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Journaling keeps you grounded so you don’t fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland — where you are ‘wondering’ if it is real or not

Editor’s Note: This letter to Lovefraud was submitted by the Lovefraud reader who goes by the name “GoldenGirl.”

I remember my first red flag. We were walking to his car on a first date after about three months of telephone conversation after we first met. I was so shocked by what “I” blurted out, that I ignored my own advice.

As we were close to his car, I turned to him and said, for no specific reason, “If you ever lie to me I will leave you.” I immediately apologized and said, “I don’t know where that came from! I have never said anything like that to someone before in my life.”

It is five years later and I dearly wish that I had followed my own advice. I was 65 at the time, had not dated for decades and realizing that I was handicapped and alone, I thought I should have a friend in case I got ill and needed help. What a mistake.

Describing a SPATH

I had a “basic” idea of what a psychopath is… the movie version… the myth version… but not the reality.

The closest that I can come to explaining how they interact when they are in their “spath” mode is from an old time space movie called Queen of Blood, a 1966 film also known as Space Vampires.  In it there is one scene that raised the hairs on my neck when I saw it. It is a scene where the “Alien,” when hungry for blood, approaches her victim and as she approaches, she fades in and out. From the victim’s point of view, he sees the Alien at different positions and he is not sure what he is seeing, if she is approaching or not, until it is too late. That is what I felt when the spath was working his magic.

He did his love-bombing — telling me he would never leave me. He would say one thing, then contradict it. He never answered a question directly. He was like a politician that never gives a straight answer.

Or he would answer a question with a question. He requested two things, one… tells me that he hates a liar, ensuring I would be truthful and he studied and questioned me about everything. When he found what bothered me, he would do exactly that — or the opposite of what I said I wanted.

And he would watch me. Watch my reaction. I could almost see his feeling superior, when he continued to do something annoying.

One example is I had some small books on top of a bookcase and he reached up and started to flick them backwards and they fell down between the bookcase and the wall. Every time I told him to stop, he would flick another and I would protest and move towards him, he would stop, keeping his hand touching the remaining books on the top of the bookcase. When I stopped, he flicked another and I would hear it fall behind and protest again. I didn’t lose my cool, because I had a secret weapon that he didn’t know about.

Writing in a journal kept things real

Way back when, about six months into the relationship, I had that ”no I didn’t, yes you did” experience. I was experiencing feelings like I saw in the movie Gaslight. (I didn’t know that people actually did things like that to one another.) The feelings of uncertainty ate my guts.

So, I started to journal. I wrote down everything. I journaled because I knew if I wrote it down, I didn’t imagined it. It was real. I described what I saw, what he was wearing, what he said, how I felt, time, date, car license plates — everything.

Curiosity lead to much reading

After awhile, the activity took on a curiosity factor. I started to read books, the first When your lover is a liar by Susan Forward. Those two activities helped me back-track.

I couldn’t go no contact. I wasn’t ready yet and I was using him as a Video, Photograph and Photoshop subject to get through my university classes.  I saw him at a church that I became really attached to, as I was fully accepted and even special at the different events. (I have no family or friends as I grew up under unusual circumstances that precluded any original family members and I lost both parents by the time I was 15 years old.)

My spath’s antics fuelled my curiosity.  I eventually read 14 or more books, followed Dexter (and his internal musings) and Criminal Minds for their descriptions of the different types of criminal profiles. Going into film, I thought that what I was learning would be invaluable as I was able to experience the relationship, for script writing. As I journaled, I realized I was writing the back story for a very, very dangerous and criminally active person. (I got a sneak into his emails.

Devil Man – a book in the making

The man is an evangelist in a Pentecostal African Church. And I had been videotaping him preaching and so on. I thought I would write the book first titled, Devil Man. The front cover would be him in his religious robes, with his shadow in the background showing horns on the shadow head and a tail coming out from under his robe.

A very scary thing is that when this man was a child, he stepped on a piece of metal and his foot got badly infected. As a result, his foot is malformed – kind of like a mild club foot. It made me think that the devil has cloven feet. I was thinking that I would also have a cloven foot peeking out from under his robes. I might have to get a ghost writer — no pun intended — to write the book and script for a movie plot.  I have to get more down on paper of things that I realize he has done.

