violence

Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager

I knew bits and pieces of Richard’s past, which I thought were all behind him now, tamped down by religion.  But other things came out that showed his own violent streak, appalling ideas of what is “justified” behavior in certain situations, things that violated Christian principles, violent things that made my hair stand on end.

One thing was, that if his wife ever cheated on him, it was okay for him to assault the guy.  We watched The Apostle, during which Richard said that if his wife cheated on him, he’d take a baseball bat to the guy just like Sonny did.  This statement chilled me to the bone, and I told him he should never do such a horrible thing.

Another time, we were chatting on the phone and he made comments to the effect of, if he found his wife in bed with another guy it would be okay to commit murder.

I was amazed that a pious Orthodox Christian who wanted to be a priest, would say such incredibly wrong things.

According to the Annies in their March 11, 2011 column, threatening to kill guys who sleep with your wife is controlling and manipulative.

Also note what the Highlander said about this issue in the sixth-season episode “Justice”: A man (Armando) killed his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together.  The wife, Elena, was the adopted daughter of an Immortal, Katya, who now wants revenge because Armando was acquitted at his trial.

Duncan says to Katya, “Killing’s not the answer….The emptiness you feel won’t be filled by anger.  Or revenge, or hate.  Armando’s death will just leave you feeling emptier.”

In another scene, when Armando says he loved Elena, Duncan says, “So much that you killed her?”

Armando says, “You weren’t there.  You didn’t see them!  Castillo was my protege.  He was like a brother to me.  With my wife.”

Duncan says, “So they had to die because you got your feelings hurt.”

Armando: “No.  There was no thought.  No plan.  The courts understood.  It was a crime of passion.”

Duncan: “It was murder.  And you beat it.”

This episode may be fiction, but the lesson it teaches is real: Crimes of passion are still crimes, still murder.  And no one has that right, not even a wronged husband.

This is what Orthodoxy teaches.  Anyone who claims such a right has no right to be an Orthodox mentor, whether as a spiritual father, informal mentor and friend, or priest.

There were a lot of revelations the first couple of weeks of June 2009.  On June 1, I learned about the hypnotism.  A little more than a week later, we had the revealing talks that both shocked me and (I thought) fixed everything.

In the middle, on June 5, I learned that, some 20 years ago, Richard’s girlfriend and best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels.  They made him their “goomba.” 

He hung around with goombas, or thugs, who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information “in a not-so-friendly way.”

The Russian and Italian mobsters had nicknames for him, which I won’t name here for safety reasons.

Since it involved jewels, not drugs, he felt he did nothing criminal–or which should be criminal, according to the Constitution and free market principles.  He never “killed” anyone while doing this goomba stuff.  

He ran these jewels between L.A. and Las Vegas.

Not only that, but he openly and freely shared it, did not see it as a secret.  He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.

He didn’t seem at all repentant about helping the Mafia

The Mafia! 

Dangerous people, the kind who would kill a toddler!  Especially being involved with them as a Christian:

In Sicily, the birthplace of Mr. Rizzuto’s Mafia, some Church leaders have called for a tough stand. This summer, Bishop Antonino Raspanti said convicted mobsters would be refused a funeral, declaring:

“Being a Christian is incompatible with having links to Mafia organizations.” —National Post

Richard justified it by saying his mother knew about it and didn’t seem to care, he did this while at Bible college (!), and he did worse things when he worked for the government.  He said Clinton’s government did terrible things that nobody knows about (which I won’t divulge here without proof other than his word for it).

But there were these hints at illegal activities when he was a Mafia thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.

All this was in an IRC conversation, most of which I printed (the first part, unfortunately, vanished before I could print it).  I like to remember what I can about my best friends, save Internet chats and e-mails, as a personal diary.  I used to print up ICQ chats with friends.

However, I did not see this as cool, like I did the hypnotism: It was startling, shocking, baffling.  How could he not see this was wrong?  Still, it was part of my BFF’s history, and worth remembering.

Now, I see it as proof that I did not imagine this conversation.  In 2012 I thought maybe Richard was pulling my leg–but then Todd spoke of Richard’s past as a “mobster” and “mook,” gave me more details.

The next day, Richard called and said they were being evicted, that he was furious with the apartment manager.

He made it into a personal offense, and had some ideas about why.  But it was probably because they trashed the place, left cigarette butts all over the yard in front of their apartment, were unreliable with the rent, and kept having domestic disputes.  

(He told me a couple of months before that they had been “at each other’s throats” for more than a month; somebody could very well have reported this to the manager or the police.)

He said he was going to kill the apartment manager while she was in her office, do it so she’d never see who it was, “And I’ll make it look like I was never there.”  Because of his past as a Mafia thug, he knew how to do this.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wha–Wha–WHAT?

This pious, righteous guy who wanted to be a priest, whom I saw as my spiritual mentor, was telling me all this???!!!

I cried, “It’s my duty as your friend to talk you out of this!”  I tried and tried, and begged, “Talk to your priest before you do this!”

He chuckled and said, “I’ll talk to my priest after I do this.”  Then the kids did something, or his wife wanted something, so he had to hang up.

While I was still reeling from this and thinking what the–

He called back again. “My wife won’t let me do it,” he said.  She told him to use his words to persuade, which he’s so good at doing.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  If he had gone through with this horrible deed, I’d have to call the police.  It was my duty to warn the police before he did it, or legally I’d be an accomplice, and that woman’s blood would be on my hands.

I thought these things were in his long-ago past, that he was sorry for his past violence, that he was now sweet and gentle and wanted to be a priest.  But this…?

It was quite baffling the things both Richard and Tracy either said to me or did in front of me, apparently confident that I wouldn’t call the police or CPS:

Richard told me things like this, and violent things his wife did.

Tracy whacked her little toddler on the back of the head right in front of me, began spanking and screaming furiously at two children who did nothing wrong, right in front of me!  Didn’t she realize I could’ve called the police on her for this?

Didn’t either of them realize that when Richard told me he put his children in the closet once, that when Tracy abused her children right in front of me, if I couldn’t convince them these things were wrong, I was honor-bound to report them to Social Services?

If they did these things in front of me, what did they do when I wasn’t around?  Since I lived behind closed doors with them for a month and a half and Tracy controlled herself well enough not to punch Richard, but he told me she whacked and punched him about a year later, this showed she could control herself around me.

