E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends

To my college friends, to whom I wrote a bit in 2008 about how Tracy treated me while living in my house, I wrote on August 29, 2010:

First, some bad news.  It seems the trouble from a few years ago, when Richard’s whole family was staying with us, never really went away.  I kept thinking it had, only to find–months later–that it hadn’t.

It seems his wife holds grudges like nobody’s business, and she targeted me.  I tried apologizing a year ago and thought things were fixed, but no.

Earlier this year, she’d been snarking at me for weeks until it seemed I could do nothing right, that everything I did was worthy of ridicule. (It reminded me of my younger brother, because he did that to me all the time growing up.)  Some of her snarks seemed downright possessive.

It finally turned into a massive blowup.  It sounds like a bunch of misunderstandings, but the trouble is, from e-mails Jeff and I exchanged with her, she’s just not willing to admit that she did things to contribute to the problem.

Won’t forgive, won’t apologize for ANYthing, thinks that I should just sit down and take all the verbal abuse and bullying she wants to throw at me, that I should admit that I deserve it, be the scapegoat for all our problems, and submit to her.

While Richard allows it, either because she’s talked him into agreeing with her and not listening to anything I say, or he’s afraid of what she’ll do if he opposes her.

I just plain don’t like her because I see her treating other people like this, too, including her kids and Richard.

Heaven help the person she gets mad at, because she throws tantrums (swearing, screaming, belittling, etc.). 

Richard has lost other friendships because of her.  I actually watched one friendship die over the Internet, as they argued with a guy [Todd] who’d been Richard’s friend (online and in real life) for 6 years, on a game forum.

It sounds like she didn’t like him in the first place, and when he did something in the game she didn’t like, she went on the warpath rather than talk about it first.  He was offended and has a bad temper of his own, so things went very badly.  This happened two years ago.

And now they’ve lost us, because I’m sick of being bullied for 3 years and won’t take verbal abuse, and Jeff is furious over the whole thing.

Richard had also been intimidating and practically threatening Jeff.  So we looked at each other and decided this was nuts, we can’t take this anymore.

I was and still am heartbroken because Richard was a very dear friend.  He was the cool and awesome [his main online persona] of my favorite online forums and games, and he enjoyed my company and told me I was the most awesome person he knew.  We’d talk for hours upon hours about religion, music and life.

But he seems to have changed quite a bit in the last 6 months or so.  I don’t know what happened, but there have been problems between us for a while, too. 

It may be his heavy involvement in politics, including the TEA Party and some Anarchy and conspiracy theories he’s been getting into.  I don’t agree with it, and he started getting rude to me on Facebook postings.

He used to be sweet, but lately he would just rip into me whenever I tried to bring up some problem and get it dealt with.

He started getting rude with Jeff as well whenever Jeff would post something political.

There were just so many little things that were adding up and getting very annoying and making me question the state of our friendship.

I do hope that one of these days, they will realize their own part in the break and apologize.  At least Richard did apologize to me for some things [this comes in the next chapter].

But there can be no reconciliation between our families until they apologize for their harshness and are willing to put the past aside and be friends, to stop the power struggle. 

I made my apologies, because I recognized I did some wrong and nutty things myself.  But instead of calming down Tracy, they just seemed to spur her on and make her feel more righteous.  Then she wondered why we finally said we need a 6-month (or more) break instead of a conference.

We’re not going to move to end the break.  We want to know that we will find softened hearts, not make a move and get our noses bitten again.

My priest said it was wise to offer a break instead of having this conference, because it would’ve turned into a slinging of anger and resentment that would have done absolutely nothing to repair the friendship, but only make things worse.  He said to be happy in the decision I made and not second-guess it.

My mom says not to contact them again, that Tracy’s manipulative. 

They’ve blocked our entire family on Facebook, even our son.  From things she said, that was probably Tracy’s doing, with Richard going along to have peace in his household, which has drama enough already. What kind of person blocks a 6-year-old child?

