I have already owned the fact I have a tendency to want to help those who have a history of childhood abuse. Because of my own victimization, I empathize with them and I wish for them the same kind of healing I have been fortunate enough to achieve. That makes me want to help others. Sounds simple enough.
I have worked as a support person for those dealing with abuse issues for many years and it has never caused me harm before now so I must wonder why. As I write, I am beginning to see there is another pattern here besides the obvious one of allowing others to live here. I seem to have bestowed an added measure of trust just for talking about therapy and that has certainly made it easier for those with their own agenda.
All three of the young women who came here mentioned therapy and/or wanting to change so I believed they wanted to attain a life with values and principles similar to mine when that was not the case. Still I must acknowledge the fact this was my reaction so I don't make the same mistake again.
I cannot go down this road one more time. I am exhausted. The emotional toll of this has affected my recovery, my confidence and my self esteem. The stress adds to my pain and the pain causes depression. While this might all be reasonable under the circumstances, It is a difficult way to live.
As a protection there is a particular aspect of a person's behavior that I tend to watch out for when I meet people. I have no intentions of letting someone into my inner circle who blames others as her/his way to navigate life. Always being the victim instead of stepping up to take responsibility for choices, or even denying the very existence of choices is learned helplessness and leaves a trail of casualties in its wake.
That's how I grew up and it is how my daughter, Colleen, and her family, choose to live. Nothing is ever their fault. That kind of mentality is crippling and heart breaking. I have learned there is nothing but grief there so I chose to change my behavior long ago and I try to keep my distance from those who live that way. I try to surround myself with those who own what they do instead.
With that being said, I managed to allow 3 very different, young women to live here who were all engaged in that kind of behavior despite my efforts to assure I was insulated from such people. What I have realized through writing about these experiences is that those who want to appear sincere know how to use the psycho babble of the times to their advantage. I guess I assumed if someone was talking about healing they genuinely intended to do just that. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and they managed to hide the behavior that would have given me valuable clues about their coping skills that might have protected me. Their radar to recognize what to say perfectly tuned. In my condition I didn't have a chance. I was not anticipating needing to protect myself from that type of dishonesty.
Jessica claimed she wanted to learn a better way to live. Amanda claimed she had already done the work and Erin claimed she just needed a break from therapy and some horse time so she could heal. The problem here was all three were lying. The lies were different but I took all three women at their word. The common elements of the lie, they cared about me, the horses and then,there was what I would call the self help ruse because they claimed they wanted to grow as a person.
For Jessica it was an outright calculated aspect of her scam. She was telling me whatever would work to get her foot in the door. I believe the same may be true of Amanda. Her game was somewhat different from Jessica's but her target the same. Erin, her lie the most harmful. Knowing she had mental illness, I asked very specific questions to determine her stability since she wanted to come to my farm for a 3 month stay to help out with the horses. She misrepresented her condition. She hid the true state of her mind.
Erin was not saying this just for my benefit. It is how she lives. Her whole life is built around poor Erin, the victim. It is how she gets on in life, a ward of the state on disability. She doesn't have to answer to anyone but a social worker and there is no accountability for her healing. She could stay stuck her whole life and probably will because it works for her.
Erin lies to herself like she lies to everyone else. She claims to be trying but she overflows with excuses. Her mental illness is the scapegoat for her selfish behavior. Despite her claims in that email that she has grown, the words had changed but the message behind them was still the same. It's been over a year since she left here and it is the same old story. It is all about Erin. No one counts but her. Everything that happens someone did it to her. She isn't responsible for anything. It just isn't her fault. If only I had seen this before she came here, I could've saved us all a lot of grief.......but she hid that because she wanted to come play with my horses yet she is offended that I claim she exploited us.
I have already said the stories of Erin and Amanda are intertwined. That is not just because their stories overlap. I want to say Erin caused the most harm because of her head games but what Amanda did has left its own deep wound. Amanda's stuff was exacerbated by the wounds left by Erin. Without her, Amanda may not have ended up here at all. Even if she had, she would have been gone much sooner but the fact still remains this all went on far too long.
I must admit that this situation with Erin was by far the most baffling of the situations that occurred with these three young women. It is hard for me to know if this Erin is just that screwed up or if she is that mean and calculating. I will probably never know. What I do know is the head games played by her were cruel and harmful and have left a lasting mark on all of us. I don't know when or if we will heal from the scars left by her visit. The compounded effect of this behavior on my already traumatized family more than anyone should have to bear.
I know these conclusions are out of sequence in this story but I feel the necessity to do this because Erin will not let me be even now. The wounds have once again been opened so I feel I must stand up for myself to stop the carnage.
I warned her when I sent her away that I would be telling this story so she would have time to deal with it. I told her at that time that I wouldn't use her name but when she continued to dishonor my wishes I changed my mind. I thought it was appropriate to hold her accountable for her behavior since it was obvious that she was never going to do it.
I believe she has no chance of ever healing as long as she continues to be "barn blind" about her behavior. I actually suggested she might benefit by sharing my posts with her therapist for a fair perspective on her behavior here since I can guarantee the way Erin tells it will be unrecognizable.
I have already stated my position on why I decided to use her name. Because every communication she has sent has been all about Erin, I decided the best thing I could do for her is use her name so she can't hide from the truth anymore and maybe she could get some real help.........but that wouldn't be the way Erin does things. Buckle up your seat belts.....you're going to need them. I doubt anyone saw this one coming.
To be continued.................
Up Close and Personal with Erin.........