Before I proceed I think there are some things it is important to say. I am not using my friend's name because she is blameless. As this story unfolded plenty of people tried to tell me she was in on this scam but I never had, nor will I ever develop, any doubt. My friend was as much a victim as I was. She has just paid a different type of price.
While I didn't see this woman as a friend, it never occurred to me she would exploit me right under my friend's nose, let alone exploit their friendship to get to me. Their friendship was on a "most trusted" status so in granting her permission to come here that was the only thing I considered.
To be candid, I wasn't even thinking in terms of my vulnerabilities or that I might need protection at all. I was thinking about what I thought my horses needed. Both the fact I was not thinking about needing protection, and that I was thinking only in terms of my distorted perception of my horses needs, added to my vulnerabilities.
One of the things I have learned as I have tried to understand how I get myself into exploitative situations is that such people have a knack at identifying the vulnerabilities of others. They know how to expose them and use them to their advantage and they are arrogant in their methodology.
Thinking she could use her friendship to exploit me without consequences to her long time relationship or, for that matter, legal jeopardy is afterall arrogance. People who exploit others are so arrogant they will pull all kinds of stunts most of us would never even consider.
What that means in terms of how to see such things coming is that thinking someone would never be so arrogant or "stupid" is in itself a weakness. It is in fact something these people count on. They want us to see things their way and when we rule out an explanation because we think no one would be so bold or obvious we play right into their hands.
Another characteristic of those who exploit others is they are masters of manipulation. The reality is you must see manipulation to have any chance of being protected from it. Unfortunately my friend does not have that skill set and she can be loyal to a fault. Those aspects of her behavior made her as vulnerable in this situation as I was. I doubt my friend even understands the depth of the betrayal to this day.
As the happenings of that day unfolded, I was relying on the judgment of my friend but she was blinded by her inability to recognize the way she was being played. Her friend knew how to make this work for her and she did just that. We were both like lambs trusting the wolf to help.
Looking back I can see the woman also used her friendship to learn my vulnerabilities. By the time she arrived here, she was well armed to carry out her plan. She knew all about my health, my concerns, my fears and my horses. All she needed was to figure out exactly what she wanted from me.
Keeping these things in mind as the story unfolds, you will probably see there really was a well laid out plan, actually it was more like a trap. My friend and I both walked right into it.
Even in the writing I am understanding more of the pieces but as it went down I was oblivious and confused. Confusion is another one of those things I have learned to be a tactic employed by those who exploit the vulnerable.
How I wish I had the clarity of all of this hindsight at the time. As it is what I have is this story to be told and now that I have added these important details I will get back to it.
To be continued.....
What Is This?