I do hope and pray her heart will soften.  Not just for our sakes, or to restore a friendship, but for her sake and that of everyone around her.

She grew up in a horrific environment.  It doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it does explain where it comes from.

Other people who hurt me in the past have apologized to me over the Net, many years later, so I know it can happen.  I’ve done all I can do to try to repair things, so it’s her turn now.

I’m tired of trying to be her friend while she snarks at me and screams at the kids and/or Richard right in front of me.  I’m tired of being to blame for not getting close to her when she, frankly, scares me.

It means I’ve lost a very dear friendship, but we had to walk away or I was going to be slowly destroyed.

Jeff–who, by the way, is not in any way controlling, so he wouldn’t do this lightly–won’t let me talk to them.

You see, they showed up at my church exactly one month after the blowup.  I had some unfinished business with Richard, so I spoke to him. Our conversation made me believe that reconciliation was finally possible.

But, as usual, he was the agreeable one, but Tracy turned out to be immovable (a word which, by the way, he himself uses to refer to her in other situations).

Jeff was not happy to find me sitting at their table at coffee hour.  So now he tells me if they show up at my church again, don’t talk to them, since I finished my business with Richard. 

In this whole thing, I’m the weak one, Jeff’s the strong one.  So I’m letting him protect me.

I’ve been reaching out to people we know in the surrounding communities, trying to reconnect.

Before Richard brought his family here, I was feeling very lonely because it was hard to find people to hang out with, what with church switches, different work schedules and friends who kind of faded away.

Finally we had a family to hang out with, friends for us, friends for our son.  But now they’re gone again.

With the emergence of Facebook, it’s gotten much easier to find people I lost touch with, and start arranging movie nights and such.

The A– SCA group has started dance practices again, every other week, with about an hour of social time afterwards at a local bar and grill.  It’s a late night for our son, but we figure he can sleep in the car on the way home, and we NEED social time.

Today I asked a woman at church (one of the very few who are my age) out for coffee, and she agreed.

So I’m working on connecting with old and new friends so that I won’t feel desperately lonely with the loss of my (former) best friend and all the things we used to do with his family.

I’m still grateful to him for leading me into Orthodoxy, and miss the good times, but he just doesn’t seem like the same person I used to know. 

I sometimes wonder how much of the guy I used to know, was real, and how much was an act put on for me because he didn’t want to scare me off. 

I wonder how much of the change is from him getting obsessed with politics and dealing with a wife who keeps going through abusive cycles. 

He said he loved me like a sister, and that I was very dear to him, so I know that much was real.  [Now I doubt that.]

I know he didn’t want to lose our friendship, because he told Jeff that a few days before the blowup (during an argument with me), and because Jeff heard through a mutual friend that he and Tracy miss playing a certain roleplaying game with Jeff.

[She asked what happened, Jeff was vague, she said, “So it’s high school drama?”  Well, I suppose so, when you’re dealing with a 29-year-old who acts like a teenager.  Now, Jeff and I also doubt that they ever missed either of us or ever cared to preserve the friendship.]

So who knows, maybe one of these days they’ll regret their harshness.  But I can’t count on that, so I have to move on.  This has been a very rough summer, so I look forward to the school year, hoping it will get my mind off things.

I also desperately hope that my church survives, and that Richard’s church survives.  Because if either of our churches folds, we will all have to go to the same church.

(They go to the — church, which is tiny and struggling, and I go to the — church, which is tiny and struggling.  They’ve been in talks with each other about things they can do to survive, such as merging.)

For right now, while there is a risk they’ll come to my church again, most of the time we’re still at different churches and can worship in peace.

My friend Cindy wrote,

I agree with Mike, someone that is so hurtful to you is not really a friend you want to have in your life. Friends accept us for who we are and support us. You are a nice person and should be treated kindly by your friends.

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