This post is long but necessary. I will only discuss the JA Trial and my first experience with a narcissist (Person 01) in this post. The post about my second experience (Person 02) covers a much greater time-frame and is a lot more emotionally taxing to write about… so I’m going to take more time with it because I want people to be able to learn from my mistakes. The first part of this post will deal with the Jodi Arias trial, the second part with my personal experience with a narcissistic stalker and what to look out for.
Travis Alexander and Jody Arias (left)
For the past 9 days, I’ve been watching the Jodi Arias trial from start to finish on YouTube. One might ask why. At times I’ve asked myself why because there is no doubt that I could have lived without seeing the brutality of Travis Alexander’s murder. Was it the fact that it seems so incomprehensible that someone so pretty and charismatic could be responsible for stabbing her ex-lover 29 times, slitting his throat ear-to-ear and shooting him in the head? Maybe partially. In Australia, it wasn’t widely covered (if at all, seeing as I didn’t even hear about it until I accidentally came across it through a blog that I was reading a few weeks ago) and when I first started reading about it and watching YouTube shorts – particularly Jodi’s police interrogation videos – I started to pick up on similarities between her and 2 people I had the misfortune of having in my life at various points in the last 12 years.
I honestly believe that’s what compelled me to keep watching. It was like I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t move past that eerie feeling that if I hadn’t picked up on things that ‘just didn’t seem right’ and taken appropriate measures to safeguard myself, I may have ended up hurt or worse. And it’s the ‘or worse’ that made me want to write this post.
My understanding from everything I’ve read is that Jodi has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and sociopathic traits. The defense tried to claim that she suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of ex-bf Travis – a completely unsubstantiated accusation that went right to the heart of Jodi’s defense… that’s right. She was claiming self-defense. She was on trial for premeditated murder and the evidence was irrefutable. And let’s not forget the fact that in 2008 when arrested she claimed she was never there. When confronted with evidence such as naked photographs of herself and the victim (date and timestamped the day of the murder), her bloody palm print on the wall, her hair and blood mixed with Travis’ and photographs taken inadvertently when she dropped the camera during the commission of the crime showing parts of her body in the photographs with his bloody body… her story changed.
Suddenly, the story became that she WAS there and that she and Travis had shared an afternoon of passion and she was taking photos of him in the shower when two masked attackers killed him and for whatever reason, decided to spare her life. She claims she couldn’t admit to being there because the ‘attackers’ had taken her registration information which had her address and had threatened to harm her family if she talked. From jail, she relayed this story to several U.S. shows such as Inside Edition and 48 Hours Mystery… with minor changes to the story of course. And at the end of one of those programs she stated “No jury will convict me and you can mark my words on that. … I am innocent.”… On the stand during her trial, she claimed that she said this because she was, at that time, planning to kill herself and that’s why no jury would convict her – because there would never be a trial. What a load of horseshit.
THEN in 2010, the story changed again. And it was this final story she would run with for her trial – that Travis was an abuser, a sexual deviant and, unbelievably, a paedophile. And that she was forced to fight for her life after accidentally dropping his new camera that she was using to take photos of him in the shower and he became enraged.
From the interrogation tapes up until the completion of the trial, I was absolutely floored by her level of narcissism. Floored. She stalked this man. Make no mistake… she targeted him. When she met him in September 2006, she saw a kind, compassionate, handsome and financially well-off man who she would go to any lengths to make hers. At first, it sounds like he was equally enamored with Jodi. But things quickly soured when the red flags started appearing. She began to smother him publicly with affection; she went to his closest friends complaining to them that she couldn’t make him love her; she hacked into his private emails, Facebook, MySpace and into his phone to find out who he was talking to and what he was doing and would send emails to herself from “anonymous” stalkers in order to make Travis jealous and protective of her – more efforts to try to make him love her. Her moods were volatile, going from happy to mad to sad. She sulked. She emotionally blackmailed. These violations of trust resulted in their breakup in June 2007. Immediately following the breakup, she moved over a thousand miles to his town and began to spy on him through his windows at night; leave vicious emails on the cars of the women he was dating, slit his car tires and the tires of one of his girlfriends, crawl through the doggie door at his house and sleep on the sofa and would break into his house uninvited and stay there while he was away on business. And much more. His friends tried to warn him but seemingly his compassion overruled his commonsense.
