I felt singled out as a terrible person because I simply could not do the social gymnastics Tracy expected me to do.
I must have missed nearly all her cues to start conversations, because I’d go for months thinking I’d been perfectly fine socially with her, then find out she was still offended and mad at me because I wasn’t “befriending” her or making conversation.
To this day I could not tell you what cues I was missing, or when, or any specific details about times, dates, places, words spoken, or what I did to offend her.
Richard would say he saw me do this this and this, but I’d think, WHEN? I remember NONE of this!
If she used hidden meanings or subtexts in her speech, I couldn’t tell you that, either, though I recently read that women often do that.
I was fine socially with Richard, but he was a special case: that rare individual with whom I could relate like a socially normal person. It helped that as a man, he was more likely to say things directly instead of expecting me to read his mind.
I could even “read” him nonverbally quite well, at least for the first couple of years, before he started getting hard to understand. He seemed to think I could be that way with everyone, when in fact I was only that way with him, my husband, my child and my cats. (It probably has to do with familiarity.)
I find making conversation with most people to be an exhausting chore. Most of what I “read” is from the words spoken and a few standard, obvious body language indications.
More subtle body language trips me up, such as–for example–I recently discovered that breaking into a conversation with a group of people is accomplished through eye contact and other subtle body movements. I had to read this in an article, because I didn’t know it instinctively.
No wonder I’ve always had so much trouble breaking into conversations with a bunch of chattery people! Usually somebody talks over me when I barely open my mouth, and then somebody else replies while I wait for that person to complete the thought.
Small talk is trouble because I just don’t know what to say, and saying “how are you” over and over seems too repetitive and dull. I’d much rather listen and wait for someone to bring up something I can contribute to.
I wasn’t being passive-aggressive, promising one thing and then doing another: No, I kept telling Richard that I couldn’t be close to Tracy because of all the crap she kept pulling, that I couldn’t open up to someone who treated me like an enemy, that I had to choose my own confidantes.
But I was kind to her, for his sake. I paid her compliments, sent her links to a local women’s forum so she could make friends, gave her a flower, changed diapers for her, asked for recipes….
I just wasn’t going to be “besties” with her. I had to keep my boundaries up or be subject to all sorts of hurt and pain from a mean girl. And, though I didn’t voice this, I wanted to be there for him and believe him whenever he told me about her abuses of him and the children.
From the horrible things she said to me when I ended the friendship, Tracy apparently thought I was being childish somehow (comments about me needing to “grow up and TALK”), or that it was deliberate.
In fact, when she behaved like a normal, decent person there was nothing deliberate about it: I’m quiet with most people, especially with more than one person at a time. I’ve always been quiet even with my longtime friend Catherine, usually letting others carry the conversation until I have something to contribute.
Whenever I saw Tracy behave well, I sighed with relief that this time, I had nothing to object to.
But whenever she started abusing her children, snipping at Richard or making fun of me, that’s when I just plain did not want to speak to her. I think most people would be the same, unless they’re good at faking pleasantries.
I tried to ignore her bullying because I’d always heard that’s what you should do, that bullies want to get a rise out of you, but she kept doing it anyway. I couldn’t read her at all except when she showed hostility. Even then, I didn’t know what the hostility was about.
So she was like a ticking time bomb. Usually, if she smiled I thought things were okay and maybe she liked me finally.
This blog post on intolerance and its comments resonate with me, because I tried to tell Richard time and time again what was really going on, explaining every reason I could think of for whatever incident he described (though not actually remembering it), and he’d supposedly tell Tracy.
But he would reject it as an excuse, and she would reject it outright because I wasn’t shy with him.
But that’s because I was very comfortable with him in particular! Being shy or quiet doesn’t mean you are that way with every single person on the planet, including your mother, children, husband, roommate, and best friend!
Also, this page sounds very familiar.
I believe she deliberately set me up to fail, and that the standards she sets for Richard’s friends are ridiculous and meant to weed out anybody she doesn’t like, especially ones who don’t see her as this wonderful person–as a means of controlling him, keeping him under her thumb, cutting him off from his support group who recognizes the abuser.
Our mutual friend Todd did not talk to her, just him, she said (like me).
Richard said Todd was wary of her (like me).
Todd is an introvert (like me).
He has been abused before (like me). I think people are more likely to recognize toxic people when they’ve been abused. He saw many of the same things in her that I did.
So in 2008, she made up an imaginary offense by Todd against her, refused to believe it did not exist, and smeared him with lies all over a game forum. So he broke off relations with her and Richard both, because Richard let her do it and eventually joined in.
This is very familiar….. More on this below.
So it wasn’t just about Tracy being afraid of other women stealing Richard, even though Richard did tell me about her jealousies of other women.
And who knows who Richard betrayed before us, since we weren’t the only friends he lost?
Richard told me one day that people would come up to them, say, “We’re sorry, but we just can’t deal with Tracy anymore,” and break off relations with them both. I don’t know how many have done this. He said this with her in the room listening, so I know it was true.
I wonder what she did to tick off those other friends so much. What kinds of things come up that make her so nasty to so many of her husband’s friends that they dump the friendship with him to get away from her?
They must have broken off relations with both of them because Tracy insisted on being friends with Richard’s friends.
Another friend was “at war” with her, told him (before they married) that Tracy would bring him trouble. Tracy got furious when she discovered that during the two months he lived with us, Richard had been talking to her. (How controlling!)
Another friend kept clashing with her, as well, and left. These are the ones I know about.
Todd hoped that Richard would wake up to how she was “driving all his friends away.”
