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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–A Quiet Person With Lots to Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here is the post, with name removed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you ever wish you were an extrovert?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD.

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

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

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

He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I loved him with pure philia and agape.

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

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

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

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

And now…

it began to dawn on me…


Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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


Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics

Richard was getting into a form of anarchism, and writing on Facebook in 2010 about how horrible cops are, that we should get rid of the police and defend our own families, weird stuff like that.  He wanted us to get rid of various government-run and necessary programs, including public schools and fire departments.

He thought the government was going to force everyone to take the swine flu vaccine in 2009/2010 (which it never did), and he told me he would refuse.

He said that even if his second daughter died from swine flu, he would be sad, but he would resist the government’s intrusion.

(You’d let your own child die to make a political point???!!!)

Chris also posted about the dangers of the vaccine, but my family took it, and we all did fine.

On or before May 5, 2010, Richard made a strange post on Facebook asking do we really need the police?

I wrote–baffled that he would even say such a thing, since a police force is absolutely necessary to keep law and order and investigate crimes–

“Some bad seeds don’t negate the need for a police force to protect the public. That just flies in the face of all reason.”

Jeff and I both got into an argument with him on the wacky stuff he wrote about not needing the police to protect us, investigate crimes, etc.

Richard later claimed that he enjoyed the discussion, rather than being upset about it.  But I was miffed that he wrote in reply to my post,

Reason dictates that we should have the right to protect and defend ourselves.

When the Police require us to have them do it for us, that throws reason out the door and thus requires us to be subject to their inquiry, searches and seizures, their questioning and their actions upon our liberty all in the name of what you would suggest is “reason”.

You see it as the Police protecting you from the criminals.

I see it as the Police are the criminals I need to be protected from.

Ever been pulled over for no reason, your car searched and you are handcuffed in the back of the squad car, all done without the police answering your question of “what am I being pulled over for?”  Ever have that happen to you often enough to make you feel a bit threatened by the Police, especially when they never give you an answer.

How about having them step into your home unannounced and then start asking questions when all you did was wake up on the couch and see an officer there, and you door was locked, and the questions they are asking is about how many kids live there with you.  Experience this, and get back to me.

I wrote to Jeff,

Apparently now my opinion isn’t valid because I haven’t been abused by the police…..I guess having a desire to be safe and a desire for the well-being of my family (and having common sense) doesn’t give me a right to an opinion…..

And Richard said in our real-life conversation at the park a few days later (which would be May 8 or 9, 2010), that (if I recall correctly) he had been arrested more than 100 times.

Er–What?  To both claims–that my opinion was worth nothing because I’d never been abused by police, and that he’d been arrested 100+ times?

For what?  What the heck was he doing to get arrested 100+ times???

He couldn’t claim racial profiling, because he looks like any white guy, and his court records call him “Caucasian.”

If he were black, I would be far more sympathetic.

He is half-white; if his appearance made his other heritage obvious, I would be far more sympathetic.

But he looks like any other white guy.  His hair looks Caucasian; his clothes are not at all “ethnic”; if you don’t know his other heritage, his features look Caucasian.  Nothing about his appearance explains why he’d get pulled over–except maybe if he did something wrong.

When Jeff wrote,

Logic dictates that law enforcement be handled by capable people, and not left to just anyone.

I have had about a dozen encounters with law enforcement professionals from a variety of counties throughout this state, and I have been pulled over multiple times without knowing why.

While circumstances and dispositions varied, I have found police to be professionals doing a job, and when I offer co-operation I find that all my questions are answered in due time.

Richard replied,

I do not find that logical at all. It is illogical to give over our freedoms to a state controlled mafia, whom we neither appoint nor vote for. If we could vote for our officers things may be different.

(State-controlled mafia?  But I thought you liked the Mafia?)

To which Jeff wrote,

If you’re suggesting that some police act in an excessive manner in one way or another – I can see that.  If you’re suggesting that the police need to be held personally accountable for their actions, I’m listening and am inclined to agree.

If you’re actually suggesting that we rid ourselves of a trained police force and instead live in a city filled with 25,000 pistol-wielding yahoos … well, that’s where I draw the line.

I wrote to Jeff on May 6, “I’ve bowed out of this conversation.  It’s just too ridiculous to keep trying to argue the point.”

Jeff wrote to me a short time later, “… and I’m going to leave him alone.  I like Richard, but he’s not a wholly rational person.  I expect something’s happened that has upset him.  Given time, he may get better.”

So much wacky stuff, actually talking about getting rid of the police force and replacing it with everybody having guns to protect their own houses with.  He talked about replacing them with the sheriff’s department, because the sheriff is elected.

But…the sheriff and police have different functions.  Though the biggest difference between the two is that police are for local cities etc., while the sheriff is for the whole county.  So–You want the sheriff’s office to handle all the police work in an entire county???  Talk about inefficiency and backups!

When I wrote that I want to be able to call 911 and get a cop here right away, like the way it is now, he said he’d be able to protect my family himself!

Does he have a siren on his car?  Does he even HAVE a reliable car, or is he, yet again, relying on us for rides?  And how in heck is he going to do that when he doesn’t even answer most of the time when we call?

Just wacky, deranged stuff that flew in the face of all reason, yet he treated Jeff and me like we were being irrational and illogical.

In retrospect, I wonder if Richard was truly becoming unhinged, due to TEA Party and anarchist friends, a chronic state of sleep apnea, taking care of four children, and dealing with a wife who yelled at him all the time and sometimes smacked or punched him….

I came across a site called–maybe he referenced it, I forget–that said the same stuff he did.  He also got very hateful toward soldiers, and both my brothers had been soldiers, one of them even going to war!

Richard said I should cut up my credit card and pay it off (a laughable prospect until Jeff could find a better job after he lost a good-paying job in the recession) because banks were soon going to go to something like 80% interest.


That was 2009/2010; here it is 2016, and my rate is still around 10%.

Chris talked about some kind of apocalyptic economic collapse coming in 2010, and how he wanted to buy a farm and live off the land because that would be the only way to survive.

Hasn’t happened.

Well, he moved to a farm.

Richard told me in 2010 that Obama was getting a military force in place around Iran, because he wanted to start a war there. 


It’s 2015–where is this war with Iran?

The very fact of Obama’s negotiations with Iran in 2015, even against the objections of Congress, proves this to be yet another unfounded rumor.

Yet Chris and Richard called dissenters “sheeple.”

