In March of 2010, when Jeff came home from D&Ding with Richard and Tracy one Friday night, he told me we wouldn’t be able to D&D with them the following weekend: They were planning to have those jerks from the IRC channel come visit them.

Here in my town.

In their house.

?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was irate, telling Jeff, “It’s disgusting!”

If I saw somebody sexually harass one of my closest friends, I’d have nothing to do with him!

How could Richard not cut these people out of his life for being so horrid to women, to one of his best and closest friends, to the one who helped him above and beyond what most people would do?

And how could he invite sexual harassers to his house?  Wasn’t he afraid of letting these people anywhere near his little girls?

I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell Jeff just what these people had said to me in the chat, but tried to make him understand that he would’ve wanted to punch them all out if he saw it.  It took quite a while before I could tell him just what went on.

I ranted about it to Jeff, wondered what I should do about it, what should I say?  We pondered the wisdom, or lack thereof, of an ultimatum.

Jeff told me I had to make a decision on what to do, whether to say that Richard should drop these friends.  He also picked up some brochures about a circle of respect, which he was going to “plant” at Richard’s house so the jerks would find it.

The following day, I think it was, we went to their house for Dungeons and Dragons.  When Jeff had already left the house with our son and I was making final farewells to Richard, he and Tracy mentioned the party and said it had been cancelled or postponed.

I was relieved, but watched and listened intently to Richard as he spoke about it.  But then the thread of something he was saying got interrupted, and I had to leave, so I never got the chance to say how I felt.

But I began to ponder it, what to do about it, how to handle it, whether it was my problem or his.

A week or two later, I had almost forgotten about it, when something brought it back to my mind again, making me feel dirty and gross with the memory of what the creeps had said to me.

After all this time, it still haunted me and interfered even with my most private moments with my husband.  So I knew this was important.

So I wrote an e-mail to Richard about it.  This was around April 1.  It took me some three hours, carefully crafting it so he wouldn’t feel like I blamed him or anything, and carefully leaving out any hint that he should drop these friends.

I used all the tips that counselors recommend for dealing with difficult conversations, without putting people on the defensive.

I kept out how I found it disgusting that he would invite these jerks to his house.  I restricted my request to him please refraining from mentioning the names of these people around me, to help me to get past this and move on.

After all, the time he spent with me was only a few hours every week or so, most of which were taken up with D&D, and he rarely talked about them around me in the first place.  So this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

He said no.  In fact, he wrote such a scathing e-mail–saying that he had actually written other drafts which he scrapped, which were even more scathing–that I thought here was proof that no, he didn’t care about me at all anymore.  Our friendship was dead, and I didn’t know why.

I cried, and was so upset that it affected me physically.  I even had to ask a neighbor to take my son to school, because I just couldn’t handle it.

Richard didn’t care how I felt about anything.  He defended sexual harassers to me instead of breaking with them.  None of it made sense for someone who claimed I was very dear to him or that he was going to become a priest.

Instead of writing back, I called him up.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that online sexual harassment isn’t “real” and he thought I knew that.  He said, “I love you like a sister, but you’re driving me crazy.”  (Jeff said to this, “What’s with the ‘but’?  Brothers and sisters drive each other crazy all the time!”)

For the first time, he said he loved me like a sister, something I had always wanted to hear from him–

–but at the same time, he blamed me, treated me like there was something hysterical about getting upset over guys online making personal remarks about my genitals and ripping into me for getting mad at them and not showing them naked pictures.

He complained about “pampering” me (more about this here), something I had no idea he was even doing, something I never asked him to do, but which he just assumed he should do.

Apparently, part of “pampering” me meant not being rude to me.  He actually complained because he felt he couldn’t be rude to me, saying that other people are rude with their friends all the time and it’s okay.

I said, maybe where you came from, but not here.  He said it was here, too.  Which surprised me, because most of the people I know aren’t rude to their friends, but understand that you shouldn’t do that.

It made me wonder just which circles he was running around in, anyway, that would be rude to their own friends.

It seemed like he excused bad behavior, and treated me like some china doll for believing–same as all my friends–that bad behavior is inexcusable.  It also seemed like he was being rude to me more often lately.

He also talked like there was something ridiculous about not wanting to hear the names of your sexual harassers spoken around you.

