trauma

Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes

In March of 2010, when Jeff came home from D&Ding with Richard and Tracy one Friday night, he told me we wouldn’t be able to D&D with them the following weekend: They were planning to have those jerks from the IRC channel come visit them.

Here in my town.

In their house.

?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was irate, telling Jeff, “It’s disgusting!”

If I saw somebody sexually harass one of my closest friends, I’d have nothing to do with him!

How could Richard not cut these people out of his life for being so horrid to women, to one of his best and closest friends, to the one who helped him above and beyond what most people would do?

And how could he invite sexual harassers to his house?  Wasn’t he afraid of letting these people anywhere near his little girls?

I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell Jeff just what these people had said to me in the chat, but tried to make him understand that he would’ve wanted to punch them all out if he saw it.  It took quite a while before I could tell him just what went on.

I ranted about it to Jeff, wondered what I should do about it, what should I say?  We pondered the wisdom, or lack thereof, of an ultimatum.

Jeff told me I had to make a decision on what to do, whether to say that Richard should drop these friends.  He also picked up some brochures about a circle of respect, which he was going to “plant” at Richard’s house so the jerks would find it.

The following day, I think it was, we went to their house for Dungeons and Dragons.  When Jeff had already left the house with our son and I was making final farewells to Richard, he and Tracy mentioned the party and said it had been cancelled or postponed.

I was relieved, but watched and listened intently to Richard as he spoke about it.  But then the thread of something he was saying got interrupted, and I had to leave, so I never got the chance to say how I felt.

But I began to ponder it, what to do about it, how to handle it, whether it was my problem or his.

A week or two later, I had almost forgotten about it, when something brought it back to my mind again, making me feel dirty and gross with the memory of what the creeps had said to me.

After all this time, it still haunted me and interfered even with my most private moments with my husband.  So I knew this was important.

So I wrote an e-mail to Richard about it.  This was around April 1.  It took me some three hours, carefully crafting it so he wouldn’t feel like I blamed him or anything, and carefully leaving out any hint that he should drop these friends.

I used all the tips that counselors recommend for dealing with difficult conversations, without putting people on the defensive.

I kept out how I found it disgusting that he would invite these jerks to his house.  I restricted my request to him please refraining from mentioning the names of these people around me, to help me to get past this and move on.

After all, the time he spent with me was only a few hours every week or so, most of which were taken up with D&D, and he rarely talked about them around me in the first place.  So this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

He said no.  In fact, he wrote such a scathing e-mail–saying that he had actually written other drafts which he scrapped, which were even more scathing–that I thought here was proof that no, he didn’t care about me at all anymore.  Our friendship was dead, and I didn’t know why.

I cried, and was so upset that it affected me physically.  I even had to ask a neighbor to take my son to school, because I just couldn’t handle it.

Richard didn’t care how I felt about anything.  He defended sexual harassers to me instead of breaking with them.  None of it made sense for someone who claimed I was very dear to him or that he was going to become a priest.

Instead of writing back, I called him up.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that online sexual harassment isn’t “real” and he thought I knew that.  He said, “I love you like a sister, but you’re driving me crazy.”  (Jeff said to this, “What’s with the ‘but’?  Brothers and sisters drive each other crazy all the time!”)

For the first time, he said he loved me like a sister, something I had always wanted to hear from him–

–but at the same time, he blamed me, treated me like there was something hysterical about getting upset over guys online making personal remarks about my genitals and ripping into me for getting mad at them and not showing them naked pictures.

He complained about “pampering” me (more about this here), something I had no idea he was even doing, something I never asked him to do, but which he just assumed he should do.

Apparently, part of “pampering” me meant not being rude to me.  He actually complained because he felt he couldn’t be rude to me, saying that other people are rude with their friends all the time and it’s okay.

I said, maybe where you came from, but not here.  He said it was here, too.  Which surprised me, because most of the people I know aren’t rude to their friends, but understand that you shouldn’t do that.

It made me wonder just which circles he was running around in, anyway, that would be rude to their own friends.

It seemed like he excused bad behavior, and treated me like some china doll for believing–same as all my friends–that bad behavior is inexcusable.  It also seemed like he was being rude to me more often lately.

He also talked like there was something ridiculous about not wanting to hear the names of your sexual harassers spoken around you.

Yet even my husband feels the same way, cringing at the very name of someone who has abused or otherwise mistreated him.  My husband thought I was not being at all unreasonable, and did not like how Richard treated me over this.

Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors.

I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off.

Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things. –Anna Valerious, Do They Have Feelings?

During the same conversation, he also defended the way Todd treated people online (he had a temper of his own), just saying, “He’s a troll!” as if this made it somehow okay.  (And Richard wants to be a priest?)

This was one of the things that eventually led to the two of us having major falling-outs just a couple of months later, and contributed to my ending the friendship.

I just couldn’t stand that he would call this “ridiculous” or tell me to just “get over it”–or that he and Tracy were still friends with the main harasser, the Creep, after this incident, that a year later he was talking with them about a get-together at their house and in my city.

I told Richard I didn’t want these guys to know what city I lived in, who I was, or anything.  But he said they already knew.

He said the Creep was actually shy and quiet in real life, not like his online persona at all–but that didn’t impress me, because you’re still a jerk even if you’re only a jerk online.  He said he did tell these guys they were being jerks to me, but now he so downplayed what they did, made it sound like I was just irrational and silly, that I couldn’t believe it.

He talked as if these guys were just behaving normally and did this to Richard’s other friends, but those friends would play along and be good sports about it.  It made me sound like a combination of prude and party pooper.

He also complained that he “pampered” me whenever we came to visit them in 2008, until his wife complained.  I remember very pleasant visits in those days; isn’t that what visiting friends is all about?

He complained about how he was still doing all these things to bend over backwards and make me feel comfortable, but I couldn’t tell what the heck he was talking about.  I never told him he had to do that!

I’m pretty easygoing with friends, actually.  Even if they cuss around me, I learned in college to shut up and ignore it.  And I kept my mouth shut about other things, as well.

Was his wife complaining because he was being a good host and paying attention to a dear friend?

Were they feeling put out about being good hosts, cleaning up their mess a little for company, not insulting their guests, not being rude, not going around naked or in boxers, what?  

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

Apparently Tracy actually got mad at him for holding back on saying things she could tell he wanted to say.  What things were this??  Was he about to be an a**hole to me and she complained because he held back? 

What kind of people ARE these, anyway?

His complaints made me wonder what the real him was really like.

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

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

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

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

But now, he seemed to want permission to insult me, to consider me weak because I–LIKE MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD–would get upset at this.

