This week I’m inspired to write after receiving a distressing email from a friend of mine on Saturday night. This particular friend of mine is, like all of us here, someone who knows what it’s like to be conned and manipulated. Like so many of us, she struggled to make sense of what had happened — the explanations coming just as hard to herself as to her friends and family. Particularly, of course, those who had known her sociopathic husband and had also been taken in by his charming lies.
This particular lady, though, rather than hide herself away or hope things would just disappear, instead decided to write a book about her experiences. Now translated in to several languages, her story has helped and inspired people all around the world. To this day she continues to receive emails and letters thanking her for speaking out and giving others the courage to break free. To this day she also works tirelessly to help others understand the threat of the ”˜everyday’ sociopaths who live among us. And to this day she still remains baffled as to how some people continue to be so judgemental about her situation — people who, it’s quite clear, choose to pass criticism from a point of ignorance. Because for all of us here who know what it’s like, we understand the torture. We understand the diminishing self-esteem. We understand the manipulation. And we understand how difficult it is to explain to others. Whereas other people don’t — yet they seem compelled to share their hurtful words and opinions.
My friend is Mary Turner Thomson — she is a huge supporter of this site, and you’ll find her story in the blog section. Her book “The Bigamist” is a best-seller and at the end of last year it outsold every other Random House e-book in the USA. It’s a huge achievement and I believe it goes to show how relevant her story is today.
So what prompted her to send me an email on Saturday night? She had been made aware of a comment that had been placed on Amazon.com regarding her story, and it had cut her to the quick. This is what it says:
“Although i found it a little repetitive and long-winded in parts, the story was still compelling and should be compulsory reading for anyone in an abusive/manipulating relationship or in the dating scene. Having said that, I’m still finding it hard to believe that this story is true! Yes, you can be blinded by love, conned etc but to have a man who works for the government and has no money for food?? Who year after year comes up with dire, life-threatening reasons for urgent large amounts of cash?? To never actually meet any of his family in 6 years?? 6 YEARS OF THIS?? I found it eye-opening and informative but at the same time I found it almost impossible to feel any kind of empathy for this daft, gullible woman. I’m sorry but anyone that stupid for that long is just asking to be taken for a ride….it’s just plain sad. And to liken it to the abuse suffered by rape and molestation victims in terms of not being ashamed to speak up…pfft…there is no choice in rape or molestation, whereas the author did have a choice and more or less allowed herself to be a victim…and that IS shameworthy.”
I know for a fact that her story is true. I also know that her ex, Will Jordan, is still at large in the USA and is still spinning the same tales and entrapping more women in similar situations — it seems that “the powers that be” have no power to stop him. I know as well that Mary has offered support, guidance and friendship to his subsequent victims, who have tracked her down as a result of reading her book. She also helped me in the early days — openly, honestly and with love, although at the time I was a stranger and she had no reason to trust me or welcome me in to her life. I am now proud to call her my friend.
So far as I’m concerned, that kind of behaviour demonstrates that Mary is far from being a person who could be described as ”˜a willing victim’. Far from it. She is feisty, sassy, accomplished, independent and (as I’m sure you can guess) one of those lovely people who just likes sharing and giving to others. Is that such a crime”¦?
Armchair experts and a baying crowd of critics can swap allegiance and have their opinions swayed by the smallest of changes. And yet these easily influenced people can sometimes hold the power between life and death. Remember the gladiators in the Roman Colosseum? The crowd’s chants could pressure the emperor’s thumbs up or down — the life of a man quite literally hanging in the balance.
Ignorance Is Bliss”¦?
Now, I’m all for people having an opinion — of course! What saddens me, though, is when a damning criticism is forthcoming from the basis of ignorance. It tells me how much further we have to go in order to educate people against the dangers of psychopaths and sociopaths among us. Yes, of course I understand that for those people who have never been entrapped, the story we have to tell can seem unbelievable. But that’s because, as we know, they’ve never been there. As I’ve said many times before, it’s because as a human race we tend to judge others by ourselves — we see things not as they are but as we are.
That’s how a charming, manipulative, ruthless sociopath can keep ”˜normal’ trusting people in their clutches. As we know from personal experience, it is not the ”˜stupid’ or ”˜gullible’ people who are targeted. Yes, OK, once it’s all out in the open we might beat ourselves up and think we must have been naive (“how could I have been so blind? How could I have been such a dunce?”) but that is a natural reaction from anyone who’s been a victim. I was told by a physiotherapist that this is the common response from people who’ve been in an accident. Guilt, shame and self-beat up — as if they could have done anything about it in the first place!
I know how hard it is to speak out. I understand how painful the process is to step back, reassess and make sense of what happened — whilst also maintaining a level of personal dignity, and eventually finding self-esteem and confidence. I also know how much those of us who do choose to put our head above the parapet after such an experience can indeed help others to pull through. I also understand that by doing so, we are opening ourselves up for criticism and blame.
In some cases it feels a little to me like the Ducking Stool favoured in britain during the middle-ages — have you heard of this? In the days where women were hunted down for being witches, a crowd would tie the accused in a chair that they’d then hold over water — the village pond or similar. The poor creature would then be ducked under the water to find out whether or not she was indeed a witch. If she didn’t drown it was perfectly clear that she was a witch. So she’d be taken off and burned at the stake on the grounds that they had proof of her satanic powers. If on the other hand she did drown, well then she obviously wasn’t a witch so they’d made a mistake. Oops! Damned if you do, damned if you don’t eh?
I Salute You
Well, in a way, you could say the same about all of us here who are choosing to speak out — in whatever format we may choose. We’re once again holding ourselves up for public judgement — often by those armchair critics I mentioned earlier, who judge from a place of ignorance. Harsh words may sting, and pointing fingers may hurt”¦ But you know what? I reckon it’s worth it. Because for every badly informed comment or response, there are many more who I know benefit from shared experiences.
The Ducking Stool may be an ancient relic, but the ignorant and fearful critics remain. That’s ok. Because little by little we can help to educate them about these dangers — and hopefully save them from having to experience it for themselves before, like us, they can fully understand what it means to be trapped by a sociopath. It’s easy to point the finger at those who stand up and speak out — and Mary, my friend, remember just how many thousands of people you are helping, just by being who you are. There is nothing’ shameworthy’ in what you did then, nor in what you continue to do now. I for one salute you.
There has been a picture quote doing the rounds among my Facebook friends this week, and I thought it would be relevant to share it here: “Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you”
With love and blessings to all here at Lovefraud — I salute you too. Because without you, there would be many more people (myself included) who might never have discovered the truth. Thank you.