Yet even my husband feels the same way, cringing at the very name of someone who has abused or otherwise mistreated him.  My husband thought I was not being at all unreasonable, and did not like how Richard treated me over this.

Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors.

I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off.

Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things. –Anna Valerious, Do They Have Feelings?

During the same conversation, he also defended the way Todd treated people online (he had a temper of his own), just saying, “He’s a troll!” as if this made it somehow okay.  (And Richard wants to be a priest?)

This was one of the things that eventually led to the two of us having major falling-outs just a couple of months later, and contributed to my ending the friendship.

I just couldn’t stand that he would call this “ridiculous” or tell me to just “get over it”–or that he and Tracy were still friends with the main harasser, the Creep, after this incident, that a year later he was talking with them about a get-together at their house and in my city.

I told Richard I didn’t want these guys to know what city I lived in, who I was, or anything.  But he said they already knew.

He said the Creep was actually shy and quiet in real life, not like his online persona at all–but that didn’t impress me, because you’re still a jerk even if you’re only a jerk online.  He said he did tell these guys they were being jerks to me, but now he so downplayed what they did, made it sound like I was just irrational and silly, that I couldn’t believe it.

He talked as if these guys were just behaving normally and did this to Richard’s other friends, but those friends would play along and be good sports about it.  It made me sound like a combination of prude and party pooper.

He also complained that he “pampered” me whenever we came to visit them in 2008, until his wife complained.  I remember very pleasant visits in those days; isn’t that what visiting friends is all about?

He complained about how he was still doing all these things to bend over backwards and make me feel comfortable, but I couldn’t tell what the heck he was talking about.  I never told him he had to do that!

I’m pretty easygoing with friends, actually.  Even if they cuss around me, I learned in college to shut up and ignore it.  And I kept my mouth shut about other things, as well.

Was his wife complaining because he was being a good host and paying attention to a dear friend?

Were they feeling put out about being good hosts, cleaning up their mess a little for company, not insulting their guests, not being rude, not going around naked or in boxers, what?  

Is it really so terrible not to cuss around my son, and do they cuss like sailors around their own children?

Apparently Tracy actually got mad at him for holding back on saying things she could tell he wanted to say.  What things were this??  Was he about to be an a**hole to me and she complained because he held back? 

What kind of people ARE these, anyway?

His complaints made me wonder what the real him was really like.

When it was just the two of us getting acquainted and forming a friendship, and when he stayed at my house by himself, he seemed sweet and respectful, insistent on putting his violent past behind him, pious and gentle, willing to lend a hand when I asked him to.

I didn’t even know to what extent his past had been violent, but I knew he was determined to follow the practices of his faith.

We developed a camaraderie, poking fun at each other like brother and sister, joking around with each other so easily that our jokes played off each other as if they’d been rehearsed.  (One guy online said he loved being in IRC with us.)

I occasionally tickled him like a sister when he got too cheeky.  We were comfortable with each other, a comfort I felt around very few people.

But now, he seemed to want permission to insult me, to consider me weak because I–LIKE MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD–would get upset at this.

Richard had a strange way of making me feel inadequate.  First, there was the way he’d make me feel like a stalker for, say, saving all my letters to/from people, or for knowing what channels in IRC he was subscribed to (they showed up automatically whenever I opened a private chat with him, just part of the regular workings of the program, nothing I asked for).

Then there was the way he tried to make me (and, from what he said, anybody else he spoke to about this private issue) believe that his idea of fun sexual practices was what everybody should do.

Different people have different tastes, but he had this idea that his way was “enjoying yourself,” and more plain and simple ways were not, even though others might find it painful or gross or weird.  (No, I don’t know what all he did, fortunately, but he told me enough to make me want to take an ice pick to my brain to get it out.)

And now there was this “pampering” crap.  I think the first time I heard about this was on IRC one day.  This may have been earlier in 2010, or maybe late 2009, though I think 2010 is more likely.  He complained that he had to do this for both Jeff and me.

For example, when he lived with us, he didn’t wear just boxers and no pants in front of Jeff and me.  (Um…  Actually, that’s not “pampering” us, that’s just plain good manners!)

Apparently to him, it was “prudish” for Jeff to not be the sort who wanted to see another man in boxers.  He made it sound like it was prudish for me as well, even though another time he said he was taught by his parents to only do this in front of men.  (More confusing doublespeak….)

