A month to the day after the blow-up, August 1, 2010, I went to church expecting a normal Sunday.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I thought I saw Richard get out of a van, but pushed away the thought: I expected they’d never come near me again, after blocking me on Facebook, and certainly wouldn’t come to my church ever again.

But then Jeff said, “They’re here.”

!!!!!  It really was them!  The whole family, at my church!

I wondered, are they here to torment me or to make peace?  Why are they here when they prefer their own church?

The oldest kid started saying, “There’s Jeff!” and getting all excited.  Jeff told me later that Tracy seemed to yell at her for this.  Richard waved at Jeff, but Jeff ignored him.

I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, especially since Jeff was going to his own church and I was there alone, without Jeff or my son as moral support.

I shook so badly that I feared I’d start a fire lighting my candle.  I trembled all through the service.

I spent it in torment, nervous, anxious, shaking, wondering what they were thinking, wondering if I’d make it through without fainting or crying, praying to God and Mary for help.  (We fast all night and morning before Eucharist, hence the fear of fainting.)

My emotional state was so bad that I had to go to the bathroom at least once, to deal with how my nerves were affecting my body.

Just a few days before, I dreamed the children came up to me somewhere and started begging me to come see them, but I was sad because I couldn’t.

And now here they were, in real life.  The kids avoided me and said nothing to me, looking very subdued, and it almost killed me.

In the lines going up to receive blessed bread from the priest, which were two lines coming from either side of the church, Richard and I ended up across from each other, at the head of our lines, receiving bread from the priest at the same time.

I looked at Richard, to try to transmit–at the very least–a silent message of no hate, but he avoided my eyes.  I knew it was on purpose.

I called Jeff to pick me up as soon as the service ended, told him I couldn’t take it much longer, and went to coffee hour to spend the ten minutes or so it would take for him to get there.

They came to coffee hour.  I can still remember that it was strawberry cake.

None of them spoke to me except for one or two of the children.  They said very little to me though, which made me wonder what their parents had told them.  Usually they jumped up and ran over to greet and hug me whenever they saw me, but now they were subdued.

It broke my heart.  I wondered if the parents were angry at me, or if they were actually waiting for me to make a move, when I’d been waiting for them.

Coffee hour was in the basement, such a tiny basement that I could sit on the opposite side and still hear every word they said.  I heard Richard say he’d been told the floor was brand-new; I thought, “Yes, because I’m the one who told you!”

The elderly lady next to me said how nice it was to see kids in the church, referring to Richard and Tracy’s kids.  (Nowadays, you see many children coming to this church again.  But back then, there were few.)  I just quietly agreed, saying nothing else, hiding my true feelings from her.

And the whole time, I kept one eye out for Richard to go off by himself, away from the shrew.  You see, ever since I sent the apology e-mail, I wondered if I should have Jeff say something about it if he ran into Richard at the grocery store, which was bound to happen eventually, and did on occasion.  I would have no peace unless I made sure he actually got it.

Finally, Richard went over to chat with some young men, one a member of the church and the others his friends.  So I went over and quietly asked, “Did you get the apology I sent you?”  He had not.

The others soon drifted off, as if realizing we had to talk privately.  I wondered if one of them, an altar server, had overheard the talk I had with my priest a few weeks before about this.  (In any case, I did eventually tell him everything, in I believe February 2012.)

Richard said, “It’s all good.  I blame myself for everything.”

I said skeptically, “You do?”  But this was promising.

He hadn’t gotten the e-mail.  He made it sound as if it had been lost among hundreds of political e-mails he’d been getting, and many e-mails about stuff that was going on in his family.

I had no idea he was actually lying through his teeth, in the church basement–and easy as you please. 

That in reality, he had blocked my e-mails. 

That his wife had made it impossible to even make peace with him. 

That she had his balls in a vice, controlled his every move with us, and he couldn’t even do the right and Christian thing by Jeff and me without her approval.

I said, “If you want to make peace, all you have to do is say so.”

I meant this as, if they wanted to apologize, but later realized he may have taken it as us apologizing, when it was no such thing.

