threats

A return to a peaceful spirit as my stalkers are defanged at last; also, glad to see my blog back!

Finally, my web host has finished whatever they were doing to protect us against botnet attacks, and my blog is back to normal functioning (I hope)!

But it was down for about a week, a long, frustrating week as my blog would go up and down, up and down.  I often had to turn off the redirect sending readers here from my old blog.

During uptimes, I installed better security and made adjustments, since you can’t rely on your host to protect you completely, especially on a free server.

I see from my security files that just in the last 24 hours, some bot from the Ukraine continuously tried to get into my blog’s dashboard for malicious purposes.  Apparently it would try, Wordfence would block it for a short time, then it would come back and try again.

But because of my security fixes, it could not come in.  😀  And now, because of Wordfence, I’ve blocked it permanently from trying again.

I have seen my stalkers trying to get in as well.  They are aware of this new blog, and have done searches for it which led them to my old blog, but not the new one.

I’ve seen them go to my old blog, but because the redirect for mobile phones was turned on, they got redirected here–and couldn’t get in.

I saw them try six times one evening to get in, when the mobile redirect was on, but they failed!

All they can ever see is the old blog, which is rarely updated now.  Now that my blog is back up and more stable again, the mobile redirect is back up, so they can’t get to the old or new blogs at all.

When the redirect is up, the only trace I can see of them is in Blogger’s stat page, when an Android browser is accompanied by a search term which I can recognize as theirs.  They do not show up in any other hit count trackers, because they are blocked.

I haven’t seen them back in a little more than a week, even though they had a long-established routine of checking in at least once a week, often twice or more–and several times a day when they discovered me trying to block them on my old blog a couple of months ago.

Strange how they won’t say a word to me otherwise, but will express their displeasure with me through their unwanted blog hits…..

Must be because they know I’ve been to the police about them already because of the e-mail they sent me, so they know I’m capable of doing so again.

This has been extremely helpful in restoring my broken spirit.  For almost a year I have feared what they may be planning next:

  • Will I get served with a lawsuit for telling the truth?
  • Will they send me another nasty message, threaten me, or assault me as Richard had once almost done to the person who evicted them?
  • Will they come to my church again on purpose to upset me and rub my nose in their lack of remorse for hurting and abusing me?

But none of this has happened.  No lawsuit.  No more nasty messages.  No assaults.  I haven’t even seen them at church since last August.  Their presence on my blog has been a constant irritant, but now I have successfully blocked them.

They are beginning to disappear from my life, even on the edges (ie, checking my blog), since I switched to Wordpress.org and blocked them.  They are also beginning to disappear from my thoughts.  Not completely, but it is a huge step forward.

There is still the risk of seeing them more often eventually at church, if one of our parishes fails financially and our separate congregations begin blending.  I dearly hope that does not happen.

But for now, our two parishes remain open, and they are not directly in my life (just occasionally seen on the street).  My spirit is moving toward peace, toward calm.

I am working to accept that Richard was never the friend or the person he claimed to be, or he would never have let things get this way, that he must have been conning and using me.

I have become the webmaster for my church, and that has predominated my thoughts (and time) lately as I struggle to understand the content management system it uses.

My son just bought a couple of adorable spice finches who are very attached to each other.

Life is slowly but surely moving on.

 

Intimidation of Abuse Bloggers

Please note: This is a diary of my struggle dealing with abuse and stalking, NOT legal advice.

My abusers are trying to intimidate me into silence.  I have clear documented evidence of this, and witnesses.  I have pulled this information together for others being intimidated into silence by their abusers, especially for bloggers.  In our voices, we have strength.  Keep blogging!

Threats and intimidation: threatening to harm the victim, family members and pets, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, keeping weapons & threatening to use them —Abusive Relationships

 Whether it’s bullying from peers in school or the workplace, sibling abuse, child abuse or domestic violence, constant intimidation is unhealthy for all involved.

Whether you are the perpetrator, the victim or an innocent bystander, constant intimidation can cause anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and nightmares.

Even if the perpetrator fails to act on his threats, the damage is done. Verbal and mental intimidation can be far more damaging than physical violence as the scars are much less visible and can go undetected. —Long-Term Effects of Constant Intimidation | eHow.com

Only she is far from alone. My own friends list is full of people – mostly women – whose activism has led to them being targeted: whose failure to “get a joke” turns them instantly into the butt of one themselves.

I’ve been on the receiving end, too, very recently. Of online abuse. Of intimidation. Though nowhere on the scale of that endured by better known columnists such as Julie Bindel, who has been threatened yet again this past weekend.

So forgive me if I don’t join with those suggesting Suzanne Moore “man up” in response to the latest batch of online abuse. Or dissing Mary Beard, who has come in for abuse following her appearance on Question Time last week, as an online wimp. It’s an issue – and the simplistic analysis I have seen of it so far doesn’t go a fraction of the way to address it.

First up, there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure.  Beard makes the point well, in a blog responding to her own online treatment.

It is clear that she is no stranger to tired old jokes about her appearance – but even she has been shocked about the response she evoked, describing the level of misogyny as “truly gobsmacking”.

The focus of much of the abuse is sexual, sadistic even and, she adds: “it would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate”.

In other words, it is silencing, something I get very well from personal experience. I’ve opted out of contributing online for periods ranging from hours to a couple of weeks after being subjected to this sort of online nastiness.

Not just me. Many far braver women with serious contributions to make to public discourse on violence and abuse have suffered similar: been silenced simply for having an opinion. –Jane Fae, Misogyny, intimidation, silencing – the realities of online bullying

This sounds like the kind of thing I was subjected to in 2009, here, which my narc ex-friend Richard proclaimed I should “get over.”  As does the vile crap which Mary Beard was subjected to because of her name, as she documents in her blog post, Internet fury: or having your anatomy dissected online.  An excerpt:

All the same, you may say … why pay it any attention, still less give it publicity?

Several reasons. First, the misogyny here is truly gobsmacking. The whole site is pretty hateful (and what some of the comments say about Andrew Marr since he’s been ill are almost worse than anything).. but the whole “cunt” talk and the kind of stuff represented by the photo on right is more than a few steps into sadism.

