Natasha's Men, Lies and Betrayal
It was both astonishing and devastating to look back on my marriage of more than 11 years, some five years after it had ended, and realize that absolutely everything that my husband had ever told me had been lies.
Our marriage had spanned several countries, years of study on my part, several small businesses, and a move to the US when I worked for some 5 years for a multinational corporation. During all this time, unbeknown to me, the entire story my husband had constructed (about his family, his siblings, his religion) had been totally fabricated.
During this period, spanning from the early 1970s to when we split up in the early 1980s, he had invented an amazing family story. These are just a few of the bare facts:
* He had a twin sister who had been killed in the second world war, on a bombing mission, by friendly fire from the Americans;
* I am not too clear about all the details of this story, as it seems so crazy now, but his family, who he said were Red Indians, had trekked across the entire North American continent to the Yukon in Canada and had constructed something called the Crazy House near Whitehorse. Or perhaps it was near Yellowknife, North West Territories;
* He said that his family were Jewish (I am Jewish) and that when he was employed in the Australian Flying Doctor service, he was fired for refusing to work on one Yom Kippur;
* He told me that his mother was dead, and that his older brother had been captured in the Second World War, had been taken prisoner and the Burmese had beheaded his brother and sent the photo of his beheading to his mother after the war.
Needless to say, all the above was rubbish. The facts were that he was born in the UK, he never had a twin sister and when in the latter part of the 1980s, some 5 years after we had separated and indeed divorced, I contacted his brother, who I discovered was very much alive, living in Yorkshire. When I prompted his brother about my former husband’s Jewish religion, (I was in the process of attempting to secure a Jewish divorce, a Ghet or get), the brother said that they were not and had never been Jewish. Additionally, he dropped the bombshell that their mother was still alive and living in the UK.
The penny well and truly dropped when I met my former husband’s brother and realized that he had been spinning an entire pack of lies throughout some 15 years. The irony of it was that when I discovered the deception and told some of my former graduate students and colleagues, they were incredulous and seemed to berate me for splitting up with him. However, my family told me they had always thought he had been a liar.
When I found out about this deception, I had moved continents and, thankfully, had lost all contact with this sociopath. He was a great con man and could tell amazing stories. He seemed to have an amazing knowledge of just about anything and everything. In fact, he could have written the manual regarding one-upmanship. I have never really gotten to grips with the fact that we lived a complete lie, apart from the events we lived through in reality during all those years.
When I look back now, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that I could have been so gullible. However, there have been so many other episodes of when I have been lied to and deceived, and betrayed, mostly but not entirely by men, that I admit that either I have a serious flaw, or that I am too trusting and never seek to be suspicious about what people close to me tell me about themselves. Maybe this stems from my parents warning me all the time never to trust strangers and that all men are just after one thing?
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