stalked by abuser
Richard and/or Tracy were here.
I don’t know why they came here or what they wanted to get out of it, but my bullies (at least one of them) have now seen and read nearly everything I posted about them.
I have no idea if they plan on doing anything about it. It’s a waiting game, wondering what they’re going to do, if anything.
I saw every page they read in my three trackers. The referring URL shows that they first came here by clicking on my blog name in a friend’s blogroll. But why did they do that, when they haven’t even been to my blog in the past two or three years?
I didn’t shut anything down, as hope springs eternal that somewhere in their hearts is a willingness to understand me now…. I suppose it’s too much to ask. But you never know.
Why were they so interested? I just don’t know….Their curiosity means they now know probably more than they wanted to know…yet they just kept reading.
I know I don’t like to read unpleasant things about myself, so why did they keep reading everything, sometimes two or three times, sometimes more than that?
The only blogs I’m aware of for them have been inactive for three years, but if I knew of an active one, I certainly would not visit it. I don’t check Richard’s Twitter, don’t wish to read his Facebook wall.
So why did they come to my blog in the first place? Does it give them the jollies to read about my hurt and pain regarding them?
But I’m not sorry for blogging about this. The bullied need to speak out more, make our voices heard, break the silence and become survivors instead of victims.
And even though I did not blog intending for them to read it, this “accident” gave me the chance to finally confront them and vindicate myself with the truth, something I felt I could not do (except maybe in a letter sent posthumously).
I did not want a dialogue with them, did not want to send them a letter and find myself hit with Tracy’s fury, had read about how dangerous it can be to confront an abuser, so I felt my hands were tied.
I certainly did not want to mention the narcissism or BPD to them, because that, also, can be dangerous.
Them finding this blog was an accident I did not intend. But I did not mention my blog anymore on Facebook, and the mutual friend did not appear to be reading my blog anymore, so I figured the chances of Richard or Tracy returning to it again were remote….
Whether it will make any difference in how they treat me, I have no clue. But at least it’s done. I can be at peace now…or soon.
I think about shutting down the blogs, but I don’t want their presence here to intimidate me into silence. Their abuses and bullying were real, as was their attempt to silence me before (“Don’t go crying to Jeff about this, because we don’t need the headache”). No, no, the bullies can’t win this time. I have to fight back.
[Update 2/13/14:] It amazes me now that I even thought about shutting down the blog. But then I thought, “It’s my blog; I’ll do what I want!”
Where would I be without this blog now? All my angst has been poured into this blog and taken out of the rest of my life. I no longer feel the need to talk about it to friends/husband all the time. I no longer feel sad or scared or unable to move on. I only rarely miss Richard.
Now I’m just revising my web-book and posting it here, rarely needing to write anything new on the subject. I’m basically taking what I already wrote, and making it better, easier to digest, and more visible to fellow sufferers; it’s not about processing current grief/anger anymore.
And I see in my stats that other people connect with it, and are finding help here. I want to get through the web-book as soon as possible so I can move on to some new topic, some new novel perhaps, or revising old stories for publication.
I no longer fear seeing my blog stalker Tracy in my stats all the time; rather, I just chuckle.
Hm. The abusers found my blog.
I can tell from the city and referring URL (which I can track through Google Webmasters Analytics and Blogspot’s trackers), that it was them, that they [Richard and Tracy] are now proceeding to go through everything I’ve written here and on my website.
This is always a risk when you blog about your abusers. I knew it was likely to happen. It can be dangerous, yes. But scared silence is just what the abusers want of their victims. There is a combination of fearlessness, courage and foolhardiness in blogging about it.
I’m half-expecting an angry e-mail, phone call or other confrontation any time now. Or maybe Richard will try to assault me like he wanted to do that landlady. But oh well. I felt forced into silence before, that I could not say how I really felt. Now they know how I really felt/feel. C’est la vie.
Many websites give tips on whether you should confront your abuser, because so many of the abused are burning up with the need to do so. Maybe now that they know, I can be at peace. I’m actually glad they found it. Now they’ve read all the things I wanted to say but never had a chance to; maybe now they’ll be shocked into realizing just how horribly they behaved.
