I remember thinking I was really stupid. When I stepped back and thought through everything that had happened – I could only think how stupid I was. How dumb I was to trust over and over – to give the benefit of the doubt – to look past things that didn’t add up.
How people had warned me for years, had tried to talk to me about his behavior and all the ways he tried to isolate and control me. And how I’d filed it away – because by then, I was planted in a spot where I felt like my feet couldn’t move. I could only duck or sway to get through each storm, but I couldn’t move away from the threat.
How stupid I had been for continuing after he had made holes in the walls, ruined cabinets, broke glasses, had thrown a computer, locked me outside, tracked me on GPS, scoured through my phone, stolen my keys and purse. How stupid I was.
Just building strength.
After I got past the “you’re so stupid” phase of this awakening, I moved to a “no, he’s just that good” phase.
That’s their game. That’s how they get through life, every aspect of it.
I knew that. But I somehow still felt as if the woman who came after me – and offered to bail him out of jail a couple times, and offered to pick up his belongings from the curb because he wasn’t allowed near our house, and gave him a place to live – was stupid, too.
I remember thinking it. That she was so stupid – to witness a man torturing a woman and three kids – and continue to stand by him. Continue to eat the shit he was shoveling, of which I had an idea based on experience but I’m sure the script changes subtly to fit the needs of the situation.
His con still worked, it just had a new game piece.
But, I have a new perspective. And it was unexpected and came spontaneously as part of a casual conversation.
She’s not stupid. Neither am I. Neither is the woman – or women – who came before me or will come after her. And the male friends he has or will make aren’t stupid, either. We were just conned by someone who lives to con. We were pieces of the game that a conman never stops playing.
If anyone is stupid, it is the person who believes that a con will work indefinitely. That the clock will never run out. That the same tactics will continue to be successful long after that cloudy bubble the game pieces had been kept in break out.
We are not stupid. We just believed, and that makes us excellent game pieces. But, we learned from it. And will never play it again – with anyone.