Revelations: in multiple senses of the word…

Last evening when I watched a documentary about an odd history that played out in Oregon in the 1980’s based on a cult, I had some debate about the meaning of “cult”. I was confused as to what the intent of this documentary was, and what was about to be revealed…

      I insisted, “But a cult by definition implies fraud, sexual exploitation, and other activities defined as crimes!” The Jonestown massacre is an example of one extreme. What is on the other extreme? One person, a thousand? Brainwashing is only where it begins, but if that’s all it amounts to, maybe there’s no crime in that? Was a cult automatically a bad thing? I was so confused.
       I am not a mean person. Lately I’ve found myself conflicted by the seemingly “unfair” “persecution” of Jessica Schab. She had the audacity to come out after the implosion of the EOF as a “former cult leader”. Too soon to capitalize on the pain she’s caused. My  feelings on her were reaffirmed when I watched the latest video she posted last evening. She had a decisive impact on the greatest event in my life, which was the brainwashing and exploitation of my former “fiancé”. Is she ready to be forgiven? Surely she as all people deserve their chance for redemption. She continues to bury this incident under the rug. She’s not the only one.
      During Jessica’s interview, I was brought back to the very moments and techniques of the conscious and forceful manipulation of my “fiance”…because I was on the receiving end of her brainwashing which manifested itself in increasing physical abuse. I continue to defend Melissa as I don’t believe it was her fault. (Honey, I’ve only wanted to forgive you) and as always, Jessica mentions her over encompassing and twisted version of the word “abuse” which she seems to blanket over every relationship as another tool in her arsenal to manipulate the outcome to her own wishes: and that of course was the destruction of our relationship as is well defined in my film. Not only does Jessica continually reinforce my position that she did a horrible thing, but in revealing her conscious manipulation reveals a huge betrayal of those she hurt including Melissa…and obviously me. But that is only the beginning of a very long and complex story where they of course eventually teamed up in Europe to bring this “abuse” and her exploitation to a whole new level. They? Hurting us was indeed an international effort. (See other stories on this site)  I had not spoken to Melissa in over 4 years. I had only seen her Facebook page once in all that time and that was almost 2 years ago. 99.9% of the time I am completely in the dark about how her life even is. I get news of her condition very infrequently. I worry about her every single day. I am not happy about anything or anyone that drive us only further apart.
       After a restful night, I woke up to the realization that maybe I over reacted last week. I only want to tell the true story of the actual events that occurred. This week has not changed our past in any way. There is a lot of misunderstanding out there. The primary key to both my abuse and the abuse and exploitation of my “fiancé” is the very control of information, lies, and the manipulation of false narratives…period. Control the communication, control the person. Exploitation 101.  Throw into the mix my very indelible knowledge of the psychological vulnerabilities of their primary target, her fluxuating bank account, levels of hope or hopelessness, concerns for health, emotional entrapment, geographic separation from family and loved ones, passage of time, etc, etc. After the years of festering emotional abuse (to us both) I have endured by their actions, I didn’t necessarily over react, I reacted as anyone should expect with any comprehension of this very real story.  For weeks I was acting per her instructions and prior approval, and requesting feedback at each step. None came and that was a mistake on Melissa’s part. She had absolute control of the situation. I guess her most recent bf dumped her during that week. What a controlling jerk. He has absolutely nothing to do with our issue. She never mentioned him once during over 8 hours of conversation.
We had very important things to discuss like, “When can I finally reveal the news we have finally spoken after 4 years and it WAS “all about the cult” afterall? It was actually a pretty big deal that we’d finally spoken, and I know of a great friend who actually wept upon discovering the news. It was a huge vindication for me that she shouldn’t have denied after what was done. I was led to conclude we were now on the same side and I had been leading the charge for her empowerment every day since she left. That came with an extreme sacrifice on my part. I wasn’t mistaken at all about what was going on. The prior few weeks I  was letting her know what I would post, and what I would not post. She came to that information willingly. I was very suspicious as well of her “secret plan” and beginning to wonder if we were all pawns in the attempted resurection of  Jessica Schab’s fraudulent career. Melissa is always the first to sacrifice her own credibility for Jessica. Serious conversations were to be had. Finally as always, people began to interfere. “What did you expect would happen when you try to hide the elephant in the room? Everyone knows our story. It’s no big mystery?” The urgent question now is; “is it ok to reveal all of this now? Have you had enough of the career crippling EOF yet? Are we fighting again??? What is the plan?” Believe it or not she has control and say in this and it is another grand step back that I don’t know anymore whether or not she receives the message or is even safe. Why? Is this a set up or another win for people who want to control her liberty? Control of information is control of freedom. She made one disasterous mistake after another specifically because I was unable to warn her of what was actually going on. You’d think after 4 years of this and very accurately predicting the terrible results she would learn. I of course know with her it’s never that simple. I understand her better than anyone in the world. Because of my commitment to never lie to her again, (her reaction was interesting. She exclaimed, “You lied to me!?!”) there are certain confessions only for her ears. There is so much she doesn’t yet know. Information is power.
  Switch off the oxygen of truth and communication…  after 4 years…for us both, and start the suffocating effects all over again. I was becoming physically ill in those weeks with stress and losing weight quite unexpectedly and even more so unnecessarily.  I have had nightmares for years stemming from this experience. This time the nightmare has truly become real once again. I should have written this book years ago, but its place saver has been the film. The film is truly an understatement, not melodrama as Melissa told me. To say that we were very much in love is also an understatement. I still marvel at what was lost by the EOF not allowing our relationship to flourish. As a couple we were truly greater than the sum of our parts and we were perfectly poised to accomplish anything…and believe me we always had big plans. We took the time to insure they would not only be sustainable, but that we would work together to never be apart. We simply never grew tired of one another’s company. The stars truly aligned for us and we were very lucky. I brought stability to the chaos in her life caused directly by Jessica Schab….jobs, saving, housing, networking. I simply know how to make things happen. I’ve done this all of my life. