with them, and have been getting more open with them.

I have also described here how Richard also tried to get me to open up in this way, how he taught me that Americans are too uptight, and that it’s perfectly fine and appropriate for friends to do these things.

I basically followed his lead, but more awkwardly because people with social disorders like Asperger’s or NVLD can find it hard to naturally imitate what other people do:

The author has noticed how girls with Asperger’s Syndrome seem more able to follow social actions by delayed imitation. They observe the other children and copy them, but their actions are not as well timed and spontaneous. —Tony Attwood Answers Some Common Questions About Asperger’s Syndrome

Now, as my husband explained it, people see me as sweet and innocent.  It must be because I’m so quiet and religious.  The sweet image does not amaze me, but the “innocence” does, because I’m no virgin: I’ve been with my husband for almost 20 years and have a wicked sense of humor.  People don’t realize that my quiet demeanor hides an active inner life.

Ever since college, I have occasionally shocked people with what I say.  Online and with people I feel comfortable with, I say such things more easily.  I used to have all sorts of wicked fun with my BBS friends in online chats, before BBS’s went the way of the dodo.

But it is just being playful, and the normal response is to laugh in amazement and appreciation that my sweet little head could come up with something like that.  Such as, one day on Facebook when a friend asked, referring to a song lyric, Why DO virgins taste better than those who are not?

(The song is about dragons and why do they always want virgins sacrificed to them.)  I wrote, “It’s the cherry flavor.”  I thought it was bleedingly obvious, but even my husband was shocked and amazed at that one.

Anyway, normally I could say or do something playful and Richard would laugh, but sometimes he’d act shocked, like I’d done something wrong.  Or sometime later, I would hear Tracy was upset.  Or I’d make some silly joke in a chat and couldn’t tell if Tracy was truly mad about it, or just playing around.  Or I couldn’t tell if I’d done something wrong or if he hadn’t even noticed.

Now that I’ve learned about narcissists, I believe he and Tracy were crazymaking me, because it is a common tactic of narcs and abusers to confuse you by being okay with something one day, even loving it, and another day treating it like a terrible offense, to keep you off-balance.

But it made me nervous and paranoid, especially since I never could tell if I was upsetting Tracy or if she was just joking, or, oftentimes, what she was upset about, or with whom.  This was also a small part of the discussions we had in June 2009.

Because of the NVLD, I couldn’t figure out subtle nonverbal communication, which is part of the reason why I needed verbal help where others can just know naturally what to do.  This was unfamiliar territory for an introverted NVLDer.

So I wrote the following, hoping to get Richard’s direct–kind, but direct–verbal communication if I crossed a line somewhere in my humor and trying to be playful like my extroverted friends.

The following e-mails prove that Tracy’s accusations of me on July 1, 2010 were all completely false, because I was her friend, I did respect boundaries, I was trying to please her and Richard, and all the playful gestures/going for coffee with Richard/etc. were okay with her. 

Part of the proof is that here I asked for a signal that she was okay with these things, and I later got the signal:

On July 31, 2009, I wrote to Richard on Facebook,

You don’t need to respond to this unless you want to. I just wanted to get out in the open how I’ve been feeling.

Tracy has responded favorably [to my request for a movie night], just needs some more recovery time [from childbirth]. I have high hopes that watching a movie or two will lead to conversation (probably about girl stuff and giggling over you husbands) and everything between us will be completely healed.

You probably have no idea how I’ve looked over old [forum] threads or remembered old conversations I had with her, or remembered the chocolate dainties and veggie stir fry she cooked for us all, and how I liked her, and cried inside my heart at how things ended up. You can tell her so if you like.

Now, if some gesture meant as sisterly (or cousinly) affection, or some light flirty thing, is taken badly or you don’t like it, please tell me directly!

I’ve just been so sick over the thought that things that meant so much to me, that I have often remembered fondly, have been the cause of so much trouble that I didn’t even know about. It makes me feel, well, squicky.

Jeff does know about them, BTW, and he seems okay with them.

I’m not going to be the one to ask her if sisterly gestures /going out for coffee/ and the other stuff–is okay, because it makes me really uncomfortable.

If/when Tracy’s okay with it, just ask me to go get some ice cream or something, and that will be the sign to me that everything is okay now.

Especially if you suddenly start responding favorably to my hugs on IRC [online chats] instead of screaming and dying (though I think I’d freak out if you started doing the kind of stuff you do to [female on IRC channel, whom he posted he was “sexing”] and the guys in [the IRC channel, whom he also flirted heavily with]; that’s a bit much for me).

I’ll stop feeling squicky over the past, and we won’t have to say one word more about a thing. And any paranoia I have displayed in the past will probably melt away as well.

