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Up until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even know who Jodi Arias was. I wasn't paying attention to the media stories, and along with all the stuff I've been doing in my personal life, I didn't have the time or inclination to explore the story until a couple of my readers contacted me to point out the similarities between Jodi and Tila Tequila. It was when I started reading up and watching the trial that I realized that not only did Jodi share many similar personal attributes with Tila, moreso, she shared many of the same attributes as an ex-girlfriend of mine, who is still stalking me to this day.
Within just a few minutes of seeing Jodi testify, I came to the conclusion that she was a psycho who stalked and then killed Travis. There is no doubt in my mind that woman is a psychopath. In my research travels, I've found a few pockets of Jodi supporters who claim she was a domestic violence victim and they actually applaud her actions and hail her a hero. I have lived a fortunate life, with no domestic violence, and so I can't speak to what a domestic violence victim would do or say in the event Jodi's domestic violence story has any merit, but I can speak to the stalker angle.
My relationship started off normal enough. A beautiful woman who was intelligent, charming and knew all the right things to say and do.
The one trait that now stands out, is how manipulative she was. Her manipulation was so far out there, to this day I can't believe I fell for it. That's the problem with psychopaths, they are masters at manipulation in a way you never experience with normal people. But then again, they are so damn charming, you find yourself forgiving them for their manipulation because they are so irresistible.
One of the striking things about the Jodi Arias supporters is that almost all the ones I've seen, have mentioned the fact that they too were domestic violence sufferers and survivors. Almost all of them postulated the argument that if Jodi was such a 'psychopathic stalker', why did Travis maintain a relationship with her? I can tell you from first hand experience, that it's very difficult extracting yourself from a psychopathic stalker. When things are going good with them, they are the nicest, most generous and loving people you could ever hope to meet. When things are bad and they are slashing your tires, and driving by your house at midnight, and all the other crazy shit, you do feel twinges of fear, but somehow, someway, they wheedle themselves back in with apologies and acknowledgements of how crazy they were, and there's always an underlying excuse why they went so far—their dog died or some other thing that could seem plausible...until they do it again.
They can seem very passionate about everything--life, sex, the future, and that is powerful. It's only later, when you are safely away that you realize they were passionate about nothing. It was all an act. The heart of a psychopath is that of an actor/actress. Ironically, that is the line of work my girlfriend wanted to get into.
The first several months were magical. My ex seemed to be interested in everything I was interested in. She wanted to only talk about me and my accomplishments, and would wave off questions about her own. Oddly, she was fascinated more with the tragedies in my life, rather than the triumphs. She often asked me to tell her the story of my mom's disease and eventual passing, and seemed to relish every detail, stopping me often to draw out my every thought, feeling or observation. When a friend's sister was raped, she needed every single detail, not just from me, but from my friend.
This fascination with the macabre and unfortunate, didn't end there. She would attend funerals of neighbors or even their family members, dressed in black head to toe, with a veil. I didn't understand this behavior at first, thinking that she must have known them very well, and of course thinking she was just being ultra-respectful. Then my neighbor's aunt died. This was a woman my ex and I met one time several months before in passing. My girlfriend went to the funeral without telling me, and I later heard from the neighbor how sweet it was that she had taken the time to go. The chilling thing was when the neighbor mentioned she didn't realize what an impact her aunt had, because my ex was sobbing quietly into a handkerchief, and was so overcome she had to leave. When I asked the ex about it, wondering if perhaps she had known the woman outside of our relationship, she said she didn't but that was what was expected at a funeral. Another friend of mine from high school called to say a girl we had hung out with was hospitalized with cancer, and asked if I'd visit her in the hospital. It was pretty bad, and so the moment I got off work, I headed over there without saying anything to my ex. When I returned home, I told her about it. She didn't seem too interested, but over the next week, she was several hours late coming home from work each night. Around the 6th or 7th day, the ill women's sister called me and wanted me to tell my girlfriend not to come back. She had been going every night, and talking to this poor woman and sobbing and holding her hand and then asking a litany of inappropriate and personal questions. When confronted she became angry at me for asking about what she was doing there, and accused me of being insensitive to my friend.
I begin to get the feeling like she didn't know emotions on her own. It was like she was an anthropologist and had to dig for clues to emotions, and then she did her best to mirror them. Her laugh always sounded over-acted, and the way she showed 'empathy' or sadness always seemed overwrought for the circumstances—for example if someone said they had a little cold, she'd agree and tell them they looked really bad and she suggested they needed to go to the hospital right away. But in an actual emergency, she'd be very aloof, and detached.
Other times she seemed very kind and self-less, but then I'd later find there seemed to always be an ulterior motive for her kindness. Soon after we broke up, when she worked for a caterer, she brought over several vats of Mexican food, and asked if I wanted any. I told her I didn't. Two days later, on that Saturday she asked if I'd help her take the food to the shelter. I told her I would. We got there and after unloading the food and driving away, I asked how she had fit all those vats in her fridge (the 'vats' are big aluminum foil pans they use for storing and serving food). She said she didn't refrigerate any of it, that she had left it all in her car, but that the car stayed cold enough. Of course, I was shocked and told her we needed to go back and get the food back, that those people might get poisoned. She just looked at me like I was crazy and said 'beggers can't be choosers, now can they". Very flat. No emotion. As soon as I left her car, I called the shelter. Other times she'd give stuff to the shelter that she found on the street and tell the workers that she had put together a group of people and they had worked all weekend to bring in these 'donations'. When I asked why she lied, she told me that if her character ever came into question, then she'd have people who could attest to her goodness.
Two weird things: one was when introducing her to my friends, she asked that I use her 'stage name', instead of her real name. I also found after we broke up that she rarely used her real name at all, and most people in her life knew her by one of several names. The other odd thing was that when we'd go out to eat, she used antiseptic wipes to clean the edges of her drinking glasses, and would take her soda cans home to discard. And she'd use gloves to handle the envelopes when paying bills and only use money orders. She said that way no one could go through her garbage to plant DNA evidence at a crime scene, and she didn't want her DNA in the hands of strangers.
But over time, things she said and did began to bother me, and not just in a left-the-cap-off-the-toothpaste way, but in a what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-her kind of concern. For instance, I packed up a bunch of stuff from the garage to give away. She promised to take it to the Goodwill to donate. Over the course of a couple of months, she made several trips. After the first trip I asked for the receipt because I was giving a way a lot of sporting goods and other high end stuff. She made excuses why there was no receipt. I just thought she was forgetful. A year later, she asks me to repair a damaged wall at her mom's house. I went into the garage to find a tool, and instead found all my donations stacked in clear tubs in the corner. When questioned, she claims she kept the stuff for 'safekeeping' because she was sure I'd someday regret giving it all away, and then she could surprise me. Odd.
I had to fly several states away for a trade show. Before I left she begged me to cut off a lock of hair so in case the plane crashed she could provide rescuers with a DNA sample. I thought that was kinda kooky, and forgot about it. Within an hour of landing, she was on the phone berating me for not leaving her with the hair sample. I came home to my brushes and combs completely cleaned out.
Over several months we broke up and reunited again. It was hard saying no to someone who seemed so in love with me and who was so attentive. In a way, I guess you could say I became addicted to the attention, and thought with just a few tweaks here and there, we could have a great relationship. When we finally broke up, she took it very well. No tears, no emotion. I thought that meant we were on the same page and both understood the circumstances and that was the best thing. The next day she walked into my house just as I was falling asleep. I saw the bedroom door open and she was standing in the middle of the doorway. I asked what she wanted, and how did she get in, she gave some excuse about forgetting something and that the door was unlocked (it wasn't, I had just locked it a few minutes before). The next day I locked the door again, and again, she was in the doorway. This time I yelled at her to get the fuck out of my house. She smiled and apologized, and said she got a phone call and the person hung up and she thought it was my code for her to come over.
The third day, I changed the locks. That evening she was screaming and banging on my front door demanding to know why the locks were changed. I let her in and asked what she wanted. She said she was just joking. The day after that, she was again in my bedroom. She had jimmied the garage side door open with a screwdriver. When I got out of bed yelling at her to leave, she put her hands in front of herself in a defensive way and backed out and spoke in this low voice, as if I was the threat (I had never ever put my hands on her, I had rarely raised my voice in anger, I had never called her names, threatened her or given a hint of violence, then or any other time). The next day she called and left me a very calm voice mail that stated I needed help with my anger management issues and she feared for her life because I had never raised my voice in that way before.
Over the next few months we still spoke, now though she claimed she had never been in my house, and that I must have dreamed the whole thing. Once when I ran into her on the street, she greeted me like an old friend. I was somewhat distant, I really didn't want to have anything to do with her. She asked if I was still angry about my allegation of her breaking into my house. I admitted I was. She rubbed my back and told me that sometimes when one imagines something that doesn't exist, it means they need a mental health evaluation. She then offered to drive me to our local mental health facility. I declined. The girls was nuts herself and obviously trying very hard to convince me that I was the mentally ill one.
Fast forward another couple of months. I try to pay my Verizon bill, and it's been already paid. I asked them where the payment was made, they told me from a mall 2 blocks from her house. I called her up, she claims she paid the bill because she feared I might forget and with my fragile mental health I might need the phone in an emergency. I told her to leave me alone. A week or so later, my boss calls me into his office. He tells me a young, very well dressed woman came to his house the previous weekend. As it happens, we were having a heat wave in the low 100 degrees, and she was wearing a business suit thing and carrying a brief case. She refused to identify herself, but told him that she was a friend of mine and that I was having severe mental problems and she feared I'd lost my home and was now living under a bridge. She insisted on giving him $200 to 'hold' for me, the only request she had was that she wanted him to keep her informed if I moved away or changed my number, and of course, he couldn't say anything to me or else it might make me violent. He told me within the first few seconds of meeting her on his front porch, he realized she was off. He said he actually stood on the porch with the front door closed, instead of inviting her in where it was cooler, which he would normally do for someone claiming to be a friend of his employees. He noticed she walked away afterwards, but then saw her a minute or so later, driving a car she parked around the block though there was plenty of on-street parking in front of his house. The car matched the description of hers. I emailed a picture of her, and he said it was the same girl. When I asked her about it, she denied the whole thing and told me that proved I had a mental problem.
I then made arrangements to sell my house. The listing agent called me the next day and told me a young woman insisted she be allowed to view the house (after she drove by and saw the sign on the lawn). He told her he was doing an open house the following week, but she begged. He asked if I minded him showing it to this one woman, and I realized it was her, and declined. She then returned to his office the next day and gave him a camera and asked him to take detailed shots of each room and several of my dog. He declined. Later that week I was awakened at 1:00 am to the sound of my dog happily barking from outside, which meant there was someone there that he knew. I saw a shadow pass the front window and saw eyes peeking in through the blinds, when the person saw me, they took off. I ran to the door and heard her car pull away. She denied this of course. Over the next 2 or 3 days a couple of neighbors told me they had seen a woman trying to unlock my side gates and calling to my dog. One told me she saw her pop open the gate and then run to her car and call my dog, but then she spied the neighbor and took off.
Another week passes, I get a call from a strange number. I had already stopped taking her calls and blocked her number. It's her. She wants to know where I'm at, that she's going to be in my neighborhood (I lived about 30 miles away from her). I told her I was visiting a friend about 20 miles further away and wouldn't be home (I really was home though. I thought that would prevent her from coming over. It didn't). About 45 minutes later, I was leaving my neighbor's house, and saw her drive by in a gold car that belonged to her mom. There was a dog crate in the back. I called to her and she was taken by surprise. She was very smiley, and tried telling me that she just happened to be in the neighborhood and the dog crate just happened to be in her car.
By this time I had called the cops several times. They said she hadn't committed a crime and unless she proved to be a credible threat there was nothing they could do. When they spoke to her, she expressed her 'grave concerns' over my mental health. She told them I was confused and she was a very good friend with my best interests at heart. She told them I had been living under an overpass and she was trying to get me into a mental health facility. They told her they had spoken to me at my own home, and that there was nothing to indicate I was suffering from mental health issues. The officer told me that she was really pushing this story that she was a hero trying to rescue me, and that nothing I said should be taken seriously. He said she was kept complimenting them on all their 'fine work' and how smart they were to see through my 'story'. She even told them about me 'dreaming' of her breaking into my house and believing it.
Finally, I just moved away. Literally had the house packed and left in the middle of the night. A few months later my older brother called. She had followed my 12-year old niece the couple of blocks from school to her mom's work and then walked in and tried to talk to the niece. She asked my niece if she liked my new house. Niece said she hadn't been there yet. My sister-in-law then realized what was going on and told her to leave and not come back. She then tried to give my niece her phone number and to call "if she ever wanted to talk". They called me. I called the police. I was told nothing they could do, she hadn't done anything criminal. Finally I called her mom. I told her mom I was filing a restraining order against her daughter and so was my brother. I knew her mom would relay the message. I knew from the cops that even a restraining order wouldn't work, but I had to hope she wouldn't call my bluff. Luckily, I haven't heard from the nutjob in years, and hope to never have to hear from her.
Psychopathic stalkers are not created over night. The psychopathic part is there, but the stalker behavior is built upon over time. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the object of the stalking never sees, and until it's brought to their attention, they may not even realize just how bad things really are. I was very fortunate to walk away. I can't help but watch the Jodi Arias trial and wonder if I could have been another Travis. Every single thing that I see about their relationship is confirmation about my own. One thing both my ex and Jodi do is the mental gymnastics thing: when Jodi is talking to the prosecutor, she makes him repeat his questions and split hairs and does all she can to focus on every word and syntax. My ex would do that all the time when I questioned her about her behavior. Part of it seems to be a tool for distraction, the other part seems to be this inner glee at showing how stupid the other person is. My ex did this a couple of times when pulled over for driving violations as well, when talking to the police—even a simple thing like handing over her driver's license would be met with precise questions like "should I hand it to you with my right hand or my left? Do you want it facing you, or facing me when I hand it to you?
Jodi Arias was not a battered woman, no matter how much her story may resonate with battered women/men. She has adopted that story because it's the only one that gets her off a death penalty sentence. That's all Jodi does, is adopt a storyline that is convenient for her agenda. She tried the I-wasn't-there story and that didn't work. Then the two-strangers-killed-him story didn't work, finally she found a story that not only works, but makes her a hero of sorts and a poster child for domestic violence. She killed Travis in cold blood. I have no doubt she went to that house with both gun and knife. The fact the crime scene was "too bloody" to be premeditated according to the defense, means only that Jodi wasn't prepared for the fight he would put up. She thought the gunshot wound to the head or the knife to the heart would kill him instantly and contain the crime scene to a small area in the shower that was easy to clean up. She had never been a witness to a real crime scene such as that, so she under-estimated his will to live and how much he'd fight back, and how he wouldn't die immediately and relatively cleanly. That picture of him in the shower that shows his face just before he dies is chilling That is the face of a man who is looking in the eyes of a killer. She likely was forcing him to pose, so she could later gloat over his fear.
Jodi Arias supporters tend to be victimized themselves. They are hearing and seeing her case unfold from that perspective. The parts they don't agree with or don't understand they brush away, not willing to give a closer look. Several people use the argument that if he was the victim of stalking, then he would be too afraid of her to hook up occasionally, never questioning that if Jodi claims to be so afraid of him, then why she still hooking up with him. Both scenarios are based on fear, yet they give Jodi a free pass for being fearful and still having sex with him, but they don't give him one for the same reason.
This should be interesting. I'd like to hear your thoughts.