It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate, especially as all of this comes up on google..

But is it just a kind of rugby club joke misfired? Well that’s what I’d guess they would say. “Where’s your sense of humour?”

But reading through it (and yes you get tipped off about it whether you search or not.. and no you cant resist looking at it), it is absolutely plain as day that this is meant to hurt and wound (“If all else, we got to her” as one commenter says).

It shows the classic signs of vile playground bullying — claiming to know about the victim, sneering at things they could not possibly know but claim they do, destabilising by using names in the thread that are those of you friends or even anagrams of your own, suggesting that they are watching you… that’s all part of the bullying repertoire.

 

Given the kind of graphic threats Kathy received, I can appreciate the need to be cautious, maybe even to take a hiatus for a while. But when a voice is voluntarily silenced forever, the bad guys have won. Fear wins. I cannot accept this. Intimidation only works if you let yourself be intimidated; terrorism only works if you let yourself be terrorized.

So Kathy, if you’re out there, I urge you to come back. We miss you.

Of course, it is Dare’s blog, and he is free to do whatever he likes with it, regardless of what those 70,000 readers might want. He doesn’t specify exactly what the problem is, although I have a hard time imagining that his many posts about XML, web APIs, and Facebook are causing problems for his family in Nigeria.

Still, I hate the idea that Dare is giving up, that he’s conceding to unnamed forces who are intimidating him into silence.

It’d be one thing if Dare said that he didn’t enjoy blogging, or if nobody was listening. But clearly that’s not the case. Dare provided a refreshingly honest and open look at what was going on inside parts of Microsoft, along with some penetrating industry analysis. I’ll miss that greatly.

I’ve never met Kathy Sierra or Dare Obasanjo, although I do feel I know them peripherally through long term readership of their blogs. It’s not my place to tell them– or anyone, really– what to do.

But I’m absolutely certain that when they stop writing, everyone loses. –Jeff Atwood, Death Threats, Intimidation, and Blogging

Today at the American Center for Law and Justice, we announced that we’re representing Ali and the National Bloggers Club. We intend to aggressively respond to any and all attacks on bloggers’ free-speech rights.

The truth is a defense to frivolous libel claims, and the law exists to protect free speech, not enable its attackers. It is appalling and inexcusable that major leftist organizations fund a convicted domestic terrorist. It is even more appalling that the price of reporting these facts is a campaign of threats and legal intimidation.

But one thing is clear: The radicals have picked a fight with the wrong people. Ali and the bloggers at the National Bloggers Club will not be silenced. –David French, Defending Bloggers from Attacks, Intimidation, and Frivolous Lawsuits

The district court’s ruling (PDF here) is the fullest treatment I’ve seen of the theory that blogs, as an inherently less factual medium, are less susceptible to defamation suits.

Judge Marco Hernandez turns to the Ninth Circuit’s standard test (first laid out in Unelko Corp. v. Rooney but expanded upon in Partington v. Bugliosi) for deciding whether a written work is “factual” (and thus open to defamation claims) or “opinion” (protected by the First Amendment).

That test, first of all, looks not at the author’s intent to be “factual” or not, but instead turns on how a reasonable reader would interpret the information.

To figure out how readers will take the information, the test looks to the “context” of the work, both in a broad, general-tenor sense (which includes “the subject of the statements, the setting, and the format”) and in a more focused sense (looking at things like the writing style of the disputed content, whether figurative language was used, and so on).

Judge Hernandez ended up ruling that Cox, who runs a website critical of Obsidian Finance’s acts in the bankruptcy realm, was writing opinion and not fact. And that’s fine with me.

The judge’s order runs through plenty of evidence — the website’s URL (ObsidianFinanceSucks.com), the subject matter (bankruptcy disputes), the language and tone (described as “stream of consciousness”) — to suggest that Cox’s posts aren’t “factual” in the defamation-law sense of the word.

Instead, Cox is just someone with (as the judge puts it) a “personal vendetta” against Obsidian Finance. Her writing makes that bias obvious, which undercuts the factual nature of her blog.

Now, that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with looking at the entirety of a website to decide how factual or non- various statements are. (Otherwise, The Onion would have a lot of trouble). That inquiry focuses on the message being conveyed, not on the medium used to convey it. –John Sharkey, Why Blogs Can’t Be Trusted, or: ‘Statements Made Here Are Not Likely Provable Assertions of Fact’

Cox vs. Obsidian Finance Group, Judgment; The Case

Here we go again. Over the past few years there have been a number of cases in which a crank, quack, or charlatan has attempted to silence legitimate criticism of their claims and behavior by threatening legal action, either shutting down their site through the ISP or suing for libel.

I guess they feel that a lone blogger would be easy to intimidate. They are not part of a large media outlet with lawyers on the payroll to defend them. Defending against even a frivolous suit can be ruinous to a lone blogger.

The goal, however, is not to really sue but to threaten the blogger into silence. It is intellectual thuggery, meant to defend a charlatan who cannot defend themselves with science and evidence…..

Recently a person calling himself Marc Stephens wrote a very threatening letter to Andy Lewis who wrote a critical post about the cancer clinic of Stanislaw Burzynski called The False Hope of the Burzynki Clinic. Stephens tried to make the letter sound legal and official, even though he does not appear to be a lawyer. The letter says, in part:

Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your posting to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: defamation Libel, defamation per se, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships.

The information you assert in your article is factually incorrect, and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity.

In other words – the blog post is libel and we will sue if you don’t take it down immediately.

Lewis essentially responded the way General Anthony Clement McAuliff responded when asked to surrender by the Germans in World War II – “Nuts.” The post is still up, and now there are dozens of other blog posts up also criticizing the Burzynski clinic and their attempt at silencing criticism. –Steven Novella, Another Crank Tries to Intimidate a Blogger

There is an extensive blogging community who write about their experiences with abuse, narcissism, borderline and other Cluster B personality disorders.

I have looked over countless such blogs, and it is the normal way of things to describe your experiences, in however much detail you like.  Some people use their real names, but most use pseudonyms and fake names or “titles” for the people in their blogs, such as “NM” for “narcissistic mother.”

Oftentimes the blogs are found by the people described.  Sometimes these people get upset, but don’t do much except be nuisances, leaving nasty comments or sending complaining e-mails denying the truth of the blogs.

But I have come across various cases of bloggers being threatened with legal action.  One narcissism blogger wrote this very helpful post for fellow bloggers, Airing the Family Laundry: Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character.  I’m reblogging this for all such bloggers who might happen upon my blog.  Some quotes:

“…context matters: courts have held that given the nature of online forums, online comments cannot be taken as seriously as those made in real life or in the media. Because of these requirements, bringing a claim for internet libel is a challenge.” —the Legality ….

I read several articles in preparation for this post and most of them suggested it was ill-mannered and probably not-very-wise to write about family and friends.

However, in context of the recovery community, personal narrative and disclosure are de rigueur. Readers expect a certain type of blog when reading about narcissism.

We don’t expect love stories—unless the blog is seriously pathological and merits being flagged as inappropriately ludicrous like Chicken Soup for the Soul-less or something.

We expect bloggers to write from the gut, interspersing emotion-laden anecdotes, not clinical appendages suitable for publication in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

We expect to see a cooperative blog where people share their troubles with one another; i.e.: airing out the family linen together.

On blogs like mine, self-disclosure is i-m-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e. Bloggers connect the dots between past and present which will, if we are doing our recovery work, focus on family dynamics.

Bloggers write about sensitive topics such as: family patterns and dysfunctional behaviors; internalized beliefs and assumptions; distinctions between normal and pathological behavior; traumatic events; intimate details in relationships; our thoughts, behaviors and reactions to other people’s thoughts, behaviors and reactions; and never forget: the armchair diagnosis based on accessible information about pathology.

We do not expect bloggers to be professional psychologists so whatever diagnosis bloggers have determined best fits, is not libelous. It’s opinion.

Don’t let the fear that you ‘might’ be sued stand in the way of speaking your truth.

I would imagine that more than one blogger writing about narcissism has been warned—finger in the blogger’s nose—that should she write even ONE WORD disparaging the narcissist’s most excellent reputation and untarnished character, that she would be sued into the netherworld of Hell.

And yet, here we are—still blogging, still learning, still fighting for healthier relationships by opening the doors on dysfunction…whether people like being written about or not.

The chances that you will be sued are slim-to-none if you follow Good Faith practices protecting your anonymity.

If you’re the one being unjustly written about, be careful reading websites sponsored by ambulance-chasing attorneys who’ll feed your greed and your desire for revenge. You’re better off toughening your own thin-skin and keeping the narcissist away from your blog, than you are engaging in litigation that could cost thousands of dollars and a decade of your life.

And what for? So you could tell the narcissist she was a scuz? So you could stick it to the person who said you were scuzzy?

I am preaching to myself as much as anyone because it isn’t easy defending people’s right to free speech when you’re seriously butthurt from something they said or wrote about you.

 

….Cyberspace is most definitely a new world from the print-world I grew up in when the printed word (newspapers and magazines) was the only source of information.

Retractions for false information couldn’t be edited at a moment’s notice and people had no voice for opposition if they didn’t own a printing press. Libel suits were integral to a fair and just society because reputations could be ruined and financial losses irreparable by the time a retraction could be published.

This is not our reality today. Our first action ought be contacting the author. Working things out. Resolving our differences. Not hiring an attorney.

 

…I hope my blog inspires an army of ACoNs [Adult Children of Narcissists] to start writing since nearly every person who does, discovers a power within they didn’t realize they had. Writing puts things into perspective and for some of us: restores our SANITY.

I was thinking about the ACoN community and why blogging is so important. If you ever attended 12-step meetings, you’ve likely heard the cliche: “Your head is a bad neighborhood to visit alone.”

Talking with other people interrupts unhealthy rumination and even obsessiveness. That’s been my experience and believe you me, I know a lot about obsessiveness. ha!

… Where do you go to talk about dysfunction and narcissism? If you join your local quilting group and start talking about patriarchal abuse, they’ll stick you with their needles and sew your mouth shut. I mean seriously, who are you going to talk with?

A lot of people have the resources and the time to spend years in therapy. Some of us don’t have extra cash for that and our insurance policies won’t pay for it anyway.

To just sit in our ‘shit’ and let it fester rather than working through our issues with people who don’t shame, blame and “sue” us for defamation, perpetuates dysfunction. We start out with unhealthy behaviors and if left uncorrected, those behaviors turn into traits and pretty soon, you’re the lonely old cat lady shooting passersby and muttering to yourself.

The last two paragraphs were in response to a comment that there are no support groups in real life for victims of narcissists and Cluster Bs, so this is why we turn to blogging.

My comments are turned off because my narcissists found my blog.  But just writing my story, and occasionally commenting on other narcissist/abuse blogs, and reading their similar experiences, has been very helpful.

These are people who understand because they’ve been there, and don’t judge you.  They don’t give you pat answers like, “just let it go,” because they know that the only way to move on is to face the problem head-on and work through the pain and anger.

The biggest words to keep in mind are, of course, “falsely” and “knowingly.”  You have to be deliberately writing things you know to be false, for it to be libel.  I steer clear of such behavior, having always had an innate sense of honesty.  Whatever I write, I have reason to believe to be true.

Using real names is also a big no-no in most cases.

So avoid both and may your blogging lead you to emotional health.  Your blog gives you a voice, something which you may have been denied–as I was–in dealing with your narcs/Cluster Bs/abusers.

I don’t even care anymore when I see my blog stalkers in the stats.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

[Update 11/10/12:] Another blogger who’s been threatened with a lawsuit, this time blogging about a narcissistic ex-husband, but it went nowhere:

The bottom line– he saw my blog and wants it removed.  He wants the custody orders changed and is throwing out words like “defamation” and “slander”.

He threw out accusations of Parental Alienation Syndrome which is the furthest thing from the truth.  He is a bully and he is trying to intimidate me. –One Mom’s Battle, Intimidation Tactics

After receiving the paperwork yesterday with his request for an emergency hearing, I spoke to many knowledgeable people.  Professional bloggers and people with a background in law.  I was assured that I was in compliance since I haven’t publicly named him. –One Mom’s Battle, Hearing Request: Denied

Just like me, this writer posted her story of abuse on the web, then her abusers found it.  This is her story of what happened next:

Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi

In February, I got a phone call from my main abuser saying: “I read your little blog post, what are you doing? Trying to get attention? Who abused you, and why am I hearing about it in this way?”

