dirty john.

Have you seen this true crime series on Netflix yet? The one about that woman’s obsessive-stalker-psychopath-narcissistic-selfish-violent husband, named John?

Eesh.
It’s hard to watch, but so eye-opening.

We just watched it with our family… and boy does that John have some striking similarities to someone we’ve had to deal with.

I’ve gone back & forth trying to decide if I wanted to write this. Mostly because part of me doesn’t want to give any energy to this, but I also want to because I am now so fascinated by personality disorders and behaviors… especially after dealing with something like this.

Let me paint you a quick picture of that person.

For 3 years, she has made at least 25 Instagram accounts, used 4 phone numbers, harassed 3 ex-boyfriends, future girlfriends of those exes, 2 female no-longer-friends of hers and their families, my brother, my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, my husband’s employer, at least 20 friend & family of mine. I think I got everyone that I know of. That makes it at least 35 people…

That’s a lot, to say the very least. Yes, this is online harassment, but with this type of hostile behavior, we don’t know when she will become physically violent.

Almost every time we tell someone about her and how she works as a mental health caregiver… no one is surprised. “The crazy are always working with.. the crazy.”

I found that interesting… so I looked up why people think this.

The problem is that mental health professionals do a poor job of monitoring their own mental health problems.

Therapists struggling with marital problems, alcoholism, sexual abuse, substance abuse, depression, and so on don’t function very well as therapists. The questions, then, are these: How can clients be protected—and how can troubled therapists be helped?

Here’s a theory that’s not so crazy: Maybe people enter the mental health field because they have a history of psychological difficulties. Perhaps they’re trying to understand or overcome their own problems, which would give us a pool of therapists who are a hit unusual to begin with.

Robert Epstein Ph.D. & Tim Bower

I understand how this person may be in the mental health profession because she wants to understand her troubling psychological difficulties while having the ability to help others. That’s wonderful. However, what we have a deep issue with is how she uses her mental illness as an excuse to hurt people in her personal life. That’s not okay. Having a mental illness does not justify treating others poorly, right? Does having a mental disorder cause someone to create over 25 social media accounts in order to terrorize 35 people, including strangers like myself?

No.

The reality is this: Mental illness is not a free pass to be cruel, offensive, or to engage in toxic behavior. You can’t justify persistent cruelty as part of your disorder. If you find yourself lashing out of people, that’s something you need to fix. It’s something you should seek help for. It is something you should acknowledge. You should not allow it to continue happening just because you think it’s part of the parcel of mental illness.

Hattie Gladwell

I used to want to understand why she does these things, but now I realize there’s no point. We’ve learned to ignore the behavior and just block her accounts. Hopefully it doesn’t escalate beyond this.

The luckiest thing that happened was that my husband got away from that manipulative and bitter person. We often think about how his life would have been if he stayed with her. It kind of sends shivers down my spine thinking about it.

The more we hear about stories like “Dirty John”, the more we just hope women and men can find ways to safely leave toxic relationships like that and find a way to make themselves whole again.

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