Nina’s interview: Part 2 – The impact of narcissist/sociopath abuse
LLO: Nina, your story may sound shocking to those unfamiliar with somatic narcissists. From what you shared, it sounds as if you may have previously had experience with a cerebral narcissist and became familiar with their patterns of abuse, but had no real familiarity with the somatic type of narcissist. Would that be correct?
I checked in with this link before answering this question: https://www.learning-mind.com/cerebral-somatic-narcissist/
My prior experience was with someone who qualified as a greater elite narcissist, which meant he topped off the spectrum in every category. So when I met the doctor, I was impressed – or rather deceived – by his seemingly humbler, less ostentatious manner.
Sex addiction is a paramount attribute of a somatic or body-focused narcissist. So, one of the salacious questions people often ask all of us with whom he was involved after hearing our stories is, “Was he a sex addict?”
This assumption by others is something that sends us all into fits of laughter, because our response is unequivocally NO.
We learned from each other he was decidedly indifferent regarding physical contact with each of us. So much so that a few even shared suspicions he might be gay, which I had never previously considered.
He often complained, or rather boasted, of his inordinate fear of germs and was constantly washing his hands and admonishing others, especially our children, to do the same. This fear of germs was actually one of his defenses:
“Ew. I could never cheat. Me? You know how much I hate germs.”
And based on his odd, almost compulsively ritualistic behavior, this made perfect sense. None of us ever observed or caught him checking out a girl or commenting on other women’s appearances, like most normal men do on occasion. However, he was intensely interested in men and followed several celebrities online very faithfully, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ben Affleck, Paul Walker, Joe Manganiello, Jason Statham, and Steve McQueen. It was his regular habit to forward updates about all of them via email, which clogged my inbox and generally left me scratching my head.
Curiously, he didn’t follow female celebrities.
His manner of dressing generally dismayed most of us. Although he was always personally clean – as he took several showers and brushed his teeth throughout the day to eradicate pet hair or household smells from our respective homes – his clothing was often stained and threadbare and always much too casual for most venues. It was often our custom to suggest outfits or even buy clothes for him.
Looking back and comparing our collective experiences, we can see he most certainly believed most people were beneath him in intellect and always took care to point out where he thought others were deficient in brainpower, lifestyle, politics, behavior, and education. He was clever about this and avoided directly insulting anyone, but the end result was the same: to make himself appear superior.
How tedious and solitary it must have been manipulating us every day. It’s not as if he could share his deceptive maneuvers and exploits with others. I imagine reliving his accomplishments and how he fooled us over and over must be a profound source of entertainment and satisfaction for him.
One of the most salient things on the cerebral/somatic narcissist checklist is the belief that rules do not apply. So it was with him. We compared how he was always on alert for short cuts, ways to skirt around regulations, believing he didn’t have to go through proper channels. His HIPAA violations are a stellar example of this. And he definitely exploited his vocation as a physician and rank as a military officer to mask his actual deceptive intentions. He was able to hide behind the perfect resume.
So, our armchair assessment of where he lies on the spectrum is that he classifies as cerebral in the greater narcissistic category, which means he is very aware of his motivations and consciously contributes to the plotting and scheming of his actions.
LLO: What surprised you the most about his behavior?
I think the biggest surprise or question – after the obvious shock of discovering he had about 4 or 5 other girlfriends, regularly trolled Match.com and Ashley Madison, maintained multiple love nests, blah blah blah – was, “How the hell did he manage all of this mess?”
I kept envisioning the manic guy moving between all the spinning plates balanced high up on sticks. But the doctor presented as one cool customer. None of us had any idea or suspicion of the others’ existence or could even entertain the concept of him being anything but a devoted, loving, one-woman man. We all cheerfully regarded him as somewhat of an affable, kind of hapless sort of guy, which was obviously an image he encouraged since we severely underestimated him. At times it was difficult to envision him in the professional roles of great responsibility he held. This mega-con seemed to be an implausible triumph of project management for our goofball boyfriend!
But when we started talking and putting together timelines – which required a ton of post-its, years of old calendars, and a couple of white boards – we could begin to see how he had set up his life and schedule so that getting away with what he did fit in quite nicely. He was always effortlessly prepared with an explanation or excuse, which seemed completely legitimate:
- “I have to call back a patient.”
- “I gotta check in with the base.”
- “Being the stellar dad that I am – I’m picking up my kid from school.”
- “I need to go to drill early.”