Yet for whatever reason, possibly the fact that she had opened him up sexually to things he didn’t know were possible (because he was of the Mormon faith), he looked past the ‘crazy’ and continued to see her in secret for sexual trysts. Such is the power of narcissists. They can make you forgive their craziness over and over. They deflect your attention from the bad things they are doing. They are masters of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ techniques. Ultimately, the jury saw through Jodi’s lies and convicted her of the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander in May, 2013 and my heart goes out to his family and his friends who not only lost someone special but who had to watch this narcissistic, self-serving, remorseless bitch drag his name through the mud for 50-something days during her trial.
For 18 days she took the stand in her own defense. And effectively hung herself. In her mind, everyone in that courtroom (and the rest of the world) was inferior to her in terms of intellect. The LIES she told were absolutely insane. She played the jury completely but, thank god, they saw through her facade and her crap. But don’t misunderstand… in light of the entire ‘Travis abused me’ thing, there were still jurors in the penalty phase of the trial who genuinely felt she was abused. REALLY, people?????? Watch the trial, watch the interrogation, watch the Inside Edition special and see that lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. The reality is, she pursued him, she lured him with sex and when that didn’t work she stalked him and she murdered him. She planned it and she executed it. Then she played the rest of the world for fools. The LYING was pathological. The truth will never be known. She will never feel any remorse – because she’s not capable of it.
Jodi was diagnosed via the media and their ‘experts’ as having BPD, NPD, Antisocial Personality Disorder and/or sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies. I’m more than familiar with these types of people and that’s why I wanted to write this post. For too long, I’ve been feeling shame at being taken in by these people and guilt at exposing my family to the dangers they posed. Prior to the 2 experiences I will discuss, I was very naive. My self-esteem was reduced to nothing by the cruelty of these people and I’m finally ready to begin the long-haul of repairing it.
I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist so I can’t say for sure whether the 2 people who came into my life suffered from BPD and NPD, APD or were sociopathic. All I can relay is my experience and the warning signs (marked in-text by these ***) to hopefully help others recognise them should they ever have the misfortune to come in contact with such people.
In 2010, a man I had dated in high school re-entered my life. I was living 1.5 hours away from my state’s capital city in a coastal town and somewhat had my life together – a job that I loved, financially kind of OK and had loving friends and family. I was single at the time and worked damn hard. Overworked is an understatement. Anyway, we got back in contact via Facebook and I was delighted to see he had a lovely wife, a young child and by all accounts, he seemed successful in his endeavours. About 6 months later, we talked a couple of times on the phone and I expressed interest in having dinner with he and his wife when it was convenient. A few weeks after that, he called me devastated to say that his wife had left him, taken his BMW, his child, cleaned out his bank accounts and basically left him destitute. He told me he had moved back in with his parents as she was spending all her days going to salons and spas and living it up in the apartment he’d bought. I expressed sympathy and suggested all the reasonable things; consulting lawyers, marriage counselling and the like. After several weeks of speaking on the phone, I seemed to become a source of comfort for him and he wanted to come and visit me so I of course said “sure, whatever I can do to help”. He begun flirting with me and I know I reciprocated at times, though definitely not to the extreme he did. From my side of things, I kept it very light-hearted.
The first red flag was when he turned up with a single red rose (***). At the time it seemed sweet but in hindsight was far too romantic a gesture from someone I hadn’t seen for over 10 years. We chatted for a few hours with him doing the majority of the talking, swinging from tears and sympathy-engendering stories (particularly relating to his son and his own recent troubles and his bad family life) to stories of how successful he had been and would be again. The grandiosity (even at the time) seemed misplaced and misguided (***). He would talk about all the entrepreneurial things he had achieved, inventions he was having patented etc. That was another red flag but sitting there, all I could think was “this poor guy! what a bitch his ex must have been to take all this from him and keep him from his son”. This pattern of idealising someone (or themselves) whilst running down others is key (***). And make no mistake, it’s calculated. Every word. It seemed to me that he was telling me these stories in order to receive praise / positive acknowledgement of his successes … I guess looking to feed his ego (***). Given the vulnerable state I knew he was in, I had no qualms doing that.
Within the first couple of hours, he attempted to kiss me several times (***). I found this more than a little confronting and suggested as kindly as I could that perhaps things needed to back up a little bit. He was extremely hurt. And after a few moments of sulking he went back to trying to elicit sympathy from me at the same time as making subtle digs to play on my guilt. Of course, I was telling myself I needed to be more compassionate because this guy had just had his whole world fall apart. He seemed sweet, I was flattered by his attentions.
Over the weekend, the grandiosity of his stories increased (***), at one time telling me he was responsible (with another man) for bringing something ridiculous like spray-tanning to the east coast of Australia. At the time I couldn’t disprove it so just took it with a grain of salt. Knowing he was low in funds, I paid for everything – food, alcohol etc. But the strangest aspect of all was the way he studied me (***). And I mean studied me. All women know it’s nice to be appreciated by men but he would always force me to meet his eyes, sometimes maneuvering my chin so that I couldn’t avoid it. He would demand that I “looked at him so I could see how much he cared for me” (***). I again brought up the issue of slowing down. And was met with the same ’emotional guilt trip’ response. By the end of the weekend, I was having very mixed feelings. He was still a nice guy, he was hurting and I had lots of sympathy and compassion for him. But I wasn’t sure that it was going to translate into what he wanted from me, which by now (obviously) was a romantic relationship.
We talked on the phone for another few weeks and he started to tell me he loved me (***). When I tried politely to say I cared about him too, he began to say things like “don’t you WANT me to love you? don’t you WANT me to tell you how amazing and beautiful and special I think you are?”… to which I said of course and I was flattered, but in time. He came up for a second visit and this time was far more intense. I knew I liked him, I cared about him but not much more than that – on paper he seemed great, if a little intense. We got close on the first evening and that was a huge mistake. I should have listened to my own internal warning signs but I didn’t. He began to follow me (***) around my tiny apartment, never more than a few steps behind me. He was trying to hug me and touch me and be intimate with me at every opportunity. He was showering me with compliments and the words “I love you” over and over and over again (***). I started to become quite fearful and unsettled and knew things really weren’t right. I told him that he would have to leave because I had a work deadline that was really important. He began to cry. He told me that he’d kill himself if I didn’t want him (I’m paraphrasing of course)… (***)… that he was a loser and that I made him great and made him want to be a better person. He said it was OK that I needed to work, that he’d just sit there and watch me (***).
Something else to note… the 2 weekends he spent with me, he kept his phone OFF and only paid (what little he paid) in CASH (***). He was driving a beat-up blue car of some sort and said it was his wife’s old car that they kept even once they bought the BMW (which she now had, effectively, stolen). So I was working the rest of the weekend on my computer for countless hours and he’s just lying there, watching me. When it came time for him to leave, at my insistence, he once again began to cry and told me he couldn’t stand to be away from me (***).
I started to make excuses to get off phone calls quickly and avoided organising another visit. Something just seemed ‘off’ and I didn’t want to seem like a bitch. Somewhere in the following weeks, my best friend and I organised a visit to another state for a girl’s weekend. She had recently left her marriage and I just really needed a break. In the days leading up to it, I received a barrage of calls and texts and emails from this guy (***) on how I had to be on my best behaviour, that he didn’t want me cheating on him, that guys were predators and he knew how innocent I was. He even wrote to my best friend (***) who was with me to hammer home the message. I laughed it all off and tried to keep it light. In the end, truthfully, I was only being polite.
When she and I arrived at our hotel, I had a tonne of missed calls and texts. I called him briefly to say “we’re here, it’s cool, we were having a few drinks and heading out”… His response? Tears and guilt-trips (***). I told him to chill out and made an excuse to get off the phone. While we were doing our hair and makeup, I shared my concerns with my bestie (who will probably remember more of this than me!!) and at first she said that it was sweet, how much he cared for me. By the end of that first night away however, we’d both changed our tune. I made the decision to let him know that I didn’t want to see him or hear from him anymore. The text messages got so full-on while she and I were out partying that I ended up turning off my phone at one point. That elicited even more crazy texts and emails (***). I rang him at some ungodly hour of the morning when we got home and, as nicely as I could, said that I felt smothered and that I didn’t see a future for us. My best friend can vouch for the fact that I never raised my voice, never said anything cruel, nothing like that.
His response was a dual one. He alternated between berating me/calling me names to threatening suicide if he couldn’t be with me. He turned on me in a big way. After that phone call, I thought things were put to bed. I awoke to an email that I will never forget… I’d effectively ended any prospective relationship with him and somehow he managed to completely turn the tables on me… this was the opening of the email – copied verbatim (these entire portions are red flags ***):
“Wow! I’m out of control and that’s pretty clear to everyone. The things I said were way out of line. The things I said weren’t me. You are right of course, my reaction was irrational and cruel. I want to fight for you and give you everything, but I can’t, my stomach churns up in knots every time I think about you, and it’s been doing my head in, so I have to walk away. I know what I’ve said has done irreparable damage to our friendship, which makes me sad, but I cannot focus on it, I need to feel good about me and my life, and as much as it pains me, I cannot do that with you in it.”
(*** Note how he minimises me and how he has to be the one in control of the situation)
It continued on to say things like this:
“I’m not a soft guy, I couldn’t ever be the type of guy you would be with and I won’t pursue anything other than friendship with you when I am better, because I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. You were my prozac, you made me feel good about myself and made me feel wanted again, but I don’t need you to do that, if fact, one day I won’t need that from anyone.
Right now I don’t know what I’m feeling, I’m in knots as I write this, and I’m sick of feeling this way. I doubt I’ll ever have the emotional maturity required to be anything more than your friend, because you are too confused about what you want, where you are going and how to keep it all together.
I’m truly sorry this has all happened, what we shared was special, and you will miss it, but I cannot do this, now or I think in the future. I didn’t mean to scare you, but things happen for a reason, and you are right, I needed to see the bigger picture, which would never have happened had we stayed on course.”
And the kicker:
“I’m truly sorry I was cruel to you, and so far out of line, but considering my state at the time, you were cold hearted, and you can only justify to yourself what you’ve done is right, because you’ll never justify it to me. I was desperate, that’s true, desperate to be with you, grow with you and make you whole. That is gone now, I do thank you for the time we spent together and believe it or not, I thank you for hurting me so deeply, without that, I doubt the motivation to be the best I can may never have came. I’m going to tear this world up, I am better than you all and one day you’ll be sorry you couldn’t be more, but I won’t, I’m going to get everything in life that I want, including someone who sees me as their world. I’m getting encouragement and support for true friends and although I’m not in a great place, they’ll never leave my side.
I wish you all the best in life, I hope you get your shit together eventually and I hope one day you’ll find a guy worthy of you, not a pussy, a real man. You’re not a princess, definitely not an angel, but you are a great gal, with alot to offer, but you need to get right, needing someone is what love is, not loving yourself so much you can squeeze someone in when it suits you. That’s selfishness, something you seem to have in spades, we all hurt, and that is part of love.”
ANYTIME I feel like maybe I had blown this entire situation out of proportion, I re-read this email and I realise that if anything, I didn’t take it seriously enough. REMEMBER I HAD ONLY SEEN THIS GUY 2 TIMES. That’s it. Twice.
I remember reading this email in horror. I felt my face flush and my knees go weak and I remember sending it on to my best friend for guidance on what to do. She just laughed and said the F word several times in disbelief. Look at what he’s doing in this email… really read it…it’s classic NPD or BPD or both. ESPECIALLY in light of what I then found out.
With this whole thing niggling at me, I wrote to his wife on Facebook to verify some things he’d told me. Her response back was absolutely scathing, saying how dare I try to come between him and her and he was a wonderful provider and father and the best man she had ever known, far too good for me. She said I was a whore, a home-wrecker etc etc. Really demeaning stuff. Anyone who knows me knows that I take nearly everything people say to heart. I’m better at sifting through the bullshit now but a few years ago, there was no chance. I tried to write back to her but she’d taken her Facebook profile down. The following day, I received an email from her to my personal account. She asked if she could call me. I said of course, even though I was incredibly nervous given her tirade the night before. What she told me BLEW MY MIND.
