It wasn’t in the two years of pondering, researching and blogging about our supposed friendship.
It wasn’t when I wrote Realizing I was used and manipulated by my best friend.
It happened in the last half-year of our “friendship.” For example:
But now, I began wondering how well I really knew him, as his violent nature began to swell up again, he complained about not cussing or showing certain movies when we were there (making me wonder what kind of movies he played when his own children were around), and just kept making remarks about bending over backwards for me.
I never asked him to, he kept complaining about it even when I told him he didn’t need to do it, and it made me wonder how much of the sweet guy I got close to, was real. Or if maybe his wife was somehow influencing him toward the violence again.
He told me before that he felt cussing was unladylike, he wanted his wife to stop doing it, and he wanted to stop doing it himself as a Christian man–but now he complained that they had to cut the cussing when I was there (even though I never asked them to). He was treating me like a china doll, which I resented.
But what do you expect from someone who hangs out with people from 4chan? I have no idea if he himself liked to go over to 4chan, but I know some of his online friends either were or behaved like 4chan people, posting 4chan “goatsees” in IRC or on the game forums.
(4chan, as he and others have described it, is for people who like to be nasty for fun, posting anything they like. What I’ve accidentally seen of goatsees are bizarre porno pictures.)
Once, I typed to Richard after someone did this in the IRC channel for his group of creepy friends, that of course I wouldn’t click on any links they posted in this channel, and he said that he clicked on them all!!??
He knew that these kids/overgrown kids were probably posting hardcore porn, yet clicked on the links anyway? (And even gave them a picture of his wife’s breasts???)
I no longer knew what to believe. His wife crowed during the “incident” (next chapter) that she no longer had to be “quiet and nice,” making me wonder when she was secretly seething in my presence when I thought things were fine, and over what?
Her passive-aggression drove me mad, especially since it never seemed to be based in anything I actually DID, but just imaginary crap that was only in her own head.
What was real? What was fake? I thought Richard was always honest with me; now I wondered if he had lied, when, and how often?
Was he anything like the great and spiritual and caring man of God I had thought he was? How many of his stories were true? How much of what he told me about himself, his dealings with his wife, and his past, was true?
Or could it be that it was true, before, but she had corroded him so much with her abusive acid, convincing him of things about me that were not true, just as abusers do with their victims in order to isolate them from their support network–that he had changed toward me and was not the same person he was before?
Two years before he had seemed a whipped and passive husband, who I wished would stand up for himself more.
But recently I saw him either fighting back or looking sick and tired of being scolded; could he be starting to give back what he was getting?
How many of his sweet words about me and our friendship, were true?
…..Richard acted like he knew better than I did what was going on in my head. He became very short and cutting with me, when he used to be kind.
This was the weekend; I was going to go to a water park at the local fairgrounds with Jeff and my son, but Richard’s e-mails made me so upset that it affected me physically, and I couldn’t go.
They made me feel I had put my trust in the wrong person. After all the private things I confided in him, all the trust and love and concern I had shown toward him over the years, I now regretted ever telling him anything about myself at all!
I wondered if the many things I confided in him, hoping he would understand me better, had instead made him think I was a freak.
I lost my trust in him. I no longer felt he had my best interests at heart. I had no idea who else to turn to, but it sure didn’t seem like I could turn to him anymore.
So you see, the suspicions were in my head even before I ended the friendship. Imagine the devastation of suspecting your five years of close friendship were a lie. But then, if you’ve been in some sort of long relationship with a narcissist, you don’t have to imagine: You know what it’s like.
The red flags were already getting my conscious attention, so much so that I started e-mailing another close friend, Mike, for help.
Also, during this time Richard was making me feel insecure by criticizing everything I did or said, another way abusers catch you off-guard, gaslight you, and make you think you’re the one with the problem, so the focus is taken off them:
In fact, when I ponder these things, and see more evidence that Chris, while a nice guy, is clinically paranoid–I realize:
At first Richard idealized me, called me the most awesome person he knew, and made me feel like his BFF, and like he wanted to spend time with me more than with any of his other friends.
But now Chris seemed to have taken over that role, and I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy that Richard never seemed to have time for me, but had plenty of time for Chris.
So he valued the guy with the crazy paranoid political rantings more than he did me, the sane one who helped him out financially and emotionally during very difficult times.
And he was married to someone showing all the signs of Borderline, Narcissistic or some other personality disorder. And his longtime ex also showed signs of BPD. So–okay–apparently Richard prefers the company of personality disordered people.
And then he and/or Tracy calls me crazy–yeah, that’s so ironic and ludicrous as to be hilarious.
Yet he kept criticizing everything about me, practically accusing me of stalking all my friends because I like to keep all my e-mails and letters to and from them, treating me like I was somehow clingy because I wanted the consideration of him either keeping to his appointments with me or letting me know right away when he couldn’t.
He felt my nutritional choices were open to his critique. He treated me like a prude for not wanting to go around nude in my house, or for not wearing my nightgown around him without a robe.
He called me a prude because I don’t like sex-soaked TV shows like Sex and the City, or gory movies like zombie movies or Alien. He even made it somehow personally offensive and inconvenient for him, because if he wanted to show me an exceptionally good movie like that, he couldn’t. (So? Show me something else, then!)
He talked like Jeff and I were prudes for our lack of sexual experience before each other, compared to his own.
In the beginning he love-bombed me and treated me like I was wonderful, but now he kept criticizing me for things that were none of his business.
One of his friends is a creep, but when this friend sexually harasses me, Richard makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it and considering this guy a creep.
I find conspiracy theories about government wanting to control us, to be a bunch of paranoid crap, so I’m the sheeple, the one who doesn’t care about personal liberties, who isn’t worth talking to about politics.
Okay…Sounds like the lunatics running the asylum.
Same thing with Tracy, who in her own way–considering how she accused people of insulting her, lacking respect for her, and needing to grow up, while she herself was doing the insulting and raging, lacked respect for them, and needed to grow up–is the lunatic running the asylum.
Shows me just how much stock I should put in the opinions and criticisms of both Richard and Tracy.
I also noticed that he would start treating me like an annoyance, but when I gave him some money or some other thing he needed, I suddenly became his best friend. I believe this is in my story as well.
If ever I start thinking that no, he was not using or manipulating me, that I have him all wrong–I can just re-read this chapter and see that I recognized the red flags even before I ended the friendship.
I didn’t know what narcissism entailed (other than loving yourself too much), but I had already encountered liars, users and sociopaths at various times in my life. This chapter tells me I was correct.
May this chapter help you figure out whether your own loved one is really using you.