- “My stepfather is on life support in the hospital.”
- “My phone died.”
- “I fell asleep on the couch again.”
And his exploitation of his military lifestyle was the perfect foil to deceive us and make us burst with pride while doing so! How great it must have been to steal away with one girlfriend for the week while your other girlfriend texted you about how much she missed you while you exchanged selfies with yet another girlfriend?!
In the aftermath, we can see how he invested his life’s work in maintaining this ornate tapestry of a scam. We marvel at how much further along he might have progressed in his medical or military career had he applied the same intensity and focus to those noble pursuits instead of squandering his enormous potential on just chasing tail and covering his tracks.
Another thing, not surprising but absolutely perplexing, was the fact he replicated so many events and rituals with each of us. For instance, I understand he attended therapy with his wife and saw the same therapist with two of his other girlfriends at the same time. He watched the same series, The Sopranos (an obvious obsession as it glorified the exploits of another middle aged, cheating Italian guy) and Southland, sometimes during the same time period, with more than one of us. He took us to the same movies and we watched the same documentaries on Netflix. That is something that would render me mind-numbingly bored.
One weekend, he took one of his girlfriends to a live concert; the next weekend, he accompanied me to see the same artist performing at a different venue! And of course, he led us all on what we now call the “Love Me” tour, which were pilgrimages to highlighted locations in his life:
- Paterson, NJ, where he grew up and where he conducted a solemn vigil at his dad’s graveside for each of us
- Ferrara’s Bakery in Little Italy
- Sites of Italian North Jersey, like Calandra’s for some Italian fare
- And, of course, the Jersey Shore where he spent a lot of teenage time
We all report hearing the same stories and love declarations from him at each spot. It’s almost fascinating how he compulsively visited the same places, said the same things, and recreated the same every day, banal daily rituals with each of us. We compared among ourselves the identical speeches and experiences. I liken his behavior to some crazy, evil OCD disorder!
LLO: How did your daughters react to finding out the truth about who they thought was their would-be stepdad?
My girls were initially shocked and rendered speechless. I remember arriving home after he took my car away, and they had composed little notes for me saying, “We love you” and “We got your back”. That first night, we didn’t discuss much. I was consumed with practical matters like – I need a car! I need a medical exam! And they were overwhelmed, because I was so distraught.
In hindsight, I now know we were all dealing with cognitive dissonance – the contrast of being confronted with a truth extremely contradictory to what one has experienced to be real and true for so long.
We were all trying to process – not only this new, sudden reality – but what had actually been the reality all along. It goes back to the funny ritual the girls repeated each time he left our house: “Doctor, are you going to see your other girlfriend now?” They were so convinced of his lasting devotion to me; never imagining their joke was no joke at all.
I soon became outraged and angry, not about my betrayal, but how he lured in and brainwashed my daughters. I couldn’t conceive of why he involved innocent children in his deception and con, assuring them of a happy family life together going forward, especially given the fact that their biological father had essentially abandoned them and provided no emotional or financial support. I couldn’t forgive myself for permitting such evil into my home and my children’s lives. It was a time of deep shame and intense emotions. I felt like I’d let my children down and didn’t protect them properly.
They ultimately formulated two very distinct reactions:
- My eldest daughter sort of retreated into herself about the matter and decided to display an attitude of prayer and forgiveness. She later composed a very emotional, never-sent letter to him openly expressing a torrent of bittersweet thoughts I never dreamed she was feeling.
- My younger daughter portrayed what I saw as a show of false bravado and was very vocal about laughing at him, putting him down, and deriding him in every way possible, claiming she never liked him anyway.
LLO: You said you were left “holding the bag” after your shocking experience. What do you mean by this?
I was referring to the immediate jolt of him disappearing from our lives without explanation or reason, and me being left to deal with the aftermath – emotionally, practically, financially. In one moment, the long, wonderful life he repeatedly described we would share together became a picture never to come into focus.
He never loved my children or me. There was never a time when he truly cared about us or intended to create a family with us. Ours was not a case of a love affair running its course or gone bad – the world is littered with stories of those. I would have been prepared for that.
Instead, this was the aftermath of a crime – a well planned, pre-meditated predation upon my children, my family, and me. We were targets of a scam artist who defrauded us from the very start and just disappeared when I exposed him, leaving not only his clothes and guitars and scrubs and papers and everything else in my home, but the emotional wreckage, the bucket-dump of mess and things I literally and figuratively had to clean up. I had to discard all he left behind, change my locks, my passwords and contact information, get a new car, attend family therapy, find a new family physician, worry about my now single woman finances, agonize about my health, inform everyone he was a fraud and a cheat, and in general, recalibrate everything about my life and future.
