Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs

This is jumping the gun a bit, but here’s an e-mail I wrote Jeff on July 22, 2010, after I finally read the threatening e-mails for myself:

Actually, near the end of “The Burning Bed,” I was suddenly inspired to go into the e-mails and find out just what Richard wrote you on Facebook on about 6/28, when we were arguing about NLD and such.

I saw 3 messages he wrote to you that night, including the one about hitting you with a brick and not having been that mad in years and being easily provoked to physical violence.

It was…scary.  It was hard to say if he was actually threatening you, but it was scary that he would even think that–and that there were at least two earlier drafts which could’ve been even worse. 

I mean, WHY?  What about what you wrote, or what I wrote, could’ve provoked him so much?

It reminds me, also, of how Tracy blew up a few days later, and that when she was living at our house, there was a time when she got so mad at me that she, according to Richard, almost killed, or could’ve killed me…I forget the exact wording. I don’t know if he meant it literally or verbally.

I remember Tracy’s e-mail to you included something about “self-diagnosed learning disorder.”  Which I thought Richard said should never be brought up to her.  I remember this sense that it could make her mad, that it might be dangerous to mention it to her.  And I wonder when/why Richard mentioned it to her.

These are violent people. And something seems to have been stirring them up, because I don’t know what we could’ve done to inspire the verbal tirades we were getting those few days.

Or what I could’ve said in my e-mail to him, near the end of March, about [the Creeps on IRC], because that also provoked him to write a rather nasty e-mail (the final draft of many).

All I know is that for the past year, I’ve really struggled with getting friendly with Tracy because on some night that I can’t identify, she could’ve attacked me in my own house–for something that seemed to me perfectly innocent.

The thought of her possibly taking her fists to me has haunted me many times.

I imagine you coming into the room, whether from the basement or your bed, screaming at her and throwing her out of the house.  Me going to the hospital.

This has gone through my mind many times for the past year, since it was a year ago that Richard told me about this.  And yet, somehow, *I* am painted as the one who has just been too stubborn or mean to treat Tracy right.

Right now, rather than wishing to have my friend back, I just feel this weird sense of having escaped but still dealing with the traumatic fallout…..

But back to the evening on June 27th, 2010.  All this came while I was reading the last few chapters of Gone With the Wind, which are dark, surreal and depressing.  As I wrote in my review for Mysteries of Udolpho,

It amazes me how, lately, the books I’m reading keep matching my mood.  I read the last chapters of “Gone With the Wind” on the night of a terrible e-mail argument with my former best friend.  I apologized and we tried to patch things up, but it left a pall over the evening, and the next few days as well.

(Incidentally, in an attempt to finally fix things and restore our friendship to the kind and sweet way it used to be, several days later I sent an e-mail–which, unfortunately, got taken wildly out of context and misunderstood, and left me vilified and the friendship in shambles, much like Shirley Sherrod without the later apologies [from Obama].)

At the same time, in between e-mails that evening, I was reading about Scarlett’s devastating last night before Rhett left her for good.

First Melanie dies, just as Scarlett realizes she loves her and Melanie has been her strength.  Then she finds out that Ashley was only infatuated with her, that his true love was for Melanie.  Then she realizes that her own true love is Rhett, and she’s been terrible to him.

She goes out into the night, which is foggy and appears supernaturally terrifying.  Her long walk finally leads her to her safe place, Rhett–only Rhett is fed up and leaving her.

I didn’t know yet about the threatening e-mail Richard sent Jeff.  I didn’t want to lose my BFF, my Frodo.

It seemed the only way I could get anywhere with Richard was to apologize–even though that meant my complaints were tossed aside as if I had no right to make them, while Richard made petulant little remarks to Jeff that we had resolved things, but Jeff already knows.

I was getting the distinct impression, from this and other times, that I was not supposed to confide in Jeff, my own husband, about my problems with them.

Jeff then discussed the e-mails with me, though I did not see them myself for nearly a month.  To calm him down, he sent Richard an apology.  On the morning of the 28th, Jeff wrote to me,

( He tells me that an apology wasn’t necessary.  He says he wants to hit me in the head with a brick, but I don’t have to apologizeI trust when he talks about “Drama”, he’s talking about *himself*. )

It was unbelievable.  It also shows another way that NLDers need to be careful in choosing friends, because if your friend arrogantly dismisses your NLD without knowledge, tells your husband that you just need to push yourself harder, warns you not to mention the NLD to his wife because it could be dangerous, and dismisses your explanation of what you need to help you socially, then this “friend” is no good for you.

Especially if he’s married to a very abusive person who could turn around and rip you a new one because of these social problems which you could not help being born with, which she took personally.

Who could demean, humiliate and belittle you with filthy language and unChristian words for having social problems with her that you could not help.

Leaving you with a huge, gaping wound emotionally, lasting for years because people with Asperger’s or NLD tend to ruminate over things long after other people have moved on.

It was always me who went crawling back.  It was always me who was contrite.

