svengali

Svengalis, Love Bombing, Hypnotism, and Narcissists

Svengali keeps reminding me of Richard.  Svengalis exist in real life, not just in fiction.

The word “svengali” has come to refer to a person who, sometimes with evil intent, controls another person by persuasion or deceit. The Svengali may feign kindness and use manipulation to get the other person to yield his or her authority. –Wikipedia, Svengali

The story of Svengali is neatly summarized in Steve Taylor’s classic song, “Svengali”:

Blue shadows
a Venetian parade
eyes on a starlet who was yet to be made
he had the thin blue lips
and a fingerless glove
he was a hunter for a prey
to put his prints on

chorus:
Oh, Svengali
oh, Svengali
wide eyes mesmerize
ain’t he clever
oh, Svengali

He set stages from Vienna to Rome
he promised flowers and footlights
if she’d only leave home
when he secured her passage on an Aegean ship
she didn’t know of the power
in an evil man’s grip

Gone
cried the madman
as he slapped her to life
and then a cold wind slowly sucked him into the night
so come away
to the refuge they can never control
they’ll try to steal your body
but they can’t touch your soul

It was popularly believed that George du Maurier later used the hypnotic control Nicolas-Charles Bochsa is said to have had over Anna Bishop as the basis for the characters Svengali and Trilby in his 1894 novel Trilby. —Anna Bishop, Wikipedia

Anna Bishop was a famous opera singer and Bochsa her manager and accompanist (he played the harp).  While investigating the sources cited by Wikipedia, I found this quote (posted online by the National Library of New Zealand) in the Poverty Bay Herald, 28 October 1896, from Frederick Lyster,

a well-known manager, who was business head of Mme. Bishop’s company in an Australian tour.

Mr. Lyster says: –“The book of ‘Trilby,’ and the play as produced by Manager A.M. Palmer, seem to be founded on the career of Anna Bishop, for Svengali is simply an exaggerated presentation of Bochsa, her musical director, while the Madame of the story is a replica of Lizzie Phelan, dame de champagnie, the very shadow of the great artist for nearly 40 years.

“The relations between the singer and the harpist were purely professional yet his will dominated her every action.  He rehearsed her songs in the strictest privacy, and when illness prevented Bochsa’s presence at general rehearsals Mme. Bishop would also remain away, leaving me to rehearse the band without her.  On these occasions some of the clever instrumentalists would remark, ‘Bishop’s brains are sickabed.’

“Although Bochsa’s influence over the prima donna was evidently paramount, I never saw him descend to the slightest familiarities.  He was her maestro, her friend, her guide, and nothing more, while she was almost childlike in her meek submission and dependence upon him.

“Personally she was a sweet, amiable woman, apparently without individual will power, and without even the faintest sense of ambition.  She sang and acted because she was told to do so, seemingly as if in a prolonged dream.  Even when pitted by Bochsa against Jenny Lind she appeared to take no interest in the rivalry, but obeyed and trusted to Bochsa and the management for the rest.”

I haven’t read the book Trilby or seen the other movie versions, but sandra-168 writes in an IMDB review,

Both the Svengali films (1931, 1954) differ from the Trilby novel, especially in the endings. In the book, after Svengali died Trilby was left in a weak psychological state that led to physical illness from which she never recovered.

A mysterious painting of Svengali in a military uniform arrived by courier to symbolize his return to take her. She uttered his name three times and died shortly after. Billy also died not too long after that.

Mrs. Bagot forgave Trilby and actually admired her for her humility and good nature. Taffy eventually married Billy’s sister and they lived a happy life.

The films dwelt heavily on the hypnotic trance that Svengali used to control Trilby. In the earlier film, Trilby never awoke as she immediately followed Svengali to her own death.

In the later film, it was implied that she awoke from the trance to start a new life with Billy after Svengali died. Both of the accounts are creative departures from the novel, and the later film is even misleading.

You can watch the 1931 version here.

The first few minutes of the movie, especially, remind me of Richard’s power over me.  The ill-fated singing student was so under Svengali’s spell that she would die for him.  When he cut her loose, she committed suicide.  And he wasn’t even at all handsome, and with his poor hygiene, must have smelled awful.

I, too, was devoted to Richard, and I noted–from a combination of his stories and what I observed in his other friends, such as Todd, and Chris, who even fought tooth and nail with his own wife to be with Richard–that he had a powerful effect on people.

He didn’t shower often enough, but after a short time in his presence, it no longer mattered.  When he devalued and discarded me, I, too, began to wish for death to end the pain.

I also noted that when Todd felt devalued and discarded by Richard, he was sucked into the whole drama, showing signs of dismay which came out in the things he wrote online.

And that when Todd found out that Richard choked one of his children, he felt sick over letting himself be friends with–and influenced by–Richard.  Demonstrating that he, also, felt influenced and persuaded by Richard.

He, too, has moved away from Richard’s political influence in the years since Todd was devalued and discarded, now becoming more of a Democrat like me.

And there were various other influences as well, at least on my end: His religious influence is subtle but strong.

Real-life Svengalis don’t use the magical hypnotism of the movies, but there are real-life versions of hypnotism.  I was hypnotized once by my child psychologist, a trained professional, not a stage hypnotist.  I was aware the whole time, and didn’t think it was working, but when taken out of it, realized that I had indeed been put under a spell.  I was relaxed, felt very odd, and noted the change in my perceptions when I came out.

Svengali taking away the girl’s headache through hypnotism, brought back to mind my ninja ex-boyfriend Peter’s claim to do the same.  He would put two fingers together, press them to his temple, then take the pain from my head into his own, where he would then use his ninja training to eradicate the pain.  Peter also hypnotized me a few times–though it was done with my knowledge and at my request.  Story here.

Sonny’s powers of persuasion in The Apostle seem hypnotic; note that it is real-life, high-pressure salesman style, not magic.

Also, if you’ve ever been to a contemporary-style worship service, note how the music leader does a few rock/pop songs, then slows it way down with repetitive choruses which are meant to get you swaying, throwing up your hands and “feeling the Spirit.”

Altar calls can be similar, with slow, inviting, repetitive music (such as “Just As I Am”) playing with or without the congregation singing, and the preacher repeating in a low-toned voice, “Come to the altar….Say yes to Jesus….”

Doesn’t that sound like hypnotism and mind control?  It’s done without the congregation realizing they’re being controlled, and though they did come to the service, they did not outright say, “Yes, please hypnotize us into thinking we’re feeling the Spirit rather than an emotional high from the music; please hypnotize us into becoming Christians.”

I began checking out of Evangelicalism and looking elsewhere, in my late 20s and early 30s, as I began to realize how I was being controlled.

Richard probably had experience with this as well, having grown up in and once been a preacher in Pentecostal churches–where he faked speaking in tongues, and the congregation bought it.  He also had just the kind of voice–deep and sonorous–that could hypnotize easily.

There is also (allegedly) conversational hypnosis, along with various other forms of mind control.  See here, in which Anna Valerious writes,

At the end of my commentary I’ll be providing a link to an interesting article on what is going on in your brain during hypnosis. Scientists have come to recognize and respect that hypnosis is something real. Real in the sense that it is possible to affect how someone may think or act by applying certain techniques….

Hypnosis is not magic. It is not supernatural. It is really quite simply a process that takes advantage of how our brains naturally work. It is potentially a very powerful tool of mind control and is therefore a dangerous tool.

I think it is wrong to assume control of another person’s mind for any reason. Humanity is too morally weak to always be benevolent with this type of power. But I am convinced that it is imperative to understand how hypnosis works because we’ve all been affected by it at some time or other.

The narcissist’s primary weapon of choice is that of hypnotic suggestion. Your best defense is to know yourself. Know how to recognize when someone is trying to hypnotize you by seeing the signs in your own reactions.

For the easiest and best handbook on how to recognize when hypnosis is coming at you I will again highly recommend the book, “Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry” by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D. He takes all the mystery out of hypnosis and gives practical advice on how to evade it.

Joyful Alive Woman writes,

I was under H’s spell. I couldn’t get enough of her. I became Codependent with her. It was pathetic.

No one else had that effect upon me, nor had they ever. My relationships with others were different.

That isn’t to say those relationships weren’t challenging, but there was a ‘hypnotic and obsessive quality’ to the relationship with H (strong characteristics of a codependent, dysfunctional relationship). —Joyful Alive Woman, from her blog

H had her so enthralled that, even though she didn’t acknowledge that JAW had wisdom and insight of her own, and her own superior attitude sometimes inspired JAW to rebel, JAW was always the one to go crawling back, contrite, while her objections were swept under the rug.

Richard actually came out and told me one day that he had learned a form of hypnotism from a professional hypnotist, a combination of eye tricks and words.  He said this guy taught him how to hypnotize girls to dance with him and go out with him–and it worked.  He used it often.  He said he used it on me.

It was during the time he lived with my husband and me, during our many conversations.  He said I would resist telling him something, put up a “block,” but he would use the hypnotism to get me to open up and tell it to him.

He didn’t tell me what I said, how often this happened, or when he used it.  I certainly had no idea he ever did this to me.  But he said he was so used to doing this to people that he would do it without even realizing it.  But another time after this, he told me he had stopped doing it.  So–could he or could he not control it?

I know I did not imagine this conversation, because much of it was on IRC, so I printed it up and saved it.  I’ve re-read it; my husband has read it.  At the time, I thought it was really cool.

Now, I see it as highly manipulative.  After all, he had gotten me to open up so much with him–so much more than I usually do with people–that for me to resist telling him something, it must have been very personal, very private.

Conversational techniques help even a stranger open up to you. With this powerful hypnosis you can quickly build up a rapport with a stranger who can reveal many inner things and you can easily instruct her to do things your way.

It is important to constantly smile while performing this way of hypnosis. Look straight into her eyes and maintain the contact for two seconds while you remain confident. You may now shift your eyes but keep the smile.  This will put the girl at ease and while you perform hypnosis successfully.

Start with some smart talk and keep appreciating and showering her with sweet words. Once you build a sexual rapport, the girl is yours and you know what to do. —Conversational Hypnosis

Richard did have this magnetism about him that I couldn’t explain, what with his hygiene issues and losing his looks.  It seemed to constantly be catching women in its tractor beam, and even men, heterosexual men!

The websites and videos I’ve been finding about hypnotism and influencing people, talk about how to make people love being around you by reflecting to them what they’re like, what they want to find in a friend, and doing various other things that pull them to you.

So–what exactly did he get me to say?  But when he told me about this, it was more than a year later, and it just sounded cool.  I trusted him too much to suspect he was not telling me everything.  But now, I do suspect.

Even now I have trouble breaking free from the spell he wove.  I keep thinking of the good things, and have to remind myself of the bad things, why Jeff and I broke off the friendship.  I see him reading something on my blog that makes it look like he still cares, and have to catch myself, fight off getting back into his control.

More pages about this kind of hypnosis, showing why I find it appalling that he used this on me.  They talk about such things as making a person “addicted” to you through hypnosis.

I was addicted to Richard, which is common among those who are caught in the web of a narcissist, not just those who are romantically involved but friends, even same-sex heterosexual friends.  Todd, Chris and other friends also seemed addicted to him.

