Hi, this is Tracy. And today, I’m going to bring you something very special. Something that’s were shared to me by a viewer and it’s something like a storytelling song. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, it’s done by a group called “The True Story Project”, you can find them at truestoryproject.com, and Eric Valentine is the man that you’ll see in this video that talks through a story about his own survival and his own experiences with a narcissist. So, I welcome you to watch it and watch the whole thing because it’s amazing and you will get a lot out of it. This is Tracy and thank you to Eric Valentine and the good True Story Project, thanks.
Anderson: Thank you.
Eric: Thank you, Rich, thank you, everybody. We like to remind people that if it was not for the Idaho Songwriters Association, True Story might still just be an idea in a living room. So, thank you for these opportunities. Thank you for having us here tonight.
Anderson: Thank you.
Eric: Also, thank you to Rick Conelly, our soundman.
Anderson: Yes, thank you.
Eric: It’s not easy to set up True Story because not only are you dealing with instrumentation but you’re dealing with storytelling and vocals and mixing that right. It’s not easy, he just makes it look and sound as if it is. So, thank you, Rick Connelly.
Anderson: Thank you, Rick.
Eric: I just wanna thank Ilaria Mutti and Alessia Vegro, they are from Italy and they are, get this, doing a documentary on the Idaho Performing Arts scene from Italy. So, I think, I told them that I hope their documentary is as lovely as they are or I just ordered a really nice dish of pasta. Imagine this, you and a fellow soldier are held captive by enemy prison guards. A row of enemy guards are in the back of you and have their weapons pointed on you. The head guard in front of you makes your fellow soldier stand on a chair and wear a noose around his neck. The same guard then hands you a pistol loaded with one round and says, “Shoot your friend in the head, kill him instantly. Or don’t, and I’ll kick out the chair from under him and you can watch him suffer as his neck breaks and he chokes to death.
It’s gruesome, I apologize. But it’s a serious conundrum in the field of ethical philosophy. For years, philosophers had asked, “In a situation like this, what is the most moral thing you can do? And people’s answers to this are interesting, practical folks say things like, “Shoot the head guard, at least you’ve killed one of the enemies.” The more morose among us say things like, “Take the easy way out, shoot yourself.” Oppression philosopher named Immanuel Kant answered this question well, he said, “Your only moral choice is to do nothing.” That the guard is the one who created the moral dilemma that the guard is the only wanted possession of actual moral choice.
Our sense that we can somehow exert a moral influence in this scenario when always should do is the right, nothing is now termed by philosophers as a Kantian Illusion. I admit I have been suffering from a Kantian illusion for months now. Tonight, with the help of three Anderson Mitchell songs, I’m going to tell a not-so-pretty story, dedicated to all of you out there who have not just endured a rough break up, but who may have been the victim of a sociopath, whether you realize it or not. In my case, three days after I asked my now ex-wife for a divorce, her parents called me, to tell me that she have been living a sociopathic life before her time with me and during her time with me. That her entire backstory of abuse and misfortune was a lie. And, that I was one in a long line of victims stemming back nearly 15 years. Wrongly, in my opinion, the family does not divulge the truth to her lovers until after the relationship is over. Her family justifies these cover-ups because they say they had already tried everything including hospitalization, to no avail. It just cleaning up the mess is easier and that wishful thinking based on sometimes hope for love in its most current iteration may finally be the real deal.
In at least one case, they said they had this young man who they worried would take his own life. And in another case, another man did take his own life. Although, years later, for many subsequent reasons, a spiral, that her father most definitely attributed to his daughter. So, the hand dime dealt becomes this, do I have the moral duty to inform her next victim? Thanks to Immanuel Kant, it’s easy to answer no. But, after suffering the slings and arrows of this heartbreak and his aftermath, I wish someone had put two and two together for me.
Would it have solved anything? Perhaps not. But I know, I would have at least been able to handle things better. Believe me, I was not perfect in this relationship especially toward the end and I have regrets. Embarrassing regrets, that she and her family now use against me. I handle pain better than regret because you don’t know where you stand with regret. Pain is something you can recover from it, goes away. Regret rests mysteriously unresolved in the distant fields of four words, “What the F happened?” One letter, three words if we’re speaking French.
Consider this, if I reached out to the new guy, realistically, with my message be seen as anything other than a diatribe of some mad or jealous sex. Even before I asked her the divorce, my ex-have been defaming me behind my back. She most likely prepped her mate with some zingers too. We are talking about a person capable of big lies. Like claiming she fought off a co-worker who is trying to rape her. When the truth, according to her parents, is that she was cheating with him behind her–the back of her fiancee. The first week he was fighting off enemies in Iraq.
