Category: telling about abuse

Discovering they live in squalor

After they moved out, they lived in squalor, no matter how nice the place was at first.  I feared for their children, growing up in a place like that, especially for their health because of the lack of sanitation.  It could be considered child neglect!

Tracy got furious whenever Richard insisted that she help out more around the house, that he couldn’t do it all himself and take care of all their kids.  A mutual friend also saw this for himself.  I’ve been told that the house got so filthy in their last city, that the state had to step in, though I won’t go into detail on what the state did.

Yet Tracy complained about me doing housework when she lived in my house, as if she expected me to sit on my butt all day talking to her and somehow the house would be clean.

When Richard described the house he was living at before he moved to our place, it sounded like hoarding and/or squalor conditions: Cockroaches and mice running around.  Trash piled up.  Black mold.  The kids named one of the cockroaches, like a pet.  The kids also hoarded food in their rooms, not snacks but lunchmeat.

But whether they were technically hoarders or not, wherever they lived was soon filthy and stinky and looked like a dump, whether a broken-down old house or a 10-year-old apartment.  Even their vehicle had the same stench, and was full of trash and stains.

Even the mutual friend–a bachelor!–called their house disgusting, and still mentions it from time to time, especially if somebody accuses him of bad housekeeping.

Richard was delayed moving into our house because he had to throw out so much trash and mold-ruined clothes.

I went to the trouble of extra-cleaning the house before he arrived, so he could go from squalor to nice.  My son and I even cleaned the marks off the walls, including his drawings.

Unfortunately, one or two of those cockroaches apparently hitched a ride with Richard, as much as he tried to avoid it, because I saw a couple of cockroaches in my clean house for the first time ever in my entire life.  I sprayed and set out traps, and never saw them before or since November 2007.

In 2010 or 2011, I developed a fascination for shows about hoarders, because of this exposure to real-life squalor and trash hoarding.  What I saw looked familiar, not so much the hoarding as the poor housekeeping.

I wanted to see if their behavior qualified, and what drives people to live like this.

I have also seen many toilets on these shows which look just like Richard and Tracy’s–the element of their squalor which most horrified me and probably caused most of their stomach bugs.

That thing must have been infested with e-coli with all the fecal matter covering the seat and floor.  I mean, come on, when your own children’s health is at stake because they must sit every time they use the toilet–CLEAN IT!

I am a housewife, ever since my son was born.  Before that, I worked part-time.  My husband and son have always made a clutter-free house impossible, and my husband slacked off on his own chores all the time, but (in the eyes of everyone except my mother-in-law) I have always kept a clean house.

Not neat, but clean.  No mounds of trash, and bathrooms cleaned weekly.  At least, when I was in charge of cleaning them.  But even when my husband did that, I still spot-cleaned the toilets daily, so nobody had to fear using them.

Being exposed to their squalor drove me to be even cleaner, as if staving off the horror of my house becoming like theirs.  I use their house as a bugbear for my son, what will happen to his future place if he doesn’t clean it.  I joke that I’ll spank him if I come visit and it looks like theirs.  He wrinkles his nose and says he doesn’t want it to be like theirs.

I even felt a bit traumatized, so when I told my mom that we broke off relations with them, I finally poured out to her by e-mail and phone the filth I had experienced.  I also needed to talk about the filth with Todd.  I had to purge it, just as I do the entire abusive experience through this memoir.

Already I never knew what to expect in other people’s bathrooms, but this made me especially nervous when visiting other friends.  I fear such squalor anywhere I go, even though I haven’t seen it since.  I feel immense relief even if a bathroom hasn’t been cleaned recently, because it still is nowhere near the horror of Richard’s toilet and bathroom floor.

They didn’t have mounds of stuff in the living room, or bugs in the refrigerator, but there were unsanitary conditions.

Even the chairs and couches all had what looked like brown butt-marks, as if the filth from the toilet seat had been ground into them, so I had to force down revulsion just to sit down.  (This cause of the marks was plausible.  Don’t ask how I know this.)

The dishes, pots and pans piled in the sink often looked like they’d been sitting there for some time, with food long since dry and stuck to them.

The house smelled like decaying trash and body odor.  The bathroom sink was neglected like everything else, cluttered with stuff and filthy, and once I even found a disposable diaper in it and couldn’t use it.  And that was the only bathroom, so how were people supposed to wash their hands?

