I almost break off the friendship because of Tracy

In late February 2008, Richard and I exchanged a series of e-mails which led to the revelation that she fought him “tooth and nail” every time he planned to come over to my house to pick up the bags of mail and stuff I kept finding as I cleaned.

I was horrified to find that she kept telling him I “hated” her, was “biased against” her–and that she gave him so much trouble just to come pick up their own stuff.

Didn’t she want her mail?  Didn’t she want her daughters’ little doodads?  I sure wasn’t going to keep them at my house!

I was also horrified to hear him back up her complaints against me and now scold me for doing things I did not even remember ever doing.  Or for not wanting to talk to her because I was angry at her for something she had just done.

I tried to explain that they kept misunderstanding me, but he refused to listen.  I thought my BFF, with whom I had bonded, who called me the most awesome person he knew–

–would give me the benefit of the doubt, and believe in me, know that I meant no harm–

–but no, even he judged me without a trial!

I told Jeff, “I just can’t deal with that woman!”

It was so distressing that I thought I had to break off the friendship.

Jeff wanted to go over there and give Tracy a piece of his mind, but they were getting ready to go down to their previous city, and fetch their furniture and other stuff from storage.

So he planned to straighten them out after they got back.

I spent a long, miserable weekend, crying a lot, barely sleeping, thinking the friendship was unsalvageable.

Jeff tried to reassure me and comfort me by making the decision for me, saying that I wouldn’t break it off yet.

We went to an SCA event to get me out of the house.  On the way home, I spent probably the better part of an hour describing all the abuse I witnessed Tracy committing against Richard and the kids while they lived in our house, so he would know what all was going on.

I wish I had written it all down at the time.  Or maybe I did, but shredded it later.

On February 22, I wrote but never sent an e-mail to Richard:

You want me to make an attempt to get past the things that happened while you guys were all staying here.  I want to, as well, and have been doing so.

But I tried and tried and tried and kept coming up against a roadblock: that you say Tracy feels herself justified in what she does and rarely apologizes.

Well, I can offer forgiveness; I can offer civility.  I can offer apologies for hurting her feelings or offending her at any point.  I certainly never meant to.

But I must assert my rights to dignity and to choose who my friends will be.

I was deeply hurt by things that happened, and no, it’s not okay.  It will NEVER be okay if all I get for each point is, “[Tracy] was justified for (whatever reason).”  No matter how reasonable the reasons may seem to her, it doesn’t erase how the action made me feel.

If I just pretend nothing happened and everything’s okay, I will get an ulcer [I had one in high school], and inside I will be miserable physically and emotionally.  I endured years of bullying as a child and in college; I’m far too old and have come too far to allow it to happen again.

In order for me to be her friend, to even consider confidences, I MUST insist that Tracy give in some and make apologies.  Otherwise it will be nothing more than civility.

I know it can be hard to do that when you feel you’re right, but to make it in this world, a person must learn how to make apologies even when she does feel justified.

There were some things that happened with the children that bothered me, but as time went on, I noticed that they seemed to lessen.  The children were also very difficult to deal with at times, so I’ve decided to cut her slack.

So these are the things that must be apologized for if she wants to be friends and not just acquaintances:

1) Doing these things in my house: Yelling at you, picking at you, accusing you of things I knew were not true [they had nothing to do with me, by the way], using a foul word [“bullsh**”] right in front of her children and [my son].

I know this was done to you and not to me, but it was done in my house and I will not have that kind of crap going on in my house.  It never affects just the couple when there are other people around.

2) Getting angry at you for talking to me, not just around New Year’s, but still getting angry at you just for wanting to come over here and grab the stuff you left behind when you moved out!  I don’t want to hear any more about it being a “respect” thing, getting to know her first–

It was deeply offensive and insulting to be treated like crap for wanting to talk to you privately about private concerns, after all that I had done for you guys, after opening my house to her.

3) Me overhearing a phone call to her mother criticizing the menu for that week.  I made that menu in the middle of the lice treatment.

Not only were we trying to deal with shampoo and nitpicking, not only did we need groceries, but I had an unbelievable amount of laundry to do, and it had to be done all in one day so as to kill off any lice in the sheets before we went to bed that night.

The menu had to be done quickly without much thought.  Sunday by necessity HAD to be fast food.

And we couldn’t incorporate lots of produce or meals made from scratch, because that takes a lot of money, and our grocery bills were already averaging $300-$400 a week.

4) Me overhearing a phone call to you as she criticized me for having a “routine.”  That “routine” keeps the house from turning into a pigsty. That “routine” keeps the house and the laundry clean.

I have been mistress of my own house for many, many years and will do things my own way.  My mother had a “routine.”

After Richard and Tracy got back with their stuff, I told Richard one day that Jeff wanted to talk with him.  They had this talk in the bar and grill on Friday, February 29.

Jeff had calmed down somewhat.  But he still tried his best to persuade Richard that I was being misjudged and mistreated, that I was naturally shy and quiet with everyone and could not be an extrovert, that my NVLD affected my social skills, that Tracy’s treatment of me was causing me to close up with her.

He came back home and said the results were very disappointing, that Richard and Tracy thought I was making “a mountain out of a molehill,” that I should just “push myself” to be more sociable with her, that the NVLD was just a crutch.

Jeff tried, but could not get Richard to feel any empathy for me at all.  Jeff was disturbed by this lack of empathy, not just then, but in the years following.

And not just for me, but in other areas, such as Richard’s “oh well” when Jeff told him that his political ideas would cause the poor to suffer for years.  A lack of empathy is also a sign of narcissism.

Lack of empathy is one of the most striking features of people with narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a hallmark of the disorder in the same way that fear of abandonment is in borderline personality disorder.

“Narcissists do not consider the pain they inflict on others; nor do they give any credence to others’ perceptions,” says Dr. Les Carter in the book Enough of You, Let’s Talk About Me (p. 9).

“They simply do not care about thoughts and feelings that conflict with their own.” Do not expect them to listen, validate, understand, or support you. –Randi Kreger, Lack of Empathy: The Most Telling Narcissistic Trait

And no, Sally Normal and Joe Regular, we can’t just ‘get over it’ and we can’t just ‘be normal’. The brain is a flexible organ and we do learn, but we will always be Aspies. –Rudy Simone, “Why are Aspies so Weird?  Why can’t we just “get over it” or act normally?

2. You just need to try harder. Sorry, but no. My brain does not work the way yours does. There is something the matter with mine. It’s not a matter of will, or effort.

It’s a matter of trying to figure out how to cope. You wouldn’t tell a blind person to try harder to see, would you? –Peter Flom, PhD, Things not to say to LD people (or their parents)

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers.

That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.)

Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ. –Carl King, 10 Myths About Introverts

I thought Richard was my friend, that he understood me, that we were a mutual admiration society.

That he would have my back, and at least try to understand my point of view and validate it, even if he had to support his wife at the same time.

But no, there was no empathy at all.

Richard even gave Jeff the impression that it would be dangerous for me to apologize to Tracy, and that it would also be dangerous to tell her about the NVLD, because her mother had abused her while using some disorder as an excuse.

(Jeff thought it was a learning disorder, but he may have misunderstood, because I know her mother had borderline personality disorder.  Learning disorders don’t lead to abuse.)

Jeff found it very frustrating.

If it were even remotely possible for me to behave like an extrovert who didn’t have NVLD, don’t you think I would have already done so 20 years before, rather than always feeling like the odd one out, the one nobody paid attention to, the one rarely asked on dates?  Do you really think this is some sort of choice?

Unfortunately, I did not have research into introverts to show him at that time, because I did not know that the very makeup of my brain determines how I interact socially–even before you get into the problems that NVLD caused me academically, socially, athletically, and in various other ways as described here.

But who knows if even that would’ve made a difference with how he treated me, because he’s one of those extroverts who think that introverts only act the way they do because they’re stubborn, don’t like people, or aren’t trying hard enough.

Richard and Tracy probably would’ve bullied me on the playground if I knew them growing up.

It was also extremely insulting to me, putting my shyness, quiet nature, social understanding disability, and reaction to Tracy’s abuses, on the same level as the abusive actions and excuses of a crazy mother!

Most introverts experience various levels of discrimination in our extroverted society, but this was beyond the norm: It crossed the line from misunderstanding introverts, to abusing and bullying me, by trying to twist my behavior until I sounded like the bully!

It was gaslighting and echoing, both common tactics of abusers and narcissists to screw with your perception–to take the focus off their abusive actions and put it on you.

Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world. —Jonathan Rauch, Caring for Your Introvert

On March 3 I wrote an e-mail to Richard, but I don’t remember if I sent it or not:

I keep getting the impression and fearing that you have misunderstood something: I am NOT trying to get Tracy to ease up on her restriction of our going out to the bar and grill, for coffee, etc. alone.

I stopped fighting that weeks and weeks ago, I think after having a talk with Jeff [after they moved out] that calmed me down and helped me see things from the other perspective.

I know the topic came up on Friday, I’m not sure how, but he probably meant that merely to explain why I was upset and did not understand in the first place back in January, not to change anything.

I just want her to understand that I do not hate her, that she can trust me, so she can feel comfortable with me and ease up on her own time.

Okay, don’t tell her about the NVLD, if you think it’ll only cause trouble.  Just tell her that I never meant any harm to her and did not deliberately snub her.

Tell her I’m a little dense in social situations, if you think that’ll help.  I’d rather she think I was a bit thick than mean or hateful or devious.

I don’t mean the NVLD to be a crutch.  It is, rather, an explanation. I keep looking for ways to compensate for it.

The problem is that I don’t have a teacher, so oftentimes I’ll know I have a problem with something, but don’t know how to deal with it.

But nothing seemed to change.  I was still expected to change the most basic part of my personality, just as much a basic and unchangeable determinant of who I was, as my gender and race–if I ever wanted full friendship benefits with Richard.

While Tracy felt no need whatsoever to stop being an abusive bully, something which can and must be changed, because bullies violate other people’s rights to be treated with dignity.

‘And it is as fundamental a part of who we are as our gender is,’ [Susan Cain] insists. ‘Your tendency to be inward-directed [introverted] or outward-directed [extroverted] is huge; it governs every part of the way you live and work and love.’ –Jane Mulkerrins, The big noise in the quiet revolution, why introversion is in: Susan Cain on her bestseller about keeping life on the lowdown

 

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

 

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