TENSION BUILDING –
- Tension starts and steadily builds
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Communication breaks down
- Victim feels the need to concede to the abuser
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels uneasy and a need to watch every move –Kim Eyer, The Cycle of Abuse
Something I read on 1/5/14 which made me go hmmmmm:
To draw you closer, the psychopath creates an aura of desirability—of being wanted and courted by many. It will become a point of vanity for you to be the preferred object of their attention, to win them away from a crowd of admirers.
They manufacture the illusion of popularity by surrounding themselves with members of the opposite sex: friends, former lovers, and your eventual replacement.
Then, they create triangles that stimulate rivalry and raise their perceived value. (Adapted from “The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene).
Psychopaths, like most predators, seek power and control. They want to dominate their partners sexually, emotionally, and physically.
They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities. This is why they love-bomb you with attention and flattery in the beginning of the relationship—because no matter how strong or confident you are, being in “love” makes you vulnerable by default.
Psychopaths don’t need physical aggression to control you (although sometimes they do). Instead, relationships provide them with the perfect opportunity to consume you by manufacturing the illusion of love.
This is why it’s so damaging when bystanders say: “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” You never entered a relationship with the psychopath expecting to be abused, belittled, and criticized—first, you were tricked into falling in love, which is the strongest human bond in the world. Psychopaths know this.
…The psychopath’s ability to groom others is unmatched. They feel an intense euphoria when they turn people against each other, especially when it’s over a competition for them.
Psychopaths will manufacture situations to make you jealous and question their fidelity. In a normal relationship, people go out of their way to prove that they are trustworthy—but the psychopath does exactly the opposite.
They are constantly suggesting that they might be pursuing other options, or spending time with other people, so that you can never settle down into a feeling of peace. And they will always deny this, calling you crazy for bringing it up.
….The final triangulation happens when they make the decision to abandon you. This is when they’ll begin freely talking about how much this relationship is hurting them, and how they don’t know if they can deal with your behavior anymore.
They will usually mention talking to a close friend about your relationship, going into details about how they both agreed that your relationship wasn’t healthy. In the meantime, they’ve been blatantly ignoring frantic messages from you.
You’ll be sitting there wondering why they aren’t chatting with you about these concerns, considering it’s your relationship.
Well, the reason is that they’ve already made the decision to dump you—now they’re just torturing you. They only seek advice from people they know will agree with them. That “friend” they’re talking to is probably their next target. –Peace, Torture by Triangulation
Richard’s relationship with me was a platonic friendship, but the same dynamics were at work: The first couple of months he stayed with us, his cell constantly rang with all sorts of friends.
He’d ignore them to talk with me, or answer and then say he was in the middle of a conversation, and get back to me.
He’d tell me about all the women he had to fight off–not just in his single days, but after getting married.
After this love bombing phase ended, the criticism began and I was discarded for a month, I could do nothing right, and he didn’t want to spend time with me anymore.
Then he gave me bearhugs–throwing me a bone to keep me thinking that things would be as they were at first.
But after that, despite the occasional bone-throwing, he kept me off-balance. Other friends were constantly clamoring for his time, and I became lower on the totem pole than they were.
Then a new friend, Chris, came along, and got all the attention that I used to get. They’d go out and do things, talk, etc., and I would be the one sitting at home, or abandoned at the picnic table while they went walking along the beach.
The last part also reminds me of mid-2010, when I could feel things were going wrong, but when I tried to discuss it with him, he shut me down, made me feel paranoid.
He also told me that his political friends were messaging him on Facebook complaining about the things I posted on his Facebook threads (which is ridiculous because it’s Facebook, where you’re supposed to have fun with your friends, and that’s what I did, rather than getting all political like him).
This article also makes me wonder how much of this whole situation was Richard manipulating me to make Tracy jealous, to keep her from leaving him. If he played each of his friends, family, spouse, the way he played me, on purpose to control us all.
In the last month or two of our friendship, after the bullying had been mostly confined to the occasional snipe, it ratcheted up all of a sudden; was it because of several comments I made on Facebook and at Tracy’s house about what constitutes child abuse?
Of course, bullies will say you deserve it. You don’t ever deserve it.
(I just read an article about a girl who beat up another girl, kicked her in the head, caused a concussion and bleeding on the brain, and then bragged on her Facebook page that the girl she beat up, had it coming. Despicable. She’s been sentenced, though it’s a slap on the wrist.)