From what I’ve seen on the Net, a lot of this is coming from sources such as Glenn Beck and militia organizations–hardly reliable sources.

Richard’s politics got so strange that I wondered how someone of such high intelligence as he claimed, could fall for these things.  Todd has also wondered this.

Chris was also into the birther and 9-11 conspiracy theories, against vaccines and fluoridation–

–and posted strange things about the Illuminati and New World Order and international bankers running everything and such

–things I hadn’t believed since I stopped watching Pat Robertson back in the early 90s!

(For a sane debunking of such things, see the 5-part The Origins of the Illuminati Myth and the Protocols, and the Slacktivist, who connects these things to Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series, since LaHaye was a member of the fanatical John Birch Society.  Also here, here, here, here and here.  And here and here.)

Chris even began posting about Facebook persecuting users who used the board for political reasons, and joining with the CIA to keep an eye on people.

Meanwhile, Richard told me things like, when Obama started his term, “We’ve woken up in a different America than we did yesterday,” that Obama was doing shady things, the government was trying to take over our freedoms….

He posted a blog in 2009 comparing Obama to a Soviet officer based solely on a striking facial resemblance.

From what I recall, he enjoyed Photoshopped pictures that made Obama into the Joker (the Dark Knight, Heath Ledger version) or some other such horrible thing.

It was disgraceful.

Read here about the John Birch Society, its beliefs, and its connection to Fred Koch.  All these conspiracy theories are here, along with the desire to abolish the Federal Reserve–and the Koch Brothers have been shown to have connections with the current TEA party-backed governor of Wisconsin and with the TEA party itself.  (Also see here and what Koch Industries has to do with the global warming debate.)

The paranoia coming out of both Richard and Chris was insane.  All this Bircher conspiracy crap being spewed out by Richard and Chris was, to them, the “truth,” and people like me who did not believe it, were somehow deluded and (in an allusion to Neo in the movie “The Matrix”) had taken the wrong pill.

Somehow I was “sheeple” and a “socialist” who didn’t believe in or care about the freedoms Richard would die for.

Meanwhile, Richard, with all his claims of intelligence and being able to tell when a politician was lying, was taken in by all of this.

While I rejected it years ago when I woke up to Pat Robertson’s lies and stopped watching “The 700 Club.”

As I told my friend Mike in spring 2010, I knew two TEA partiers, and wanted to be able to tell people that the TEA partiers are not as wackadoodle as the media portrayed them, but sadly, I could not.

I based my opinion on the TEA party on what these two people posted on their Facebook and told me via phone and chats, NOT on the media.  Todd also saw Richard as going off the deep end, and tried to reassure me that not all Libertarians are like that.

These things were not at all what I would want in a priest, who should be far more politically neutral, and is forbidden to run for political office.

I certainly agree with this article, Religious Right Must Not Set Agenda for Orthodox Church.

And I was beginning to wonder if Richard’s interest in religion had been supplanted by his fervor for extreme right-wing politics, that apparently wanted to dismantle government and build some supposed utopia where everybody does whatever they want and has lots of guns to defend themselves with.

And I wondered if this was why he no longer called me except when he wanted something, if this was why he had cooled to me, because I did not believe his conspiracy theories.  No, I did NOT use words like “wackadoodle.”  Those words began popping into my head later on, after I saw the destruction these theories caused in our friendship.  As I usually do when interacting with people (and not diaries), I bit my tongue.

He also told me all sorts of stories about Clinton, Bush and Obama, things which because of his background he supposedly had the inside scoop on.

I believed him, of course, though when I tried to verify these things, I scoured the Net and found nothing.

On the contrary, it seemed that these things may not have happened at all.  He, of course, told me these things were being kept off the Net, and he refused to post about them himself on the Net because he didn’t want government officials showing up at his door.

So these things could have been true, or they could have been tall tales told by a narcissist, but I have no way of knowing either way.

A very telling incident, however, was when he told me, before the 2008 election, about a video with Obama which was appalling enough to change how I voted.

(Though I fixed that mistake in 2012 by voting for the right guy this time: Obama.)

He told a Wisconsin pro-choice group that he would force taxpayer abortion funding, or something like that (it was 5 years ago, so I forget).

I later checked into it, and he never actually did this; it was just stump-promising.

This video did indeed exist, but whenever somebody tells you something like this, you’ve got to see it for yourself.  But when I asked Richard for a link to this video, he got offended at me for not believing him without seeing it!  So I had to Google it.

Richard always seemed to have all sorts of stories about various organizations, even proof that the Free Masons were as shady as people think they are–proof which I never got to see, of course, but which he claimed to know through various connections and personal experience.  This, of course, made him seem even more awesome, back in 2007.

On the weekend, just a few days after our argument on Facebook about the need for police, we had that birthday party at the park, which I mentioned earlier.

I had just gotten through an illness so bad that it scared me for a time, made me afraid for my life, because I rarely got so sick.  It seemed to give me a new perspective on life, just as going through labor had done, with all of its frightening complications: I didn’t want to take crap from anyone, but fight for things to be right.

I felt sad through the whole party, staring out at the lake, feeling like I didn’t belong there, didn’t want to be there, like it was all falling apart.

I was miffed about the way Richard ripped on me during the police argument, and I thought he was angry with both Jeff and me, though he now told us he actually enjoyed the discussion.

But I felt sad, as if I felt our friendship slipping far away and I had no idea why.  Why was he being so mean to me lately?  Why did he only call when he wanted something?  Why was it so hard to get him to respond to e-mails?

Once, Tracy wanted to talk (using her words to tell me this for once).  She called me “buddy.”

I looked at her warily, because it was hardly characteristic of her to call me that.   What did she want?  Was she being sarcastic?

(As I mentioned before, though we got things sorted out a year earlier, she never really lost her snarks and general prickliness–and now she was starting to get bad again.)

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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


Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party

As for Richard treating me like crap–

Among other things, I got the impression that because I didn’t share his political fervor and views (which struck me as often wacky or heartless–especially for a Christian who wanted to be a priest), I was no longer worthy of his time or respect:

He stopped calling except when he wanted something, even though we still all got together for D&D, and even though he told me he kept wanting to come visit me after the kids went to bed.

This seemed to happen in late March or early April 2010, before the spring election.  He stopped over because I watched the kids while he did an interview for the position he ran for.

I told him that while I could understand theology fairly well, a wall of text on politics (usually by him, Todd or somebody else on the Forum) completely baffled me.  I couldn’t concentrate on it, couldn’t understand it, didn’t want to bother.