Jeff said the condition of the house was even worse when they expected only him and not me, which made him feel like he wasn’t worth cleaning up for.  (They said they cleaned for me, and I thought, “This is clean?”)

Jeff was also disgusted by the toilet.  It also sounds like the mutual friend saw even worse conditions than I did.  It sounds like I never saw just how bad it could really get, because they cleaned up for me.

But from what Richard, the mutual friend and Jeff told me, there was indeed trash hoarding along with unsanitary conditions.  Maybe “cleaned up” means they pitched the trash.

In my house, they left a huge pile of dirty laundry (including underwear!) on my living room floor!

First Richard started doing this, so I got disgusted and bought him a frickin’ laundry basket.  But he only put clean laundry in there, and still piled the gross dirty stuff on my floor.  ARGH!

But being a nice hostess, and already starting to fear his sarcastic wit (such as calling me Mom for wanting him to call if he’s going to be late in a snowstorm), I wasn’t assertive about it.

In fact, once I did try to get him to clean it up, he called me pushy, I apologized, then he laughed at me.  (This is a narcissistic trait: backwards reactions to things.)

When Tracy arrived, I hoped she would get him to improve his hygiene and habits, but hers turned out to be just as bad (she bathed every three days), and the laundry pile stayed put.

I didn’t feel comfortable hinting at her like I did at him, since with him I felt as comfortable as a twin sister, but she was scary.  (Once, when they visited after moving out, I had to re-wash a freshly washed blanket after she used it.  It stank that bad.  I sometimes wonder if they bathed even less often after moving out.)

Day after day I kept telling them when my laundry was done, but they still neglected their laundry, until they reached crisis levels.  If I tried to help, I was treated like I was creepy.

After they moved out, I vacuumed and wiped up the carpet before I could feel okay walking around there.  Then I saw them make the same pile (including underwear) on their own living room floor!

When they lived with us, I had to clean up after the adults and the children every time they used the bathroom.  I don’t want to go into a lot of disgusting detail, but this was not your usual ick left behind by the inconsiderate person ahead of you.

No, this was a dusting of filth all over the toilet and floor, or various other leavings, depending on who it was and what happened.  Didn’t they see it?

So I was constantly busy cleaning the bathroom, constantly using bathroom wipes.  (We went through four tubes of wipes a week!)

As the months passed after they moved out, I noticed whenever I used their bathroom that nobody kept up with it like I did–and the toilet and the floor around it grew worse and worse all the time.  There were layers of filth!  I’ve seen toilets on hoarder shows that remind me of this.

I feared for the health of those little girls.  I also feared what kind of crap (literally) they were tracking around the house on their feet.

I don’t consider myself excessively clean, but they already considered me practically OCD (I suppose I am in comparison), and I wanted to be a good guest, so I bit my tongue, swallowed my revulsion, and sat on the couches/chairs anyway.  Then changed my clothes when I got back home.

I began holding it in for as long as I could whenever we went over there.  But sometimes, I couldn’t help using the toilet.

But first, I was forced to use wet toilet paper and soap to scrub the seat, the front of the toilet under the seat, and floor as best I could, so that filth would not get on my skin and clothes.

Even that could not fully clean it, and all that caked-on filth, left black stains behind.  The bathtub was also neglected.

I wondered if they even noticed the smell or how filthy it was in the bathroom–another question I have when watching hoarder shows.  Other friends occasionally have dirty or cluttered houses, but nothing close to this.  Hoarders do not seem to notice the filth, because they live day-to-day in conditions that require others to wear hazmat suits!  And get angry when others remark on the filth!

Richard kept cancelling (at the last minute) some get-together we planned for the two families, because some child had a nasty stomach bug.  Richard blamed it on the cold weather; I knew the real reason: the lack of sanitation in their bathroom.

As an SCA person with geek friends, I have been in homes where the housework was low on the priority list, and am used to turning a blind eye to such things; I have been in a gaming store in which the bathroom was apparently kept up by apes; but I have never seen anything like what was in their bathroom.

From what I saw and was told by others, including Richard, an appalling level of filth was normal in their household, not just in my city but before they moved there.  They moved twice while I knew them, and both places ended up looking exactly the same over time–even an apartment which was only maybe 10 years old!

They kept pointing the finger at each other, or at the kids.  I wondered how two grown adults, at least one (usually two) of which was unemployed the whole time I knew them, could have no time to clean.