Richard became so closed-off about his life, that it’s entirely possible–or probable–that things were much worse at home than he ever told me.  I’d see them once a week or so, getting cutesy with each other, being mostly controlled–though not controlled enough, because Jeff and I both noticed things that looked very wrong.

But I knew very well what I had seen and what Richard told me.  I kept hearing over time that things were hidden from me.  It makes you wonder what else was hidden.

Not only were they hiding things from me, but my own family had done this as well, hiding a huge chunk of my parents’ life from me while my brothers knew all about it.  When the truth finally came out, it was devastating, shattering the image I had always had of my father, of the values taught in my family.

Now here it was being done again, with Richard and Tracy hiding things from me.  How could anyone not turn paranoid in this situation?

(The incident involving my father was also a bonding experience for Richard and me, as far as I was concerned.  Even though I e-mailed my college friends about everything ever since I left college, instead of talking to them, I called up Richard and told him everything that was going on, all the secret things that I didn’t feel I could tell others.

(He and my priest were my two confidantes outside the family.  This was during Lent 2007, before I even met Richard in person.  That’s how close we got before we even met.)

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 overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance with smear campaign

I finally got a chance to vent privately to my husband on Wednesday, January 2 about what all went on in his house while he was out of the house or the room.  I told him the same things I told my mom, about all the abuse, possessiveness and controlling behavior, including the story of her getting jealous just because Richard took me to a corner store so we could chat.  (Jeff said in shock and disbelief, “She was jealous of you?”)

He got so furious with Richard and Tracy that I thought he would throw them both out onto the street right then.  He says I asked him not to, and that’s the only reason he didn’t, the only reason he didn’t even yell at them.  But they came upstairs and were shocked at how angry he was.

I must have asked him not to throw them out because I didn’t want to throw the children onto the street in the middle of a cold winter.  He was angry and shocked at Tracy for being jealous of me, of all people.

He felt her behavior was ungrateful and insulting to the hostess, after all I had been doing for them, basically accusing me without cause of being a slut.  I wrote to my mother the next day,

I had a long talk about this with Jeff yesterday.  He knew some of it, but apparently I hadn’t told him the full extent of what had been going on.

He agreed that Tracy has to stop getting mad at Richard and chewing him out whenever I want to talk with him alone, that he needs to have friends, that we own the house, and that chewing out Richard for talking with me alone is not the way to treat me after I’ve been providing hospitality.

Now that Jeff and I had full agreement on this, I had the strength I needed to take charge.  I told Richard that I own the house and she is not to do that anymore, that it’s getting in the way of me being friends with her.

He said that he believes he has it squared away now and there shouldn’t be any more trouble.

Richard and Tracy were in the basement and I was on the main stairs with Jeff, the only way we could talk privately.  But I wasn’t even allowed this private grievance session with my own husband:

Tracy must have come upstairs very quietly, because she eavesdropped without my knowledge on this conversation with Jeff.  She never told me she heard everything I said.  I had no clue until the summer of 2009, when Richard finally admitted it.

Since she was the one listening, not Richard, she got away with blatantly lying to him about what I said.  She told him I was manipulating Jeff.

The truth is that I told Jeff what was happening and how I felt about it.  If that’s “manipulation,” then proper, direct, open communication with your spouse is “manipulative.”

Then Jeff came up with a way to help me.  It wasn’t a good way, but neither of us realized this at the time.

I think what I really wanted him to do, was to sit down Richard and Tracy and explain the rules of the household and being a guest, rather than leaving it all to me to deal with these people.  But I don’t remember if I said so, or if I was even able to articulate this at the time.

(Sometimes I don’t know how to explain what I want while I’m speaking.  The words I need tend to come while writing drafts of e-mails–or blog posts.)

This is the first time I know of that Tracy lied to Richard to smear me and slander my character; there were other times to come, when she either lied to him about me, or twisted my actions and slandered my character to him over and over again, while I was in my house blissfully unaware (until he told me about it).

When she later accused me in 2012 of defaming her character, this was hypocritical, because she defamed my character to her mother, husband and on Facebook, and defamed Todd’s character to an entire web forum/gaming group.

And I did not defame her: To defame is to lie and tell half-truths to make a false representation, and I have been scrupulously honest in these accounts.  (I have been honest to the point of fear, which I bravely faced and posted anyway, because I want to be a trustworthy narrator.)

I also do not name her or post her personal identifying information, because this is about telling the story of my trauma in my own way, NOT about smearing her to her friends/co-workers/etc. or getting it to show up in Google searches for her.  But I digress.

She then decided I hated her, was biased against her, was a terrible person, had bad character, must not spend any time alone with her husband without her okay, and was “moving in on” her husband.  Anything and everything I did was evidence supporting this theory.

During this time period, I’m told, she almost killed me for something she wrongly interpreted as vixenlike behavior, though I wasn’t aware of this for a year and a half.  (I have no idea if this was meant literally or metaphorically.)

As for what I did: I have already explained how Richard taught me that putting your head on another’s shoulder and sleeping is an innocent expression of friendship, nothing more.  That our arms stayed folded around ourselves, NOT each other, and in a friendship manner.  He made it sound like this was normal friendship behavior where he grew up.

(From what I just read in an abuse blog by a woman around that area, and her descriptions of caring gestures by a close platonic friend with no romantic feelings for her, this may actually be true.)

I was wrapped in a small couch/throw blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, and was now cold with illness; I was NOT sharing it with him, he was NOT under this blanket, had no blanket on him at all.  Even if I wanted to share it, this little blanket couldn’t possibly stretch far enough to cover him, too.  But no, I did not share it with him, despite her later claims to the contrary.

I was sick, desperately needed a nap, my son was asleep in my room, and the couch was crowded.  Normally back then, I often took naps during the day (probably exhausted from caring for a toddler), and preferred to nap on the couch instead of on my bed.  It’s just a quirk, hard to explain why, but I don’t like lying down to nap.

All these people interfered with my normal nap routine, along with everything else.  I also did not want to wake up my son by going in the bedroom, and sickness makes it hard to breathe when sleeping on your back.  I felt just rotten, but couldn’t get a nap or any rest at all.

I was wrapped in a blanket because I’m always cold in the wintertime, but my sickness made it worse.  Richard was beside me on the couch; finally, I put my head on his big, squishy shoulder, which was just like a large pillow, not some bony skinny shoulder, and fell right to sleep.

An innocent act, no more “vixenlike” than the guy who put his head on another guy’s shoulder on the subway.

But it inspired Tracy–in a massive overreaction which showed the violent truth of her character–to kill me!  She only kept herself in check because of fear that we’d throw her out.  (Well, yeah, if you kill me, or even if you just beat me up, my husband won’t let you stick around.  He’ll get your *** thrown in jail.)

Richard later told me that Tracy’s reaction was based not on the act itself, but that if, say, a certain other friend from the Forum did it, Tracy would find it cute and join in, because she was friends with Tracy….

Which is, of course, maddening, because Tracy had already told me that she and I were friends.

But she changed her mind on that without telling me so, or why, because I had trouble carrying on conversations with her, and because I desperately needed time by myself every day to recharge (things I did not know until the summer of 2009).

Basically, because I am an introvert with NVLD, who desperately needed time alone every day during a house invasion which had gone on for weeks, she began acting jealous and controlling toward me, but never told me why.

Then I recognized her verbal abuse and controlling behavior for what it was, rather than saying she was right and justified.

So she eavesdropped when I told my husband what was going on, did not tell me she overheard, was prejudiced against me for being an introvert, and made me jump through impossible hoops before she would consider me her friend and allow me to do things like this, which she would allow her other friends to do.

So she wanted to kill me because I was sick and needed a nap, and because I followed Richard’s directions to do this when she was not in the room (and fell asleep), NOT because I actually “did” anything.

I made no moves on her husband, did not try to get him to kiss me or go to bed with me or any crap like that which would have deserved her ire.

By the way, my husband came home and saw it, remembered we have SCA friends who do this sort of thing, shrugged his shoulders, and went on with life, never saying a word about it.

In fact, a month or two later, I even mentioned it to him to explain why Tracy was mad at me this time, without fear that he would berate me over it.

Not only did he not berate me, but he understood it was platonic, and still did not tell me he already saw me.  I did not find out until August 2010, when he told me Tracy’s reaction was overblown and ridiculous!

Basically, I did something which would have been perfectly fine with her if I were an extrovert without NVLD, and if I accepted all her abuse as okay.  It was a double standard which discriminated against me for what I was and could not change.  Nobody told me she saw this and was upset, until a month or two later.

Once I found out this upset her so much, I thought she overreacted, and was puzzled because I thought it was normal behavior where they came from?

However, I never did it again, respecting her boundaries–but continued to pay for it constantly for two more years as she kept bringing it up with Richard as evidence of my bad character, and then ripped into me for it in the summer of 2010.

Because I was sick and desperately needed a nap on a crowded couch.  Because I had been taught by Richard that such behavior was perfectly fine, normal and appropriate among friends.  (The jerk set me up!)

You will also note that it was the middle of the afternoon, in the main room in full view of the kitchen and front door, while she was awake and my husband was about to come home.

NOT late at night or while the house was empty, like when Richard did it before.  Which is further proof of the innocence of my actions.

There was also another time when they were up late watching TV, she was on one side of him on the couch and I was on the other, and I tried to nap against his shoulder because the TV was boring and I was sleepy.  But she never mentioned that I did do this in front of her once, did she?

No, I was falsely accused of bad motives and character, and constantly slandered by this woman, who knew that I saw her abusing her husband and children.

And now I was supposed to suck up to her and court her favor or else I’d stay on her sh** list and be “that woman” who wasn’t her friend and couldn’t say or do much of anything to him without her getting upset.

This is a common abusive tactic: Slander your spouse’s friend and make his life miserable, because the friend could open his eyes to the truth of the abuse.  Use intimidation and pressure to get him to only be friends with people you approve.

Memories of Phil were still fresh in my mind from writing and researching about his abuse in 2006/2007.  This was a tactic he used to try to separate me from my group of best friends, who saw he was treating me badly.

Richard kept things from me that I needed to know, such as the fact that Tracy overheard my complaints to my husband, and saw me asleep on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, I overheard her complaining about me or my son to Richard or her mother on occasion, sometimes quietly, and sometimes so I could hear.

Rather than get them out in the open and deal with them directly with us, she was passive-aggressive.  (Note that I did not go to Jeff until after I tried to sort things out with them, but conditions continued to deteriorate.)

And I was not allowed to object to her jealous, abusive and controlling behavior, or say how she treated Richard was wrong, or say that I will not be disrespected in my own house–or she would lose all respect for us and go back across the country to the state she came from.  (Right there: intimidation, delivered through Richard as her proxy.)

But it was well within my rights to object to abuse and other mistreatment of my friends, and to say that no one was to be abused and mistreated in my house.

That included objecting to her telling Richard not to go to the bar and grill with me.  She thought I was horrible and disrespectful of her to even ask him in the first place!  Say WHAT?

Even two and a half years later, she still got on my case about this, saying “everybody knows” you don’t do this without being friends with the wife first, and making me into a horrible person for “violating” this “rule.”

First of all, there is no such “rule.”  I have occasionally gone out to lunch or some other thing with a friend or boss, or had conversations with him, without consulting the wife first–or even knowing her, period, let alone being friends with her.  And the wife never put up a fuss about it.

The only “rule” is that you are open and honest, don’t sneak around and lie about where you went or who you were with, because that’s a red flag of cheating.

Second, she herself TOLD me I was her friend weeks before I even asked him!

Third, it was Richard’s idea to take me to that bar and grill in the first place.  He never informed me that one-on-one conversations and going to get ice cream, which were all perfectly fine and allowed for the past two months, were suddenly verboten.

I had absolutely no reason to think there was anything wrong or “inappropriate” about continuing to do these things.

It is gravely immoral to be mean to your close friends, to restrict your husband’s friends, to be jealous without cause, and to be hostile to the person who is sheltering you in her own home.

It is gravely immoral to treat close friendship as if it were expendable, as if it could just get tossed away.

It is gravely immoral to verbally abuse your kids all day and your husband all evening.  It is gravely immoral to be violent, whether verbally or physically.

Yet I was treated as if my feelings on the matter, my opinions, were just so much garbage to get tossed out with the rest of the trash, that I was a horrible, hateful person to even have them.

Richard’s own behavior was baffling through all this.  The first day she moved in, he told me she was a jealous person who went through his cell phone logs.  She discovered that while he lived with us, the female friend she was “at war” with had called him, and he called her back.

She got furious with him for it, even though he and this friend had always been platonic, and the friend was thousands of miles away.

