Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse: My story of abuse
Warning: The following contains venting of anger, to get it out of my heart and onto the page, to make the story authentic, and to show other victims of abuse that I feel your rage.
Here is a blog comment describing an article by Richard Skerritt (an article which I could not find on the Net) showing the difference between a disordered adult’s tantrum and that of an angry child. It basically says that comparing the two is unfair to children, because the adult’s tantrum lasts longer and is far worse:
Usually, despite the anger etc. the reaction was the result of some easily understood stimuli, like taking a toy away or something. Whereas, the triggering of the disordered can come about as the result of something that, to a normal person, is completely innocuous.
He also pointed out that a tantruming child can be comforted, eventually and , once the tantrum is done, the child is soothed and reverts to normal.
But, the raging disordered person can not be soothed and continues to go ballistic even if the offender tries to remove the offending stimuli.
Anna Valerious writes:
But today’s thought is simply this: the narcissist/abuser has tender feelings that they coddle and caress and expect you to do the same for their poor little feelings. Conversely, they will trample, disregard and spit on your feelings.
This is a sign of their basely selfish and corrupt natures and isn’t your cue to capitulate. Expect them to be ‘hurt’ when you state reality. Expect them to look wounded to the core when you don’t perform properly your “duty” by them.
Remember ’til your dying day that the narcissist and the abuser are filled with the tenderest sympathy for themselves, but can spare none or little for you.
This is a grotesque reality you mustn’t pretend away. Stop the crazy bus and get off!
There is something seriously wrong with a person who has feelings only for their own pain. Period. Every psychopath has feelings for himself.
The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings. Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle.
Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?
And this is from an article about communicating with people with disorders which make it hard to understand others. The article is about people on the autism spectrum, but some of the NVLD social issues overlap with Asperger’s and autism:
Presume honesty. We may fail to make eye contact because it makes us feel anxious. We may be nervous in social situations with new acquaintances.
Some may construe our symptoms of anxiety as related to lying, and may not believe or trust us. If anything, however, most of us are honest to a fault. ….
Tell us if we are making you uncomfortable. For example, if we invade your personal space, and you just move away, we may not understand why.
If you say something like, “I am not comfortable with someone standing that close, but six inches farther apart feels good to me,” we will generally be very willing to do that, and not feel hurt. —Learning Each Other’s Language: Strategies to Improve Communication Between Neurotypicals and Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
It’s ludicrous the way Tracy lectured me in the 7/1 and 8/1/10 e-mails about “proper” behavior, saying that I was “wrong” and how “everybody knows, learning disability or not” that you’re supposed to befriend the wife if you want to do anything with the husband (playful banter with, going for coffee with, etc. etc.).
No, I was NOT “wrong.”
1. It’s ludicrous because she knows absolutely nothing about what it’s like for people with NVLD or Asperger’s to struggle with social rules. For example, until my mother explained it to me when I was maybe 11, I had absolutely no clue that you’re supposed to say “hi” back when somebody greets you in the hallway. I had no idea I was offending people this way.
Social rules had to be explained to me or I would not know they existed.
2. It’s ludicrous because it’s not true: There is no such rule as the one Tracy stated. This is a do-as-you-want society, where fixed social rules have long since been set aside.
I’ve had other friends whose spouses do NOT require this, such as my old college friend Mike. I don’t know his wife, who won’t even friend me on Facebook because she doesn’t want to friend his friends. Ever since they got married, they’ve lived too far away for me to get to know her.
Yet she has absolutely no objection to me chatting with him on Facebook, occasionally (innocently) flirting with him in those chats, exchanging e-mails, or, several months ago, having lunch with him when he happened to be in town. No, she was NOT there, and neither of us had a “wing man” which some people think is “proper.”
I’ve also seen post threads on a local social network which showed that many people find “wing men” to be unnecessary, that all you need to do is let your hubby know you’re meeting this friend, and it’s totally proper. Assuming your intentions are honorable, of course. Your husband does not have to know the guy, you don’t have to know the woman he’s meeting.
Other people I’ve known and all sorts of comment threads I’ve found on the Net, tell me that Tracy’s rules are far from fixed, that it’s incredibly common to have the more trusting, do-as-you-want attitude I have lived and encountered.
Here’s one right here, Is She “His” Friend or “Our” Friend on Chocolate Vent:
I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.
I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that.
I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first?
