Ep. 205: An Interview about False Identities with Abby Ellin
Gretchen on the train the other day. I watched a class called sound more confident with your voice and catapult your success. Sometimes like my voice, I can mumble I can talk really quietly. And so this was great advice on how to like sound confident. Just with my voice isn't dead. Certainly great for a podcast or and also I know this year, you're really getting into sound and one of the most important sounds is the sound of your own voice. So this is true. It's a great class for you. So join the millions of students already learning on skill share today with a special offer just for our listeners. Get two months of skill share for free. That's right skill share is offering happier with Gretchen Rubin. Listeners two months of unlimited access to more than twenty five thousand classes for free to sign up. Go to skills. Shared dot com slash happier. Again, go to skills share dot com slash happier. To start your two months. Now that's skill shared dot com slash. Happier. Hello. And welcome to happier. A podcast about how to make more room for happiness in our lives this week. We'll talk about why you might follow a ritual of completion. And we'll talk to my friend of many years, Abby Ellen who has written a fascinating new book, duped double lives false identities. And the conman I almost married. I'm Gretchen Rubin writer who said he's happiness. Good habits in human nature. I'm in New York City with me is my sister lives with craft who I'm pretty sure is exactly what she says. She is. That's me Elizabeth craft TV writer and producer living in LA and brench. I am a terrible liar. So I don't think I could anyone even if I try now before we jump in. I just wanna say thank you to everyone who has preordered outer ordering a calm. I so appreciate everyone's enthusiasm the book as out on March fifth. But if you pre-order it you get a whole batch of resources about outer order that I've created videos downloads twenty one day emailed challenge. That's available to people who preorder as a thank you. So you can get more details at outer order inner calm book dot com, and I'll post a link to that in the show notes. And here's something funny that I've listened I didn't even know if I told you. That I'm going to do this. I should've asked you if you preorder five copies or more. I will give you a shout out here on the podcast. Civil you submit your proof of purchase you can specify the number of copies, you preordered. And if it's five or more, I will think you hear my love it, and then Gretchen, and we also had an update about the question raised in episode Toyoto about what to do about the office. It's not enthusiastic about celebrating birthdays. What was interesting as many people proposed solutions that would work if people in the office are enthusiastic about participating, for instance, many people described variations on potlucks and several people described a system that you and I hadn't heard before. But made sense to us that the person who had most recently celebrated birthday is tasked with the celebration for the next birthday person on the calendar. But our listener had a group that didn't care about birthday. Yeah. And so a suggestion that a lot of people made that seems really useful in this circumstance is what someone called the elementary school solution the birthday person himself or herself brings in the tree for everyone to share. So if you want to celebrate birthdays and bringing a treat you bring it in everybody can enjoy it. And if you want to ignore your birthday, you can and so it's sort of up to the birthday person to decide whether or not to engage in the birthday celebration process. And that seemed like a good solution for her office. Yes, it seems simple seems elegant it seems I like it a someone who doesn't care about celebrating my birthday at work. All right. Could just not bring anything right and some people affirmatively don't like to have their birthdays recognize that would be good for them as well. And now, we're the tried this at home, I love this try this at home, and that is to follow a ritual of completion. So describe what that means scratch. So. I have found is that I have kind of unconsciously created rituals of completions. At now. I want to do it much more deliberately to signal to myself like this is complete. I am finished it underscores the feeling of accomplishment and kind of like, I'm closing the books on something. And I I know how much satisfaction. I got from this. When I was in school when I was in high school when I was in college when I was in law school, I had this thing that I would do I would take all the materials and textbooks that I had to study for for exams, and I would make one big pile of them. And as I took the exams. I would move the books from one pile to the other. So when you know when I was studying in them, I would pull them off. But when I wasn't setting I would keep them either in one or the other. And so as the days passed, I would see the stack shift from being all on the left to all on the right, and it just gave me enormous satisfaction. And a feeling of like I am moving through something important and I'm marking the milestones. And then. I have the feeling of I've completed that's great. We do this onset actually here in Hollywood in television. Usually, I think it's just at the season finale, although I think some people do it episode episode when somebody's wrapping out of the season. Meaning like they've just shot their last scene of the season. The first assistant director says everyone gathered around and people gather around the crew the cast writers producers whoever's there, and they say, you know, that's a season. One rap for Robin Tunney, and everyone claps, and sometimes depending on sort of where the actor is on the call sheets. They'll also give a little speech, oh thanking everybody, and it's just really nice because it's kind of just it again. It's a ritual. It's a ritual that makes everybody sort of acknowledged the person's work knowledge each other acknowledged that we've completed something. And it's just it's really feel good moment. Yeah. Well, I think that in kind of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sometimes you just you just you keep racing on and then things feel very anti-climactic. And you could imagine certainly for like an actor himself or herself. And then also people around it's feels like things are just petering out. And you're not giving recognition for what's happening until ritual. Completion is that moment where you're like, let's take a breath in like see this has been done. Like, I think it makes things feel more completed and also you get that Tada less. I mean, what other things we've seen is people love the to delist, but they also love the Tada, and it's like this is the two dollars that's happening in life. So great you have a book coming out March fifth as we were talking about inner order outer calm, and you're going on a book tour, are you going to have a ritual of completion for your book tour? Well, so I have something that I've done again sort of without realizing recognizing that. That's what it is. And now, I'm going to have a lot more fun. But now, I'm like, ooh, this is a ritual completion. So I do I have made the switch to a digital calendar. But when something's really complicated and important, I will print out a paper copy of it because I just find that that's useful in a different way. And so every year it's like when I go in a Victorian duds a lot. It's a really really thick pack because it's all kinds of information, and it's events, and you know, it's all this stuff and lane tickets. Yeah. Every anything I would need is dumped into there. And so as something happens I marked through it with a pen, but I leave it in the packet. And so the packet never diminishes. I just see that more and more pages have been crossed off. And then when I come home, there's a very like satisfying moment when I'm like, I get home. I'm up in my office. I opened up my backpack. And there is this giant book like super ratty looking papers. And I put it in the in the in the recycling because I'm like, and now this is finished in now that I think back on it. I realized I always did sort of take a moment to do it. And I would deliberately not throw things away along the way. Would hang onto them. So that I would have a more satisfying kind of like, you know, drop Mike moment this year. I will I will do it with more pleasure. Because I realized that this is what I'm doing. And you know, lives at one thing. I think that you, and I both felt is that when we take the time to kind of give ourselves that Goldstar or to give ourselves that to dot. It actually helps us keep moving forward that you might think. Oh, we'll know if you're in business, you're just going to be pushing pushing pushing no time to look back. But it's almost like you need the energy of completion to help drive you forward. Yes. And I think I wanna make a bigger deal out of rituals completion. Like, I'm thinking, maybe when I finish a season of a show. I should like treat myself to a day at the spa. Yes. And thank you know, where you're really like reveling in your ritual. I also think it would be fun say you're a teacher on the last day of school every year to go to the same restaurant. I think if you do sort of the same thing every year. That's what makes it feel like a ritual. Yes. You know, or or your get through exams? You know, if you're a student go to the same restaurant or go to a movie that night or something where you do the same thing. Each time. I had a friend who the only time she would let herself get chocolate croissant was on a day when she took an exam, and so that was always like even even each individual exam during law school. She's like okay now I'm off for my chocolate croissant. And that was the only always a very limiting thing because she didn't want to be having them all the time. But it's like you can't take more exams to get more. Chocolate course. Right. But so it can be something smoke. Well, let us know if you do try this at home, and and what your ritual of completion looks like let us know an Instagram Twitter. Facebook drops an Email at podcast at Gretchen Rubin dot com or get a happier. Cast dot com slash two zero five for everything related to this episode coming up, we've got a happiness hack that will help you never hear that gloves gloved sound again from your milk cartons. Spring. Gretchen. I wear a bra every single day of my life and his very important to have the perfect fit and third. Love uses. Millions of real women's measurements to design its bras with breast size and shape in mind for an impeccable fit and incredible feel third. Love helps you identify your breasts size and shape and find styles of fit your body and third love really takes customer input seriously, and they just recently launched their most requested style, cotton t shirts, and bras and cotton underwear it took two years to develop and perfect the cotton collection, which is made with premium cotton called Pima the result is a line of incredibly, soft smooth and readable, bras, and underwear you want to wear every day. Yeah. And Gretchen I just got a new style from thumb. 