He also called me “prudish” for wearing a robe over my nightgown around him.  I saw this as proper modesty around a man I was not married to, but he called it prudish??!!  

He said one of his female friends had no qualms about going around in her nightclothes in front of him. 

Er….So you WANT me to put everything on display for you, hmmmmm?  You do realize nightgowns tend to be see-through or at least poke-through? 

The most repulsive thing is realizing that I LISTENED to this guy, when I should have seen right through his obvious manipulation. 

I felt like a prude, when I should have realized that he was trying to get me to put myself on display for him against my better judgment, that he was playing me like a fiddle.  (Probably more of his hypnotism.)

Then he told me about something his family does which I found repulsive, but I won’t say what, just that it was really a very private thing that he should not have told me.  This is also why I suspect the brown stains all over the furniture were actually butt skid marks.

He made me feel “prudish” not just because I wore a robe around him and he didn’t feel “free” enough to wear boxers around me, but because I didn’t do this repulsive, unhygienic thing!  Ew!

Once again, I was under the influence of someone who could talk me into believing anything at the time, then when I got away from his influence, I’d realize he was full of crap.  (This happened before in college: first Shawn, then Phil’s friend Dirk.)

But he always had a way of reassuring me on the phone when we were having problems.  (Probably some more of that hypnotism.)  He talked me into calming down.

He told me that this kept happening: The house full of kids and wife would finally all be asleep, he’d think, “I should go see Nyssa,” but fall asleep on the couch from exhaustion instead.  Or he’d go driving off by himself, intending to see me, but be so glad to be alone that he’d just drive off somewhere.

I was touched, having no idea this was going on, and told him to actually carry through these ideas once in a while.  (Keep in mind that at that time of night, Jeff would be home and probably still awake, so there was nothing improper about this.)

I said that whenever he didn’t respond to my calls, I wondered if he wasn’t allowed to call.  He said, “No, that was over with a long time ago.”  Which was yet more proof for me that Tracy’s restrictions were long since over with.

Somehow, he softened me yet again, like usual when I was mad at him.  He finally agreed to stop mentioning these people around me.

But that didn’t quite end the subject for me.  I was still hurting over the sexual harassment, still wincing every time I came across something that reminded me of what the creeps had said–

–such as a disturbing article I stumbled upon on the Net.  It said that the newer generations of women were being taught in the Millennial culture to believe they must be clean-shaven.

Apparently this was being driven by guys wanting their women to look like porn stars.  It sounded like a modern version of foot-binding, forcing women to do this to please men, or else they’ll get tossed aside as not “sexy” enough.

And it stung that Richard mansplained away my claims of sexual harassment.  Any time you’re a victim of some kind of abuse, bullying, rape or harassment, to be told it didn’t actually happen–

–That’s part of our culture’s problem with victim-blaming.  It inspires people to shut up and not talk about what happened, because they won’t be believed anyway.

I bet Richard and Tracy are still friends with these creeps, but they just let Jeff and me go without doing what it would take to get us back, after all the love and caring we showed them.

In August 2014, old college classmate Persephone shared this webpage on Facebook, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.

I then shared it myself, along with a short description of the above incidents.  My friends responded:

cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.” –(my old friend Mike)

what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.” –(Persephone)

I replied,

Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.

Persephone wrote,

ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  🙁  “

So even from this little bit, Persephone–herself a victim of narcissists, including my ex Phil, in her past–recognized Richard as one.

And after what I wrote to him about past sexual harassment and how I was adversely affected by what happened in that chatroom–

It still baffles me how he later blew it off as me being too “sensitive” and “ridiculous,” and said, “I just thought you didn’t go in that chatroom anymore because you didn’t like it.” 

!!!!!!!!

Did he even frickin’ READ what I wrote to him?

This was yet another sign of Richard’s true character, of his false friendship, but I did not want to believe it.

Funny thing: After Richard convinced me that his “pampering” of me was somehow my fault, I felt guilty, and told him not to pamper me (though I did not say to be rude).

Our very next D&D session, he, the game master, set up a world which was full of–basically–zombies.  I’m almost certain this was done on purpose, to test me, gross me out to my limits, and, well, screw with my mind.

Then I foiled him by not reacting as he expected, but taking it all in stride.

HA!

Frickin’ narcissist.

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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