There was no winning with H–not that I was the one making it a competition…far from it.  Rarely did she acknowledge that I had wisdom or insight.

Occasionally we would spar when I began to push back on her superior attitude.  More and more often, there were periods of estrangement, yet there was always that “makeup session” followed by a brief “honeymoon period.”

Yes, those “makeup sessions,” where everything was glossed over or more often simply ignored altogether, never to be discussed!

Those “honeymoon periods,” during which our respective motives for being in the friendship were quite dissimilar–even though a trained therapist would probably conclude that at the time, I was an Invert Narcissist and Codependent–therefore possessing some of the same characteristics as H.

Recently I came across a comment on a message board:  “Sometimes I believe a Narcissist can almost cause these other defects in people who fall for them.”  How true that is!  How insidious it is.  It’s called FLEAS.

Neither of us understood the extent of our dysfunctional relationship, nor did we want to.  We had many things in common.  We had a history together that was unique.

We had many long and deep discussions about spirituality, various esoteric methods, and the history and intricacies of our spiritual community. We had similar music tastes.  We had children the same age. 

We were both married to men who eschewed the spiritual life.  We needed each other (she would probably deny that).  Still, there was an ever-present undercurrent of tension and conflict. —Joyful Alive Woman, “My former [platonic] girlfriend, the cunning abusive narcissist”

But after the apology, it seemed that we were starting to make headway.  I thought he wanted to take a break from me for a day or two, and didn’t say much to him, though I missed him terribly.

Then I pinged him, wondering if we were still “estranged.”

He was surprised and said that was over with already.  We had a conversation that demonstrated that we were still good friends and that he wasn’t angry with me anymore.

He sent me a link to a video, since we often shared music videos with each other from the genres we both liked.  I sent him a heart and a rose on Facebook as a demonstration of goodwill:

After thumbing through my Language of Flowers book and reading that white roses stand for innocence and purity and in no way mean romance or passion, I sent him a white rose for peace.

To show restoration of goodwill, I sent a simple friendship heart, one of those Facebook hearts that people were constantly sending to their friends and family at that time.

(By the way, I have never sent these flowers or hearts to anyone since, when I used to send them all the time to my friends and family, because they were now associated in my mind with Richard.)

I don’t know if he saw the white peace flower, but he posted the heart on his wall saying, “From me Nyssa [sic].”

Then the following morning, July 1, 2010, I woke up happy that our friendship issues were finally resolved, happy for the first time in weeks.

When he lived with us and the day he moved out, he gave me some sweet bearhugs which I took as being meant strictly in friendship, and in gratitude for what I had done to help out his family in their distress.

Therefore, there was no harm either in mentioning them, or in doing them again, including in front of others, including Tracy. 

Especially since a year earlier, Richard wrote to me, “She knows about the hugs and the whatnot.  It’s all good.”

I thought Jeff or the neighbors had seen these hugs, as well, and I had felt no qualms about this, because the hugs were completely innocent.

I always wondered why Richard hadn’t hugged me that way since.  Once, in maybe late winter or early spring 2008, I asked him online about them, and he said he’d been holding off because of how jealous Tracy had been acting.

But that was long since in the past, we had been sharing quick hugs in front of Tracy for the past two years, and in that e-mail a year earlier, he said the hugs and “whatnot” are good with her. 

Also, through a signal I had asked for in late 2009, he showed me that Tracy was completely fine with me doing all the things his other friends could do with him. 

In some old posts to friends on a web forum, friends whom I believe he knew in person, he asked them for and they offered “huggles,” showing me that he’s just a “huggy” type of guy.

Yet he still had not hugged me like he did in November 2007 and January 2008, making me feel like our friendship had lost that bond.

I desperately needed reassurance that our friendship was still like it was back in 2007, which I think you can understand after all I’ve described.

His friendship was so special to me because he was my spiritual mentor, my “brother from another mother,” the Frodo/Diana/Ted/Gus I had always wanted.  I was scared of losing his friendship.

Those hugs were like a symbol of our special friendship.  You can see this in the e-mail I wrote him a year earlier, which said,

“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.”

So I wrote a Facebook message to him the morning of 7/1/10, reminded him of those specific hugs and said they had meant a lot to me.

I was happy after sending the message, because I knew he would say something like “Awwww, how sweet.  Yes, I remember those hugs” or–like he did to an e-mail I sent him a few months before about how much his friendship meant to me–“You’ve made me cry–like a chick!”

Since he gave me those hugs many times,

and since we had already spoken about them without him acting like there was something wrong with me bringing them up,

and since he had never, ever said they were “verboten” now, and

since he talks like that with his friends all the time,

and since he specifically told me many times that hugs are okay with Tracy,

I expected this to be a perfectly fine topic for an e-mail.

I went on about my day, exercising, doing housework, and the like, expecting the day to be absolutely wonderful, full of caring and friendship.

Then maybe a couple of hours later, I checked Facebook, hoping to see some wonderful little message from Richard.

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