Richard had a strange way of making me feel inadequate.  First, there was the way he’d make me feel like a stalker for, say, saving all my letters to/from people, or for knowing what channels in IRC he was subscribed to (they showed up automatically whenever I opened a private chat with him, just part of the regular workings of the program, nothing I asked for).

Then there was the way he tried to make me (and, from what he said, anybody else he spoke to about this private issue) believe that his idea of fun sexual practices was what everybody should do.

Different people have different tastes, but he had this idea that his way was “enjoying yourself,” and more plain and simple ways were not, even though others might find it painful or gross or weird.  (No, I don’t know what all he did, fortunately, but he told me enough to make me want to take an ice pick to my brain to get it out.)

And now there was this “pampering” crap.  I think the first time I heard about this was on IRC one day.  This may have been earlier in 2010, or maybe late 2009, though I think 2010 is more likely.  He complained that he had to do this for both Jeff and me.

For example, when he lived with us, he didn’t wear just boxers and no pants in front of Jeff and me.  (Um…  Actually, that’s not “pampering” us, that’s just plain good manners!)

Apparently to him, it was “prudish” for Jeff to not be the sort who wanted to see another man in boxers.  He made it sound like it was prudish for me as well, even though another time he said he was taught by his parents to only do this in front of men.  (More confusing doublespeak….)

He also called me “prudish” for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him.  I saw this as proper modesty around a man I was not married to, but he called it prudish??!!  

He said one of his female friends had no qualms about going around in her nightclothes in front of him. 

Er….So you WANT me to put everything on display for you, hmmmmm?  You do realize nightgowns tend to be see-through or at least poke-through? 

The most repulsive thing is realizing that I LISTENED to this guy, when I should have seen right through his obvious manipulation. 

I felt like a prude, when I should have realized that he was trying to get me to put myself on display for him against my better judgment, that he was playing me like a fiddle.  (Probably more of his hypnotism.)

Then he told me about something his family does which I found repulsive, but I won’t say what, just that it was really a very private thing that he should not have told me.  This is also why I suspect the brown stains all over the furniture were actually butt skid marks.

He made me feel “prudish” not just because I wore a robe around him and he didn’t feel “free” enough to wear boxers around me, but because I didn’t do this repulsive, unhygienic thing!  Ew!

Once again, I was under the influence of someone who could talk me into believing anything at the time, then when I got away from his influence, I’d realize he was full of crap.  (This happened before in college: first Shawn, then Phil’s friend Dirk.)

But he always had a way of reassuring me on the phone when we were having problems.  (Probably some more of that hypnotism.)  He talked me into calming down.

He told me that this kept happening: The house full of kids and wife would finally all be asleep, he’d think, “I should go see Nyssa,” but fall asleep on the couch from exhaustion instead.  Or he’d go driving off by himself, intending to see me, but be so glad to be alone that he’d just drive off somewhere.

I was touched, having no idea this was going on, and told him to actually carry through these ideas once in a while.  (Keep in mind that at that time of night, Jeff would be home and probably still awake, so there was nothing improper about this.)

I said that whenever he didn’t respond to my calls, I wondered if he wasn’t allowed to call.  He said, “No, that was over with a long time ago.”  Which was yet more proof for me that Tracy’s restrictions were long since over with.

Somehow, he softened me yet again, like usual when I was mad at him.  He finally agreed to stop mentioning these people around me.

But that didn’t quite end the subject for me.  I was still hurting over the sexual harassment, still wincing every time I came across something that reminded me of what the creeps had said–

–such as a disturbing article I stumbled upon on the Net.  It said that the newer generations of women were being taught in the Millennial culture to believe they must be clean-shaven.

Apparently this was being driven by guys wanting their women to look like porn stars.  It sounded like a modern version of foot-binding, forcing women to do this to please men, or else they’ll get tossed aside as not “sexy” enough.

And it stung that Richard mansplained away my claims of sexual harassment.  Any time you’re a victim of some kind of abuse, bullying, rape or harassment, to be told it didn’t actually happen–

–That’s part of our culture’s problem with victim-blaming.  It inspires people to shut up and not talk about what happened, because they won’t be believed anyway.

I bet Richard and Tracy are still friends with these creeps, but they just let Jeff and me go without doing what it would take to get us back, after all the love and caring we showed them.

In August 2014, old college classmate Persephone shared this webpage on Facebook, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.

I then shared it myself, along with a short description of the above incidents.  My friends responded:

cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.” –(my old friend Mike)

what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.” –(Persephone)

I replied,

Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.

Persephone wrote,

ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  🙁  “

So even from this little bit, Persephone–herself a victim of narcissists, including my ex Phil, in her past–recognized Richard as one.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous,” and said, “I just thought you didn’t go in that chatroom anymore because you didn’t like it.” 

!!!!!!!!

Did he even frickin’ READ what I wrote to him?

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

Funny thing: After Richard convinced me that his “pampering” of me was somehow my fault, I felt guilty, and told him not to pamper me (though I did not say to be rude).

Our very next D&D session, he, the game master, set up a world which was full of–basically–zombies.  I’m almost certain this was done on purpose, to test me, gross me out to my limits, and, well, screw with my mind.

Then I foiled him by not reacting as he expected, but taking it all in stride.

HA!

Frickin’ narcissist.

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

 

Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse

I wrote these drafts of an e-mail to Richard, after the phone conversation I describe above, which was not quite finished–and left me with all sorts of complaints:

You said you’d talk to Tracy….Did it do any good?

It’s ripping me apart inside but it feels like the efforts I have made have been forgotten, the nice things I did for her and little things I said here and there and conversations I had with her….

I was hurt deeply by many things that happened, but for your sake I tried my hardest to get past them and forget them.

It hurts not only that these things have been forgotten but also that you seemed to believe so many bad things about me, too, or think anything she did to me was in any way justified.  I thought you knew me better than that.

I KNEW something was up but you kept insisting I was just paranoid.  I have lost so many hours and so much sleep to this issue.

Nothing I do is ever good enough.  I am not this evil person she seems to think I am.  I would never snub her.  I would never manipulate Jeff into anything.

To be honest, I haven’t cared about “going for coffee” or “going to the Bar & Grill” or whatever the point of contention is, for some time.

I care only about being trusted and not fearing my head’ll get bitten off.  I don’t think it’ll ever get better.

You seem to have forgotten various details which will put that overheard conversation into perspective.  Especially if you think you were working too hard to “keep the peace.”

I’m not sure you’re aware of all the abusive behavior I’d been witnessing for some time before I had that conversation [with Jeff]. My primary concern was not myself but how you and the girls were being treated. Also, I felt like the abuse was beginning to get directed toward me, and I had no clue where that was coming from.

I think you’ve also forgotten the series of letters I used to try to talk things out with you, because I wasn’t allowed to talk with you one-on-one.  

It wasn’t about going out for coffee, it was about not being allowed to discuss important things with you in private.  It was about feeling cut off and forgotten, like my best friend had been taken away from me.

Jeff was well aware of all of this; he had already comforted me as I sobbed over how it felt like I was being pushed aside.

[On the day I spoke to Jeff about everything and Tracy overheard] It wasn’t me manipulating him into it; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt;

[Jeff’s suggestion to show Tracy a movie so I could watch a movie with Richard for once] was his fix-it response to a problem [and he had already done this a few times before we had this conversation].

He never would’ve done it if he thought it was some sort of manipulation to get a man alone with his wife [for nefarious purposes]–are you kidding?

[This shows how I was guilted and manipulated as my/Jeff’s actions were twisted way out of proportion into the worst possible interpretations–same as they did to Todd in 2008.] 

He trusted us both enough to leave us alone for long periods of time.  He did it deliberately.  He was happy I had found a friend.

As for the shoulder thing–You and I had those conversations already [Richard had started the practice and taught me it was perfectly innocent and appropriate];

we both knew it was completely innocent; we had established firm boundaries of what was and was not acceptable.

And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

[He told me that she got upset over the “shoulder thing” because she didn’t know me, but that if a certain other friend did it, Tracy would think it was cute, and join in.

It was also distressing to hear about this yet again, because I hadn’t done it since January 2008, because it upset her so much.  Yet it kept getting brought up over and over and over!]

I KNEW things weren’t quite right.  I got worried when you didn’t call me [whenever he promised to].  I thought a number of things: You were being yelled at, you thought I was acting weird….

You told me I was just being paranoid…told me you were trying to find the right time is all….Now come to find you were getting yelled at because it was “THAT woman”….Like I was the one with the problem.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  Jeff says he would’ve ended the friendship a long time ago, that he would have exploded by now.

In later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.

My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I already felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

Jeff was already aware of this.  I wasn’t manipulating him into anything; I merely told him what was going on and how I felt; it was his fix-it response to a problem.

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done it if he thought we were going to do something we shouldn’t?

Do you think for a moment he would’ve done what he did without the best of intentions?  He wanted to befriend Tracy!

And about the “incident”–You and I had those conversations already; we both knew it was completely innocent, that Americans are too uptight; we had established firm boundaries.  And–“don’t know you”?  She’d been living in my house for a few weeks already!  I was no stranger!

Things we both did [either Richard and me, or Jeff and me, not sure which] with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts [Tracy almost killing me] is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d even think I’d be deliberately rude.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

Even later drafts:

I worked hard to remember details and put that overheard conversation into perspective.  I had already witnessed various incidents of abuse.  My primary concern was how you and the girls were being treated.  I felt like I was now being abused and did not deserve it.

I felt cut off and forgotten, like my best friend was pushing me aside.  Now I felt my best friend was being taken away from me for no good reason.

I merely told Jeff what was going on and how I felt.  He responded by trying to fix the problem.

Various things we both did with the best of intentions and innocent motives are being painted with an evil, underhanded light, and that hurts deeply.  This talk of violent thoughts is very troubling.

I don’t need you to “bend over backward” because of my shyness/quietness; I merely ask for understanding.  It hurts that you’d ever think I’d be deliberately rude, or that you’d let these things build on themselves without talking with me about it first.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  My illusions that things were now fine and the past was left in the past, have come crashing down and I don’t know where I stand with you.  You say you don’t want to lose a friendship over it.  Neither do I, but I also can’t take any more sleepless nights and endless crying jags.

I think I know what she meant about being too worried about “keeping the peace.”  If you knew what Jeff was doing (and I remember telling you about it) and it bugged you, you should’ve said something.  Now it’s festered.

If you knew about an “incident,” [her seeing the shoulder sleeping one afternoon when I was sick and desperately needed a nap] you should’ve told me.

You also should’ve told me, “It’s not okay right now, even when she’s out of the room, but it’ll be perfectly fine once she gets to know you.  I will tell you when that day comes, so you don’t have to guess.”  All I remember hearing is something about jealousy.

I keep hearing “you ignore it when she tries to start a conversation,” but I have no clue what you mean because all I remember is being kind and pleasant and smiling where appropriate and occasionally saying something.  If you see something happen, come to me and say, “THAT’s what I mean.”  Then I can say, “What?  I had no idea!” and be more watchful.

In my childhood, I had absolutely no clue that I was supposed to say “hi” and “bye” when people said it to me, until my mom and aunt pointed out that it was rude not to.  I think I was something like 10 or 11 by then.  Here I had no idea I was ticking people off for all those years, so I started forcing myself to say it.  Of course, it was still many years before I started initiating the “hi/bye,” but at least I knew to say it back.

In my teens, I had no idea that I was supposed to thank a person for a ride until a girl in my youth group chewed me out.  While it was embarrassing and I felt bad, I was also grateful to her for pointing this out.  I became a very gracious ride-taker after that.

I also didn’t see the point of saying “thank you” to a waitress because she was just doing her job, not a favor.  But in time I began to see how  much better it is to do so.

I am not intentionally rude.  I just never picked up on some of the social rules that other people figure out instinctively.  If nobody ever points it out, I miss it completely.

I don’t want to be chewed out, just have it gently mentioned.  Now Jeff never heard of the “compliments starting a conversation” rule, either,  so it may very well be a difference between [their region and our region] culture.

I didn’t actually send this e-mail because I spoke to Richard on the phone between the last draft at 3pm and an e-mail to Jeff at 4pm.  But I wrote it because our talk got interrupted before it could be finished.

So you see, old stuff was being drudged up again that I thought had long since been put to bed because nobody was doing them anymore, and because Tracy had made it very clear back in August of 2008 that the old restrictions on me were gone!

But when I called him about it after 3pm, I said I was tired of the whole thing (had been for a while, in fact).  I said I had a list of defenses but wanted to just drop the whole subject, and he said he did as well.

(The only one who actually kept the subject going in the first place, was Tracy.  Richard and I had wanted to drop it a long time ago.)

I told him I was sorry for my own part in things, and said so, to him and in an e-mail to her, which she accepted.  It sounded like he and I had so resolved things that their misunderstandings of me were cleared up.

More on this here.