(I would like to say that “your little blog post” was kind of comedic to me, since this is a highly trafficked website that has helped thousands of people.)

And then 3 more phone calls from my other main abuser.

Phone Call 1: “Kylie, we got a phone call today about your blog post. Someone in the family has read it and we really need to know what is happening and what is going on here.

It’s really obvious that you are accusing someone in the family of sexually abusing you and since we know that isn’t true we just want to find out what is going on with you.”

Phone Call 2: “Kylie, one of your aunts has read the blog post and she can’t sleep. She hasn’t been able to sleep in 3 nights. She is so upset.”

Phone Call 3: “Kylie, one of your uncles has read the blog post and now he is wanting to beat up the person you accused in your article.”

Kylie: “I am really sorry for all the drama this is causing for you. I genuinely was trying to help people. I do whatever I can to help people heal from what I have overcome and been through. I had no idea it would cause anyone else any stress or pain. I was very conscientious not to point any specific fingers, so I’m not sure why people are making these assumptions about who abused me.”

Because her abusers still frightened her, she

actually stopped working on a book on overcoming sexual trauma that I have been working on for over 10 years. I stopped commenting on EFB and OSA Facebook pages and sites.

I stopped offering the recovery-based courses that women were participating in with life-changing results.

In short, I stopped speaking my truth.  I silenced myself.

But she goes on to describe how she pulled out of her paralysis and began speaking out again.  I noted that she was helped greatly by this post by Christina Enevoldson.

I’m not sure if Christina wrote that post directly in response to a question I asked her, or if she was already working on the post.  But I had just read Christina’s post about her mother threatening her with legal action and accusing her of lying about her childhood sexual abuse, and asked her,

I noted the similarity between my story and what Christina’s mother wrote to her. I also note that she accused Christina of some kind of “threat.” What happened after this? Did the police get involved? How did you get the courage to keep telling and keep the story online, Christina?

Christina responded,

Wow, Kay!
That’s great that you’re not backing down! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s not easy to stand up to bullies of any kind. Yours seem to be very persistent, though you seem even more so. Good for you!

My parent’s threat actually emboldened me to speak up more. The reasons for that is a little long to include as a comment, but I’m working on it as a separate blog post. I’ll post the link here as soon as I get it up.

Thanks for your question! It’s really good to consider all the ways their threat helped me.

Now her post has helped not just me, but many others as well.

Here’s how one court dealt with a narcissistic ex-husband suing his ex over her blog and book:

The Commission refused to hear the motion and threw it out while making it very clear that he does not want to hear about the book or blog ever again. He said that I have the right to write about anything that I choose. —One Mom’s Battle

 

“Note to Narcissists~ If you think you recognize yourself in something I write, then YOU owe somebody an apology. I don’t owe YOU one. It’s not MY fault if your own behavior embarrasses you.

I never identify the lowlifes I’m writing about, and if you behave like that, not to mention being arrogant and idiotic enough to actually think YOU are the star of something I write, then you SHOULD be ashamed of yourself .

So quit whining and start apologizing for acting like a jackass and hurting people who love you.” ~Rev. Renee Pitelli, posted here [Update 11/27/14: Muldrfan’s older blog no longer exists, so the link no longer works.]

As Paula wrote on one of her blogs:

I am 100% supportive of outing these fools by name. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand that outing them is a direct consequence and they should deal with it. They don’t.

Instead, they seek low-life attorneys willing to send cease and desist letters to scare us into thinking we’re committing a crime.

We’re not!! It’s called freedom of speech. If they think we’re lying and hope to sue us for defamation, libel, or slander, they need to prove that in court. The burden in U.S. courts is on the complainant, not the defender. I believe it is opposite in some countries, including Canada and the UK. :)

…Not that I’ll be doing this.  No, that information is for my friends, not the Net.

Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control. The abuser uses intimidation, fear, guilt or threats to frighten and belittle the victim.

In intimate relationships, emotional abuse often results in one partner feeling ashamed, afraid and isolated from friends and family.

They may be fearful to talk to anyone about the abuse because their abuser has told them that no one will believe them. Abusers often degrade and humiliate their victims to the point that they are left with little self-esteem.

Parents or caregivers who emotionally abuse their children also use similar controlling tactics to gain power over the child.

Children who experience emotional abuse feel that they are responsible for the behavior of their parents and that if only they were more polite, better students or better children, then their parents would be more loving. —Emotional Abuse

I am beginning to think that this was his plan from the start –Wear me out emotionally, mentally, financially.

I bet he never expected me to fight this hard but either way, I wish I saw an end in sight. I can’t move on living like this. But he may have anticipated that. Turns out its not uncommon for batterers to use the legal system to abuse their ex. –Juniperskye, Power and Control  [link no longer works]

 Abuse is any threat, act or physical force that is used to create fear, control or intimidate. Abuse is about maintained power and control. An abuser may choose to use intimidation, isolation, humiliation, blame or physical violence to make you go along with everything he says and does.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behaviour. In fact, abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.

Abuse takes many forms. It can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial. —Information on Abuse

 How do we deal effectively with intimidation? Well, the first thing is to recognize it for what it is. This is a problem that the narcissist has with himself, not with you.

If you take it personally, you’ll fall into the trap of getting distracted from what’s really going on. You’ll be manipulated into thinking you have something to do with his problem and hence can fix it, and you’ll compromise yourself in trying to do so.

The narcissist has a deep problem with himself. Know that the narcissist’s actions don’t come from a place of strength, but from desperation.

His greatest fear is the truth, and if he’s going into a rage, it’s probably because you’re getting close to it or you’ve already exposed him. He will intimidate if his sense of control, grandiosity, and dominance is threatened.

Remembering this can help you detach, take a step back, and allow him the space to have his fit on his own. Trust in yourself. You’re going to feel frustration, fear, anxiety, but don’t act from it or you’ll get sucked in.