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Technology scans thousands of resumes to identify people with the right skills education and experience and actively invites them to apply to your job. So you get qualified. Candidates fast. It's no wonder the ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over a thousand reviews and right now our listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash happier. If you love this show show, your support to it and ZipRecruiter by going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash H. A P P E R that ZipRecruiter dot com slash happier. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Okay. Listen, it's time for happiness hack, and this comes from Emma and Gretch this is one of the small hacks of life. But it's a good one. She says I learned this hack from a mechanic, and we'll be forever grateful picture juice container or a half gallon boxy milk carton almost everyone positions the poor whole close to their glass, but something about the carton shape causes an air bubble to glove with the poor whole side down it works better. When you change it to put the poor whole side up you get total liquid contrived. And we tried it. We both tried it. And she's absolutely right. Yeah. So just like explain it again. And I'm I'll post a link to a video on YouTube where you can see somebody do it because it's a lot easier. If you just see it, but what you do is. So you have one of those boxy containers that's almost up in like a little house triangle of top press that down so the boxes flat. And then instead of having the poor whole closer to your glass. You flip it said that the poor whole is further from your glass, which seems very counterintuitive, but it's your pouring it from the top. And it's a flat surface, and it just pours much more smoothly. You have a lot more control. If you wanna just do a little bit. Or if you don't want it to go. We'll we'll blow in a glass, especially helpful in a really full carton. Yes, sir. Yes. No. I can get a lot of control. Yes. And again, as you say, this is not the most significant thing that you'll do for your happiness. This is this is one of these like is just so satisfying to like make something tiny in your life. I'm just so slightly better. So thank you for that hack deaf. And now it's time for our interview with writer and journalist Abby Ellen I have known abbey for many years, we are in a nonfiction writers group together, and she's in a ward winning journalist and author she's written for the New York Times, New York Times magazine, the Wall Street Journal psychology today, and many other places Abby has an MFA in creative writing and a masters in international public policy Gretch. We also have to mention that she named an ice cream flavor for Ben and Jerry's. She came up with caramel sutra. That is cool. Now, Abby has an absolutely fascinating new book that is receiving an enormous amount of attention already even though it's just hitting the shelves. Now, it's called duped double lives false identities. And the conman I almost married it's about her own experience of being duped by her fiance, and it's also a larger. Nation about this phenomenon a false identity. So Hello, Abby. Hello gretchen. Hi, elizabeth. Hi abbey. Thanks for coming. So abbey's here in the studio with me in New York City, and she is just fresh from her interview on the today show show. She looks fabulous and everywhere. So glad to have you here. I've known you for so long. I've heard about this book for so long, and it's hit the shelves. And it's made a gigantic splash. Yeah. It's pretty amazing. You you were interested in this the minute. I mentioned it to you. Yes. Because I've known you we've been friends for a long time. So I've known you. I saw this whole thing kind of. Yeah. You did. But so for our listeners like explain what happened with the commander his commander, his Sudanese. And Gretchen is the whole thing I met this guy that I was I was doing an interview for a newspaper, and I needed to quote, a doctor and somebody had suggested this guy who was in private practice in Beverly Hills. So I called him, and I got a quote and. We had a nice conversation. It was warm. It was funny. It was professional and that was the end of it story didn't run for another year. So I called them to fact check, and I said are you still in California and still in private practice? He said, no, I moved to Jacksonville, Florida. And I'm in the navy, and he had been divorced and his two kids were still in California with the wife, but he saw them a lot. But he was on his own in Florida. And he told me he was opening up a hospital for kids with cancer in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I was wanting to change my life. So I was wanted to go back to school to study to get my second useless masters in international relations and Johns Hopkins. And I said, well, isn't that funny? I'm going to be doing this. I'm interested in what you're doing keep me posted. So he did you cut me posted. And he would give me these updates on the project, and then we started talking more, but it was professional. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. But it was professional. And then slowly moved to a little bit less than professional or more than I professional. I should say I had not seen pictures of him. He didn't have the big internet presence. We didn't meet until February of two thousand and ten he came to New York to address the United Nations. He said he said, let's go somewhere celebrate, Tori. So we went to the four seasons, and he was in his navy white, and we embraced as if he had just returned from Asia. And we got free drinks. And you know, it was that was sort of that. I mean, we kind of began a relationship. I was forty two he was fifty eight. And so and and then you ended up it it proceeded further and proceed he was in. According to him his life was what his life was was a navy seal. He worked on with the CIA on these secret missions. He was often called in the middle of the night. He said to do these secret missions these secret operations. He told me that he had been held hostage in China, and tortured which was why he needed to sleep with three pillows and the food network blaring and lights on because he was afraid of the dark because they used to beat him. He would have screaming nightmares. He told me he had met his former wife in Iran when he had rescued her when she was held hostage, and I said would say to him. What are you talking about? We weren't there with the United States wasn't there. I know it was undercover you wouldn't. You wouldn't have heard about. Okay. So part of part of what the successive is deception was that built into the cover story was this idea that this is secret information, you you can't have access, of course, you would never heard of these things because I'm under deep cover. Correct. And also said there's and I would say to him this is stupid for you to be telling journalists this, and he would say, well, I would deny it. It would be my word against yours. So I would end up looking like a crazy person. So that's yeah. I was wondering abbey's I read the book, which I just tore through such a it's so fascinating Q commend everybody sedan with it and just dig in. But was he there supposedly as a doctor or when he was doing these missions? I just was wondering what his role theoretically was I think I think his medical background would help because he would often talk about neutralising the bad guy. I- neutralizing the bad guy. I don't even know what that means. I mean, I know what it means. But who talks like that? Or we take them out. Right. And he wants sent me a picture of he had actually been the medical director for awhile at Guantanamo. That's true. And it is true. That is true. He knows there's there were elements of true. He truly was a doctor. He truly was the navy. He really wasn't going on. And he was really working on this task force at the Pentagon. What he would do is mix fiction nonfiction shoot it out of a cannon and see what? And so he you know, that was what was so difficult. But that's what the best liars do. Yes. That's how you you wanna learn how to lie take fragments of the truth and mix it all up. So let's fast forward. So you're in DC because you're doing this this master's program, he's in DC working at the Pentagon. Well, we move in together at the water Watergate where else who can make it up. You know, where else are you going to leave about the Watergate ground zero for December? Yeah. So you're at the Watergate, and this is where the whole thing unravels where truly the the skeptical questioner journalist side of you begins to see pieces. That you can't ignore. I just it didn't make nothing would make sense to me. But I would go I was at Johns Hopkins with some of these former ambassadors and presidential advisers, and I would say to them is it possible. Could you have a vault full of medals for operations at didn't really exist? Because that's what he would tell me, but didn't officially exist that were secret. But were ahead of actually, but they hit. Yes. Yes. This is homeland right? Is the star in the wall? This is zero dark thirty. I mean, this is this kind of stuff, and they would say, yeah, that's possible. So it was possible. It was possible. It just wasn't possible with this guy. But yes, it was that's what was so crazy making for me because it was possible. And look he didn't look like a navy seal. He was not this big strapping hunk of an individual. He was sort of nerdy as Matic doctor, and then I thought to myself, well what what better decoy than medic factor. You know? But he was so what I think what it sounded to me. Like what you've been doing was taking his medical background and using. That to hurt people. So I don't know if that's you know, giving them a syringe full of secret poison. I have no idea what he was doing. Right. I have no idea. So what was the what was the final straw, the final straw? So nothing was really verifiable. I mean, I tried to verify things and and I did a little bit. You were a little suspicious. Very I was I was I was suspicious the person who is the most suspicious with my mother because I told her he told me that when he was at Guantanamo. He had treated very high level terrorists one of whom was Osama bin Laden, and I said that is not possible that is just not possible. And he said, yes, it is. And I said this was during the Bush administration, it would have been to Bush's benefit to let that out into the world because everybody was furious with him because of the war. So he said with the president doesn't know. And I'm thinking to myself, I grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. I don't know. I don't know. What's going? I live in New York City. We don't. Talk like this year. So I didn't know, and I thought okay one way or the other. I'm gonna figure this out either. There's a there's this big story somewhere. Yeah. I just