All I thought was true and real was just an apparition, a lie.
He was a ghost.
I had to reprogram my entire existence. I was abandoned and left to contend with this tremendous, overwhelming toxic waste dumpsite remediation my life had turned into.
He had to do nothing.
LLO: How did it feel to be left holding the bag and how did you move from holding the bag to where you are now?
I call it coming out of the “bewilderness”. In the midst of chaos and devastation, all one can really do is create a checklist and cross things off. I’m really good at that. So that’s what I did.
Practical matters required addressing; I needed to perform at my job and be there for my girls.
On the emotional side, I convinced myself of something that very much assisted me in realizing reality and healing. On the very first day I learned the truth, I was gifted with seeing the real him very clearly. Despite rolling in profound turmoil emotionally, my understanding of what happened became exceedingly clear. I am attracted to people of impeccable character and confidence and was absolutely thunder-bolted in my distillation of this thought:
Only a fractured psyche would require the constant attention of so very many women.
What sort of underdeveloped, stunted mind has to lie and cheat and deceive innocent people in order to receive gratification? This was not the sort of individual I find vigorous or attractive or one I could love. I was instantly embarrassed by his personal weakness and moral defects. I was repulsed by his neediness.
This immediately laid a substantial foundation of healing and strength for me.
LLO: Where would you say you are now in relation to your experiences with him? Are there any lasting impacts on you? If so, how would you characterize that impact and how do you address it?
Since learning the truth, I’ve come so far. I credit my recovery to many aspects – paramount being my personal faith. And my newfound practice of yoga! But so much of my healing is a result of the friendships with the women I met through him. I do not know what I’d do without them and their kindness. I’ve experienced such grace in the silver lining of getting to know them and their hearts. There‘s nothing but love and charity between us. This acceptance was an enormous part of my healing. I was not alone, I was seen, and I was understood – immediately. They’re very dear to me, and we‘re there for each other.
This entire experience proves I am stronger and more capable than I ever thought possible. I knew, early on, I wasn’t going to just sit idly by and let this happen to me or to any of the other women. I was going to fight back and speak out. I would not be silent.
I remain convinced in this belief of sharing our stories, empowering one another, and informing and protecting the community. For too long, a great injustice of abuse occurred in the lives of many women. Today, we join voices to put an end to it.
I want to model a courageous legacy of advocacy by telling the truth in the pursuit of justice while not being discouraged by society’s opinions and its collective choice to disbelieve women’s voices when we speak up about the bad behavior of men in positions of power.
LLO: He appears to have a pattern of pursuing single mothers. Do you think that is intentional? If so, why do you think that is?
He definitely has a type and preys upon conservative, Christian (mostly Catholic), blonde, middle-aged women from intact, two-parent families. We’re pretty much “good girls” and were raised by well-respected, vital father-figures and loving mothers.
We’re all divorced or separated single mothers, employed full-time with either full or primary custody of children. All of us were let down or damaged in the relationship department. He swept in, positioning himself as the antidote to all our past disappointments.
The benefit of us having children to him was twofold:
Not only could he romance and beguile our kids with his generosity and juvenile sense of humor, transforming them into allies of sorts – but because we were the chief care-givers and due to the needs and schedules of our kids, we were never completely available or free to demand or expect extra time with him.
He learned and understood our daily routines and carefully planned his time with other women around them. As an example, he knew I attended church regularly with my family each Sunday, which meant I would never be around to just “turn up” at his house. He even called me every week on our way there and spoke to my mother, which positively delighted her. It was a regular ritual. I later learned Sunday mornings was a usual meeting time spent with one of his other girlfriends. When he left her to be with me Sunday afternoons, he told her he was off to see his daughter.
We were tightly and economically scheduled!
Another trick he employed was the gifting of pets to tie us down with their care at home. He brought home a lot of animals to his wife over the years but never bothered caring for them, leaving her solely saddled with those responsibilities. He bought a dog for one of us and a cat for another. He encouraged a number of us to acquire pets. And, of course, we were each tasked with the care of his dog, Jack – to dog watch, either while he went away to drill weekends or while he vacationed or stayed with other women.
LLO: What appears to be the overall impact of his actions, including on all the other women you’ve met or heard of as well as their children?
One of the things we all retain is a sense of humor.
This is an unusual situation we all share, and it really does fall into the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction”. So we are very much aware of the elements of craziness and the ridiculousness of our story. We laugh a lot. There’s a lot to laugh about! It’s like starring in some crazy reality TV show or a Tori Spelling Lifetime movie! This whole journey reminds me how essential it is to be able to laugh at myself and at the incredibly convoluted situation he brought into all our lives.
But seriously, as strange as it sounds, we have him to thank for the deep and unique friendships we share today. Not one of us predicted these alliances, and if you had asked any one of us years ago if we’d be so close to the extra, unknown girlfriends of our boyfriend/husband, we would’ve thought you were insane to say the least. We realize this sorority may seem strange or unnatural to some, but our sisterhood has brought us peace, comfort, mercy, closure, and the understanding that comes only from those who share your experience.
Together we went through the same emotions and with that comes a complete and unspoken understanding. We supported each other and talked each other down from a few ledges. Issues that some of us thought were long resolved resurfaced. But a big part of our healing process is the relief of being understood and knowing exactly how each other feels.
We’re survivors of the same unnatural disaster!
On the other side, it’s been educational in terms of many things. As far as our children, I think they’ve all grow up a bit faster than we would have liked. They’ve seen and experienced things we wish they never had. I think they’ve slipped into the role of parent at times, not only as we are all single moms, but because there have been times when we were just too overwhelmed to deal with these issues. I know my girls suffered along with me; they did not want to see their mother in pain.
And like some of us girlfriends, many of our children are now friends and also benefit from sharing their unique experiences with each other. My hope is for all of them to come away having learned lessons in determination, grit, and resiliency.
LLO: Who else has he damaged with his misdeeds and how so?
Well, first and foremost, I would like to acknowledge his ex-wife and their children. He was still living at home with them when he and I began to see each other, and he ultimately left their marital residence to be with me – none of which I knew at the time. No matter what any of us “girlfriends” have experienced, I cannot imagine the pain and suffering his original family endured and continues to bear. I will always ask forgiveness from them for the part I played, however inadvertent, in causing any distress.
And to the women who are entangled with him now and especially their innocent children: our hearts just break for what’s been happening to you – though you probably have no idea.
We’ve all undergone very unusual encounters with his sister. In my case, I initially met her about a month after he left his family. We had dinner with her and her husband, where I was introduced as his wonderful new girlfriend.
Today, I find the encounter to be very strange, considering he’d just destroyed the lives of his wife and children – his sister’s niece and nephew. She made no mention and gave no indication he was living at home when he started his relationship with me – even though she was well aware.
His sister also entertained my children – my children! – and me one weekend in her shore house and one of his other girlfriends a few weeks later, never betraying her brother’s confidence or revealing he was juggling more than one girlfriend.
A third girlfriend was also welcomed into his sister’s home, even though his sister knew he was still involved with me. In fact, a beach property he and this third girlfriend considered purchasing is now owned by his sister.
One of the most disturbing accounts of his sister’s behavior reported by yet a different girlfriend is his sister phoning her to assure her he and his wife, though sharing a home, were not sleeping in the same bed.
We’re very disturbed by her dysfunctional behavior and wonder what kind of relationship these siblings might share to persuade his sister to act complicit in preserving his image as a faithful, monogamous boyfriend and all-around great guy. We can assure you that if one of our siblings requested us to behave in a similar manner, we’d each respond with an absolute rejection of something so unethical and cruel. At least three of us have since reached out to his sister – basically to ask, why would you do this to all of us? – but we’ve never received a response.
Bottom line – his bond with his sister is just very weird.
He has a few friends in his inner circle who may or may not know the extent to which they are being used or taken advantage of, some of whom have helped to advance or cover up his deception and fraud, whether willingly or through ignorance.
These “minions” are on retainer to send out threatening legal notices, provide vacation homes to secretly meet with other women, vouch for his whereabouts, and totally look the other way even though they know there is more than one innocent girlfriend in the picture. We’ve all met with some of these civilian friends and enjoyed their company. They, like him, smiled right back into our oblivious faces. Unfortunately and speaking to the worst of the stereotype, these are all men.