What did they do all day if they weren’t at work?  If they lacked money for cleaning supplies/wash machines, why not wash clothes in the tub and use vinegar to clean?

When Tracy’s mother visited them for a few weeks, and started cleaning the place, Richard and Tracy got furious with her.  I felt sorry for her, forced to stay in this place for so long, but not allowed to clean it.

I also see this reaction on hoarding shows, as the hoarder screams at people for throwing away rat-pee-covered books.

I got yelled at just for wiping honey off a table before setting down my books; Jeff got yelled at for helping clean up because the place would still be a mess when he got there; I got snapped at for giving Jeff a bottle of wipes to clean up after our son when he used the bathroom.

Richard made me feel like I had deeply insulted him by giving my son those wipes, that I implied his bathroom was not clean.

Well…even though the wipes were to clean up after my son, who was still potty training…instead of feeling insulted when people point out the obvious truth, just clean the frickin’ thing!

Even when they gave me a blanket during the winter, I often had reason to believe it was not clean, from what fell off it onto the table.  (I don’t want to be more specific on the Web).

Between this and the cramped conditions of their apartment/house compared to our own two-story condo and the field out back, where kids could freely roam and play and make noise without annoying the adults–I kept wishing they would come to our house more often.

(Heck, my house was even cleaner now because I had to stave off the specter of being like their house, and “cleanse” myself of it.)  Our house was a lot roomier without eight people sleeping in it and a mountain of dirty laundry in the living room.

But Tracy complained about our cats making her allergic (another reason that Richard bringing his family into my house to stay for a while was a very bad idea), and they wanted to play D&D on their dining table rather than in our basement, so we kept having to go over there.

So afterwards I came home, changed clothes, and cleaned the inside and outside of my shoes.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t refuse to go over there, period.  But Richard had me so enwebbed in his spell–and afraid to tell him my true opinion lest he make me feel like a prissy clean freak and a disgracefully bad-mannered guest–that I put up with it quietly.

When other people stayed with them, I wondered how they could stand the filth.  Even Jeff, when we ended the friendship on 7/1/10, said how glad he was to not be going back into that house with that smell and the filth.

And starting in 2010, when it became clear I was not going to have another child, and I no longer needed to hold onto baby things in case Richard’s little ones came over–I began deep-cleaning my own house.

I gave away the baby things, turned the changing table/baby room back into a library, and started cleaning things I never bothered with before.

My son was older, so with no little ones around we could bring down the breakables again, and I had more time to go deep into cupboards, clean behind furniture, and start cleaning more things more often than I did before.

(I even discovered some beautiful wedding-present-dishes and glasses that had been completely forgotten about.  They were good for daily use, so I washed them and put them into circulation, replacing our tired old ones.)

This was how I dealt with my grief in the summer of 2010, and it became a yearly summer routine.  Now that my son was older and I had more time, I took the toilet job back from my husband, because he didn’t do it the way I liked and had to be reminded all the time.

I now needed sparkly clean toilets, and floors swept every day.  My house would be CLEAN! cleaner than it ever had been! because I couldn’t stand even the faint resemblance to the filth I saw in THEIR house!  I’m not sure if “traumatized” by their filth is the right term, but it was something like it.

They all lived in my house for six weeks.  And while I was forced to constantly deal with the filth they brought into my house, constantly cleaning day and night for weeks, dealing with the mess and bad hygiene and cockroaches and lice and laundry on the floor and allergy medication left in reach of the children and bathroom cleanups every time somebody used it–

Tracy was constantly hostile to me, showering me with insults which should have led to her getting kicked out the door.  And she then tried to force me to grovel to her for her forgiveness and approval, because she twisted my treatment of her into something it was not, and her own treatment of me into sweetness and light.

I found myself down the rabbit hole.

Things were so bad that the only reason I can think of for staying friends with them for so long, was Richard’s hold over me.  I could not imagine life without him.

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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I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana

Richard said he wanted a friend like Sam was to Frodo on Lord of the Rings, so I told him I would be.  Finally I had a close friend in my own city whom I could see often, talk to often, someone who could get my normally quiet self to talk for hours, someone to understand me.

We had deep discussions, not about the weather but about music, religion, life experiences, movies, subcultures such as Goth (which he’d been heavily into while I had been interested in it), cultural attitudes, all sorts of things.

Because of my shyness, introversion and NVLD, and moving far from friends or family, it has been hard for me to make lasting friends in this city.  I used to make geek friends through local BBS‘s, but the Internet rose and the BBS’s died.  I changed jobs and churches; friends had squabbles and I became collateral damage.

I had always wanted a friend like Frodo/Sam or Anne/Diana or Bill/Ted, that one bosom friend who is closer to you than any other platonic friend, who wants to be with you all the time, but who is NOT your spouse or in any way a sexual partner.  Finally, I found that Friend.

But then his wife got jealous of me and within a few years, it all fell apart.  I thought Richard cared enough to have my back, since he said I was very dear to him, and showed in various ways that he loved me like a sister.

But in many things, he didn’t seem to want to understand me.  He let his wife tease me for being different and bully me for being quiet.  He refused to listen when both Jeff and I tried to explain my shy, quiet, introverted personality, that he was too hard on me.

In the moment of testing, he let me down.  Majorly.  He became my Judas.

So here I am alone again, wondering if I’ll ever have a friend like (I thought) he was again, someone who doesn’t live two or three hours away.  It may have to be a socially inept or shy person, like I usually befriend, rather than an outgoing extrovert like Richard, the type who thinks that everyone can be just like him.

I hope it’ll be a woman, so I don’t have to deal with a jealous wife again, but finding a woman who’s into the same music I like, is into Orthodox theology and has grown up in the Fundamentalist/ Evangelical subculture–that could be hard.

No, I don’t want to hear about the evils of opposite-sex friendships, because it’s a bunch of BS.  We’re liberated Gen-Xers; trust is a virtue.  I treat the topic in greater detail here, along with flirting, displays of affection between friends, and jealousy.

My husband was perfectly fine with our friendship, was glad whenever I got a chance to chat with Richard for more than a few minutes, and Richard had all sorts of female friends, with whom he innocently flirted (guys, too).

People put far too many rules on their friendships and on each other, when they should just let things be.

Tracy was abusive verbally and physically to Richard and their children.  I spoke up about it to him and shied away from her aggressive personality.

Instead of realizing she’s far too abusive and aggressive and needs to change herself, she tried to force me to accept her behavior as okay and twist mine into something it wasn’t.

She insisted on approving his friends, that she had veto rights; I know this because they both told me so.  She said so in a forum post, calling it “respect” to give up friends your spouse does not want you to have.

While he told me at various times about the rules his friends had to live up to, that she had to meet them, approve them, be friends with them too.  He said even his male friends were under this initial scrutiny, subject to her approval.

While he only wanted to meet her male friends before they went off to some political conference together.  (He just wanted to know what they looked like so he could beat them up if they tried anything.)

He had to live by far stricter rules than she did, you see.

(12/19/13: Tracy also felt entitled to read Richard’s e-mails and chats, and got mad at him once when she found someone she hated in his cell phone records.  Just tonight on Facebook, an old school friend asked,

If you are in a relationship does that mean that you have no privacy?  Does that mean that your significant other is entitled to go through your phone, check your text messages and Facebook messages?

The response: a resounding NO!  The various responders said you must have trust and privacy, and if your SO does not respect that, you’ve got major problems ahead. 

One said if he doesn’t stop this in its tracks, it’s going to get worse; one said “STALKER”; one said he’s going to have female and she’s going to have male friends, so you have to trust each other; another said, Get out, run fast!)

As soon as I learned this, red flags sprang up because of my abusive ex Phil, and all the research on abuse I did while writing about him in 2006.  As I explained above, Phil also tried to separate me from my best and dearest friends.

So I already knew about jealousy and control as forms of abuse.  I did even more research because of Tracy, and began posting links and comments on jealousy and abuse on this page and this page.  (They did not know about these pages.)

During this time, I also read a forum thread in which a woman described her abusive marriage.  She said, “He had to approve my friends.”

Instead of becoming the kind of person Richard’s friends would like, Tracy treated them like creeps if they didn’t like her, thereby driving them away as one after another of Richard’s friends ended the friendship, or she forced him to end friendships, showing a huge lack of trust in him and his judgment.  There was Todd; there were at least two more whom I know of.

From What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick:

Projection and projective identification play a part in her controlling behaviors. She maps her feelings onto you and controls you by inducing these feelings within you.

Her controlling facade masks her true internal experience. Deep down she feels frightened, out of control, incompetent and helpless.