Why are we the ones that hide the truth?–on blogging about abuse
On what can happen when we blog about our abuse stories and the abusers find out (and yes, I read this before blogging, so I knew it could happen)
It’s 8 AM, this hell I’m in
Seems I’ve crossed a line again
For being nothing more than who I am
So break my bones and throw your stones
We all know that life ain’t fair
But there’s more of us we’re everywhere
We don’t have to take this back against the wall
We don’t have to take this we can end it all
All you’ll ever be is a faded memory of a bully
Make another joke while they hang another rope so lonely
Push them to the dirt till the words don’t hurt can you hear me
No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die you’re a bully
It’s 8 AM, the hell I’m in
Your voice is strong, now right the wrong
After his conviction, Richard comes to my church
To my shock, Richard showed up at my church today. I hadn’t seen him there since last Christmas, and thought that–ever since I reported him to Social Services and he got convicted of choking his kid–he would never show up at my church again, out of shame, knowing or suspecting that I know what he did. (The Forum was shocked as well.)
But there he was, so who knows when he could show up again. Every week maybe? And my church is TINY. It’s hard to stay at opposite ends of the church in a church that small. Staying at opposite ends means staying a yard or two apart. Because of this, even though Jeff normally drops me off and leaves (he’s Lutheran), he stayed nearby as moral support–or a kind of bodyguard.
But I did note a few things. They may mean nothing, or they may mean something, I don’t know: Richard was very quiet during the service, even during the Creed. I didn’t hear him and he was just two or three pews back with nobody in between. He did not go to get the Eucharist.
Only two children were with him: The child he choked was not there. The youngest also was not there, and neither was Tracy.
He was right behind me in the line to get blessed bread from the priest, but said nothing to me. Of course, I was sending out clear body language to “stay away.”
Unlike the first or second time I saw them at my church after everything went down, this time I’m given strength by the knowledge that I should not cower in shame from someone who did such a horrible thing to a little kid.
During coffee hour, my son played with the two children who were there. Child #1 is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens. She’ll pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Child #2 is older, and upset at Jeff and me for not coming around anymore.
Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Jeff and my son had already gone out. I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got Child #2’s scolding eyes. She said things like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”
Jeff tells me he also got her scolding eyes. But you can’t tell a little child, “Sorry, but we can’t come to your house anymore because your mother is nasty and your father choked your sister.” So instead, I said, “We miss you, too.”
I hate to see children suffer from the sins of the parents. I keep praying that the probation officer and Social Services are working to change things for those girls so they can break the cycle.
Jeff does not want to be friends with these people again.
[The case also showed up in the local newspaper’s printed listing of court cases, in November, showing his name, the ruling, and the amount of the fine.]
I posted on Facebook a dedication to Richard: “Suedehead” by Morrissey:
Why do you come here? And why do you hang around? Why do you come here When you know it makes things hard for me? When you know, oh…Why do you come?
I also wrote:
Today I was put in the extremely uncomfortable and heartbreaking position of talking to a child who didn’t understand why I don’t come around anymore, and seeing the scold in her eyes.
“It was fun playing at your house,” she said. “We miss you,” she said.
But you can’t tell a child that her parents’ disgraceful behavior is the reason. “We miss you, too,” was all I could say.
I don’t get it–Why does he come to my church if he’s not going to try to make things right with us? It’s supposed to be my refuge, my peaceful place. But he keeps showing up there like a bad penny.
He has his own church. What he did to me, has put me into my own Long Dark Night of the Soul; when he choked his daughter, I was horrified; and when I see him again, it’s a setback, when I’ve come so far along.
Every Sunday service, I’m afraid to go because he might be there. Why doesn’t he leave me alone?
Dude, I don’t hate you, but I am extremely disappointed in you. I expected much better of you…….
Then I posted a link to my blog post, Healing Takes a Long Time. Some excerpts:
I had thought I’d never see Richard at my church again, but there he was on Sunday. A wound I thought was healing has been ripped open again, gaping and oozing.
It’s hard for me to even get myself up and going to church on Sunday mornings, for fear that they will be there. They’ve surprised me a few times at church, or at my church’s Greek Fest, since the breach, even though I rarely ever saw them there before. (They go elsewhere.)
It felt like they were doing it on purpose to terrorize me. Every time I saw them, I’d barely make it through, feel like collapsing, have to fight to keep from trembling. Only anger at all the abuse could give me strength to get through.
This time, Hubby and I saw their vehicle in the parking lot, so Hubby stayed to give me moral support. (He has his own church and normally just drops me off at mine.)
This time, it was just Richard and two of his kids, not the one who was choked. It was all very quiet, no scenes or anything. He didn’t even take communion.
During coffee hour, my son played with the two kids. One is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens. She’d pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Just the sweetest, most adorable little girl.
The other one is 7, and upset at Hubby and me for not coming around anymore.
Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Hubby and my son had already gone out. I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes.
She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.” Hubby also got her scolding eyes earlier.
My heart broke right there. I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the reasons.
I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the abuse, how Tracy had verbally eviscerated me over a misunderstanding and had no remorse, how her father had done a terrible, evil deed to her sister, how he had once planned to do a terrible, evil deed to a lady who had upset him two years ago, and made me afraid of him, afraid of what horrible deeds he could do to me.
I couldn’t explain to her in a way that she could understand it had nothing to do with her.
All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry. I’ve been miserable ever since, missing her and the other children.
I just kept hoping during coffee hour that Richard would come to Hubby and me and apologize for all the things he’d done to us, and was very disappointed when he didn’t. I still keep hoping.
[5/4/14: Instead, he just spent the whole time ignoring us, making no move to make peace with us, instead telling one of my fellow parishioners about his conversion to Orthodoxy.
His conversion–hmph–What a joke! Was that an Orthodox way to treat us, Richard? You’re no Christian!]
I hope that, because of the criminal conviction, he’s using his probation as a second chance to change things around. I hope that one day things will be different, that his abusive home environment will become healthy and good, that he will come to us.
Websites on abusers keep saying, “Don’t hope for change. Let go of the hope for change. Accept that this is the way they are and will always be. Don’t listen when the Church says they can change.” But in my heart I just don’t believe that.
I was angry. I tried to hold onto my anger to distance myself from Richard and all the pain. But it’s all just vanished and sadness has returned.
When he came to our city four years ago, I had no idea things would turn out like this. I gave them so much of myself, trying to help them, because Richard’s friendship was so important and special to me. He had never said anything about an abusive homelife, not until then.
One person on an Orthodox message board noted that I sound emotionally and spiritually traumatized. This is certainly true.
If you are religious, please pray for me and this whole situation, which affects not just me but four innocent children.
[Below was added in spring 2014.]
Tracy accused me of breaking off relations with her because I needed to “grow up” and accept the “consequences” of my “behavior.”
No, we broke off relations with her because she’s a screaming harpy, a child abuser, a husband beater, and an abusive friend who bullies shy, quiet, gentle people.
We had already considered breaking off relations with her several times before that, even considered reporting her to CPS before the breakup.
Her behavior on July 1, 2010 was the last straw.
And now we have proof, in black and white, and in the state’s court records, that Richard is also a child abuser, making his loss no longer the tragedy I thought it was.
But I still suffered from residual pain and grief over his loss.
On October 31, 2011, the newspaper published this letter I sent to the editor:
I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.
An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers. Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies. But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.
How can this happen with such a despicable act? Is that child being protected? Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.
And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates. People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically. Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.
I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse. Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves. And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.
Table of Contents
- Bullying of an introvert and probable NVLDer
- My NVLD in a nutshell
- Richard dismisses my experiences
- Summarizing this story
- Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk
- I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana
- I finally find my Frodo–who moves in
- Discovering they live in squalor
- Richard reveals his wife’s abuses
- Houseguests From Hell
- Tracy turns jealous of and hostile toward me because I’m an introvert with NVLD
- Tracy’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard–and Richard reveals his own abuse
- Tracy’s control-freak behavior–to me, in my house
- Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance
- Verge of nervous breakdown as houseguests from Hell abuse our hospitality
- Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye
- Tracy’s smear campaign and emotional blackmail begin full-force
- I almost break off the friendship because of Tracy
- Tracy’s unreasonable jealousy even as I take pains to be above reproach
- Their doublespeak and double standards
- Tracy snarks and Richard nitpicks
- The emotional vampires suck me dry–and accuse me of being too sensitive
- My Friend Richard, the Narcissist
- Richard says he hypnotized me without my knowledge
- More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare
- Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager
- Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like
4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children
- E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children
- More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children
- Early 2010: I speak up about Tracy’s child abuse–and ponder reporting her to authorities
- Early warning signs of Tracy’s abuse and volatility
- I get an inkling of Richard’s own abuse of his children
- How to Bully an Introvert–and Assets of NVLD
- Two Narcissists Tag-Team Bully an Introvert with NLD
- Tracy is nasty to me on the phone
- Fed-up, I decide to end the friendship if Tracy does not stop bullying me
- Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard
- I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out
- Now Richard Screws with my Mind
- Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign
- I discover the restrictions are still up after 7 months–and ponder ending the friendship
- Tracy tells Jeff a different story: I have already been “approved” as Richard’s friend
- Richard gaslights me into thinking I’m a stalker
6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house
- Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse
- We seem to have things sorted out–and they seem to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)
- E-mails proving my innocence, that Tracy lied in 2010, that I respected boundaries, and that I asked for a “signal”
- Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes
7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build
- Without warning or explanation, tensions build as Richard and Tracy both begin acting like lunatics
- I begin to wonder if the Richard I know–is real or a fake persona
- Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party
- Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics
- Richard grows distant and Tracy’s insane jealousy flares up
- Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake
- I feel increasing coldness from Richard and Tracy as I “unfriend” their Republican candidates and “friend” Obama and Feingold
- Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud
- I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband
- Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs
- Part One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges
- Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone
- Part Three: Jeff’s WTF moment: Judas (Richard) knows I’m innocent, but psychotically rages at Jeff
- Part Four: Their DARVO lies lead us to break off relations with our abusers
- Why we should tell everyone we have been abused
- E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months
- 1. To Mike and my mother
- 2. E-mails describing pain of breaking up with a close friend
- 3. E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends
- 4. E-mails to Todd describing what happened
- Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse
- Why I refused to “confer” with Tracy–and how Richard betrayed me
- Tracy refused to accept the NVLD and introversion–but they are real
- Resolving conflict: The difference between friends and frenemies
9. The fallout; a second chance?
- I send an apology–and we’re all blocked on Facebook
- Struggling to process what the F**K just happened
- E-mail to Mike: processing my pain
- Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex
- Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church
- About Richard justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse because I am shy and quiet
- The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues
- How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism
- I suggest a six-month break
- I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail
- Tracy blamed others for her abuse
- Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse
- Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason
- Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused
- Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it
- Written 2010/2011: I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman
- Written 2011: Grief that my abusers kept coming to my church but not apologizing to me
- Blog Post for my friends: Fighting the Darkness (Written in February 2011)
- Can we destroy something God put in place?
- An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends
- The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me
- I start doubting Tracy was ever truly a Christian–so it’s okay to separate myself from her fellowship
- Grief felt on 6/12/11
- 2011 Facebook post: Original form of Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs
11. Struggle to regain normalcy
- Describing Richard’s narcissism
- Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t
- Was Richard’s betrayal driven by Narcissism–or Stockholm Syndrome?
- Tracy: a woman who abuses a man
- Richard’s lack of action made him a passive abuser
- Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well
- Written early or mid 2011: working through the grief, pain and anger
- How Richard and Tracy’s views on parenting are wrong
- Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later
12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other
13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges
- Introduction to this section: Richard’s Criminal Charges
- UPDATE 7/26/11: Richard is charged with abusing his daughter; I report them to CPS
- UPDATE 9/14/11: I learn that Richard choked his daughter
- UPDATE 10/4/11: Richard is convicted of choking his daughter
- UPDATE 10/23/11: After his conviction, Richard comes to my church
Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing
The Light is Shining Through–Finding Faith Again After the Fall of a Spiritual Mentor: Fighting the Darkness
Many months have passed since my “Fighting the Darkness” post. I believe I wrote it right after discovering that a friend of mine, who was also friends with Richard, had dropped me on Facebook, so I became paranoid and depressed, wondering why he dropped me, and what Richard had told him.
Things have come to light which I had no way of knowing when I wrote it.
In short, the ex-friend I spoke of, whom I’ll call “Richard,” whom I thought of as my best and dearest friend from 2006 to 2010, of whom I thought the world, has been charged with choking his own 9-year-old step-daughter until she passed out on September 21, 2010.
She told the police on September 22, 2010.
He admitted to the police that he did it because she was “not listening and cleaning up,” that he had “asphyxiated” her, and that he apologized to her when she woke up on a couch.
They summoned him to court and charged him on March 1, 2011.
The choking incident happened many months before my post, but for some reason he wasn’t officially charged until a few weeks after my post.
This devastated me as I began to realize the true character of this person I once put on a pedestal as an awesome man of God, the one who showed me the way to Orthodoxy, the one who answered my questions about Orthodoxy and helped me over the hurdles, the one I went to with questions and confessions about morality and spiritual struggles.
He was charged with intentional child abuse causing injury with high probability of great harm, and second degree recklessly endangering safety, both serious felonies that could have led to significant jail time.
But on October 3, 2011, he plea bargained it down to the child abuse charge being dismissed, but read into the record, and the reckless endangerment charge being amended to a class A misdemeanor of battery, with a year’s probation. Though if he screws up on probation, he could get 10 days in jail.
This showed me two things which I could no longer deny, even though on occasion I’d remember the old times and think maybe he wasn’t so bad, just a dupe of Stockholm Syndrome:
1) Richard’s own violent tendencies were not tamped down as I thought, but still there and capable of coming out, even to his own little 9-year-old girl.
2) He lied to me about the nature of the abuse in his household. I soon learned from mutual friend Todd that Richard had also beaten this same girl mercilessly when she was little.
Richard gave me the impression that his wife “Tracy” was the chief aggressor, that his own abusive episodes with the children happened a long time before and he had stopped them, that now he had to protect his children from his wife’s bullying moods.
But these charges showed that he himself was still an aggressor, that he was not reformed after all, that not only did the children need protection from his wife, but they also needed it from him.
He’s very tall and huge, so a slip of a girl would probably see it as being attacked by an ogre or a mountain she can’t escape from. Imagine the terror she must have felt!
He also told me once that Tracy didn’t like to get him angry because it scared her. It had happened before. He said he didn’t mean to scare her, but did anyway. That’s the trouble when someone as big as he is, doesn’t realize how physically intimidating he is.
I also began to realize that I was truly in the clutches of a narcissist. I had suspected it for a while, but thought he couldn’t really be that bad. But there were so many elements of narcissism that sounded very familiar….. (See here for details.)
Even though Richard was the one who brought me to Orthodoxy as an answer to my faith questions, and helped me all the way through, so that I looked to him as my mentor–Richard wasn’t the only reason I chose Orthodoxy.
That was also because of the influence of various Orthodox forums, such as The Ancient Way and OrthodoxChristianity.net (I was Nyssa). It was from reading Orthodox books and websites and the River of Fire, and speaking to the priest at the local Greek Orthodox Church, then attending there for more than two years before converting.
My former mentor Richard told me that I knew far more about Orthodoxy than he did when he joined.
While my faith has indeed taken a beating for the reasons I stated previously in Fighting the Darkness, I didn’t choose Orthodoxy to please him, but because I came to believe it.
Pulling it back again has been hard, but it’s slowly and steadily returning.
Ironically, it was his child abuse charges which helped me believe in God again.
Before, I was baffled why, if there truly was a God, He would go to so much trouble to get this person into my life, have him help me find my way to Orthodoxy, then yank him back out again in such horrible circumstances, leaving me a shell of myself, beaten down and battered emotionally.
In my limited sight, it made no sense at all, so I could only pray that this former mentor would repent of his many wrongs to my husband and me, get his wife to see the light as well, and the friendship would be restored.
I wondered how he could go so long without making any move whatsoever to restore a friendship which had provided him with so much help and love and moral support while his family was going through hard times, a friendship which he said was so dear to him.
But when I discovered these charges, that he could likely go to jail for many years for choking his own daughter, I realized that God had been there all along:
First, He put this person into my life for a time to help me find my way spiritually, but eventually I would have to “kill the Buddha” when I realized how screwed-up my mentor actually was, when I thought he was pious and righteous.
I was there to help him as well with various things, and influence him, try to pull him back from the brink of abuse and domestic violence. God wants him and his wife saved just as much as He wants me saved.
But ultimately the choice was his and his wife’s to choose abuse or salvation. They chose abuse.
And God pulled me out just in time, as the choking incident occurred just a little more than two and a half months after the blowup of the friendship proved to my husband and me just how selfish, self-centered and violent these two people are even to friends.
Now, I have killed the Buddha and gone on without him, but with my own church congregation still there. (No, Richard’s family normally does not go there, but to a different church, though they have visited on occasion even after the breakup.)
One day during Liturgy, while gazing at the icon of the Theotokos painted on the ceiling, I wondered again about reconciliation. I got the insight that No, not now, because they have their own problems which need to be resolved before I can even think about reconciling with them.
I can only hope that one day, Richard will repent and make amends. He needs to make them not just to me, but to my husband, and to his own children.
As for Tracy, she also needs to make amends, to Richard, to her children and to me, but it seems unlikely that she ever will, thanks to what seems to be a personality disorder (borderline, which her mother has, and/or narcissism).
I’ve now basically written her off as a lost cause, and taken everything she ever said about me and relegated it to the refuse pile as being cruel and ridiculous, not based in any sort of reality. Whenever my mind starts going there again, wondering if any of her words were true, I yank it back out again.
I think back over my college days and realize that, again and again, I was the dupe of narcissists. In those days, it was the search for romance that led me into their clutches; now, it was the search for friendship.
I read somewhere that narcissists are like a drug: You crave them, get high, feel drained afterwards, then when the drug is taken away from you, you have to go through detox. And that detox can be very long and painful.
I also realize that this is the second time I’ve been through this.
The first time was during my first Orthodox Lent, February 2007. My first spiritual mentor, from childhood and through college, was my dad. Then in 2007, my mom called me and began telling me some shocking things.
I won’t go into it, but a crisis nearly split the family, and things had been hidden from me (though not from my brothers) for my entire life.
I remember thinking then that if I didn’t have Orthodoxy (and, ironically, Richard, who was my spiritual mentor starting in 2006 and helped me through this crisis along with my priest), that my faith would have shattered. I was Nazarene for most of my life because of my dad.
On my favorite Orthodox forum is a common belief that when you convert to Orthodoxy, the Devil begins attacking you, trying to pull you out of it. Posters there talk about their own experiences with such things, such as car accidents and spiritual tests.
Maybe I am exactly where I belong, then, because if there is no God, or if there’s nothing of value in Orthodoxy, then why would the Devil so aggressively attack my faith?
It’s never gone through anything like this battering before. Before, any emotional or other crises only made my faith stronger. But now the core of that very faith is being attacked.
But now there is one thing I know: That I must stop mourning the loss of Richard’s friendship. That it wasn’t worth my grief. For a long time it seemed to be worth the work it took to keep it going, but that was an illusion.
I thought Richard was pious and righteous, but that, too, was an illusion. The time I grieved over the loss of his friendship, I was in denial over his own violence. I kept seeing the good in him, where others would have written him off long before.
But then I heard about the charges against him, and verified through his mug shot and address posted on the local newspaper’s website that it was, indeed, him. Through the newspaper website I also discovered what he had done.
Then I began to stop grieving over him, stop wishing he would repent and return to my husband and me.
I have been vindicated; my concerns over abuse have been confirmed. It has been proven to me and to the world that we were right to end the friendship, that the opinions of Richard and Tracy about me are not worth taking to heart, that my accusers were themselves the criminals.
It has been proven that Tracy has no business lecturing me about my behavior, because her own has been so egregiously bad and evil. I must consider the source every time my mind starts to ponder her words yet again, and reject them utterly as ridiculous.
Especially since the various things that she grabbed ahold of as being such foul behavior, are actually perfectly normal and acceptable behavior among my groups of friends.
I hoped that Richard would have a lot of time to think in jail, but now he won’t be going to jail. However, even if Richard does some day come to us, wanting to restore a friendship, he will have to not only be extremely contrite, but he will also have to prove that he has learned from his mistakes and has turned away from his violent, abusive ways.
He manipulated me into believing he already did this, but then proved that he had not, by doing something so horrible that his own daughter turned him in to the police to protect herself.
She was a very brave girl, and her actions have almost certainly drawn the attention of CPS (who knows about all these other things) as well as the police, so hopefully they will lead to positive changes.
Two years after I wrote this post, I still struggle with faith, but a few things came to mind today when I was supposed to be listening to Father’s sermon:
I don’t want to go into detail, but my husband and I have had some money disagreements in the past. I’m the “accountant” of the household, and he gave me authority to make financial decisions for reasons I also don’t want to go into. But there were disagreements about those decisions. Those disagreements were brought to a resolution.
Yesterday, he made some comments that made me think he was scolding me all over again, bringing up again what I thought had been settled. I let it pass without much comment, but poured out my frustrations to God last night, not knowing what to make of this.
Then today, out of the blue, my husband realized I took him seriously, and explained he was only teasing. I explained that the past disagreements caused me to take him seriously.
In short, it was a misunderstanding on my part, and now it was all resolved. This was a huge relief.
During the sermon, I realized that God had directly and swiftly answered my prayer. Then more things came to mind, times when God seemed to have abandoned me, but was right there all along:
1) My first breakup of a love relationship (not just a short puppy-love) was from Peter. He had used his own narcissistic webs to make me think we were meant for each other, so much so that we formed a mental Link with each other.
When he broke things off, he turned so cruel and changed so much from the person I fell in love with, that I actually wondered if demons had taken control of him. (I was very much influenced by Pat Robertson and Charismatic thinking about the spirit world, which is dramatized in This Present Darkness.)
I fell into a deep, dark depression that lasted for months. But as time proved, he and I would have been a terrible match: I wanted a clean-cut husband; he abandoned his clean-cut ways, and turned to drinking, smoking and weed. My beliefs demanded that I marry a fellow Christian; he also abandoned Christianity, and turned to Paganism.
2) My second major breakup was Phil, with whom I had exchanged marriage vows. Because we had gone so far, and because I had never been the outgoing kind of person who can easily find dates, I fell into another funk, believing that Phil and I were supposed to be together, that divorce would violate Christ’s command that the married stay married.
But he was emotionally, verbally and sexually abusive, manipulating my mind and heart. He could have destroyed me if I had legally married him.
Our beliefs demanded that we not have sex before marriage, so we exchanged vows. If we had not done this, if we had either stayed virgins (technically, though not really) or eloped to make our vows legal, his dark side may never have manifested until we got legally married, maybe even had a child together.
Often, abusers don’t show their true colors until after marriage. So I do not regret the path I chose with Phil, because it led to his true colors showing before I became legally bound to him. His wife was not so fortunate: He knocked her up, so they “had” to get married. Now they have been divorced for several years.
Now, I believe that Richard and Tracy were put into my life so I could play an important role: the one to confront them with their abuses, and to report them to Social Services.
It was important, but also extremely difficult. It took a year of reflection and research before I even reported them, only to find that their daughter had already reported Richard for choking her.
But my report means that Social Services has another perspective on their abuses, a separate voice confirming whatever they came up with as they investigated the choking incident. I don’t know if I told them anything they didn’t already know, but I am another witness.
However, my role has put me into a challenging and emotionally taxing position. I have been threatened by Richard and Tracy, and stalked for more than a year. I have had to face the fact that the one I once revered as a beloved and righteous spiritual mentor, has turned against me for speaking out and telling the truth.
I don’t know why it had to be me. (Why me? Why not somebody else?) Maybe they behaved themselves around their other friends. Maybe I was the only one, outside of Richard’s family, to whom he told Tracy’s abuses.
Todd stayed with them but didn’t see Tracy’s abuses, so maybe they behaved themselves around him, or maybe the children were too young to start receiving her abuses. (I noted that the babies would be babied, but children 3+ would start being abused verbally and physically.)
I don’t think Richard told Todd the things he told me about Tracy, even though they were close at the time. I don’t know why he did not tell Todd these things.
Maybe their other friends had similar parenting views and didn’t see a whack on the head as abuse. Maybe their friends who broke off relations with them (we were not the first), either did not witness the abuse, or chose not to report it.
All I know is that I was the one who had to do it. Well, I and the child who was choked. That is why this person was put in my life when I prayed for a friend.
If it were easy to do the right thing, anyone could have done it. I guess God decided I was the one capable of doing it.
My husband and I believe Richard and Tracy realized this as well. We believe this is why they began abusing me again in the spring of 2010, after they had been nice to me for a while.
That this is why they lied, screamed, and abused me in various ways over a misunderstanding, then refused to apologize or admit wrongdoing or my innocence.
That it’s because they knew I was capable of reporting them, and wanted me out, where I could no longer witness their abuses.
There is no way to conclusively prove that God exists. But if He does, then I see his work here, his hand, leading and guiding me even in the darkness. And the light is shining through.
This blog post freaked me out just now, because it sounded so much like what Richard put me through, that I wondered if it was about him–a man who befriends fragile women, makes them trust him, then begins to devalue and discard them.
I came across it while reading through a blog by a suicidal BPD woman, who does want treatment for her BPD but is finding it hard to come by:
We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood
If someone with BPD admits to having this disorder and tries to get it treated, I am more inclined to compassion. It’s the person who destroys others but tells them it’s their fault, like I witnessed in Tracy, that I can’t abide.