We can also speak to the fact that his patients – both military and civilian – must be ill served. Not just due to the confidentiality breaches, but because of the mental condition obviously present that would lead an individual to behave in such an unethical and compulsive manner. He’s also treated a significant amount of law officers and first responders and has some sort of status with them – he holds a police badge affiliated with his local unit. We later learned he told us all stories about the “cheating, drunk, STD-infected, sedative and Viagra-popping cops” that are among his patients. Knowing what we do now, the implication is he’s confident that the authorities would feel indebted to him should he ever require any special consideration or favors. This affiliation with the police made some intimidated or fearful in the past – because he bragged so much about how “tight” he was with them.
We’re collecting numerous reports of his various HIPAA infractions and are reporting them when we are able via our testimony and through evidence provided by the doctor himself. We each know too much about the identities of his patients, their conditions, their medications, residences, etc. Going forward, when I visit a physician, I want to be assured my confidentiality is kept and doesn’t instead become a topic of idle chatter or careless patient photo sharing later with my doctor’s many girlfriends.
We feel strongly he is tarnishing the reputation of the United States Air Force and dishonoring those in its service with his lies and misrepresentations of his military experiences.
We are all loyal supporters of our nation’s armed forces and were especially devoted to assisting this man’s service during our tenures with him. We’re particularly distressed about this and attempted to notify the proper agencies, but have not yet been able to gain any significant traction despite being recently sponsored in this effort by the POW Network’s Fake Warrior Project. This is a major reason we are now going public with our accounts.
He mentioned he was a member of his Wing’s SARC Team (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator). If this is indeed true, his affiliation is particularly outrageous. Despite the armed forces promoting a renewed and heightened awareness regarding sexual assault and harassment, we’ve encountered indifference in our efforts to schedule an appointment to voice our concerns. In fact, in speaking with a female master sergeant representing his commander at the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Middletown, PA where he serves at the Chief Medical Director, her response to a conversation I initiated about his scams and service fabrication was simply,
“Well, we always knew that he had a lot of girlfriends, but…”
An official complaint from an outraged husband that was submitted about 10 years ago was similarly brushed off by the military. The doctor was successful in convincing his superiors that “crazy stalkers” were involved, and the husband’s concerns were dismissed.
Finally, honorable mention on this incomplete list – his dog, Jack! Jack was passed between all of us and has always been a behavior problem. A squirrelly, anxious little guy, he growled and nipped at strangers, bit and scratched our children, and one time when I was walking him, knocked down a sweet little old lady!
Separately, we each thought of ourselves as “Jack’s MOM”. Now we realize Jack had MANY moms and was probably constantly confused and traumatized by all the women passing in and out of his orbit.
Today, Jack’s condition makes total sense to all of us. We often wonder: WHAT IF JACK COULD TALK?
Now THAT would be a story we’d all like to hear!
LLO: What, if any, impact does there appear to be on him after being confronted by the women in his life about his behaviors? It would seem when that many people accuse you of the same actions, it would start to get challenging to continually deny, deny, deny or do you think he is still somehow getting a “free pass” on his indiscretions and why do you think that is?
Based on what I’ve learned about these personality types, I believe his world has gotten enormously smaller and is continuing to shrink. This is the first time in over 25 years so many people finally know the truth about his hidden predatory nature – because we are all in contact and communicating – something he obviously never thought would happen!
In the past, if one woman fell out of his orbit and couldn’t be lured back, he could be fine with it, because he had two, three, or possibly four or more single mom Barbies groomed and waiting in the wings.
That’s no longer the case.
Many of the girlfriends are in touch with each other comparing notes, stories and timelines. Most importantly, we’re talking about the truth. And anyone who learns the truth about this man immediately wants nothing to do with him. There is not one woman from his past who knows his real nature who would come forward to his defense.
So he now exists in a new, unique state – without the constant carousel of women he cultivated and maintained throughout the years. For a person addicted to feeding off so much attention, this must really place him in a perilous state of withdrawal.
He is transitioning from having enjoyed years of accessing the stroking of so many women during a single day to receiving much, much less contact.
Most importantly, his reputation in the community as a highly moral, admirable military hero and physician he so carefully curated is in tatters. He relied on this sterling image to convince us of his goodness and trustworthiness.
What he now has to offer and verify to new prospects must be severely diminished.
As far as his denial response, it is very pronounced to the point of hysteria. When confronted by some of us with seemingly irrefutable proof, he’s reacted in ridiculous, desperate ways, even denying I was ever his girlfriend and just a stalker. He’s accused me of being an Internet genius who hacked into his phone and altered texts and Photoshopped hundreds of pictures to include my image with his. He even credited me with creating suggestive and dynamic text conversations between him and other women.