She said she didn’t blame me, that she had gotten to work that morning to find her FB profile deactivated. Upon reactivating it she saw the email she had supposedly sent to me. She hadn’t written it. HE had written it POSING as her (***). All these amazing things about him were written BY him… He had hacked her FB (***), fearful that in light of his and my falling out I would contact her. THEN THE LIES CAME APART (***) …She went on to tell me that they were not separated and never had been, that they lived in an apartment that they rented, that they had very little. There was no money. She was the breadwinner, he only held menial jobs until he got fired time after time for stealing or not turning up. The 2 times he’d been to visit me, he’d told her he was going away fruit-picking and to work on a friend’s farm to earn extra money so he could feel like he was ‘contributing’. And the best part? The child wasn’t even hers. It was his from a previous relationship. The child didn’t live with them. And he didn’t have a good relationship with the child. And he had a second child. From a second failed relationship, whom he didn’t acknowledge as his own. The more I talked to her, the more I just …. shit, there are no words. I was just blown away. He turned his phone off and only used cash so that he wouldn’t have a credit card trail and so she couldn’t see where any calls or texts originated from on his phone bill (***).
She and I stayed in contact so we could keep each other in the loop as to his behaviour. She indicated to me he had a temper and could be dangerous. I won’t relay her stories here but suffice it to say, I have a lot of respect for her given what she goes through and I hope she can one day get away and be treated the way she deserves.
The lesson here is that he made her out (to me) to be an absolute untrustworthy nut-job who would lie and steal… effectively undermining any credibility she had (***). He deliberately set things in place to ensure that I would never trust a word she said. This whole thing was planned from the beginning (***).
It wasn’t long before the hang-ups and late night phone calls started (***). When he realised I hadn’t bought his reverse psychology email or his Facebook tirade whilst posing as his wife, he began sending me text after text after text apologising then berating then complimenting me and begging for a second chance (***). I told him he needed help and if he didn’t stop, I would make a police report. It stopped for a few days then started again, this time with a text message photo of his son and how this kid was his world (anyone hearing the BS?? – these people will use anyone and anything to get their way) He said he was getting counselling and would become the man I wanted him to be (*** – another lie according to his wife). I again threatened to call the police and the messages ceased.
But the damage was done. I lived alone and my house was quite isolated from my neighbours. I would literally run from the door of my house to my car. I would check the backseat of my car when I got in it. I would drive down my street constantly looking out for his car. For months I lay awake at night, terrified at every noise, double and triple-checking every lock. Over time, the fear faded. His wife installed programs on the computer that enabled her to keep track of his online actions. She kept me informed. I began to move on with my life but when something like this happens to you, you try to be more vigilant. You tend to have your bullshit radar more finely tuned.
But there are times even now when I wonder if he’s still trying to keep track of me or whether it’s Person 02. It has to be one of them. My blog tells me the search terms that people use that bring up my blog as a search result in Google… and more than once someone has found my blog using my full name… including my middle name (***). Someone is typing that into Google. Do you know how scary it is to know that? I can’t even tell you how that makes me feel. I wonder if these things are ever really over.
Re-read everything above with these key points in mind about NPD:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Something I’ve noticed and which seems to be backed up by the available literature is that (often, NOT always) their threats of suicide are tools of manipulation… nothing more.
Open, honest, kind-hearted and trusting people are who these NPD/sociopathic types victimise. You, beautiful people, are a reflection of who these creeps want to be. That’s why they study you so intently… so they get cues on how to act. Emotionally, they are dead inside. They mirror you. They emotionally respond the way they think they should. That’s why often they’ll have quite a flat affect OR conversely ‘smoke-screen’ you away from the real issue with overly-emotional responses (usually feigned).
But the thing they can’t stand most of all is being unmasked. They react with violence and aggression or disdain for the person calling them out. It may seem satisfying at the time to expose them for who they really are… but doing so, at least in my experience, it can result in a worse situation arising.
Once you’ve gone through something like this, you vow to never be taken in again so foolishly… I know I certainly did. But these people are incredibly clever. I won’t write anymore tonight but over the coming days, I will attempt to put together a post about a far more scary and intrusive situation that could have ended very, very badly. And were it not for police involvement, probably would have.
This is a cathartic exercise for me. I don’t need to be judged or told how stupid I am for falling for Person 01’s lies and manipulation. Ultimately I saw the light and did what I could to extricate myself from the situation. What I’m trying to do here is get across to people that if you EVER see any of the red flags mentioned above or in the upcoming post – RUN. Don’t walk. RUN. And document EVERYTHING. Write it all down, keep a log, have proof. Don’t be afraid to feel stupid or ask others for help. Call the police if necessary and safeguard yourself.
Until next time….