Les Parrot (The Control Freak) writes, “People who want to exert control over everything can make those around them feel inadequate, insecure, nervous, angry, anxious and physically sick. Their message is: I don’t trust you to be able to do it right; I don’t respect your judgment; I don’t think you are competent; I don’t value your insight.”

Whether or not this woman is aware of it, this is how she feels about herself. Once you recognize the defense mechanisms at play, it becomes a little easier to take her hurtful behaviors less personally. She’d be like this with anyone.

My awkwardness in social situations can lessen around kind people, even if I don’t talk much.  But it becomes far worse in the presence of a hostile person, which Tracy is not just to me but to many people.

Instead of doing her best to draw me out and be kind, Tracy just kept punishing me and sending hostile waves at me for being unable to open up to her, which pushed me further into my shell–yet she and Richard both blamed me for it.

This all made my husband furious, especially when Richard finally allowed Tracy to vent her fury on me in such horrible language and words (such as “f— off,” which nobody has ever said to me before) that made me wonder how any Christian woman could justify this treatment of any other person.

Jeff and I told others what she said; they were flabbergasted that anybody would cuss me out like that.  Jeff and I finally threw up our hands and tossed her out of our lives for good.

Unfortunately, this meant Richard was tossed out as well, even though–at long last for me, who had been starved of good local friends for years–Richard had been my dearest and closest friend for 5 years.

He had been my spiritual mentor, the one who led me into the Truth I’d been searching for, the one who helped me decide on Orthodoxy and thirst for the Eucharist.  He helped me find love for God and my faith once again.  He helped open up the Scriptures for me, by leading me in the right direction.

But then he turned on me and betrayed me, threw me under the bus, letting Tracy tear me apart instead of giving her the key piece of information which would have proven to her my innocence.

Then, a month later, he said that not saying two sentences together to Tracy for a month and a half (WHAT month? and I don’t count my sentences! what, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about?) was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?  What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This makes me struggle to keep in the same faith as him and Tracy, and even causes me to doubt the very existence of God (who seemed to place him into my life just as I prayed for a friend, and to cause our families to be there for and bless each other).

After their abuses of me, I also struggle to make social connections with anyone else who isn’t already in my circle of friends (friends I mostly keep in touch with via the Internet).  I’m afraid of what’ll happen if I open up to anyone else the way I opened up to Richard, that they’ll hurt me like he did.

The problem first started with Tracy misunderstanding me, and me not having a clue about it until she was already digging in her heels and treating me badly and I had no idea why.

I noted over the years that she responds to problems by snarking at and being mean to the supposed offender, which she never so much as apologizes for.  This offends the offender and leads to nothing but arguments and bad feeling.

I complained to Richard about it and then, finally, started hearing what she was so upset about.  But trying to clear up the misunderstanding did no good at all because she was apparently determined to think badly of me.

Nobody informed me of a test I had to pass for Tracy to let me be friends with Richard, or what I was expected to do or know, until long after I already failed.  And after that, it seemed that no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough to make up for it.

In fact, it reminds me of Hell Week during my short-lived stint pledging a sorority: having no idea how I’ve offended the actives or what rule I’ve broken until I see a roster that’s already in the hundreds below zero.  And each day, more points are taken away, finding my points down in the negative thousands with no idea what rules I broke and no hope of getting back up.

I could concede that some of her rules seemed reasonable enough in normal circumstances–but we were not in normal circumstances, we were sharing a house.

When you live together for weeks on end, when you must keep in the good graces of the host and hostess who are doing you a huge favor that few people would do, getting in a snit fit about things that go against your usual rules, makes no sense.

And it makes no sense to say you don’t “know” somebody when you live in the same crowded house for six weeks, and spend nearly every night socializing with that person for hours.

When we shared a house, both our families for six weeks, it was a disaster.  It was never part of the deal.

We lived in a tiny house, about 1100 square feet.  The spare room (a library, not a bedroom) was filled with the changing table and baby supplies, so already Richard slept on the couch.

It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, helping out a friend until he found a job and a place to move into with his family, NOT an indefinite address for the entire family.

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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Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk

I keep putting up this story and taking it down again and putting it back up again.  I take it down because I wonder how much I really want to post on the Web.

Then I put it back up because the issues in here–child abuse, domestic violence, bullying, women who abuse men–are very important and need to be addressed.

