Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Fall for Lies, Please : An Incomplete History

Many of you who know me personally know that I went through a nasty breakup last year.  I've written about it sporadically, mostly just in small bursts and social media posts to express my anger before it became explosive.

I won't lie and say that I don't wish my ex any ill will.  Of course I do.  He stole hundreds of dollars from me, kept most of my possessions (including gifts from my family that I'd had since before we met) for over a year, had unprotected sex with people when he was out of town while we were still together and supposedly monogamous, called me "psychotic" for trying to reach him multiple times in one day regarding lease issues, threatened me with legal action when I tried to get my things back, spread lies about me (I heard from strangers that he was telling people I had cheated and became pregnant with someone else's child), and even withheld my roommate's stuff that she had lent to me in an attempt to piss me off.  Some of the things I got back from him after the year was out had been broken or partially destroyed.  Much of it was lost or given away.  He kept family mementos, including a photo of my dad from the 1970's.  He told anybody who would listen (sadly, there were some) that I was crazy and had physically attacked him after I found out about his infidelity.  The night I found out about his infidelity, he left me stranded in a parking lot at 3 am, so that I could find my own way home in high heels and a short skirt while overwhelmed and disoriented with grief.  Since then, he has threatened my current boyfriend with physical violence (Ben had the audacity to laugh at him once), punched someone in the face on video camera while at work, been fired from two other jobs for being verbally abusive to customers, failed to have any contact with his children, and backed out of a festival performance he had agreed to, thus screwing over the other two members of his group number.  The list goes on.

This kind of abuse was especially shocking considering how much I had done for him while we were together:  I paid all his bills, raised money for his medical supplies (which he repeatedly tried to get me to release to him for recreational purposes), cooked all his meals, filled up his tank with gas weekly, filled out the paperwork for his medical care, filled out the paperwork to get him enrolled in school, wrote the cover letter for every job he had while we were together (there were quite a few), and gave him massages every night to help him with the pain caused by a skeletal deformity.  I patiently dealt with his sexual impotence and his complete lack of interest in any physical contact with me.  I forgave him and looked past the two children he had abandoned, and believed his lies about how the mothers of said children (plural) were withholding his visitation rights.  I encouraged him to call the one child he still had legal rights to, which he never did.  I did not judge him for failing to be a father to two separate children or a partner to two mothers of said children.  I reached out to his family even after he said they were abusive and never loved him, and even talked him down when he claimed they were trying to murder him by poisoning his food (they were all lovely, and very welcoming towards me, by the way).  I raised my voice to him exactly once in three years and was incredibly tolerant of his constant stream of failures.  I gave suggestions, tutor-style, on every assignment he turned in for school, and yet he still got mediocre grades and blamed the teachers ("These tests are different from the textbook!  She's not a good teacher!  She's not clear about what she wants!" etc.).  Creatively, I helped him quite a bit, too.  I wrote nearly every number he did as a burlesque performer and even came up with his stage name.  He paid for most of his costuming supplies, I'll give him that, but only because I was paying for all of our necessities.  One of the numbers he still performs is not only something I wrote, but something which features my voice on the track.

So what's my point, you ask?  My life is wonderful now that he's not in it, and his has gone downhill.  Problem solved, right?

If what I wanted now was revenge, I wouldn't bother.  You know what they say about living well, and all that.  I'm attending one of the best universities in the world, studying with people who win awards every three days or so.  This month, I get to read poetry alongside Pulitzer winners, poet laureates, and other prize-winning poets at the largest poetry event in North America.  I'm also the happiest I've ever been in my entire life, I'm in the best relationship I've ever been in, and I'm living in an area that suits me.  I'm a college professor.  I'm a published poet.  I've won awards.  I have wonderful friends and live 20 minutes from the most interesting city in the country.  I'm creatively, economically, spiritually, and emotionally fulfilled in a way that I never have been.  I'm in love with someone who finally helps me to feel like I'm not alone, who can keep up with this weird brain of mine, and who above all makes me happy in a way I didn't think I could be.  For once, instead of thinking "this will do," I wake up thinking, "this is perfect."

So why am I writing this, and why am I still angry?  Why do I still care?  After all, he's a failure, he's broke, he already quit school, his children don't know if they'll ever see him again, he's never had a successful relationship, and he's sick because he can't take care of himself.  He's eaten nothing but bullshit (except when I was feeding him), refused to take his medication on time, and ignored the advice of doctors for years.  Now, he's faced with kidney failure and possible death.  So what am I so pissed off about?  He's already fucked himself over more than anybody else ever could, right?