And these pages show how such a web could easily have been woven through these techniques, such things as using a deep, slow tone, pointing to yourself at certain times, using certain wording, or arousing pity, things which don’t require “magic” or even a crystal, things which you can find every day in advertisements, and even in many church worship services:

Conversational hypnosis: how to hypnotize women
Conversational Hypnosis.net
Using NLP Hypnotic Language Patterns
Put Girls Under Hypnosis In Three Easy Steps
Conversational Hypnosis Tricks

The science of hypnotizing others without someone being aware of it is all about the art of subconscious communication. Whatever may be your motive behind it, you can use the phenomenon of subconscious mind control to effect a marked change in the way others view you and respond to you, leading to their acting in the manner you want them to do….

Arouse pity in others: It has been observed that when feelings of pity, mercy and sympathy are stirred in people’s hearts their crystallized egos melt away, leaving them vulnerable to your influences.

One of the ways to bring it about is to use your power of imagination to invent a pitiable and pathetic condition for yourself and confide it in them. An instant rapport will be established between both of you enabling you to implant your suggestions. —How to Secretly Hypnotize Someone in 3 Minutes Or Less

“Yes, Thomas! I Want To Learn The Secrets Of Controlling Others And Make Them Do What I Want With Conversational Hypnosis!”–Conversational Hypnosis.net

I Also Reveal How To:…’hypnotize’ seemingly ordinary people to follow you simply because you have an attractable presence they’re almost addicted to. —The art of covert hypnosis.com

I have developed a way to get women to imagine “doing sexual things you with you” and doing it by directly saying it to her (but smoothly removing yourself from the picture where you’re there–meaning she’ll unconsciously associate those things with you, but to her conscious mind, you aren’t there.

This technique is astounding and even funny. Hardly anybody ever notices that you’re doing it. –Nathan Blaszak, Secret Seduction Techniques

If you are the hypnotist you should maintain eye contact with the subject for just a couple of seconds longer than normal and then shift your eyes away.  This should be frequently repeated during the conversation and will lead to arousing primal thoughts in her mind making her open to being seduced….

Mirror and match her gestures during the conversation….She will experience a strong feeling of familiarity and will want to be close to you….You can also try matching speech patterns and posture. —How to Hypnotize Women

Weasel Phrases come in two forms both useful in covert hypnosis: 1 – A combination of words that when put together form another word in the middle that is not perceived by the conscious mind, but is heard by the subconscious mind. …

2 – A “set up” phrase which is used to set up the following command as a powerful suggestion. –Learn to Use Covert Hypnosis; page has disappeared from Web, but a snippet can still be found here

 

One site–which unfortunately I didn’t copy down and am having trouble finding again–talked about telling stories and making suggestions about things that get her subconsciously imagining doing these things with you.  And Richard did occasionally make remarks that were “TMI” or brags about his sexual prowess that sound very much like this.

I wondered at the time if he told me these things to get me curious.  I still wonder.  And with his past as a self-professed dog with women, it was possible–even with his now-religious persona.

Of course, I can’t be certain this was on his agenda.  He could have just been using hypnosis to get me to open up about things I didn’t want to talk about.  But it’s still manipulative, either way.  And I know that the “other” agenda was on his mind when he used this technique to get girls to dance with him.

Hypnosis, with its long and checkered history in medicine and entertainment, is receiving some new respect from neuroscientists. Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information.

The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true. –Sandra Blakeslee, How Hypnosis is Gaining Respect

Discounting objective information — You’ve been swept off your feet in no time flat. You’re loving how you feel around this person — so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person.

Or, if you do hear things you don’t want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He’s different with you. He was different back then.

When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you’re very happy in this little fantasy that’s been created for you and don’t want the bubble popped.

You’re in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc. –Anna Valerious, Signs You’ve Been Hypnotized

 

There was also the time Richard gave me a strange stare–an intent stare, which felt extremely inappropriate to me, like he had something on his mind that shouldn’t be, so I kept trying to break it by moving my eyes.  But he kept staring.  (This was in August 2008, as we chatted while watching The Apostle.)

He seemed to be staring me down, but there was no reason: He was not angry, and was not trying to get me to agree with a point; he just said some things about him or his life.  I forget what exactly he was talking about, just that he suddenly got quiet and hit me with this long stare.

Ever after, I remembered the stare and wondered what that was all about.

When he later told me about the hypnotism, I thought that stare was him trying to hypnotize me, as you can read here.  When I read about the “narcissistic stare” in 2011, I thought, that’s what he was doing!:

The Narcissistic Stare

The narcissistic stare has been experienced by many of us who have had the misfortune to associate with Ns. Presumably, not every N does The Stare but from all reports, a significant majority does.

The N’s stare is piercing, unwavering, reptilian. Seemingly flattering, this stare is unnerving–and is meant to be unnerving. The Ns look right through you.

A woman who is not familiar with Ns might think he is simply paying complete and rapt attention to her but he is not. The Ns are staring at you to see how vulnerable you are.

Some believe that the Ns use their stare to look through you to your soul for the sole purpose of determining whether you are viable prey or not.

Once you are in a relationship with an N, they stare at you in order to control you. Their withering glare is meant to cow you into submission. It is a strong woman indeed who does not back down under the malevolent narcissistic stare. –Pat Finley, Spotting the Wild Narcissist Part 2

1. Narcissistic Stare

Narcissists, indeed, stare intently when they intend to captivate their interlocutor or secure a new Source of Narcissistic Supply. It is as though they are trying to both gauge their impact on others and hypnotize them into submission. –Dr. Sam Vaknin, Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List

The Narcissist’s Stare

It is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the “predatorial” (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of “being eaten.”

They tend to invade peoples’ space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)…

Trance & hypnosis also factor into the psychopaths modus operandi….

The Psychopath, like anyone else, can induce trance in others. Just surf the net under “Seduction Techniques” and you will see a hundred web sites teaching men how to use covert hypnotic and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to bypass a woman’s cognitive resistance to being “picked up” or “seduced.” If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be so many men using these techniques.

However, psychopaths are different from these mere seduction students because most psychopaths don’t have to be taught how to use trance states, hypnosis, and suggestion. They are naturals at these….

Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring and women seem to mistake this predatory stare for “sexuality.”

I remember being stared down in a pub by a male friend, I felt uncomfortable, and mistook that sign for “sexuality” and “attraction.”…

Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of the predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them.

Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others. –PND, The Stare of the Psychopath: What Lies Behind Those Eyes?

The psychopath’s stare has its own allure and may be effective in the early luring stages.  Many women, before they knew he was a psychopath, thought it was sexy. The stare has its own connection to trance induction. Even trained hypnotists say “Stare into my eyes.” …

Dr. Reid Melloy, in his book, Violent Attachments says that women and men have noted the psychopath’s unusual and unnerving stare. He referred to the stare as a “relentless gaze that seems to preclude the psychopath’s destruction of his victim or target.”

It’s also often referred to as The Reptilian Gaze because of its primitive predatory look.  Robert Hare referred to the psychopath’s gaze as “intense eye contact and piercing eyes” and even suggested that people avoid having consistent eye contact with them.

Other writers refer to it as a “laser beam stare” or an “empty hypnotic look.”  Our women labeled the gaze, “intense,” “sensual,” “disturbing” and intrusive.” …

Women have also described his look as invasive, intimidating…looking them up and down like an animal. Women mistook it for a sexual once-over when in all likelihood it was more predatory than that. Eye gazing as trance induction means that the words that follow the induction are seared in her mind with much more meaning and lasting power. –Sandra L. Brown, p. 67-68, Women Who Love Psychopaths

So what felt to me like an inappropriate stare, was most likely a narcissistic or hypnotic stare.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, I had just been reading about the movie Holy Smoke, and said to Jeff, “It’s a good thing Richard isn’t a guru for some weird religion.”  Jeff said, “Yes–Oh, wait, he is!  You kiss pieces of wood!”

You see, even Jeff had noted how strongly Richard influenced me and others into converting to Orthodoxy, where you kiss icons.

Richard was very persuasive with his words; even his wife noted it, when explaining why he was not to assault the apartment manager.

Love bombing is also a common tactic used by abusers and narcissists.  Not only does it happen in spiritually abusive cults and churches, but it also happens in other cases.  It’s used by narcissists/abusers to suck in their narcissistic supply.  Then when they hook you, they devalue and discard you, leaving you wondering what just happened.

This happened with Richard, who initially would tell me things like, “You’re the most awesome person I know,” and make me feel like his most special platonic friend, then began to subtly devalue and discard me, making me wonder why–and leaving me constantly feeling paranoid.  I don’t feel that way with other friends.

“Love Bombing” refers to the show of (genuine or feigned) love and affection that a motivated individual or group bestows upon their “mark” in order to endear themselves.

The “mark,” (the person that a manipulator “marks” or targets as an object to be exploited) in a very subjective response to the overwhelming, pleasant experience of the great show of affection, becomes highly unlikely to recognize or even consider any negative information about the manipulator.

The “mark” does not realize the subtle and very powerful influence that the manipulator has initiated because their experience has been so pleasant.

The “mark” does not realize that their reasoning shifts from an objective perspective into a very subjective, emotional and experiential one.

The situation exploits deeply personal, very human needs, wants and desires so that the “mark” will likely not notice any hint of manipulation until they are deeply invested, entrenched or dependent upon the manipulator in some way so as to make leaving the relationship very difficult. –Cindy, Beware the Love Bomb

Many women and men have died hanging onto this fallacy. If you do some studying of how cults gain the trust and loyalty of their members, you will see that the machinations that the psychopath uses to lure you into the relationship are NO DIFFERENT.

What is very frightening about this, is that cult members will hang on so tightly to the pseudo love the psychopath instilled in them at the beginning, they would DIE for the leader.

There are too many examples in history to show us the power of love bombing. David Koresh is one example, as was Jim Jones. While looking at it on the outside, it’s hard to fathom, right?

But why? This is exactly what we were doing in the relationship.  Fortunately, many of us will get out, but there are so many more who will not, as they blindly and dependently hold onto the psychopath’s initial presentation with love bombing and feigned devotion.

There is more to it than all the illusion that comes with this. Many of us are vulnerable when the psychopath happens on the scene. Many of us come from abuse backgrounds and psychopaths know it. Even loneliness can make you a target, but generally speaking there is more going on within us, that makes it open season for the psychopath to infiltrate our lives….

When you are out of the relationship,  the love bombing the psychopath has done will be the greatest force with your cognitive dissonance, your obsessive and intrusive thoughts.

Your thoughts will not go immediately to the bad, it will go to THAT stage in the beginning when he was so NICE and LOVING and GIVING to you…it will not take into account the abuse. It will feel very much like an uncontrollable, addictive pull.

The addictive pull is related to the confusion regarding the love bombing he has done, and the abuse he committed afterward. Which one is the man you got into the relationship with?

People fail to understand that the abuse didn’t begin with the first WTF moment or evil act. It started at the very beginning with manipulative deception. —Why The “Love Bombing” stage Is The Most Dangerous Phase of the Psychopathic Bond

Julie Anne also speaks of being love-bombed at the church which sued her for defamation for her blog, and lost.  She writes,

I know when we arrived at that church, if I would have been told that spanking of adult children was acceptable, I would have said, “I’m outta here – that’s crazy/abusive stuff.”

So . . . . . it led me to question . . . . . when did this subject get brought up during our two years there?  It was definitely in the first year because Hannah left after the first year and she was spanked.

When it was brought up, how did the shift happen in my mind – where initially I would have rejected it and labeled it as abuse, but later spanking teens/adult children was somehow considered acceptable, permissible, even more appropriate than not spanking adult children? …

Thinking back, in my mind, I always hated it.  But I think I justified the hate because I was physically abused my entire childhood. I squelched my normal emotional response because I didn’t trust it to be valid based on my frame of reference with my childhood abuse.

Also, this seemed different.  This spanking was not done in a rage or in anger.  It was done with a purpose.  When I was abused, it was about rage and anger, it was unpredictable, for no apparent reason.

So, I justified this “discipline” in my mind as “good” – after all, a pastor has our best interest in mind, right?  He wouldn’t lead us astray.  I needed someone to trust.  So many of my father figures had abandoned or abused me, but this man was caring for our souls – he was caring for us as parents and for our children, right???

We were told it was love to discipline our children.  That it was unloving or even hatred against God to NOT discipline them – essentially, we would be enemies of God for not doing the right thing by disciplining (abusing) them in love.  And besides, everyone else was doing it.

Most of the people there I’m sure did not have the abusive background that I had, they were more emotionally stable and rational, and if they believed our pastor to be trustworthy and to show us the biblical way of parenting, and they followed through with his ways of doing things, then my negative emotions were really not valid and I shouldn’t trust them.

I loved the people at church.  They were good parents who loved their children.  That was plain to see.  They were kind and loving and I know they wouldn’t do anything to hurt their children.

They became my barometer for me.  If they were doing it and had no problems with it, then it must be the right way of doing things.   Of course our church would have the best ways of parenting – we did everything better than other churches.  That is how my mind worked.  That is how I came to condone the ABUSE of my daughter.

So you see that love-bombing is all part of keeping you under control.  In the same way, after he’d been love-bombing me, Richard found me susceptible to believing him about all sorts of things: politics, spanking of children, his unbelievably eventful and wild and name-dropping life story, and of course, the perfect innocence and appropriateness of the things he did here.

If I was upset with him, all he had to do was talk to me about it (over the phone) or look at me a certain way and my anger would evaporate.  I noticed even then how quickly and easily he made it go away, and mentioned it to my husband once, wondering how he did it.

So while magical hypnosis of the kind used by Svengali may be Hollywood fiction, and the kind used on the college circuit may be parlor tricks–hypnotism, love-bombing, and other mind control tactics used by narcissists, cults and high-pressure salesmen, are very real. 

Svengali could be your pastor, your lover, your best friend, your employer, your senator.  Keep an eye out.

 

Fighting the Darkness: Stockholm Syndrome?

Part of my trouble dealing with this issue is wondering how my best friend could turn on me like Richard did.

Stockholm Syndrome can explain it.  From a blog by Jennifer Kesler about the Hillary Adams video:

If you’re wondering how a woman could get to the point of helping her husband beat their child, you need to understand this: when you’re living with someone who gets that violent anytime anyone stands up to him, you don’t stand up to him.

You either become very passive, or you become his collaborator in hopes of mitigating the damage. That’s what we’re seeing here – a mitigating collaborator.

The mother calmly agrees with every argument the judge makes, because arguing with him would only escalate his temper. She takes over the beating not because she enjoys it – that’s clear from her demeanor – but because she’s hoping it will lessen his anger and protect Hilary from his more painful lashes.

Several times she says “That’s en…” and stops herself because that constitutes standing up to him. As hard as it is to stomach, this is clearly a woman doing the best she can under circumstances that are as FUBAR as any war situation. —Hillary Adams: child abuse on film

There’s also the FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) in which spouses of abusers are often kept.  Richard’s betrayal of me, even his intimidation of my husband for sticking up for me, could be seen as all part of trying to pacify his raging wife.

So I do hope that one day, he’ll come out of that FOG and realize just what he did, and come to us to make amends.  But there would still be the separate issues of threatening my husband several days earlier, which had nothing to do with Tracy, and nearly killing his daughter.

Hubby and I don’t know what we’ll do if he does come to us trying to make amends.  We decided we would just play it by ear.

There has been no church for a couple of weeks as my priest has been on vacation, so there have been no more surprises, no anxieties.  But this weekend, church starts up again, and as I do every time I go to church, I’ll be checking the parking lot for Richard and Tracy’s vehicle.

The initial shock, dismay and sadness stirred by seeing Richard again, has dissipated, and once again I feel anger at him for his abusive behaviors.  I want him far from me; I feel calmer.

I want to fight for the end of abuse of all kinds, of child abuse, of domestic violence; I read articles on people who did far less to their kids, but still ended up with jail time, or five years probation, and wonder, Why isn’t Richard in jail???!!!

I don’t want him to show up again like he did a couple of weeks ago and put me back in that dark place of depression and missing him.  I don’t want to miss him.

I want to remember him as a narcissist, Svengali and child abuser who duped me into believing all sorts of things that weren’t true, not as my BFF and spiritual mentor.

Seeing him brings it all back again and rips open the wound.  And if he had any sensitivity at all, he’d realize this.

The simple fact of the matter is, vaguely saying he blames himself for everything does not count as an apology for his violence or his betrayal, especially since right after he said this, he blamed me for Tracy’s verbal abuse, and lied to me, twice.