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

 

Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house

On June 10, 2009, I was still smarting from the sexual harassment, and thought relations between Tracy and me had long since been resolved.

This was a rough couple of weeks:

  • On June 1, I learned that Richard (claimed to have) secretly hypnotized me while he lived with us.
  • Probably between the 1st and the 5th, the sexual harassment occurred.
  • On June 5, I learned that Richard used to be a Mafia thug.
  • On June 6, he told me they were about to get evicted again, and he was plotting to kill his apartment manager in retaliation–then called back and said his wife told him not to.

I believe it was also around June 6 when I discovered Tracy’s old restrictions on me were back up again, and I had no idea how long they’d been back up.

I didn’t even know that going out for coffee was verboten again, until Richard now told me on the phone that it was–and that, as he fervently put it, “I want to go out for coffee!”

(This did come up once during the fall or winter of 2008/2009, when I wanted to do something and Richard said he couldn’t.  I forget what it was.

(Exasperated, I sighed and said we could make sure the kids were with us so we weren’t alone–but he said, no, it was NOT about me, but because Tracy was pregnant and hormonal–and would have the same reaction to him doing the same thing with ANY woman.

(Basically, no, the restrictions were NOT back up on me: He couldn’t do this with anyone during her pregnancies or she would get jealous.  That was a relief.)

Now on June 6, however, he told me the restrictions were up.

Again?  Not only that, but the way he talked, it seemed like they never had been taken away.

???!!!

He said something about Tracy wanting to have a certain kind of conversation with me.  It’s hard to remember his words now, but basically, a kind of easy back-and-forth conversation–which is notoriously difficult for both NLDers and introverts.

I believe the next day was my church’s name-day celebration; they attended that and the reception afterwards.

I carried on such a conversation with her, because for once there was something to talk about (her hair color change)–and things naturally flowed out of that.

I later asked him how I did; he said I did well–and she told him we never had a conversation like that before.

But that was another lie, because we had such conversations back in December 2007, before she turned on me.

So–

What the heck was WITH this woman????!!!!

Now I know this is a common trait of narcissists and abusers, called gaslighting or crazy-making.  Because yeah, it’s meant to make you feel like you’re crazy.

He said that if they couldn’t find a place, they’d go back to their previous state.  I couldn’t bear the thought of my BFF Richard leaving, so I offered to let them stay with us, but done differently this time:

I told Richard I would be a better host and treat Tracy differently.

I came up with ways to make things run more smoothly, such as pooling laundry and setting up a makeshift room in the basement.

You see, I didn’t just say everything I did before was right and Tracy just had to suck it up: I felt bad about the past, and said I would do better.

On June 10, I called Richard to ask what he thought about my ideas and offer.

That’s when he shocked me with the revelation that Tracy spit on my hospitality: Even with all the offers I made to make things easier on everybody, and saying I would be a better host, Richard said Tracy refused to do this because of how “badly” I supposedly had behaved to her before.

This is when I discovered that Tracy spit on my hospitality because I hadn’t spent all my time chattering away with her instead of keeping up with the house and getting time to myself.

(See here to find out what really happened, however:

Part 1,

Part 2,

Part 3,

Part 4,

Part 5,

Part 6

At this distance, away from the FOG machine, I see more clearly–and believe that they finally gaslit me into thinking I had been the problem, when they actually had been horrible guests, taking advantage of us and manipulating us.)

Richard told me some revelations that floored me, that devastated me, that overshadowed the sting of sexual harassment which I was still dealing with.

These things went all the way back to the time they stayed with us–

things they never told us–

things that would have made a huge difference, if only we had known and had a chance to discuss them as a group–

things that explained why Tracy had turned so hostile to me.

Yet they had decided to mention none of them to me!

One of the revelations was that she eavesdropped when I vented to Jeff.  I always thought this was a private conversation.

Richard said she “heard every word.”  This wording and his tone were like she caught me lying.

She even told him I was “manipulating” Jeff.

Note that she was the one listening; she then told Richard what she heard.

Which tells me now, very clearly, that she actually lied to Richard about what I said to Jeff, just as she lied to everyone in the game forums about what Todd did a year earlier. 

Every word I told to Jeff was the truth.

I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT MANIPULATE HIM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

Especially since my husband is the type to resist and resent any form of manipulation.  And he says that no, I did NOT manipulate him.  The very accusation offends him, because it’s his JOB to listen to my complaints.

As you can see if you click on this link, what I really told Jeff, then and at other times during those few weeks, was how Tracy had been abusing everyone, including me, and how it made me feel.

He then, like a man, came up with a way to help the situation.  I probably hoped he’d lay down the law with our offensive houseguests, but instead he suggested a way to make things better.

This and the following revelations prove to me now that Tracy had motive all this time for psychologically abusing me, manipulating me, constantly changing her rules, and giving me permission/taking back permission to be friends with her husband:

(see chapter 5, which starts here)

Her motive was that I saw her for the abuser that she was. 

So she had to destroy me, had to drive a wedge between me and her husband–

so I couldn’t wake him up to the truth of her abuse. 

But in June 2009, I didn’t yet recognize this, did not yet understand the mindscrew capabilities of abusers and narcissists.

Apparently they thought it was somehow wrong of me to even talk to Jeff about what was happening!  So, of course, I objected about that to Richard.  (How dare they tell me not to tell my own husband how they were bullying me!)

Richard and I had long, revealing talks on the phone that made tears of remorse run down my face, that made me shut down and be quiet and thoughtful all evening long, until finally our son was in bed and I could tell Jeff something of what had happened.

This is when I discovered how they reacted to what I told Jeff and the solution he came up with.

Yet they never mentioned it to us, never got it out into the frickin’ open,

just dealt with it passive-aggressively instead, through Tracy’s constant punishments of me and remembering what I “did.”

(Yet somehow Jeff wasn’t punished for this at all, even though it had been his idea and I just passively went along with it.  Why is that?  Just how badly did Tracy paint me when she misrepresented me to Richard, I wonder?)

Now I discovered that she knew full well that I overheard the snarks she made on the phone to her mother about me–and that this was why.

So it was on purpose!

This is when I discovered that she almost killed me one night–

which made me shake and wince, every time I saw someone on TV get beaten up, at the thought that it could have happened to me–

and over something which was nowhere near worth this reaction.

Over and over again the following year, I imagined her fists coming at me, Jeff coming into the room (whether from the basement or his bed), screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.

Me going to the hospital (or grave).  Her going to jail.

All because I, who was very sick and very sleepy, desperately needed a nap but couldn’t sleep on that crowded couch until I found a soft shoulder.  Heck, I did the same thing one night while she was right there on the couch, but she said nothing then!