Ask yourself the important questions, “Was this outburst appropriate? What happened before the outburst that brought it on? Why did it bring about such a reaction?” If you’re too enmeshed in the situation to answer objectively, ask other people what they think. –Katie, Surviving After Narcissistic Abuse: Intimidation

 In 2008, when the Daily News started reporting in earnest on the growing evidence that Armstrong had cheated, we found that paranoia struck deep in the cycling world. It’s a small industry, and Armstrong was a transcendent figure, so powerful inside his sport that people feared for their livelihoods and reputations if they crossed him.

Four years later, it’s easier for the wider world to see why. The evidence published this month by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows that Armstrong and his cronies possessed a cynical assuredness that their yellow wristbands entitled them to smash anyone who threatened their corrupt regime.

But it’s also already becoming harder for the world to see how lonely and painful it was for people in cycling to stand up and resist Armstrong’s Machiavellian tactics.

Now it’s trendy to be an accuser — it’s the stuff of bestsellers, not defamation complaints. But if you took on that role during the peak of Armstrong’s Tour de France dominance you might be vilified, accused of being jealous, drunk, unpatriotic, mentally disturbed. —Victims of Lance Armstrong’s strong-arm tactics feel relief and vindication in the wake of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report

A comfort for the intimidated:

What are the negative effects of intimidation?
If you continue to use intimidation to control others, then you will:
* Find people developing emotional barriers in their relationships with you so that they are no longer vulnerable to being hurt by your control.
* Be at risk of being accused as being emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusive in your dealings with others.
* Find that the costs of “getting your way” all of the time are greater than you expected when you find yourself lonely and disconnected from others.
* Believe that the only goal in life is succeeding in getting your way at any cost and become totally consumed in the pursuit of acquiring power, control, position and status.
* Run the risk of becoming a pathetic, lonely, isolated person with few close relationships and many enemies out to get their revenge against you.
* Experience a great deal of passive aggressiveness thrown your way by the people you are trying to control.
* Risk becoming more absolute and rigid in your exercise of power and control and become more defensive about any personal criticism of your actions or beliefs.
* Begin to prefer “rejecting” people before they reject you and find yourself becoming increasingly socially isolated and alienated from others.
* Not be accepted, approved of or sought after by others who will never get a chance to see the “real you” whom you’ve locked behind your intimidating mask.
* Feel like you’re really a “teddy bear” underneath it all and bemoan that people never take the time to get to know this side of you. You might even lie and say you don’t care if they never get to know that side of you, even though emotionally you know differently.
* Run the risk of becoming more depressed as you become more isolated and find that your anger and rage flare ups increase.
* Experience even lower self-esteem due to the lack of acceptance by others. —Eliminating Intimidation

Why My Stalkers’ Threat is Bogus: Going to my Priest is Well Within My Rights

What amazes me is the fury with which I was hit for musing, on one of my blog posts months before my blog stalkers ever found them, that if our churches were to merge, I would have to go to the priest of the merged church for help:

Richard’s church and mine are both very small and in financial trouble; the archdiocese has suggested they merge.  The two churches don’t want to merge, since they’re in different counties, and somebody would have to move.  But the option is still on the table.

If the churches merge, I will have to go to the priest with my concerns, and show him the proof that Richard is a convicted child abuser, to establish my credibility and prove that he is violent.

Because Tracy has bullied and verbally abused me as well, I will have to also show him an article I found on a contract one church drew up with a member who had been charged with molestation, a contract which was meant to help the member find redemption, but also consider the needs and fears of the victims.  We could modify it for our own needs.

For one thing, this was hypothetical and may never happen, because our two churches do not want to merge.  I posted that a year ago, and nobody has done anything to move toward a merge.

For another, when one person in a church has been abused by another person in that church, going to the priest/preacher for help and protection is perfectly valid and may be necessary to provide protection.  For example, see the article I linked about the contract one church drew up.

Disagreements between parishioners are one thing, but we’re talking actual abuse here, which caused me extensive spiritual damage as well.  It is my right–even in the Constitution–to go to my priest with concerns like this.

From what I could determine from Richard and Tracy’s vague and threatening e-mail (see Now I’m Being Stalked), this is the action which they warned me they would sue me for.

Also, asking for spiritual help and counseling from a priest, preacher or other qualified parishioner, to help with another, is not only perfectly valid, but commanded by Christ for handling disputes (Matthew 18:15-17), so that the body will not be divided.

So by threatening me, Richard and Tracy are fighting Christ.  A mediator would be absolutely necessary in a small church, in a situation as abusive and volatile as this.

[Update 9/6/14:] Not only that, but a police officer told me I had the right to do this and could not be sued for it.

Since my blog stalkers tried to use threats of lawsuits to keep me from handling this dispute properly within the church if our churches were to merge, I can only assume that it was because they know they’re in the wrong.  That they don’t want their abusive actions to see the light of day.

Keep this in mind as a red flag, because such threats are common from abusers, whether the victim has already told, or to prevent the victim from telling, those who could help.

Others have been through this, such as Julie Anne Smith, who have tried to have such a counseling session/meeting with their abusers, but the abusers have refused, choosing to sue instead.

(So far, Julie Anne Smith has won, all charges against her dismissed with the plaintiff paying her legal fees, while another blogger’s suit is just beginning.  But over and over again, I find plaintiffs losing such cases.)

Disfellowshipping from the church is only to be used for extreme cases, and I never intended for my blog stalkers to be disfellowshipped even if we did get that far.

The contract described above, is what I wanted, to stipulate that they keep their distance from me and not harass me, so I could feel safe at church without fearing for my emotional, spiritual or even physical well-being.

But the unwillingness of my blog stalkers to recognize their own part in things and apologize, even after we have spoken to my priest, and for them to react so harshly against the idea of counseling with the priest, leaves me free to disfellowship them from me.

But this page on resolving disputes between congregants, from a Protestant denomination, sums up quite well why this is so vital in a tiny church:

Many branches of the church of God are small in the number of members. Most of our individual congregations are quite small too. There were positive and negative aspects of the large congregations of our former fellowship.