I'm angry because he's still doing this bullshit, and I'm writing this because I watched him abuse and torture and lie to another woman after me.  She wasn't even the last.

I saw as he roped her in with lies and flattery and then bled her dry.  I watched as he put her on a pedestal just for the sick pleasure of knocking it out from underneath her in the most public and humiliating way possible.  I heard about how he pushed her (physically!) while in public because she had the audacity to be in the same space as he was after he threw her out of their apartment (but later that night asked her for help because his blood sugar was low).  I heard the lies he spread about her, when he told people she was insane because she was angry at him after dumping her.  I heard about the other woman he was "comforting" behind her back.  I saw the way he refused to sign her name off the lease they shared because he wanted to stick her with the final rent bill as he skipped out (like he did to me).  I heard from credible sources how he was fired for screaming abuse at people on the phone at a customer service job, and then lost another job within a month or so after that.  I also know that he is on video camera punching a customer in the face at his parking lot job.  You read that correctly.

I'm writing this because he already has a new victim.  There's another woman, after my successor, who is being roped in by the lies and support, by the sensitive guy act.  She will end up shouldering the burden of all his past failures until he can bring himself to resent her for not fixing it all, like he has done with more than a dozen women before her.  He will humiliate her, he will lie about her, he will try to make himself look like the victim of yet another crazy girl.  He will say to the next one, "every girl I've ever dated is crazy.  You're different."

I have now heard four separate instances of that line coming from him, both before and after me.  Usually he just moves to another town before people can start to confer with one another and find the similarities, but he's run out of money and marketable skills, so he's stuck here for a while.  I hope his past catches up to him before he can ruin another life with lies and theft.

I'm writing this because there is a little boy who vaguely remembers his father and cries when he fails to show up at a pre-arranged meeting.  I know this because the mother of said child contacted me to say, "You know, he was so excited to see him today.  I can't believe he didn't come.  [Name] was so excited to see him.  Please tell him to call me."

I'm writing this because he's stolen hundreds of dollars from people already, and he is begging for money via an online campaign to raise money for his medical condition which he has done nothing to manage.

I'm writing this because it's not over until people stop supporting him.  I'm writing this because people claim to value honesty, and yet he's raised over $1,300 for a campaign based 100% on lies.  Even people who know, at least to some extent, that he's untrustworthy have donated because of their own inability to contextualize their pity.  If you must donate to a "good cause," donate to a charity that helps actually needy individuals, not spoiled children of wealthy parents who have failed to take any steps to ensure their own economic, personal, or physical well-being.  Don't fall for the sob story.

I'm writing this because solidarity starts on the personal level, and considering I know of at least four women he's used and then tortured after the fact, I'm asking you not to support this behavior.  One of them who came before me has contacted me to apologize for my having gone through the same thing he put her through.  Two of them contacted him while we were together and told him not to do the same thing to me as he did to them.  I still fell for it because he was new in town and I had nobody to corroborate their stories.  I believed him because he just seemed so smitten.

Maybe someday he'll stop using people and blaming them for his failures, but I doubt it.  He's certainly not going to do it so long as people believe his sob story (let me tell you -- he's taken none of the steps he claims to have taken to manage his condition, and the mother of his child has to hunt him down to get child support, much less a phone call, from the kid he claims he wants to see graduate) and throw money at him.

If you donate to his insulin pump fund, know this:  if he raises enough money to get this thing, he WILL get it.  However, he will feel this absolves him of all responsibility for his health.  He will fail to bolus properly or count carbs, and his blood sugars won't stabilize.  He will blame the pump for failing when he fails to use it properly.  He will continue drinking (his whole sob story right now is in regards to his kidney failure, yet every time he's left the house in over a year he's had at least three beers), and spend the money he should have been saving for medical treatment on alcohol.  He will eventually run out of money for supplies, and we will hear another sob story about how he can no longer afford pump supplies (because he's wasted all his money on booze and musical equipment for the instruments he doesn't know how to play).  He will begin begging for money again.  He will blame everyone but himself.

Honestly, if he had someone paying all his bills and taking care of everything for him (hell, I even bathed him after his surgery) for three years, do you really think he's going to use this money wisely?  Be smart.  Know the full story.  Keep the money you earned and let him earn his own future.  He's done enough damage as it is, both physically and emotionally, to too many people for anyone to fund his failures.