Three-column structure of the journal

The way I kept myself sane was/is when writing in the journal, I use three columns.

  1. The first is what I personally saw or have a hard copy of and is the most credible.
  2. The second is what people tell me. I need to hear it from more than one person, because it is less credible.
  3. The third is my imagination column. It is what I think can happen because of what I know from columns one column two. Column three is speculative, but possible.

Because I have been writing and learning for a good while, I have slowly replaced his love bombing and manipulations with what is real, thereby negating his influence on me. I have seen how the spath is an incredible person, who can accomplish much,but chooses nasty behaviors and methods to get to the same position of wealth and authority.

One of my last dealings with him was that he stole my cell phones, micro SD card, my large print bible and my good copy of Snakes in Suits. He could have asked to have any of them on loan.

My disgust comes for him, a high ranking religious person of 25 plus years, stole my bible.

Stealing from me

Another thing that I have learned in the past year, is that he is very skitterish and a coward at heart. The non-thinking part of me still loves this man very much and I long to see him, hear his voice and his laugh.

But when I think he might come over, I get very nervous, make excuses and wonder what he will steal next. He is almost magical with stealing. I only caught him once and he made an excuse that I sort of believed. I have not caught him since. This is how I think he is stealing.

When he has been in my apartment, he looks like he is texting. I might catch what I think is a flash of light from the corner of my eye, or as a flash if I am in the other room.

When I ask, he says he is texting, but I think he was taking pictures of what he wants to steal. He then insists like crazy, that I have to go to this church event or meet him at my university so we can work on a project. Then he gets calls, or texts someone in church from the altar. I think he is letting a second party know I am out of my apartment and sends him a picture of what he wants to steal.

I didn’t know how the person got in, but I discovered that a fellow tribesman of his lives in my building AND was on the board of directors (and I assume got access to master keys). I kind of didn’t care because I am downsizing and I have nothing of real value in my house. Jewelry, hard drives and other media is in the safety deposit box.

Little contact

I have been going through some medical problems — same as my mom who died from it. So I didn’t need waves and just looked after myself, and made myself as unavailable as possible, because I didn’t need the drama.

During this time, I found him to be unsympathetic (no surprise) and even cruel. He, being neglected, has found someone else and has started a campaign a year ago to kill my credibility in the church. Not worried, as I have documentation including audio tapes.

If nothing comes out of my ramblings, I think that all women, especially older ones, need to journal all dealing with their new “friend” until they can KNOW they are in a safe relationship. Journaling can bring out discrepancies in what he says and does. It also keeps a person mentally grounded, like putting on brakes every day, so one doesn’t fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland  where you are wondering if it is real or not.

 



9 Comments on "Journaling keeps you grounded so you don’t fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland — where you are ‘wondering’ if it is real or not"

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  1. jm_short says:

    Rumination is a debilitating activity our brain goes through when we begin to sense the devastation we encountered. All the scenes of our relationship play over and over in our brains as we attempt to make sense of what happened. We frequently dwell on what we “coudda” or “shoudda” done to change the outcome or, at least, convince “them” that the motives they twisted in their efforts to victimize, were pure. These ruminations occupy our brains to a level that creates deep depression.

    Keeping a journal will help you prevent that from happening. And if you haven’t kept a journal, writing down the events you recall will also enable your brain to free itself from having to hang onto those thoughts.



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  2. Annie says:

    @jm_short
    Agreed. And what you’ve said aligns with one of the theories I strongly believe applies in most areas of mental health – not just depression: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/depressions-evolutionary/

    They too recommend writing and journaling in order to help support your mind’s ruminations come to a fruitful conclusion.

    Good article GoldenGirl, thanks.



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  3. Heartbroken Mom of 1 says:

    It does help writing it all down so when you may start to “weaken” you can reread it all and look at the BIG picture and see clearly what and who you are dealing with. They are so smooth, charming and deceptive, use all the right words, it would be easy to fall back into the whole mess again.



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  4. lostandbroken says:

    I completely agree with the journal. One of my biggest issues was only wondering if i over reacted or if i was the one that was crazy. If it was really me that was the problem. He was just so good at lying and manipulating and twisting the truth that even though i was there and new what happened and how it made me feel, he was somehow able to twist it around and make me out to be the bad guy and end up feeling guilt for something.. i wasnt even sure i did. i only wish i had journaled longer, so i would have something to read back on and remember at any given time, why i cant ever go back.



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  5. jm_short says:

    Lost-

    There’s no time like the present!

    Even though you didn’t write the events at the time, writing your memory of the events now will help you. It will free your brain so you won’t need to continuously play those thoughts back. Having them stored in a place that is external frees you from feeling you have to hold onto them.

    Joyce



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  6. GP says:

    First thing I blurted out was a question, like you did, I asked if he believed in monogamy, for no reason I just said that. Now I know why, now I know how well my instincts work. Did the journal as well, saw a therapist, I couldn’t feel, anger would be in a flat tone, my emotions and expressions weren’t aligning. I tried drawing, I drew a representation of FREEDOM, the irony… Eventually I wrote in my diary, thank you book you’ve served me well but words aren’t expressing well enough the chaos I feel inside. I started a visual diary, drawing, it helped to bring me back to life and I realized I have a talent for drawing more than words.



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  7. veramadera says:

    Great article – very validating – thank you for this. I am struck by how clear you are able to be in such a disturbing situation. Good for you. I’ve had hard time coming to terms with the difficult person in my life – I think he is narcissist/borderline, not sociopathic. We have a child together, which is a whole different level of vulnerability. I’ve journaled all my life, but when I sit down to write about this man, I’m overcome with fear, dread, pain, confusion. I can’t squeak out too many words yet. Part of it is just keeping myself steady for my daughter. I have this fear that if I open up, I will never be able to stop. It will take me over. Reading your work gave me some insight into how to see the truth of a situation, even if it’s painful, and stay grounded and calm about it. Thanks for posting.

    V



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  8. comesthedawn says:

    If anyone reading this is actively experiencing this situation, please start journaling or audio recording what you’re experiencing – It could save your life, like it did mine.

    For many years with my ex-husband, I felt like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t believe that my once perfect memory was somehow failing me so often. When I asked why he would say something so cold and callous, he’d always say, “I didn’t say that!” and tell other people that I was crazy and trying to make him feel like a bad person. As I know now, a pathological partner will accuse the “good” partner of the bad things they are doing. At the time, I was trying to be the best partner possible and gave him everything I had and always gave him the benefit of the doubt. I really began to believe I must be crazy.

    There came a time when I caught the ppath in a HUGE lie. He stared right into my face and said it, not flinching, not blinking, not the slightest reaction. I remember him smiling and trying to make me feel paranoid. Unfortunately at that point for him, I knew he was lying. He said he had a flat tire, but was really glad we had AAA to come help him in the middle of the night. Good thing I had noted that I had cancelled the policy a few months before on his request. He was caught red handed – And years later after I left, I learned of the women… But that’s for another story!

    The journal was actually much more helpful when I was able to keep track of what he was doing, saying and when. When he would say something never happened or he would never say something like that to me, I pulled out the diary/journal and showed him my record of what he had said, where and when.

    On my end, it didn’t take long to collect enough information to begin to see the pattern of gas-lighting and brainwashing that he was using on me – He really hated when I flipped back to a page in my journal to read back exactly what he had said. Of course, the response was – “I didn’t say that” or “You’re crazy” or “You’re twisting my words.” And I was so far gone at that point that I believed him. On the other hand, he was a smart enough psychopath to enjoy the challenge of being caught in a lie and trying to convince me (despite all concrete evidence) that I was still crazy. There’s something really scary about their ability to do this to people.

    And yet, I kept recording everything. In the end, those records exposed him his true nature as a psychopath (diagnosed) who had planned to take my life one way or another. It is truly a gift from God that the things I recorded somehow made it into the hands of someone who saved me just in time. If that didn’t happen, I would have been murdered and nobody would have known what really happened.

    **VERY IMPORTANT – If you’ve ever pondered creating a evidentiary abuse affidavit and talked yourself out of it, don’t! Just do it. Best case scenario, you had stupid fears. Worst case scenario, it will provide justice for you should anything happen.** Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9uGnrtwK3Q

    Much love to all of you who have experienced these things, are going through them or are trying to support a friend of family member. Your belief in yourself (or your friend) and support means the world.



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  9. stronginthecity says:

    Great motivation to start journeying.
    It’s the one thing that I never did.
    Thank you.
    SITC



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