The Conman…..

This is going to be a difficult post to write, but I need to, for myself and for anyone else out there who I can possibly save from going through the same thing.

So….Mr Mean left, I was somewhat isolated for the next 6 months or so, and then Mr Meaner moved in. I was advertising a room for rent, he responded to the advert, came to see the room and stayed. He told me his name was Andrew Karlsson – and yes, I am using his name because that is not his real name anyway and if anyone Googles him, I want them to read this! It has taken me months, but I am no longer afraid to identify him, or who he said he was, anyway. In fact, if anyone wants his photo, email me on rozzieoz@tpg.com.au

He was everything I wanted in a man, intelligent, good looking, well mannered, hilariously funny and very successful in business- or so I thought. He burst into my life, totally swept me off my feet and I believed that I had finally met someone who I could be happy with for a long, long time. I wanted to believe it, so I did.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and looking back, so much did not make sense but he seemed to have a reasonable explanation for everything. I never saw ID- his passport and wallet had gone missing, he did not have any money- his tax attorney was having problems getting his money out of the USA, he never got calls from friends or family, it was as if his life had not existed before me. And it hadn’t, because it was made up as he went along. He was paranoid about having his photo taken (he said he had been the victim of a stalker in the past which was why there was no reference to him on the internet) and he blamed some odd behaviours on Post Traumatic Stress. I am a kind, caring, loving, honest person, and did not dream that anyone would be so full of lies. My only mistake through the whole thing was to be too trusting- believe me when I say- If someone sounds too good to be true, they are too good to be true. As Judge Judy says, if something does not make sense, there is a reason it does not make sense and the reason is- that it is NOT TRUE!

I left my job to work on a project with him. We were going to be producing a Papercrafts TV series- he told me he had sold the concept to Channel 10, I heard him on the phone to all sorts of people, his accountant included. Turns out- every single one of those phone calls were faked, he even faked a conference call to Disney Pixar! When I asked him how come there were no calls to overseas listed on the phone bill, he said he used a phone card. He was VERY defensive and protective of his privacy, I was never allowed to see what he was doing on MY laptop. And he would sit on my laptop for hours and hours, most nights until 3 or 4am at least.

So we ran the event, and the next day I asked him for the money from the door (about $7000). He told me he had deposited it in his trust account to save me having to pay tax on the income, took all the bills from me and said they would be paid from that account. I did not get any reminder notices for any of the bills, so assumed things were paid. I knew something was wrong though, I just knew it, but I wanted to believe him and I was so emotionally and financially vested by that stage, I did not want to face the truth. I had a constant knot in my stomach but he hated it when I got emotional, so I learnt to hide the tears very well.

A month or so later, the phone got disconnected. We lost the internet and my mobile phone as well, and there was absolutely NO money coming in, except what I was generating through my small business. I started asking some very serious questions, he told me he would never hurt me, he would never leave me in the shit and within a few weeks he did a runner. He told me he was going overseas to sort out his finances once and for all, that his tax attorney had organised a ticket for him and would send me some money the next day. There had been so many promises of large amounts of money from various sources, but of course, they never materialised.

The morning that he left he hugged me and kissed me and told me he loved me and would be back soon. He took my last $10 for the bus and said he would ring me from the airport (from a phone box) before he flew out. That call never came. I went looking around the house, realised he had taken all of his clothes (and some of my other housemate’s clothes as well!) and that was when I found the incredibly large stack of bills. I rang his accountant in Adelaide, who had never heard of him. I rang the place he said he had been working, they had never heard of him either. (He told me he got a job 2 weeks before and had been going into work- God knows where he had actually been going!)

I went into shock which lasted at least 3 or 4 days.

I realised that not only was everything he had said a lie, but that he had walked out of my house, knowing the mess that he was leaving me with, and he did not care. It was not just a financial con, it was a mental and emotional one too…everything that I had lived for the past 6 months with him had been a lie. Everything. And plus, he had managed to completely isolate me from my life, from my family overseas, from my friends, from everything. He told me we did not need anyone else, we had each other and that was all that mattered. If someone you love is being isolated from you, take that as a BIG RED FLAG

I am extremely grateful for one friend in particular, who became my strength when I had no strength left. I was not sure I could go on after that, I had been slammed so many time and to be honest, I thought about ending it for those first couple of days. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of my son receiving a phone call saying that his mother was gone. I am so grateful now that I did not do something seriously seriously damaging to myself.

I had registered with Centrelink a couple of weeks before, the plan was, I would claim unemployment benefits, just to tide us over until he got his first few pay checks from his job, and I would find a part-time job as well as continuing to run my craft business. My amazing friend took me under her wing and got me back on track- she got me re-connected to the internet and to my life, and I applied for some jobs and started working about 10 days later. The events side of my business was over, he had destroyed any hope of me ever running a papercraft event again, but somehow, the other parts of my business managed to survive.

The job did not last long, I was not meeting targets and I had to leave about 2 months later. In the meantime I declared bancrupcy, and continued councelling every week. I will write a seperate post about the sessions and what I have learnt and how much they have helped me.

I will also write a post about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the associated anxiety and depression.

It is now 4 months since he left, and this is the first time that I have talked about it publicly. I feel empowered for doing so. And now that I have started writing again, I don’t want to stop!

About time i started blogging again……

It has been over a year and a half since I last posted on this blog, and I find myself back in Brisbane on holiday, and of course, I have found myself thinking a lot about the last year and a half.

I wish I could say that I spent the last 18 months NOT repeating any of the same mistakes, but sadly, I cannot. I want to get my thoughts out, more for myself than for anyone reading, but if I can help someone in the process, then at least it was not all for nothing.

While I was in Brisbane previously, I found out that Mr Mean is also a Child Sex Abuser. I did not know this when I married him, and how I found out is not important, but the fact is, I was living with an even bigger monster than I ever imagined. I went through a couple of very difficult months after my return, and then he was eventually deported back to England. I informed the Department of Immigration about what I knew, withdrew my sponsorship so that he could not get a permanent visa to stay in Australia, and off he went. I have not spoken to him since.

I rented out a room in my house, which helped with the finances, and started a job working from home. I did not get councelling, I did not go and see my doctor, I just figured he was gone, and that was that…time to move on. Biggest mistake of my life.

I started living a very secluded, isolated life, since he had chased just about all of my friends away with his outbusts every time someone came to visit. He HATED me having any sort of interests or life away from him, so any time I did anything as my own person, he would sabotage it. Needless to say, a lot of friends chose to avoid the drama, and I do not blame them for one second.

I lived that way for at least 6 months, thinking I was ok. Boy was I ever wrong……….

The letter

This was a post I wrote in November, 2008, not sure why I didn’t end up posting it on the blog. Possibly at the time I felt it was too personal, but I decided to share it now. I have a feeling someone needs to read it.

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10 november 2008

Last night he was as sweet as pie but said it would be best if he stays in the spare room. This morning i woke up angry…sooooo angry…..so I wrote him a letter. I thought I may as well share parts of it since I am feeling brave!

I gave him two options, of leaving, and working out a three month plan to get the bills paid off and for me to find another place. The other option was to stay and work it ot and in order for me to get to the place to be able to do that I gave him some conditions.

Two days ago you told me that you did not want to be married to me, you told me that you didn’t love me….you said a lot of really hurtful things in some very angry tones.

And I can’t just shake this off and move on and act like we are friends again, because no friend of mine would ever treat me like this a second or third or fourth time. They would do it once and I would forgive and the second time- that would be it.

You can’t live in a world of no consequences. Nobody else has that priviledge. Other people don’t go around calling people names and saying whatever nasty thing comes into their mouths with no censorship. You have given yourself permission to have absolutely no boundaries when it comes to me, because you just expect that life will go back to normal, because it always has in the past.

I can’t let it slide again this time. You told me that you want our marriage to be over, and that you want to move on.

(I went into what will happen if he decided to elave and that involved a lot of personal stuff about bills and finances that I didn’t feel the world needs to know lol)

However:

If you truly want to be with me and make our marriage work and have the happy, fun, peaceful days that we have had a lot of in the past, then I need some commitments from you.

*I need you to commit to going to councelling to talk to someone.

*I need you to do something to work on your anger management, because even though you may not think you have a problem, it is constantly there under the surface. And I am sorry to tell you but I think it gets worse when you drink. You will be a happier person for it, I promise you. I don’t think you love yourself when you are angry and freaking out, because I think even you don’t know how to control yourself sometimes and I think it scares you. Anger management will help you get in control of you, and once you are in control of yourself you wont feel the desperate need to control everything else around you.

*I need you to understand that when you say you don’t love me, or you say you don’t want to be married to me, I believe you. I take it seriously and it hurts me. You cannot throw our marriage around like a toy everytime you are angry and throw a tantrum. You can’t threaten me with leaving, you can’t use hurtful things that come into your head against me- you HAVE to teach yourself that you can’t just say whatever you want, when you want, just because YOU are angry. Words have consequences and you have to learn this, because you were never taught it as a child.

* I need a heartfelt written apology from you telling me how you have hurt me and why I should forgive you. I need this to know that you get it and you aren’t just saying what I need you to hear to get what you want.

*I need you to take back what you said when you said I don’t love you. You know that is not true, I would not put up with your rubbish if I didn’t love you. History has proved that. I never stayed with anyone out of obligation believe me.

We will see what happens…….

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As we now know, none of that happened.