I suggest a six-month break

Now, again Tracy tried to manipulate, control and emotionally blackmail me by insisting on a “conference,” or I would continue to be forbidden from speaking to or e-mailing Richard, and his Facebook/e-mail accounts would remain blocked to us all.

I could not imagine what else she could possibly have a problem with, and wasn’t so sure I wanted to hear all her nitpicky little complaints.  I almost gave in, but Jeff was vehemently against it.

I could see nothing in it but an airing of grievances (her hurtful accusations yet again, my own list of grievances which was 6 pages long at that point, 30 pages now), a degeneration into yelling and screaming, and a friendship even more in tatters than it was already.

I wrote the list of grievances so I could discuss my own problems with them, rather than it being all “Let’s beat on Nyssa day.”  If Tracy thought it would be all her yelling at me about all my supposed crimes and me listening with nothing to say in my own defense, with nothing to say about her own many crimes–she had another think coming.

The list was supposed to be part of working things through.  But with each thing I wrote I grew angrier and angrier, with both Tracy and Richard.  I finally put down my pen and said to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I e-mailed to Mike at 1pm on August 2,

I just wrote out 6 pages of grievances….She still has more for me and I don’t know what they could be….I’m not sure if I can do this.

Mike wondered why I cared so much.  He said, “Honestly, these folks seem to be toxic, hurtful, not nice kinds of people.”

I said it was because not too long ago, Richard and I were very close, that we were dear friends and he was a kind of spiritual guide.

I then called my priest for advice on how to conduct this conference, but he said there should be no need for a conference after I’d already apologized.

I said I never hurt them intentionally.  My priest asked if I knew what I had done, other than what I apologized for and what she had already said.

I didn’t, just got some vague reference to things I had supposedly been doing all this time, that she hadn’t told me about yet, various ways my behavior supposedly had to “change.”

My priest said, “You can’t put your finger on it, can you?”  

He could see nothing anybody would find offensive in me. 

He said if there’s to be any relationship, Tracy must accept my apology and not keep going on about how I acted badly.

I saw it as being steamrolled yet again, like always, my thoughts and opinions having no weight, while she gets to call the shots in everything.

She didn’t follow my conditions for talking to them about reconciliation, that she not speak more abuse to me, so why should I follow her conditions and keep talking with her any further?

And the following Sunday, when I told my priest what ultimately happened, he said, “Friendship is not about conditions!  It’s about respect!”

I was sick to death of dealing with Tracy. 

Jeff’s blood pressure had spiked around the same time she came into our lives, and over the day or two we spent messaging each other the first days of August, he was furious with her.  

He was so angry and disturbed by Tracy’s hateful, controlling and manipulative attitude in these messages that he tossed and turned all night. 

It seemed to me that the only way to reconcile was to stop dwelling, forgive and move on, without re-hashing crap again and again.

I had tried to do this for two and a half years–even shredded the diaries, letters and e-mails I wrote about her behavior during the time they lived with us.

I even asked Richard to pray for me during Lent 2008 so I could squash thoughts which I did not describe to him, thoughts about how evil she had acted.

Heck, for those two and a half years, I couldn’t even clean the basement without thinking of how she had ripped on my “routine.”

She had to stop going on and on about me, and I had to rip up the 6 pages.

Jeff and I wanted to have a six-month break instead, an amicable break during which we could say hi at church and they could ask us for help if they needed it, and let everyone’s anger die down before trying to talk again.

My priest said this was wise, that a conference would do no good at all, that I apologized so why have a conference? that friendships should have no conditions, but respect for each other.  

(He later said her reaction to our offer of a break showed what kind of a friend she truly was.)

I explicitly wrote in my e-mail to her that we wanted an amicable break, in which we could say hi to each other and they could ask for help.  I wrote that Jeff and I wanted this.

One of my friends broke up with his best friend for abuse around the same time we broke things off with them.  He told his friend that they could meet again in “a year and a day” to talk it over.  The friend did not take this well, though when the year and a day passed, he was calmer and more pleasant.

I had this in mind when I wrote this e-mail to Tracy, because I wanted to have this chance to meet again when tempers had cooled, and try again.

I had grieved terribly over the loss of Richard and the children, and wanted them back in my life, but Tracy’s demands were impossible.

I wrote to Mike,

[Jeff and I] decided to take a break.  I don’t know how they’re going to take the idea, but I looked at the situation, Jeff’s anger, Tracy’s anger, my anger, and realized that a “conference” would devolve into shouting and more anger.

We don’t need to keep airing grievances; we need to forgive and put it behind us.  That’s what my priest said as well.

I hope that time will do the trick, time and prayer and talking with spiritual fathers.  As soon as I wrote the e-mail asking for a long break, not permanent and not as enemies, I felt some of the stress begin to lift.

But Tracy saw it as yet another offense.  She told me off with words like, we threw their olive branch back in their faces, “Have a nice life” and “You know where we live if you decide to GROW UP and stop feeling hurt over the consequences of YOUR behavior.”

(Amazingly horrid, isn’t it, how she deflects responsibility for her abuse onto other people?)

Um, no, you know where we live if you decide to grow up and realize that abuse is wrong and that what you did was wrong.  

(Especially since they’ve moved several times since 2010, and I no longer know where they are.)

But of course, I couldn’t say so because she immediately blocked me on Facebook, where we were having this conversation.

So she can dish out abuse but can’t take criticism.  LOL

And she speaks like such a child.  That’s the child’s way of arguing: low blows and hurtful comments wherever possible, throwing mud at someone as they walk away from you.

I wrote to Mike, “Just no willingness to look at her own behavior as being nasty and contributing to the problem.  We’re sick of dealing with her.  Done.”

On August 7 I wrote to Mike, “The more Tracy acts this way, and the more Richard allows her, the more they push us away.”

What I should have written in reply if she hadn’t blocked me, since obviously diplomacy was going nowhere:

Dang, Todd was right: You ARE a horrid person, AND nuts.  You are jealous, possessive, controlling, verbally and physically abusive to everyone, ungrateful, spiteful, snarky and bullying, truly evil and downright nasty.

That’s why I never liked you, so don’t get some idea in your head that it was about wanting to “move in” on your husband.

You haven’t yet recognized the consequences of YOUR behavior are that you and Richard are losing one friend after another, and you don’t recognize that YOUR behavior has been the source and cause of all this trouble over the past few years, that things were going great until you decided to be suspicious, possessive and controlling.

But I doubt you ever will, unless and until you decide to get help for your personality disorder.

So good riddance to you, I hope I never see you again as long as I live, and don’t ever come near me again.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have written that if given the chance.  In fact, I was still in “catch more flies with honey” mode and was going to write something much kinder when I discovered she’d blocked me.  But it is how I felt, and it feels good to vent it out here on my blog.

Apparently, it was wrong of me to say things that accidentally hurt her feelings (when she eavesdropped as I complained to my husband about her many abuses), but I should just accept it as my due if she said things that deliberately hurt my feelings, so I could hear her.

Even though what I said was privately to my husband in an attempt to figure out what to do about things as a united front, or privately to Richard hoping he would help get her to stop her hurtful behavior,

while what she said was directly and deliberately said in order to hurt, to belittle, to demean, to humiliate me.

Apparently, during this whole thing, for us to consider her deliberate verbal assault, deliberately hurtful words, to be an insult that could not be resolved, an offense worth ending a friendship over, especially with her lack of apology for it–over my unwitting and unintended offense that was made while trying to patch up a dear friendship which I feared was slipping away from me for no known reason–

–was a terrible insult to her and somehow childish.

Apparently, wanting to cool down for a while, give her venomous anger a chance to go away, and offering to still be friendly and help them out during the break, was somehow an insult and childish.

Apparently her mind, formed in an extremely abusive environment itself, could not fathom that verbal and physical assaults could go too far, that such assaults are the true childishness, that the adult thing is precisely what Jeff and I were doing.  

Someone who throws tantrums like a 2-year-old, doesn’t get to tell me to grow up.

She complained that we threw their olive branch back in their faces–hogwash.  (As my priest said, “What olive branch?”)

Um, no, I’m the one who extended an olive branch, they dug in their heels, and then she threw it back at me.

Me submitting to her abuse or else, and not being allowed to have a voice or opinion of my own, is her idea of an olive branch?

She was certainly playing the victim.  Did she or Richard honestly think that ANYONE would remain friends with them after such treatment?

But of course, Tracy blames me for everything, thinks I’m being childish, thinks I’m the reason the friendship is over, told me to “have a nice life” because I refused to restore friendship on her tyrannical terms.

The consequences of her behavior are ended friendships, time and time again, yet she just doesn’t get it.

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