Writer Nalo Hopkinson on Learning ABILITY not DISability: “I literally cannot concentrate on things that don’t interest me.”  

This does seem to be true with me as well.  Also, NVLD makes reading comprehension and speed more difficult, which for me was confirmed in a college placement test in 1991. 

So these “walls of text” probably take me two to three times longer to read and comprehend, and I simply don’t have that much time to spend on these things. 

In 2012, I noted in my blog stat checkers, that it took me at least twice as long as Richard/Tracy to read my posts–and I wrote them!

I told him I didn’t have time to do more than read the daily paper most of the time, that I had a house and family to take care of, things that I found more interesting and important.

In late May or early June (while my account was inexplicably blocked from his and I had to use my husband’s), he posted on his Facebook page about a web radio program on politics, using the term “we.”

I wondered if he was somehow involved in this radio program, and how, especially since he hadn’t been telling me much of anything about his life lately.

So I posted, What’s this?  He simply wrote back, “It’s political.  You wouldn’t be interested.”

How insulting!  Especially since, as it turned out he was actually participating in these broadcasts, it would have interested me.

Also, even though I had no interest in reading walls of texts on politics in forums, when elections come around, I gather information and start studying to decide which candidate to vote for.

I’m not an idiot just because I don’t obsess over politics or spend my time reading walls of text.  And I do spend time reading about political issues.  But it’s not my driving force.

Back in August 2009, before wacky politics started filling Richard’s Facebook wall, the city convinced Mercury Marine to stay after a union vote drama.  The city council president posted about it on Facebook and I “liked” it.

Richard wrote to me, “You ‘liked’ that?  Seriously?”  And then proceeded to tell me why I shouldn’t like it.

He’d also been trying to tell me that Fond du Lac would survive without this company, even though it’s the biggest employer around, with connections to all sorts of other businesses which rely on it.

My husband lost his job in 2008 because Mercury Marine was in a slump and couldn’t order as many parts from my husband’s employer.

Other cities in the state had already lost their biggest employers, and gone to the dumps, with high unemployment and a dying city.

Did he want us to turn into Manitowoc or Janesville?  But somehow Richard thought we could avoid that if our own biggest employer left!

I had lived there for 14 years, not two like Richard.  We were in the middle of the Great Recession, and couldn’t afford to lose this company.  Yet I was “wrong” because I didn’t think unions were evil and was glad to see the city convince the company to stay.

Another time, my college friend Mike said on Facebook–in response to one of my posts or Jeff’s posts, I forget which–that Obama was doing the best he could with what he was dealt.  He said Bush left things a mess.

So Richard began arguing with him about it.  Then Richard messaged me one day in chat, saying that Mike “is an idiot.”

I was disgusted: Not only did Richard call one of my oldest and dearest friends an idiot, but I thought Mike’s words were true and sensible!  But no, don’t dare say that to Richard now, or he’ll call me an idiot, too, I bet!

Richard was a Libertarian/Anarchist Tea Partier who wanted all “entitlement programs”–such as food stamps and various social programs–to end, with the burden of helping the poor transferred to the churches.

This is ridiculous, because in today’s society, in which so many people choose something other than Christianity, churches are often so small that they struggle just to keep their lights on and pay the pastor a pittance.  They certainly can’t afford to take on all the burden of the poor!

About Richard’s plan to cut “entitlements,” and let churches/capitalism/whatever work together to cover the need, Jeff said, “You know, if this happens, there will be extreme suffering for many people for at least a decade before it all gets sorted out.”  

Richard’s response: “Oh, well, if that’s what it takes.”

Jeff found this response extremely disturbing, heartless and horrible, showing a lack of concern, a lack of human feeling, for the people who would suffer.

Richard and his family would themselves suffer, because they benefited from the social programs he wanted cut!  They struggled enough already as the recession made it hard for either of them to find and keep work; this would make it even worse!

In fact, watching him deal with poverty inspired me to finally make the leap to be a Democrat instead of Republican!

I don’t remember all the specifics, since I didn’t record the things Richard posted on Facebook.  But his politics got quite vitriolic around 2010, especially on Facebook.

My Facebook newsfeed filled with his biting comments against political opponents (even in his own party during nominations), wacky conspiracy theories, and him getting into the swirling rancor of that time against liberals and “socialists.”  (They obviously had no clue what socialism really means.)

The big problem for me was not so much that he was into wacky politics, but the way he treated even friends who disagreed with those wacky politics–even Jeff and me, who had done so much to help him and support him over the years.

During this time, and looking back on this time in 2010/2011, I got the distinct impression that I was getting shoved aside to make way for new friends.  And why?  Because I refused to fall for the bizarre crap coming out of the Tea Party. 

I noted that this seemed to begin around April 2009 or afterwards, when Richard first went to Tea Party rallies and I first heard of this lunatic fringe.

I didn’t come out and tell Richard or Chris what I really thought of Libertarians, Constitutionalists and the Tea Party, just tolerated that–as Jeff put it–“our friends are kooks.”  (He said that after I read in the newspaper about comments Chris made about fluoride at a city meeting.  Chris bought into the idea that fluoridated water is somehow harmful.)

But I started getting the distinct impression that what little I did say–

–I like Feingold, I think Christians can vote Democrat, I agree with what the city did to keep Mercury from moving out and turning us into a ghost town, I debunked that website Richard referenced in two minutes–

–was enough to turn him against me as one of his political “enemies.”

And he made it clear that he had no scruples about hating his political enemies, even though Christians are supposed to fight against hate, even for their own enemies.  (He once told me that he hates Democrats.)

At the time I was a moderate Independent (used to be Republican) who thought the Tea Party was silly, but not much more about it.  I wasn’t “anti” any party.

But the more I learned about the Tea Party from Richard, his friend Chris and what they posted on their Facebook walls, the more ludicrous and dangerous it seemed.  The media did not influence this; the media merely confirmed what I already saw from these two Tea Partiers.

For example, at the end of April 2010, Richard e-mailed me a website claiming that the US flag was actually the military flag and that the American people were duped into using it instead of the “civil flag,” meaning we’re living under the Law of the Military Flag without realizing it.

I wrote back that I debunked it within two minutes via Google, so I wouldn’t put much stock in it.

Jeff heard Richard and Chris discussing this in mid-2009 while they moved Richard’s family into a new place, so I had already heard of it, and Jeff and I thought it was wacky.

Richard even had his children refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance because it was written by a socialist.