There are many who say that forgiveness is for when the offender asks for it.  When has he ever asked for it?  When has Tracy ever asked for it?  If they do not seek forgiveness from me, then I want them out of my life completely, leaving me in peace.

It is often easier for outsiders to see what’s going on because they’re not caught in the disorienting and invalidating mists of an emotional FOG.

To a mom, dad, sister, brother or best friend, it can be as clear as day, but when you have your mouth wrapped around the exhaust pipe of the Crazy Fogger 3000 night and day, it’s no wonder you can’t see the forest for the trees.

For anyone who’s ever walked or driven in atmospheric fogs, you know that being in a fog can play perceptual tricks on you. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, More Thoughts on FOG, Hoovers and No Contact When Ending a Relationship with a Narcissist, Borderline, Histrionic and/or Sociopath

The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended.

In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence.

The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive.

At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual. —From “Love and Stockholm Syndrome” by Dr. Joseph M. Carver, PhD

 

Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t

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 

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

 

Describing Richard’s narcissism

They Believe What?–The NonVerbal Cues Argument: Alan Eisenberg started his own blog to share his stories of childhood bullying, but it grew into a crusade.

Here, he questions the argument that kids get picked on because they miss nonverbal cues.  While this may have some truth to it–I come across this all the time when researching NVLD–Eisenberg makes a very important observation: This does NOT excuse the bullying:

While there may be truth to the study, to say that the victim has brought on the bullying by their inability to read non-verbal cues is equal in my eyes in saying a woman who is raped should have been able to predict this based on the way they behaved with the rapist.

Part of Tracy’s bullying was–according to what she and Richard said–because I didn’t pick up on her cues to start conversations, and apparently other cues may have been missed as well.  Their response was to excuse her bullying and hound me to pick up on the cues.  Which doesn’t work if you’re missing the cues….

I don’t know how long the long-term effects will last for me.  But I do recognize these traits which have sprung up in me because of the Tracy situation:

lingering feelings of anger and bitterness,

difficulty trusting people (as much as I want to make healthy and lasting friendships),

avoidance of social situations to some extent,

drifting into being a loner again,

wondering if I’m somehow easy to victimize or overly sensitive,

thinking of myself as a worm or a tramp even though I know I’m neither.

It’s just stupid to give into such negative thoughts, especially since I know they’re not true.

I’d like to think that if she knew I felt this way, Tracy would repent, apologize and become a better person, a true friend to me.  But I fear the reverse is true, based on how she reacted when we broke off the friendship abruptly after she verbally abused me.

[Update 4/27/14: I was correct about this, as proven by the stalking and intimidation campaign she started when she found this blog two years ago, and which continues to this day!]

Even a month later, she still blamed the abuse on me and claimed that I should “grow up” and just accept it as a consequence of my own actions.

But I call BS.  If I told her how her bullying and abuse has affected me, she’d probably just sniff and think I was being stupid or childish, that she has nothing to apologize for or repent of.

[Update 4/27/14: Once again, I was correct.  See here.]

This is probably how she feels about her children crying when she abuses them, too.  And this is why she has been booted from my life, why she is blocked from my Facebook profile, no matter what she might think.

It doesn’t help that I have this aspie trait: “Perseveration and the Broken Record.”  For more information on how it applies to me, see here.  [This blog post by Aspie Teacher no longer exists, but I think it may have been moved here.]  Pertinent quote:

I especially have trouble derailing myself when I am having trouble processing something. This can cause me great stress. I can feel that I have gotten stuck in a feedback loop.

My husband has been known to get very irritated with me when this happens. This only makes it worse, because I end up feeling guilty, stupid, and helpless that I can’t do anything to break the feedback loop.

Since receiving my official diagnosis over a year ago, my husband has tried to think of better ways of helping my brain switch gears when it gets stuck. Usually I just need to talk and have him listen without him judging me or trying to solve any problems.

I have come to realize that verbalizing what in in my head helps me process it, but this is not always an easy thing for me. I can’t always find the words to convey what I need to say.

Writing has become my voice. It helps me process the chaos that can develop in my brain. I also have found that what I need is understanding and encouragement. These two actions can do so much for a person.

Another blog post by someone diagnosed with perseveration:

Sometimes it happens when I am trying to diagnose a problem and I keep barking up the same solution.  Other times, it happens  emotionally.

My brain can get stuck on something emotionally and I keep going over it again and again.  Ruminating over past incidents becomes a bit of a tape that gets played over and over again.  I find I can ruminate over unhappy or unfair things a bit excessively. —The Broken Record of Perseveration

The thing is, I don’t think I did anything all that terrible.  I just wanted to spend time with, have fun with, and confide in my BFF (“best friend forever”), just like everybody else does.  I just wanted my BFF to know I cared, same as everybody else does.

I didn’t violate my personal beliefs or principles.  I don’t believe I crossed any boundaries.  (For that matter, someone who abuses others verbally and physically, does not get to lecture me about boundaries.)

So I refuse to let her get the upper hand or cuss me out or make me feel like a whore just because she’s insecure.

Should I put up with her crap just so I can have an active social life?  Of course not!

She’s the kind of person who has, time and again, driven me into isolation from others so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.  It happened in elementary school, middle school, my first job out of college with all the drama llamas who kept taking everything personally and treating work like it was supposed to be social time–and here it is happening again, me feeling the pull back into isolation.

As Klank says, I don’t need no friends like that.

Jeff is so furious with both Richard and Tracy that he feels used and wishes he could get something–vengeance, a pound of flesh, money for damages (broken couch, broken futon) and other money we spent on them (food, utilities, something else later on).

(Though this memoir is not about vengeance.  It’s about expressing what I’ve been through, finding healing and release through my usual manner–words, and helping other abuse victims.)

Jeff hears about–

How Richard kept pushing the boundaries with me [with my NVLD gullibility], and then reassured me that everything was innocently meant and we didn’t have to stop doing it.

How I got treated like a slut for believing him, but then he seemed to conveniently “forget” that he’d been the instigator.

How the lines for what was “okay” for me to do were constantly shifting and I was somehow supposed to know where they were now.

How Richard used to be a dog with women (which neither of us knew about until Richard stayed with us and started telling me these things about himself).

How Richard and Tracy both would push the limits of flirting beyond what we were used to even in the SCA, online and off–then keep moving the lines for what was okay for me to say to Richard, making the lines far tighter for me than they were for Richard and Tracy….

And Jeff doesn’t believe that Richard was acting innocently with me.

Richard says that Tracy trusts him, but Jeff says that’s not true at all, as we saw, or she wouldn’t put those restrictions on him.  And that he himself would not have allowed Richard so much freedom with me if he knew that Richard used to be a dog with women.

I feel like such a fool.  Jeff and I don’t have a problem with friends being attracted to each other, since such things happen when you spend a lot of time with someone and get close to them.

Jeff and I don’t have a problem with the occasional light flirting, but there are certain lines you don’t cross–but Richard crossed them with me and used his persuasive powers to convince me they were perfectly fine.

The whole situation was a freaking mind game which both Richard and Tracy played on me.

Maybe he used that hypnotism he claimed to be able to use.  He never told me what he got me to say using it.  I don’t know if he used it to get me to do or believe anything.

I know that he formerly used it to get girls to dance with him, not just to get me to open up, and that this very same type of hypnotism is used to attract women.

Richard also convinced me that he was a pious man of God, a righteous man who had put his dog days and his violent days behind him–only to begin showing them again.

Saying you’re going to assault the woman who was just doing her job and probably had good reason to evict you, and that you’re going to make it look like you weren’t there…

excusing and defending abuse of your children

excusing and defending abuse of the person who has been your loyal and close friend for five years…

excusing and defending abuse of Todd, who was your loyal and close friend for six years…

then hacking into Todd’s beloved Forum, screwing it up, and letting Todd think that the resident troll did it….

That is no man of God.  That is a Pharisee.  A narcissist.  I never want him to darken my door again.

I also recall, a year or two before Richard moved here, watching online as he went to the forum of a female friend–where he was an administrator or moderator–and posted a message to the posters there.

Considering the nature of the forum, a place to delude yourself into thinking you’re descended from mystical beings who don’t even exist, most of it appeared to be deserved.

But there were also judgments of the characters of the posters which make me wonder how he could possibly know if they were true or not.

The friend was so offended that that friendship, too, ended–the post removed, Richard and Tracy booted from the forum.

She wrote on our Forum something to the effect of, he was the leader and we were the worshipful followers in lockstep doing whatever he wants.  (I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the gist of it.)

It basically sounded like she was accusing him of being like a narcissistic cult leader.

Todd also complained that he didn’t get a fair hearing during his falling-out with Tracy, because everybody listened to Richard.

So you see history repeating itself with Richard, again and again–and more support for the idea of narcissism.  My husband, too, sees him as narcissistic, refusing to see other points of view, not just during our falling-out but in politics and other things.

This would frustrate me to no end whenever Richard told me what I should be doing–food, taste in movies, sexual preferences, religious ideas regarding pews and ecumenism and such, the troubles with Tracy–and I’d try to explain my point of view.

Or when he’d tell me I was wrong about NVLD without really listening to why I believe I have it.

Or when he’d tell me kids should be screamed at and I should “let” my husband get mad or cuss more.  But I feel kids should be nurtured not tortured, that my husband should treat me with kindness and respect, and by the way, Jeff would rather get mad and cuss less, not more!

Richard seemed to think I was keeping my husband from watching “The Passion of the Christ” because of my aversion to gore and violence, and that he had convinced Jeff that it was a good movie to watch.

When in reality, Jeff has no desire to see it, for the same reason I don’t want to see it, and it has nothing to do with me keeping him under my thumb.  (I bet Jeff did a lot of nodding and “uh-huh”‘ing during that conversation, but didn’t actually say he agreed.)

Richard seems to have lots of ideas about what other people are thinking and feeling, but that doesn’t make him right.

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

The above certainly applies to me, since I kept copying what Richard did as a guide to what was okay for me to do, but then got treated like some kind of slut for it.

The trouble with so many articles about abuse and personality disorders is that they focus on romance.  So if you’re dealing with another kind of relationship involving abuse–such as friendship, colleagues or family members–you have to ignore the parts about dating and sex, and adapt it in your head to your own kind of relationship.

But so much of this sounds familiar (adapting the parts about romance to platonic friendships), that I wonder if what I thought was a close, meaningful friendship, was really Richard’s means of seeking attention, narcissistic supply.

If what I thought was philia and emotional openness was actually manipulation and using:

Telling me things were okay that weren’t.

Trying to get me to open up to nonsexual touching I wasn’t used to.

Telling me it’s prudish to wear a robe over my nightgown when he’s around. 

Telling me that Jeff and I are prudish.

Telling me the horror stories behind the Democrats and Progressives and how they’ve ruined his home state.

Molding me, shall we even say grooming me through charm, testing boundaries, making me feel special, instructing me–until the drama at home became too much, and he began to devalue and discard me.

If he noted my trusting nature and lack of social intuition, and exploited it.  Nyssa is a sweet, innocent and nice person, and I’m slowly corrupting her. (He said that to somebody online.  What did that mean??)