I heard his conversations with this friend; they were appropriate, just catching up and news of the church the friend still went to and that Richard and Tracy used to go to.  He was upset with Tracy’s behavior, and I found it bizarre.

In just a short time, I had a full picture of a domestic abuser who considered me a threat to her control.  Especially after she eavesdropped on Jeff and me, she knew I recognized her abuse for what it was. 

Because I now know that she eavesdropped, I am confident that this was her true reason for the smear campaign and making me jump through hoops to please her.

I remember Richard saying she “heard every word” of what I said to Jeff, in that scolding tone which implied that I lied to Jeff, or that there was something wrong in what I said to him.

But I told Jeff nothing but the truth–and they obviously had no qualms talking to each other about me.  Yet more intimidation and control, not just from Tracy but from Richard as well, trying to keep me under their thumb.

I have always wondered what all Tracy told Richard I said.  I know she lied about me manipulating Jeff; what else did she lie about?  This is how domestic abusers operate when they know they are found out:

Domestic abusers use various methods to separate their victims from anyone who could open the eyes of the victim to the abuse.  An abuser will object to your friends and family, either unilaterally or just the ones who recognize the abuse.

She’ll lie to you about that friend/family member.  She’ll tell you that person is bad and you should not associate with her.  She’ll smear her to you, slander her character with lies and half-truths, to drive a wedge between you and your friend/family member.

She’ll tell you a friend made moves on her, even though it is a lie.  She’ll forbid you to be friends with someone she has not approved, or allow it but make life difficult for you whenever you see that friend.  Or she’ll make life so difficult for that friend that he breaks off relations with you.

She’ll reward you for sticking up for her, and subject you to more abuse if you object to how she treats your friend.  This, also, drives friends away, because nobody will put up with that for long if they don’t have to.

In the end, you are isolated from everyone who could open your eyes and help you out of the abusive relationship.

One day Richard complained that his wife should allow him to spend time with his friends, too, and was it really so wrong for him to do so?

But whenever I myself complained about how she treated me, or how she treated him, he defended her, spoke like I didn’t know what I was talking about and there was nothing wrong with her behaving this way.

Even a year and a half later, he told me her treatment of him during this time was his fault because of this and this and this.  This is Stockholm Syndrome, also known as the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt), which drives an abuse victim to defend the abuse.  For example, the wife who’s beaten and then says, “It was my fault.  I shouldn’t have upset him.”

As for consideration for Tracy’s feelings, Jeff and I had many conversations about this situation, and he did try to get me to see Tracy’s side as well.  This led to me going to Richard, contrite.

I do acknowledge that I did a few things wrong myself during this time.  I spoke to Richard about these things, some of them during this time, others later on after they moved out.  I also stopped trying to get him to go to the bar and grill with me.

But even though I told him she did many things to hurt me, he told me not to expect any apologies from her at all, that it was very difficult for anybody to get apologies from her (including him).

Even though twice I suggested apologizing to her on Forgiveness Sunday (which begins Lent in Orthodoxy), the first time he said it was not necessary (that she only wanted apologies from him), and the second time, he gave Jeff the impression that my apologizing would somehow be dangerous for me.

As a housewife with a small child (not potty trained) and a cold northern winter outside, I was in a tiny house 24/7 with this jealous, hostile person, who also had no job.

One night, I even overheard her talking to Richard and saying my son’s name several times, angrily.  (I don’t know what else she said.)  How on earth could she speak badly about a 3-year-old child???!!!

It was extremely stressful and insulting after all I was doing for her, and after she overheard me venting to my own husband about it, she got even worse.

Shortly after, while I was in the bathroom next to the kitchen, I heard her in the kitchen lying to her mother about me (and on my phone, too, using my long distance!).

She went on and on about the dinners we were providing, and that “No, your grandchildren are not eating vegetables.”  This was an outright lie, because I put vegetables in nearly every dinner.

She b**ched about that week’s dinner menu.  I made that menu in the midst of cleaning up the lice they brought into the house.  I had no time to worry about balanced meals, just had to come up with something quickly so my husband could get groceries, and so I could get back to combing nits and washing every single thing our heads had touched.

Also, we were spending $300-$400 a week on groceries with absolutely no financial help from them, so we had to get meals as cheaply as we could.  (In today’s prices, that’s like $340-$450.)  Everything from scratch is far too expensive when you’re feeding eight people, and who has time for that with small children running around?

Other meals were up to them, but I made sure we had vegetables for dinner.  We also had a lot of fasting days during this time, so many meals were heavy on vegetables.  (The Orthodox Church asks believers to fast from certain food items–especially meat–for a few weeks during the Christmas season.  So you have to eat vegetables or go hungry!)

So she was even going to smear me to her mother with lies and half-truths?  And I later learned from Richard that she did this on purpose to get back at me, as vengeance for what I told Jeff!  This woman was frickin’ vindictive!

But no, one week’s lapse because we were far too busy cleaning up lice to make up a proper meal plan or grocery list, and she rips on me for it as if that’s always the case.

Then she b**ched at her mother that I don’t cook, Jeff does.  Apparently there was something “wrong” with this, too, though what, I have no clue.

This was none of her frickin’ business!  He did the cooking because I was exhausted from taking care of the house and our small child all day.

What’s so terrible about a husband sharing the load while the kids are small?  Was this related to her refusing to help Richard with the house and kids, expecting him to take care of it all himself?

Apparently, in her mind, her abusing her husband and children and being nasty to me was somehow nowhere near as bad as me providing food she didn’t like, or letting my husband cook.

(I mean, seriously, I accuse her of being an abuser and this is all the “dirt” she can come up with on me to “throw in my face”?)

When the kids got into some children’s medicine, I did not wish to assign blame, even though she was supposed to be watching them every day so I could do my normal daily tasks without keeping an eye on four wandering children.

But I heard her on the phone with Richard, pinning the blame on me, saying “I guess she was going about her–” insert extremely snotty tone here–“routine,” even though the medicine had been in the medicine cabinet where it belonged–and she was just a few feet away from the bathroom.

And even though she tended to leave her allergy meds on the coffee table.  I believe the youngest child was with me at the time.

Oh, so now I was expected to watch the children, too, on top of all the other work these people made for me?

I was only beginning to get a picture of just how vindictive, controlling, blame-shifting and hysterical this woman really was.  She claimed to not know me, yet I was beginning to know her quite well–and I did not like what I saw.

So today’s dose of truth and reality is this: Evil must mask itself with good in order for it to make a living. Evil must hide itself by hiding the truth of who and what they are. Therefore, full truth (light) is anathema to evil.

You know this is true. You’ve tried to bring just a smidgen of truth to the table with the narcissist and you saw the hissing, spitting and reviling it invoked.

The extreme reaction is the narcissist’s attempt to get you to drop the holy water before he gets burned.

That is not the moment to fumble or drop the truth. Thrust that stake deep into his heart and then put him in the ground. Metaphorically speaking, of course. –Anna Valerious, Narcissists Suck: They Hide From the Truth Because Their Deeds Are Evil

 

Abusers believe they have a right to control their partners in the abusive relationships by utilizing the tactics found in the power and control wheel, by:

  • Telling them what to do and expecting obedience
  • Using force to maintain power and control over partners
  • Feeling their partners have no right to challenge their desire for power and control
  • Feeling justified making the victim comply
  • Blaming the abuse on the partner and not accepting responsibility for wrongful acts. —Power and Control Wheel in Abusive Relationships

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’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard (IN MY HOUSE)–and Richard reveals his own abuse

I wrote my mom detailed e-mails all during this time, because I badly needed to talk to SOMEBODY.  I told her that Tracy was controlling and possessive, everything she was doing, how jealous she was acting, how abrasive she was, and about the verbal abuse I witnessed every day.

I first tried to get these things sorted out with Richard and Tracy myself, but just kept feeling ganged up on, like I was being overruled again and again, as if my opinions and views and feelings held no merit and were of no importance whatsoever.

In one of those e-mails, written the afternoon of Wednesday, December 26, 2007, when everyone was at home for Christmas, I wrote that “I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this.”

As a considerate host who did not want to use up all the hot water before my guests could shower, I’d wait for hours for people to take showers before I could start the laundry or take my own.  But nobody would.

That morning, I was the first adult awake, and Jeff had to run some errands, so I had to wait until another adult would get up and watch the four kids, before I could take my shower.

Jeff came home and Richard and Tracy got up.  I told them I wanted to start the laundry, and asked who should take a shower first–them or me–but got no real answer.

Soon I overheard them talking about going somewhere, and it sounded like Richard was about to shower.  But then Tracy started ripping into Richard and screaming louder and louder, angrier and angrier, accusing him of things!

Now I know that I witnessed a narcissistic rage, a common means of intimidation and control used by narcissists and abusive borderlines, further proof that Richard told me the truth about her abuse of him and the children.

(Can you imagine being subjected to this as a child?  In 2010, I also witnessed her in a screaming rage against the children.)

The trouble is that, while borderlines are supposed to feel sorry later, I never witnessed her feeling sorrow for her rages against him, the children, me, or Todd.  This is why I tend to think of her as either a narcissist, or a narcissistic borderline, rather than just borderline.

(When I say “scream,” I don’t mean raised voices or yelling or shouting.  I mean “scream”: screeching, hysterical, high decibels, Exorcist-style, at the top of her lungs, wild, out of control.  This is also what I mean when I say she screamed at her kids.

(I thought everybody understood that “yelling” and “screaming” are two different things, but later discovered that some people think they’re the same thing.  Everybody yells from time to time, but screaming is verbal abuse and intimidation.)

A number of behaviors are considered verbally abusive, including angry outbursts, screaming rages, and name-calling. Verbal abuse often includes blaming, brainwashing, and intimidation.

Hidden aggression is a part of verbal abuse, as well. Verbal abuse is extremely manipulative, as insults are often disguised as caring comments. Verbal abuse can be overt or covert, but it is always about controlling and manipulating the victim. —What is Verbal Abuse?

I recall the basic nature of the argument, but won’t reveal it online.  I will tell you it had nothing to do with me or my house, and that her accusations sounded very unfair, that he was deceiving her.  He said it was a misunderstanding; she wouldn’t hear of it (sounds familiar); everything turned heated.

Richard just took it without arguing back.  He didn’t even try to defend himself.  He said little, even agreed with her at times.  Yet she just kept getting angrier and angrier and screaming louder and louder.

I was furious with Tracy for treating Richard like this, and furious that nobody was taking a shower.  Jeff and the kids were all in the basement, and the whole house could hear the screaming.

I wanted to scream at her to shut up.  I went upstairs to do some chores.  I screamed in my room for it to stop.  I slammed a door in frustration and anger, and was on the verge of breaking down.  But still she did not stop hounding him.

I wanted to rescue Richard, defend him.  I flew downstairs to the basement to Jeff.  The children were also there playing.  I complained to him about how Tracy was treating Richard, and how frustrated I was.

He would have more force and authority as the man of the house (and as the person who Tracy was not constantly insulting).  So I asked him to tell her to STOP treating Richard like this.

It was either that or go into the living room and scream at her to stop screaming at Richard.  Calling on Jeff to assume his role as man of the house and lay down some rules, seemed the most civilized thing to do.

He went upstairs and simply said that we’re not going to throw you out of the house, but please don’t do this in the house, and please take your showers now so Nyssa can take hers and start the laundry.  Tracy apologized to Jeff.

After that, she didn’t scream at Richard inside my house.  When she wanted to scream abuses and cuss at someone (like her ex), she took her cellphone outside.  But we should not have had to rescue Richard like that.  His own wife should be his partner, not his abuser.

I hid in the basement until they left with the kids about an hour and a half later, because I didn’t want to face them.

I described the whole argument to my mom.  I wrote,

For the last few weeks, I’ve been very depressed. I’ve already talked to Richard about this, but I’ve been feeling cut off lately.  I don’t have a lot of time to talk to him anymore.

I didn’t tell him that one reason I have trouble connecting with his wife is I often find her rather abrasive.  She orders him around and picks at the kids and picks at Richard.

At least twice during this time period, I saw him give her a look as if scared of what she would do if he stepped out of line.

My mom e-mailed back that things were getting out of hand, that we needed ground rules, that I shouldn’t wait for them to shower, just go ahead and start the laundry.

After they returned in the evening, I avoided both of them in my room, but finally had Jeff call Richard to me.

I was still furious with Tracy for abusing Richard, and for disturbing the peace of my household like this.  (In Shogun, the abusive husband had to grovel in repentance for doing this in the main character’s house.)  Note again that this conversation took place on the evening of December 26, 2007:

I said, “I can’t stand the way she picks at you and orders you around!”

She kept picking on him and getting mad at him for the slightest thing, making fun of him, ripping on him, ordering him to go get her some ice cream etc. without even a please, and one night he commented to me privately how annoyed he was at this.

He and I both noted that he had not argued back.  But to my shock, he began to say these things: “Actually, she’s being nice to me.”

“She’s being NICE to you????!!!!!” I cried in disbelief.  This is NICE for her?  What is she like when she’s not “nice”?

“…My father abused me as a child, but I was a little rat who deserved it, and it made me a better person….I’ve had to put the children in the closet before to get them to listen to their mother.  It looks like I’m going to have to do it again.”

WHAT????!!!!

I couldn’t believe he’d say such things, wondered if I’d misjudged him somehow.  How could my spiritual mentor, the same guy who complained to me for two months about how his wife verbally abused him and the children, about how she always screamed at the children and he had to be around to keep her in check, that she was jealous, that she got furious with him for talking to an old female friend she had been “at war” with–

How could he turn around and tell me these things?  How could he tell me that he, too, was abusing the kids, that he justified it with that tired old Stockholm Syndrome chestnut: that his parents did these things but he deserved it?

I expected him to be grateful for my support and sympathy, especially after he had courted it for two months.  But now that Tracy was here, he was like a totally different person, content to abuse and be abused.

He did once tell me over the phone that he recently abused the kids, but he gave no details, and said he was sorry for it.  But now he was excusing abuse?

Other times, too (during this time and in the following years), he told me she didn’t trust women, that pregnancy hormones made her jealous of any attention he paid to other women, etc.

So no, this wasn’t about me causing her jealousy, but about her being naturally jealous to start with.  If some other woman had been in my place, if he stayed with some other couple for two months, she probably would’ve treated her the same.

Jeff reacts quite differently to the same things that made her jealous and furious.

I think people online or in advice columns who just automatically assume the wife must have a reason to be jealous, don’t realize a wife can be so naturally jealous that she sees offense even in innocuous behavior, and drives everyone around her crazy with it.

Another shock: Now that I saw her abuse for myself, and no longer just took his word for it, he made excuses for what she did, and claimed she was being “nice” to him.

In other, later conversations, he told me she was justified in her anger at him during the time they lived with us, or that screaming at children was not abuse but necessary to keep them from being spoiled, and I could swear he told me that yelling at a spouse can be a good thing.  (My mother told me not to get any more childrearing or marital advice from him.)

I began to feel gaslit, a tactic of abusers of which I was already aware because of my 2006 research into my ex’s behavior.  But then one day in 2009, Richard told me things that proved I was not imagining abuse.  These things are here in my accounts.

Jeff wrote a Myspace blog about this: He wrote that with our son squeezed into the bed, a squirm who kept getting sick, he had only a foot or so of space for himself.  No raise for 2007, a 2% raise for 2008, and here we were trying to make that stretch for eight people.

The couch could not take the strain of Richard’s weight: One day, the kids jumped on this already-compromised frame, and it broke down.

We sat on the right side now, having no other chairs.  We were supposed to get together with some friends from out of town on New Year’s, but it was cancelled because of lice.

Yes, lice.  Yet another gift they brought us, along with the cockroaches.

The paperwork for a new apartment finally went through, but they still had to get rent and deposit money, so I had no idea when they were going to move out.

I complained about Tracy’s jealousy and controlling behavior to Richard through a letter, since letters and e-mails were now the only way I could talk to him.

First, he said it was indeed jealousy causing her to act this way, then he said it wasn’t jealousy but some other thing.  But whichever it was, her behavior was still that of a jealous wife who wanted to control her husband’s every move.

That rubbed me the wrong way.  Not only did it insult the hostess and benefactress helping her family and providing her with room and board.

But it raised my hackles because anyone who hurts my dear friend or child or husband, it’s as if they hurt me.  I have always been protective of family and friends, going back at least as far as middle school when my best friend kept getting harassed by other kids.

It demonstrated Tracy’s own insecurity and possessiveness, but when I spoke up about it, I was treated like I was somehow the one in the wrong.

It also seemed quite ridiculous and unreasonable to try to keep two roommates from speaking privately once in a while.  What are you going to do, shadow our every move?  She did try!

She looked ridiculous, and this gave a full picture of her abusive hold over the family, an emotional terrorist trying to keep her family under tight control.  It was like my abusive ex Phil all over again.

Don’t allow yourself to be isolated from others against our own better judgment. Insist on your right to have your own friends and family. —Gaslighting

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That isn’t to say those relationships weren’t challenging, but there was a “hypnotic and obsessive quality” to the relationship with H (strong characteristics of a codependent, dysfunctional relationship).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the above article states,

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

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

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

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

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

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

 

Bullying an Introvert and Probable NVLDer

I thought I had found a religious and spiritual mentor in my search for the True Church, and a best friend here in my own town instead of far away, one who would always be there for me throughout life.  But I believe this is what really happened:

I fell prey to a con man who eventually decided my husband and I were of no further use to him and his wife.  He used to be a Mafia thug, and was easily provoked to violence.  He hypnotized me without my knowledge.

They wanted to get political connections, but we were too “liberal” and not politically driven; he kept getting money and stuff from us, but the economy tanked and we had money trouble; I was his confidante of his wife’s abuses of him and the children, so she, who has a family history of personality disorders, smeared me to him to drive a wedge between us; and I spoke up against the way they both had been treating their kids.

So instead of addressing the real issues, they made me a scapegoat, made up offenses and kept me always jumping over hoops.  Then because we no longer had much money to give them, I started doubting Richard’s wild stories, and I had let them know they abused their kids, they started treating my husband and I both very badly.

They found an imaginary complaint to skewer me over, so we would break off the friendship in disgust, but they would still be able to claim that it was my fault and not theirs.

Richard threatened my husband with physical violence and intimidated him.  Then in 2010, I was proven correct about the abuse, when Richard choked his oldest daughter until she passed out.  He plea bargained and served a year of probation.

For two and a half years, I was bullied, gaslit and abused by a likely personality disordered person, “Tracy,” who saw me as a threat to her marriage because I was her husband’s confidante about her abuses of him and the children.

Though he, “Richard,” had been my friend for two years already, she made him her abuser-by-proxy, and insisted on forcing her friendship on me, or else I was not “respecting” her, was “moving in on” her husband, and was somehow violating society “norms” which I had never heard of before.

In my circles, friendship was allowed to happen naturally.  Nobody I knew complained about husbands making female friends, playful and innocent flirting, or going out to lunch with a female friend.  I had never encountered jealousy.

In fact, I was the most “jealous” person I knew, simply because I did not like my husband sharing a hotel room with a female friend for an SCA (like Ren-Faire) event, which that friend called having him on a “long leash.”

My husband and I trust each other and have no requirements whatsoever on our friends.  So Tracy’s behavior shocked and made no sense to me or to my husband, who felt she did not trust Richard.

If she had not been abusive to her husband and children, and if she had not begun snarking at me and telling falsehoods about me to her husband and mother, I would have had no trouble whatsoever being her friend.

But because of the abuses, I did not want her in my life.  However, I felt forced to let her be there, or I would lose a friend who was very dear to me.

I tried to get along with her–friended her on Facebook, gave her things she needed, gave her a flower, asked for recipes, chatted with her on occasion, joked with her on occasion, agreed with her on occasion on childcare, smiled at her during conversation, played games with her, changed her baby’s poopy diaper while she was in the shower, visited her in the hospital, held my tongue whenever she snarked at me, even gave her money and a place to stay–but nothing I did was enough.

My husband thought my behavior was fine.

I did not monopolize the conversation when she was in the room, mostly letting them carry it; if Richard and I sat next to each other, I might chat with him for a while, but usually my husband was there for her to talk to, or she was on the computer or doing some other thing.

She did not start conversations with me.  She did not even try with me, but instead expected me to come up with conversation when I have trouble with this in the best of social situations.  Most of the time there was something else going on in the room, or she was talking to everyone or to somebody else or screaming at a kid, so I didn’t see it as a time for starting conversation with her.

She criticized everything I did.  She refused to accept that I was a shy, quiet introvert with probable NVLD, who had always been that way and always would be, that making conversation with her–especially with someone who bullied me and whom I had maybe just witnessed verbally abusing her husband, kids or somebody else–was practically impossible for me until she stopped the abuse and accepted me for who I was.

I needed to be accepted as a quiet person who will not say much most of the time, even among my best friends.  I tried to explain all of this to Richard, hoping that he would explain it to her and they would help make it easier for me to relax around her.  But nothing ever changed, while I got blamed for everything and continuously punished for not being extroverted.

When we were roommates, I figured there was nothing wrong with spending 10 minutes talking with just Richard, when that evening we would all be together on the couch talking or watching TV for hours.

It’s not the same as visiting somebody, or they’re visiting you, because, well, we were roommates, and people who live together do this all the time.  And since she lived with me for six weeks and I spent every evening socializing with her and Richard for hours, I figured this was plenty to help her get to know me.

Also, in college my friends hated my fiancé Phil, whom they saw as controlling and possessive.  In turn, he tried to distance me from them, because he saw how they felt about them.  I did not see it until Pearl admitted it to me in a letter over the summer; he told me it was because he was Catholic, trying to make me see them as religiously bigoted.

To me, this was true friendship, and I saw his attempts to keep me from them as isolation and control.  This was my model for friendship, my model for what a controlling spouse acts like.  With Richard, I was now being like my friends, while Tracy behaved like Phil.

I am an introvert with probable NVLD (which socially is like Asperger’s), and cannot carry on conversations with the ease of extroverts.  Introverts must think before they speak, or they will say gibberish, and their brains use long-term rather than short-term memory to come up with something to say during group conversation.

But this takes longer, while extroverts think as they speak and use short-term memory during conversation.  So by the time an introvert comes up with a comment, or finds an opening to say it, the conversation has already moved on to some other topic.

I catch some social cues, but from the way this woman acted with me, I must have missed a whole slew of subtleties, because most of the time I thought our relationship was okay.

Tracy decided that until I turned into an extrovert (which researchers say is absolutely impossible) and someone without NVLD (which is also impossible), then she would treat me like I was trying to steal her husband away.

I had to court her favor before she would “approve” my friendship with Richard (even though he and I had already been friends for two years before I heard anything about this) and “allow” us to go out for coffee, have one-on-one conversations, or do anything at all that he could do with his other friends.

I do not believe in such restrictions put on a grown adult; I believe they are controlling and a red flag of abuse and isolation.

Because of the restrictions my brain put upon me since birth, it was maddening, an impossible requirement I was never able to fulfill, and extremely insulting, yet Richard and Tracy talked like I was making a “mountain out of a molehill,” and blamed me for not changing into an extrovert.

It was bullying and psychological abuse.

If I dealt with social situations with ease, it would have been different.  But I could not, so the motives for my behavior were all benign.

And they gave me none of the cues I asked for to tell me when she wanted to have a conversation with me, so I never noticed her doing it.

Also, I was extremely timid, scared by her aggressive personality, and felt it immoral to be friends with my best friend’s abuser.

But this was 2007, before the Internet exploded with information on how introverts are misunderstood and should be respected, so it was hard for me to explain–or to point to experts to back up my statements.

Every person I have ever known in my entire life has described me as “quiet.”  It’s the first adjective anyone uses to describe me, whether as someone they’ve just met or someone they remember from the past.

Second after that comes “nice,” “sweet,” “loyal.”  Richard called me “sweet, innocent and nice.”

So to me, Tracy’s behavior was like the mean girls and bullies from childhood, bullying me for being different, treating my quietness as if it were evidence of sneakiness and ulterior motives, laying into me with all sorts of horridly abusive, filthy words because I’m quiet–while my best friend let her do it, even talked as if she had every right to!

For two and a half years they tried to bully me into not being the way I’ve always been, treating me as if it were all my fault and Tracy had nothing to do with it, nothing to change in her own behavior.  I struggle to come up with conversation in the best of social situations; pressure like this constricted my throat and cut off my thoughts.

But it got worse: My NVLD has made me extremely gullible.  My classmates in middle school teased me for it; in college, boyfriends used it to manipulate me in ways that other people would see right through.

But my “best friend,” Richard, manipulated me also, getting comfort during a difficult time with his wife by convincing me that putting his head on my shoulder and giving me long, sweet hugs was an innocent expression of friendship and caring, NOT romance.  He told me Americans are too reserved.

So I thought Tracy did these things with friends, too–then he told me, “Don’t do them around Tracy.  She’s very jealous.”  But I was too naïve and trusting to see this as a huge red flag that he’d been lying to me.  (My best friend would never lie to me!)

And then he let Tracy flay me alive for these things, as if they’d been all my idea, as if he had nothing to do with them.