I also saw that such nasty politics were becoming quite common, on Facebook and off.

Chris also posted wacky stuff on Facebook, and accused people who disagree of being “sheeple.”  He posted about fluoride eroding the intelligence of local voters, conspiracy theories such as birther or 9-11, how our freedoms were supposedly being taken away, and the usual Illuminati/New World Order-style conspiracy theories that have been around for decades.  There were also posts about Annunaki aliens.  (As of 2018, he is also a Flat Earther.)

I couldn’t tell for sure if Richard was influencing Chris, or Chris was influencing Richard–

or if they were just two like-minded individuals who were both nuts all along and I just didn’t know this about Richard until 2009 or 2010.

But the two of them together posted all sorts of wackadoodle political stuff that showed up in my news feed every day in 2010, when they used to be pretty quiet about that stuff, posting more personal and fun stuff on Facebook.

But now their personal accounts were turning into platforms for bizarre and paranoid conspiracy theories.

I also saw Richard treat dissenters on his wall the same way he treated me: A guy in a union complained about how he spoke about unions, another one told Richard that he was part of the problem in the Libertarian Party, I think because of the way he poked fun at the guy he didn’t want to win in a party election.  I think another one complained about how he painted all military troops as evil, same as he did the police, because of some bad ones.

It was becoming very obvious that he did not tolerate people disagreeing with him on politics.

Now I tend to just post an opinion on Facebook or forums and then let other people post theirs.  Even if I disagree with their views, I don’t want to stop being friends with them over it, or ridicule them, which is not how decent people treat their friends.  What I post here is venting that I never, ever said to them while we were friends.

But Richard was actually scolding and lecturing people, including Jeff and me.

But of course, when I complained to him on June 28, 2010 that I didn’t want him telling me how to think and scolding me for disagreeing with him (not just in politics but regarding NVLD), he got furious, acted shocked, and talked as if I were falsely accusing him.

After this, in July and August 2010, I couldn’t stand to hear anything at all about politics–especially the TEA Party. 

I could handle just watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, because they made fun of politics and were full of sense. 

I loathed the TEA Party, Libertarianism, Anarchism, and anything like it, because of what they did to my friend–how they made him turn against even loyal, loving friends who were not like-minded.

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


I begin to wonder if the Richard I know–is real or a fake persona

At the same time Richard said my feelings about the 2009 harassment were “ridiculous” and I had to “get over it,” which I think was sometime in May 2010, Richard complained about having “pampered” me whenever we came to visit them in 2008, until his wife complained.  I can remember having very pleasant visits in those days; isn’t that what visiting friends is all about?

He complained about how he was still doing all these things to bend over backwards and make me feel comfortable, but I couldn’t tell what the heck he was talking about.

I never told him to do that!  I’m pretty easygoing with friends, actually.  Even if they cuss around me, I learned in college to shut up and ignore it.  And I kept my mouth shut about other things, as well, such as the state of the house.

Was his wife complaining because he was being a good host and paying attention to a dear friend?  Were they feeling put out about being good hosts, cleaning up their mess a little for company, not insulting their guests, not being rude, not going around naked or in boxers, what?

Is it really so terrible not to cuss around my son, and do they cuss like sailors around their own children?

Apparently Tracy actually got mad at him for holding back on saying things she could tell he wanted to say.  What things were this??

I recalled times when everything would be perfectly fine, but then she’d disappear for the rest of the evening into the bedroom to play on the computer or whatever.  It was very rude of her.  Now it sounded like she vanished because she got some bug up her butt for some unknown reason.

How on earth could Tracy see being a good host, or kind and polite to a friend, as wrong and terrible, something for her to scold him about?  How on earth could Richard see this as “pampering”?

The narcissist abuses his victim verbally, mentally, or physically (often, in all three ways).

He infiltrates her defences, shatters her self-confidence, confuses and confounds her, demeans and debases her.

He invades her territory, abuses her confidence, exhausts her resources, hurts her loved ones, threatens her stability and security, enmeshes her in his paranoid state of mind, frightens her out of her wits, withholds love and sex from her, prevents satisfaction and causes frustration,

humiliates and insults her privately and in public, points out her shortcomings, criticises her profusely and in a “scientific and objective” manner – and this is a partial list.

Very often, the narcissist sadistic acts are disguised as an enlightened interest in the welfare of his victim. He plays the psychiatrist to her psychopathology (totally dreamt up by him).

He acts the guru, the avuncular or father figure, the teacher, the only true friend, the old and the experienced. All this in order to weaken her defences and to lay siege to her disintegrating nerves.

So subtle and poisonous is the narcissistic variant of sadism that it might well be regarded as the most dangerous of all. –Sam Vaknin, The Narcissist as Sadist

All this nitpicking and criticism of me was obviously meant to make me think I was the problem, while taking the focus off how Richard and Tracy were psychologically abusing me. 

This is a narcissistic trait, a method of gaslighting and brainwashing.  And their most likely motive was that I noticed and commented on their abuses of each other and the children.

His complaints made me wonder what the real him was really like.  When it was just the two of us getting acquainted and forming a friendship, and when he stayed at my house by himself, he seemed very sweet and respectful, insistent on putting his violent past behind him, pious and gentle, willing to lend a hand when I asked him to.

I didn’t even know to what extent his past had been violent, but I knew he was determined to follow the practices of his faith.

We developed a camaraderie, a way of poking fun at each other like brother and sister, joking around with each other so easily that our jokes played off each other as if they’d been rehearsed.  (One guy online said he loved being in IRC with us.)

I would occasionally tickle him like a sister when he got too cheeky.  We were comfortable with each other, a comfort I felt around very few people.

But now, I began wondering how well I really knew him, as his violent nature began to swell up again, he complained about not cussing or showing certain movies when we were there (making me wonder what kind of movies he played when his own children were around), and just kept making remarks about bending over backwards for me.

I never asked him to, he kept complaining about it even when I told him he didn’t need to do it–

and it made me wonder how much of the sweet guy I got close to, was real.  Or if maybe his wife was somehow influencing him toward the violence again.

He told me before that he felt cussing was unladylike, he wanted his wife to stop doing it, and he wanted to stop doing it himself as a Christian man–

but now he complained that they had to cut the cussing when I was there (even though I never asked them to).  He was treating me like a china doll, which I resented.

But what do you expect from someone who hangs out with people from 4chan?  I have no idea if he himself liked to go over to 4chan, but I know some of his online friends either were or behaved like 4chan people, posting 4chan “goatsees” in IRC or on the game forums.