I’ll remember his claims of hypnotizing me to get me to open up.  Of course, as usual, I don’t want to think these things about him, but keep getting this nagging feeling, given what I know about him, and things Jeff, also, has noted about him.

I’ll remember his bragging about past women, about how he used lies and deceit to get women, about his sexual prowess, about women chasing him even now.  I wasn’t sure if he was lamenting or bragging that his exes would sit around talking with each other about how evil he is.

I’ll read articles about abusers, narcissists and borderlines (such as Sam Vaknin’s extensive archive), thinking of Tracy when I start–then begin thinking, “Hey wait a minute, that sounds like Richard–and that–and that.”

Apparently, it’s common for narcissists to end up with borderlines.  One guy on the Forum, married to a borderline, was familiar with such a pairing from his research, and expressed compassion for Richard and Tracy’s children.

I’ll also hear people talk about Richard’s “heart” being so big–but remember that I, too, thought the same thing while he had me under his illusions.

There were many times when Richard could seem like a great person to talk to, but so many times when he seemed not to care about my needs or concerns, contrasted to what it’s like to deal with my other friends.

In the beginning Richard loved chatting with me, in person or on the phone or on the Net, but later on it would often be hard to tell if he wanted to talk to me or not.

You’ll have Richard getting short and suddenly disappearing from Facebook chat, for no reason you can think of–but then another friend (Mike) saying, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” and chatting with you for an hour.

It makes you wonder if maybe the friends who live far away from you and you rarely see, are still far better friends than this one you see every couple of weeks.

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

 

Tracy: a woman who abuses a man

[This was originally posted as a note on my Facebook on June 9, 2011.  The ending paragraph was moved here.]

Why I loathe feminism… and believe it will ultimately destroy the family by Erin Pizzey, is actually about abuse, not so much about feminism:

The point she makes is that women are just as capable of abuse as men, and many feminists were demonizing men and glorifying women.  She got abuse from both her mother and her father, different kinds.

I don’t agree that feminism will destroy the family.  But I post this anyway for the larger point it makes.

I post to raise awareness because too many men are succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome or feeling too scared to leave their abusive wives.  Then the abuse is carried on to the next generation.

I’ve seen this stuff firsthand, and how the abusers can screw up not only the lives in their own families, but the people orbiting around them.

We need to be there so that when the abused man or child escapes, they can also escape the destructive message of the abuser: “You deserve this!”

A year ago, I was ripped to shreds verbally, completely undeserved, by a woman, while both I and my husband were told that I should just accept it as my due.

We were treated like there was something wrong with us for thinking verbal abuse could never be justified.  We were treated like I should just take all the cussing and character assassination being thrown at me.

I was told I should “grow up” and accept “responsibility” for the abuser not being able to hold her own tongue and temper.

We were accused of throwing an “olive branch” back in their faces, an olive branch that never existed, because we preferred ending the “friendship” to staying with someone who refuses to acknowledge her own part in things and apologize for her harshness.

We were told that I somehow deserved it, had somehow done worse than she did, when all I did was keep my distance from someone who was constantly mean to me, who had gotten a lot meaner in the past few months.

We were told that 99% of women would react even worse than the abuser did.  We were told this not just by the abuser, but by her husband, who was supposed to be my best friend.

My husband was actually physically intimidated and threatened over the course of a few days by this supposed “best friend.”  And I got the impression that much had been held back from me over the years I thought we were “best friends.”

The emotional damage is devastating.  Imagine this happening to a child who can’t break up with her mother.  Imagine this happening to a man who feels societal pressure to stay with his abusive wife.

Help change society’s views so that men have a place to turn to!  He stays because he feels he has no choice, while the children grow up believing this is “normal” behavior in a marriage and in life!

Don’t let another generation grow up believing that tantrums and abuse are the way to solve problems!

Quotes from the above link:

Once again, she was unleashing her peculiar brand of emotional cruelty, and placing all the responsibility – and guilt – on me. It was a pattern of behaviour I would witness again and again among some of the women in my refuge.

But despite his clumsy, predictable form of macho brutality – born out of his being the 17th child of a violent Irish father – it was my mother’s more emotional, verbal form of abuse that scarred me most deeply.

She indulged in a particular kind of soul murder – and it was her cruelty that, even 60 years on, still reduces me to tears and leaves me convinced that feminism is a cynical, misguided ploy.

While I don’t agree with her about feminism, I do understand where she’s coming from, and I, too, resist any kind of feminism that portrays men as monsters and women as longsuffering victims.  It goes both ways.

I was, on reflection, following my mother’s unspoken orders. Remarkably, she had manipulated me to such a degree that I was now willing to murder for her.

It’s amazing how a narcissist can so twist you and manipulate you that you’ll do anything for him, believe anything he tells you, so you end up taking the fall for him, for his own deeds and lies.

By now, he was trying to force my mother to sign her money – she had received a sizeable inheritance from her father – over to him.

Week after week, in the local cottage hospital, she refused, and week after week, he ranted and raved at her while she writhed in pain. I begged the nurses to stop him, but they said no one could come between a man and his wife.

And that’s why people stand by and watch instead of speaking up: They think it’s not their place.  Or because when they did speak up, the abuse turned on them.

I only decided to talk about my traumatic childhood last week – on a BBC radio programme called The House Where I Grew Up – but I decided long ago I would not repeat the toxic lessons I learned as a child. Instead, I would become a survivor.

Harriet Harman’s insidious and manipulative philosophy that women are always victims and men always oppressors can only continue this unspeakable cycle of violence. And it’s our children who will suffer.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

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