Gaslighting and Abuse: Art Historian / Professor Catherine Wilkins — The History of a College Scam
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Background to USF HONORS COLLEGE Professor, Dr. Catherine Wilkins:
Dr. Wilkins Lies About Going into Debt Helping Cancer Patient, in Her Personal Scam for Scholarship Money.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins of USF HONORS COLLEGE: Cheats in college and her personal life repeatedly.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Deceives falling into debt while paying a dying cancer patient’s medical bills, in her personal scam for scholarship money. This is a scam created by Dr. Wilkins to receive scholarship funds for USF. (She did not pay any medical bills, nor incur any related debt. Dr. Wilkins simply lied, and wanted money for herself and personal purposes.)
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Fabricates large amounts of crucial details on college scholarship.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Often lied to USF professors and faculty.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Commits adultery, has s*x with USF faculty.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Fills up USF work computers with p**n, s*x stories, and sexual messages from her boss at USF.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Accuses USF boss of rape in her attempt to cover-up their adultery, and abuse of school property and positions.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: While committing adultery (and claiming she is taking care of a cancer patient): Username is “Cat” on the s*x hookup website “Adult Friend Finder.” Requests sexual flings, encounters, and one-night stands with men, women, threesomes, more.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Appropriates, steals, takes, and copies from others.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Falsifies and fabricates entire stories.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Abuses an artist cancer patient to advance her college career.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Causes patient extreme mental anguish, and impedes proper treatment and recovery while patient is near death. Uses information gained to fabricate stories to promote herself.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: For her deceptions, receives credit and school recommendations. Now paradoxically teaches courses in Art, Mental Health, PTSD, and works with medical students, faculty, and other patients.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Teaches USF Honors College Health Professions Students.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Teaches Honors capstone course “Connections: Mental Healthcare, Community Engagement, and Art.”
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Courses are taught by an instructor that has frequently lied, falsified academic scholarships, conducted large cover-ups to escape accountability, abused a dying medical patient, and engaged in adultery.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Academic and college ethics, as well as personal integrity severely missing.
* * * Art Historian Dr. Catherine Wilkins: Builds her college career on falsehoods, appropriation, massive misconduct, and abuses.
* * * MORE.
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Dr. Catherine Wilkins lied and unethically used my cancer to advance her college career.
Below are exact word-for-word excerpts and at the end, the complete transcript from Catherine Wilkins’ falsified college scholarship. In her scholarship, filled with falsehoods, Catherine praises herself for taking care of a cancer patient, her boyfriend of four years.
That is a lie.
I am that boyfriend. I am that cancer patient. I have been an artist, going to center for the arts magnet schools and taking AP art courses and studying and working in the humanities my entire life, long before Dr. Wilkins was ever an Art Historian or Humanities Instructor.
Dr. Wilkins commends herself for taking care of a “loved one” cancer patient.
Everything about me, and Catherine taking care of me, is a complete fabrication by her. She lied to her own university teachers, professors, and faculty about taking care of me, a cancer patient, in order to get their sympathy and respect. And she lied on her scholarships.
I am just now learning details of this from Dr. Wilkins’ falsified college scholarship, that she deceptively uses me and my condition in.
The only truth: Is that I had cancer. The rest, is fabricated by USF Honors College capstone instructor Dr. Wilkins.
Dr. Catherine Wilkins built her entire college career on lies.
It is unconscionable that Catherine used my struggle with cancer, my life-and-death battle, to promote her college career.
If you think a respected person isn’t capable of this, please look again.
* There are persons, such as:
* * * The sham-story homeless man and couple from GoFundMe (Mark D’Amico, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt), who for a time the public believed were compassionate saints, and poured money and praise into them. It turned out they invented the whole fake-story for their profit.
* * * A respected and popular professor (David Scott Broxterman) at Polk State College in Lakeland, Florida has been revealed as a fraud after forging documents to fake a doctorate from the University of South Florida (USF).
* * * Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis admitted that he lied to his students and others when he said he had been a combat soldier in Vietnam. ”Perpetuated over many years, his lie about himself clearly violates the ethics of our profession and the integrity we expect of all members of our community,” said a statement posted on the college’s website. ”Misleading students is wrong and nothing can excuse it.”
* * * Former dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Marilee Jones resigned after admitting she fabricated her credentials nearly three decades earlier.
* * * California’s first official poet laureate, Quincy Troupe, resigned after acknowledging he lied on his resumé.
* * * Carol Howley, a former professor at Richard J. Daley College was indicted on charges of theft from the government. She was overpaid $307,000 by the City Colleges of Chicago as a result of faking a degree from Rush University. Officials uncovered that she never enrolled, fabricated her resumé, and created a forged transcript. The college fired her.
* * * Former associate professor Brian R. McNaughton, at Colorado State University, made up a fake job offer from another university. To entice McNaughton to stay, Colorado State raised his base pay by $5,000. McNaughton now faces a criminal charge of attempting to influence a public official for falsifying an offer letter from the University of Minnesota. McNaughton resigned from his position at Colorado State.
* * * University of Oregon Adjunct Professor Bill Hillar was investigated by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department for fraud, and soon arrested by the FBI, after some of his students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies discovered that Hillar had been lying about his exploits as a member of the US Army Special Forces, and receiving a doctorate degree from the University of Oregon. FBI agents arrested Professor Bill Hillar following the completion of a fraud investigation involving his fabricated experiences as an American war hero, doctoral degree holder, and father of a kidnapped daughter. According to the FBI’s affidavit, the instructor had been teaching, leading workshops, giving speeches, and conducting training for almost 40 public and private-sector clients across the county “for at least the past 10 years under fraudulent pretenses.” Sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his scheme to lie about his military experience and academic credentials in order to gain employment for teaching.
* * * Study says Honor students more likely to cheat. A study released by the University of California, Berkeley reports that some Honors students are risking their academic standings by cheating in order to remain competitive candidates for career prospects and admission into graduate schools. Study says between 40 percent and 70 percent of college students admit to cheating. Previously, struggling students were believed to make up the group more likely to commit academic dishonestly. Now, Honors students and others with higher GPAs make up the greater percentage likely to cheat, according to study.
* * * The teachers and parents in the bribe college-admissions cheating scandal (Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, and so many others). Anyone employed at a university should know by now, unfortunately, how extraordinarily ingenious, conniving, unethical, and dishonest students, even faculty and parents (who were former students), can be.
* * * Sadly, many have used “False Rapes” to conceal adultery: An internet search will show a multitude of real-life court examples.
Using cancer as a scheme is not new or rare. As a cancer patient, I have personally seen first-hand several people use “fake cancer” for anything from sympathy, to hiding a drug addiction, to an excuse why they didn’t pay for an eBay item.
* * * Jan. 18, 2017. Sarah Lucas pleaded guilty in a cancer-faking scheme, using forged documents, and fraud of $219,000. In court, Justice George Gage told Lucas, after sentencing her to two years behind bars: “The fact that you would use the tragic disease of cancer as your tool is quite frankly shameful.”
* * * April 5, 2017. Northern Kentucky University. Kelly Schmahl fakes stage 3 gastrointestinal cancer — she not only shaves her head bald — but buys a wheelchair, hospital bed, various bandages, and oxygen tubes to convince her classmates she has cancer. All to pull off her fraud. When asked to identify what can make someone fake it all, Dr. Mayer says: “We move close to a diagnosis of mental illness. Being forensic here, the closest thing I could put her in the category of would be a borderline personality disorder. What people do in this particular illness is absorb personalities. This is hard to fathom and hard to describe, but these people are essentially devoid of their own personalities. They’re chameleons and suck in the personality of another.” Real cancer survivor Traci Clancy adds: “It’s unbelievable to think that someone could plan that. She ruins it for other people who now will be skeptical of people being generous.” Schmahl pleaded guilty to theft by deception.
* * * Jessica Marie Krecskay was arrested Feb. 14, 2019, on theft charges. The 25-year-old told co-workers and friends she needed money to treat a cancer she didn’t have. Attorney Rob Sanders, said: “Anytime someone uses a false claim of such a dreaded disease for fraudulent purposes, it evokes understandably angry and emotional responses from the many people who actually battle cancer, or love someone battling cancer. It also undermines legitimate charitable causes if would-be donors have to worry about being scammed.”