Also, at some point–I’ve long forgotten when–Richard wrote to me in a chat that he’d tell Tracy I was just shy, and she’d say I wasn’t shy because of sleeping on his shoulder.

Um…

  • For one thing, I am indeed extremely shy, but why on earth would I be shy with my besties?
  • For another, I know people who do things like this with their friends.
  • And for another, HE TAUGHT ME that sleeping on shoulders is perfectly innocent and appropriate among friends.
  • And for yet another, ever since I learned in January/February 2008 that it upset her, I NEVER DID IT AGAIN.

But this was not enough for Tracy, who refused to ever let me live it down–

or stop reminding Richard of it, since Richard told me she’d bring it up periodically to him–

which you can see was meant to smear my character to him.

Now, hearing that she actually wanted to kill me over it, the depths of her violence troubled me greatly, and I told him it was probably impossible for her and me to ever be close friends.

He was surprised to hear that I was scared of her.  (Why would that surprise him?)

He said that he was telling me these things because he now felt he could be more open with me.

This shocked me, because for the last year and a half, I thought he could be open with me about anything!

I was open with him about everything, after all, and encouraged him to do the same.

During the two months he lived here by himself, we bonded; he opened up his heart about all sorts of things, even things that scared me.  Also, whenever he told me a complaint about me, I listened.

As I later told him, I may get upset about it at the time, but I need to hear it, and afterwards I would think it over and try to make changes.

But now he said he’d been keeping things from me this whole time? that he didn’t feel he could be open with me?

It felt like our entire friendship for the past year and a half had been a lie! 

That he treated me like some China doll instead of being honest with me, and I had no clue WHY, when I always tried to be the person he could talk to about anything!

Unlike narcissists, normal people are willing to acknowledge wrongdoing, and get distressed at the thought of hurting somebody.  Through Richard’s smooth words and manipulation of this natural tendency, he got me to feel like a horrible host, when in reality they had been horrible guests

I believe they used and abused my hospitality, were freeloaders taking advantage of my generosity–not just when they stayed with us, but for the following two years–then used these weasel words to make me think I was the problem, not them.

When I caught their narcissistic FLEAS and did something I shouldn’t have (the solution Jeff came up with), to them it was somehow far worse than all the insults and bad behavior they were themselves guilty of.

(In reality, the solution seemed okay to me because Jeff had already been doing this on his own–

his own idea, which he told me about AFTER he started doing it–

as I describe in earlier e-mails to my mom.) 

This is a form of gaslighting which narcissists and abusers are good at.

These revelations made me feel like a horrible person.  I did not yet see how they were manipulating and gaslighting me into thinking the problem was all mine, and that they had behaved above reproach. 

When I could finally bring myself to tell my husband what they said, he could see this better than I could, and got angry again. 

But I was so into a remorseful funk that I could see nothing but my own sins, that I was nothing but a worm who deserved to be punished for what I did, that I was lucky they were so graceful and forgiving with me so far as to still be friends with me.

When a non-personality-disordered individual (Non-PD) begins imitating or emulating some of the disordered behavior of a loved one or family member with a personality disorder this is sometimes referred to as “getting fleas”.

Sometimes, when a person has been exposed to an abusive situation for a sustained period, they will look for ways to escape – and sometimes they will experiment or resort to behaviors which are not characteristic but serve as a mechanism to demonstrate their anger.

These behaviors are often destructive and counter-productive and rarely get the abuse victim what they want. These behaviors usually result in regret, shame and apologies from the abuse victim towards their perpetrator.

Some perpetrators may seize on such incidents as justification for their own abusive behavior or as a diversion from it. Lie Down with Dogs & You’re Bound to Get Fleas

I wrote down some things I was upset about, my side of things, for a later conversation, because we weren’t able to finish before he had to hang up.

More on this here.

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

 

Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

In late May or early June of 2009, while I was in an IRC chatroom with Richard–there only because I could find him there, not from any particular love of the place–two of the admins started sexually harassing and bullying me.  Several of the other members–including a woman!–egged them on.

I did nothing to bring this on, was just sitting in the chat waiting to start talking with Richard.  I had said nothing for some time, and probably wasn’t even watching the screen at first, while doing other things online.  I sat there in silent disbelief when they started doing this.

(As for the woman who egged them on: At an earlier date in that same IRC channel, Richard posted, “Richard is sexing” [her handle], and Tracy posted that she was grabbing popcorn.

(I was amazed because I thought Tracy got insanely jealous and furious over that sort of thing.  So I wrote him privately, asking about it.  He wrote back that Tracy is friends with that person.

(Um…What was I, chopped liver?  I was friends with Tracy, so why was I not allowed to do the same thing?  And how could Tracy know this person from the Internet better than she knew me?–

(–Not that I wanted Richard to post “Richard is sexing Nyssa.”  On the contrary, I directly told him I didn’t want him to joke like that with me.  It was too–weird and icky to say you’re “sexing” someone other than your wife.)

Here’s what happened: I was just sitting there in the channel, which did sometimes amuse me.  I may have been completely silent on the channel, maybe chatting a little with Richard in the channel or privately, because he was the reason I went there in the first place: It was easiest to find him there.

Then the Creep, who was one of the admins, because my handle was a hobbit, began making cracks like, was I hairy all over.  His comments turned to my private parts.

I was just sitting there quietly and in disbelief, not responding at all, when he started going on and on about how awful it is for women to not shave that area, and how his girlfriend shaves.

And then one of the other Creeps, also an admin, started insisting I post pics of that area.  I said nothing to these guys to bring this on; I don’t think I said a word through much of this.

I thought Richard would stick up for me, but he said nothing, at least not publicly so I could see it.

Richard quickly went onto a channel I myself had made recently for personal friends, so I could get away from these people and still talk with him.  (He knew about this channel, which I hoped he would use all the time so I wouldn’t have to go into that nasty IRC channel.  But he rarely used it.)

While this stuff was going on, Tracy came in the main chatroom.  I expected that she had seen everything and was going to give these creeps a piece of her mind, complete with her usual cussing.

But instead, when one of the admins told her I was being a b**ch for refusing to show him a picture of my private parts, she just said, “You know how hobbits are,” and started joking around and chatting with them about having a get-together at her house.

I finally told the main harasser to bite me.  The other admin said that was a stupid thing to say.  Then they kicked me off the channel, and banned me for several days.  I kept checking to see if I could get in, but just for information’s sake: I intended to have nothing more to do with that channel and those jerks.

These filthy creeps were actually friends of Richard and Tracy!  Nearly a year later, I learned that Richard told them they were being jerks.  But he never made them apologize or anything.  And they knew I was his real-life close friend, but did this anyway.

I was shaken and upset for days, trying to watch movies on TV, but this was constantly on my mind.  It was disturbing, made me feel gross. 

For probably at least a year, even making love to my husband would bring it back to mind, because of how gross it made me feel. 

This was no joking around–This was sexual harassment!  And Richard and Tracy did absolutely NOTHING to stick up for me!

On this page, I describe guys who sexually harassed me in high school, not just students but even a teacher!  And here it was happening all over again!

I once mentioned the teacher to Richard.  And as I wrote in an e-mail to Richard on June 5, 2009,

I’m sending this by both e-mail and [online game] because I obviously have no idea which one you’ll check first.

I’ve been feeling this massive boredom and sadness the past few days because of so many things happening at once….Family and friends dealing with problems, and being blindsided with my own issues at the same time….

This strange feeling of not knowing if I want to be around people or just hide away even from my best friends, waiting and waiting to hear that something has changed or been resolved….

I try to be happy and it almost feels like I’m manufacturing it, it’s not really felt.

I try to ignore the [IRC] thing, try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it just isn’t working.

I have to be honest with myself.  I have to put my finger on the problem: Why should I be upset about being banned from a place with people I don’t even like?

If that’s all it is, then I’d feel like an idiot.  So it can’t just be that.  Is it pride because I’m not the sort of person who gets banned from *anywhere*?  It’s part of it, maybe, but not all.

Is it the crying out for justice?  Maybe that’s it.  I want somebody to get chewed out.  I want apologies.  I feel humiliated.

That’s part of it: The humiliation.  I’ve been in flame wars before; I recall once sticking up for my friends and getting ridiculed for it, until finally the sysop put a stop to the whole thing.  I learned how not to feed the trolls.

But in this case I wasn’t even feeding the trolls.  I was just bored and playing a little here and there to pass the time, not being mean or nasty to anybody.

Another part is that I went there in the first place simply so I could find you and play with you on IRC.  We could all play off each other instead of me trying to think up something to do or say with just you….

It was fun to play with you and your friends and now for no fault of my own, I can’t do it anymore, I feel cut off, pushed aside like the kid nobody wants to play with.

I have nowhere else to go; none of my friends seem to want to play on IRC even though it can be like the old BBS’s we miss so much.

The humiliation comes from, mostly, being verbally abused for no reason and the others standing by and letting it happen–heck, some even joining in, saying don’t let the door hit me in the a** etc. etc., even a *girl* playing along like it was funny.

I remember it was [The Creep], [a few others], and possibly one other though I don’t remember now.  You say you were chatting with [The Creep];

I want to hear that you told him to knock it off and that he’s being an a****** to a dear friend of yours and that he’d better be apologizing to me ASAP because his “joke” is not at all funny.

These guys remind me of this “popular” guy my freshman year of high school who spent the whole year sexually harassing me every lunch period. He even exposed himself to me twice.  His “popular” friends just laughed.  

It gave me an ulcer; after lunch I would practically double up in pain.

Actually, come to think of it, he wasn’t the only one: There were also two guys in Biology class who [sexually] harassed me.  Once they even got so loud that the teacher had to stop his lecture and tell them to be quiet.  I never did anything to these guys; I was just minding my own business.

When Tracy came in I thought she’d seen everything and was going to chew out [The Creep], especially after he said I’m being b*****y for not posting obscene pictures of myself, but instead she just says “that’s how hobbits are” and starts joking with him and arranging some get-together….

They start talking about doing it here in [our hometown]….

I don’t want these people anywhere near me if that’s how they treat women.  All I ever did was be nice; I thought being your friend would mean good treatment; in return I got sexually harassed and verbally abused and banned. As far as I’m concerned, these are not good people.  Even as a joke–That just isn’t funny.

Now after I get it all out I finally understand why I’m having trouble getting past this as just some other stupid Internet thing that can vanish simply by not going to that forum/channel/chatroom/newsgroup/mailing list anymore.

And also why I have to tell you how I feel.  I feel sick inside.  I know you were disgusted by the whole thing as well; I’m not blaming you for anything.  I just can’t keep bottling it up.

On June 9, I wrote to Richard,

Oh, look, I’m banned from [the IRC channel] again.  Whatever.  I have no time or energy for [The Creep’s] games.  I only go there for a split second to see if you’re around, anyway.

I just finished watching Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.”  A knight, Antonius Block, returns from the Crusades to a plague-ridden Sweden, only to confront Death in a fateful chess game.  Death is bloodthirsty and begins stalking his traveling companions as well.

There’s also a cool fire-and-brimstone sermon which is made even better by the Swedish language, with its accents and trills.  What Baptist preacher can match that?

What’s up with the baby having no diaper?  The baby is only a year old, yet I never saw a diaper on its butt once.  In fact, I never saw *anything* on its butt.

To think it only got made because another of his movies was successful at Cannes.  The theme seems to be that we can’t know if God, Satan, Heaven or Hell are real until after we die; even Death tells Antonius that he doesn’t know.

We see the fear of various characters that they’re going into emptiness.  The supposed “witch” is full of terror as she faces emptiness at the stake; she says she sees Satan and talks with him, but we can’t tell if she’s crazy or lying, so Antonius still can’t get his answer.

This is why I don’t understand atheists who say it’s a wonderful thing that after death is nothing.  Who wants to go into emptiness?

(The last part shows that spiritual doubt and despair already plagued me, and had for a few years.  Richard’s betrayal of me in 2010 was the last straw plunging me into a spiritual pit of fearing that death truly is the end and nobody is up there helping us.)

I thought he would distance himself from them, stop hanging out with them, because they were so horrible, because they would treat a woman like that, because they were sexual harassers.

But no, he still kept going into that channel, still kept talking to the worst offender on the phone.  He occasionally brought them up in conversation.  I couldn’t understand how he could do this.

But he only mentioned them once or twice over the next year, so I said nothing–until I heard he was going to have them all over to his house in 2010.  More on this below.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how nonchalantly he kept associating with these people, especially the Creep.  I can excuse my other Internet friends, who weren’t there, since I never told them about it.  But he was an eyewitness!

Then, as I describe below, he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous”!!!!!!!!

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing about internet trolls. I’m sick of hearing about them too—but I’m also sick of hearing from them.

I’m sick of women being treated like shit and then being treated like shit for complaining about being treated like shit.

