To provide some context for the following for latecomers:
(You can also read here.)
In my circles, ever since I left college, whether computer geeks or SCA or D&D or work or some of my college friends, it has always been considered perfectly normal and acceptable for even married people to flirt playfully and innocently, sometimes even shamelessly. It’s okay with my husband, okay with me.
Richard, too, is a shameless flirt, saying naughty things not just to other women but to other men! He also is a touchy-feely type who is free with his playful or affectionate gestures.
I have other friends, male and female, who are also free with their affectionate gestures to friends. But always you know that it is only platonic affection, or playful flirting, and that it will never, ever cross over to infidelity.
I just wanted to join in on the fun my more extroverted friends have, who are so free with their shows of affection for friends. Infidelity, on the other hand, I find disgusting. The two are not at all the same.
Also, my flirtatious friends have tried to get me to open up with hugs and other gestures of affection and flirting, because of my Asperger-like reserve.
I see nothing wrong with what they do, and I don’t like being the odd one out, where it seems cold, lonely and boring. So I have slowly learned to go along with them, and have been getting more open with them.
I have also described here how Richard also tried to get me to open up in this way, how he taught me that Americans are too uptight, and that it’s perfectly fine and appropriate for friends to do these things.
I basically followed his lead, but more awkwardly because people with social disorders like Asperger’s or NVLD can find it hard to naturally imitate what other people do:
The author has noticed how girls with Asperger’s Syndrome seem more able to follow social actions by delayed imitation. They observe the other children and copy them, but their actions are not as well timed and spontaneous. —Tony Attwood Answers Some Common Questions About Asperger’s Syndrome
Now, as my husband explained it, people see me as sweet and innocent. It must be because I’m so quiet and religious. The sweet image does not amaze me, but the “innocence” does, because I’m no virgin: I’ve been with my husband for almost 20 years and have a wicked sense of humor. People don’t realize that my quiet demeanor hides an active inner life.
Ever since college, I have occasionally shocked people with what I say. Online and with people I feel comfortable with, I say such things more easily. I used to have all sorts of wicked fun with my BBS friends in online chats, before BBS’s went the way of the dodo.
But it is just being playful, and the normal response is to laugh in amazement and appreciation that my sweet little head could come up with something like that. Such as, one day on Facebook when a friend asked, referring to a song lyric, Why DO virgins taste better than those who are not?
(The song is about dragons and why do they always want virgins sacrificed to them.) I wrote, “It’s the cherry flavor.” I thought it was bleedingly obvious, but even my husband was shocked and amazed at that one.
Anyway, normally I could say or do something playful and Richard would laugh, but sometimes he’d act shocked, like I’d done something wrong. Or sometime later, I would hear Tracy was upset. Or I’d make some silly joke in a chat and couldn’t tell if Tracy was truly mad about it, or just playing around. Or I couldn’t tell if I’d done something wrong or if he hadn’t even noticed.
Now that I’ve learned about narcissists, I believe he and Tracy were crazymaking me, because it is a common tactic of narcs and abusers to confuse you by being okay with something one day, even loving it, and another day treating it like a terrible offense, to keep you off-balance.
But it made me nervous and paranoid, especially since I never could tell if I was upsetting Tracy or if she was just joking, or, oftentimes, what she was upset about, or with whom. This was also a small part of the discussions we had in June 2009.
Because of the NVLD, I couldn’t figure out subtle nonverbal communication, which is part of the reason why I needed verbal help where others can just know naturally what to do. This was unfamiliar territory for an introverted NVLDer.
So I wrote the following, hoping to get Richard’s direct–kind, but direct–verbal communication if I crossed a line somewhere in my humor and trying to be playful like my extroverted friends.
The following e-mails prove that Tracy’s accusations of me on July 1, 2010 were all completely false, because I was her friend, I did respect boundaries, I was trying to please her and Richard, and all the playful gestures/going for coffee with Richard/etc. were okay with her.
Part of the proof is that here I asked for a signal that she was okay with these things, and I later got the signal:
On July 31, 2009, I wrote to Richard on Facebook,
You don’t need to respond to this unless you want to. I just wanted to get out in the open how I’ve been feeling.
Tracy has responded favorably [to my request for a movie night], just needs some more recovery time [from childbirth]. I have high hopes that watching a movie or two will lead to conversation (probably about girl stuff and giggling over you husbands) and everything between us will be completely healed.
You probably have no idea how I’ve looked over old [forum] threads or remembered old conversations I had with her, or remembered the chocolate dainties and veggie stir fry she cooked for us all, and how I liked her, and cried inside my heart at how things ended up. You can tell her so if you like.
Now, if some gesture meant as sisterly (or cousinly) affection, or some light flirty thing, is taken badly or you don’t like it, please tell me directly!
I’ve just been so sick over the thought that things that meant so much to me, that I have often remembered fondly, have been the cause of so much trouble that I didn’t even know about. It makes me feel, well, squicky.
Jeff does know about them, BTW, and he seems okay with them.
I’m not going to be the one to ask her if sisterly gestures /going out for coffee/ and the other stuff–is okay, because it makes me really uncomfortable.
