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.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing moments you will have in dealing with a personality-disordered person is their near-telepathic ability to sense the exact basis of your aversion to them. For example, if you consider them “toxic,” somehow you’ll soon find yourself being called “toxic”–by them. –Dr. Tara, Predator detection and the devil of plurality: personality disorders and the nature of good and evil
Yep–the things she herself was guilty of, the things I saw her doing, the things that even my mother said about her, she accused me of over the years: manipulation, lack of respect, childish behavior, needing to grow up, not respecting boundaries.
I understand and keep boundaries just fine, thank you very much, despite her accusations.
Richard, however, crosses boundaries with people all the time, which he himself admitted to, when he first moved in with us:
He made Jeff uncomfortable by pretending to be “after” him.
He made me think he was trying to start an affair with me.
He posts things on the Web to other women that are far beyond anything he ever said to me, such as “Richard is sexing [Internet name of some online woman].”
And Tracy herself constantly crosses other people’s boundaries, including mine, by her nasty behavior, and by expecting them to just shut up and take it.
Just as she accused Todd of a “power grab” and being “childish” and a “baby” when she herself was doing these things, and blamed him for getting upset over how she treated him.
She complained about me getting upset over the “consequences” of my “behavior,” while she herself was getting upset over the consequences (lost friendship, loss of free rides, loss of occasional free money or food, loss of free babysitting) of her own behavior (nastiness).
While it is good and right to accept constructive criticism, and ponder one’s own contribution to a problem, an abuser does not do this, and will use your own tendency to do so, against you. Your apologies will be seen as capitulation, as her being “right,” as her winning the war, as an excuse to continue beating you over the head for your “crimes.”
Constructive criticism comes from someone who wants to work with you and preserve your relationship. Blaming from an abuser is her against you, her needing power, her needing to win, her needing you as a punching bag and scapegoat.
Todd also said that Tracy yells but does nothing to help fix a problem. I never saw Tracy help to fix the problems between us. Rather, she got Richard to tell me how I needed to change, how I kept doing everything wrong.
In all those printouts of their argument, I never saw evidence of Tracy trying to resolve things with Todd, but only blaming him for everything.
The issue of her not helping out with chores kept coming up again and again and again, while she nagged Richard to clean the house. Even Todd noticed this.
A person has to learn how to distinguish constructive criticism from blame, or else s/he could end up mulling things over and over again (as I did throughout the friendship and then for many months afterward), trying to figure out what s/he did that was so wrong, being puzzled, feeling terrible without cause.
Just as a writer needs to learn the difference between a helpful critique and suggestions which would damage her piece, a person needs to learn the difference between needing to accept responsibility for a shortcoming or wrongdoing, and being scapegoated by an abuser.
You will note that no matter how nasty Tracy behaved toward me over the years, I was always the one who ended up apologizing, as she threw the blame on me and took none on herself.
I was always blamed for her inability to let Richard be himself and trust him. I was always blamed for every nasty word she said to me on other issues, every snark, every jab.
Even Richard joined in and blamed me for her nasty behavior the day of the Incident, and therefore showed that he expected me to apologize for her behavior.
And I was sick and tired of it. I was sick and tired of being blamed for her nasty behavior because I’m naturally introverted and quiet, and because I naturally withdraw from mean people. I was sick and tired of being blamed for Tracy’s desire to keep a tight rein on her husband and control his every interaction.
And her deciding that Richard had to block me on Facebook and by e-mail and not speak to me at all until she okayed it, because she didn’t like me sticking up for myself and objecting to her nastiness,
was the last straw, the proof that there was no way to reason with this person because she’s driven by emotion and does not know the meaning of “reason.”
It’s highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she treats you is abusive. These people won’t take ownership for their bad behaviors.
They always have a justification and rationalization. It’s your fault. You “made” them treat you badly.
In order for the emotionally abusive person to see their behavior for what it is, they have to be able to tolerate cognitive dissonance. –Dr. Tara, Things you need to know about emotional abuse and bullies
Narcissistic mothers are masters of invalidation. It’s part of their gaslighting armoury. They dismiss and undermine your feelings and emotions to make you feel only what’s acceptable to them.
This means that they get to treat you the way they want, and maneouvre the situation so you don’t get to feel the appropriate responses.
It is cruel beyond measure. Of all the abuses heaped upon daughters of narcissistic mothers, this might be the worst. If you can’t even trust and own your own feelings – well, what have you left?…
Because of this invalidation daughters of narcissistic mothers can grow up believing that they are abnormal or twisted.
This is because our totally natural and normal feelings are told to be wrong (either in as many words, or by implication), and so we absorb the message that we’re wrong to have them. This is totally head-wrecking stuff. —Invalidation
I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.
People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking. The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times!
The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”. The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.
Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better. It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system.
I have observed through my nearly half-century of life that those who are capable of being cruel and abusive emotionally to someone they ostensibly “love” are the exact same people with very tender regard for their own feelings.
They are so easy to offend unintentionally by a look or a word. Keep in mind as you continue reading that I’m talking about those whom we find ourselves time and again unintentionally setting off.
That is a red flag. Someone who is easily offended for reasons that are never clear to you at the time.
…Let me say it another way. The more self-involved someone is, the more hyper-sensitive their feelings become.
Many teens are a good example of the combination of insecurity and immaturity which makes it very easy to step on their feelings before you realize what you’ve done.
Adults who are emotionally arrested at their teens will continue to be very easily offended and will often justify being at least occasionally abusive to those close to them.
Don’t confuse my use of the words “hyper-sensitive” to mean what the narcissist means when they accuse you of being hyper-sensitive because your feelings are hurt by their cutting remarks or cruel behaviors.
I’m talking about the kind of sensitivity we call “walking on eggshells” which describes how people act when they never know what will set that person off.
Which means that offense is taken where a reasonable person would never even think to get offended over such things.
Narcissists often pretend to be offended in order to steer the behaviors of those around them to suit their purposes. It is a manipulation tactic to constantly be looking for reasons to be offended as the narcissist does.
But, in addition to the intentional offense that narcissists take over what would never be perceived as a slight by a normal person, the narcissist is easy to offend in actuality.
Pop their grandiosity bubble, fail to reflect their illusion of themselves back to them as they want you to, remind them of reality in any way they have chosen to ignore, fail in any way to give them what they want even if they haven’t told you what they want, and you’ll find yourself dealing with the intensely offended narcissist.
Most times you’ve unintentionally done it. That never gets you off the hook.
…Do you find yourself flagellating yourself when you “hurt” the feelings of someone who regularly abuses you and your feelings? What is up with that???
Why would you waste one more moment telling yourself you’re a mean, “bad” person when you see that hurt puppy-dog look in your abuser’s eyes? —Do They Have Feelings?
After all, what is so “offensive” about me being a naturally quiet and introverted person, that she felt I was somehow hurting her by being me?
Through my life I have made many friends who like me just fine and accept that I’m quiet! Maybe one-on-one with them I can get into long, deep conversations.
But in groups, even small ones, I tend to be very quiet, even if I’ve known and been comfortable with the people for years! They just accept this as “my way.”
But to Tracy, it’s such a horrible offense that I can’t even get coffee with Richard and I deserve her verbal abuse for it??? “Hyper-sensitive” is right! And Richard called me very sensitive? (There he was acting like the abuser in the quote above.)
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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