Meanwhile, he threatened my husband for sticking up for me, and wrote to him that he gets “physically violent easily if triggered.”

Just as obeying our parents is good except if they command us to do evil, the same is true with sticking up for our spouses.  While it is good and right to stick up for our spouses and stand by them, if our spouse is doing or saying something abusive or evil to anyone, then it would be evil for us to stick up for them and stand by them.

This means you, too, Richard: It was evil for you to allow your wife’s evil treatment of me, and you became its participant.

Digging out from the psychological damage–which some sources on the Net call Complex-PTSD as described here–has been long and difficult.  Though you might say I started trying to dig out from it soon after I met her, the worst of it wasn’t until a day when she finally spewed her poison, her venom, all over me.

(Fellow introverts, this will really burn you up: She actually accused me of needing to “grow up and talk“!  Talk about being bigoted against and refusing to understand introverts!  Talk about being mean and nasty to someone who’s different from you!  Doesn’t that just make you furious?  And that wasn’t all she said!  Some people need to “grow up” and learn how to treat others, to start being more accepting of other people’s differences!)

I’ve seen her do this to others, too, including a mutual friend, so I know it’s not just me.  Her mother is personality disordered, and has been officially diagnosed and hospitalized for it.  Even Richard noted some of the same traits in Tracy and all her sisters; these things can run in families, whether from some genetic trait or from the effects of being abused.  I am not a psychologist, but I believe Tracy has picked it up as well.

This disgraceful treatment by who I thought was my best friend, the best friend I’d ever had, caused me to build a wall around myself so that for a long time, I barely even went on Facebook anymore to communicate with my true friends.  I do still try to get out and among people, but it’s gotten even harder than it used to be to let people get inside that wall.

Especially during the first year of recovery, I would hide inside it as they chattered away, not revealing my inner life to them, all the pain and anguish and guilt, the things that Tracy said still revolving around in my mind almost a year later.

I got disgusted to see them go up to the Eucharist when they visited my church, how they acted as if I was the one with the problem, how Richard was able to manipulate me as he does others into thinking he’s this cool, loving person–when I have seen the dark side of them both.  How he manipulated me into thinking his wife was the abusive one, but little by little, he began to show that he is also abusive, violent and manipulative.

Then something happened that finally got the attention of the authorities, and proved to me that I did not imagine the abuse in their household:

According to the local newspaper and online public access court records, Richard choked his eldest daughter on September 21, 2010 until she passed out, because she was misbehaving.

Yet in his mug shot, which was posted on the website of the local paper for well over a year, he wears an expression of contempt rather than shame.  (Because of my NVLD, it took a while, and online research, but I finally identified the expression.)  And I’m told that once, when she was very small, he beat her mercilessly.

Also, I have an e-mail and record of a phone conversation which prove I’m telling the truth.  (I held onto them just in case Richard would need an ally in court.)

I also have my husband and Todd as witnesses/character witnesses, the printouts of Tracy on a game forum doing the same things to Todd that she did to me, several of her abusive e-mails to me, the abusive posts she made to Todd on that game forum, printouts of IRC conversations in which Richard claimed to have hypnotized me and been a thug for the Mafia, posts by Todd confirming the Mafia story, e-mails from Todd describing the things he himself witnessed, and a public blog post by Richard from 2007, all confirming my story as true and not the ravings of someone who is “not all there,” as Tracy called me in 2012 when she found my blog and this website.

I have copies of e-mails I sent to friends and family describing the situation from 2007-2010.  I have a file, started in mid-2010, in which I wrote everything I witnessed while I could still remember it well, just in case I would be needed as a character witness for Richard.  I am also witness of and privy to some things which I did not post online because of their sensitive nature.

These records give me confidence that I write the truth, that I was indeed bullied and abused, and that there was also abuse in Richard and Tracy’s household.  Though for legal reasons, I must note that my writings are all opinion based on my understanding of the facts, and others may disagree with my assessments.

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

My Trip to Oz and Back is much like my own blogs, an account of two years spent by the writer with her girlfriend, which was actually a 50-page letter sent by the author to her ex-girlfriend.

That was in the late 90s, when the author had never heard of borderline personality disorder, so there had been no official diagnosis for her to point to.  But the more she learned about BPD, the more she knew her ex-girlfriend had it, so she posted this letter to help others who are dealing with someone with BPD.

It has been on the Web since 2003, and by November 2006 had received 53,000 hits.  As the author wrote on the main page,

Writing this was cathartic. It doubled as a form of therapy. I actually did send the letter; however, I doubt that it had much effect.  The more I learned about BPD, the more I realized that the likelihood of this person ever really understanding, was probably close to zero….

Why would I want to put such a personal document online?  There are several reasons. First, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in a relationship with a person with BPD.  There are many books and websites on BPD, but relatively few from a significant other’s point of view.

Second, I am hoping that someone out there might read a bit and identify with it.  When one is in a difficult situation, sometimes just hearing about another person’s similar experience can be affirming–as in, “I’m not the only one.”

Finally, I consider myself a success story–see the final chapter, the epilogue.  My wish is to give hope to others.

Like me, the author changed names and identifying details.  This is to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.  Joyful Alive Woman also wrote about her abusive, narcissist, former female friend.

The narcissist blames others for his behaviour, accuses them of provoking him into his temper tantrums and believes firmly that “they” should be punished for their “misbehaviour”.

Apologies–unless accompanied by verbal or other humiliation–are not enough. The fuel of the narcissist’s rage is spent mainly on vitriolic verbal send-offs directed at the (often imaginary) perpetrator of the (oft innocuous) offence.

The narcissist–wittingly or not–utilises people to buttress his self-image and to regulate his sense of self-worth. As long and in as much as they are instrumental in achieving these goals, he holds them in high regard, they are valuable to him. He sees them only through this lens.

This is a result of his inability to love others: he lacks empathy, he thinks utility, and, thus, he reduces others to mere instruments.

If they cease to “function”, if, no matter how inadvertently, they cause him to doubt his illusory, half-baked, self-esteem–they are subjected to a reign of terror.

The narcissist then proceeds to hurt these “insubordinates”. He belittles and humiliates them. He displays aggression and violence in myriad forms.

His behaviour metamorphoses, kaleidoscopically, from over-valuing (idealising) the useful person–to a severe devaluation of same. The narcissist abhors, almost physiologically, people judged by him to be “useless”. —The Soul of a Narcissist by Sam Vaknin

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