After his conviction, Richard comes to my church
To my shock, Richard showed up at my church today. I hadn’t seen him there since last Christmas, and thought that–ever since I reported him to Social Services and he got convicted of choking his kid–he would never show up at my church again, out of shame, knowing or suspecting that I know what he did. (The Forum was shocked as well.)
But there he was, so who knows when he could show up again. Every week maybe? And my church is TINY. It’s hard to stay at opposite ends of the church in a church that small. Staying at opposite ends means staying a yard or two apart. Because of this, even though Jeff normally drops me off and leaves (he’s Lutheran), he stayed nearby as moral support–or a kind of bodyguard.
But I did note a few things. They may mean nothing, or they may mean something, I don’t know: Richard was very quiet during the service, even during the Creed. I didn’t hear him and he was just two or three pews back with nobody in between. He did not go to get the Eucharist.
Only two children were with him: The child he choked was not there. The youngest also was not there, and neither was Tracy.
He was right behind me in the line to get blessed bread from the priest, but said nothing to me. Of course, I was sending out clear body language to “stay away.”
Unlike the first or second time I saw them at my church after everything went down, this time I’m given strength by the knowledge that I should not cower in shame from someone who did such a horrible thing to a little kid.
During coffee hour, my son played with the two children who were there. Child #1 is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens. She’ll pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Child #2 is older, and upset at Jeff and me for not coming around anymore.
Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Jeff and my son had already gone out. I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got Child #2’s scolding eyes. She said things like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.”
Jeff tells me he also got her scolding eyes. But you can’t tell a little child, “Sorry, but we can’t come to your house anymore because your mother is nasty and your father choked your sister.” So instead, I said, “We miss you, too.”
I hate to see children suffer from the sins of the parents. I keep praying that the probation officer and Social Services are working to change things for those girls so they can break the cycle.
Jeff does not want to be friends with these people again.
[The case also showed up in the local newspaper’s printed listing of court cases, in November, showing his name, the ruling, and the amount of the fine.]
I posted on Facebook a dedication to Richard: “Suedehead” by Morrissey:
Why do you come here? And why do you hang around? Why do you come here When you know it makes things hard for me? When you know, oh…Why do you come?
I also wrote:
Today I was put in the extremely uncomfortable and heartbreaking position of talking to a child who didn’t understand why I don’t come around anymore, and seeing the scold in her eyes.
“It was fun playing at your house,” she said. “We miss you,” she said.
But you can’t tell a child that her parents’ disgraceful behavior is the reason. “We miss you, too,” was all I could say.
I don’t get it–Why does he come to my church if he’s not going to try to make things right with us? It’s supposed to be my refuge, my peaceful place. But he keeps showing up there like a bad penny.
He has his own church. What he did to me, has put me into my own Long Dark Night of the Soul; when he choked his daughter, I was horrified; and when I see him again, it’s a setback, when I’ve come so far along.
Every Sunday service, I’m afraid to go because he might be there. Why doesn’t he leave me alone?
Dude, I don’t hate you, but I am extremely disappointed in you. I expected much better of you…….
Then I posted a link to my blog post, Healing Takes a Long Time. Some excerpts:
I had thought I’d never see Richard at my church again, but there he was on Sunday. A wound I thought was healing has been ripped open again, gaping and oozing.
It’s hard for me to even get myself up and going to church on Sunday mornings, for fear that they will be there. They’ve surprised me a few times at church, or at my church’s Greek Fest, since the breach, even though I rarely ever saw them there before. (They go elsewhere.)
It felt like they were doing it on purpose to terrorize me. Every time I saw them, I’d barely make it through, feel like collapsing, have to fight to keep from trembling. Only anger at all the abuse could give me strength to get through.
This time, Hubby and I saw their vehicle in the parking lot, so Hubby stayed to give me moral support. (He has his own church and normally just drops me off at mine.)
This time, it was just Richard and two of his kids, not the one who was choked. It was all very quiet, no scenes or anything. He didn’t even take communion.
During coffee hour, my son played with the two kids. One is only about 5 and just happy-go-lucky whatever happens. She’d pass by us and maybe smile or give a hug. Just the sweetest, most adorable little girl.
The other one is 7, and upset at Hubby and me for not coming around anymore.
Before I left, I got waylaid by the two girls after Hubby and my son had already gone out. I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes.
She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.” Hubby also got her scolding eyes earlier.
My heart broke right there. I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the reasons.
I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about the abuse, how Tracy had verbally eviscerated me over a misunderstanding and had no remorse, how her father had done a terrible, evil deed to her sister, how he had once planned to do a terrible, evil deed to a lady who had upset him two years ago, and made me afraid of him, afraid of what horrible deeds he could do to me.
I couldn’t explain to her in a way that she could understand it had nothing to do with her.
All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry. I’ve been miserable ever since, missing her and the other children.
I just kept hoping during coffee hour that Richard would come to Hubby and me and apologize for all the things he’d done to us, and was very disappointed when he didn’t. I still keep hoping.
[5/4/14: Instead, he just spent the whole time ignoring us, making no move to make peace with us, instead telling one of my fellow parishioners about his conversion to Orthodoxy.
His conversion–hmph–What a joke! Was that an Orthodox way to treat us, Richard? You’re no Christian!]
I hope that, because of the criminal conviction, he’s using his probation as a second chance to change things around. I hope that one day things will be different, that his abusive home environment will become healthy and good, that he will come to us.
Websites on abusers keep saying, “Don’t hope for change. Let go of the hope for change. Accept that this is the way they are and will always be. Don’t listen when the Church says they can change.” But in my heart I just don’t believe that.
I was angry. I tried to hold onto my anger to distance myself from Richard and all the pain. But it’s all just vanished and sadness has returned.
When he came to our city four years ago, I had no idea things would turn out like this. I gave them so much of myself, trying to help them, because Richard’s friendship was so important and special to me. He had never said anything about an abusive homelife, not until then.
One person on an Orthodox message board noted that I sound emotionally and spiritually traumatized. This is certainly true.
If you are religious, please pray for me and this whole situation, which affects not just me but four innocent children.
[Below was added in spring 2014.]
Tracy accused me of breaking off relations with her because I needed to “grow up” and accept the “consequences” of my “behavior.”
No, we broke off relations with her because she’s a screaming harpy, a child abuser, a husband beater, and an abusive friend who bullies shy, quiet, gentle people.
We had already considered breaking off relations with her several times before that, even considered reporting her to CPS before the breakup.
Her behavior on July 1, 2010 was the last straw.
And now we have proof, in black and white, and in the state’s court records, that Richard is also a child abuser, making his loss no longer the tragedy I thought it was.
But I still suffered from residual pain and grief over his loss.
On October 31, 2011, the newspaper published this letter I sent to the editor:
I commend Jaymee Barton (“Surviving Violence,” Oct. 24) for speaking out on domestic abuse and [two local newspapers] for publishing stories about this issue over the past year.
An earlier article, “Injuries to Child Raise Questions” (Aug. 26), discussed sentencing for child abusers. Recently, a local man who choked his young daughter was charged with two felonies. But through plea bargaining, his sentence became probation, no jail time.
How can this happen with such a despicable act? Is that child being protected? Domestic abuse is far too common – husbands abusing wives emotionally, verbally and/or physically, wives abusing husbands in the same way, husbands and wives abusing each other, parents abusing children.
And keep in mind that “domestic abuse” [in Wisconsin] applies to anyone living together, including roommates. People laugh at women abusing men, but it happens quite a bit, even physically. Even going to counseling can be a way for the abuser to control the abused by manipulating the counselor.
I also commend Social Services and the police in trying to stop abuse. Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse should report it to the police or Social Services to help them do their job protecting those who can’t protect themselves. And I hope the abused, even children, will have the courage to tell someone who can help.
