Was Richard’s betrayal driven by Narcissism–or Stockholm Syndrome?

From Love and Stockholm Syndrome:

Don’t feel the victim’s behavior is against the family or friends. It may be a form of survival or a way of lowering stress. Victims may be very resistive, angry, and even hostile due to the complexity of their relationship with the controller/abuser.

They may even curse, threaten, and accuse loved ones and friends. This hostile defensiveness is actually self-protection in the relationship–an attempt to avoid “trouble”.

I can only hope this is true…otherwise I can’t explain how my “best friend” turned into an abuser himself….Abuse sends out hostile waves that must be stopped before they do even more damage.  [I posted this top part on Facebook on June 9, 2011.]

I have no way of knowing how much of the sweet and gentle person I knew, and how much of the narcissistic jackass who excused his wife’s abuses, tried to make everyone pacify her by giving in to her, got angry if somebody responded to her abuses with anger or abuse–was real.

I have no idea if he was putting on his best front for me in the beginning, hiding his true, violent, self-centered self, or if I was getting a glimpse of what he could be on his own, without the constant pinpricks of living with a shrew.

It is possible that he was improving himself, going from the self-acknowledged sins of his past to a new, righteous self saved by the Blood of Christ.  But that over time, living with an abuser turned him into a peacemaker who let his wife abuse and be right while he blamed the victims for the abuse.

Don’t picture my father as a obsequious, weak man. He is nothing of the sort. He was a man of strength and forthrightness at one time…a long time ago.

This was a man who would never stand by to watch some stranger get attacked and he not intervene. With fists if need be.

This was not true, though, with his own children. He seems to have had no perspective where it concerned how his wife was…and how she treated his own children.

He saved his pity for her. He made allowances for her bad behavior because he believed her childhood explained (and justified) her bad behavior as an adult.

Because he made these allowances for the perpetrator, he was not able to see his way clear to protect his children from the beast. Because he pitied the perp, he ended up consigning helpless children to her abuses.

He loved my mother above all else. His children were unwanted and annoying appendages to his idol, my mother.

He tolerated us because he loved her. This also made it easy for him to demand of us better behavior than he expected from a full-grown woman, his wife.

He only ‘loved’ us when we were invisible or when we performed as he expected us to.

My father today is a bitter, angry, cynical man. His mind gradually poisoned by Worm Tongue against his children and extended family.

I have evidence in his own writing that he has surrendered his integrity in order to keep peace with the devil. His moral compass is so broken that he feels righteous and justified to demand of me, his grown daughter, that I too capitulate to the selfish demands of his infernal wife.

He sees me as the problem because I will not bend over and grab the ankles in order to ‘make peace’…like he has.

Yes, indeed. The price for peace with a villain is very high indeed. It has cost my father much. He has lost every one of his extended family members. He has lost at least one daughter.

All he has left is his evil wife. And, perhaps, the one daughter who greatly resembles his evil wife, my sister.

Was it really worth defending the indefensible all these years? I highly doubt it. I have seen clear indications that much of the time he can’t stand to be around my mother.

They live separate lives. He speaks impatiently and angrily with her much of the time.

There are times when he is tender and indulgent with my mother. These are rare times when she has managed to use enough of her feminine charms to soften him.

He is not a happy man. He has paid out too much of his soul, though, to cash in his chips. He will stay with her to the bitter, ugly end.

Count carefully the ultimate cost of ‘peace at any and all costs’. It is very steep. In the end, all you will be left with is the cold comfort of your pretended integrity and righteousness minus your soul. —The High Price of Peace at Any Cost

Yes, Richard and Tracy ascribe to the “must stay married at all costs because of God’s commands” point of view.  But I don’t believe God means that people should stay with those who abuse them, abuse the children, and spread their poison from generation to generation.

On the contrary, Christ–normally even-tempered and loving with those he spoke to and chastened–was brutal in his words toward the Pharisees and those with evil intentions.

The Jewish culture he spoke to, when he spoke of adultery and divorce, was okay with wives being set aside for petty reasons, such as being bad cooks.

While he also spoke of those who, at the Judgment, will say, “But we said ‘Lord, Lord,'” and he will say, “Depart from me into eternal darkness, because I never knew you”–because they acted righteous while inside their hearts were black.

In fact, the Orthodox Church does allow some leniency in divorce because of hard hearts and the many things people do to destroy their marriages.  It isn’t the all-or-nothing attitude of many fundamentalist or evangelical churches.

I don’t believe there is any righteousness in staying with an abuser for the sake of the children (how is that better for them?) or to avoid the “sin” of divorce.  [Take that, Debi Pearl!  😉  ]

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