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"He's Nothing."

If you haven't been keeping up with the news, E. Jean Carroll is a name you should know. She accused and successfully proved in a civil courtroom that our former 45th president was liable for battery for raping her in the mid 90's, and then defaming her again and again on social media and throughout his presidency. She was awarded $5M. Then he went all over social media and trashed her some more, calling her names, threats, all the typical personality disordered behaviors.

So she sued him again. And this time the jury came back and said, "Well if $5M isn't enough to keep your mouth shut, how about $83M?" (excuse me while I revel in the fact that that is THREE TIMES what his crappy resort in Florida is supposedly worth).

For anyone who has been in an abusive relationship, and especially where that abuse was of the coercive control type, with all the fun markers of a narcissistic personality disorder, this feels a little like a victory for all of us. I love that she has stated numerous times that she will donate the money to organizations and causes that he hates. I love that she's on tv, talking about it and saying out loud that yes, if he defames her again, she will sue him again.

I love everything about it really, but my favorite clip so far was watching her on Rachel Maddow with her two badass women lawyers. Rachel asked her what it was like to have to be face-to-face with him in the courtroom for the first time in however long. She started to describe something most of us have felt. She described a panic attack (trauma response) and talked about how terrified she was about having to face him.

But then my favorite part. She describes being on the witness stand and having her lawyer ask her to state and spell her name. "Amazingly, I looked out, and he. was. nothing." She went on to call him a phantom and state that it was the people around him giving him power but "he himself was nothing. We don't need to be afraid of him. He can be knocked down." YES.

It's something that I can see from my 20,000 ft. view, but something that is so hard to see when you're so freshly out of the circumstances. They (abusers) are nothing. They are not powerful, or strong, or all the things they think and spend their whole lives trying to convince themselves and prove to others that they are.

One of the biggest challenges of having to be in Family Court with an abuser is showing up in a way that allows the court to see who the "problem" is. We have to be able to manage our own trauma responses so that we're not perceived as hysterical, overly-emotional, angry...the list goes on. That can be almost impossible when you don't even really understand what is happening.

I'm going to keep E. Jean Carroll in my head and quote her a lot in my client sessions. I encourage you to apply the same thinking to your abuser, even if you're still in court, or having to coparent with them. They are nothing. Say it out loud and say it often. The biggest part of healing comes in dealing with the cPTSD and trauma responses that you aren't even consciously aware of. Starting the dialog within yourself to change those neural pathways and the associations that have been hardwired into your brain will be a game changer on your healing journey.

Thank you, E. Jean Carroll, for your courage to stand up to your abuser. You are absolutely right. "He is nothing."

A link to the PBS article if you'd like more complete information about the case:

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