didn't know how it was going to go. So my mother said Abby there's something not right with this guy, and I got angry with her. So then he gave me he would always bring me gifts. And one point. He brought me a pair of pearls. And he told me they were Mickey Moto various fancy fancy brand very expensive expensive. And I looked at the I looked at them. And I didn't see any branding. I didn't see anything, and I said on the clasp. And I said he would have had some class would have been there had been some way to idea, and he got very mad at me said you were always interrogating me. You're always questioning everything I do what do I know from Pearl's? They told me it was making Moto. I believe them. I took it to the store. They said this is not making Moto. I mean, I. I mean, I was trying to verify. Yeah. But still I thought okay. Maybe that was just be he got he got taken. But the final final straw was when we went out to dinner with my parents and in Washington, and he raved about the Brussels sprouts. They were just the greatest Brussels prints ever, and my parents were pleased. But you know, it wasn't a personal fans. If he didn't like them, they didn't cook him. He as we left. He said God that was a terrible meal. Why did you lie? Why did you lie to that degree? You know, said I wanted to make them feel good. And that's when I thought if he could live out that he's linemen anything that was just makes my blood run cold that you're with someone who's such a good liar. And who obviously enjoys lying busy lied for. No reason to your parents, and he would go on the offense. When I would question him in on point. I said to his brother who lived in Georgetown with his wife and kids, I said his brother, I don't know what to do here. Because every time I talked to this. Guy. He gets angry with me he thinks I don't trust him in the brother said, he's got a really important job and a lot of high pressure. You have to go easy on him. So you were getting signals that there was his children believed him, you know. So there were there were as con there was conflicting signals there were conflicting signals he told me at one point. He would say to me that the secret service was following us us and his kids and his family because the bad guys always the bad guys. They are the bad guys. They wanted to get us. And I, you know, I'm a little irreverent. And I would say, well, you know, I don't see anyone out the window, and he would say, well, that's the idea their service for so I said, well, you know, next time tell them to pick me up. So I don't have to take taxi. I mean that was the way I looked at it. But his his son who is twelve years old once called up and said, oh, there's a car outside the house in California is that one of your guys. So I thought to myself if his kid knows this then why would he lie to his son? Why would he like that? Now, one of the things that was a strange experience for me reading the book is that I appear in the book. Yes. As you do we're having we were having a meeting of our nonfiction writers group at my house. I was hosting some sure we were having takeout Chinese food, and you were describing him with my ring rang my fake, rob -solutely. I remember your fake ring. Yeah. Though, I did notice big at the time, and you were describing him. And you said what if he's imposter I did? And I said to you something to the effective. I know right. I thought about that myself, but he's not I've checked things out. Yes. So and then we find out that it was he wasn't in. I I said to you. We're right. We're right. And I have to say, I didn't truly believe was positive. I meant more like what he sounds too. Good to be true, which you were like, nobody can believe that this person can be true right anyway. In your book, you talk about your own experience. But then you talk about many other people, you know, and this is so much more common than we believe, and it takes all kinds of forms. I mean, you had a romantic relationship where you were. But there's financial there's all kinds of ways. So why do you think this is why is it that we get duped? I what well why we get duped? We get Duke because we are not constantly intimidating. The people are going to be lying to us. So in a way, it shows us, well, human nature that basically we expect the truth from I think we're all to some degree a little Anne Frank about the whole thing, you know. But we don't want to believe that people are going to are out to hurt us. But I think we also believe because we see what we want to see I haven't gender called I knew, but I didn't know which is the sort of willful blindness that people put, you know, they don't want to believe we were talking earlier about dirty, John. Yeah. Which was huge. I mean, it was a podcast than it was a series on Bravo than they did documentary an oxygen and her kids were telling her. This guy is a bad that she didn't want to see it. She wanted to believe to some degree in in in love in the fairytale. You really can't condemn people for that one hundred percent not well, and that raises important question, which is because this is very common lifted or somebody in your life, a friend a coworker family member. And you get the feeling like you're getting kind of for you the red flags are going on. And how can you talk to somebody about it in a way that will maybe can be helpful to them given that they may be don't wanna hear. Yes. Yes. Suspicion it's which such a good question. You know, I was thinking about this few. If you know that your husband is having an affair do tell them or not what do you do? What what are you supposed to do? And how do you approach that? It's it's similar the way you say, it is look I have some suspicions here. Do you want to hear them? And if you do I will tell them to you if you don't I can appreciate that. But I just need to tell you as your friend. I get about feeling about it. And I had another friend in like him at all. She he didn't like her. Yeah. But you know, I mean, they had just didn't like his vibe to us that it was helpful for your mother to articulate her. Her reservations about him. Was that helpful was that not helpful? Because it was my mother, it was annoying because you know, but I sort of appreciated it to you know, he also said that plus Domingo and William Kennedy Smith were at our the board meeting to get into to approve him first to get into the Watergate. And my mother said to him why would plus Domingo be at the board meet Senator. And I was like you go mom you go. And but when she had said it to me, I am member thinking I said to her well, maybe he cares about where he lives. She's an abbey. He's got other things to do. And I had asked when I was at the Watergate I asked the person be on the desk, if he ever went to the meetings, and because he I think he was really on the board. And she said, no, he doesn't go to. So I went to you broke up. I broke up with him in two thousand ten. Do you move back to New York the end of two thousand and ten and I commuted to Washington DC one dollar on Meg of us. And then I get a call in two thousand twelve in March, and it was special agent. Dan, Ryan from NCIS a real special agent real. And I remember I said, Tim, how do I know who you are? You know, I did I was really suspicious, but NTIS is naval criminal investigative service. And he said there's a doctor who's writing prescriptions for narcotics. And your name is one of the people do, you know, this Dr do you have a script, and it was for vicodin and biogra-, and I said, no, I don't know prescription for Viagra, and now I like valium. So it's not my vicodin, and it turned out he had been writing fake prescriptions for all of these people people who worked at the Pentagon, his dead mother. His ex father in law all of these people going from Safeway to CVS. You know to Duane Reade wherever you could go to pick them up for himself. He would say these are my patients, I'm Dr I'm picking up their meds. So he wasn't selling them. But he was writing for himself. I do not know if he was selling them, I suspect he probably was. But I have no corroboration. That's not what he got in trouble for it. He got in trouble for right? I guess it's identity theft really an insurance fraud. So he went to jail he had to give up his, medical license. He got kicked out of the military. I do not know if it was a dishonorable discharge or not. They wouldn't tell me that when I asked. But somebody said indirectly, they told me that it was the wouldn't be surprising to me, Abby. Here's my question. Do you think it's ever happens that you're with someone in a relationship, whether it's business romantic and your internal red flags go off, and you go that doesn't seem right? Does it ever turn out that they're telling the truth? I mean, it seems like anytime you doubt somewhat. They're lying. Because you're so reluctant to believe that they're lying. It's just feel like red flag is kind of the only one you need if you're really going to be honest with yourself. Do you think that is true? But you just nailed it. Elizabeth if you want to be honest with yourself, whom do we deceive the most ourselves? Yes. So that's the operative word. You have to be honest with yourself, and you have to say, you know, what I'm feeling like something's not right? I want to see what it is. But like why why did you go out of the room when you're texting on your cell phone, and many people have cover stories for like sudden unexpected travel where they can't be reached. And this is the other thing is that it's very easy these days. It's it's easy to get caught because of the internet. I think people have been doing this kind of stuff forever. I'm sure this is nothing new just now that we talk about it because it's really easy to do it. I mean, you can go online, and you can get a fake resume. You can get a fake recommendation for fake job. You never had you can get. The sounds of trains taking off. So you can tell your partner Matvey you're calling that you're in the train station would infect your the Marriott with your lover. I mean, you can do all sorts of things. So it's that much easier to lie if you know where to look it's that much easier to get caught on I. Yeah, you know, Reagan said trust, but verify, and I I kind of say verifying trust. Maybe I don't know. I don't know. I don't know if I can trust completely. And I think that's okay. I think it's actually wise, and I think that's something women need to know men to because women do men to they do. Yeah. I have a chapter bet that well. Yeah. We'll so we always ask our guest for a try this at home kind of concrete manageable thing this. And this was obviously a terribly unhappy experience to go through where he lied, you betrayed you. What you thought your human reality was was not true. You are made to feel like dupes, I mean, duped, and and and also too inquisitive. And like, you were guests lid was guests. And then you were humiliated. It's a bad combination. Exactly. Do you have a suggestion for people? Like, what can you do to make yourself feel better happier early healthier? Yeah. To get through it. What I did actually one. I remember