It’s a risk which sometimes I do and sometimes don’t want to take, but there are many things in here that need to be said about modern society–and it’s hard to make a complete picture of what happened without posting all of it.  However, there are some private details which must be kept private.

1. This page is for NLDers, introverts, fellow bullying victims, fellow abuse survivors and friends of abuse victims.

2. I want to help raise awareness that women do abuse, too, not just men.  If the roles were reversed and Richard did the things I saw Tracy do and heard that Tracy did, nobody would question that he was a jerk and abuser and that she needed to get out.  But because the woman was the abuser, Richard kept trying to hold it together.

It takes great courage or stupidity to post this, because I’m scared the bully Tracy will find it and retaliate.  She is, after all, physically violent when she chooses to be.  (But then, she thinks I’m stupid anyway.)

There’s also still the faint hope that one day soon Tracy will regret the things she’s done, apologize and try to change.

But if she does find it, or Richard finds it–who knows, maybe reading this will show them just what they’ve done and that theirs are not the only opinions that matter.  Maybe it will inspire them to make amends and changes in their own lives.

If they just look and laugh and make no apologies, then that would be childish and prove they have no business coming back into our lives.  If Tracy beats me up, I’ll finally have physical proof of her true character.

[Update: The above was written somewhere between 2010 and 2011.  They did indeed find this in May 2012; see here.]

3. But I’ve read other people’s accounts of how they’ve been bullied and abused.

So my story burns within me to be told as well, expressing to the ether what happened, hoping other abuse victims will be helped by it and learn from it–especially people who deal with NVLD, Asperger’s or selective mutism, or who are introverts, and whose social understanding is hampered.

I have been betrayed and thrown to the wolves by the very person I thought had my back.

4. You will see that it’s useless to deal with someone who is jealous, controlling and/or abusive, but won’t deal with her issues properly.

You will hopefully learn that it just isn’t worth trying to pacify such a person, that it’s best to just cut them out of your life early–before they infect you with their emotional damage and leave you to deal with the pain, the post traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, the lies they spread about you, etc.  Even a dear friendship isn’t worth that.

5. I hope to demonstrate the evils of jealousy, to make a plea for all those who are judged by advice columnists and bloggers and the like as whores and “inappropriate” based simply on one side given us by an upset wife in a short letter.  There may be more to that story than you realize.

6. I hope to help NLDers realize their naïveté can make them far too trusting, far too easily taken advantage of.

7. As a writer, I am driven to tell stories, even and especially my own stories, whether positive or negative.

8. There’s a huge lack of stories, even on the Net, about the friends and families of people who are involved in domestic or child abuse situations; friends who are being abused by friends; the friends of friends who are being abused by friends.

You read about them, but mostly a sentence or two about how friends and family are driven away by the abuser and/or subjected to abuse as well, because they object to how the abuser treats their friend.

I searched and searched to find stories about friendship abuse, but kept finding very little (except occasionally in comments to blogs or advice columns).  There are plenty of survivor stories from people who were abused by parents or romantic partners.  The dynamics are obviously different, making it hard to relate if you’re the friend being abused.

So that’s another reason I put these stories here, because this is about a friend who sees her best friend’s verbally and physically violent marriage, objects, then finds herself subjected to abuse and accusations because she objected, until finally she cuts these people out of her life at great personal grief.

This story is for people who are abused by friends, or the spouses of friends, or who feel helpless as a friend or family member is domestically abused.  Perhaps you will see that while the abuse of me did anger me quite a bit, what angered me the most was how Tracy abused Richard, the children, and others.

9. I want to help raise awareness of different types of domestic abuse.

10. I want to help raise awareness of bullying and abuse in other contexts.

11. We need to get our stories out there so others learn how to recognize bullying and abuse–to get away from it, to stop doing it, to help others out of it.  Despite decades of attention, this problem persists.

12. I want to help others learn from my mistakes, of which you will probably find many.

13. I want to record my struggle with loss of faith and trying to hold onto it, after the most significant person in my conversion to Orthodoxy, became my betrayer and manipulator.  The fall of a spiritual mentor into some kind of sin does happen now and then, shaking the faith of the ones who looked up to him, so this story is universal.

14. I want to raise awareness for what it’s like to be an introvert, or to have NLD/Asperger’s/selective mutism, and how people like us are constantly bullied in today’s American society, which values extroversion and looks down upon introversion.