Because of the much greater numbers of people in our old congregations, there were more opportunities for friends and companionship, but there were also more opportunities for offenses.

This fact also allowed the offenders and the offended to “resolve” their differences by merely ignoring one another and gravitating to another set of church friends. We do not have that luxury in our tiny congregations today!

We have very limited opportunities for friendship and fellowship within our tiny congregations on our little “church islands.”

Remember that our little church congregations are small islands of truth and righteousness, isolated and surrounded by the vast ocean of Satan’s world.

We need to stick together. We should not be giving offense to our beloved brethren, and neither should we be so touchy and sensitive that we are too easily offended.

Let us strive to get along together and to love one another with the godly love that is unique to the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

If our churches were cathedrals, or at least as large as my husband’s church (500), we could easily lose sight of each other in the crowd (and neither church would be in financial straits and talking mergers, either).

But no, our churches are so tiny that you can barely move without bumping into each other at some point.  A person can barely speak without everyone in the room being aware of it.

In mine you have the little sanctuary and a little office upstairs, and the basement downstairs, and that’s it: no classrooms, even.  Theirs is even smaller.

My priest is already aware of the situation, but because our churches have been reticent to merge, there has been no reason to ask for a formal contract as described above, or for formal counseling sessions involving my blog stalkers.  The best means has been to simply avoid each other (though stalking my blog hardly counts as “avoiding” me).

Most of the time they’re not at my church, so there is no problem with this, and I have felt no need to go further.  But my church is in the final stages of negotiating a salary for my priest; if he rejects it, I don’t know what will happen.

If the idea of merging is put on the table again because of our recent, sudden change in finances, then I’ll have to ask for formal help–or go to a church which is farther away, but free of this drama completely.  Or if they start coming to mine on a regular basis, I will have to ask for formal help, because I won’t uproot myself from my own church.

And they will not be able to sue me, will have no right to, because I have and will have broken no law–and because it would be a violation of my rights.

Neither option is appealing.  But if I have to ask for formal counseling, it is well within my rights as a parishioner and an abuse victim–and my blog stalkers would have absolutely no basis to sue me over it.

I would keep out opinions of motivations, etc. and stick to what happened and how it made me feel, not out of fear of a lawsuit, but because it would not be right or tactful to bring such things into counseling sessions with a priest.

It’s not his job to sort that stuff out, and I would be far better served by keeping things clear and to the point, no speculation.  I’ve noted that people involved in custody battles are advised this as well.

In other words, what works for venting to friends in cyberspace, is entirely different from what works for negotiations, and could actually work against the desired result.

Why this would so disturb my blog stalkers that they would call it a “threat” (when it wasn’t even directed at them, just musings written months before they found my blog), and threaten me with a lawsuit if I did this, I have no clue.

You can easily see that there was no hint of a “threatening” tone in the “offending” paragraph.  Unless, of course, they recognize what they did was wrong, and that this would force them to face that.

What I do know is that their threat is groundless, and because of our First Amendment, the courts would not even touch it.  How churches deal with contentious members, is entirely up to the churches.

I am 100% supportive of outing these fools by name. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand that outing them is a direct consequence and they should deal with it. They don’t.

Instead, they seek low-life attorneys willing to send cease and desist letters to scare us into thinking we’re committing a crime.

We’re not!! It’s called freedom of speech.

If they think we’re lying and hope to sue us for defamation, libel, or slander, they need to prove that in court. The burden in U.S. courts is on the complainant, not the defender. I believe it is opposite in some countries, including Canada and the UK. :) –Paula, Lance Armstrong’s Jailhouse Confession

 

Realizing I Was Used and Manipulated by My “Best” Friend Richard: The Proof Is In The E-Mail

Realizing your best friend was manipulating and playing you the whole time, is very disturbing.  But it finally hit me this week as I kept piecing things together, put 2 and 2 together and finally got 4.  My proof is right there in the e-mail Tracy sent me back in May of this year.

My blog stalkers twisted my words into threats I never made, and then used those imaginary threats as justification to threaten me with legal action.

(See Now I’m Being Stalked, where you can read about this, my dissection of the e-mail, and the full text of their e-mail.)

I looked through all my posts but could find nothing to back up their claims that I threatened to expose them to the local community and/or church.

(Just a note in one blog, not addressed to them, that I hoped they would move away so I wouldn’t have to see them around anymore, and a note in another blog, not addressed to them, that if their church merged with mine, I would have to go to the priest for help, for my own physical, emotional and spiritual safety.)

It was a documented example of gaslighting:

Twisting your words and managing to turn things around to use them against you is a ploy of the verbal abuser. —A Checklist of Verbal Abuse | eHow.com

But I reviewed all my posts and could find nothing to justify their threats, I have tons of documentation, and I am an eye-witness of, or got directly from my blog stalkers, practically everything I wrote….

It also went against something I wrote in one blog, that I had no intention of spreading around the church the story of what they had done.

My blogs were merely about personal release of metaphorical demons, and I had no intentions of revealing their real names on here or somehow publishing them to the whole local community.

(And how on earth I was supposed to do so, I have no idea.  Take out an ad in the paper, perhaps?  As if such an ad would even be run!  Pass out fliers?  Go door-to-door?  If they mean talking to my local friends–they can’t stop a person from confiding in friends.)

Their e-mail was so ludicrous, paranoid, absurd and revealing as to be laughable.  It gave me concrete evidence of their abuse, self-centeredness and vindictiveness, so I’m holding onto it.  It even gave me concrete evidence that they just used us for our generosity, and were never true friends.

Just think: Not only did they demonstrate the same utter lack of regard for the feelings and points of view of Hubby and me that they had shown during the “Incident” and that Tracy showed for me the entire time I knew her

…Not only did they demonstrate a feeling of entitlement to call all the shots and smack us down when we got uppity and asserted our rights to decent treatment

…Not only did they say they “owe” me nothing

But a lawsuit would be an attempt to get money out of us.

Didn’t we give them quite enough money over the years?

Considering the extreme lengths we took over the years to help them out, far beyond what most people would do, and the fact that we’re not even remotely related to them,

I think we are at least owed kindness, consideration, a restraint from verbal abuse and bullying, and apologies for outbursts.