* * * March 15, 2019. Kristin Ashley Eagle of Colorado is sentenced for faking cancer for monetary gain. Judge Carroll Michelle Brinegar sentenced Kristin Eagle to one year in jail and 10 years of supervised probation for charitable fraud, a Class 5 felony, and fraudulent cyber crime scheme, a Class 3 misdemeanor. The judge said she was doubling the probation time from five to 10 years to help Kristin Eagle with her mental rehabilitation, while protecting others. “I believe she has mental health issues for sure,” said Kenny Bearden, a club administrator, where Eagle volunteered. “I also think she spent time crafting her message to influence the court to be lenient. I think she knew exactly who she was going after, knew who to talk to, who she would go after money for, and who she would avoid. Those were conscious decisions.” Bearden said he thought the sentencing was fair, given the financial and emotional toll Eagle’s medical misrepresentation caused. “I hope she learns a lesson and that one day she can fully admit that she was responsible for these actions.”
* * * April 12, 2019. Amy Ellissa Hammer of Seagrove, North Carolina faked cancer for money, even scamming a local church congregation that was planning a fundraiser for her family. “She’s an awful person to do something like that,” said Caroline Staley, a therapist. “I was angry because I had a client last year who just passed away from cancer. How can anybody do that? I had an aunt that died. How can somebody with a conscience do that? I just don’t know.”
However, Dr. Catherine Wilkins added something “new” to the “cancer scheme”: Professor Wilkins faked taking care of a cancer patient in her personal scam for money, and for college career advancement.
Affairs and lying have detrimental consequences. Especially when the person on the other end has cancer.
During my several year relationship with Catherine, that almost resulted in marriage, Catherine repeatedly and severely deceived myself, and those around her.
What was Catherine doing while I had cancer? Cheating on me. Committing adultery. Having several affairs. She even had a long-term secret affair with David Brodosi, faculty at USF.
I will back up a few months, before I was diagnosed with cancer, to the first time Catherine used one of her “care-taking deception methods”…
When I was in a terrible 5-car pileup car accident, hit head-on with a repeat drunk driver, and I broke my face with the steering wheel and I had my teeth bashed from my jaw and dislodged into my mouth, Catherine told everyone and her USF teachers she was taking care of me.
Instead, Dr. Wilkins, this supposedly compassionate person, was doing something else the day of my tragic car accident, and the following months and years: Cheating.
When I later checked the messages between her and David Brodosi of USF, and by her own admission, I learned Catherine was giving David Brodosi oral s*x.
The day I almost die in a car accident, Catherine is happily cheating and having s*x with her boss at school and USF work. Then telling her teachers and those around her, how she is compassionately caring for me.
This is when Catherine Wilkins first learned she could gain sympathy, and eventually profit and advancement, by lying about taking care of a patient. This is also when Wilkins learned, in her own words, she loved the exhilaration of secrets and cheating.
I had to have major reconstructive surgery on my teeth and face. I didn’t finish the medical, surgical, and recovery process, because Catherine’s adultery, lies, gaslighting, coverup, and mind games were exhausting me, were consuming my time and energy, and I was filled with confusion, depression, and eventually learned helplessness — since I couldn’t get anything completed or sorted out in my own life, with all of Catherine’s selfishness and having to chase her adulterous evidence trails.
I couldn’t focus properly on my medical recovery because of Dr. Wilkins’ lies, abuses, and infidelity.
When I expressed how her cheating and games were destroying my life, she simply replied, “It’s not my fault.”
When she went to USF, she played up being the caretaker. The reality is: She was focused on her own coverup, her own advancement, and Catherine did not concern herself with my recovery, medical process, or help.
Every time I asked her to tell the truth, so I could at least get my bearings and understand the reality I was dealing with, she obfuscated, denied, deflected, obstructed, and blamed others.
* Gaslighting is a common practice in cheating.
* The definition of “Gaslighting”: A form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s belief.
* You may find more information on any encyclopedic or reference source under “Gaslighting.”
In most ways, “gaslighting” perfectly describes and explains the methods of Professor Catherine Wilkins.
Catherine Wilkins was getting too much credit for “being a caretaker.” I didn’t even know she was doing this, until much later. I only knew she was abusing me, ruining my life, and I had to fight to take care of myself.
When I was diagnosed with cancer a short while later, Catherine Wilkins simply kept up the lie and stories that she was taking care of me. (Catherine Wilkins would use these fabricated “care-taking stories” again and again, I later learned. And Catherine Wilkins would exaggerate her imagined “selfless” deeds more and more. All lies.)
In an attempt to hide her sexual affair with David Brodosi at USF, Catherine Wilkins told me Brodosi raped her.
I told Catherine, she must report David Brodosi for sexual harassment and rape, immediately. She must go to the police and university authorities. Several times, I insisted she file a detailed sexual predator report of David Brodosi.
But the truth turned out to be, their adultery was completely consensual.
I later learned why she didn’t report David Brodosi for the alleged rape, or even sexual harassment.
Catherine Wilkins’ personal home and University of South Florida’s work computers were filled with months of sexual and erotic emails and text messages to and from David Brodosi. Proving Dr. Wilkins’ adulterous affair was consensual. There was no “rape.” Just a consensual secret s*x relationship. Catherine and Brodosi discussed intimately their secret “booty calls” as they called them, s*x positions, and traded s*x pictures with each other.
I had to present evidence upon evidence to Catherine Wilkins, until she could hide no more, and she admitted to me later that they had consensual s*x. And both Dr. Wilkins and David Brodosi tried to keep it hidden, and cover it up.
Catherine later admitted she loved the illicit thrill, danger, and excitement of cheating. Catherine didn’t care that her adultery was destroying my life, she wanted “the dangerous thrill.”
Catherine Wilkins attempted to get away with cheating, by saying David Brodosi raped her. It instead, was a consensual affair.
There are countless real rape victims, and Catherine tried to appropriate rape, to get out of adultery.
And Catherine had so many other secret lovers, and adulterous affairs that she tried to hide and coverup, while I was dying of cancer.
Professor Catherine Wilkins secretly applied to pose nude for Playboy. There were messages about rockstars autographing her b*****s backstage at a concert. Messages from other secret lovers, and s*x adventures. Dr. Wilkins was going to male strip clubs, singing “It’s Raining Men!” Dr. Wilkins gave local statues f******o and took photos. Catherine Wilkins opened a hidden account on the s*x hookup website, “Adult Friend Finder” under the name “Cat” for threesomes, orgies, one-night stands, with both men and women. In New Orleans, Dr. Wilkins prowled Bourbon Street looking for sexual attention and assumedly a s*x hookup, in an extremely tight shirt, showing off her b*****s, that in glitter read “VEGAS.”
Dr. Wilkins even had s*x with my friends. When I asked her, why my friend knew what her b*****s and nipples looked like, why there were many messages from her to him of a sexual nature — Dr. Wilkins knowing she was at least partially caught, said “We only flirted online. I emailed him naked pictures of myself. We didn’t have s*x.” This alone is heartbreaking enough. Then when I had to go further and ask, “Then why does my friend know what you sound like during s*x, and how you do specific s*x actions, that I’m only supposed to know about?” Dr. Wilkins was then forced to admit, “We had s*x. I lied.” Then she tried to diminish it, turn it around, and receive pity and sympathy, by saying this person was on anti-depressants, and it affected his erection. Poor Catherine. Her secret lover, a person I knew and used to be friends with, had penile dysfunction. What a way to try for sympathy, when you’re caught cheating and lying.
Her secret s*x affairs went on and on.
As Dr. Wilkins writes in her scholarship, word-for-word: “…my boyfriend of four years developed a cough which prompted a visit to the doctor’s office.”
There are so many other adulterous and dishonest activities Dr. Wilkins engaged herself in. All while we dated, and almost married. All while I fought cancer, and struggled to stay alive.
