I was hardly the first friend of Richard’s to be driven off by Tracy, or even the third, and probably won’t be the last. I don’t want to enumerate them all–especially since I don’t know how many there are–but there are several I’m aware of. I take solace in this, because it shows I must not blame myself: It’s not me.
It also wasn’t just about her being jealous of other women. She had various reasons to drive away these friends. She also was nasty to and ran off one of Richard’s close male friends, “Todd,” in June 2008, because he did something on an online game which she did not like.
Richard later told Todd that she did this because, back when Todd first came to visit them, he nearly beat Tracy at Risk. This made him her secret enemy. So one day, she had her revenge:
I still have the printouts, because most of the argument was posted online, except for some private conversations which weren’t posted, and I wanted a full picture of just what th’ freaking heck was going on. So I printed up dozens of pages, in order to read them closely without the glare of the computer screen.
I even have the original, private conversation between members of their alliance “government,” because Todd opened it to the rest of the gamers some time later. So I can go back and read it over closely, without Richard whispering in my ear all the bad things Todd was doing, unlike the first time I read it.
Right here in the printouts is a fully documented case of DARVO, or Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. Because I can see it so clearly here, involving a different target than I, I can see how easily Tracy can pull that DARVO trick on any target.
And what I see burns me with the injustice Todd suffered from her. People in these games argue and war and flame each other all the time, but Todd was supposedly Tracy and Richard’s friend–and one of Richard’s best friends, not just online but off. This got personal.
Have you ever marveled at how your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex is able to do and say the most hurtful, underhanded and contemptible things and then portray herself as the innocent victim?
Have you ever wondered how she is able to convincingly accuse others, usually her victims, of the abusive behaviors and attitudes of which she is actually guilty? Wonder no more, the answer may be DARVO. –Shrink4Men
This was a browser-based game in which you set up your own moon colony, could form alliances with other colonies, and the alliances could declare wars on each other. Todd and Tracy were in the same alliance, and in the “government.”
One night, they disagreed on the rules of the alliance’s hierarchy. Todd had set up the rules for the alliance, a system of government which he worked hard to write, and which was his baby.
Todd was just trying to keep to the rules as he wrote them, while helping her get what she wanted regarding who got what position in the government. She wanted some things which he said were against the rules. She disagreed with him over this.
So in an effort of peace and helping a friend, he posted for the alliance to vote on an amendment so she could shuffle around some “ministers” the way she wanted.
But she completely misunderstood what he was doing and suddenly went off on him, posting a profanity-laden message publicly to the alliance’s main forum, also cussing him out in chat, accusing him of acting like a spoiled child and pouting.
Instead of picking up the phone and asking him in a non-blaming fashion what he was doing, she publicly posted this rage episode in the forum, and then, as he put it, he woke up to her screaming at him in chat the next morning.
I read this part of the printouts closely, but could not figure out where the heck she got the idea that Todd was somehow trying to thwart her or do a “power grab,” as Richard claimed.
All I saw was Todd doing his darndest, even staying up late, to bend the rules to help her get what she wanted.
(In fact, this reminds me of someone I encountered on a BBS back in college, a teenager with the handle Avenger who started a huge flame war with my friend Sharon and me. It was all because Sharon wanted to be considerate of the kids on the BBS when setting up times for an evening BBS bowling party. The Avenger and Tracy are very much alike–both mean girls who take offense at the weirdest things–and I could not stand the Avenger.)
Jeff and I both wondered where on earth this came from after a 6-year friendship. Shouldn’t Todd be cut some slack? Todd was also baffled, just as I was on 7/1/10 when Tracy raged at me about an e-mail I sent to Richard.
In re-reading the printouts, I saw absolutely no evidence that Todd pouted about anything, or acted spoiled or childish. He just had concerns about what was allowed by the rules. He did not argue about it, just decided to help her by requesting an amendment to the rules so she could do what she wanted.
Just as it did with me, her raging, cussing, accusations and cuts on Todd’s character, shocked him, dismayed him, and put him on the defensive. At first, he tried to be more diplomatic, but it was completely understandable when he noted, “And as for that utter tripe you stated about my character? It’s offensive….”
She continued raging at him and telling everyone he was being awful. It’s amazing how much stamina this woman has for rages. I also wonder where she found the time, with four kids.
They went into a chat on IRC, which went on for many hours. He tried and tried but could not get her to see things from his point of view. A mediator tried to calm her down and tell her to stop taking things personally, but even he couldn’t do it. Eventually, both sides turned ridiculous, not just Tracy.
As I read this thread over again, I really feel for Todd, because I see Tracy going on a rage episode for some imagined slight that did not actually occur, all because she thought she wasn’t getting her way–when Todd’s actions were specifically meant to give her what she wanted.
I see her picking a fight and poking and prodding Todd, calling him a baby, not listening to his point of view, accusing him of having a temper tantrum. (This is called projection. Abusers will accuse you of doing things they’re actually doing.)
A common tactic of a narcissist is to project their own issues on to their victim. This is an attempt to hide any actions or truths they do not want brought to light about themselves.
It is their hope that by projecting issues of their own onto you it will distract you from their malignant behavior. –Lisa E. Scott, The “Crazy-Making” Behavior of a Narcissist
I see her trying to get her own way and THAT’S IT. (My abusive ex Phil was like that, as my friends noted.)
So–like anyone else who keeps getting poked and prodded–he got angry. Abusers will do this to provoke you into doing something mean, so that they can point to you as the abuser. This is called baiting.
Then Tracy took it from the alliance forum to all the other alliances, making it a gamewide argument, using her more “mature” language (just as she did to Jeff after writing foul obscenities to me) to accuse Todd of starting a coup and being childish. Then she declared war on him.
Her explanation to the other alliances of what happened, is not what I actually saw happen in the alliance forums. She changed some important details to make Todd look bad and her look right. She made it sound like she was being rational and adult while he was flying off the handle.
She continued twisting facts while arguing with him publicly in the gamewide forums. Then other people–who were not in their alliance and did not have access to their forum, so did not see what really happened–started backing her up and accusing Todd of going crazy.
This is all part of an abuser’s modus operandi, making the target of abuse appear to be the abuser, appear to be crazy, so no one will believe him.
And things went out of control for days, with both sides doing terrible things, including Todd calling her nasty names. She baited him, and unfortunately, he took the bait.
This also happens in physically abusive relationships: An abusive woman will slap, smack, etc. until her husband fights back–then he ends up in jail.
Then Tracy posted that as long as she’s going to be called a b**ch, she might as well act like one. Which is totally not the way to solve problems with a friend, and a horrible attitude. Nice people would not behave that way.
(It also sounds very familiar, because after she found out I thought she was being possessive and controlling with Richard, over the years she did everything she could to prove me correct.)
It makes me wonder how often she twisted facts when telling Richard things I supposedly had done. I am aware of several times that she lied.
I see firsthand how she manipulated things with Todd, flying off the handle over a slight which only existed in her mind, and then lied to others with just enough of the facts to make it believable. I see how she refused to let Todd tell her that things were not the way she thought they were.
So I see that with me, she was able to manipulate things to make me seem like I was trying to move in on her husband, and her seem like the rational principled one, leaving me feeling for quite some time like I didn’t know what was really true.
But now I see far more clearly just how easily she manipulated Richard and me. I see how she refused to hear that things were any different than what she thought, how she refused to listen to reason, or to let anybody else have an opinion different from hers.
So she got her own way while I felt steamrolled over–and like not even Richard cared. There was no compromise here: It was all her way or the highway, and she had to be right, because nobody else’s feelings mattered.
I see in the printouts from the Todd situation that she did the same thing to him, making him feel like Richard didn’t care anymore, like he was stabbing Todd in the back.
It is yet more evidence that I need to take everything she ever said about me, all her opinions on my motivations and actions and what was “appropriate” or not, all her cuts on my character, all her quick insults, and throw it all in the trashbin, because this is something she does. And refuse to let Richard back into my life until he sees just what she did.
I know of two other former friends of Richard whom she used to butt heads with as well (though I don’t know details), so this is a pattern with her.
Nowhere do I see her calming down during the arguments with Todd and saying, You know, a longtime friendship isn’t worth all this; I should step back and cool off. And I see Richard getting pulled into it and feeling he had to stick up for Tracy, which was unfair to Todd.