I still have two pieces of writing from her mother, confession about the darkness of her daughter. But they want everything to just go away. So, I no longer have my in-laws support. How far they’ll go to mislead others could not have been made more crystal clear, when I received a text from either my ex or her youngest sibling to tell me she would I quote, “Socially and physically end me.” That after she was unsmearingly, people would gag whenever uttering my name. There some reason why a sociopath can keep moving on to new victims rather easily, it’s called family. Ladies and gentlemen, this piece is called, “Forgive” and I’ve accepted this piece is as close as I’m gonna come to doing what Immanuel Kant would say I should do, nothing.
Eric: Forgive your enemy not seven times but seven times, times 70 times. If your enemy slaps you on the face, turn the other cheek. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m quoting the Bible or Fifty Shades of Grey. In my darkest times of deepest animosity toward another, some things Jesus said, “Just don’t make mistakes.” And I find that the Hindu religion, something I can relate to better, The Legends of Kali. Kali is the Hindu God that’s associated with personal empowerment. She’s the same god that’s associated with total worldly destruction. A deliverer of chaos so extreme, she can make all times cease and all matter decease. In each of her story, someone or something must sober her from the drunkenness she receives where enemies blood otherwise, her continuous rage would literally rage the world’s demise.
Eric: I don’t think the Hindu’s scriptures are telling us to find our empowerment like murdering our enemies. But there’s something important about the legends of Kali to people. They identify in us that prime evil sets of right and wrong, that when wrong gets unleashed in a vindicated vengeance, no questions asked. I never considered myself a violent person and I believe I can exert control over my temper. But after I learned that I was betrayed by my wife and her family and some friends, I began to see scenes in my mind, so I have things that I could not previously imagine. Quentin Tarantino would think they were over the top.
Eric: The hardest about divorcing a sociopath is that to the rest of the world, your breakup looks like just another break up, but it’s not. Anti-social personality disorder affects at least 4% of the population, that’s 1 in 25. It’s characterized by lying, narcissism, and the ability to cut off fall emotions from another. In other words, it does look a heck of a lot like two people who are getting a divorce. What’s different about the sociopath is that the lying is pathological and chronic. That narcissism is extreme and insatiable. And the ability that cut off all emotions is callous and calculated. They are incredibly charming, terribly opportunistic bad people. They don’t wanna work out relationship issues with you, they just want things to work out for them. They are rapists of the emotions and they just don’t care.
Once you realized you’ve been had by a sociopath, you can just highlight bad happening to sociopath but if you act on that, forget that. If you so much just tell others about that or simply warn others about this person, sooner or later, you began to look like a psychopath. The criminal cousin of a sociopath. There’s no wind and it takes the wind out of your sails. Because not only are you stuck, unable to do anything about injustice, at the end of the day, you’ve still lost your love. Your heart is crushed, your mind is shocked and your soul begins to doubt the very fabric of integrity. Not your lovers, your own and that of the human race.
Eric: When I was in high school, my then teacher and now friend, Vincent Parker coined the phrase, he called it, “Chrono-centric morality.” He was posing the concept that our morals might not be shaped by something eternal, that they may be shaped by time. Specifically the time in which we happen to be alive, to first hard to swallow, then let it wallow. Think about all the great men, noble figures, frontiersmen of new world ideas like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, who once believe it was okay to enslave another man based mainly on the color of his skin.
Chrono-centric morality. What we value is conditional from the time into which we were born. We live now in a time where one act of violence begets another at the speed of light. Potentially, begetting a planetary destruction far beyond the Kali tantrum. Our instinct toward violent resolution is being televised and it’s priorly sweeping us away.
Eric: In her most famous legends, Kali wounds her enemy demon. But with each drop of blood she spills from him, clones form from him. So her wrath made matters worst. When I look around at the recent upheaval of my life, it’s not as bad as I first thought. I did lose much, a wife, a step-daughter, in laws I have loved and two friends. With the exception of my step-daughter, what I really only lost was the illusion I believed about these people, I became disillusioned and that’s a good thing.
Eric: During one of my more melancholy days, I bumped into a religious man who I haven’t seen in some time. We spoke about the recent turmoil in my life and he asked me if I’d like him to pray for me. I said, “Yes.” He asked specifically what he should pray for, and I told him, “Pray that I continue on the positive path I know I’m ultimately headed and to take away my need for vindications, so I don’t inadvertently go down the negative path that follows my ex. James 5:16, the very next day, I received an instant message, it was from a stepdaughter’s father who I’ve never really spoken to before. Whom my ex and her father had always claimed to me was a paranoid, schizophrenic who she had to leave because he’d beat her.
Let me testify loud and clear, I know the mouth. And the reality is, he’s eccentric soul but a sweet and loving dad and a creatively gifted man. She, and this was confirmed by my in-laws, had multiple times been unfaithful typically with married men, had once concussed and another time, dislocated his jaw. He informed me that he now had a 100% custody of his little girl. They may ask to forfeit her parental rights by defaulting on the case not once but twice. And only asked that she not be asked to pay child support.
Some people don’t deserve to be called “mommy.” Sociopaths do not deserve to be called mammal. My stepdaughter’s father told me his little girl really missed me. At that affair opened to that he’d like to reunite us soon. I said “Yes.”
Karma, the judge in our divorce case, turned out to be the same presiding judge in their custody case later that day. Had my ex not try to stick me with her cell phone dead, this coincidence would never have even been an incident.
And when she under oath accused me of harassment, I under oath revealed to the judge that I had multiple risk bidding messages from multiple members of the family, establishing her is pathologically unstable. Long story short, to my ex’s child support waiver request, the judge said, NO. I asked to give up my need for vindication, just one day before in a prayer. And the next day, I felt more vindicated than ever before. I began to accept that someone not worthy of your love is someone not worthy of your hate. I began to let go, and let God take it from here.
Eric: When Christ said, to turn the other cheek and to forgive countless times. When the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita warn us about unchecked rage, I don’t believe we’re being told to let people get away with raping your wife for taking your life. I believe we’re being guided to elevate rather than escalate the ordinary reaction we have to being affronted by someone in some way. To realize that sometimes the affront, whether it’s a wife who heists you or a friend who cuts ties with you, it’s not about you. And that retaliation would simply create greater strife for you.
Eric: A Sanskrit writer from the gospel scribes perhaps didn’t shed enough light to repel an ISIS invasion or reprieve our fears of Iranian uranium. World peace, if even achievable by man, maybe centuries away. But on a small scale, in an everyday grind kind of way. These parables and myths teaches how to slowly but surely evolve to GMO piece into the DNA of our species. To realize things we thought more important will get destroyed. And an aftermath, we can count on a new math to count those things true and dear with a divine eye more clear.
Let there be a natural selection of your mind. Let there be a survival of the fittest consciousness. Let there be a Copernican revolution of our souls, where our solutions of vengeance and violence fade to silence, unthinkable, untenable remnants of a world long past. Love is the first and most natural thing we do as human beings, that’s a fact. Why is it so hard to keep that intact? Because, when you’ve been deeply hurt by another, your pain cannot be resolved by a Facebook meme or a hippy dream. As much as we all like to say it, love is never unconditional. Love cannot exist outside condition.
Eric: Victimhood ends where forgiveness begins. But in your condition of deepest and darkest, most justified rage, sometimes the things Christ said still won’t make much sense. And in the midst of Kali’s destruction of your world, as you know it, all will feel lost. It won’t seem like she’s on your side. The good news is this, let your anger and your sorrow, your confusion, and your fear are normal and more importantly, they are not what’s eternal. These are temporary emotions put into motion by the only great thing on Earth, love. The hate we feel is equal to the love we may seal.
In 15 minutes, emotion can fade like Warhol’s set of fame, so begin a new kind of war overhaul by the notion that you can let go. Whatever morass, let pass to give to God what he asked for. In Romans 12:19, do not shut off your hate but to forgive your hate to him. ”Vengeance is mine”, sayeth the Lord, translation, God’s got your back. Because he’s the only one who can reliably see through the front of vengeance. To us, vengeance is hate, to God, your hate is just misdirected love.
In some cases, completely rational, totally justifiable. Misdirected love. So, as you redirect your life, let yourself stand up for yourself, as someone who has been wrongfully wronged. Speak smartly, the truth be carried by God and on his signal, unleash hell, but making certain to grab your emotions out of the victims spiral and into something deeper, broader, better only. Then, will joy fill the vast majority of your days and in your most hurtful moments that will still, surely come and go. Grab tightly and pray somehow to let your soul turn on this, to let rage open and never shut, love’s many doors.
Eric: Thank you.
Anderson: Thank you.
Eric: Anderson Mitchell everybody.
Anderson: Teresa Allison?
Eric: Abigail Sykes on vocals. Stephanie L’Heureux on cello.
Anderson: And Raymond Hennessy on percussion.
Eric: And guitar.
Anderson: And guitar.
Eric: Thank you so much,
Anderson: Thank you.