But to not even get that from them, and have them come out and say in this e-mail that they owe us nothing and did nothing wrong, is clear, documented proof–which you yourself can read–that they feel entitled to bad behavior without apology.  It clearly shows a lack of conscience and empathy.

Me always getting blamed for that bad behavior, without the blamers taking any of it onto themselves, is another telling piece of the puzzle.

Me right there overhearing as Tracy would make passive-aggressive phone calls complaining to her mother or Richard about me.

Hubby has said all along that he does not want me debasing myself to her, that Tracy has to get down on her knees and apologize to me.  And he wouldn’t mind apologies for how he got treated, either.

I, Hubby, our parents and one of my old friends all have a distinct impression that Hubby and I were played for suckers.

For me, after two months of happily hosting only Richard, there was the sudden, unexpected announcement that the rest of the family was coming to move in–and Richard already had to sleep on the couch.

There was no room for another adult and three more children, but they came here with no other place to go, no move-out plan, and ended up staying for six long weeks.

Neither my husband nor I approved this, thinking the other one must have okayed it, but never being asked, just told they were coming.  My son was forced out of his bed and into ours.

When Richard made this announcement, I got him an apartment guide and told him to find a place.  I kept asking/begging him for a move-out date, but it kept getting put off, or he’d say he couldn’t give me one.

Yet Tracy complained that I did not make her feel welcome,

complained about the food we provided (who can afford fresh produce and no canned/frozen every night for eight people on a middle-class salary and ballooning utility bills???!!!),

they gave us no money when they had promised to pay for food,

they left messes all over the house (including a massive pile of dirty laundry in the living room),

and she was very rude and aggressive to me and abusive to Richard and the kids even while living in my house,

as if she expected we would just let her do this without kicking her out–That shows a sense of entitlement.

As does the distinct feeling I got that what I did or where I went in my home was subject to her approval.

(I got this from her complaints about me taking time to myself,

the way she’d follow after me if I went to talk to Richard by myself,

the angry look she gave when Richard invited me to play cards with them,

and her complaints to Richard about my “routine” and to her mother about who does the cooking in my house and what we served for dinner!)

Then, a year and a half later, when they were on hard times again and I bit the bullet and offered to let them stay here again,

I discovered from Richard that she refused,

that she spit on our hospitality,

accused me of being a bad, unwelcoming hostess (because I had to do housework and change diapers, and desperately needed time to myself every day with all these people and noise crammed into my 1100-sq.ft. condo),

and was very upset with me for overhearing me tell my husband she was bullying me and abusing Richard.

Yeah, I can feel your ingratitude from here, a lack of appreciation for how you forced yourself on us and then complained about the accommodations,

just how much your presence put us out financially and personally,

for how you were driving me crazy and making me want you OUT.

And because of this, they tried to force me into an uphill battle to please her and get back into her good graces if I expected to be friends with Richard.

Meanwhile, she had no intentions of changing anything about herself that caused me to call her abusive and keep her at arm’s length.  More entitlement.  And more evidence that we were sponged off, used, by fake friends.

On the very night of the “Incident,” Hubby said to me, “Do you feel used?  I do.  They were not good friends.”

On the part of Hubby’s parents, all it took was one long phone conversation describing what happened, to convince them we were taken advantage of.

They said Hubby shouldn’t have let things go on as long as they did, that as soon as they began complaining about the food we provided, he should’ve (politely) shown them the door.

My mother, also, keeps noting, “And to treat you like this after all you’ve done for these people!”

An e-mail to my old friend resulted in the friend’s observation that these two were very manipulative and were never real friends to us, that she’s met people like this.

Then that e-mail from Tracy/Richard? came, confirming these suspicions for Hubby and me.

I’m not even sure what all was real and what was fake, because Richard sure played a convincing part, I thought we had a special bond and that he truly cared about me,

but then he began complaining about “pampering” me, and started coming out with things he’d held back from me, which first made me wonder what was real.

His behavior since has belied the impression he gave Hubby and me both; he had fooled us both for years.

A true friend would never behave the way he has done,

would reflect on his own behavior and return your apologies (which I gave both of them not just that very day, but a week/month later) with his own apologies,

would apologize for blowing up at a good friend.

It’s hard to admit that he may never have actually cared and was just playing a part to get our monetary and other support, especially since it is hard to be sure, though his behavior the past few years has been steadily confirming this.

But with Tracy, I’m sure, and her e-mails to me are proof.

All you have to do is read in the e-mail at the above link that they “had a good laugh” at my pain and point of view, that they “did nothing wrong” and would not apologize.

Those lines in themselves are glaring proof not just of a lack of empathy and conscience,

but that these two are a couple of con artists and spongers,

that neither of them ever really cared about Hubby or me, or they never would have written such callous lines.

And because those lines prove that they never truly cared,

that leads to the obvious conclusion that they used us for our generosity,

because we were so willing to give them a place to stay to our own inconvenience and financial strain,

to open up the wallet,

to give them food and out of our other surplus,

to give them rides,

to lend them things which we had to remind them to return.  (We never did get the crib back.)

How often were we there for them?  All the time.  How often was Richard there when I needed him?  Not so much, often ignoring my phone calls or e-mails.

After all, how much did I really know about either of them before letting them in?  I met them on an Internet forum.  It’s easy to misrepresent yourself on a forum.

There were all sorts of things which Richard never told me until right before he was to move in, things which made me start wondering if I should let him stay here.

There were things which he didn’t tell me until after he moved in, which shocked me.

There were things which came out little by little over the years; I didn’t hear about the Mafia goombah stint until 2009.

An even more telling piece of evidence of their duplicity, is the way they just let us end the friendship without a fight, the way they kept putting their pride and anger above friendship even a month later, even two years later.

Obviously getting their own way is far more important to them than anything or anybody else.

True friends would have at least tried to change our minds.  Instead of dead silence, we would’ve gotten phone calls, visits, apologies and/or requests to talk it over.  That’s what another of my friends did when one of his friends broke off the friendship.