And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?
….I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know.
If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married.
After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.
A commenter wrote,
I have friends my husband has no interest in socializing with, in fact he would rather cut his own throat than be forced to attend any event with. He has friends I feel the same about.
This includes both single and married friends, those we knew prior to our marriage and those we have met since our marriage, those of the same gender and of the opposite gender.
Also, throughout our marriage, my husband has had many female friends whom I did not know, but I had no objection to him going to SCA events alone, chatting with them, wandering off to chat with them when we visited, e-mailing them, meeting them for coffee, that sort of thing.
TRUST IS NECESSARY in a marriage, or it will degenerate into suspicion and controlling behavior, which ultimately will drive you apart, the opposite of what you intended.
Also, I want to be friends with people because we get along and have things in common, NOT because I am or she is forced into it because of whom we’re married to.
3. It’s ludicrous because Tracy focused so much on what she demanded of other people, but gave them nothing, gave me nothing, gave no apologies for nasty behavior, no acknowledgement of how her husband is charming and easy to be friends with, but she turns people off from friendship with her.
4. It’s ludicrous because it violates my own rights to choose my friends, choose my confidantes, put up boundaries against people like her, and be able to tell for myself when someone is not good to be around.
5. It’s ludicrous because–from Richard’s own words–she did not live by the same rules which she imposed on Richard and everyone else. She did NOT befriend me before chatting with, playfully flirting with, or going to a concert with my husband.
Richard did NOT require that all her friends be friends with him as well, nor did she impose such a rule on herself. Only Richard’s friends had to follow this rule.
6. It’s ludicrous because it takes the focus off the true offender–her, the one who abuses her husband, children, and anyone else she chooses–and puts it on a scapegoat.
I knew just a few weeks into her rooming with us that she was a bad and emotionally dangerous person. She was also bigger than I am and violent.
Forcing me into friendship with her was bullying and controlling behavior from both her and Richard, from the very beginning.
So when I think back, it’s not at all surprising that I dug in my heels and refused to go beyond polite hellos and responses to her comments or questions.
Jeff thinks one reason for her jealousy was that she knew I could easily steal away Richard, just by being nice and sweet to him, hanging on his every word and laughing at his jokes, a huge contrast to Tracy’s treatment of him.
But Jeff feels the real reason for her seeing me as a threat to her marriage, was not as a potential affair-partner, but as a confidante, someone who could open Richard’s eyes to just how badly Tracy was treating him and the kids, especially since I didn’t keep my mouth shut about it.
But of course, Tracy wouldn’t want to admit to this, so she conveniently fell back on the “moving in on my husband!” angle.
After all, Richard flirted with lots of people, who also flirted with him, but she didn’t seem to mind that.
And also, after she spouted on Facebook that she finally got to say what she wanted to me and no longer sit back and be “quiet and nice” (she doesn’t even know the meaning of “quiet and nice”)–
Which is far more socially acceptable, far more likely to get the approval of her friends and family: saying I was the person most likely to convince Richard that she’s abusing him and the kids, and that for his own safety and his kids’ safety, he needs to get out NOW–
or saying that I was “violating boundaries” and “moving in on” him?
I found this in Dear Abby on April 11, 2012:
DEAR ABBY: My sister, Beth, and I are very close, but a constant source of contention is her boyfriend, Brody. Beth and Brody have broken up several times, and each time it happens, she fills me in on every horrible thing he has ever done.
They always seem to get back together, and then Beth expects me to like him despite everything I know. Does the fact that she forgives and forgets mean that I have to do the same? –TOO MUCH INFO IN OHIO
DEAR TOO MUCH INFO: No, it doesn’t. But you should be civil, even if you’re not warm and friendly. Then cross your fingers and hope your sister recognizes less drama is healthier and the relationship ends soon.
See? Even Dear Abby says you don’t have to be more than civil with your friend’s abusive significant other!
And I was always civil with Tracy, always polite and kind, saying hello and good-bye, responding to her questions, occasionally asking her things or paying her a compliment, occasionally chatting with her, giving her things, smiling at her, even biting my tongue when I had to, not mentioning the state of the house, not complaining when she snarked at me.
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
4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children
- 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
6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- 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
7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build
- 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
9. The fallout; a second chance?
- 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
11. Struggle to regain normalcy
- 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
12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other
13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary
14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges
- 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
Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing