This particular trap is one of the greatest tools of misdirection ever used. If there were ever one to be exposed to the benefit of so many intelligent women it would be this one.
One weekend while at the Boys Ranch, I called and talked to “John,” and he was deeply distraught. I had asked what happened, and he told me of this girl (“Lisa”) that I had in fact been leery of, due to her behavior. A little risque, and very forward with him. I had told him repeatedly to not ever be alone with her. This nite, he had. Everyone was hanging out at the house. BBQ. Drinking. Socializing. An AirSoft game was in the rise, and someone had forgotten their gear. They, without thinking ahead, had offered to go the barracks to retrieve it. He and her. Alone. He stated she was being “weird” after they got back, and he was now worried.
This is a complicated trap that plays on Jenn’s sense of “territory”, her need to protect, and her desire to defend. Very powerful emotions at play. Just the mention of another female is manipulation on Mr. Smith’s part to create a need for Jenn to circle her wagons. He takes it further to suggest not only sexual attraction but that he might be a defenseless victim to another female. Jenn could lose him to another female that might be able to trick him…
Super Jenn to the rescue!!! Jenn says what all of us say, “Oh hell no! You are not going to use your feminine wiles on my man!!!” Then we understandably territorial and panic-stricken women say, “Stay strong honey…I will be right there!”
And there it is… HOOK, LINE, and SINKER
Maybe a week passes.
I had spent so much time visiting “John” and working on the base, I was staying quite often. I lived and hour and a half North, the drive was a bit long. Now I had many items at “John’s” house, had been leaving my cats for my father to tend to far days at a time. “John” suggested that I move in. Well, I guess it isn’t such a bad idea, right?
Wrong. This is where things started to spin out of control (looking back) but I did not see a single solitary red flag...
OK. With the deft skills of an abuser working quickly before a victim can recognize game, all the pieces are now in place for Jenn to feel like moving in would be the next logical step. I am sure that the hen scratching around the rooster house wasn’t too far in the back of Jenn’s mind. Which, of course, makes moving in almost feel like it was her idea. This is the part in the horror movie where the audience yells as one, “No! Don’t go in there! The monster is in there!” Then the door ominously shuts behind the victim while the audience shudders.
I would really like to focus for a moment on the fact that Jenn has yet to “see a single solitary red flag…”
Knowing Jenn’s history, I can say with confidence, this is because she has normalized most of Mr. Smith’s unhealthy attitudes and behaviors a good portion of her life in order to survive it. Mr. Smith undoubtedly learned this about her early on which made her both attractive and a perfect fit for him. For many readers, even those who have made similar errors in judgement you may have been shaking your head during Part I. For Jenn however, it is going to take a ridiculously unhealthy event for her to even take notice…
This next part is NOT that event…
I came home early Sunday morning from work at the Ranch (wasn’t feeling well), “John” [was] nowhere to be found. No note. No messages. Nothing. Not answering cell. Door to fridge wide open. What is going on here? 6 hours later, I finally get a call. “John”, in Arizona. Yes, folks, Arizona. Did I mention we’re in Northern Cali at this point?
He was approached at work on Friday after I left for the Ranch, and was told that he’s being brought up on sexual assault charges. Who? We don’t know yet. I talk him into turning around and head back home. Meanwhile, I wash, starch, iron/press his uniform and fully shine his boots. He arrives just after midnight. Tells me he must be in the office at 0800 for formal reading and who is bringing the charges. I asked why he left. He said he “panicked” that he “just knew it was that bitch, Lisa.”
Again, I know Jenn, she can spit the “real” like nobody’s business. If a friend of hers had told her this story; told her that her boyfriend was in Arizona because he was afraid of a court-martial due to sexual assault charges under these particular circumstances; Jenn would have told her to pack her shit and leave. Jenn would have seen this for what it was from a mile away.
In defense of victims, we are like the story of the frog in the boiling pot. At first the pot seems warm and cozy. It is during the warm and cozy moment that a confusing yet fascinating dog and pony show is fabricated before our very eyes to keep us mesmerized. This is so we are distracted by what is really going on. The temperature is being turned up to boil on the pot. The next thing we are distinctly aware of is…the water is boiling and if we don’t get out, we could die; spiritually, physically, or both. It is at this point that panic sets in. Do we stay in the water and HOPE that the water will cool if we wait it out? Or, do we burn the crap out of ourselves grabbing the searing pot so that we can attempt to traverse the fire of death in order to get to safety?
To be continued…
Note to Jenn: I am so not picking on you by picking your story apart. Believe me when I say… I was right there with you in every single one of my abusive relationships normalizing my heart away. I was blissfully unaware of the valley of red flags. I could only be compared to Stevie Wonder rapturously mowing them over with a Zamboni.