He told me to call them later about it, and to re-send the e-mail so he could read it.  Which makes his lies even more infuriating, because he knew it was blocked, so why tell me to send an e-mail he can’t receive?

I told him I couldn’t take being spoken to the way Tracy had spoken to me.  This is when he made the ludicrous and appalling remark, described here, “Are some harsh words as offensive as not saying two sentences together to her for a month and a half?”

WHAT?  (“Harsh words” is extremely understated!)   WHAT month and a half? 

And I don’t count my sentences! 

What, ANOTHER rule nobody told me about? 

To this day I have no clue WHAT month and a half this was. 

I am naturally shy and quiet, always have been, and even when I’m not shy with someone, I still tend to say very little in common conversation. 

When we were in the same room, I behaved with her the exact same way I behave with most people, friends and strangers. 

This had not changed one bit in the past month and a half, or whenever the heck he was talking about. 

So I was being falsely accused and blamed for Tracy’s verbal abuse.

And he knew very well, from a conversation we once had, that this was my natural state:

Some time between 2008 and 2010, I told him my aunt just revealed that she always thought my father or brothers must have sexually abused me, because I am so quiet.  I said nothing like that ever happened.

Richard asked if I behaved then as I do now, “Never speaking except when spoken to?”  I said yes.  So he has no excuse for treating me this way and blaming me for Tracy’s abuse, because he knew this was my natural temperament and not meant to offend.

So being naturally quiet was somehow worse than being verbally abused???

Being wary of someone who’s been bullying you for two years and has recently upped the intensity, is worse than being verbally abused????

And this to a person they already knew to be extremely quiet in most social situations?

What kind of people are these two, anyway?

This was yet more proof that my e-mail was not the problem. 

That it wasn’t about me violating Tracy’s rules. 

That it was actually because they are prejudiced against introverts and people with NVLD

They couldn’t plead ignorance, because I made it very clear how my brain worked, how my socializing was, and what I needed, but they didn’t listen. 

In July 2010, August 2010 and probably for some time after, I shared a lot of articles on Facebook about how introverts are maligned and misunderstood, and posted that my ex-friends bullied and abused me for being an introvert.

But back to August 1.  Richard invited me to sit at his table.  I saw Tracy there and said, “Is it safe?”  He said, “She’s not a monster.”  He also said–showing that he obviously did get my good-bye message on Facebook–“She never hated you.”

I beg to differ.  I have to go by Tracy’s actions, not Richard’s lies.  And her actions made it very clear that she hated me for the past two and a half years.

But I reluctantly decided to trust him.  Big mistake.

I tried to be pleasant with Tracy, ask how her summer was going, relay a funny story about my son at T-ball.

She seemed pleasant, smiling and such, which I should have approached warily, but instead I saw it as a good sign that she was ready to apologize for her actions.

The kids were happy to see me and chat with me and the like.

Then Jeff showed up, very surprised–and displeased–to find me sitting with them.  He said nothing to me about it there, but he was very gruff, very reserved with Richard and Tracy.

Richard told Jeff his D&D character (Friday campaign) was “fighting monsters in the void.”  (He said nothing about our characters in the other campaign we’d been doing, with my character Phoena.)

It makes one wonder if he expected us to “come to our senses” and come back, so he kept the character waiting in the wings, rather than coming to us and apologizing.

Oh, no, an apology would be beyond him, because he’s a narcissist….

Jeff hugged the kids, since we missed them and they weren’t a part of this.  Richard told Jeff to give them a call later.

I complained to Richard for blocking us on Facebook, said the apology e-mail was sent three weeks ago but he never responded.

He said something about blocking us because he didn’t want a flame war, and the blocking being temporary until everyone cooled down.

Another lie, but I didn’t know this at the time, that the truth was Tracy had him by the balls and made him do this.

I had seen it as a sign that he didn’t want to speak to us, so we should leave him alone.

He told me we should let them know when/if we want to sit down and talk.  Then Jeff and I quietly left; I don’t remember saying good-bye.

At home, I re-sent the apology e-mail, cutting out the bits about reconciliation being impossible, maybe tweaking one or two things.

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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