Now Richard Screws with my Mind

Richard also kept contradicting himself.  One example was, they were always dealing with poverty, but didn’t always tell me what was going on.  But whenever I knew about a problem, I tried to help.  He always seemed very grateful for what I could do.

Then one day, he told me something bad was about to happen.  I offered to help.

He acted all upset, talking as if I had somehow offended his pride by offering to help.

I got upset because I had been helping him out for months, and now he said it was unwelcome, as if I’d done something horrible by offering to help.

It made me feel like everything I ever did for him–including letting him stay with me–was bad somehow, even though at the time he praised me for it.

Then he said, “Geez you’re sensitive,” for being upset at his reaction.

Then another time in late 2009, I saw him on IRC and asked how he was.  He said he wasn’t doing so well but didn’t want to go into it.  I left the chat window open and went off to do other things.

I came back, and scrolled back over the last hour or so.  He had told some people on IRC all about the dire straits his family was in.  I won’t go into detail, but it was life-shattering bad, not just an annoyance.

I was shocked, sad–and miffed that he wouldn’t tell me, his close friend, but would tell these people on the Web.

But since he got so upset the last time I offered to help him out, and gave me the very strong impression that he didn’t want me helping him out anymore, I decided the best thing to do was to listen and sympathize.

Not knowing what else to say that wouldn’t make him mad, I figured it was safe to post, ” 🙁 ”

But then he wrote, “That’s why I don’t tell you these things!  I don’t want to see frowny faces.  I’ve seen enough crying at home.”


Wait–What?  It’s wrong to sympathize with a friend now?  And it’s wrong to offer to help?  So what am I supposed to do, sit there like a robot and say absolutely nothing, act like it doesn’t bother me?

So I got upset and asked, So what do you want, then?  He said he wanted to talk to someone who could help him out, not someone to give him frowny faces.

It was maddening, crazy-making behavior, going back and forth and contradicting himself.

No matter what I did, it didn’t please him; I was supposed to do the opposite of what he wanted the last time, and I was supposed to be able to read his mind and know what he wanted, when.  This is narcissistic behavior.

Unpredictable Responses
This includes emotional outbursts and extreme mood swings on the part of the abuser.

If your partner likes something you do today and hates it tomorrow, or reacts to the extreme at an identical behavior by the victim, this is an unpredictable response.

This behavior damages the victim’s self esteem, self confidence and mental well-being because they are constantly on edge, wondering how their partner is going to respond to their every move. –Mary M. Alward, Inside the Mind of an Abuser

By the way, I was able to help him, basically by moving heaven and earth.

In early 2010, we had been planning a Thanksgiving get-together that kept getting put off again and again, until finally we were to do it in January or February 2010.

Then the day of, as usual, things fell apart, and I was very upset.

I won’t go into it, especially since so many of the details are now fuzzy.  But I felt like we were being put off for no good reason, that it was just another excuse to stand us up yet again.

I began crying because I’d already endured so much of this crap for two years already.

An important piece of information, which later softened my reaction, had not yet been given to me.  Note that I was at home and talking with just my husband, that I had not spoken to Richard that day.

Jeff asked if I wanted him to tell Richard how I felt.  I was about to say NO, when Richard called.

But because I didn’t have a chance to say no, Jeff went ahead and told Richard.  Richard then told Jeff he wasn’t going to be “guilted” by me.

I started crying in anger at the injustice and cruelty of this, since I didn’t even want Richard to know how I felt, and had no intention of “guilting” him.

Jeff was furious, and told me that–since he had to go to their house to get half of the stuff that was going to be used to make the meal–he was going to tell Richard what he thought about his attitude.

When he arrived, before he had a chance to say anything, Richard said, “Sorry.”  That calmed down Jeff, who said, “Nyssa’s not trying to guilt you.  We’ve been planning this dinner for two months!”

It’s yet more gaslighting: When your unreliability, failure to live up to promises, and rudeness is called out, make the other person feel like the one with the bad attitude.  Accuse the other person of “guilting” you, call her too sensitive, say you want to strangle her.

This webpage by Sister Renee Pittelli made me go hmmmm:


3.  Many schnorrers are what we laughingly refer to as “Toppers”. No matter what problems you have, they have even WORSE problems. 

If you’re getting tested for cancer, they will have the same symptoms, or worse.  If YOUR headaches are migraines, THEIR headaches are from a brain tumor. 

They’re notoriously poor listeners and have absolutely no empathy for others. No matter what crisis you might be going through, as soon as you start to tell them about it, they will always change the subject back to themselves. It’s automatic, a conditioned reflex.

4. Be alert for the veiled threat or implication that you will regret it if you don’t bail them out. 

When a normal, hard-working, self-supporting person says “I don’t know what we’re going to do if we can’t pay these housing prices. Aunt Sally says it’s so much cheaper in her state, but I’d hate to be that far away”, you can take it at face value. 

But when a schnorrer says it, he’s blackmailing you. He’s implying that if you don’t either subsidize his rent or let him move in with you, he just might have to move out-of-state, and then you’ll never get to see him, or your grandchildren, again.

[This is eerily familiar.  I won’t go into detail on the Web, but this is basically it, with alterations for our situation.]

16. Their “problems” will never have a solution or come to an end. There will never be a time when they get on their feet financially.

Their mysterious illness will never be cured, their vague injury will never heal, their doctor will not believe them or not be able to help them. Everybody will always “be against” them, or continually “misunderstand” them. 

Whatever the problem is that’s supposedly preventing them from being able to carry their own weight, support themselves, and take care of their own responsibilities, it will be chronic and ongoing, with no end in sight. Unless you put a stop to it, you have every reason to believe that you will be supporting them forever.

Page Two describes ways of letting people know you need money, without actually asking for it, inspiring them to help you out.  Things like, saying you don’t want to tell anyone what’s going on, yet somehow this person finds out anyway what the problem is, and helps out.

Meanwhile, this hard-luck case keeps going on for years, never getting better, always blaming somebody else for not getting a full-time job: sickness, discrimination, not enough education.

All familiar.

Then there was the incident described above, in which Richard told the IRC people and not me about his problem.

But he must’ve known I was still connected to the chatroom, though I was out of the room, because you get alerts when people leave, and lists of who is there.  All you have to do is scroll back to see what you missed; he must’ve known this.

And then there’s his relative, who supposedly landed a job in 2007 which would make him rich.  But even though it was now 2009, when I suggested Richard go to him, he said that money did not exist yet.  So Jeff and I got Richard the money.


It’s not proof, but it’s a huge suspicion, which the above has helped fuel.

Jeff and I feel like such suckers now.

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