Five Years On…..

It’s been five years since Mr Mean was escorted onto a plane and flown back to England, owing the Australian government enough money to ensure he wouldn’t be returning for a very long time.

I have been in what I would class as a “normal” relationship for three years and there are some notable differences in my life now. I thought by sharing, I could possibly encourage some of you in your journey.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for me once I started making better choices. I had to do a lot of inner healing- it sounds airy fairy, time-consuming and complocated but it was quite simple.

My healing truly began when I made a promise to myself that I would no longer sacrifice my happiness for someone else’s.

I pictured myself as a little girl, looked at some photos to get a clear picture of myself back then and then I spoke to that child and asked her to forgive me. I promised that child that from then on, I would only make decisions that benefited someone else, if they also benefitted me first.

I refused to be miserable ever again in order for someone else to be happy.

If someone needs me to be weak, powerless, miserable and isolated from family and friends in order to be with me and love me, I do NOT want to be with that person. I don’t need that kind of love. (Except we know it isn’t love, it’s all about control).

I would rather be alone than be with someone who rejoices in my failure and humiliation. Loving partners are supposed to encourage their partners and rejoice and celebrate with them when they succeed.

Humiliating someone is NOT loving them.

In my relationship now, I no longer walk on egg shells. I no longer have that tight knot in my stomach when his car drives up the driveway, I no longer cringe every time I need to ask him a question, I no longer feel unappreciated and taken for granted and most importantly, I no longer feel that I don’t matter to my partner.

We have arguments, we yell and sometimes we even say horrible things to one another. But the difference is, it’s over soon, apologies are made and it’s not re-hashed a million times over with no resolution, ever. Mr Mean only ever accepted an apology temporarily, until the next time, when he would add that one to the many, many other incidents he stored in his brain to throw at me when he was angry.

One thing that took a long time to come to terms with, was that Mr Mean purposefully did things to annoy me or upset me. I used to make excuses for him- maybe he didn’t hear me, maybe he didn’t understand me, maybe he is depressed, maybe he has ADHD.

But really, he was just a jerk.
One situation that sticks out, mainly because now it seems so bizarre, was the situation of the washing.

Mr Mean would hang out the washing for me on occasion, he said he enjoyed doing it. Except he would never use clothes pegs for my clothes. He would just hang them over the line. I would go out later to find my clothes in the dirt. I would beg him to use pegs, I would show him the clothes, explain that they were getting dirty. He would listen intently, nod his head, say he understood, promise not to do it again and then I would watch him doing it again.

After about three or four times of this I thought to myself “Hang on, this is my husband I am talking to, not my child.”
It seemed so bizarre to me even then and now, is quite ridiculous.
He wanted to piss me off, plain and simple.
It was only when I saw him hanging HIS clothes with pegs that it truly sank in.

And that is the one major difference with my relationship now. My partner doesn’t run away for hours until I am sick with worry and calling the police- he doesn’t do things purposefully to upset me. He doesn’t enjoy seeing me frazzled and uptight, he does whatever he can to minimise my stress and enjoys seeing me happy. We laugh a lot, he makes me laugh because it makes him happy.

He wants the best for me and vice versa, and that’s the difference.

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I wish every girl could read this before she starts dating

This came through my Facebook, from this page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thats-One-Kickass-Mommy/512155625472158

Since I could not have said this better myself and I asked nicely if I could share, here it is unedited.

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. 
If he doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay. Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.

Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that’s not meant to be. Slower is better. Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy. If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no, you can’t be “friends”. A friend wouldn’t mistreat a friend. 

Don’t settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Don’t stay because you think “it will get better”. You’ll only be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better. The only person you can control in a relationship is you. Avoid men who have a bunch of children by a bunch of different women. He didn’t marry them when he got them pregnant, why would he treat you any differently? Always have your own set of friends separate from his. Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up. Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.

You cannot change a man’s behavior. Change comes from within. Don’t EVER make him feel he is more important than you are, even if he has more education or in has a better job. Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more, nothing less. 

Never let a man define who you are. Never borrow someone else’s man. If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat on you. A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you. All men are NOT dogs. 

You should not be the only doing all the bending. Compromise is two way street. You need time to heal between relationships. There is nothing cute about baggage. Deal with your issues before pursuing a new relationship. You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you. A relationship consists of two WHOLE individuals. Look for someone complimentary not supplementary. 

Dating is fun. Even if he doesn’t turn out to be Mr. Right. Make him miss you sometimes. When a man always know where you are, and you’re always readily available to him, he takes it for granted. Never move into his mother’s house. Never co-sign for a man. Don’t fully commit to a man who doesn’t give you everything that you need. Keep him in your radar but get to know others. 

Scared of being alone is what makes a lot of women stay in relationships that are abusive or hurtful. Dr. Phil says… you should know that: You’re the best thing that could ever happen to anyone and if a man mistreats you, he’ll miss out on a good thing. If he was attracted to you in the 1st place, just know that he’s not the only one. They’re all watching you, so you have a lot of choices. Make the right one. Ladies take care of your own hearts.