15. And, well, this story is true from my perspective (that last bit added for legal reasons).  I wouldn’t be so confident with a lie.

Here is another story of a woman abused by a friend, as seen through the eyes of another woman who eventually became subjected to abuse as well, for sticking up for the abused.  And here is what appears to be the story of the friend being abused.

Here is another story of a woman being abused by her female friend, who is a narcissist.  From what I have observed, Richard and Tracy both have narcissistic traits.  Note the following paragraph from this link, from JoyfulAliveWoman’s blog.  Note that her friendship was heterosexual, that there was nothing sexual about it, and yet this woman hooked in JAW so much that she wrote this:

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).

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.

It wasn’t like this in the beginning between Richard and me, not until later on, but it was always that way with Tracy and me.

Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults.

In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a “nice guy” and that he can be trusted.

It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). –Mel Stewart, The Fine Art of Grooming

I’ve described the Richard and Tracy story in little bits and pieces, interspersed here and there in my reviews of Gone With the Wind, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Mysteries of Udolpho.

For more than two years I was bullied for being different by a grown adult, bullied by Tracy by proxy through Richard, verbally abused by Tracy only to have both of them act like what I did (basically, being shy, quiet and wary of Tracy, who bullied me, Richard and her children) was somehow worse than her bullying and abuse of me.

At first, Richard and I bonded over religion, music and Goth.  He was my spiritual guide.  He was my best, closest and dearest friend, the one I trusted so much that I told him things I hadn’t told anyone else.  We were like a mutual admiration society.  He told me I was the most awesome person he knew; I felt the same about him.  But he betrayed me.

The first thing is, you were born this way. It is in your nature, and thus cannot be wrong.  On average, one out of every three people is an introvert, if being quiet was wrong, that would make 1/3 of the total population born lesser. –serjicaladdict, Why are you so quiet?

16. [This part was written somewhere between late 2010 and early 2011.]  Another reason is to try somehow to understand this perplexing situation.  Only over the past several months, as I’ve been writing and adding to this story, have I started to see the whole picture and make connections and understand little bits of pieces of it.

I noticed the same thing over the past 15 years as I wrote memoirs about my life: Certain events that upset me greatly, long-term abuse and other such things, I wrote about as they happened, and put them into my memoirs several years later.  I began to understand, but not quite yet.

Then several years after that, I put these memoirs online in public versions.  As I did this, and did more research into abuse, I saw connections I never saw before.  Things began to make sense, how guys would manipulate me, and that sort of thing.

I see this happen now as I write about this horrible situation.  I see clues to what may have happened, that I didn’t see before.

All my life I’ve written diaries, letters, e-mails, journals, memoirs and other accounts describing my life, its various events, my emotions.  This may be related to NVLD, being confused by life, not seeing the whole picture for the details, and needing to journal about it to figure things out.

It may also be related to Aspergers, having a long memory, going over things again and again in your mind long after other people have forgotten about it.

Or maybe I simply want to be a modern Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What Makes Your Control Freak Wife or Girlfriend Tick sounds to me very much like Tracy, and you will recognize various elements of it as you read my story, such as:

  • her being happy as she cuts you down
  • having to be in control (which she did to me, to Richard, to an ex-family friend named Todd)
  • histrionics I witnessed when she dealt with her ex
  • steamrolling me time and again, no compromise or concession, this coming back to bite her as people kept bolting from friendships or other relationships with her
  • two or three of the emotional states listed under “Losing Control” (when I challenged her for raging at me and she realized Jeff and I were ending our friendship with her).

Todd, who was friends with Richard for six years–from before Richard and Tracy got married–and stayed with them twice, for a month each time, said she yells at you but does nothing to work on her own part of the problem.

I witnessed a few arguments between her and Richard that got nasty, so I knew it wasn’t just me.  If she were this way with nobody else, I’d have to look harder at myself, but this was not the case.

17. Tracy did her hardest to make me think I was the problem, but I knew this wasn’t true, and wrote this to remember why.

As the above article states,

Yes, this woman is deeply troubled, but it is NOT your responsibility to tolerate, accept or change her. The only way to gain mastery over a relationship with this kind of woman is to end it. Otherwise, you’ll begin an endless replay loop of your own misery.

18. This article, and my story, should help you recognize such people in your own life, and that it’s not worth waiting around for change.  Take warning from what happened to 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

 

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