This video, “NPD and BPD” by Delusion Dispeller, on the differences between NPD (narcissism) and BPD (borderline) makes Tracy sound more narcissistic than borderline. DD shows that the narcissist will just let you go, while the borderline will try to hold onto you.
She even goes into breaking the BPD’s rules without knowing what they are–which sounds very familiar. She says you never know what will offend them because it will one minute, but not the next.
The danger of researching personality disorders, of course, is not just falsely labeling your friends and enemies (so I only say this after probably dozens of hours of research and reflection), but beginning to think you yourself identify with this or the other one.
But then, if I were these things, I don’t think Jeff would have stuck with me for so long, telling everyone he can what a great wife I am. Things were rocky for us in the beginning because of the baggage left over from my exes (at least one of which also fits with this), but that has long since passed as Jeff and my desire for me to be a good person, worked together to eradicate the baggage.
I do recall things in my past that are very embarrassing, and cringe that I ever did them; maybe everybody has done such things, and the cringing is a sign that they are NOT actually crazy. While if they didn’t cringe at all, maybe they really are crazy.
Perfectly normal people do have various traits that show up in the lists of abusive or personality disordered traits, because we are human, not perfect; what makes a person fit the criteria of an abuser is the number of traits, all working together as a whole.
Also, the things I did, were usually because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know intuitively that they were bad ideas, a common problem with NLDers, who often either smother or neglect friendships or relationships because they don’t know intuitively how to proceed, don’t pick up on signs of what their friend or SO wants without being directly told, or if they do pick them up, don’t understand them.
I had no idea that the things I did would receive the reactions and consequences they did. I never did them again.
While if it were a personality disorder, they would stay with me, and probably be done deliberately in order to gain control and dominance over others.
The people who know me best tend to say glowing things about me, though they do have criticisms from time to time. But the thoughts still keep creeping in from time to time–maybe Tracy was right.
On the one hand I could be alarmed at this, and see it as evidence that she was crazy-making me, which is indeed something abusers do to take the focus off their own dysfunctions and accuse you.
But on the other hand, I can also embrace it as evidence that I’m not crazy, because if I were BPD or narcissistic or the like, I wouldn’t even consider the possibility that I might have done some things wrong.
Rather, there are things I look back on in this whole experience with Richard and Tracy that sometimes make me go inside myself and shiver inwardly in shame, while those around me probably think I’m just quietly watching a movie with them.
Friends and Jeff have at times scolded me for even considering anything Tracy said, telling me (friends) to consider the source, or (Jeff) that I did nothing wrong. This is reassuring, but I have trouble releasing the occasional feelings of guilt or shame that let me know I am not a monster myself.
It should also be noted, that a person involved with a Borderline for even a limited time, will be prone to adopting psychotic (BPD) symptomology, due to proximal exposure. That’s why we call their behaviors, “crazy-making.” —The Borderline/Narcissist Couple
This explains some of the things I’ve done in dealing with the BPDs or narcissists or abusers who have come and gone in my own life, including Richard and Tracy.
For example, the narcissist abuser Phil who kept trying to tear me down and telling me it was all my fault, that I always had to get my way–while his way involved painful or disgusting sex positions that I didn’t want to do.
Or Peter, who may very well have been BPD because of his “chameleon-like” way of making a girl think he was her perfect man, before his true colors came out later and he treated her like crap for being upset at getting dumped.
Not only did he do this with me, but a few years later I was told–by a person who had no clue I had once dated Peter–that he was doing this very thing again and again to girls on a local BBS.
As for some of the crazy things I’ve done myself while dealing with these people, they’re things I felt driven to do out of desperation. Later on, I usually felt ashamed of it and wondered how I could ever have done it, never doing it again.
I know from research that normal, healthy people don’t stay normal and healthy for long in dysfunctional marriages, or family relationships, so if I acted crazy myself a few times during dysfunctional relationships or friendships, it’s understandable even if not excusable–but doesn’t mean I will permanently retain the taint of their dysfunction.
I did a lot of research into abuse to see if I had been abused, validate my experiences, reassure myself that I did not deserve it, and hopefully learn to heal. When I first came across Sam Vaknin’s site on narcissism, it was through his articles on abuse.
I had already used them when writing about my abusive ex Phil, and when researching abuse between 2008 and 2010. (I did that because of Tracy’s behavior, and so I could make my own page on abuse.)