The way they just let us go so easily, then blocked us all on Facebook and e-mail, suggests very strongly that the whole Incident–heck, that whole last few months when even Richard suddenly began acting distant, rude and mean–was a setup, a plan to push us away.

Maybe it was because I showed signs of no longer believing Richard’s wild stories.

Maybe it was because we were not going for his politics.

Or maybe we had outlived our usefulness: Most of the time we knew them, they were both either unemployed or underemployed.

While Hubby, who lost his job when the economy tanked in 2008, did keep finding good-paying contract jobs,

but then in very late 2009 felt forced to take a job that barely paid the bills, made us buy poor-quality food at discount stores, but was permanent.

His employer was a miser, while Tracy finally found steady work.  So they didn’t need as much help from us, while we didn’t have as much help to give. 

It all fits together now, the more I think about it.  To still, two years later, defend your abusive and nasty behavior as “nothing wrong,” is a sign of narcissism and sociopathy–and proves to us that we did the right thing in cutting them loose.  True friends would not be proud of having mistreated you.

Their e-mail also references Richard’s criminal conviction, with a snide remark about “speculation” and not having “all the facts,” but I got all sorts of facts straight from the newspaper and court records, which are posted online, free for the public to access.

And though they tried in this e-mail with that snide remark, there is no way to spin what he did, to make him look good.  (He choked his 9-year-old daughter to unconsciousness.)

I’ve witnessed their vindictiveness to others and to me, and maybe they think everybody is like them.  But I am not the sort of person to do what they accused me of.

Their e-mail is proof that they felt the need to terrorize me into silence, rather than trying to work things out or even defend their actions through reasoned arguments. 

It shows Richard to be just like the government officials he hates so much, who he claims will hound and intimidate him if he ever publicly comes out with their secrets.

It’s also proof that if I had gone through with that “conference” Tracy kept insisting on, she never would have allowed me to have an opinion of my own,

because that e-mail is how she responded to all the arguments I made, everything I’d wanted to say to her, in plain language and detail in probably dozens of pages of blogs:

basically, to poke fun at me for thinking things were that way, to shut me up and say I had no right to say it, or even to make my own terms about how I would be treated, after she determined how I was to be treated.

Which, by the way, is also how she and Richard both responded to Hubby’s attempts to speak up for me and try to smooth things over, during the “Incident.”

More entitlement to do whatever the heck Tracy wants, and take and take and take from us, while giving us nothing in return.  And even to go so far as to threaten us into compliance and silence about the truth to those who could help us.

Their e-mail is all the proof I need that Hubby and I are right about them.  Their true character shines all the way through it.

Though at the time it felt like they’d put a huge pile of crap in my lap, I now see it as a golden egg.  I’ve shown it to the police, posted it online and shown it to friends [on the Forum where we all used to post] as proof of what I’m dealing with.

At the same time they sent it, they also a sent a friend, whom I will name “Chia,” to spy on my Facebook account.

I’m not sure what she did there, only that I did not know this person who friended me shortly before Tracy sent the above e-mail, that they were both on her friends list, she lived here in town–

and spikes from their IP address suddenly showed up on my website right after I friended her and it showed up on her wall.

We had absolutely nothing in common other than our city and knowing Richard and Tracy.  None of my friends were on her list.

There were even a few sentences in her profile about defending friends when they’re being attacked, or some such.

(I bet she wasn’t told the full story, that I had been viciously attacked by Tracy over and over again, that my blogs were about telling my story of abuse, and that what I actually did was tell Richard and Tracy to leave me alone.)

I sent her an e-mail asking how she knew me, but she never responded.  In fact, the following day I discovered she had unfriended me.

Am I being paranoid when I say she was a flying monkey, as the blogging community calls it, otherwise known as sycophant, abuser-by-proxy, or dupe?  No.  There’s far too much evidence to support the flying monkey theory.

Then at church, you could actually see Tracy’s feeling of entitlement in the way she carried herself, and the way she tried to intimidate me by getting right up behind me in the communion line, pressing up against me, and literally breathing down my neck in loud snarls.

It was ridiculous.  What did she think she was, a scary pirate?  Better put a few “arrs” in there for good measure.

And Hubby noticed, every time they came to my church and Greek Fest for the next several weeks, their false, exaggerated piety, a show for me, though I did not watch them.

They even took communion, which, from what my husband, father and I all understand about communion, is a huge no-no when you have conflict with another at the same church, lest you taint the sacrament, and eat and drink condemnation unto yourself.

(After the first week, I realized this, and refused to take communion when they were present, but they kept taking it.)

I need no further proof that I was right about her.

Their behavior in real life and online, including what they look at on my site and how often, is very much that of people with something to hide, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I don’t even care about seeing my blog stalkers in the stats anymore.  I know it’s them because of telltale signs, such as IP addresses and other things I won’t go into publicly.  I no longer worry about them.  When I see them in my stats, I go, “Oh, there you are.  I missed you!  Where were you?”

Here’s an example of not letting the bullies intimidate you–even at the risk of your own life: Pakistani Girls Walk in Shoes of Young Activist (the one who was shot by the Taliban).

It is very disturbing to discover just how badly you’ve been manipulated and used by people you thought were friends.

I now understand why most people are so reluctant to help non-family to the extent we helped these people.

Hubby’s parents told him you put yourself out like that only for family.  We will be keeping a tighter hold on our purse strings and offers to let people stay, after being so badly taken advantage of.

It’s rough to think that Richard would be this kind of person.  It’s very different from what I thought he was.

He had seemed like the perfect friend, with interests very much matching my own eclectic interests, giving us an overabundance of things to talk about: music, Goth, geek, Orthodoxy, theology, intellectual, ghosts.

I don’t know what went wrong, if it was always a ploy, or if it changed later on….I keep looking for hope in what blog posts he reads, hope that he still cares.

But the proof of a very different reality is in how he has allowed me to be treated in such a fashion.  The proof is in that e-mail

If he had ever truly cared about me, he never would have laughed at my pain.  Only sociopaths laugh at grief and pain caused by them.  It’s only denial that keeps me hoping.

Let my story be a warning to you, especially with the economy the way it is.  The blinders my husband and I had up, have led to financial and emotional pain.

My story of narcissistic abuse is here.

 

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