Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake

Since Richard had successfully convinced me into Orthodoxy, he joked to me in 2007 (and told Todd) that he was going to turn me Libertarian as well.  He often spoke about politics with me.

He also often joked to my husband that he would influence him out of Lutheranism and into Orthodoxy.  It was a common joke between the three of us.

But then on June 10, 2010, he posted on Facebook a link to a political (Libertarian) broadcast and said be warned, they might convert you.  I joked that “If I can resist you, I can resist anybody!  😉  ”

I expected him to laugh at our running gag.  But instead he let loose on me publicly with scathing words, saying,

*sighs*  I do not try to convert those who are not willing to change, or see the need to change. Take no offense, but you like Socialism, or portions of it at least so I dont even bother with politics with you. At most I wil complain about something but that is not ‘converting’ you.

Personal Liberties to me are worth dying for. Some of those Liberties is pointless to ‘convert’ you with because you take them lightly, disagree with people having such liberties or the loss of such liberties does not affect you.

But to me, if anyone is hindered in their Personal Liberties, I too am hindered because it is wrong to impose moral or ethical laws upon a society which constrains people’s personal Liberties, and also someday it will be me that they will go after.

(Ever notice that when people say “No offense,” they’re about to say something extremely offensive?)

What is this, more gaslighting?  What about the many times you called me up and I hoped to talk about religion or life or other fun stuff and all you wanted to talk about was politics?  What about getting mad at me because I “liked” that the city council president helped keep Mercury Marine in town?

Is that why you hadn’t been calling me lately unless you wanted something?  And what’s with insulting your BFF right in front of everybody on your friends list??

I wrote for him to geez, lighten up, it’s a joke!

He made me sound like some selfish jerk who doesn’t care about freedom unless I’m affected by it, which is completely false.  I’ve always loved my country and its liberties, and supported the idea of fighting to keep them. 

I don’t know where on earth he got all this crap from about me–unless, of course, he got it from the usual Tea-Party-style rhetoric demonizing liberals, and applied it to me as guilt by association. 

While I joked sometimes about being “socialist” based on some online political tests, the truth is I don’t want the government running all our businesses, which is what “socialism” really means.

But the truth is better summed up by the Slacktivist, who argues here that Ron-Paul-style “individual liberty” means, for example, the liberty to discriminate against others in a place of business, or for the powerful to steamroll over the powerless:

If you believe in civil liberties, then you will believe that things like the Civil Rights Act, DADT repeal, marriage equality, hate-crime protections, Ledbetter, etc., are necessary and vital to ensure than non-majority individuals will experience some measure of the freedoms that the powerful enjoy.

If you believe only in individual liberties, then you’ll oppose all such measures as Big Government meddling that restricts individual freedom (including the freedom to discriminate).

If you believe only in individual liberty, you can even find yourself in the absurd position of defending the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as some kind of principled defense of the freedom of speech.

If you believe in civil liberties, then in your view that decision is clearly one that gives free rein to the powerful to exercise their rights against the powerless, and thus you will believe that government action is justified to protect the rights of the powerless from being trampled by the powerful.

The basic distinction is that an advocate of individual liberty mainly perceives of the government as a potential threat to individual liberty, whereas an advocate of civil liberty also sees a vital role for the government in constraining the liberty of the powerful to inhibit the liberty of the powerless.

The two perspectives overlap quite a bit — both would agree, for example, that torture and indefinite detention by the government are utterly unacceptable — but they also diverge far too dramatically to be used as interchangeable terms.

So because I support the Civil Rights Act, am I now “against personal liberties”?

I wrote to Jeff, who was at work,

So…..Not only could he not take a joke, but I’m a Socialist (which is a bad word to Tea Partiers and Republicans lately) who doesn’t care about personal freedoms?

And what’s this about not bothering with politics with me or not trying to convert me?  What about the many “You’re Libertarian and just don’t know it” comments and constantly talking about political things when we we’re chatting?

Hmmm….Is this why he doesn’t call me anymore except when he wants something?  😛

Seriously, I get so tired of getting criticized for everything I do, say or think, from the both of them.  He used to love talking with me, but lately he doesn’t even call and barely answers any of my e-mails.  It’s not friendly behavior.  It’s heartbreaking.

Jeff saw the post and said that I said nothing to deserve it, that Richard’s post made him look bad, not me.

The next day I saw Richard online and tried to discuss things with him, find out what was going on and get things resolved, tried to get him into chat because I didn’t want to talk about it via e-mail. 

From what I recall, all I said was that I had some things I wanted to discuss and please come into chat, which would work better than e-mails. 

But he threw up defenses, was very nasty to me, and shut me down before I even had a chance to say what was bothering me.

I was miserable for days because I didn’t know the status of our friendship anymore.  

I sat at the computer crying over these things, and said to Jeff,

“Are they really my friends or is it all just a facade?”

I told Jeff I felt bullied.  He said, “It’s because you are being bullied!”  He said I had done nothing wrong and I wasn’t crazy.

On the 13th, I wrote to my pastor friend Mike (the one whom, above, Richard called an “idiot”), whom I’d known and been close to since college, to vent.  I wrote,

I’m feeling bummed out at the moment….I have these two friends, married couple, who live here in Fondy.

The guy’s always giving me unsolicited advice in such a way that it’s less like “I think this would help you” and more like “I know better than you do and everybody should do it this way!” 

And it’s about things which really don’t make a difference to anyone what I do, like whether or not I should go into the bathroom when Jeff is [in] there.

This is annoying enough.  😛  He also has this tendency in political matters to think that his way is the way everybody should go, that all Christians should agree with him on not voting for Democrats, etc. (even though he is NOT an Evangelical).

This is the friend I mentioned recently who’s getting all into the TEA party thing, and now anarchy as well.  I read his posts on Facebook and think, “That sounds more like some weird conspiracy theory than the truth.”

But I don’t normally say anything, and when we’re on the phone or in person, just kinda nod here and there.  For the most part I’ve been keeping my political opinions to myself.

Lately, his wife has turned critical with me, ripping on me for things that don’t really matter.

She posts on Facebook that they’re going on a trip in September.  I post that I’ll miss them and hope they have fun. She posts this really weird, snarky message in reply.  WTH?????  Jeff and I looked over it several times and saw no indication that she was just teasing me.

Meanwhile, I see OTHER people posting about short trips to Disneyland or whatever, and their friends saying, “I’ll miss you.  Have fun!” and not getting snarked at for it.  I just don’t get it.  Jeff doesn’t get it either.

On Thursday night, I made a little joke on Facebook and the guy started going off on me, pretty much saying I’m a Socialist who doesn’t see the need for or doesn’t care about freedoms he sees as necessary and would die for etc. etc.

Jeff saw it and said that I did not say anything to deserve this, that he made himself look bad, not me.  Jeff is not just a “yes-man,” so if he thought I said something I shouldn’t, he would tell me.

And I don’t think my friend really knows my political views, because I keep most of them quiet around him, so I don’t know why he thought he knew them so well.

I already wondered if the real reason he doesn’t call much lately is not busyness, but politics.  This really made me wonder if TEA Party politics has come between us.

On Friday I tried to discuss things with him, find out what’s going on and get things resolved.  But he threw up defenses, was very nasty to me, and shut me down before I even had a chance to say what was bothering me.

I’ve been miserable ever since because I don’t know the status of our friendship anymore.  Jeff says I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not crazy, the both of them are in fact bullying me.

Jeff hopes that things will turn out to be all right.  He tries to reassure me.  He says that they’re under a lot of stress lately, so much so that we can see it when we visit.

It’s true: Jobs are scarce, they’re lower-income, a large family in a small run-down rental.  He has sleep apnea which keeps her awake.  She snaps at the kids all the time, she and her husband snap at each other….They even do it in front of us, which makes me extremely uncomfortable and nervous.

We’re hoping it’s the stress, that the doctors will finally figure out how to fix the sleep apnea so they can sleep, that things will calm down and they’ll snap out of this.

My friend used to be nice to me, said he loves me like a sister, etc.  He said that just a few months ago [around April 1].  He used to apologize when he upset me.  Nowadays, he treats apologies like annoyances that he should not be “forced” to make.

At times I just want to shut myself up somewhere away from the world. 

I keep hoping to make a connection with someone at church who’ll be as close and dear to me as my friend has been for so long, because I don’t know if I can trust him to stick around or not. 

There was once a close platonic bond between us, but he’s changed so much in the past year or so [which, by the way, is how long he’d been involved in the Tea Party] that I’m not really sure what’s the real him. 

It was at least endurable until this past week, but now I just want space from him for a while.

It’s all very distressing and depressing.  🙁

My friend replied that the problems were probably less about me than they were about things going on in Richard and Tracy’s own lives.  He said that

rational people would not treat a good friend the way they are treating you….

Don’t lose too much sleep over your friends. It’s probably nothing you did.  It’s most likely all theirs to deal with.

They may choose to throw your friendship away, but that is their choice. It may hurt…but it is their choice that only they get to make. You can’t make them stay your friends. You can merely pray for them, and ask God to take care.


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