(4chan, as he and others have described it, is for people who like to be nasty for fun, posting anything they like.  What I’ve accidentally seen of goatsees are bizarre porno pictures.)

Once, I typed to Richard after someone did this in the IRC channel for his group of creepy friends, that of course I wouldn’t click on any links they posted in this channel.  Then he said that he clicked on them all!!??  He knew that these kids/overgrown kids were probably posting hardcore porn, yet clicked on the links anyway?  (And even gave them a picture of his wife’s breasts???)

I no longer knew what to believe.  His wife crowed during the “incident” (next chapter) that she no longer had to be “quiet and nice,” making me wonder when she was secretly seething in my presence when I thought things were fine, and over what?

Her passive-aggression drove me mad, especially since it never seemed to be based in anything I actually DID, but just imaginary crap that was only in her own head.

What was real?  What was fake?  

I thought Richard was always honest with me; now I wondered if he had lied, when, and how often?  

Was he anything like the great and spiritual and caring man of God I had thought he was?  How many of his stories were true?  

How much of what he told me about himself, his dealings with his wife, and his past, was true?  

Or could it be that it was true, before, but she had corroded him so much with her abusive acid, convincing him of things about me that were not true, just as abusers do with their victims in order to isolate them from their support network–

that he had changed toward me and was not the same person he was before?

Two years before he had seemed a whipped and passive husband, who I wished would stand up for himself more.  But recently I saw him either fighting back or looking sick and tired of being scolded; could he be starting to give back what he was getting?

How many of his sweet words about me and our friendship, were true?  He used to apologize to me so much that I got annoyed; now he refused to apologize, ever, especially if I asked him to.

It’s even more baffling the more I learn about one of their other friends, who is also Orthodox.  She probably has Asperger’s or NLD herself, she wrote a blog about how we shouldn’t be cussing, she thinks South Park is filth….She seems to be even more strait-laced than I am.

(BTW, my blacked-out cuss words on these pages are the closest I’ve ever come to cussing.  It just isn’t something I do.  So for me to put such words in my account here, shows just how deeply this situation and Tracy’s words have wounded me.)

Does he “pamper” her, too?  Does he complain about having to do it, even if she never asked him to?

He complained about not feeling able to be rude to me–What the heck?  Why does he think it’s somehow a good thing to be rude to your friends?  How could he possibly think it was bad (or my “fault”) to not be able to?  Where did he learn manners, from Neanderthals?

One social rule I have picked up is that it is generally considered good form to adjust your behavior based on who you are with.  You don’t complain about it; you just accept it.

You don’t act the same to a preacher or head of state as you do to your drinking buddies.  You don’t act around a child the way you’d act at a house party.  You don’t cuss or show violent or sexy movies around children.

And you don’t be rude to your friends, or they’ll get ticked off and stop being your friends.

That sort of thing.  There are social rules that I have trouble picking up on, but not all of them.  He lectured me about manners as if he were learned on them and I was a social idiot, but many times it seemed to be the reverse.

Actually, paranoia began to fill my heart long before the 7/1/10 Incident as things kept trickling out, and little bits and pieces of Tracy’s hostility began reaching my ears.  Even a neglected promise to call or lack of response to an e-mail became a reason to doubt our friendship, no matter how many times he scolded me for it and claimed that I was very dear to him.

I told him to let me know right away when he couldn’t come over or couldn’t call, if necessary with an e-mail, apologizing and giving the reason, rather than leaving me hanging like that all.the.time, waiting by the phone all night, not doing other things I could have done.

But he still didn’t do that, and seemed to think there was something wrong with my request.

I felt like I may be the one with the problem, being too needy, and occasionally I told him I felt bad about it, but also that I was acting that way because Tracy was making me paranoid.

He said he knew this, that because of that he didn’t “strangle” me for it.  (He used a lot of violent language, I now realize.)

But there were so many of these neglected promises to call, so many times he said he’d come over but didn’t, said he’d call but didn’t.

Once he even promised to call the next day on the way home from church to set up a time for our families to get together that afternoon.  But instead he turned off his ringer, they went to sleep, and they left us all hanging all day long until we finally heard from him near evening!

Jeff and I tried to call him all afternoon, while our own afternoon was shot because we’d planned for a get-together, but just sat around doing nothing, waiting for a phone call!

Once again, my son was disappointed as well, because he always looked forward to playing with their children, his best friends, his dearest playmates–only to be let down, time and time again.

I began to stop believing Richard whenever he said he would call, so I wouldn’t be disappointed yet again when he didn’t.  Jeff and I began fake bets about whether or not he would call at the last minute before a scheduled get-together of our two families, canceling for one reason or another.

But there was more: Other hints of things kept from me, kept coming out….

One day he told me (maybe in 2010) that he had somehow gained a reputation among the homeless, who would come to him for rides.

This reinforced my view of him as a good, righteous man (despite things I now knew which should have countered that).  But I told him everything, so why did he keep this secret from his BFF?

Another thing, however, seemed darker, more sinister–but made no sense.  It was more of a hint than anything else.  He spoke of ghostwriting horror, and people coming to see him about it–

but he only let them come in when his daughters weren’t around, because he didn’t want them near the girls–


I wish I had made notes about this conversation, or printed it up (I forget if it was phone or online), because it makes no sense.  What’s shady about ghostwriting?  Or was there something more he was doing?

He held back on purpose, so I never did know what he was hinting at, what he was doing, if it was illegal or if he was ghostwriting for shady characters or what.

I just remember him wanting to impress on me that he was holding things back from me that he did not want to tell me about himself, hinting at doing shady things but not telling me what they were.

I doubt that anyone could have responded with a more trusting heart in such a situation.  In 2007 he gave me every reason to believe that I was one of his dearest friends, that he prized spending time with me–and he even told me I was the most awesome person he knew.

But over time, he began treating me like an annoyance, disregarded my feelings or my time if it inconvenienced him, then complained if I complained or doubted his friendship.

I saw how he kept making more and more phone friends via the Internet, how he was spreading himself so thin that it seemed like everybody wanted to talk to/e-mail him, but he had little time for anybody–and had so many obligations at home that needed tending.

I’d try to chat with him online and he’d tell me he had a bunch of other people chatting with him as well, so I’d have to wait and wait for each response.

Then he found a friend in town who agreed with him politically, who was even more of a political kook than Richard, and I began to wonder over time if I’d been supplanted.