According to him, he’s simply inordinately plagued with an unusual amount of exes who are somehow hell-bent on revenge and driven to madness as a result of no longer being with him. It just defies credibility – as well as probability!
We have nothing to gain in sharing our story except to protect others from the charade and manipulation he put us all through. This is one of the reasons we are so motivated to inform the community.
We’re determined to unmask this man as a serial predator, disinterested in monogamy despite his promises and deceitful assurances. We are committed to protecting other women and children from what we experienced.
As far as his present state of mind, I just want to firmly stress and remind anyone reading of these very salient points:
I’m simply telling my side of the story. This disgrace is much bigger than just what I have to present; there are many, many others who’ve gone through a nearly identical experience. Some have already spoken up, more are waiting their turn. I’m certain even more will step forward, join us, speak out and go on record. We’re very gratified by those who have since come forth to share their personal and professional experiences. There is so much more to this story than just my small portion of it.
In whatever state his reputation is currently, the sole person responsible for that is HIMSELF.
He wrote this script. He directed it. We were the unwitting characters in this drama. This was completely his production.
LLO: The narcissistic sociopaths/psychopaths I’ve known wound your soul, in my opinion. Their wounds cut deep, but they’re invisible to the outside world. How do you believe one heals from the “soul cuts” — this attempted homicide by a thousand paper cuts to the very essence of who you are?
I agree he set out from the beginning to intentionally harm me, to abuse my family for cheap entertainment and to ultimately render me weak and defenseless without the ability to fight back. He knew very well the difficulties and suffering I went through in dealing with my ex-husband. They were devastating times and will always profoundly affect my children and me. I’m sure he smelled blood in the water and thought I was an easy mark, thinking I could never recover from yet another round of torment.
But he severely underestimated me; he underestimated all of us. Furthermore, I absolutely reject identifying as a victim. I do not feel sorry for myself. I am a survivor.
From the very moment I was confronted with his actual nature, although I was obviously set back, I knew I would recover and would do so by not being silent. I was not going to permit this great injustice and mistreatment, this crime, go without an equally powerful response.
I know he was successful in defrauding me – and all of us – because we are not like him, not at all. We are “normal”, loving, caring women. Very early on, I stopped asking the question that everybody seems to want answered: WHY? Why would someone do something like this? Why did he prey upon us and lie to us for his own amusement?
I stopped asking why, because to understand his motivation would require me to summon some sort of empathy, and I felt very resolutely: NO. I did not want to attempt to understand or sympathize or to find meaning or motivation in what is obviously a very disordered, evil mind. I wanted no part in finding common ground, because there is none.
I am very much at peace not knowing exactly why someone behaves in a criminal, cruel manner and why someone’s moral development skews so grotesquely dark other than one simple fact:
There is evil in the world.
And with each encounter with evil, I can only hope to recognize it better when it crosses my path again. But to do so, I will not change what is good in me and what I will fight to keep ever-fresh: a loving and trusting nature.
Standing up against what is wrong and speaking the truth has been very empowering. I find a wealth of solace by not staying silent and encouraging others to join me.
LLO: For people just coming out of this, is there life after narcissistic abuse and what’s that like? What hope can you provide them, and especially children who have suffered through this, from your situation?
- Find your tribe. Those who experienced the same will be of great comfort to you . There’s a lot of nourishing wisdom in shared stories. Go where the empathy is!
- Educate, educate, educate yourself! I wrongly believed I knew enough about these types of personalities. I read and experienced my fair share. But I was in no way equipped for the different, hidden manner in which this man approached and entangled me. Only after further research was I able to see and compare his behavior against the wealth of information found online and in print.
- Speak and document your truth. It may inform or help someone going forward. The honest and open telling of your story has its own power and magic. Shed embarrassment and shame; they’re paralyzing.
- And above all, retain and promote your sense of humor! Infect your everyday life with it! Seek out joy in the absurd dealings of the clean-up process of whatever mess confronts you. I remain afloat by marveling at the trajectories my journey has taken – most of which were unplanned and unwelcome – but paths from which I can always extract a laugh. If your family, friends and children can see you cultivating this ability, you will definitely find pockets of peace and healing in your life.
You are not alone in your experience. Add your voice to the chorus of those who’ve endured this manipulation, stood up for what is right, and emerged more empowered on the other side.
Keep singing out loud! As both a soprano and a survivor, that’s pretty much been my life’s lesson.