I own a 6 piece set of antique press-back farm chairs. They have cane seats. Over time, the caning needs strengthening. When I lived with Daniel, I had noticed that a few of the seats needed work, so I decided to send them in to an antiques dealer I knew that specialized in working with antique furniture. She and I had built a relationship over the years and I had bought many items from her antique store.
It was only the cane work that needed strengthening. None of it had loosened, it was just sagging. I had called her and described the chairs, some of which she was familiar with because I had purchased them from her. She told me to bring them in and she would take care of them. Not a problem at all.
I told Daniel to bring them to the antiques dealer showroom for repair. He packed them in the back of his truck securely and left. Or so I thought. Somewhere between my home and the antique shop, a short distance of a few miles, Daniel made a destructive decision.
Later I received a phone call from the antiques dealer. She was very distraught. She told me the repairs on the chairs would be extensive. She asked why I hadn’t described the damage more accurately. After all, she said, both of us knew each other for so long, there was no reason to hide anything.
Hide anything, I questioned. What was I hiding? I told her that the seats were sagging where the cane inserts were placed. That’s what needed to be repaired. She hemmed a bit, and seemed upset. At the time, I was confused by the phone call. I had sent antique chairs in with Daniel with seats that had only sagging cane work, and yet I was being told in a mysterious phone call that my chair repair was going to cost far more than I had anticipated, take much longer in time and somehow I felt as if I was the one being blamed for the damage to the chairs.
I should add that this happened during the time I was non-mobile, still wheel-chair bound from my motor-vehicle accident. I was not able to drive, so I could not go directly to the antique dealer to visualize for myself and see what she was talking about. I was literally stuck at home. Still a prisoner. Still a captive of the Smith family, not yet aware of what they were doing behind my back. I was to found out a few years later.
The antiques dealer did not sound very friendly as she usually did, as a matter of fact, she told me Daniel was there with her while she was talking to me. Since I was unaware at the time of what he was capable of doing, I had absolutely no idea of what really was going on at that moment in the antique dealers store. I would later found out.
It took months for me to get my chairs back. I would call and ask how the repairs were going, and was told various stories. They were back-logged, they were on vacation, etc., but never the truth at the time. Finally, about six months later, I received my chairs. One, in particular, was never fully repaired. The wood seat on it had been broken. I was upset. Daniel told me he had argued with the antiques dealer about their work, but to no avail. I later found out that was his lie.
Roughly four years later, after Daniel was out of the house, I visited this antiques dealer. I was determined to find out what had happened with my chairs. That conversation still set in mind as one that was out-of-place, as mysterious.
What she told me that day still haunts me and I don’t know why Daniel did what he did. But I do know that she was frightened by him. I understand now that she was frightened when she called me for her own reasons when he was standing in her store. I can imagine why. I don’t know the exact words he told her why the chairs were in the condition they were when he brought them in. But I do know who he said was responsible for their demise. Which would make sense as to her hesitance in speaking with me. She was told I had a very serious anger problem and damaged/destroyed things.
At first, she was slightly hesitant to talk to me. She remembered the chairs. She, of course, remembered me. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years. I couldn’t understand why she was behaving in such a stand-offish manner. I would understand after she told me her story.
She told me he brought her chairs that were in pieces. None of them were in usable condition. Not only was the cane split apart, but there were posts broken, legs broken and damage beyond what she had ever imagined. She had been horrified. She could never imagine (me) her client asking her to repair such work.
My face, as she told me this story, was one of stone cold silence. All the pieces of the puzzle had been coming together at that point in 2006 about things Daniel and his mother Sandra had done. This was just another to add. She realized as she told me this that I had nothing to do with the breaking of the chairs. She knew at this point that I was no longer with the psychopath, that I was attempting to find clues to answer questions. Since she and I had known each other for many years, she trusted in me at that point to be honest enough to tell me what had actually happened that day years before.
She said at the time she felt powerless, frightened and somewhat intimidated with him standing there telling her to call me about the chairs. That explained her strange phone call. She really didn’t know what to say in front of him, alone in her store. She said she had felt very uncomfortable. The antiques dealer told me there was a strangeness, a coldness, a black look in his eyes. She said he seemed odd, and made the hairs on her neck stand up. But she took the chairs in for repair and did the best she could. We didn’t talk much about anything else. I could still see that discomfort and uneasiness in her eyes.
Little did she know that at that time she was staring down the eyes of a true psychopath. One that had just broken antique chairs for his own pleasure. Chairs that he had just told another he was packing securely to bring to an antique dealer to have repaired. Somewhere between the home and the antique store he had stopped off the road, and taken time to deliberately break and destroy six chairs into pieces. Then carry these pieces into her shop and calmly tell her a story about a woman she had known for years destroying the chairs. What the psychopath doesn’t realize is that their eyes give them away. When they are at the height of their episodes, their eyes take on such a coldness, such a black void, it is almost compelling to watch. Once seen it is never forgotten.
I wonder how many people who I once knew did Daniel make feel this way behind my back. It’s what these men do. It’s how they separate their prey. It’s how they keep women isolated without the women knowing it’s happening. They tell lies, they manipulate stories, they twist the truth. Those who know you are told stories of deceit to make them doubt you, to mislead them, to draw them away from you. Your friends, your acquaintances are misled, just as the original woman is, by the psychopath, who is skilled at manipulation. Whether through lies, intimidation or outright fear tactics, the psychopath uses his skilled tactics to separate and isolate people. It’s his means of survival.
It could be your demise if you don’t realize it.
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