All while she tells those around her, writes on her scholarship, and imagines herself as the faithful, saintly girlfriend and almost-wife taking care of me as I was dying. Catherine wasn’t taking care of me, she was having the time of her life cheating.
Each time I found just a little of Catherine Wilkins’ lies and wrong-doing, I begged her to stop, and to do the right thing. Catherine refused to cease, or do what was right, time and time again. Catherine just continued doing what she wanted, using whoever she wanted, telling whatever lies she wanted, and simply tried harder in her coverups.
The only thing Professor Wilkins learned: Was how to conceal, gaslight, and manipulate better.
Catherine’s method is to obstruct: Tell any lie, obfuscate, deflect, blame, accuse others, and even try to become a victim herself, so she may take flight from accountability, and even profit.
Catherine tried to escape responsibility.
To get away with a lie, Catherine would just tell another lie, or blame someone else, or try to make it seem smaller or innocent, or misdirect.
She would say she stopped a certain lie or dishonest behavior or action, but that again, was only to minimize it. I found time and time again, she continued in it. She did not stop.
These are mind games that destroy. Besides the initial destruction of the illicit deed, the coverup continues further destruction. Catherine wanted to gain through sympathy, but had little sympathy for those she lied to.
A deception-addict is similar to a drug-addict or any other addict. They get a thrill and “high” from each occurrence, and with lying there can be very real bonuses and gains. Getting away with lies, and receiving positive advancement from it repeatedly, activates the brain’s reward centers.
Professor Catherine Wilkins knew, ultimately, she could win and do whatever she wanted by lying, cheating, manipulation, and hiding the truth. She need not be accountable if she could just lie, put on the right face, and have no one double-check.
Catherine Wilkins even faked and wrote false letters from her parents. She wrote the letters, pretending to be her parents, using her father and mother’s names, Bill and Rose, and in their voice. She did this, so her parents would not find out about her lies.
On Dr. Wilkins’ dishonest scholarship, word-for-word, she claims: “The illness of a loved one has depleted my savings and caused a great deal of medical debt which I help pay…”
Catherine did not pay my medical bills, or accrue debt “helping me,” as she states. Catherine states this, because she wanted the money for her own college and life purposes.
Catherine did nothing for me, except impede me finding cancer treatment, impede my chemotherapy, and impede my recovery. Her mind games and tactics truly almost killed me.
Catherine: Cancer is literally a daily life and death struggle. Every little germ counts. Every body cell living, dying, growing, or not, means a whole human, dies or lives, vomits or rests, loses their hair or keeps it, endures pain or heals. Instead, you see the cancer suffered by someone else as a way to gain sympathy, and credit for actions you never did. For care you never gave.
Catherine: You told your teachers, professors, friends, parents, wrote on scholarship applications, how you saintly paid my medical bills until you went into debt, and nursed me while I endured cancer. Lies.
New Orleans Charity Hospital, where you have never stepped a foot inside while I was pumped with chemo, and Charity’s doctors, nurses, and a truly saintly social worker are who paid my bills, treated me, gave me genuine mercy, and let me live more years.
Catherine: Please tell me where adulterous cheating, lying, covering-up, manipulating, taking from, copying, nearly plagiarizing, causing extreme mental anguish to, and gaslighting is considered “caring for a cancer patient.”
Catherine: How can you use and abuse a cancer patient in this manner? As you state in your scholarship and told so many, I was “your loved one.” Really?
Catherine: How many other times did you use me, and lie, for your sympathy, credit, or gain? Countless incidents, I’m sure.
Catherine: The truth is, you treated me as an object to advance yourself. Not as a human being. Only when humans see other humans as stepping stones and objects, can they become so selfish, and treat others so callously, and tell such immense, heartless lies.
This kind of massive, long-term deception absolutely negatively impacts every area of a life.
Catherine: Because of your lying, adultery, coverups, gaslighting, and mind games, I did not get my insurance papers filed in time. This almost became my death sentence. This nearly killed me. You simply said, “Not my fault.”
When I expressed how hard everything was on me, Catherine simply said, “Not my fault.”
Catherine: To me, and every hardship I encountered, and the added difficulty of your lies and adultery, your answer to everything was: “Not my fault.”
To your school, teachers, and scholarships: You made yourself into a saint taking care of a cancer patient and paying all his medical bills. Lies.
Callous, selfish lies.
This is sociopathic behavior by Dr. Wilkins. A “sociopath” is defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way, and does so with little concern for others. A “sociopath” does not have to be a “Jeffrey Dahmer.” An everyday “sociopath” can be your neighbor, a work acquaintance, and your college professor.
It comes down to repeatedly deceiving and hurting others, usually with great cunning and masterful ploys, without meaningful regret (usually any considerate or regretful expression is fake, or just another part of the ploy), for your own gain.
(The biggest regret: Is just being caught.)
Case: Professor Catherine Wilkins — and her academic and scholarship scams and cheating, unrelenting and unethical drive to advance herself and get what she wants (usually by deceit, abuse, using and stealing from others, and manipulation), and absence of integrity. And then Professor Wilkins repeating the same dishonest behaviors, even after being caught multiple times and promising to end such deceitful actions. A “sociopath” simply lies incessantly to get their way.
By understanding the characteristics of a high-functioning sociopath, you can see how this individual may be manipulating and exploiting you. They are usually very charming and clever and, at first, their actions may seem genuine. Over time, their lies, deceptions, and lack of empathy are exposed to reveal their sociopathic nature.
These characteristics and traits include:
* * * * High IQ: High-functioning sociopaths often have a higher IQ than people without personality disorders. This helps them plan, manipulate, and exploit others.
* * * * Lack of empathy: Difficulty in empathizing with others, or understanding the emotional consequences of their actions.
* * * * Narcissism: They often have strong self-love, and grandiose self-image. This occurs because of low-esteem and delusional beliefs.
* * * * Charming: Although most sociopaths lack empathy, they are capable of mimicking and manipulating emotions to appear charming and normal. (They are excellent fakers.)
* * * * Secretive: A sociopath doesn’t feel the need to share intimate details with others, unless it is to manipulate.
* * * * Sexually deviant: Since they lack guilt, remorse, and emotional attachments, sociopaths tend to have affairs and engage in questionable sexual activity.
* * * * Sensitive to criticism: Despite their lack of empathy, sociopaths desire the approval of others. They feel entitled to admiration, and are quick to anger when criticized.
* * * * Impulsive behavior: Sociopaths often live in the moment, and will do what they feel is needed to reach their immediate goals.
* * * * Compulsive lying: Disregarding the truth to make themselves look better, or get what they want.
* * * * Needing constant stimulation: Sociopaths often get bored easily, and need to be actively engaged.
* * * * Addictive Behavior: Their compulsive mindset may result in addiction to illicit materials, s*x, taking chances, or other addictive behaviors.
* * * * Criminal Behavior: Criminal activity associated with sociopaths could include theft, whether burglary or white collar crime.
In my years of dating, and more than a decade of interacting with Catherine, I find the above characteristics to be completely accurate of her.
Catherine and I almost married. At that time, she was the love of my life. …Until the day I started to find out she was committing adultery on me, and selfishly and dishonestly appropriating my life to benefit hers.
When there were land or air animals trapped in the water, or wounded in the middle of the road, I introduced Catherine to animal welfare and rescue. I introduced Catherine to vegetarianism. I later spent years assisting animal rescue.
I have been an artist my entire life. I am a multidisciplinary artist. My art and photography are in books, magazines, newspapers, and museums. I spent my entire life in magnet schools for the arts, AP classes (both art and academic), honors programs, and studying and creating art. So, Catherine Wilkins appropriated my life as an artist, to become an Art Historian. Normally, I would be flattered. I would have shared anything with Catherine, especially the arts. I almost shared my entire life with her. I love when I can inspire others to be an artist, or study or appreciate art. Art, is my mission in life.
Art, to me, is one of the most important creations of humankind.
I love when I can inspire anyone to be better.