So anyway, don’t shut up. Keep complaining. This is your internet too. –Lindy West, We must not shut up about how women are treated on the Internet

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

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

5. My frustrations mount

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign

I was hardly the first friend of Richard’s to be driven off by Tracy, or even the third, and probably won’t be the last.  I don’t want to enumerate them all–especially since I don’t know how many there are–but there are several I’m aware of.  I take solace in this, because it shows I must not blame myself: It’s not me.

It also wasn’t just about her being jealous of other women.  She had various reasons to drive away these friends.  She also was nasty to and ran off one of Richard’s close male friends, “Todd,” in June 2008, because he did something on an online game which she did not like.

Richard later told Todd that she did this because, back when Todd first came to visit them, he nearly beat Tracy at Risk.  This made him her secret enemy.  So one day, she had her revenge:

I still have the printouts, because most of the argument was posted online, except for some private conversations which weren’t posted, and I wanted a full picture of just what th’ freaking heck was going on.  So I printed up dozens of pages, in order to read them closely without the glare of the computer screen.

I even have the original, private conversation between members of their alliance “government,” because Todd opened it to the rest of the gamers some time later.  So I can go back and read it over closely, without Richard whispering in my ear all the bad things Todd was doing, unlike the first time I read it.

Right here in the printouts is a fully documented case of DARVO, or Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.  Because I can see it so clearly here, involving a different target than I, I can see how easily Tracy can pull that DARVO trick on any target.

And what I see burns me with the injustice Todd suffered from her.  People in these games argue and war and flame each other all the time, but Todd was supposedly Tracy and Richard’s friend–and one of Richard’s best friends, not just online but off.  This got personal.

Have you ever marveled at how your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex is able to do and say the most hurtful, underhanded and contemptible things and then portray herself as the innocent victim?

Have you ever wondered how she is able to convincingly accuse others, usually her victims, of the abusive behaviors and attitudes of which she is actually guilty? Wonder no more, the answer may be DARVO. –Shrink4Men

This was a browser-based game in which you set up your own moon colony, could form alliances with other colonies, and the alliances could declare wars on each other.  Todd and Tracy were in the same alliance, and in the “government.”

One night, they disagreed on the rules of the alliance’s hierarchy.  Todd had set up the rules for the alliance, a system of government which he worked hard to write, and which was his baby.

Todd was just trying to keep to the rules as he wrote them, while helping her get what she wanted regarding who got what position in the government.  She wanted some things which he said were against the rules.  She disagreed with him over this.

So in an effort of peace and helping a friend, he posted for the alliance to vote on an amendment so she could shuffle around some “ministers” the way she wanted.

But she completely misunderstood what he was doing and suddenly went off on him, posting a profanity-laden message publicly to the alliance’s main forum, also cussing him out in chat, accusing him of acting like a spoiled child and pouting.

Instead of picking up the phone and asking him in a non-blaming fashion what he was doing, she publicly posted this rage episode in the forum, and then, as he put it, he woke up to her screaming at him in chat the next morning.

I read this part of the printouts closely, but could not figure out where the heck she got the idea that Todd was somehow trying to thwart her or do a “power grab,” as Richard claimed.

All I saw was Todd doing his darndest, even staying up late, to bend the rules to help her get what she wanted.

This looked like someone with a Cluster B personality disorder finding insult where none existed, and using it as an excuse for a narcissistic rage episode.

(In fact, this reminds me of someone I encountered on a BBS back in college, a teenager with the handle Avenger who started a huge flame war with my friend Sharon and me.  It was all because Sharon wanted to be considerate of the kids on the BBS when setting up times for an evening BBS bowling party.  The Avenger and Tracy are very much alike–both mean girls who take offense at the weirdest things–and I could not stand the Avenger.)

Jeff and I both wondered where on earth this came from after a 6-year friendship.  Shouldn’t Todd be cut some slack?  Todd was also baffled, just as I was on 7/1/10 when Tracy raged at me about an e-mail I sent to Richard.

In re-reading the printouts, I saw absolutely no evidence that Todd pouted about anything, or acted spoiled or childish.  He just had concerns about what was allowed by the rules.  He did not argue about it, just decided to help her by requesting an amendment to the rules so she could do what she wanted.

Just as it did with me, her raging, cussing, accusations and cuts on Todd’s character, shocked him, dismayed him, and put him on the defensive.  At first, he tried to be more diplomatic, but it was completely understandable when he noted, “And as for that utter tripe you stated about my character?  It’s offensive….”

She continued raging at him and telling everyone he was being awful.  It’s amazing how much stamina this woman has for rages.  I also wonder where she found the time, with four kids.

They went into a chat on IRC, which went on for many hours.  He tried and tried but could not get her to see things from his point of view.  A mediator tried to calm her down and tell her to stop taking things personally, but even he couldn’t do it.  Eventually, both sides turned ridiculous, not just Tracy.

As I read this thread over again, I really feel for Todd, because I see Tracy going on a rage episode for some imagined slight that did not actually occur, all because she thought she wasn’t getting her way–when Todd’s actions were specifically meant to give her what she wanted.

I see her picking a fight and poking and prodding Todd, calling him a baby, not listening to his point of view, accusing him of having a temper tantrum.  (This is called projection.  Abusers will accuse you of doing things they’re actually doing.)

A common tactic of a narcissist is to project their own issues on to their victim. This is an attempt to hide any actions or truths they do not want brought to light about themselves.

It is their hope that by projecting issues of their own onto you it will distract you from their malignant behavior. –Lisa E. Scott, The “Crazy-Making” Behavior of a Narcissist

I see her trying to get her own way and THAT’S IT.  (My abusive ex Phil was like that, as my friends noted.)

So–like anyone else who keeps getting poked and prodded–he got angry.  Abusers will do this to provoke you into doing something mean, so that they can point to you as the abuser.  This is called baiting.

Then Tracy took it from the alliance forum to all the other alliances, making it a gamewide argument, using her more “mature” language (just as she did to Jeff after writing foul obscenities to me) to accuse Todd of starting a coup and being childish.  Then she declared war on him.

Her explanation to the other alliances of what happened, is not what I actually saw happen in the alliance forums.  She changed some important details to make Todd look bad and her look right.  She made it sound like she was being rational and adult while he was flying off the handle.

Basically, she bald-faced lied and kept on lying blatantly about Todd to everyone in the game.  Then she booted him from the alliance.  This was a smear campaign.

She continued twisting facts while arguing with him publicly in the gamewide forums.  Then other people–who were not in their alliance and did not have access to their forum, so did not see what really happened–started backing her up and accusing Todd of going crazy.