If/when Tracy’s okay with it, just ask me to go get some ice cream or something, and that will be the sign to me that everything is okay now.
Especially if you suddenly start responding favorably to my hugs on IRC [online chats] instead of screaming and dying (though I think I’d freak out if you started doing the kind of stuff you do to [female on IRC channel, whom he posted he was “sexing”] and the guys in [the IRC channel, whom he also flirted heavily with]; that’s a bit much for me).
I’ll stop feeling squicky over the past, and we won’t have to say one word more about a thing. And any paranoia I have displayed in the past will probably melt away as well.
In the meantime, if you really want to go out for coffee with somebody so badly, why not ask Jeff? [He had told me, “I really want to go out for coffee!”]
Richard’s reply on 8/1/09:
I thought you were the one who wanted to go out sometime?
And my jokes about melting and dying were upsetting you? I am dense.
She knows about the hugs and whatnot. its all good. The asleep on the shoulder bothers her though. I respect that, as she sees that as a wife/husband thing and relative thing, not a friend thing. We are all wired our own way and I respect that.
But its all good.
My reply on 8/1:
1) Well, yes, I do want to, very much so, but you made it sound like you were dying to go out with somebody, *anybody*. So I suggested Jeff, your pookymunch. 😛 [inside joke]
2) Yes, I’ll hug you and such on IRC and you’ll just sit there or scream, when I was hoping for a bearhug back, etc. You know, signs that despite everything that’s gone on, our friendship is intact. It’s so hard for me to read people at times that words help a lot.
3) The “whatnots” are okay, too? Cool. (Especially since you know I won’t go too far with whatnots. 🙂 Just not that kinda girl….)
I just thought–From what you said, it sounded like she’d be okay with, say, [another friend] doing it [asleep on shoulder], and even join in a cuddle party.
I’ve read about people snuggling with their best buds while watching a movie, and it sounds like such a nice thing, especially since my relatives never did that sort of thing and I guess it left me far more reserved than is healthy.
My roommie Sharon tried to do that with my apartment-mate Tara whenever they were on the couch together, but Tara would cry out and move away, and Sharon would giggle.
Catherine is so free with stuff like that, that I envy her being able to flit around and do whatever she likes. One day she said that she’s been trying for years to get me to loosen up. LOL (She even kissed me on the cheek after we got back from a movie once, and called it our “date.”)
After you explained you do this with your family, I thought, oh, it’s all perfectly innocent and okay. So it makes me feel awful (and squicky) that it all blew up in our faces later. I feel just terrible that your wife keeps bringing it up.
It’s been dogging my thoughts for the past month or so, coming up when I am, say, just sitting around chatting with church members, and then I start feeling like a terrible person who has done terrible things and if these people only knew!–But I don’t want to keep feeling squicky about it. We stopped, after all, and won’t start again without her okay.
His reply 8/2:
No worries, Nyssa.
After these conversations in June 2009, I thought all our problems were over with, that it had all been resolved, that Tracy had calmed down and they had stopped judging me for being quiet and introverted. I thought this was all part of the past, and worked to leave it there.
I had been sick of the subject for years; actually, it was Tracy who kept the issue alive, when I kept thinking it was resolved, but hopefully now it would be resolved for real.
Note that above, I asked him for a sign when Tracy was finally okay with me and all her restrictions on me were dropped and we could do everything he could do with his other friends (such as these sisterly gestures, going out for coffee/ice cream, etc. etc.).
Then one night, maybe December 2009, Richard and I were chatting online. He said, hey, let’s go get sushi! But it was about midnight and hardly the time for it.
This was the “signal” I asked for in the above e-mails! Tracy was fine with me, considered me her friend, had dropped all the restrictions on me, now allowed me to do everything his other friends could do with him!
I wrote that I couldn’t go out for sushi this time of night, but let me know when you want to go out for sushi. He seemed to forget about it the next day, but I figured he was just on hard times again and couldn’t pay for it. So I reminded him a few months later to let me know when.
Then I saw Tracy hit her youngest child in the head right in front of me, and began hearing her verbally abuse everyone again; I asked Jeff how much more of that I could take; troubles began stirring again.
As if these e-mails never existed, as if these conversations never happened, Tracy would once again claim, in July 2010, that she never “okayed” me as Richard’s friend or considered me her friend or allowed me to do everything Richard’s other friends could do with him.
She accused me of not understanding boundaries.
But these e-mails prove her the liar. I have it all in writing that she “knows about the hugs and the whatnot” and “it’s all good.”
Neurotypicals (people who do not have Asperger’s, NVLD or anything else) are hard enough to figure out when they’re basically nice, pleasant people.
Throughout my life, at times I’ve wanted to scream at how confusing people can be, or how they don’t understand me, or how I don’t understand what I’m expected to do or not do when they do the very same things I’m trying to do, but they don’t get yelled at or get funny looks.
Many times in my childhood I preferred to lock myself away at home or in my room, where I didn’t have to deal with people.
But when they are narcissists/abusers, and are trying to make you think you’re crazy so you don’t realize they are abusers, it’s far worse.
And Tracy had reason to make me think I was crazy: because I witnessed her abuse of her husband and children.
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