And as a multidisciplinary artist working in visual, literary, music, and theatre endeavors, that creates and gives everyday of my life, I learned young to thank and credit the artists before and next to me that influenced me. Despite the cliché maxim that great artists steal, I believe great artists homage, thank, share, and credit as well as create original work. Great artists don’t steal, selfish people do.
But Catherine did not share — Catherine stole, copied, lied and hid.
Whenever I did something, Catherine usually secretly appropriated and copied it, without credit.
Stealing is not flattery.
It is called: “Idea Appropriation.” A very real term (See the book “Business Ethics” by James Brusseau).
Dr. Wilkins liked the false feeling and praise that many of her ideas occurred by “immaculate conception.”
Deceptive shortcuts in life and esteem.
Catherine Wilkins, by her appropriation, just about plagiarized my life to advance and create hers.
The revelations of Catherine’s lies and adultery became so bad, we even discussed at our wedding, if Catherine could still wear white. If adulterers and liars could wear white at their wedding. Ultimately, the conclusion was: Catherine and I could not marry, because it was impossible to overcome her adultery and ongoing dishonesty.
What did Catherine do when we did not marry, and I ended my relationship with her? I recently found out, Catherine continued her lies, using of me, and resumed dishonestly appropriating my life to benefit hers. She did this secretly, and without my consent.
I was in contact with Dr. Wilkins for over a decade, into my early-thirties, until I couldn’t take her falsehoods anymore.
Professor Catherine Wilkins lied and appropriated my cancer to advance her college career.
I learned, Dr. Catherine Wilkins told everyone she was taking care of me. That my cancer and illness was hard on her, not me. Catherine Wilkins: The selfless saint. None of these teachers, school faculty, or people ever met me, except one for just a minute. They all just took Catherine Wilkins’ word as truth.
The first time I got an inkling of this lie, was when I went to USF after I found more evidence of Catherine’s adultery and copying, and questioned her about it. Her Art History professor told me, how Catherine was taking care of me during my illness and how much Catherine was doing for me.
I was at USF to confront Catherine about lying, copying, and adultery, and I am told: “What a saint Catherine is for caring for me in my time of desperate need.”
Before I could respond to Catherine’s teacher, or fully understand the deceit, because it caught me by complete surprise, Catherine whisked me out of the room. Catherine did this every time someone else was about to expose one of her lies, or unknowingly and accidentally reveal a clue to her adultery and affairs, or simply, how Dr. Wilkins was copying my own endeavors without credit. Catherine would quickly remove me from the room, or tell me not to say anything or ask certain questions.
Catherine made herself into a saint, even claiming she went into debt paying for my cancer treatment costs.
In Catherine’s scholarship, she lies: “It seems like true help from G*d … I would be more able to dedicate some of my own earnings each month to help my boyfriend meet the cost of the medical expenses he has unfortunately accrued.”
Who paid for my cancer treatment when almost no hospital would admit me? Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
Catherine did not pay a dime, and accrued absolutely no debt. Not from my medical treatment. Her only debt she cared about, was her school debt.
Who cared for me while I fought for life? The doctors and nurses at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Otherwise, I was completely alone. My landlord in New Orleans even asked me, who is my next-of-kin or emergency contact, in case I die from cancer and chemo. My answer was, “I have no one.” My landlord said, “You must have someone! I have to fill in the emergency contact space of the lease.” I repeated, “I have no one.”
And it was in that New Orleans apartment, alone, and at Charity Hospital, that I begged and struggled to stay alive.
The main motivation I had for living: Art. I was writing a screenplay and a musical. I am a painter and photographer. I kept on with my art studies and creation as I was alone, bald without hair, weak, nearly dying, and nauseous with chemo in my veins.
Catherine was not there, not for a single cancer treatment. Catherine and I talked by phone, and barely. Catherine just kept up her lies by phone.
Catherine: Is there nothing you will not cruelly steal from me and use as yours? Is there nothing you will not lie about?
You even used my cancer?
I almost died, Catherine. I lost all my hair. Chemo burned me up inside. I vomited weekly. The smallest infections nearly killed me.
I had to walk several miles to and from Charity Hospital — alone — for my treatments, walking home weakly, and always near vomiting after being injected with bags of ABVD chemo. I now have lifelong detrimental effects from cancer, major surgery, and chemotherapy. My lifespan and health is shortened.
And you were not there, you were never there, Catherine.
I was alone, fighting for life, Catherine, as you were busy cheating and lying.
What was truly my time of need, was Catherine’s time to benefit.
Catherine Wilkins turned my cancer, into a way for her to get scholarship money, and school and career advancement.
To me, those images of caring people surrounding a cancer patient with love, are a complete fantasy.
Also on Dr. Wilkins’ dishonest scholarship, she claims: “As an orphan, my boyfriend had no one else to care for him, and I was reluctant to abandon him in such a state.”
Catherine never once concerned herself that I was an orphan, until now, on her scholarship when she felt she could appropriate that, too, to gain more sympathy and profit for herself.
In fact, I was at a huge disadvantage during our entire relationship because of this. Catherine had doting parents that were willing to defend her and ignore, turn a blind eye, or support her lies. I had no one to defend or protect me, no one to stand up for me, or even give me moral support while Catherine was lying and cheating.
Catherine: I was an abused child. My biological parents were abusers. I have been alone my entire life. Do you know how hard it is to be an orphan? To be abused physically, mentally, and sexually your entire childhood?
What kept me alive as an orphan? Art.
I also applied the model of Ernest Shackleton to my life and art. Shackleton, with dignity and courage, after his ship the “Endurance” sank, kept himself and all of his men alive in the Antarctic for years, and eventually succeeded in their rescue. Not one man died. Art, too, is exploration. I was already determined, but studying the history of other determined, ethical, and brave explorers and artists — I commiserated with them. Ernest Shackleton’s family motto was: “By Endurance, We Conquer.”
Being an abused orphan, physically and sexually, was my first life-and-death struggle.
To you, Catherine, me being an orphan was just another detail you could appropriate into your own lies and stories to gain sympathy for yourself.
What kind of person are you? To try to turn cancer, an orphan, and even rape into lies you can tell others to gain advancement or sympathy for yourself, or to hide adultery.
Catherine: The fact I am an orphan, is not yours to appropriate.
Catherine, you did not know I was raped several times. Not only was I sexually abused by my biological mother until I escaped, I was raped by men over the years, because I was a vulnerable orphan. As a rape victim myself, please do not appropriate “rape” because you and your USF boss wanted “booty calls” and you were caught.
Catherine, to explain that I was raped by men throughout my childhood, and to say it is a painful topic to discuss, is an immense understatement. But you know what? I decided to become stronger from it. I endured it. I became stronger, and I stayed a good person.
And you, Catherine, tell me that David Brodosi, at USF, did this to you. You told me he raped you, forced you onto your knees, and by physical force made you give him oral s*x. Catherine, I am a victim of such a rape. In brutal, real life. To you, you tried to use rape as an excuse to get out of a secret, consensual affair, and try to even get sympathy from me, while you were cheating on me.
As a child, I had a man do that to me, in real life, and threaten to kill me. I was about 7 years-old, the first time. I simply walked into the bathroom by accident, and I was raped. And there were other rapes and abuses I endured throughout my vulnerable life as an orphan. Please do not use a made-up rape story to hide consensual adultery.
Catherine Wilkins: Rape is no small matter.
You were willing to tell any lie, deflect, redirect, manipulate, destroy or use anyone — especially me — to coverup cheating s*x, and to advance your life.
Catherine: How many times could you destroy my heart?
A person only has one heart.
Each time I found out more about your deceits, I told you, even as strong as I am, even steel that is bent and twisted too many times will break. You broke me. I am an adult man, and I know I sound like a naive child when I ask: “Why must humans — carelessly and carefully — damage other humans?”
Catherine: Child abuse hurt me immensely. But: You, broke me.
Professor Wilkins, I will repeat, because you lie about it in your scholarship to imagine yourself as a selfless sacrificer: I was an abused child. You knew that general part. But. Do you know what it is truly like to be: Sexually abused daily and nightly by women and occasionally men? Be beaten and hit until you have bruises and bleed, mentally abused daily, be unloved, deprived of nearly everything from winter clothes and basic household heat in freezing Northern winters, to being deprived of normal nutrition, calories, and vitamins, to being deprived of just a single loving and encouraging touch?
Sometimes when I finally had food at the dining table as a child, even a teenager, sitting with yet another foster-type family, I would look at the meal and uncontrollably cry.
Do you know what it is like to be treated inhumanely nearly your entire childhood, by multiple people? Treated as an object that takes up space and time, and costs money, instead of a child with positive dreams, and artistic talents, and a hungry intellect? I survived child abuse because of my love for the arts, and reverence for a better future. Since I was a child, despite my own deprivations and abuse, I wanted to sincerely improve the world around me.
As an orphan without a support system, I quickly learned personal accountability. I had no one to fall back on, only myself. Humans should always be accountable. As an orphan, I had no time for “fun.” But to me: “Fun” was art, and studying. I had so much work to do, so much art to create, so much to happily learn, so far I wanted to climb, so much “future” to carve out. So everyday counted.
As an abused orphan, I had no one to be proud of me. So I learned, I had to be proud of my own actions.
As an abused orphan, and the tremendous pain and suffering I endured, I learned young not to hurt others. Not to repeat the cycle, not to make excuses, but to make and do positive endeavors. And show and teach by example.
I ask you again, Dr. Wilkins, because on your college scholarship, you clearly state I was an orphan, and that you, Catherine, did not want “to abandon (me) in such a state” while I was enduring cancer, and that was a main reason you were seeking your scholarship. This scholarship you hid, and I was only recently informed about. You talk of how you suffered. You express your sacrifices. Really?
* Catherine: You list my real oncological illness, and your fake care and false financial debt, as reason #1 in your scholarship. Then appropriate me being an orphan.
Catherine, you have deceptively and cruelly turned my horrendous child abuse, into your own application for sympathy and gain. How could you? How can you turn my nightmare as a youth, into a made-up fable in your own life so you can look better on a scholarship? How many other college scholarships did you outright lie and exaggerate on? How many other times did you use me, and the pain in my life, to further and benefit your own life?
Catherine: When I was physically raped, and threatened with being killed as a child, if I ever spoke out — to end and free myself from that abuse and danger, each time as a child, I had to run away from home after home, and occasionally endure life being a homeless kid. No easy task. But. Child abuse was straightforward. Your form of mental rape and abuse goes on-and-on in my life. I keep finding out, even now, how you have lied and used me.
I asked you to report David Brodosi as a s*x offender. Instead, I find countless consensual sexual messages between you and he, and I accidentally open a vast world of your cheating, lying, sexual adventures, and adultery. A world I never wanted to open.
Dr. Wilkins continues: “Since he was unable to maintain treatment in New Orleans, it was necessary for me to remain in the Tampa area.”
This is a lie.
Catherine lied on the location, because she needed the scholarship for her own location at USF in Florida. I received all of my cancer treatment in New Orleans at Charity Hospital. Dr. Robert Veith, MD was the oncologist that treated me and saved my life multiple times.
Catherine Wilkins never stepped a foot inside Charity Hospital. She was not there, when I took a taxi in the middle of the night and admitted myself — alone — and desperately begged the emergency room doctor to take me to an oncologist and save me.
Catherine was not there, when during my cancer treatment, and because of it, my blood count plummeted, and I had to take an emergency midnight taxi again, because I developed a serious infection and my body was boiling from fever. I was alone, and literally only a few hours from death. Dr. Veith suddenly appeared at the hospital, in the middle of night, put me on antibiotics, and saved my life yet again. Even now, I cry with gratitude for Dr. Robert Veith. Dr. Veith is human kindness and compassion.
Catherine Wilkins never met Dr. Robert Veith, nor even asked the names of my doctors and nurses. She didn’t care. Her answer to me for everything, and every pain in my soul I endured was: “Not my fault.” And Catherine was certainly not there for my recovery, as she deceptively states she was in her scholarship.
I struggled from nausea, un-abating chemical smells and tastes of the (A)driamycin (B)leomycin (V)inblastine (D)acarbazine — trying not to vomit, even with nothing in my stomach. I grappled with myelotoxicity, and almost lost my life to it several times.
After each treatment, being filled with chemo, I walked myself two miles home — alone. During the long walk before I could lay down and rest, which was mostly along a highway, under bridges, and the shoulders of major traffic roads, I smelled car exhaust fumes, which only intensified my stomach’s constant need to retch and gag from ABVD.
Catherine: Please explain how you can lie to everyone around, to your teachers, to your school, and on your academic scholarship, that you “cared for a cancer patient.” You did no such thing.
One day, I woke up and brushed my hair, as usual. In one stroke, it all came out. I lost all my hair in one go. But for a few ridiculous strands that I tried to keep, I was now bald.
Catherine wasn’t there. I called her on the phone, and told her I lost my hair. I told her how hard this was, how much pain I was in.
She listened, but she didn’t really care.
Catherine just said, “I don’t have anything to do with you losing your hair.”
I felt more and more isolated. I felt as if I was on Pluto, far from sun or warmth, far from people. I received great compassion from the oncologists and nurses at Charity Hospital, but that was only for the brief minutes they tested me, put me into scanning machines, or injected needles. Any other moments, I was utterly alone.
Weeks after I lost all of my hair from chemo, Catherine said to prove her love, commitment, and solidarity with me, she would shave her head.
Instead, Catherine Wilkins snipped short locks of her hair, glued these short pieces of hair to a skin-colored bald cap, and tried to finish the illusion with a hat.
Who the h**l is heartless enough, conniving enough, to do this fake act to a cancer patient? Catherine Wilkins made a fake bald cap, trying to pass it to me as her real shaved head, as I was dying of chemo and without my own hair.
I asked Catherine to take off the hat. Then I asked Catherine to take off the bald cap she created. Her several-feet length of brown hair was simply pinned beneath. Then I asked her to leave.
I was fighting for my life, everyday.
* Other fakers have gone to similar extremes:
* Northern Kentucky University student Kelly Schmahl faked having stage 3 gastrointestinal cancer. She not only shaved her head bald (but didn’t know real chemo patients often lose other hair, and shaving cannot accurately simulate alopecia) — but also bought a wheelchair, hospital bed, various bandages, and oxygen tubes to convince her classmates she had cancer. She additionally used her phone to fake text messages from caretakers that didn’t exist.
* When asked to identify what can make someone fake it all, Dr. Mayer says: “We move close to a diagnosis of mental illness. Being forensic here, the closest thing I could put her in the category of would be a borderline personality disorder. What people do in this particular illness is absorb personalities. This is hard to fathom and hard to describe, but these people are essentially devoid of their own personalities. They’re chameleons and suck in the personality of another.”
When I was in the cancer ward at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, I watched how a young boyfriend took care of his bald girlfriend who was also struggling for her life. He loved her. I overheard him tell the nurse how he bought his girlfriend face masks, he made sure she took extra vitamins, and he constantly sprayed disinfectant and cleansed surfaces, so her weakened immune system would be protected.
For me: Catherine Wilkins wasn’t there.
As I watched the love this young couple had for each other, that this young, devoted man had for his girlfriend and her health… All I thought is: I have no one. I am alone. My girlfriend isn’t here. She’s not doing any of that. Catherine is having affairs on me. I have cancer, and Catherine is cheating on me.
For my chemotherapy: Catherine Wilkins did not a thing. Wilkins just lied, made deceitful excuses, was nowhere near, and was concerned solely for herself.
Another reason Professor Wilkins couldn’t be there for me during chemo:
Catherine Wilkins later told me on the phone, that she quit college, and joined the Army and was accepted into “Delta Force.” Her father was in the Army Special Forces decades ago as a Green Beret, so I mostly believed her, but with much reservation. From then on, we could only speak on the phone, at certain hours. She described to me she was in basic training, and some of her military lessons, such as laying in the dirt, and searching for landmines by slipping a knife into the soil in front of her. She said how the drill instructors would play games with the recruits, her being one of the Army recruits, by suddenly turning the showers ice cold while she was in it. I was proud, but again a bit confused, by this new Delta Force Army recruit named Catherine Wilkins. I thought: Maybe Catherine won’t cheat while in the Army, and the Army will instill values into her. Catherine and I could only meet in hotel rooms infrequently when she got “leave.” Mostly it was just phone calls. I’m sure she got all her basic training information from her father, who really was in the Army Special Forces. Dr. Wilkins obviously never quit college, or joined the Army.
