I was talking to a friend yesterday who has had issues with harassment. Whenever I hear about something that I don’t fully understand, I will do some research on it. What I found on an internet search last night is that harassment can be devastating to the victim, to the point of causing suicide attempts or aggressive behavior. And, it can be done in such a subtle way that the person, organization, or group of people who do it easily get away with it. Sometimes too the purpose of the harassment is to cause suicidal behavior and/or to do anything to damage the person’s reputation and well being, as well as to isolate the victim.
I read a few stories and couldn’t believe how much subtle manipulation and harassment could destroy a person’s life. But, while I was reading it, I started to realize that this actually happened to me when I first moved to Snohomish in 2016.
I’m not going to state who did this because I don’t want more harassment or problems with this group of people. They’ve largely left me alone for some time now, and I don’t want it to start back up again.
When I moved to my current city , I was working through repressed memories of sexual abuse. I was vulnerable and easily triggered. A woman that David and I knew for whatever reason decided to just destroy my life. Apparently she knows about PTSD and has taken college classes in Psychology. What she started to do, then, is to basically just trigger me over and over again in ways that would trigger anyone with PTSD or who had been sexually assaulted. She even manipulated people so that they were the ones who seemingly triggered me even though she would arrange the whole thing. When she triggered me, even if it was through someone else, David and I would tell her that she had done so and ask her not to trigger me anymore. But that only seemed to add fuel to the fire and resulted in more harassment. She also would also do things that would purposefully make me look lazy or that I wasn’t trying when it came to my physical health problems, in other words, she would ask me to do things knowing that I wasn’t able to and then use it as an example to turn people away from me and to ruin my reputation.
What her and the group of people would do particularly to destroy me and to turn people against me was to repeatedly “help” me with something without asking me if it was okay. When I told them that it was not okay to do it because they hadn’t asked ahead of time (and that it was a boundary intrusion), they would get people to feel sorry for them by playing the victim and trying to look like do-gooders who were being mistreated. But I kind of doubt that they even told people that what I really wanted was for them to simply ask me if something was okay before they did it, and that they were very much disrespecting my boundaries and the word no repeatedly, and that they had been told repeatedly that violating my boundaries triggers my PTSD. But they would continue to do what they were doing, which would cause me to get triggered and sometimes very angry, and then use my reaction against me to destroy me and gain attention for themselves.
One thing that they did to try to look helpful, even though they knew that they were harming me and triggering me, was to come over to my house and try to “help out” with household tasks without any notice at all. They would just show up at my house and act like I should just put up with it. They would do this at least a few times a week and sometimes more. They would come over early in the morning to do yard work when they knew that I was asleep and be very noisy right outside my room and wake me up. And the thing was that they knew that I needed sleep because of my health problems. David and I asked them if they could call before coming over, which they took offense to. They said that it was too much of a hassle to do that, and just continued come over to the house at random times. They even would sometimes just park in the driveway for no clear reason. And they kept just defaulting to “Well we’re trying to be supportive of Meryl!” while stating that I just don’t like them and that they’re so hurt. Well, I didn’t have strong opinions about them either way initially but when they wouldn’t stop harassing me of course I ended up not liking them. And they just used this against me even more.
But it seems as though the more David and I set boundaries and said no, the worse that it got. This woman and a few others spread a bunch of rumors about me, saying that I “wasn’t working on my PTSD”, that they know about psychology and that I was just over-reacting, that I just don’t like them, that they are so hurt that I don’t want them at my house, and that my reactions show that I am not ready for a relationship with David. It was triangulating at it’s worse. Then a bunch of David’s family and friends got concerned and called him up about all of this, and David almost broke up with me!
Within only three months of moving to my new town, I ended up suicidal, paranoid, aggressive, and my repressed memories were coming out pretty much non-stop due to repeated triggers and re-traumatization. I was more isolated than I had ever been in my whole life due to these people and their harassment. To me this is pretty crazy because I was forced into sex trafficking throughout most of my life, even child prostitution, but I never had been taken down quite like this. It was like they were intent on destroying everything I had, and for no other reason than to be sadistic. When I told the main woman that I was suicidal because of what they were doing, she told me to seek professional help, even though she knew that I was already doing it, and just continued to do what she was doing. She didn’t care a lick that she was putting my life in danger. In fact, it almost seemed as if she was getting some sort of sick pleasure off of the fact that she had damaged me to the point of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
I moved into this house in late February 2016, and all of this happened up until May. Finally I confronted this woman fairly aggressively, and she was so abusive back that I just screamed at the top of my lungs. Apparently someone over heard this conversation and it was after that that this group of people stopped coming over to our house repeatedly. They also didn’t make as many nasty comments towards us and behind our backs.
But still, the critical comments continue here and there, and these people continue to get away with it because they tell everyone that they were/are just concerned about me and my boyfriend. They also just say a bunch of bad things about me behind my back but in a way that shows concern. This idea that they are concerned about me only drives people to think less of me and to see me as my diseases and illnesses rather than an actual person. It is an extreme yet subtle form of scapegoating. And because what they did exacerbated all of my health problems, including treatment-resistant depression, it’s easy for them to just say that I’m too sensitive and that this is all due to my health problems and that they’re just trying to help out.
The woman who led this whole thing once even said that I am mixing up my family with hers, and I suspect that she’s said this kind of stuff to other people about me. She also acts like she is the expert on my PTSD. But the thing is that I’m not mixing anything up here. My family is completely different than those people. My family is more overt in their abuse and for the most part do not harass people (a few are known to, but not in this way). But this group of people are covert and manipulative to heights that I have never seen before. In all my life I had not experienced true harassment before this.
One more thing that this woman did too is to air anything and everything that she found out about my sexual assault history to pretty much anyone who would listen. And I don’t exactly know what she was saying, but in talking to people that she knows I’ve realized that this is going on and that she just acts like this is just gossip, as if talking about someone’s history of sexual assault, including child rape, is a fun thing to do. She seems to thrive off of off talking about someone else’s experiences of child rape! And when she’s talked to me about traumatic things, including rape, she does so without any emotional response. It’s pretty gross, and I’ve wondered many times if sharing such things with other people about me is actually a form of sexual harassment.
Within a short period of time after moving here, I developed narcissistic abuse syndrome. It was really awful and confusing, and even today I sometimes question my own sanity. I am working through it though, and I no longer talk to or spend time with the people involved.
Thanks for reading! I feel like today I touched upon some pretty heavy stuff. If you need to, do some grounding after reading this, take a hot bath, or do whatever you need to do to feel safe. Stories like this can be really traumatic to hear. Thanks!