On one page was a list of narcissistic traits of abusers which sounded just like Tracy, so the lightbulb went on. I also came across sites which pointed to borderline personality disorder in many abusive women.
But as I read Sam Vaknin’s articles on narcissism, an uncomfortable little voice kept saying: Oh my gosh, that’s Richard, too!
This cemented the idea that not only did I not deserve what happened, but I was targeted by two narcissists, one with BPD that made her abuse obvious, but one charming narc who makes you believe he cares–more dangerous because it is subtle.
Also, this sounds very much like Richard and Tracy. Now, when it goes into the childhoods of NPDs (narcissists) and BPDs (borderline personality disordered people), I know Tracy came from a very dysfunctional family, while Richard said glowing things about his parents–even excusing it when he hinted at his dad abusing him in some way.
As for narcissism, the know-it-all traits under the subheading “What’s Love Got to do with It” sound very familiar, coming across as an absolute authority, one-upping, mansplaining, telling you what you’re thinking or feeling, and yes, it is very infuriating.
Then he’d wonder why I was getting upset over something he said. “Where did that come from? I was only….[etc. etc.]”
I can imagine the same thing happening with Tracy. So no, I don’t believe the abuse was all one-sided in this relationship, and as much as I don’t want to see Richard as a narcissist, he fits far too well.
Not only from what I’ve seen, but from what Jeff has observed, from his Forum enemies calling him “arrogant” and him agreeing, and from things he has told me about his past–not just boasts, but also confessions of his own bad behaviors, whether with women or with people in general.
Not only did he overwhelm people with charisma, but he also kept overwhelming me with TMI that made me want to take an ice pick to get it out of my brain.
Then in June 2010, made some strange comment about needing to set some boundaries about his past relationships, even though he’d been the one volunteering all sorts of information to me–even stuff I really didn’t want to know.
But thanks to this, I can identify from the above link that he has a tendency of getting enmeshed with BPDs.
Also note that BPDs who have issues with their mothers (such as Tracy) can hate all other women. This sounds very familiar, as well. Also, people would note that Tracy was never satisfied, a trait which comes up again and again in articles on abusers and BPDs.
I believe Richard is a narcissist who used me for narcissistic supply, maybe unintentionally or without realizing it, but still did it. He had told me enough about his past which seemed so different from the way he was now, that it was amazing he was talking about the same person.
It was an arrogant, abusive person who was a dog to women and violent to men, who would judge people based on their smarts. I have to wonder now if that old Richard was really gone, or just hidden.
Based on how he would brag about his past and all the women who would chase him then and now, and how his exes would sit and talk to each other about how evil he was, and his outrageous flirting that was carried on with his various female friends (and male), even via text message while he proposed to his wife–I do believe he is a casanova figure.
He wants to be desired, wants to be the ladykiller even though he’s married and not allowed to touch any of them. He wants to be the casanova even though he’s long since let himself go quite a bit and no longer looks anything like he did back in his youth.
So he toyed with me, played with my head, when he was separated from his wife for so long and they were having problems. He told me beforehand that modern American society is far too prudish and reserved. We should be freer!
(Months later, he even told me one day that I was prudish for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him, that they had another friend who just wore her nightclothes freely around both of them, no robe.)
Then one evening he took a few liberties with me, but holding back just enough that he could feign innocence when I called him on it later. I won’t rehash that story; it’s already here, here and here. From here on out I will just assume my reader has read those sections, so I don’t have to repeat what happened.
I’m not sure what exactly to make of it–I’ve seen him get flirty with everybody he knows, and ask for “huggles”–but the way he threw me to the wolf (Tracy) over it, suggests to me that his motives were not pure.
I told him not to put his head in my lap anymore, that if Tracy had trouble with just using each other’s shoulders as pillows then she’d really have a problem with that, and it’s a very questionable thing to do anyway. (He only did it once.) Though I really felt the “shoulder thing” was much ado about nothing.
Some part of me knew that he was only telling me part of the truth. It was the best kind of lie: the one that is mostly true. But I trusted him, became a good little acolyte, taking in my mentor’s instruction and making it my own belief.
It is indeed true that many people are far freer with flirting and nonsexual touch than the average American. It is indeed true that these things can be completely platonic. Everything he did could indeed be completely platonic, and some of my other friends do these things.
But there were the little things here and there, things he said or did, that tell me he didn’t mean them completely platonically at the time. That he was going a little too far.
He should’ve told me this honestly when I first confronted him with what he was doing, and I would’ve known what we needed to do: pull back, stop doing these things, not spend so much time together.
But he didn’t, I trusted him to tell me the truth, I set aside the little suspicions, I trusted him that everything he did was platonic and innocent–and he let me take the fall for him.
While re-reading The Italian by Ann Radcliffe, a Gothic novel I first read many years ago while in college, I was also writing this account, and was struck by the similarities in one scene:
The black monk, Schedoni, is about to stab the heroine, Ellena, when he sees a miniature around her neck of himself as a young man. She wakes up, and he soon tells her he is her father.
He doesn’t tell her why he was there, and after he leaves, she begins to wonder what he was doing in her room (where she was imprisoned) at midnight, anyway?
Then she finds the dagger lying on the floor. The truth is right there staring her in the face, but she doesn’t want to believe that her own father would kill her, even though he didn’t know who she was at the time and was her captor.
Instead, she decides to believe that it was his henchman who tried to kill her, and that Schedoni rescued her. She has no reason to believe this, but she wants to, and Schedoni lets her. The mind can believe what it wants to even with much evidence to the contrary.
From his actions the day of the “incident,” from the things he said to Jeff, from the way he just threw me under the bus instead of explaining to Tracy what the e-mail was really all about, from the way that he justified her actions and words, it was as if he were now saying to me,
“You piece of f**king trash, how dare you remember the things I did to you, how dare you hold the memories close to your heart? I wish I had never given you these hugs! How dare you ever speak of these things I did as if I had ever actually done them? I can do them, but you can’t speak of them! I am a liar and will treat you like a liar and a manstealing whore for even bringing them up!”
…This despite the fact that we had discussed these hugs via online chat in the past, and back then he acted as if we had done nothing wrong, as if I had done nothing wrong by mentioning them, that he wanted to do the things again, that he was just avoiding them because of the way Tracy had been acting at the time, that in the future it would be okay with her.
And I had no reason to think that these hugs had ever been forbidden, but that he was just holding back for a while.
His actions the day of the “incident” proved him guilty, when if he had explained to Tracy the truth, he would have exonerated both himself and me….Unless, of course, what he told me was not the truth.
I gave him the opportunity to tell me the truth. Why didn’t he tell me the truth? Why didn’t he admit he’d gone too far and he shouldn’t have done those things and they needed to stop?
Why did he lead me to believe that they were perfectly normal things for close platonic friends to do, that they were done platonically, and didn’t need to stop?
Probably because he didn’t want to stop. Probably because it fed his ego when he was at a very low point in his life.
I wish he would have been honest with me; it all would have stopped, I never would’ve brought it up again, and all this never would’ve happened. My naïvete and gullibility stares me in the face and shames me.
I know enough about his past with women–a self-described “dog”–to think these things I write are probably true. He says he respects women now, but I have plenty of reason to believe that the dog is still inside him, just taking a nap, waking up every now and then.
I wanted a friend who could be playful but without being dangerous. He turned dangerous. He became like Shawn from college, who lured and manipulated me into giving him what he wanted, then treated me like a cheap whore for it.
He became like Phil, my ex-fiance/husband, who wove a web of lies which I only believed because of NVLD, and wore me down until I did things with him that (in Christian morality) were wrong, but which he told me were perfectly fine and not wrong at all.
Because of the NVLD, I was far too trusting, thinking a pious Christian would never do such things. I thought as a married woman I was beyond being so taken in.
But then another seemingly pious Christian man came along and started breaking down my reserves just as Shawn did, convincing me–just as Shawn did–that we were doing nothing wrong, then letting me drown in the fallout when (in Richard’s case) the wife found out.
Leaving me baffled as to what just happened because Richard had convinced me we were doing nothing adulterous or even out of the ordinary for close platonic friends.
I thought his days of going to Bible college while womanizing and being a violent “gumba” were over, that his days of faking piety and speaking in tongues for the congregation (as a Pentecostal preacher in his early 20s) were over, covered by the blood of Jesus.
When I asked how he was able to get over/forgive his ex–who was (from what I heard) a psychotic nympho who cheated on him all the time–he said he abused her too, as punishment; I thought this sort of behavior was all in his past. Now I wonder if, when we watched Elmer Gantry together, it gave him ideas.
Table of Contents
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?
11. Struggle to regain normalcy
12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other
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