In the meantime, if you really want to go out for coffee with somebody so badly, why not ask Jeff?  [He had told me, “I really want to go out for coffee!”]

Richard’s reply on 8/1/09:

I thought you were the one who wanted to go out sometime?

And my jokes about melting and dying were upsetting you? I am dense.

She knows about the hugs and whatnot. its all good. The asleep on the shoulder bothers her though. I respect that, as she sees that as a wife/husband thing and relative thing, not a friend thing. We are all wired our own way and I respect that.

But its all good.

My reply on 8/1:

1) Well, yes, I do want to, very much so, but you made it sound like you were dying to go out with somebody, *anybody*. So I suggested Jeff, your pookymunch.  😛 [inside joke]

2) Yes, I’ll hug you and such on IRC and you’ll just sit there or scream, when I was hoping for a bearhug back, etc. You know, signs that despite everything that’s gone on, our friendship is intact. It’s so hard for me to read people at times that words help a lot.

3) The “whatnots” are okay, too? Cool. (Especially since you know I won’t go too far with whatnots. 🙂 Just not that kinda girl….)

I just thought–From what you said, it sounded like she’d be okay with, say, [another friend] doing it [asleep on shoulder], and even join in a cuddle party.

I’ve read about people snuggling with their best buds while watching a movie, and it sounds like such a nice thing, especially since my relatives never did that sort of thing and I guess it left me far more reserved than is healthy.

My roommie Sharon tried to do that with my apartment-mate Tara whenever they were on the couch together, but Tara would cry out and move away, and Sharon would giggle.

Catherine is so free with stuff like that, that I envy her being able to flit around and do whatever she likes. One day she said that she’s been trying for years to get me to loosen up. LOL (She even kissed me on the cheek after we got back from a movie once, and called it our “date.”)

After you explained you do this with your family, I thought, oh, it’s all perfectly innocent and okay. So it makes me feel awful (and squicky) that it all blew up in our faces later. I feel just terrible that your wife keeps bringing it up.

It’s been dogging my thoughts for the past month or so, coming up when I am, say, just sitting around chatting with church members, and then I start feeling like a terrible person who has done terrible things and if these people only knew!–But I don’t want to keep feeling squicky about it. We stopped, after all, and won’t start again without her okay.

His reply 8/2:

No worries, Nyssa.

After these conversations in June 2009, I thought all our problems were over with, that it had all been resolved, that Tracy had calmed down and they had stopped judging me for being quiet and introverted.  I thought this was all part of the past, and worked to leave it there.

I had been sick of the subject for years; actually, it was Tracy who kept the issue alive, when I kept thinking it was resolved, but hopefully now it would be resolved for real.

Note that above, I asked him for a sign when Tracy was finally okay with me and all her restrictions on me were dropped and we could do everything he could do with his other friends (such as these sisterly gestures, going out for coffee/ice cream, etc. etc.).

Then one night, maybe December 2009, Richard and I were chatting online.  He said, hey, let’s go get sushi!  But it was about midnight and hardly the time for it.

This was the “signal” I asked for in the above e-mails!  Tracy was fine with me, considered me her friend, had dropped all the restrictions on me, now allowed me to do everything his other friends could do with him! 

I wrote that I couldn’t go out for sushi this time of night, but let me know when you want to go out for sushi.  He seemed to forget about it the next day, but I figured he was just on hard times again and couldn’t pay for it.  So I reminded him a few months later to let me know when.

Then I saw Tracyhit her youngest child in the headright in front of me, and began hearing her verbally abuse everyone again; I asked Jeff how much more of that I could take; troubles began stirring again.

As if these e-mails never existed, as if these conversations never happened, Tracy would once again claim, in July 2010, that she never “okayed” me as Richard’s friend or considered me her friend or allowed me to do everything Richard’s other friends could do with him. 

She accused me of not understanding boundaries. 

But these e-mails prove her the liar.  I have it all in writing that she “knows about the hugs and the whatnot” and “it’s all good.”

Neurotypicals (people who do not have Asperger’s, NVLD or anything else) are hard enough to figure out when they’re basically nice, pleasant people.

Throughout my life, at times I’ve wanted to scream at how confusing people can be, or how they don’t understand me, or how I don’t understand what I’m expected to do or not do when they do the very same things I’m trying to do, but they don’t get yelled at or get funny looks.

Many times in my childhood I preferred to lock myself away at home or in my room, where I didn’t have to deal with people.

But when they are narcissists/abusers, and are trying to make you think you’re crazy so you don’t realize they are abusers, it’s far worse.

And Tracy had reason to make me think I was crazy: because I witnessed her abuse of her husband and children.

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