It began to seem like he’d make a new friend, a shiny new friend, spend all his time playing with that friend while spending less time with older friends, then eventually move on to another shiny new friend.

I was that shiny new friend for a while, but then the newness wore off and I didn’t know where I stood with him anymore.

It also sounded like he and Tracy both spent so much time on the computer that more important things were put off, meaning less time with friends who were right here, not pixels on a screen.  It was all very frustrating.

Then in the late spring of 2010, I saw Richard–who was getting heavily involved in Tea Party politics despite all the claims on his time–post a comment to some important political person on Facebook, apologizing for not calling the night before, and explaining why. 

Exactly what I asked him to do for ME, but he treated me like I was needy and clingy. 

Okay, so you’ll do this for somebody you have to impress, but you won’t do it for me?  Oh, yeah, that didn’t escape my notice.

Richard told me in spring (May?) 2010 that he loved me like a sister, which made me so happy because, as I told him, I wanted him to think of me as his sister.  

He had a sister who was very dear to him and a confidante; a cousin who was like this, as well; I wanted to be that way to him.  

I wasn’t close to my own brothers, and had always wanted a brother I could be close to.  So for him to finally say he loved me like a sister, meant a great deal to me.

He told me he often wanted to come visit me late in the evening when everyone else was asleep in his house, that he would go out driving planning to come visit me, but he never actually did this (falling asleep or wanting to be alone after being with all those kids all day, were his reasons.)

(Yet another confirmation to me at the time that Tracy was finally completely okay with our friendship and all her restrictions on me were gone….Before you get any ideas, note that Jeff also would have been home at that time of day, and probably still awake.)

Yet more good intentions not carried out.  His unreliability was infuriating.

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


Without warning or explanation, tensions build as Richard and Tracy both begin acting like lunatics


  • Tension starts and steadily builds
  • Abuser starts to get angry
  • Communication breaks down
  • Victim feels the need to concede to the abuser
  • Tension becomes too much
  • Victim feels uneasy and a need to watch every move –Kim Eyer, The Cycle of Abuse

Something I read on 1/5/14 which made me go hmmmmm:

To draw you closer, the psychopath creates an aura of desirability—of being wanted and courted by many. It will become a point of vanity for you to be the preferred object of their attention, to win them away from a crowd of admirers.

They manufacture the illusion of popularity by surrounding themselves with members of the opposite sex: friends, former lovers, and your eventual replacement.

Then, they create triangles that stimulate rivalry and raise their perceived value. (Adapted from “The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene).

Psychopaths, like most predators, seek power and control. They want to dominate their partners sexually, emotionally, and physically.

They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities. This is why they love-bomb you with attention and flattery in the beginning of the relationship—because no matter how strong or confident you are, being in “love” makes you vulnerable by default.

Psychopaths don’t need physical aggression to control you (although sometimes they do). Instead, relationships provide them with the perfect opportunity to consume you by manufacturing the illusion of love.

This is why it’s so damaging when bystanders say: “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” You never entered a relationship with the psychopath expecting to be abused, belittled, and criticized—first, you were tricked into falling in love, which is the strongest human bond in the world. Psychopaths know this.

…The psychopath’s ability to groom others is unmatched. They feel an intense euphoria when they turn people against each other, especially when it’s over a competition for them.

Psychopaths will manufacture situations to make you jealous and question their fidelity. In a normal relationship, people go out of their way to prove that they are trustworthy—but the psychopath does exactly the opposite.

They are constantly suggesting that they might be pursuing other options, or spending time with other people, so that you can never settle down into a feeling of peace. And they will always deny this, calling you crazy for bringing it up.

….The final triangulation happens when they make the decision to abandon you. This is when they’ll begin freely talking about how much this relationship is hurting them, and how they don’t know if they can deal with your behavior anymore.

They will usually mention talking to a close friend about your relationship, going into details about how they both agreed that your relationship wasn’t healthy. In the meantime, they’ve been blatantly ignoring frantic messages from you.

You’ll be sitting there wondering why they aren’t chatting with you about these concerns, considering it’s your relationship.

Well, the reason is that they’ve already made the decision to dump you—now they’re just torturing you. They only seek advice from people they know will agree with them. That “friend” they’re talking to is probably their next target. –Peace, Torture by Triangulation

Richard’s relationship with me was a platonic friendship, but the same dynamics were at work: The first couple of months he stayed with us, his cell constantly rang with all sorts of friends.

He’d ignore them to talk with me, or answer and then say he was in the middle of a conversation, and get back to me.

He’d tell me about all the women he had to fight off–not just in his single days, but after getting married.

After this love bombing phase ended, the criticism began and I was discarded for a month, I could do nothing right, and he didn’t want to spend time with me anymore.

Then he gave me bearhugs–throwing me a bone to keep me thinking that things would be as they were at first.

But after that, despite the occasional bone-throwing, he kept me off-balance.  Other friends were constantly clamoring for his time, and I became lower on the totem pole than they were.

Then a new friend, Chris, came along, and got all the attention that I used to get.  They’d go out and do things, talk, etc., and I would be the one sitting at home, or abandoned at the picnic table while they went walking along the beach.

The last part also reminds me of mid-2010, when I could feel things were going wrong, but when I tried to discuss it with him, he shut me down, made me feel paranoid.

He also told me that his political friends were messaging him on Facebook complaining about the things I posted on his Facebook threads (which is ridiculous because it’s Facebook, where you’re supposed to have fun with your friends, and that’s what I did, rather than getting all political like him).

This article also makes me wonder how much of this whole situation was Richard manipulating me to make Tracy jealous, to keep her from leaving him.  If he played each of his friends, family, spouse, the way he played me, on purpose to control us all.

In the last month or two of our friendship, after the bullying had been mostly confined to the occasional snipe, it ratcheted up all of a sudden; was it because of several comments I made on Facebook and at Tracy’s house about what constitutes child abuse?

Of course, bullies will say you deserve it.  You don’t ever deserve it.

(I just read an article about a girl who beat up another girl, kicked her in the head, caused a concussion and bleeding on the brain, and then bragged on her Facebook page that the girl she beat up, had it coming.  Despicable.  She’s been sentenced, though it’s a slap on the wrist.)

Friends are supposed to relieve your stress, not cause it.  They’re supposed to be there for you when you have problems, not cause your problems.  Imagine being forced–on pain of losing your dearest friend–to confide in someone you don’t trust because they keep bullying that friend.

I remember getting very sick at the end of April 2010, so sick that for a time I wondered if I would survive (swine flu?).

