As I begin what I call the "timeline" of Act II of my book, which is called The Excommunication War, it leads me to share here how I am working this out, and why. The book contains the true story of my life with all the ups and downs, as part of the "final mission," you could call it, over the course of twenty-five years. Sorting through notes, stories I've written over the years based on my experiences, and memories - which I don't consider completely reliable, so I often use music, setting, and anything I can utilize to bring me back to those points in my memories. This allows me to remember things long buried in the back lot, which did not seem important at the time, but turned out to be part of the interconnected web of life. I have come to see life as having a "map" that only becomes clear when we travel all of it. Otherwise there is no context from which to understand. I may not remember that I ended up selling three other cars to people over a fifteen year period, or why that was always what I asked for, but then I realized that was what I ended up having to sell my car from in 1999 (when the shit hit the fan) to have enough money to make it through a difficult month. I believe there was an association in my brain with having sold that car for that amount in order to stay alive. The car had a blown motor and was fifteen years old. A couple of the cars I sold could have easily sold for more. I just automatically said, "Give me $500" for it and then had a "duh" moment, but I tend to be a man of my word. Kind of a compulsion.
An entire 1/3 of the book is consumed by what I see as the beginning and end of The Excommunication War. At the heart of it is my fight to survive gaslighting and manipulation by a charismatic sociopath (she was in the end diagnosed). I have had, since my suicide a kind of "enhanced empathy" where I can basically feel the emotional subtext in my encounters with people. In very basic terms (which aren't completely on the dot - to really understand you'd have to be like me - don't be like me), it is a "superpower" you can use for good or evil. It could be compared to The Force. I call it "being with the light." The opposite is to embrace the darkness.
When I realized what was happening, I was right at the breaking point. I have this cycle of destruction and rebirth that had more often than not been "right on time." I actually have 3xPTSD. Like I said, don't be like me. It is more of a curse than you realize. I was seriously traumatized by three events so severely that I have PTSD from all of them, enhanced by some of the others which had a great deal of similarities between them.
My other so-called "superpower" (I learned the lesson of hubris big time in 1999 - I use these terms to make it easier to understand) is this calm that washes over me in a crisis. My "Fight, Flight, or Freeze" response is actually to turn into something like Robocop. It feels like time slows down. I read the entire room for potential danger, calculate the risks of different responses and how likely they are to be successful, and then calmly react once I have found what I think is the best option. People I worked with in twelve years of working in facilities with people who were traumatized and in crisis used to tell me it was "creepy as fuck." The first time it really happened was in 1995. There was this woman I met who had heard I was some kind of smooth talking womanizer was trying to see if she could fuck with me and took me on what I refer to as "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride." She told me to meet her at this place almost an hour from my home and said I needed to wear a suit and tie, that it was formal. Turned out to be this hardcore biker bar. They are all looking at me, this starts to happen and I decide best option is to act casual, like I belong there and walk to the bar. Place is packed. I do this and two wide-bodied dudes are taking up all the space in front of this very small bar area. I stand there and go, "Excuse me, I'd like to get a drink." These guys are staring at me. Everyone is quiet and someone says, "Man that is some fuckin Josey Wales shit right there."* This was just the beginning of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but that isn't what this log is about.
At the point I realized what was happening to me with yonder sociopath, I was in bad shape. She'd somehow convinced me I was a repressed homosexual after learning some things about my background after getting me to trust her, based on a false story about our past (we'd known each other for 20 years when she decided she wanted to see how "it might turn out." There is a twisted story from the 1990s in my life where a dare to come to a party at the home of lesbian Hooters girls (my life has been one long fucking trip down the rabbit hole - you don't want to be me as good as this part sounds) as a Hooters girl with all of them not so dressed - a role reversal experience that was part of one of these lessions I keep getting taught. The rave reviews I got was intoxicating and I developed this kind of exhibitionist streak. Almost a year later it was part of one of the ass-kickings I received from that cold-hearted bitch Hubris that ended with me being sexually assaulted.
That I blocked the memory of this, convincing myself it had been some fantasy. The fact that I had dreams that felt as intense as a second reality all the time gave me the ability to shuffle it into there in my memory. My first serious girlfriend that I was with for over three years was working on her doctorate in psychology and I would type up her papers for her. One of her focus areas was trauma and the effect on memory. We'll say I learned a great deal in typing up those papers. I don't remember if I did it consciously or unconsciously at the time, but I definitely wanted to erase that from memory. I began imagining the fantasy, the assault, and fetishsizing it. I tried to act on it a year later, seeking to meet men to act it out because the fantasy was becoming so pervasive. The ones I did meet always told me a variation on a theme that was basically, "Yeah, I'd love to hook up with you, but dude, you are straight." You could say I ended up proving conversion therapy doesn't work by trying to take it in the other direction.
The sociopath reasoned this out somehow, or on some level saw it as an opportunity to gaslight me into believing I was a repressed homosexual. She'd push me to act and I couldn't go through with it. Even our landlord, a 70 year old gay man who told everyone that all men were secretly gay told me, "You love women too much, you are straight" the first time he saw me in a skirt and heels. Her other manipulations involved three suicide attempts, two of which resulted in hospitalizations but never at the risk of death (she pulled her punches). She worked to convince me she was doing this because she was bad and wanted to be "good like you and this is how you did it." Her final attempt was a bloodbath and seeing it traumatized me and I was at the breaking point.
I calculated only one way out. Paint it black. I "went dark" and embraced everything about me that I came to realize I had unintentionally cause women over the years and basically weaponized my past at her. I brought the whole room of dirty deeds I'd done, both intentionally and unintentionally and I metaphorically describe it as "beating a sociopath at five-dimentional chess." I convinced her I was broken, would do anything for her, that I didn't deserve her and all that shit. Like a puppy dog. I was full of shit. It was my "you have no idea who you are fucking with" moment. You could say that I "won" the war but I took a great deal of damage.
The real battle of The Excommunication War wasn't that. You could call that the warm-up act.
The real war was against my "dark side." That kind of power, to be able to manipulate and control people the way I did to get out of there in one piece, resulting in all her manipulations and gaslighting being exposed to everyone who knew her (which was actually a very positive result) is extremely intoxicating. This was a REAL superpower. It feels so powerful to be a sociopath, but it is a completely empty existence. Nothing means anything any longer, they are all just plastic chess pieces you can move around at will. Everything has a price.
I was a mess, had a severe PTSD flashback to the last suicide attempt of the sociopath on the job when a patient used the same words she did in an almost identical situation. I was on the floor of my apartment for a month in the fetal position. The idea of stranging and killing this girl was right there, and then it was light my brain broke. It took me months to get help. In the years after my memory was such a jumble I couldn't remember what was true and what was part of the gaslighting. The two PTSD-inducing events I experienced were tied to each other. Had she set me up to be sexually assaulted? How many times was it? Couldn't stop having these fantasies, wanting to act on them and having men say "I don't play games with tourists." But I know I'm a repressed homosexual, why is everyone turning me away? Did any of this shit ever happen? I'd start telling people in conversations that I trusted stories about how these things happened and I didn't know what to do, should I accept I'm into that?
If my life was one long acid trip, this was the WORST part of the trip, basically Reconstruction following the war. I took me several therapists, a lot of study, and revisiting locations until something triggered a memory. The song that was on the radio when I was sexually assaulted in this guy's car came on the jukebox at this bar. It was this romantic love ballad and I remember that being on and how I was thinking "Can't it be something fucking else on the radio? WTF?" All the pieces were there, took me a long time to put them together. Once I ruled out anything tied to the gaslighting, calling all of it bullshit, and then reading emails I had with men when I was trying to act on the fantasies, I realized I'd never actually followed through on any of them and never saw any of them more than once. Take those off the list, consider them all times I tried to act out on fantasies, including the ones that refer to past times having followed through because they would meet me until it wasn't my "first time." What was left, when I was not far from where it happened, and that song came on the jukebox at the bar I'd gone to for lunch, was that. There is nothing that pre-dates it. None of the fantasies or conversations about it happening before that memory. And I know the series of events that led to it, and it didn't seem crazy or unbelievable. And my motivation for putting myself in the position I did was because I was a long way from home without a car and didn't have any other way to get home at the end of an extremely humiliating day that ended up with me looking like a completely pathetic and laughable guy at the job I was working. And at the end of the day I got fired. My clothes had gotten drenched so severely on my walk to work from the bus stop and the only change of clothes I could get from anyone at the job I was temping at was a woman's "running outfit" she wore to go running after work. Short shorts and a pink t-shirt.
I hope you know how it doesn't matter what you are wearing when it comes to sexual assault. Add to that "it doesn't matter why you are dressed like that either." That is why those "fantasies" I tried to act on always involved me crossdressing and being ridiculed while being ordered about. It is very similar to the reason why girls and women sometimes become hypersexual after a lengthy period of abuse. In a way you can lose the memory by shuffling it in with a whole lot of other stuff, and it feels better to think you are a slut than it is to deal with the impact of being sexually assaulted.
The purpose of this book is the hope that, through telling the story of my journey, my experiences can somehow enlighten others, to help them in some way see through the storms, to have what I call "a map" that might been useful where they are at or are going.
The final words of the dreams were quite often "one day a book will be written." This is what that was about, I believe.
* Note that my writeup from quite some time ago on The Outlaw Josey Wales had me already touching on this. I had become a fan of the movie and all those Clint Eastwood movies after that night. I'd seen them before, but now I was seeing them in a different way