Well, now that I've started to share, I'm going for it. This is a diary entry I wrote this time last year. It brings back so many memories, and makes me so proud of just how far I've come since then. Oh, and by the way, I'm still intent on creating that band...
November 29, 2009
It’s Sunday evening and I’m pondering Dr Robert Hare‘s book "Without Conscience" – a fascinating, and disturbing read that has given me even more proof that yes, I was indeed married to a text-book psychopath. It is said that these people, convincing though they are to so many, “know the words but not the music”. I like that analogy – it resonates with me on so many levels!
And I’m also still smarting from the insensitive comments from a relative who called me on Friday to find out (rather belatedly) what has been happening over the past seven months. During the conversation, I found myself justifying and explaining the situation, doing my best to overcome her blatant disbelief that I could find myself in such a dire predicament – almost as if I’d done it on purpose, and certainly implying that it was clearly my own stupid fault! Rather than find out how I was doing and whether I needed any help, she challenged me over and over again with the question “Surely, an intelligent woman with your positivity and get-up-and-go should have been able to see the signs?” And each time I explained that yes, with hindsight and a good understanding of what I had been dealing with, then yes indeed those signs were there. Well disguised, but there none the less – and I had been totally blind to them and deliberately blinded by him. I told her time and time again that a psychopath uses ruthlessly surgical precision to trap and bleed their targets dry. That there are many more women – much more intelligent and much more successful than I – who have also fallen prey to these creatures and who have been left in even more serious financial and emotional situations than where I find myself now!
And each time I have to explain the story, to do my best to convince people of the facts, I feel I’m once again reliving the horror and crazy emotions I lived with for the decade I was in the cold grip of a sociopath. And I am both astounded and horrified by the number of times I find myself in the situation where I need to justify what happened. You see, people just don’t believe me – either because they can’t accept that such people exist or, if they knew him and had seen him with me, because it would mean they’d have to admit they’d also been totally conned. So I listen to the objections, I keep my calm, and I answer their questions truthfully and in full. But let me tell you, at times I just want to bang my fists on the table and scream in their faces “Why can’t you see? It’s ME and my SON who are the victims here! Why don’t you believe me? Stop making it worse!”
Through his years of study, Dr Hare has uncovered overwhelming evidence that “tragically, these victims often cannot get other people to understand what they are going through” citing the situation faced by one such victim who says “…everyone, including my doctor and lawyer and my friends, blamed ME for the problem. He had them so convinced that he was a great guy and that I was going mad, I began to believe it myself…” and THIS is where the cycle of abuse has to stop. This is when my blood boils to read so many accounts of victims having to re-live their misery. So many people who can never end their sentence, even after escaping from their abuser. An abuser who, by the way, is left scot-free to move on to the next willing target – often with the support of the original victim’s so-called friends!
My experiences, and the accounts from others, remind me of the 1944 Hollywood film Gaslight where the husband (played by Charles Boyer) is convincing his loyal and unsuspecting wife (Ingrid Bergman) that she is losing the plot, when actually all along he is just using her to find hidden jewels belonging to her aunt – whom he had already murdered. The film makes such a lasting and shocking impression, that the expression “gaslighting“ has been adopted to mean “ruthlessly manipulating an individual, for nefarious reasons, into believing something other than the truth”. Sounds far-fetched? Well, it’s exactly how I have been feeling. And the relentless disbelief of others – sometimes even when faced with the stack of black and white evidence I've collected to prove my point – is absolutely exhausting. I feel like I'm on trial, over and over again.
Dr Hare, and others, talk about psychopaths “knowing the words but not the music” – or in other words, putting on a good show but having no heart or soul in the production – and for me, I find myself stuck in this repeating this pattern as I try to garner support from those very people who should, in my opinion, believe me in the first place.
I’m a strong, determined and accomplished woman, but even I am beginning to wonder whether there’s any escape from this cycle of abuse. Two very dear friends of mine have had similar experiences – one is getting herself out of a current situation, the other escaped over 20 years ago. Both are displaying the same legacy of self-doubt when giving their account of the facts – both, still, asking the same question “perhaps it IS me after all?”
Yet these are good, wholesome, innocent and truthful women, and this pattern HAS to stop. And I, for one, am going to speak up and speak out – loud and proud – and do everything within my power to create an orchestra to blast out the truth. Bring together a band of people, whose clear voices and blazing conviction will finally get others to sit up and take notice. Together we will move our audiences to tears, as we share our stories, as we sing of our battles, and we beat out a rhythm of defiance so passionate, so compelling, that friends, family and professionals alike finally understand our message. Let’s hope they join us and stand up against these monsters, finally giving support to the innocent victims. Innocent people whose only crime was to fall in love with the wrong person.
Together we can move mountains. Together we can create the kind of powerful soul music that psychopaths will never be able to understand.
So now – who is willing to stand up with me, bang their drum and create a revolution?