When I finally found out it was just a bad flu and then got better, Jeff drove my son and me to the grocery store.  In the car, I pondered whether my friendship with Richard was worth fighting for, and decided it was.

So things must have been going on then, too, that I don’t remember now.  Though I do remember chatting online with Chris during the winter or spring and asking him if Richard treated him the way he treated me: unreturned phone calls, suddenly dropping out of a chat without a word, things like that.

Early in the winter I had every reason to believe that my friendship with Richard was cemented, that Tracy was perfectly fine with it and we had freedom to do what he could do with his other friends, and that Richard was starting to remember just how good of friends we had been, all the jams I helped him out of, all the emotional support I gave him.

But sometime in the late winter or spring, I began feeling fed up, that he was treating me very badly.

So one day in April I figured our friendship was worth fighting for, while in early May I felt like it was all falling apart, and I had no clue why.

I had not changed; I still treasured the friendship.  I had no clue why Richard would act so differently toward me.

You may recall the incident I described before, of Tracy smacking the 3-year-old upside the head around the turn of the year, and the inner turmoil this sent me into.  Also, other abusive incidents I witnessed during 2010.

On April 15, 2010, is this blurb in an e-mail from Richard: “and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning and getting yelled at for not cleaning when I do clean.”

During these few months before July, I’d hear about “drama” in his house, and see it as well.  It seemed like things were getting worse and worse all the time, so bad that Jeff and I could even see it for ourselves, and discussed it. 

Jeff thought Tracy was bipolar.

He also thought the trouble at their house, and how they started treating me, was caused by stress and sleep apnea, and hoped that would change with treatment. 

But even if it did, it wasn’t soon enough to salvage our friendship, as their own personal drama spilled over onto Jeff and me.

On May 30, 2010, Jeff was about to drop me off at church when we saw Richard and his children in the parking lot.  Richard’s priest was gone at some conference, so he came to my church, only we then discovered that my priest was in the hospital!  (He recovered, by the way.)

So we discussed going over to this Episcopalian church which Richard liked to visit.  But when Jeff dropped me off there, I got this weird vibe off Richard.  What, he invites me but doesn’t want me there?

Still, we both seemed to enjoy the service together.  Then he took me around the church, showed me the various awesome things they had there.

People kept thinking we were married, so we had to say NO.  So I joked about it, but Richard didn’t laugh, which was weird.

But then when I asked if he could take me home–a reasonable request, I thought, especially since there was plenty of room in his van, and there was no point in making Jeff come all the way back to the church–he got this look on his face like I was being weird or annoying somehow.

It made no sense at all, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck I could’ve possibly done to deserve these reactions, especially from the guy who normally enjoyed spending time with me and liked driving me to/from church.

During this time, on May 8 or 9, 2010, at a birthday party in the park for one of the children, Richard told me about a silly dream he had.  Tracy got upset at him for this, saying, “Why didn’t you tell me about that this morning when we were laughing and bonding?”  I couldn’t tell if she was really upset or just joking, but as usual, it made me very uncomfortable.

She did that sort of thing a lot, jabbing at him in front of me with what seemed to be anger, though I wasn’t sure if it was anger or a joke.  And the possessive, jealous tinge of the “joke” also bugged me.

Simultaneously with her increased bullying of me, Jeff and I noticed their own family stress increasing and erupting into screams and jabs and spanks whenever we went over there.  

Not only did Tracy scream at the kids, but she screamed at Richard as well.  Then he’d turn around and yell at her in the kitchen for “screaming at the kids all the time.”  It made me extremely uncomfortable for them to do this with me right there in the room.

Every time we visited, they’d be bickering, worse than I had seen it, and occasionally the kids got something as well.  

I saw Richard’s face when he got yelled at, like he was seething inwardly but checking out. 

While Tracy did already occasionally yell at Richard with me in the room, I don’t recall seeing Richard yell at Tracy in front of me before this.

(Well, there was that time when he screamed at her on the phone in the basement back in November 2007….But I never saw him do it when she was actually in the room before.)

Something was stirring them up to a boiling point, and had been for weeks.  And it had nothing whatsoever to do with me.  I just became the convenient scapegoat a couple of months later, the lamb sacrificed for the peace of the household.

Probably early in June 2010, Jeff and I went over there; I forget if this is when we went to watch the kids while Richard took Tracy out on a birthday date, or when we went there to play a game of D&D.  I seem to recall her wearing a dress as if for a date, but I also recall being there with Richard and Tracy all evening, so it must have been for D&D….

Anyway, I sat on the couch, vaguely watching as two of the kids (the older ones, I believe) began dancing around and being joyful.  They did absolutely nothing wrong, and looked sweet and happy.  It was cute; they were being children.

Then all of a sudden, with no warning whatsoever, and for no reason I could possibly fathom, Tracy stormed over and went from 0 to 60 in two seconds: She flew over and began screaming and whacking fury at them. 

She screamed her head off at the kids, yanking and jerking them around by the arms, and screaming louder and louder at them as she threw spanks left and right. 

I had no idea what on earth the kids could have done wrong.  They didn’t say a word or fight back, just seemed to go limp.  Even their faces were blank.  Yet Tracy grew madder and madder, screamed louder and louder, yanked their arms around, and whacked spanks every which way.

It reminded me of the time they were living in my house and she started yelling and screaming louder and louder at Richard, even though he did not fight back and agreed with everything she said.

Helplessness: Children are inherently helpless and subordinate.  They cannot escape a dangerous situation and are easily taken advantage of.

When a child realizes they cannot protect themselves they believe they are helpless and eventually stop trying to protect themselves.

They often withdraw, go limp, or dissociate, or a way in which some children survive abuse by escaping mentally. 

While the abuse is occurring, the body and the mind seem to separate and while the body is being hurt; the child no longer feels it and is disconnected from the abuse. 

There are many ways to dissociate and each child may do it differently.  One may seem to leave the body floating overhead where the abuse is occurring or one may be able to completely withdraw or go inward and not mentally exist therefore not experiencing anything. —Source

This incident of child abuse right in front of me was frightening even for me, an adult, and also infuriated me.  

I was too frightened of her in general to do anything (she’s bigger than me, violent and nasty).  For the rest of the evening, I was very nervous and scared of her.  Unfortunately, Jeff wasn’t there to see this, having stepped out to buy some things for dinner.

Or should I say, of course he wasn’t there–she kept doing these things when he wasn’t there or wasn’t looking.  So I’d have to tell him later just what happened.