This is all part of an abuser’s modus operandi, making the target of abuse appear to be the abuser, appear to be crazy, so no one will believe him.

And things went out of control for days, with both sides doing terrible things, including Todd calling her nasty names.  She baited him, and unfortunately, he took the bait.

This also happens in physically abusive relationships: An abusive woman will slap, smack, etc. until her husband fights back–then he ends up in jail.

Then Tracy posted that as long as she’s going to be called a b**ch, she might as well act like one.  Which is totally not the way to solve problems with a friend, and a horrible attitude.  Nice people would not behave that way.

(It also sounds very familiar, because after she found out I thought she was being possessive and controlling with Richard, over the years she did everything she could to prove me correct.)

It makes me wonder how often she twisted facts when telling Richard things I supposedly had done.  I am aware of several times that she lied.

I see firsthand how she manipulated things with Todd, flying off the handle over a slight which only existed in her mind, and then lied to others with just enough of the facts to make it believable.  I see how she refused to let Todd tell her that things were not the way she thought they were.

So I see that with me, she was able to manipulate things to make me seem like I was trying to move in on her husband, and her seem like the rational principled one, leaving me feeling for quite some time like I didn’t know what was really true.

But now I see far more clearly just how easily she manipulated Richard and me.  I see how she refused to hear that things were any different than what she thought, how she refused to listen to reason, or to let anybody else have an opinion different from hers.

So she got her own way while I felt steamrolled over–and like not even Richard cared.  There was no compromise here: It was all her way or the highway, and she had to be right, because nobody else’s feelings mattered.

I see in the printouts from the Todd situation that she did the same thing to him, making him feel like Richard didn’t care anymore, like he was stabbing Todd in the back.

It is yet more evidence that I need to take everything she ever said about me, all her opinions on my motivations and actions and what was “appropriate” or not, all her cuts on my character, all her quick insults, and throw it all in the trashbin, because this is something she does.  And refuse to let Richard back into my life until he sees just what she did.

I know of two other former friends of Richard whom she used to butt heads with as well (though I don’t know details), so this is a pattern with her.

Nowhere do I see her calming down during the arguments with Todd and saying, You know, a longtime friendship isn’t worth all this; I should step back and cool off.  And I see Richard getting pulled into it and feeling he had to stick up for Tracy, which was unfair to Todd.

I see it becoming, for Todd, not so much about a game but about a long, close, dear friendship which suddenly blew up in his face for no good reason.  I see him trying desperately to keep it from happening, but going totally the wrong way about it.

But I understand how he felt, because being publicly condemned by your friend over a game, is madness and infuriating.  All Todd wanted was for Tracy to stop accusing him of things he didn’t do, and see that he was actually trying to help her out, so he wouldn’t feel like his best friends were backstabbing him over a stupid game.

But Richard and Tracy both began doing things that made it worse:

Richard helped Tracy write a declaration of war, worded in such a way to appear that anyone who agreed with Todd, was one of her alliance’s targets–though later he said it didn’t mean that.

(So he really should understand how easy it was for my own e-mail to him to not mean what Tracy thought it meant.  Unless, of course, he lied about the meaning of that DOW.)

Richard also kept telling me that Todd was doing a “power grab,” and telling me the horrible things Todd was saying to Tracy, while here was Tracy being nasty all along to Todd.

Her lies were obvious, cold and calculated, all because she imagined a slight that did not actually exist.

I saw how other people on the board got her side of the story and assumed she was right, but they didn’t have Todd’s side.

I saw Todd accused of going crazy because of a game, by people who had no access to the logs of what really happened.  Or when they got access, they didn’t care enough to actually read it all.

It all fits the behavior of an abuser or narcissist going on a smear campaign.

Even though she was the first one to make nasty cuts on Todd’s character in public, Richard got angry at Todd for making nasty cuts (“quick insults”) on Tracy’s character, and said Todd couldn’t take it back even if he wanted to.

But what about the nasty things Tracy had said to Todd long before he got fed up?  Did they count for nothing?  Was it okay for her to say things for which Richard yelled at Todd?

The problem lay with both sides, two very volatile and young personalities who had to be right.  But Tracy fired the first shot, took it from an ordinary discussion of game politics and made it personal, made it nasty, all over a frickin’ GAME, and all over a slight which was only in her imagination.  She ruthlessly libeled him and defamed his character.

And Richard kept trying to tell me that it was all Todd’s fault, that it was a “power grab,” when I could see different, from what was posted on the game forums, and when I already knew some of Tracy’s temper.  I can see that same pattern all through my own interactions with her.  By seeing what happened with Todd, it’s obvious that I’m not crazy or imagining it.

Both sides were to blame for what happened: One person said Tracy had a “stubborn as a rock mentality,” and Todd, who has a temper of his own, really shouldn’t have cussed at Tracy and called her names.  But I saw that Todd did try to give her some of the things she wanted.

And to be fair to Todd, as I wrote above, and find in various accounts on the Net (see here, for example), abusers can get after you so much that you finally snap and start behaving badly yourself.  The abuser then uses this as proof that you’re the abuser.  This is “crazy-making,” “projection,” “gaslighting,” “baiting.”

And no, in the beginning Todd was not being nasty at all:  His own nastiness appears to have started after hours in chat of Tracy’s refusing to back down and listen to him, and continuing to accuse him of a power grab.  Then he began lashing out in frustration.

None of his concessions were enough; they went on for hours online, arguing about this, back and forth, posting much of it on the game forum.

He wasn’t “power grabbing”; he just understood the alliance constitution (which he himself constructed) differently than Tracy did.  Richard should have called Tracy on her insults of Todd, but didn’t.

So of course Todd felt ganged up on, like Richard backstabbed him and let Tracy get away with whatever she wanted.  It’s very familiar, in fact….

Todd was like me, wary of Tracy because he knew she was evil, but friends of a sort with her because she was married to Richard.

Yet, after the way she kept treating me, the things I saw her do or say to Richard, the kids, Todd, and others, and the things Richard told me she did to him and the kids–Richard and Tracy kept acting like it was somehow my fault, my problem, something I had to fix, that I couldn’t get close to her, didn’t want to confide my secrets in her, didn’t seek out her company.

[Update 11/16/11: Note also how narcissists and abusers can turn things around so that you appear to be the manipulator, such as with Judge Adams, who has made his daughter Hillary appear to be manipulative and spoiled, after she posted the smoking gun video of him beating her.]

More details of this story are here, including her sociopathic smile over something Todd supposedly did, but I don’t have room to put everything in this post.

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