I would tell people. What was you were remember, you were very very forthright about it knowing that a lot of people because I still will tell people, and I know especially a lot of perspective dates or like, well, what is the matter with you? Dave always blame the victim. So I you know, you should have known better. You're stupid. You're gullible all of that stuff and fascinated by the impostor. How did he do it? How did you manage a little? So I was sort of reclaiming my narrative. Yes. And in a big way, which you literally did because we literally wrote a book about I read a book guy, but I was really interested. I wasn't in. I wasn't embarrassed that didn't occur to me to me. It was also a story. So I had to distance myself from it because I'm a person who tells stories I was able to see it that way. So you think you sort of review? Used to buy into the idea that you shouldn't you should not few should feel like you shouldn't talk about it. You're like I'm gonna talk about it a bit. But I will say one thing I was at one point. I was meeting with a couple of people who wanted to hire me to ghost write their book. And they said to me what are you working on? And I said, oh, I'm writing an article at the time. It was an article for psychology today about my ex fiance who went to jail. He lied to anyone to jail and agents who is hooking us up said, I don't think he should have told them that they both commented on that. They didn't think it reflected well on you. And I thought, wow, you don't know that. I mean, this is an article that was exploring something maybe it was just too flippant. They maybe they didn't know the whole story. But I thought it just I look bad. I'm the one who expect that it was fascinating. And you've become friendly with his ex's, which I would imagine would be helpful and sort of healing thing because they've been through the same thing you've been through I became friendly with his ex wife, the mother of his two kids what I hadn't known at the time was that he had next. Ex wife whom he had been with right before he met the new wife. He left the first wife. So I called her up as well. But I also had didn't know that. When I first met him when we started talking he was living with a woman in Jacksonville, Florida. He proposed to her in December of two thousand and nine told her that that they were planning a wedding and in February of two thousand and ten he told her that he had to go off on a secret mission, and he would be back and he never came back. He left her with twenty six bags in her garage. And the secret mission was operation, Abby. Wow. So one thing you said, he's got great taste in women women that he did God that he then tastic brilliant, beautiful doctors. I mean, the tighter ever Hogger for the woman after me whom he was courting actually while he was with me that was I remember just sort of longing for some good, old fashioned infidelity. Because that you understand like a straightforward trae for by. Yeah. Give me a truthful life. Yeah. Right. Right. But this other stuff. Yeah. The women are terrific Riddick. So we'll Abby the thing is you do seem like, and this is the final thing. I'll ask you like you do seem like you've made your peace with it. And you've kind of made it into your own, and it's turned into this this book, it's getting just like a gigantic amount of attention and. What has allowed you to be so resilient and kind of see the good that can come from this or how you can at least make it work for you in a way that is not making you kind of bitter. And so angry that you just you know, I have to admit something when I was trying to sell my book. I remember thinking to myself if I don't sell that book. Boy, this experience will have really been for not. So it's been very helpful to me, and it was cathartic actually to be able to write about this. I mean, it was terrible to relive it. And it was really upsetting. But it's been cathartic onto realize how many people have gone through it. I mean, there's just so many example. Well, there's so many examples and what I think is really nice though, is that I do feel like I have be there's not enough talk more focus on the quote unquote victim. And it's the people on the other end like people like me who went through this who really need some kind of forum, and they need to know that they're not alone. We'd write downs kind of pollyanna. I don't mean it to. But seriously, people don't women don't talk about this. And I think it's so and men too. But it's so important to talk about this and to say that this happens and happens to smart people. And it's okay. Yeah. Avi. Thanks so much for coming. I know you've got a million book events going on. So thank you for this studio. Thank you granted freezing cold day in New York City. Thank you so much for all your support. Yep. And Elizabeth to thank you. Thank you. Oh, well, I'm glad you're out. The other side, you're getting the last laugh. You know? My motto I joke about this monetize suffering. That's the way. I look at it. Thank you. Coming up. I've got a gold star for our mom. The first is brick. One of our advertisers. This week is parachute. Parachute makes very comfortable. Home essentials like sheets pillows robes towels and all things soft and wonderful. We got sheets from parachute, which I love. But I have to say the real the real game changer for us was a bath. Mat for some reason, maybe this is because I'm an under wire, I just have never had a bath. Mat in our bathroom, even though we do not have a shower door. And so we just put towels on the