How did I find out Dr. Wilkins never quit college, or joined the Army? I was walking home after a long evening at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, to lay down and rest from my treatment. I need to cross Bourbon Street to get to my apartment. I bumped into Dr. Wilkins prowling Bourbon Street looking for sexual attention, and assumedly a s*x hookup, in an extremely tight shirt, showing off her b*****s, that in glitter read “VEGAS.”
Shocked, Dr. Wilkins simply admitted, “Yeah. I lied about joining the Army. I’m going to Tulane.” That was the only truth she divulged. Of course Dr. Wilkins told me other lies that evening. On her skimpy outfit that revealed her b*****s, Dr. Wilkins said: “I didn’t do my laundry, all mine are dirty, so I had to borrow a friend’s clothes. She’s smaller than me, and this is all she had.” I simply walked away, and let her continue prowling for s*x. My heart, and health, couldn’t take it.
Numerous times I was literally hours from death from infections, fevers, low blood counts, and chemo. And Dr. Wilkins is having fun looking for s*x and sexual attention on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Dr. Wilkins didn’t want anything to do with caring for me during my cancer treatments, or even treating me as a human, instead of an object to use and benefit her college career. She was only concerned about advancing herself in college. She didn’t have time for both cancer and college.
But Dr. Wilkins could lie about both.
For Dr. Wilkins, it saves a lot of time and effort, to just lie or copy.
* Marcia Sirota, MD says in her article “Inside the Mind of a Sociopath”:
* As we go through life, we like to think that the people we encounter are more-or-less like us: Kind, caring, reasonable, and decent. It’s hard to imagine that there might be someone in our circle of acquaintances who might have Antisocial Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, antisocial individuals live and work among us. A sociopath strongly craves a position of power. Lawyers, police officers, doctors, teachers, coaches, clergy, therapists, and politicians will always have a certain number of sociopaths in their ranks.
* They lack all empathy or basic human kindness. They see others merely as objects for their use and have no qualms about manipulating or exploiting anyone or any situation to their best advantage. A sociopath’s brain is wired very differently than a normal person’s, and we should never assume that we’re playing by the same set of rules.
* A sociopath isn’t immoral so much as amoral. The notion of right or wrong is irrelevant to them. Their raison d’etre is to get what they want. They may prey on an individual, a family, an institution. They have no conscience and feel no remorse when they’ve done something wrong.
* Sociopaths have no qualms about breaking society’s rules or using others as stepping-stones on their way up the ladder of success. Still, many are able to cultivate a benign or even sweet demeanor, which enables them to ingratiate themselves to potential victims.
* The more intelligent the sociopath, the more dangerous they are. The intelligent sociopath is more successful in part because they are that much better at disguising their true intentions. They are excited by your admiration and desire, as it feeds their sense of grandiosity. How you end up is of no concern to them.
* A sociopath is incapable of taking responsibility for their bad behavior. They will never change.
Then, I recently learned, Catherine Wilkins blatantly lied in a scholarship praising herself for being the devoted, selfless girlfriend that loved me and paid my bills, and sacrificed hugely for myself and my health.
* Professor Wilkins lies, word-for-word: “The illness of a loved one has depleted my savings and caused a great deal of medical debt which I help pay, while at the same time impeding my graduate education and making my progress as a student somewhat difficult.”
I learned Catherine was telling her college teachers how compassionately she was taking care of me, how difficult and demanding it was for herself to help me through my illness.
Nothing is farther from truth.
Catherine: Do you know how this feels?
It is being raped. You raped my spirit and my mental health repeatedly.
I had cancer, fought for life, and you cheated on me and lied to me daily.
Catherine: You even lied about shaving your head to show commitment to a cancer patient, and instead, you created a fake bald cap. You literally glued tiny pieces of your hair to a bald cap. How many atrocities can you commit towards a patient of cancer?
And now I found out, I was being used falsely in a college scholarship application, so an adulterer, and someone that did no such good deeds, can advance themselves.
Catherine: How could you? Why?
How could you tell people you were taking care of me, when you were cheating on me the whole time? How could you try to get scholarship money this way?
How could you tell people you were in debt for paying my medical bills, when you were never even at one of my chemo treatments? Not one. Ever.
As an academic, professor, and now art historian, Catherine should know how hard artists work to be original, and how wrong it is to lie, cheat, copy, and appropriate from an artist.
Since Catherine now works in mental health and with medical, trauma, and PTSD patients, she should know her ethics and behaviors are cruel and extremely wrong to a cancer patient.
As a human, Catherine should know her actions are wrong.
Catherine: All you ever wanted was to advance yourself. You succeeded by lying, manipulating, and using my cancer.
Even appropriating my life as an artist, and the fact I am an orphan.
There is nothing Professor Wilkins wouldn’t do, if it meant she could gain, feed her ego and impress peers, imagine herself as a selfless saint, or hide deceit.
Except for the angels at Charity Hospital, I had absolutely no support during my cancer treatments and recovery.
Catherine didn’t care about me. Dr. Wilkins cared about becoming a college professor by any hook, crook, scheme, or lie.
Catherine Wilkins: My battle with cancer, is not yours to use, advance yourself with, or appropriate.
Dr. Catherine Wilkins knows she did so much more wrongdoing, lying, and cheating than just this.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of Catherine’s lies.
Below… The word-for-word transcript of Catherine’s falsified scholarship (everything about her “care” for a cancer patient is a complete lie fabricated by her):
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Table of Contents
Reasons for Applying for the CDA Scholarship
Supplement to Scholarship Application for Catherine Wilkins
1. The illness of a loved one has depleted my savings and caused a great deal of medical debt which I help pay, while at the same time impeding my graduate education and making my progress as a student somewhat difficult.
2. My position as a graduate teacher is very rewarding in that it enables me to share my love of learning with fellow young people; however, it does not cover the full cost of my school fees and living expenses.
3. I fear that my dream of earning a graduate degree and becoming a college professor might not be realized without further financial aid.
Supplement to Scholarship Application for Catherine Wilkins
My name is Catherine Wilkins. I enrolled as a graduate student at Tulane University in New Orleans, pursuing a Master of the Arts degree in Art History.
I lived in the Tampa Bay area my entire life before moving away for graduate school, born into a wonderfully large and caring extended family. My family raised me very well, and taught me principles of love, wisdom, and faith from a very early age. In part due to their dedication( to my upbringing, I was able to skip first grade, going directly to second grade from Kindergarten. From grade school onward, I attended Catholic schools, where I was educated both intellectually and spiritually. During my time at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, I began assisting as a volunteer at a local soup kitchen, as well as at a tennis camp for young children. Additional extracurricular activities during that time period included employment of thirty five hours per week at Publix Supermarkets, membership on the high school tennis team, enrollment in the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), and volunteer work for several environmental agencies.
I graduated high school third in my class, with highest honors and a special departmental award in English, just after my seventeenth birthday. In the fall, I dual-enrolled at the University of South Florida (U.S.F.) and St. Petersburg Junior College in order to take more courses at once. I took specialized courses at the University and more broad, required classes at the Junior College, all completely funded by merit-based scholarships. While at school, I received the Florida Bright Futures full scholarship, as well as an additional Legacy Scholarship from the Humanities department, a trustee scholarship from the Junior College, and both Presidential and Honors scholarships from the University of South Florida. I received my Associates’ degree in just over a year, in December, graduating on the Dean’s List with High Honors. After that point, I attended courses solely at U.S.F. while still working at the supermarket. At the University, I specialized in the Humanities, and had a ravenous appetite for all knowledge concerned with history, art, literature, music and theatre. My scholarships allowed me to take a great number of classes at once, sometimes as many as twenty-two credit hours per semester, prompting me to finish my Bachelor’s degree three years after I received my high school diploma. I graduated magna c*m laude, with an overall Grade Point Average of 3.757.