I see it becoming, for Todd, not so much about a game but about a long, close, dear friendship which suddenly blew up in his face for no good reason. I see him trying desperately to keep it from happening, but going totally the wrong way about it.
But I understand how he felt, because being publicly condemned by your friend over a game, is madness and infuriating. All Todd wanted was for Tracy to stop accusing him of things he didn’t do, and see that he was actually trying to help her out, so he wouldn’t feel like his best friends were backstabbing him over a stupid game.
But Richard and Tracy both began doing things that made it worse:
Richard helped Tracy write a declaration of war, worded in such a way to appear that anyone who agreed with Todd, was one of her alliance’s targets–though later he said it didn’t mean that.
(So he really should understand how easy it was for my own e-mail to him to not mean what Tracy thought it meant. Unless, of course, he lied about the meaning of that DOW.)
Richard also kept telling me that Todd was doing a “power grab,” and telling me the horrible things Todd was saying to Tracy, while here was Tracy being nasty all along to Todd.
Her lies were obvious, cold and calculated, all because she imagined a slight that did not actually exist.
I saw how other people on the board got her side of the story and assumed she was right, but they didn’t have Todd’s side.
I saw Todd accused of going crazy because of a game, by people who had no access to the logs of what really happened. Or when they got access, they didn’t care enough to actually read it all.
It all fits the behavior of an abuser or narcissist going on a smear campaign.
Even though she was the first one to make nasty cuts on Todd’s character in public, Richard got angry at Todd for making nasty cuts (“quick insults”) on Tracy’s character, and said Todd couldn’t take it back even if he wanted to.
But what about the nasty things Tracy had said to Todd long before he got fed up? Did they count for nothing? Was it okay for her to say things for which Richard yelled at Todd?
The problem lay with both sides, two very volatile and young personalities who had to be right. But Tracy fired the first shot, took it from an ordinary discussion of game politics and made it personal, made it nasty, all over a frickin’ GAME, and all over a slight which was only in her imagination. She ruthlessly libeled him and defamed his character.
And Richard kept trying to tell me that it was all Todd’s fault, that it was a “power grab,” when I could see different, from what was posted on the game forums, and when I already knew some of Tracy’s temper. I can see that same pattern all through my own interactions with her. By seeing what happened with Todd, it’s obvious that I’m not crazy or imagining it.
Both sides were to blame for what happened: One person said Tracy had a “stubborn as a rock mentality,” and Todd, who has a temper of his own, really shouldn’t have cussed at Tracy and called her names. But I saw that Todd did try to give her some of the things she wanted.
And to be fair to Todd, as I wrote above, and find in various accounts on the Net (see here, for example), abusers can get after you so much that you finally snap and start behaving badly yourself. The abuser then uses this as proof that you’re the abuser. This is “crazy-making,” “projection,” “gaslighting,” “baiting.”
And no, in the beginning Todd was not being nasty at all: His own nastiness appears to have started after hours in chat of Tracy’s refusing to back down and listen to him, and continuing to accuse him of a power grab. Then he began lashing out in frustration.
None of his concessions were enough; they went on for hours online, arguing about this, back and forth, posting much of it on the game forum.
He wasn’t “power grabbing”; he just understood the alliance constitution (which he himself constructed) differently than Tracy did. Richard should have called Tracy on her insults of Todd, but didn’t.
So of course Todd felt ganged up on, like Richard backstabbed him and let Tracy get away with whatever she wanted. It’s very familiar, in fact….
Todd was like me, wary of Tracy because he knew she was evil, but friends of a sort with her because she was married to Richard.
Yet, after the way she kept treating me, the things I saw her do or say to Richard, the kids, Todd, and others, and the things Richard told me she did to him and the kids–Richard and Tracy kept acting like it was somehow my fault, my problem, something I had to fix, that I couldn’t get close to her, didn’t want to confide my secrets in her, didn’t seek out her company.
[Update 11/16/11: Note also how narcissists and abusers can turn things around so that you appear to be the manipulator, such as with Judge Adams, who has made his daughter Hillary appear to be manipulative and spoiled, after she posted the smoking gun video of him beating her.]
More details of this story are here, including her sociopathic smile over something Todd supposedly did, but I don’t have room to put everything in this post.