Thats One Kickass Mommy

Take 5 Magazine Article

A few months ago I had the opportunity to do an interview for Take 5 magazine. I saw it as another way to warn potential victims of con artists.

Page One of the Take 5 article

 

Page two of the Take 5 article

 

A Full-Circle Moment

About three months after Andrew Harper left me, one of my friends sent me a text, telling me to switch to a certain channel on TV.

It was a show about the Casanova Conman, Nick Gage. I sat watching in amazement- there were women on TV vocalising what I was feeling. I remember wondering if Andrew was the Australian equivalent. I had a flash of myself some time in the future, doing an interview for TV.

I recently joined Diana, Rebecca in Sydney to conduct interviews for a new show on the Crime and Investigation Network about serial swindlers. We spoke about our experiences with Andrew Harper.

What an amazing opportunity to warn other people, all around the world. 

Books I can recommend

I love reading, I always have. There are some  books that have changed the way I think about myself or life in general and I thought it would be cool to make a list. These are the books that I would save if my house was on fire. They are in no particular order.

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I wish the whole world would read this book! Please do yourself a favour and read it. There are parts you may not agree with and parts that you may find confronting, but it will make a difference in your life if you let it.

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
This book changed my life overnight. I went from being a negative, critical person to realising that my thoughts and words can have really positive consequences. I know not everyone believes in the Law of Attraction, but I do since I have proved it over and over again since reading The Secret. Positive visualisation rocks!

Why Men don’t listen and Women can’t read maps – Allan & Barbara Pease
I read this book recently and I wish I had read it when my son was a baby. It explains the differences between men and women in a non-critical and judgemental way. I have never read such an understandable explanation of why people are born gay and lesbian and helped me understand a lot about myself too!

The Verbally Abusive Relationship / Controlling People – Patricia Evans
I have recommended this book a million times to people in abusive relationships, whether the relationship is a parent/child, employer/employer or a partner that is being abused. I believe these books saved my life- I read them when I was still with Mr Mean and they gave me the courage to kick him to the curb. If you are feeling a lack of empowerment in ANY relationship in your life, please read Patricia Evans. Please.

Without Conscience – Dr Robert D. Hare
The book that explained the conman. He describes the sociopath perfectly and more importantly, explains why I was so easily conned. After I read this book, I felt so much better about myself. I was NOT stupid, I was a victim of a skilled predator. This book has given me tools to recognise and prevent another sociopath gaining that amount of power over me again.

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse – David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen (If the name is familiar, he is on the show “Intervention”)
I cried buckets when I read this book. It freed me of so much guilt and shame that I had carried for years. My sister gave it to me and if I didn’t owe her before, I certainly owe her now! If you have read my Blog post about my experience with the church, you will have an idea of how I feel about the church and organised religion.

He’s just not that into you – Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo
Such a great book to read! If you stick around with someone who is not really that into you, you won’t ever meet the person who is out there waiting for you. You deserve to be with someone who treasures you and enjoys you and if the alternative is being alone, then enjoy your freedom until he or she comes along! That’s the lesson I learnt from this book.

Don’t be that Girl – Travis L. Stork with Leah Furman
Everyone should read this book. That is all.

The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
I first read this book about 25 years ago and have read it every 5 or so years since. It taught me that happiness will only come if I am living my authentic life – trying to be someone else will never make me happy.  I know some people love me, some people…not so much, but I have learnt over the years that if everyone liked me, I would not be living my authentic life. I would rather be true to myself than try to keep everyone else happy.

Cry the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
There are almost no words to describe this book. Growing up in South Africa during Apartheid, we accepted things that we really should not have accepted. Reading this book made me realise that things were not right. It changed my attitude to my country’s attitudes. When Alan Paton died I cried.

The Covenant – James A. Mitchener
An amazing author. In this book, he explained South African history like we never learnt it at school.

Tully – Paullina Simons
A gorgeous novel. I related so much to the main character. Not a life-changing book, but a great read.

Con Victim Support Group

Since featuring in Woman’s Weekly with our story, my co-survivors and I have been contacted by several other victims of con artists.

We have created a Blog and a Facebook group to support other victims, using our combined knowledge, experience and talents. If you have been conned and need support, please contact us.

Letter to Woman’s Weekly

This letter is being published in the February Woman’s Weekly. I had a lot of help perfecting it, thank you Diana and Rebecca.

Thank you so much for printing the story about myself, Diana and Rebecca and our struggle to stop a conman.

We have been contacted by several women who have been victims of conmen. We are astounded at the response and had no idea that there were so many women struggling with similar issues.  If we can help, and something positive can come from our experience, then what we went through was not for nothing.

There are a few resources available to victims. If they visit their GP, they are entitled to up to twelve free sessions with a psychiatrist. Counselling has been crucial to my healing process and I would encourage others to seek help. There is also a very good website, http://www.lovefraud.com/ which is full of information about healing and recovery after being conned. The book “Without Conscience” by Dr Robert Hare is brilliant.

We have set up a blog at http://conneddownunder.blogspot.com/ and a Facebook group, where victims can support one another in a safe environment. Sometimes just hearing the words “I understand” can make all the difference.

Thank you once again,

Rochelle Fisher

 

 

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