Being Right and Proving It: Engage Your ‘Fight Back’ Gene
In a speech at Wheaton College, Carl Sagan spoke of how we share 99.6% of our active genes with chimpanzees. He described male chimps as aggressive, female chimps he says are not as aggressive.
When under stress, male chimps become angry, pick up stones and hold them in their palms to hurl at the target of their anger. Female chimps, he tells us, walk up to the angry males, pry open their fingers, remove the stones, and drop them on the ground.
I tried to take the stones from Jim for eight years. I tried talking, writing, compromising, settling, negotiations, begging, tears and anger. I tried to be the peacemaker, but not a doormat. That was unacceptable to him. He wanted to control the terms but they harm me.
I finally realized that not only doesn’t it work with bullies and controllers, but you end up looking stupid. I hadn’t read The Rules of Power then. I didn’t know the flames would reignite unless the enemy was crushed completely. Now I know.
When he told me he was hiding income, keeping double books and shredding invoices, I thought, “No man is going to want to go to court with that and be exposed.” I waited, calling him, writing emails, talking to Jeff Kaufman, telling them I wanted to settle. I couldn’t fathom at that time that he would want a trial. I waited months asking him to stop taking my money, telling him I needed medical care and he had all the money, telling Jeff we were financially marginalized. All I got from Jim was 1 800 Call My Lawyer. He didn’t care, he was busy with women and buying toys.
I had all the evidence of fraud. He thought I could never prove it so he was cocky.
He always said I never understood accounting. That’s true. But when you are cheated, you can learn a lot.
I knew my evidence was good. I talked to several accountants about the double invoices, the little marks Jim made to differentiate the ones with the real numbers from the ones he changed and showed the IRS. The customer got the higher numbered ones. I also told them he shredded invoices. They all told me “You can’t prove a negative.” in referring to the shredded invoices. Well, maybe they couldn’t. But I could and I did.
We all look back at the journey of our lives to see how we became who we are. I look back and watch the metamorphosis of a little girl from Philadelphia, naive and sweet who grew up and out of that in this divorce. The change is good, it feels good and it brings power.