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Many people have had a toxic ex. Most have been lucky enough to avoid an ex who fabricated medical paperwork in order to fake having cancer.
In that regard, Vicki Gunvalson has been very unlucky.
In this video, she's talking about hearing from fans who've been through the same thing —
"The truth always comes out," Vicki says optimistically.
"Karma is a b–ch, baby," she adds with a smile.
She is speaking about her own experience with Brooks Ayers, who dated her for four years and ended up faking cancer, chemo, and chemo symptoms.
She is also speaking about the experiences that others have had — experiences that eerily mirror her own.
Dirty John is true crime anthology series based upon a podcast of the same name, and it tells a very similar story to Vicki's.
"Well, I've gotten a lot of letters from people," Vicki shares, before specifying: "Women, mostly women."
Vicki says that these letters were "saying what a sociopath, what a narcissistic man is."
While buzzwords like sociopath can lose thier meaning or be used to demonize people with mental illness, she is speaking of toxic manipulators.
Vicki says that these letters spoke of their struggles "and what they experienced, and our stories were exactly the same."
"The love letters, the flowers, the ‘Baby, we got this, they’re the enemy,’ you know," Vicki says.
That practice, known as "love bombing," can be used as a weapon to manipulate a victim and ot mask a lack of genuine affection.
Vicki acknowledges that Brooks was "really shielding me from my safe people which was my daughter, which was my cast members."
These, she says, were people "who loved me."
"And I didn't see it as that," Vicki admits.
"My daughter would have probably really hurt him if he'd kept pushing into my life," Vicki says.
Vicki is still awed by the sheer scope of how common this can be.
"But the amount of letters I received from people, emails, and letters in the mail," Vicki says.
All of these were "from people that have gone through what I went through …"
That shows how common this sort of thing can be.
This is probably why the Dirty John podcast was so popular that it's becoming a Bravo series — with a companion docuseries on Oxygen.
"Dirty John, that is my life," Vicki laments. "He portrayed he was somebody he wasn’t."
"That happened to me, and we’re intelligent women," she says, referring to herself and to other women.
"It happened to me with my eyes wide open," Vicki says.
To be clear, victims are never to blame. They're not stupid or deserving of the attention of creeps.
"So if it can happen to me," Vicki says. "Can you imagine how many women it’s happening to?"
"And," Vicki adds. "I’m a smart cookie."
You know what? That's true. Say what you will about Vicki, she's not dumb.
"Everybody told me he was a bad boy," she says. "And I didn’t see it till it was over."
Vicki knows that her warning will fall on deaf ears: "I guess I can’t say ‘Listen to me’ because you can’t listen to anybody when you’re in it."
"You gotta really trudge through it," she concludes.
Of course, being familiar with the red flags in advance could help a lot of women — and others — to avoid toxic relationships.
The differences can be subtle, of course. Not everyone who buys someone a bunch of presents is trying to manipulate a victim.
But if someone is trying to isolate you from your loved ones and convince you that they're really enemies, that is almost always a bad sign.
Vicki's story clearly resonated with a lot of people who have had brushes with these same sorts of manipulators.
Brooks Ayers may be out of her life, but he's left a stain on her story.
Of course, Brooks doesn't care what Vicki thinks. At all.
You know you had an interesting weekend when dressing up as a giant bottle of Perrier in front of millions of people was somehow not the most bonkers part of it.
Yes, in case you missed Saturday Night Live this week, here’s what the first musical performance of the show’s 44th season looked like:
That’s Kanye in the aforementioned Perrier get-up, accompanied by Lil Pump dressed up as a bottle of Fiji.
That bizarre performance (of a song ‘Ye penned for the PornHub Awards, no less) was briefly the talk of Twitter, but it was quickly overshadowed by even more bizarre behavior from MAGA culture’s second-most unpredictable mouthpiece.
Yes, Kanye is a well-known Trump supporter, and after the show, he went on a series of bizarre rants in praise of the president.
Unfortunately, his views weren’t always entirely coherent, and we think it’s safe to say no one will be mistaking the always-effervescent Yeezy for a bottle of Smart Water any time soon.
Things began to get political the moment the show ended.
Kanye unleashed an onstage rant that wasn’t aired during SNL’s broadcast but did make the rounds on social media shortly thereafter.
“The 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise … meaning it never ended … We are the solution that heals” he later tweeted, much to the bafflement of his followers.
In case, like Kanye, you were too busy daydreaming about dressing up as your favorite mineral water to pay attention in civics class, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, which means it’s quite odd for Kanye to call for its repeal.
Of course, this is the guy who, just a few months ago, famously stated slavery was a “choice” and that blacks enslaved in America willingly took part in the system.
On Instagram, West into greater detail — but he ultimately left his followers just as confused.
“This [MAGA hat] represents good and America becoming whole again,” Kanye wrote.
“We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America to create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment.”
Eventually, Kanye clarified his remarks in a way that actually made sense.
“Not abolish but. let’s amend the 13th amendment … We apply everyone’s opinions to our platform,” he tweeted on Sunday.
It seems Kanye would like to get rid of the portion of the amendment which stipulates that those who have been convicted of a crime can be forced to perform slave labor — and we applaud him for using his platform to address that vitally important issue.
We just wish he’d articulated his goals a bit more clearly the first time around.
It doesn’t look as though that clarification has done much to restore Kanye’s public image, nor did a tweet from Our Dumb President, in which he effusively praised Kanye for taking a stand:
“Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) – no longer funny, no talent or charm,” Trump wrote.
“It is just a political ad for the Dems.
“Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge!”
Obviously, like every other situation involving Kanye and politics, this whole thing is exceedingly stupid, and West deserves the majority of the criticism he’s received.
But for the sake of nuance (which is generally frowned upon in 2018), we will say it’s a little upsetting to see Twitter’s legion of Angry White Folks grab their digital pitchforks every time a prominent black man dares to express views on race and politics that they don’t agree with.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re gonna go hide from the angry extremists from both sides of the spectrum who are about to fill our comments section with fantasies about our untimely deaths.
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