Shortly after, when things calmed down a bit, Richard started playing a song for me, a song which he had just posted about on his Facebook page.  I didn’t really know the song, had heard it maybe once or twice before (one of the times being when I clicked on his link).

It had been popular several years back, a dance song, something about a train, by a lady singer.  He had compared her to Lady Gaga, whom I also didn’t know at all, since I swore off ever-increasingly banal popular music about 10 years before.  I was surprised he knew about Lady Gaga, either, since he was a Goth fan….

Anyway, he played this song for me because it had been his earworm the past couple of days.  But then Tracy began yelling at him because he’d already played it numerous times over the past couple of days.

I’m sitting here thinking, Geez, lady, he’s a grown man and you’re not his mother!  Can’t he play it 100 times if he wants to?

I could understand being annoyed, but her yelling and screaming at him was way out of proportion, especially dealing with her husband, not a child.

He got an angry, henpecked look on his face, and told her to turn it off if she wanted to.  

(This may have been the same day when she began yelling at him for undermining her when he popped in Fifth Element for me to watch, while apparently she had just told the kids not to watch a movie.  He got the same look on his face and kept the movie running.)

More arguing….

Later in the evening, probably during dinner, he apologized, but even the apology quickly turned into an argument as they started picking at each other again.

Also during dinner, Tracy was in the kitchen asking or talking about something.  My son, who sat eating pizza beside me at the dining room table, made a comment about it.  She snapped at him for it, telling him to be quiet.  He got an angry look, and I was furious at her for yelling at my son.

Tracy started constantly ripping on me and bullying me no matter what I said or did, including on Facebook. 

It was absolutely nothing I did or said: It was something going on in her own head that I had nothing whatsoever to do with. 

It was probably her cycling again, going into an abusive phase where nobody was safe and nobody could do anything right. 

In other words, it was not my fault, but all hers, yet I was the one blamed for it in July and August, when imaginary complaints about me were brought up by both Richard and Tracy as “reasons” for her actions. 

This is what abusers do to try to justify their abuse, and Richard, as her abuser-by-proxy, went along with it–probably to keep the peace in his own house, keep the abuse away from himself.

She ripped on me on Memorial Day 2010 simply because I put bug spray, Kleenex and sunscreen in a bag and brought it with me to sit outside.

She talked as if a “normal” person would go back and forth into the house every time they wanted something.

Well, I didn’t want to bother with all that running all over the place when I could just put everything into a bag!

And what the heck difference did it make to her?!  Jeff stuck up for me, because he saw how ridiculous she was.

Richard started treating me like crap, as well:

One day, probably late winter or early spring 2010, while preparing for our latest D&D game, I saw what looked like honey on the table.

So rather than be stupid and put my books on honey, I did what any sensible person would do, and acted like any guest who wants to do for herself and not overburden her host by being a princess:

I pulled out a wipe from my purse and started wiping off the honey.

But then Richard, who was sitting right next to me, stunned me by screaming in my face for cleaning his house! 

(This was one of several WTF moments I had with him.)

Then Tracy said, “Oh, come on, you’ve always known she’s weird.”  I didn’t know whether Tracy was getting after him for yelling at me, or snarking on me again.  Or both.

They keep their house in filth most of the time, say they “clean it” before I come which makes me wonder how bad it is when I’m not coming over, and I’m the weird one for not wanting to get honey on my books?

Somebody must have made a crack about the stash of wipes in my purse (just one 15-piece travel package, not a ton), because I said, “I’m a mother.  Of course I have all sorts of things in my purse.”

(My mother had all sorts of things in her purse when I was growing up: Kleenex, gum, etc.  A married, pregnant woman, a non-traditional student, in one of my college classes whipped out a bottle of aspirin when somebody needed it, and commented that because she’s a mother, she has a well-stocked purse.  And at a Little League game in 2011, when a little girl had a nosebleed, three mothers–including me–rushed over to her parents with wipes to clean her up with.)

Then Tracy got huffy and said, “Are you saying I’m not a mother, then, because I don’t?”  Even though I hadn’t said a word about her, having no clue what was in her purse.

So…You can call me weird but I can’t say this is a motherly trait without you getting upset?  Jeff stuck up for me, saying he often wishes he had my stash with him when at his church alone with our son.

I felt like running out of the room or crying or something, but tried to be the adult and suck it up.

But oh, how it hurt (and shocked and appalled) to be yelled at out of the blue by my best and dearest friend for such a silly thing, and to be ripped on by Tracy just for being an organized mother.

The WTF moment is when the non-abusive partner, typically after weeks, months and sometimes years of love bombing, hoop jumping, guilt, manipulation, obligation, fear, self-doubt and blaming and shaming tactics, has a moment of clarity.

It’s when you finally realize, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong here, but it isn’t me.” Shrink4Men

Jeff tells me that when they only expected him and a few other friends for D&D, they didn’t bother cleaning up much at all–so the filth I saw, got even worse when I wasn’t there.

It made Jeff feel like he wasn’t worth cleaning up for, because he was used to a clean house and didn’t appreciate the filth, either.

When Richard’s mother-in-law visited for three weeks and did some housework, Richard got mad at her, too–even though the MIL was probably just of my own mother’s school of thought, that if you stay for a few weeks, you should help with the housework or you’re a lazy bum.

(When we stayed with our in-laws for several days in 2011, I made our bed, my son made his bed, and I cleaned up after us in the bathroom.)

They didn’t clean their own house, but nobody else was allowed to, either?  How on earth could they expect her to just grin and bear living in a place so filthy without trying to clean some of it?  I couldn’t have lasted one night in that place without scrubbing down the bathroom!

And I’ve since learned that Richard also yelled at Jeff for this on nights when he went over there alone to play D&D.  Jeff said Richard yelled just as nastily as he did at me for cleaning honey off the table, and that made Jeff angry.

He went over there around 9pm, yet the kids would still be up, the house and table a mess, and they’d still be cleaning for quite some time after he got there.  So Jeff would grab a rag and start cleaning stickiness off the table before putting his books down, or do other things to help clean up, so they could get to the frickin’ game already.  And he’d get screamed at.

You’re supposed to say “thank you” when somebody helps you clean.  Yet somehow, they were the ones who felt that I didn’t know proper etiquette and behavior and had to be lectured on it by them?

I have since learned from hoarding shows that this is a common reaction when someone tries to help clean a hoarder house.

Table of Contents 

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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