I don’t have a success story to report yet, because the struggle with the pain and bitterness is still new (unlike the college abuses or bullies in childhood), and a long, hard road for someone who has been abused. It’s not like forgiving someone for a nighttime barking dog or backing into your car.
I’m not quite sure how to relinquish the hurt and pain, or if it’s even possible. I still, when something reminds me of the abusers of the past, feel a twinge of anger and pain, even though I no longer live with it in my daily life.
I’ve also heard that people with Asperger’s/NVLD have a tendency to go over things in their heads long after people with “normal” brains would have stopped, analyzing things again and again.
I’ll get something sorted out in my mind, but then a few weeks later, something triggers a memory and I have to go through the sorting out, all over again.
My triggers permeate my entire life because I was friends with Richard for five years, because he’s a crucial part of my religious journey, because he lived with us, and because just the words “I don’t understand” are a trigger.
(When Tracy started raging at me, I wrote, “I don’t understand,” and she wrote back, “You’re too stupid to understand!”)
The abuse actually started late in 2007, and did not end until we ended the friendship in 2010. It was a constant undercurrent, mostly covert abuse and bullying that I had trouble even identifying, always wondering if I was wrong about it.
It helps that Jeff and I stopped the abuse by breaking off the friendship and giving them the cold shoulder if we run into them around town or at church. That makes me no longer a “victim” because I didn’t stay to get more of it all the time.
But I still miss Richard and long for him to apologize to Jeff and me for the ways he treated me, and his intimidating and threatening Jeff.
As for Tracy, I don’t want to hear from her at all. If she’d been a nice person, a sweet person, an ordinary person with foibles, I would’ve had no problem being friends with her, too–hugging her, talking with her, hanging out with her.
Normally I like the girlfriends/wives of my guy friends. Even if I don’t know them well (or at all), even if they don’t care about befriending their husband’s friends, they show no jealousy at all.
Normally, I see the wives/girlfriends of my guy friends as another potential friend. That’s how I saw Tracy until a few weeks after she moved in, when she started being nasty to everyone.
It may be hard for normal, ordinary people to understand what it’s like to have been abused, to be victimized and traumatized by a person who shows signs of Cluster B personality disorders. It may be hard for them to understand what it’s like to have Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
But a little googling may explain just what the abused has to deal with, why he/she doesn’t just “get over it and move on.” You can’t just do that after you’ve been abused: You have to do a lot of long, hard work to get to that point.
The journey is different for different people. What works for one, may not work for another.
And I have no way of affording therapy from someone experienced with these things, so I have to do the work all on my own. Writing down, blogging about and talking about what happened to me, has been a good first step. It’s now time to move on to the next step.
On 2/27/12, I have written something down that I hope will help retrain my brain and break the cycle that continues even after the abuse has stopped:
I am not to blame for Tracy’s behavior. My own actions were based in love and concern for my best friend.
I cannot condone or turn a blind eye to abuse, for that would be wrong. I must not let her scare me anymore or make me feel like I deserved her abuse, or she will have “won.”
If I carry hate and bitterness forever, she will have “won.”
I have identified the problem, however, and it’s not lack of forgiveness. It’s something that I probably still need to deal with and work on before moving on to forgiveness.
Basically, I’m still grieving for the loss of friendship with Richard.
I know about the violence, I know what he did and said to Jeff, I know about the narcissism, I know how he treated me near the end, and the horrible deed he committed. But I still miss him and wish he would come to us and fix things.
But at the same time, I know that I can’t be friends with him as long as Tracy is in the picture.
I can’t be forced into friendship with someone like her, and if the positions were reversed and Richard was doing what Tracy does, would it be considered wrong for me to not want to be friends with the spouse of my friend? No, of course not!
I do resent her for being abusive, but is it really wrong to be angry with someone for that?
I do resent her for deliberately destroying what was to me the most important, most special platonic friendship I ever had. How is it even possible to not resent her as long as I still grieve for it?
Well, maybe it is, if I can turn that resentment into pity.
[Update 1/4/15: When I happen across one of his social media profile pictures, I cringe. Especially when it’s a saint, or some Joe Cool picture from his youth. I think, That should be his MUG SHOT!]