Friends are supposed to relieve your stress, not cause it. They’re supposed to be there for you when you have problems, not cause your problems. Imagine being forced–on pain of losing your dearest friend–to confide in someone you don’t trust because they keep bullying that friend.
I remember getting very sick at the end of April 2010, so sick that for a time I wondered if I would survive (swine flu?).
When I finally found out it was just a bad flu and then got better, Jeff drove my son and me to the grocery store. In the car, I pondered whether my friendship with Richard was worth fighting for, and decided it was.
So things must have been going on then, too, that I don’t remember now. Though I do remember chatting online with Chris during the winter or spring and asking him if Richard treated him the way he treated me: unreturned phone calls, suddenly dropping out of a chat without a word, things like that.
Early in the winter I had every reason to believe that my friendship with Richard was cemented, that Tracy was perfectly fine with it and we had freedom to do what he could do with his other friends, and that Richard was starting to remember just how good of friends we had been, all the jams I helped him out of, all the emotional support I gave him.
But sometime in the late winter or spring, I began feeling fed up, that he was treating me very badly.
So one day in April I figured our friendship was worth fighting for, while in early May I felt like it was all falling apart, and I had no clue why.
I had not changed; I still treasured the friendship. I had no clue why Richard would act so differently toward me.
You may recall the incident I described before, of Tracy smacking the 3-year-old upside the head around the turn of the year, and the inner turmoil this sent me into. Also, other abusive incidents I witnessed during 2010.
On April 15, 2010, is this blurb in an e-mail from Richard: “and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning and getting yelled at for not cleaning when I do clean.”
During these few months before July, I’d hear about “drama” in his house, and see it as well. It seemed like things were getting worse and worse all the time, so bad that Jeff and I could even see it for ourselves, and discussed it.
Jeff thought Tracy was bipolar.
He also thought the trouble at their house, and how they started treating me, was caused by stress and sleep apnea, and hoped that would change with treatment.
But even if it did, it wasn’t soon enough to salvage our friendship, as their own personal drama spilled over onto Jeff and me.
On May 30, 2010, Jeff was about to drop me off at church when we saw Richard and his children in the parking lot. Richard’s priest was gone at some conference, so he came to my church, only we then discovered that my priest was in the hospital! (He recovered, by the way.)
So we discussed going over to this Episcopalian church which Richard liked to visit. But when Jeff dropped me off there, I got this weird vibe off Richard. What, he invites me but doesn’t want me there?
Still, we both seemed to enjoy the service together. Then he took me around the church, showed me the various awesome things they had there.
People kept thinking we were married, so we had to say NO. So I joked about it, but Richard didn’t laugh, which was weird.
But then when I asked if he could take me home–a reasonable request, I thought, especially since there was plenty of room in his van, and there was no point in making Jeff come all the way back to the church–he got this look on his face like I was being weird or annoying somehow.
It made no sense at all, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck I could’ve possibly done to deserve these reactions, especially from the guy who normally enjoyed spending time with me and liked driving me to/from church.
During this time, on May 8 or 9, 2010, at a birthday party in the park for one of the children, Richard told me about a silly dream he had. Tracy got upset at him for this, saying, “Why didn’t you tell me about that this morning when we were laughing and bonding?” I couldn’t tell if she was really upset or just joking, but as usual, it made me very uncomfortable.
She did that sort of thing a lot, jabbing at him in front of me with what seemed to be anger, though I wasn’t sure if it was anger or a joke. And the possessive, jealous tinge of the “joke” also bugged me.
Simultaneously with her increased bullying of me, Jeff and I noticed their own family stress increasing and erupting into screams and jabs and spanks whenever we went over there.
Not only did Tracy scream at the kids, but she screamed at Richard as well. Then he’d turn around and yell at her in the kitchen for “screaming at the kids all the time.” It made me extremely uncomfortable for them to do this with me right there in the room.
Every time we visited, they’d be bickering, worse than I had seen it, and occasionally the kids got something as well.
I saw Richard’s face when he got yelled at, like he was seething inwardly but checking out.
While Tracy did already occasionally yell at Richard with me in the room, I don’t recall seeing Richard yell at Tracy in front of me before this.
(Well, there was that time when he screamed at her on the phone in the basement back in November 2007….But I never saw him do it when she was actually in the room before.)
Something was stirring them up to a boiling point, and had been for weeks. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with me. I just became the convenient scapegoat a couple of months later, the lamb sacrificed for the peace of the household.
Probably early in June 2010, Jeff and I went over there; I forget if this is when we went to watch the kids while Richard took Tracy out on a birthday date, or when we went there to play a game of D&D. I seem to recall her wearing a dress as if for a date, but I also recall being there with Richard and Tracy all evening, so it must have been for D&D….
Anyway, I sat on the couch, vaguely watching as two of the kids (the older ones, I believe) began dancing around and being joyful. They did absolutely nothing wrong, and looked sweet and happy. It was cute; they were being children.
Then all of a sudden, with no warning whatsoever, and for no reason I could possibly fathom, Tracy stormed over and went from 0 to 60 in two seconds: She flew over and began screaming and whacking fury at them.
She screamed her head off at the kids, yanking and jerking them around by the arms, and screaming louder and louder at them as she threw spanks left and right.
I had no idea what on earth the kids could have done wrong. They didn’t say a word or fight back, just seemed to go limp. Even their faces were blank. Yet Tracy grew madder and madder, screamed louder and louder, yanked their arms around, and whacked spanks every which way.
It reminded me of the time they were living in my house and she started yelling and screaming louder and louder at Richard, even though he did not fight back and agreed with everything she said.
Helplessness: Children are inherently helpless and subordinate. They cannot escape a dangerous situation and are easily taken advantage of.
When a child realizes they cannot protect themselves they believe they are helpless and eventually stop trying to protect themselves.
They often withdraw, go limp, or dissociate, or a way in which some children survive abuse by escaping mentally.
While the abuse is occurring, the body and the mind seem to separate and while the body is being hurt; the child no longer feels it and is disconnected from the abuse.
There are many ways to dissociate and each child may do it differently. One may seem to leave the body floating overhead where the abuse is occurring or one may be able to completely withdraw or go inward and not mentally exist therefore not experiencing anything. —Source
This incident of child abuse right in front of me was frightening even for me, an adult, and also infuriated me.
I was too frightened of her in general to do anything (she’s bigger than me, violent and nasty). For the rest of the evening, I was very nervous and scared of her. Unfortunately, Jeff wasn’t there to see this, having stepped out to buy some things for dinner.
Or should I say, of course he wasn’t there–she kept doing these things when he wasn’t there or wasn’t looking. So I’d have to tell him later just what happened.
Shortly after, when things calmed down a bit, Richard started playing a song for me, a song which he had just posted about on his Facebook page. I didn’t really know the song, had heard it maybe once or twice before (one of the times being when I clicked on his link).
It had been popular several years back, a dance song, something about a train, by a lady singer. He had compared her to Lady Gaga, whom I also didn’t know at all, since I swore off ever-increasingly banal popular music about 10 years before. I was surprised he knew about Lady Gaga, either, since he was a Goth fan….
Anyway, he played this song for me because it had been his earworm the past couple of days. But then Tracy began yelling at him because he’d already played it numerous times over the past couple of days.
I’m sitting here thinking, Geez, lady, he’s a grown man and you’re not his mother! Can’t he play it 100 times if he wants to?
I could understand being annoyed, but her yelling and screaming at him was way out of proportion, especially dealing with her husband, not a child.
He got an angry, henpecked look on his face, and told her to turn it off if she wanted to.
(This may have been the same day when she began yelling at him for undermining her when he popped in Fifth Element for me to watch, while apparently she had just told the kids not to watch a movie. He got the same look on his face and kept the movie running.)
Later in the evening, probably during dinner, he apologized, but even the apology quickly turned into an argument as they started picking at each other again.
Also during dinner, Tracy was in the kitchen asking or talking about something. My son, who sat eating pizza beside me at the dining room table, made a comment about it. She snapped at him for it, telling him to be quiet. He got an angry look, and I was furious at her for yelling at my son.
Tracy started constantly ripping on me and bullying me no matter what I said or did, including on Facebook.
It was absolutely nothing I did or said: It was something going on in her own head that I had nothing whatsoever to do with.
It was probably her cycling again, going into an abusive phase where nobody was safe and nobody could do anything right.
In other words, it was not my fault, but all hers, yet I was the one blamed for it in July and August, when imaginary complaints about me were brought up by both Richard and Tracy as “reasons” for her actions.
This is what abusers do to try to justify their abuse, and Richard, as her abuser-by-proxy, went along with it–probably to keep the peace in his own house, keep the abuse away from himself.
She ripped on me on Memorial Day 2010 simply because I put bug spray, Kleenex and sunscreen in a bag and brought it with me to sit outside.
She talked as if a “normal” person would go back and forth into the house every time they wanted something.
Well, I didn’t want to bother with all that running all over the place when I could just put everything into a bag!
And what the heck difference did it make to her?! Jeff stuck up for me, because he saw how ridiculous she was.
Richard started treating me like crap, as well:
One day, probably late winter or early spring 2010, while preparing for our latest D&D game, I saw what looked like honey on the table.
So rather than be stupid and put my books on honey, I did what any sensible person would do, and acted like any guest who wants to do for herself and not overburden her host by being a princess:
I pulled out a wipe from my purse and started wiping off the honey.
But then Richard, who was sitting right next to me, stunned me by screaming in my face for cleaning his house!
(This was one of several WTF moments I had with him.)
Then Tracy said, “Oh, come on, you’ve always known she’s weird.” I didn’t know whether Tracy was getting after him for yelling at me, or snarking on me again. Or both.
They keep their house in filth most of the time, say they “clean it” before I come which makes me wonder how bad it is when I’m not coming over, and I’m the weird one for not wanting to get honey on my books?
Somebody must have made a crack about the stash of wipes in my purse (just one 15-piece travel package, not a ton), because I said, “I’m a mother. Of course I have all sorts of things in my purse.”
(My mother had all sorts of things in her purse when I was growing up: Kleenex, gum, etc. A married, pregnant woman, a non-traditional student, in one of my college classes whipped out a bottle of aspirin when somebody needed it, and commented that because she’s a mother, she has a well-stocked purse. And at a Little League game in 2011, when a little girl had a nosebleed, three mothers–including me–rushed over to her parents with wipes to clean her up with.)
Then Tracy got huffy and said, “Are you saying I’m not a mother, then, because I don’t?” Even though I hadn’t said a word about her, having no clue what was in her purse.
So…You can call me weird but I can’t say this is a motherly trait without you getting upset? Jeff stuck up for me, saying he often wishes he had my stash with him when at his church alone with our son.
I felt like running out of the room or crying or something, but tried to be the adult and suck it up.
But oh, how it hurt (and shocked and appalled) to be yelled at out of the blue by my best and dearest friend for such a silly thing, and to be ripped on by Tracy just for being an organized mother.
The WTF moment is when the non-abusive partner, typically after weeks, months and sometimes years of love bombing, hoop jumping, guilt, manipulation, obligation, fear, self-doubt and blaming and shaming tactics, has a moment of clarity.
It’s when you finally realize, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong here, but it isn’t me.” —Shrink4Men
Jeff tells me that when they only expected him and a few other friends for D&D, they didn’t bother cleaning up much at all–so the filth I saw, got even worse when I wasn’t there.
It made Jeff feel like he wasn’t worth cleaning up for, because he was used to a clean house and didn’t appreciate the filth, either.
When Richard’s mother-in-law visited for three weeks and did some housework, Richard got mad at her, too–even though the MIL was probably just of my own mother’s school of thought, that if you stay for a few weeks, you should help with the housework or you’re a lazy bum.
(When we stayed with our in-laws for several days in 2011, I made our bed, my son made his bed, and I cleaned up after us in the bathroom.)
They didn’t clean their own house, but nobody else was allowed to, either? How on earth could they expect her to just grin and bear living in a place so filthy without trying to clean some of it? I couldn’t have lasted one night in that place without scrubbing down the bathroom!
And I’ve since learned that Richard also yelled at Jeff for this on nights when he went over there alone to play D&D. Jeff said Richard yelled just as nastily as he did at me for cleaning honey off the table, and that made Jeff angry.
He went over there around 9pm, yet the kids would still be up, the house and table a mess, and they’d still be cleaning for quite some time after he got there. So Jeff would grab a rag and start cleaning stickiness off the table before putting his books down, or do other things to help clean up, so they could get to the frickin’ game already. And he’d get screamed at.
You’re supposed to say “thank you” when somebody helps you clean. Yet somehow, they were the ones who felt that I didn’t know proper etiquette and behavior and had to be lectured on it by them?
I have since learned from hoarding shows that this is a common reaction when someone tries to help clean a hoarder house.
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