ground and drip, all over the place and from parachute. We got this beautiful super soft super absorbent bath mat? And it's like why have I waited my whole life to buy a bath. Mat parachute. You have parachute into the rescue. Visit parachute home dot com slash happier. For free shipping and returns on parachutes premium quality, ultra soft bedding and bath linens. They offer a ninety day trial. So if you don't love your new stuff just send it back. That's parachute. Home dot com slash happier. For free shipping and returns. Okay. Gretchen it is time for demerits and gold stars. And you are up this week with a happiness to merit yet. And this is something I know so much better than this. Like one of my things is to kiss in the morning kiss at night. Another one of my resolutions is to give warm, greetings and farewells. I always want to be creating like an attentive tender atmosphere at home at the other day. I realized Jamie had come into the apartment. He talked to me a few times he'd wandered in and out, and then we were like off to bed, and I'm like, I didn't spend one minute actually like looking him in the eye and talking to him. I was like reading a book that was really interesting. I had a lot of my mind. I was just like running around doing various household tours. And I'm like, I did not have one moment of honest sincere connection with Jamie. And I was you know, realized this is he was already asleep, and I was falling asleep. And I thought you know, what that's just not good. That's the demerits and tomorrow, I'm going to do better because it just it's just life as much happier. When you put down your book or stop, you know, sit down for a minute. And just really connect with everyone in your household. So I learned comforting to know that sometimes you don't follow your own advice. Yes. That happens very frequently. And that was one time. So let's take us up. What's goldstar? Alright. Gretchen I'm giving a gold star. And I'm sure you'll want to join me in this to our mother because she has done something this year that she's been meaning to do for years, and that we've wanted her to do, but that was a big hassle because you know, mom has an incredible collection of Christmas, really beautiful decorations. Many of them are Santa's that's the majority, but really beautiful interesting varied types of Santa's and other Christmas decorations than handmade or unique like very special. Yes. And getting everything up every year is like a two or three day process for her suffered for that. Because he thought yes, how all gold star for doing this every year because we love it. But this year, she photographed everything and made like shudder fly book of all of the different decorations. She's now in the process of going through the book and writing down what everything is and where she got it. And why it matters sort of? And this is just an invaluable tool for all of us to have because we care so much about this stuff. But of course, we have been, you know, ten years old when she got something and have no idea where it came from. So this is just a great sort of family archive of Christmas decorations and also for you, and I are not she's really good at arranging things, and you and I are not good at that. But so since we have photographs of the way, she did it you, and I can just like, you know, get ideas for how to copy what she's done for ourselves. So it's also it's it's kind of catalogue of everything she hasn't also how she goes about arranging the mantelpiece or something where I'm like, why does my mental outlook as good as her mantelpiece? But I'm like, okay. I need the pine needles. I need the swaggie. I need, you know, guess and. Years go by she sort of giving us more and more things because she has a lot. Yeah. So it's helpful for us in that way. But it is a huge undertaking. So absolutely. I second gold star because I'm super excited that she's doing it. And it's it's a big task. And she's well on her way now. Yes. So good, you mom, and then is it for this episode of happier. Remember to try this home follow a ritual of completion. Let us know if you tried it. And if it worked for you. Thank you to our terrific guests, Abby L in her book is duped double lives false identities and the con man, I almost married. Thanks are new executive producer Chuck read, some of you know, him some happier in Hollywood. But we will introduce them here in the next episode. Also, thanks to our engineer. Bob tapa door and everyone. Cadence thirteen and get in touch Gretchen is on Twitter at Gretchen Rubin, and I'm at the Lisbeth craft. Our Email address is podcast at Gretchen, Rubin dot com. You know, the score. You know, what I'm gonna say if you like this show, please tell a friend. It really helps us and subscribe to us wherever you listen to your podcast that also is a big help to the show. Also big help is Priore during during really helps the fate of a book if you preorder outer order, intercom you'll get the thank you bonus that I've created you can find out all that information. Outer order inner comb book dot com, and if you are like what about that book better than before that book about habits? What's the deal with that book? You can download free chapter from that book at Gretchen Rubin dot com slash resources until next week. I'm Elizabeth crat. I'm Gretchen Rubin. Thanks for joining us on word and upward. Hey, gresh. We need a ritual of completion for our fourth podcast anniversary womb. Yes. What should it be? We gotta figure out something good. Yes. Maybe a weekend away. That sounds good.