Most people call me sweet, nice, innocent, kind, caring, loyal–but she eavesdropped and knew I found her possessive, controlling and abusive, so I was on her sh** list.
Meanwhile, if she got along fine with his other friends, she acted perfectly normal with them. See a pattern here?
If I treated Jeff and his friends that way, he’d complain to high heaven. Her ways lead to strife and lost friendships; our way leads to peace and contentment in the marriage and with others.
Why should I submit and say she’s right and I’m wrong? That would be a lie! Our way is innocent-till-proven guilty; none have been guilty, though many have been flirty and a few have offended me.
Tracy’s way is guilty-till-proven innocent. Look for guilt and you’ll find it, even where it doesn’t exist. Going further, treat a man like a cheater and he will cheat.
This video (by Sam Vaknin, himself a malignant narcissist, with insights into how they think) sounds like Tracy.
While Richard told me things Tracy was doing, Tracy–when Jeff drove her places–told him the bad things Richard was doing: lazy, unmotivated, etc.
She was upset that Richard wasn’t doing chores–
–while Richard was upset that he cleaned all the time but got yelled at for not cleaning, that she never did a thing to help out, that when he told her he needed help with chores she’d fume and pout for days.
Todd stayed with them a couple of times, and could vouch for Richard’s complaints.
It has been suggested that we were used as pawns by these people in their own power struggle.
Jeff also thinks that Tracy saw me as a threat to her marriage, but that it wasn’t about a potential affair, rather about me being Richard’s confidante.
He thinks she wanted a confidante, but didn’t want Richard to have one. He thinks she was afraid I’d convince Richard that he and the children were being treated badly, and he would leave.
Now, I never told Richard he should leave her. I did, however, say what I thought about how she treated him. Jeff kept his mouth shut, and he thinks that’s why he got along with her better. But now he wonders if he should have spoken up more.
Tracy yelled and screamed and cussed at any person who upset her, throwing tantrums–over a game–even at Todd, a family friend of six years. When he did something on an online game which she took as a power grab, instead of
- seeing it as just a game after all,
- calling Todd on the phone to ask what’s going on while giving him the benefit of the doubt, or
- refraining her temper because it was after all a friend–
–she cussed at him and accused him right there on the game forum for all to read.
I saw the whole thing, because my husband was in that game, so I used his account to read the forums. Todd also opened up the private forums so we could see how the argument originated. From what I saw, it went from civility and Todd trying to help her, to Tracy all of a sudden freaking out over nothing.
It’s not at all surprising that Todd–who also has a fierce temper–got defensive instead of working with her. He asked a couple of people to help with talking to her, but they said she had “a stubborn as a rock mentality.” Richard, too, called her “immovable,” not just then but in general. (More on this incident is on the next page.)
Sometime during this whole mess, came allegations against Todd in his personal life. I won’t post them because I have no idea if the allegations were true, or if they were all part of the smear campaign against Todd, since they ended up on the forums.
But the next day, Jeff and I went to visit; Tracy gleefully said Todd needed to “grow up.”
Which was yet more indication to me, during the 7/1/10 “incident” described later, that further discussions with her would be useless.
Todd couldn’t take it anymore and broke off the friendship with them both. Even months later, Tracy said she wanted him “at the bottom of the sea.” More details of this story are here.
She put the responsibility for her anger and abuse on others, but accused others of being “childish” and needing to “grow up.” She wouldn’t respect others, but demanded respect from them.
Being allowed full friendship benefits, however, was like a carrot constantly dangled above my head. Just whenever I thought I finally caught it, it was yanked away again: emotional blackmail.
It soon became very clear that my quiet, shy, introverted temperament was somehow a personal offense to her, that she expected me to turn into an outgoing extrovert, which is impossible.
I was supposed to participate in conversations with her just like an extrovert would, or someone who is not shy, but that is neurologically impossible for me, except with a few select people.
I felt like I was being forced to jump through hoops in order to be a normal friend with my best friend, hoops that kept getting placed higher and higher while I was constantly blamed for not making them.
Tracy was very manipulative of me through Richard, very manipulative and controlling of Richard, with all her threats and intimidation. Whether it was marriage or childrearing, I began thinking, “What would Tracy do?”–and doing the opposite.
They strategically plan how to break people down and hurt them or make them weak. This is done in either a surreptitious manner, an overt manner, or both.
They are a control freak. If they know something is important to you, they will use it to punish or control you, or try to prevent it from taking place (such as an important goal you are working toward)….
If they know something is important to you, they will in some way try to deprive you of it or make you jump through hoops for it. –Joyful Alive Woman, Behaviors and attitudes of the narcissist
It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.
They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly.
In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD, 7 Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies
If you know a narcissist’s history, you will usually see a track of mysterious upheavals in his life. He suddenly up and moves to a different school or job in a different town every few years.
That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged.
In one narcissist I know of, these upheavals began with one in the eighth grade. “What Makes Narcissists Tick” pg. 79
…This history of past upheavals can be more subtle than the narcissist having to physically pull up stakes and move to a new place….
As I look back over [my mother’s] life for the last four decades it is very evident that she indeed does defecate all over her Pathological Space requiring her to abandon particular social circles with predictable regularity. This has been repeated over, and over, and over again….
If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party–you are witnessing a “history of past upheavals” and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist.
Moving about geographically is only one outward sign of past upheavals. High turnover in social circles and relationships is the subtler sign.
…In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of….–“What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79
This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.
Unfortunately, most people out there in the world…are far too quick to judge what they don’t know. They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong.
They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us. This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing:
Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags: History of Past Upheavals & Hated for Mysterious Reasons
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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