Upon my graduation, I received an offer of a full scholarship for graduate school, plus a paid position as a graduate assistant at Tulane University, a well-accredited school in New Orleans. Unfortunately, over the summer between my graduation and my planned matriculation at Tulane, my boyfriend of four years developed a cough which prompted a visit to the doctor’s office. After several tests and minor surgeries, the doctors discovered that my boyfriend was suffering from Hodgkin’s Disease, a type of cancer. As an orphan, my boyfriend had no one else to care for him, and I was reluctant to abandon him in such a state. Since he was unable to maintain treatment in New Orleans, it was necessary for me to remain in the Tampa area.
Unfortunately, I had not planned on attending U.S.F. for graduate school, and consequently had not applied for any scholarships. At such short notice, there was no financial aid available for me for my first semester of graduate school, and I was able to pay for only one course with the money I earned working as a library assistant at the University. I was extremely troubled, not only due to the stress I experienced as a result of my boyfriend’s battle with cancer, but also because I felt as though I was falling behind in my course work and was forfeiting my dream of achieving a graduate degree in Art History and going on to work as a college professor. I was left with little but my family, friends, and faith to help me get through this difficult period in my life.
Fortunately, in spring, I was blessed with some opportunities which served to help me on my path to a productive and complete adulthood. I was offered a job as a graduate teacher at U.S.F., a position that provided a very modest salary, but which included a stipend for 75% of my tuition. This provided me a wonderful opportunity to share my love of learning with other young people while at the same time pursuing my own dream of receiving a graduate degree. I earned twelve credit hours toward my Master’s Degree in Art History at U.S.F. before my boyfriend’s recovery allowed me to continue my education at Tulane University. While I still have a tuition scholarship and a job at the school, I have encountered a great deal of expenses, in terms of fees that run upwards of $1300 per year that I must pay myself, along with aiding my boyfriend with his accumulated medical expenses, and, of course, my own living costs. Because I stayed in Florida with my boyfriend for the first year of my graduate experience and payed for much of my schooling on my own, my savings have been virtually depleted, and I often face a good deal of stress and pressure when attempting to pay my bills each month. In the meantime, though, I have remained active as a graduate student, maintaining a 4.0 unweighted grade point average while partaking in volunteer activities at the Newcomb Gallery and the New Orleans Museum of Art as well as serving as my department’s representative in multiple on-campus student organizations. This past year, I have taught two art-historical survey classes while I completed most of my graduate coursework, and I am now preparing to begin writing my thesis and applying to other schools where I would like to work toward my Doctoral degree.
Recently, my grandmother, a Catholic Daughter for over four decades, brought this scholarship to my notice. It seems like true help from G*d, and would allow me to take more courses at the University without worrying about my inability to pay the related fees. In addition, I would be more able to dedicate some of my own earnings each month to help my boyfriend meet the cost of the medical expenses he has unfortunately accrued. While his illness and the ensuing chaotic changes in my life have certainly been taxing – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – I am very grateful that I have had this opportunity to grow and learn, to help another, yet still persist in meeting my own goals. The experience of the past year has taught me so much about life, love, and faith; important lessons which transcend those I learned in the classroom. I cannot wait to apply what I have learned about life to my educational studies, and this scholarship from the Catholic Daughters will provide me the means by which I can accomplish it.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“How to survive gaslighting: when manipulation erases your reality.”
By Ariel Leve from “The Guardian” (edited)
Thu 16 Mar 2017 10.00 GMT
Ariel Leve offers strategies to stay resilient in the face of psychological abuse that distorts the truth.
* Remain defiant: the most important tip if you want to face gaslighting.
What I experienced frequently as a child: Nothing means anything, and reality is being canceled. There is confusion, there is chaos, everything is upside down and inside out. When facts and truth are being discredited, how is it possible to know what to believe, especially when it comes from someone we expect to embody both ethics and etiquette?
It’s obvious to those already initiated. To those new to the phenomena: It is “gaslighting.” It’s a term we are hearing a lot of right now.
The term “gaslighting” refers to when someone manipulates you into questioning and second-guessing your reality. It derives from a 1944 movie – and the play and another film that preceded it – in which this happens to the heroine. What perhaps people don’t understand is how to manage and cope with it. For me, all it’s very familiar. I know this behavior well and I know how to navigate it.
As a child, I was experiencing a world where there was no emotional safety while being consistently told that I had a beautiful and happy childhood and that I was ungrateful. What was I complaining about? Yet what I was exposed to caused me to feel unsafe. And those feelings had a verifiable origin. Whether it was witnessing violent arguments or being on the receiving end of inappropriate behavior, when I confronted my mother with the truth, it was denied; my reality was disavowed and asserting it would only instigate conflict. I was told that what I saw with my own eyes hadn’t happened.
When I would confront my mother with things that she had said, or things that she had done, she would say I was making it up, that it was a lie. When I confronted her with facts, they were batted away. So it wasn’t just that my reality was canceled, but that my perception of reality was overwritten.
As I wrote in my memoir, An Abbreviated Life, it wasn’t the loudest and scariest explosions that caused the most damage. It wasn’t the physical violence or the verbal abuse or the lack of boundaries and inappropriate behavior. What did the real damage was the denial that these incidents ever occurred.
* The erasure of the abuse was worse than the abuse.
When I was in my mid-30s, I had an encounter with someone who recognized me from when I was a child. “Are you so-and-so’s daughter?” he asked. I nodded. He had been a guest at one of my mother’s parties. After I left, he said: “I had always wondered how that little girl would survive. I had thought her only choices were suicide or murder.”
When I was told he said this, I felt validation. And that line stayed with me for many reasons. This outsider observed what I was living through, and having him as a witness confirmed what I knew.
One of the most insidious things about gaslighting is the denial of reality. Being denied what you have seen. Being denied what you have experienced and know to be true. It can make you feel like you are crazy. But you are not crazy.
Dr. Robin Stern, associate director at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of “The Gaslight Effect” says that usually “when people are abused there are signs that you can point to that are much more obvious. Someone who has been hit or threatened for instance – it’s easy to see and understand how they have been hurt. But when someone is manipulating you, you end up second-guessing yourself and turning your attention to yourself as the person to blame.”
To illustrate this, she cites an example that is easy to understand. A close friend of hers was always running late. Initially, she pointed this out to him noting that it was not respectful. His response was to tell her she was “too sensitive.” But over time, when this dynamic would continue to happen, it would lead to arguing and when she persisted he would say, “You really have a problem with time, don’t you?” and she in turn, ended up thinking he might be right. She began to doubt herself. “I began to think – what’s the problem if someone is late, maybe I’m not being flexible enough.’”
This is what she calls the gaslight effect. “Gaslighting over time leads to somebody experiencing the gaslight effect. Someone can try to gaslight you, but it can’t happen unless you allow it.”
This is the tricky part. Because when there is someone in a position of power or authority, someone you idealize, or even as in many co-dependent relationships – when there is someone you are afraid to lose – their insistence that their reality is the reality can often cause you to doubt what you know to be true.
“We are living in a time where a lot of people are having a tough time deciding what’s real and feeling like they are being manipulated,” Stern says. “If they know something is true and somebody tells you it’s not true, holding on to your reality is essential. You can’t be gaslighted if you stay inside your own reality and recognize the manipulation when you see it.”
* How exactly are you supposed to call this out?
There were some strategies – which I didn’t know at the time were strategies – that helped me survive.
* Remain defiant.
When I was a little girl about five or six, I wrote a story about running away from home. When my mother saw that story, she demanded I change it. Why would you write this story? It isn’t about me, is it? She knew it was about her and the chaos at home. I refused to change the story and that defiance was key. Trusting my version of reality. Not allowing it to be altered on demand. Resistance. This anger protected me, because I knew what I knew. It couldn’t be erased. Being defiant does not make you difficult. It makes you resilient.
* Recognize there will never be accountability.
The person who is gaslighting you will never be able to see your point of view or take responsibility for their actions. They will never get it. They will never say, “Oh, you’re right – you have a point.”
Acknowledgement is not on the cards. And asserting yourself is not just useless, but harmful. Because the person gaslighting will never be able to respond to logic and reason – and so you have to be the one to recognize that logic and reason can’t be applied.
* Let go of the wish for things to be different.
The wish for things to be different is very powerful and inoculates you to the tumult. It allows you to continue to believe logic and reason will prevail. You want to believe the person will change. You want things to make sense. But they won’t. You want to feel you are on safe ground. You have to let go of this wish. Because things will never make sense. You will never be heard.
* Develop healthy detachment.
I had to develop certain coping mechanisms, but there was a price. Behavior that was adaptive as a child becomes maladaptive as an adult: I was not trusting and always needing verification.
I became hyper-vigilant about clarity. There was no room for misunderstanding; no margin for error. I needed certainty in an uncertain world. But we live in an uncertain world, so there has to be a way to find balance.
Detaching from the gaslighting does not mean total detachment. It means distinguishing between the world of the gaslighter and the real world.
“Someone can try to gaslight you and once you can identify what’s going on, you can begin to turn off the gaslighting and heal,” Stern says. She points out that often people are willing to give up their reality in favor of hanging on to a relationship rather than rupturing it.
There are, she says, many different signs to recognize when you’re being gaslighted. “You feel confused and crazy. You’re always apologizing, wondering if you are good enough, can’t understand why you feel so bad all the time, or know something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it. You thought one thing, they say another; you can’t figure out which is right.”
A tip she offers for handling things is to write down what actually happened in the conversation. “Once you are not flooded with emotion, you can reflect rationally. Look at the conversation and see where it took a turn.”
When someone is so certain about what they believe and they keep on insisting and trying to convince you – over a period of time – it erodes your own perception. And having to verify reality is in itself destabilizing.
Stern poses an interesting question. “Are people upset because (the gaslighter) are telling them something they know isn’t true, or is it because they are upset other people might be believing it?”
With gaslighting, it feels as though the ground is always shifting beneath you. There is no center of gravity. And while we’re being told up is down and black is white, the only way to make sense of it is to remain resolute.
Stick to reality.
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“What is gaslighting? And how do you know if it’s happening to you?”
It’s an unfortunate reality that happens in personal relationships and by public figures to the peoples they serve.
Recognizing that you yourself or someone you care about might be in a “gaslight tango” is not always as straightforward as it might seem.
July 13, 2018, 6:19 AM CDT
By Sarah DiGiulio, from NBC NEWS
“Oh come on. I never said that.”
“You’re just being overly sensitive.”
“I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal out of this…”
Psychologists use the term “gaslighting” to refer to a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get someone else (or a group of people) to question their own reality, memory or perceptions. And it’s always a serious problem, according to psychologists.
“It is always dangerous,” Robin Stern, PhD, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of “The Gaslight Effect,” tells NBC News BETTER. “The danger of letting go of your reality is pretty extreme.”
It may start out with seemingly small offenses. But the problem is that even more-or-less insignificant instances of you questioning your own judgment or reality — thanks to the deliberate intent of someone else — can snowball. You can end up in a cycle of not being able to negotiate your daily life in a way where you are clear minded, can focus, can make sound decisions, and have a sense of well-being, Stern says.
Gaslighting happens in personal relationships (think an abusive spouse or, in rarer cases, parent), in professional relationships (a manipulative boss or coworker preying on a subordinate), and even by public figures. There are several examples of gaslighting, Stern notes.
No matter whether it’s happening in a marriage, between a leader and his or her constituency or elsewhere, it’s important to be aware of the red flags that you (or someone you know) might be a victim — which is the first step to getting out of the abusive situation.
Gaslighting usually happens in a power dynamic:
There usually tends to be a power dynamic when gaslighting happens, Stern explains. The manipulator holds enough power that “the target of the gaslighting is terrified to change up [the relationship] or step out of the gaslighting dynamic because the threat of losing that relationship — or the threat of being seen as less than who you want to be seen as to them — is quite a threat,” she says
If it’s happening by someone you love and care about (like a spouse or parent), you’re going to WANT to believe the other person — and the gaslighter may use that against you, explains Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, a marriage and family practice therapist in private practice and author of “Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.”
“Many people [in this case the targets of gaslighting] change their perceptions in order to avoid having a conflict,” Lancer explains.
Be wary of gaslighting if you start to question yourself a lot.
Recognizing that you or someone you care about might be in a “gaslight tango” is not always as straightforward as it might seem because it can start in very subtle ways — and often involves two people (or groups of people) who would otherwise seem to care about one another very much, Stern says.
The term “gaslighting” actually comes from a 1938 play, “Gas Light” (which was turned into a more widely known movie in 1944, “Gaslight”), where a husband manipulates his wife to make her think she’s actually losing her sense of reality so he can commit her to a mental institution and steal her inheritance. “Not all real-life examples are so diabolical,” Stern says.
How gaslighting happens:
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s fact sheet, the techniques a gaslighter might use to manipulate someone else can include:
* Withholding (meaning he or she refuses to listen or says they don’t understand)
* Countering (when the abuser questions the gaslightee’s memory of an event)
* Blocking/diverting (when the abuser changes the subject or questions the victim’s thinking)
* Trivializing (making the victim’s needs or feelings seem unimportant)
* Forgetting/denial (when the manipulator pretends to have forgotten what actually happened or denies something he or she had previously agreed to)
* And note that a gaslighter will oftentimes start with something that is true that you might be particularly sensitive about to hook you.
Signs you’re a victim of gaslighting:
According to Stern, look for these warning signs and red flags the type of abuse might be happening to you (or someone you know):
* You’re constantly second guessing yourself or have trouble making decisions;
* You’re ruminating about a perceived character flaw (like being too sensitive or not a good enough person);
* You feel confused about your relationship (if you find yourself thinking: “I thought I had this great husband, but I just feel crazy all the time” or “I thought I had this charming partner, but then sometimes I feel like I’m losing it when we’re together”);
* In a confrontation with the person that might be gaslighting you, you feel like you suddenly find yourself in an argument you didn’t intend to have, you’re not making progress or you’re saying the same thing over and over again and not being heard;
* You feel fuzzy or unclear about your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs;
* You’re always apologizing;
* You’re frequently making excuses for your partner’s behavior;
* You can’t understand why you’re not happy in your own life; or
* You know something is wrong, but you just don’t know what.
What to do if someone is gaslighting you:
And finally, what do you do if you do recognize that someone is gaslighting you? Here’s what Stern suggests:
Identify the problem. Recognizing the problem is the first step, Stern says. “Once something has a name you can being to address it specifically and granularly,” she says. (Sometimes writing down specifics from a conversation that you can look back to later — when you’re out of the heat of the moment — can be helpful in sorting out the truth from distortion, Stern suggests.)
Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Part of the problem with gaslighting is that it results in the victim questioning his or her own thoughts, values, perceptions or feelings. Acknowledge that what you feel is what you feel so that you can take whatever action you need to take to feel better.
Give yourself permission to make a sacrifice. Part of what makes it tough for a victim to leave a gaslight tango is that the abuser is someone they care about, they look up to, or they have a relationship with. “You may have a lot of wonderful things going on in that relationship,” Stern says — but it’s not worth it if it’s undermining your reality. And to start to regain your sense of self that you’ve lost, you may need to cut that person off, give up some of those wonderful things, or live with that person not having such a high opinion of you, she says.
Start with making small decisions. To get out of or to stop a gaslight, take one step at a time, Stern says. Say no. Don’t engage in an argument that’s clearly a power struggle.
Get a second opinion. Ask a friend or family member you trust if they think your thinking is as off as your potential abuser says it is.
Have compassion for YOU. “Having compassion for yourself is super important,” Stern says. You’re responsible to you. You need to be honest with yourself, Stern notes. Maybe tomorrow your partner will be great, but focus on what you’re feeling in the moment, she says. Recognize when you have those feelings: “Right now this feels like sh-t.”
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