“I found her journals”

I was watching a docudrama on the History channel that put a different spin on the part of Houdini’s life when he went after mystics and psychics in order to expose their tricks to the unsuspecting public. One of the female psychics followed him back to his hotel after he ruined her seance one night. He and a Scientific American magazine writer were in attendance at this seance. Houdini had exposed all of her tricks and vowed to write about them in his report. She tried to seduce him. He pushed her away and told her sex wouldn’t change his mind, and that’s when she said something that triggered an avalanche of memories in my own brain.

She said “After you’re dead we can make you say anything we want you to say! When you’re dead, we own you!”  

In the docudrama Houdini states that for the first time in his life, he truly felt fear. I can definitely see why, because I have personally witnessed this rewriting of history by various sociopaths once the object of their obsession passes on.

It’s one of the main reasons I encourage victims of abuse…I implore victims of a sociopath’s rage….to tell their stories now. Shout them from the rooftops, write them down and share them!! Do it right now! Because once you’re gone and can no longer speak for yourself, the sociopaths will speak for you and they will rewrite your entire life to suit whatever twisted idea they have of it. 

They tell us that it’s bad manners to speak ill of the dead, but this isn’t a rule the sociopath follows. I am pretty sure that when I die there will be a few sociopaths that will feel great glee at my passing. Hell, someone might even write a song about it. I’ll be too dead to care, but the one thing I have on my side now is that I have told my story already and it’s right here for anyone that wants to read it. It will remain here for the duration of the Internet.

Unfortunately, some of my friends that have passed on haven’t been as lucky and their stories are being rewritten by the sociopaths they crossed in life. I can’t fight their battles because I know now that I can’t save the world, but I can send out a message to the ones that are alive and suffering right now. I can tell them that telling their own story is imperative.

I watched this take place when one of our dear friends died from a tragic and unexpected accident. Suddenly the ex-girlfriend that he ran away to another state to escape, was waxing poetic about their long standing and strong relationship. She even conned his brother into letting her plan the memorial for him. She made everyone believe that they were still a couple, when the truth was that he couldn’t stand to be around her. I knew everything she was saying was a lie, but I couldn’t even address what she was doing because I wanted to respect my friend’s memory. Getting into a pissing match with a scorned sociopath was not the way to honor him. Since he died, she has rewritten his entire history, including cutting out his own family and making them into villains.

The afternoon I was on the phone with someone I was calling friend long before I knew just how dangerous and sick he really was, I remember feeling my blood curdle by the tone of voice he used when he told me he had found his wife’s journals.

Almost two years before he and I became friends again because of Facebook, his wife of 18 years had shot herself in their bedroom, while he napped on the sofa in the next room. I had known him when we were teenagers, so to me he was just an old friend that was hitting hard times and grieving the death of his wife. At the time we renewed our friendship I had absolutely no idea that he had a reputation for being a pathological liar and was one of the most notorious sociopaths I would ever encounter. So I would take his calls and I would listen to his woes time after time. I had many conversations with my friend, the sociopath, about his dead wife.

My renewed friendship with him didn’t last very long, but it did span across the second anniversary of her death. He called me that morning in tears, but talk of her passing only lasted a few minutes. The real reason for his tears was that his electric bill was overdue and he didn’t have the money to pay it. Being a good friend, I loaned him the money for the bill. He was so happy about this that he got himself all dressed up and went to another friend’s party that afternoon, where he proceeded to get rip roaring drunk and embarrassed the host that invited him.

Of course, no one at the party knew what day it was. That morsel was only used when he thought it might benefit him, or line his pockets with some spending money. Over the course of the few months I was his friend again, he would use her suicide to manipulate me again and again. It was the one fail-proof weapon in his arsenal. If that didn’t work, he would threaten to kill himself…“just like she did!!”. 

I noticed on many occasions that he would talk about her inappropriately. From describing her breasts to discussing her period, he would make some of the most embarrassing statements in threads with his other friends on Facebook. I could never decide if he was just being gauche, or if he truly had no idea that to speak about her in this manner set people’s teeth on edge. Most of the time when he went off on one of these uncouth-memory-lanes, people in the thread stopped commenting. He would go on and one though, as if he had captured an audience.

The worst was when he described her suicide in detail. He always made himself out to be the hero of the story because he claimed he attempted mouth to mouth resuscitation to bring her back to life. In real life, none of that happened.

He rewrote her own life’s story so many times that after a few months I had a difficult time keeping track of just who she was in real life. He liked to tell people she had her Doctorate in Neuro Psychology, whatever the hell that is, and that she could write prescriptions for great drugs. Then she was a triathlete that ran marathons on a weekly basis and both of them were in tip top shape. Oh and that she worked full time as a model for the Nordstrom’s Department store modeling agency. That usually accompanied a picture he would post of himself from his twenties, claiming it was present day. The women on his daily Facebook feed would swoon and he would bask.

In real life, she ran one marathon and Nordstrom’s doesn’t have a modeling agency that I know of. She wasn’t a doctor either. She worked as a case worker at the local YWCA. Towards the end of her life she had given up. In real life she was tired of being the person responsible for a meth addict that would never be able to find a job.

I saw a few of the pictures people posted for his memorial after he died. He died of natural causes about three years after his wife committed suicide, most likely a heart attack from being obese and abusing drugs. One of the pictures his friends posted shows him sitting on a bed with his dogs. These are people that bought into his fantasies and his lies about who he really was. These are the people that thought he was a war hero and a college student. I don’t blame them at all. They didn’t know any better. He is gaunt in the photo. Everyone is cooing about how great he looks, but he doesn’t look great in this picture at all. I guess people really only see what they want to see and the truth behind that photo is that he had just been released to go home after his second rehab for methamphetamine addiction. It was taken just one year before he started using again and just one year before she finally took the only way out she knew would be permanent by committing suicide.

He even rewrote her suicide note!

He told one story about how she wrote that he didn’t kill her, so the police would know he was innocent. Then he told another story that the only message she left behind was that she had never loved anyone as much as she loved him. In real life her suicide note gave 8 reasons why she no longer wanted to live. None of them are about loving him. And none of them are about his innocence of her suicide. He might not have planned it, or participated in it, but he knew that she wanted to do it and he knew she had a gun. In my book that makes him culpable. Her 8 reasons were about how bad her life had become, how alone she felt and about how tired she was of trying.

The day he told me he had found her journals was a day long before I knew any of the truths about their lives together that I just shared with you. The day he told me this, it was the tone of his voice that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a tone of wonder, like he had maybe discovered that Santa Claus was a real person. It was eerie.

The day she committed suicide he was so strung out on drugs and completely out of his mind, that he was immediately put into a locked drug rehab. Their apartment was on the verge of gaining an eviction notice, so some good Samaritan group went in while he was in treatment and packed all of their belongings in tubs for storage, until he was able to live on his own again.

He told me that he took his time unpacking these tubs once he was placed in a shared apartment with another man in recovery. He said that he would be going through a tub of stuff and he would find canned food mixed in with bathroom towels. Every tub was an adventure. Mainly he would plunder through the tubs in search of things he could sell for money, or trade for marijuana.

He called me the day after finding the journals.

He said he had been up all night reading them.

He never even knew she kept a journal.

What?! How is that even possible?! How could your wife of 18 years have kept a journal all that time and you had no idea? My husband would know something like that about me. He would never invade my privacy and read them, but he would know if I kept one. I’m not sure that my husband would even want to read my journal after I die. Journals are not novels and they aren’t generally meant to be shared.

That’s when I cautioned him about reading them.

Journals are a Pandora’s Box. You can write something truly horrific and hateful in your journal one day, and totally not mean it the next day. It is a place for your thoughts. It’s a place to put things you might never talk about with anyone else, ever. It’s a private place. It’s a sacred place. It’s not meant for general consumption. It’s not usually presented as a life story. I know famous people’s journals are published all the time, but the average Joe’s journal really isn’t meant for publication.

He wouldn’t listen to me and started telling me some of the things she had written about him. I felt so sorry for him. The disturbing part of all of this wasn’t that he read her journals, it was how he perceived what he was reading. She wrote about not having anyone to talk to because he had driven everyone out of their lives, including her family. She was isolated and alone, but his only response after reading this was to ask “I wonder why she didn’t talk to me about this…”  or “Her family sucked!!” They hated our dogs too!” The words and the thoughts weren’t even sinking in for him. What fascinated him most wasn’t what she was writing, it was finally having a cleared pathway to her inner most thoughts. Like now, he could read her mind. That was what he was most thrilled with.

After an hour of listening to him talk about the passages he had read in her journals I had to stop him. I told him I couldn’t listen to any more of that and I changed the subject. I refused to wallow in something that had nothing to do with me and really, it had little to do with him anymore either. She was gone and he needed to respect that and move on.

I would later realize that finding her journals and being able to sit down and devour every word, was the sociopath’s dream. To this guy, it was better than drugs. That was probably why she had kept them hidden so well all those years. I think she must have either known what he was, or she was starting to figure it all out.

After I decided that I was locked into a toxic friendship with this sociopath, I took my leave as quickly as I could. He set about rewriting his history with me and I suffered through three years of being stalked and disparaged by him, until the day he died. I should have been happy he died, but it made me sad that his life was so wasted. I cried when I heard the news. But he is better off now and so are a lot of other people that suffered from his abuse.

If you are in a relationship that falls into the criteria of abuse from a sociopath, please seek counseling for yourself. Tell someone what you are going through. Share your story now before you lose the will to keep going and before the sociopath that is abusing you starts telling their version of your life.

You might think that the story I have shared here is akin to what I just described as what a sociopath might do. But I haven’t rewritten anyone’s life here. I haven’t made myself into a hero. And I can assure you that only a sociopath would accuse me because just like that sociopath couldn’t see the messages his dead wife wrote in her own journal about how bad her life had become, a sociopath will surely miss the point of this story too.

This story is told with the intention of waking up the victims being abused and to encourage them to start talking about it. Don’t allow the sociopath to control your story. 

I don’t like writing about this particular sociopath. It makes me sick because even in death, he is still poisonous. But if this saves one life from abuse and despair, than telling it was worth it. 

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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