Table of Contents
- Bullying of an introvert and probable NVLDer
- My NVLD in a nutshell
- Richard dismisses my experiences
- Summarizing this story
- Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk
- I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana
- I finally find my Frodo–who moves in
- Discovering they live in squalor
- Richard reveals his wife’s abuses
- Houseguests From Hell
- Tracy turns jealous of and hostile toward me because I’m an introvert with NVLD
- Tracy’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard–and Richard reveals his own abuse
- Tracy’s control-freak behavior–to me, in my house
- Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance
- Verge of nervous breakdown as houseguests from Hell abuse our hospitality
- Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye
- Tracy’s smear campaign and emotional blackmail begin full-force
- I almost break off the friendship because of Tracy
- Tracy’s unreasonable jealousy even as I take pains to be above reproach
- Their doublespeak and double standards
- Tracy snarks and Richard nitpicks
- The emotional vampires suck me dry–and accuse me of being too sensitive
- My Friend Richard, the Narcissist
- Richard says he hypnotized me without my knowledge
- More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare
- Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager
- Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like
4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children
- E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children
- More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children
- Early 2010: I speak up about Tracy’s child abuse–and ponder reporting her to authorities
- Early warning signs of Tracy’s abuse and volatility
- I get an inkling of Richard’s own abuse of his children
- How to Bully an Introvert–and Assets of NVLD
- Two Narcissists Tag-Team Bully an Introvert with NLD
- Tracy is nasty to me on the phone
- Fed-up, I decide to end the friendship if Tracy does not stop bullying me
- Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard
- I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out
- Now Richard Screws with my Mind
- Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign
- I discover the restrictions are still up after 7 months–and ponder ending the friendship
- Tracy tells Jeff a different story: I have already been “approved” as Richard’s friend
- Richard gaslights me into thinking I’m a stalker
6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house
- Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse
- We seem to have things sorted out–and they seem to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)
- E-mails proving my innocence, that Tracy lied in 2010, that I respected boundaries, and that I asked for a “signal”
- Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes
7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build
- Without warning or explanation, tensions build as Richard and Tracy both begin acting like lunatics
- I begin to wonder if the Richard I know–is real or a fake persona
- Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party
- Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics
- Richard grows distant and Tracy’s insane jealousy flares up
- Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake
- I feel increasing coldness from Richard and Tracy as I “unfriend” their Republican candidates and “friend” Obama and Feingold
- Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud
- I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband
- Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs
- Part One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges
- Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone
- Part Three: Jeff’s WTF moment: Judas (Richard) knows I’m innocent, but psychotically rages at Jeff
- Part Four: Their DARVO lies lead us to break off relations with our abusers
- Why we should tell everyone we have been abused
- E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months
- 1. To Mike and my mother
- 2. E-mails describing pain of breaking up with a close friend
- 3. E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends
- 4. E-mails to Todd describing what happened
- Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse
- Why I refused to “confer” with Tracy–and how Richard betrayed me
- Tracy refused to accept the NVLD and introversion–but they are real
- Resolving conflict: The difference between friends and frenemies
9. The fallout; a second chance?
- I send an apology–and we’re all blocked on Facebook
- Struggling to process what the F**K just happened
- E-mail to Mike: processing my pain
- Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex
- Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church
- About Richard justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse because I am shy and quiet
- The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues
- How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism
- I suggest a six-month break
- I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail
- Tracy blamed others for her abuse
- Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse
- Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason
- Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused
- Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it
- Written 2010/2011: I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman
- Written 2011: Grief that my abusers kept coming to my church but not apologizing to me
- Blog Post for my friends: Fighting the Darkness (Written in February 2011)
- Can we destroy something God put in place?
- An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends
- The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me
- I start doubting Tracy was ever truly a Christian–so it’s okay to separate myself from her fellowship
- Grief felt on 6/12/11
- 2011 Facebook post: Original form of Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs
11. Struggle to regain normalcy
- Describing Richard’s narcissism
- Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t
- Was Richard’s betrayal driven by Narcissism–or Stockholm Syndrome?
- Tracy: a woman who abuses a man
- Richard’s lack of action made him a passive abuser
- Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well
- Written early or mid 2011: working through the grief, pain and anger
- How Richard and Tracy’s views on parenting are wrong
- Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later
12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other
13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges
- Introduction to this section: Richard’s Criminal Charges
- UPDATE 7/26/11: Richard is charged with abusing his daughter; I report them to CPS
- UPDATE 9/14/11: I learn that Richard choked his daughter
- UPDATE 10/4/11: Richard is convicted of choking his daughter
- UPDATE 10/23/11: After his conviction, Richard comes to my church
Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing