Anyone out there watching Bravo's take on the Dirty John story? If you've been in a relationship with a sociopath/narcissist, it's either going to be must-see TV or you should stay far away from it, depending on where you are in your healing.
For about a year, people who knew what I endured from 2014-2017 kept telling me to listen to the podcast "Dirty John." I didn't for the longest time but when I finally had the chance earlier this year, I was blown away by similarities. I wrote about that experience HERE. If I've learned anything since I started receiving messages from women around the world who also let my ex into their life, it's that the tactics and MO employed by the abusers are not only similar from case to case (in my case, from woman to woman), but they manipulate and control in very similar ways to other abusers.
Many of these individuals do and say the same things. And they're frequently called pathological liars and serial cheaters by mental health professionals. Chills went up and down my spine when I saw "pathological liar" on documents pertaining to Dirty John Meehan that Debra found in the latest episode. This was consistent with what I came to learn about my abuser as well.
I'm in the process of writing a book about my journey which means I've had to revisit messages and documents recently and each time I do, now that I'm farther away from the abuse than ever, I find new "aha" moments.
For example, I remember being told in the beginning that he never wrote about his wife on social media much because he just didn't feel that connected to her. After all they both supposedly were "separated" but living together for the kids/financial reasons and just waiting until the kids were older to officially split. He said everything was different with me—he wanted to shout his feelings for me from the rooftops. I believed that line because he gave me no reason in the beginning to question it. He was friends with some of my friends who I know are really good, honest people so I immediately labeled him "innocent" by association. This was a bit different from what Debra experienced with Dirty John, whom she met online without any association. I simply thought if he was a bad guy, my friends would know and they would have told me. That was my first mistake, honestly. Especially when dealing with narcissistic/sociopathic personalities, the outer friendship circle who is not intimately involved with them will believe who he presents himself to be because they are masters at creating the facade.
Anyhow, when I read back through the messages from multiple women, I realized that he wasn't posting about his wife or anyone in his past because he was wooing multiple women at the same time, telling several of them he would leave his wife for them. Of course, none of them knew about one another at the time.
I seemed to be the only woman he "shouted from the rooftops" but I was also the only woman he targeted that had a brand, a bit of industry clout at the time, and a way to possibly get his furniture made on a bigger scale. It all makes complete sense, now, but back then, I simply believed what he told me. His very vocal profession of love had nothing to do with love and everything to do with personal gain.
I hope that by sharing these types of revelations, it will help others who have either been through it and can relate or it will help those who are on the look out to avoid this type of predator.
If you have similar stories, I'd love to hear about them either in comment or private message. The more we share, the more we can help other women (and men) make their own handbook for what to look out for and how to discern if someone is a charismatic, charming con artist like Dirty John.
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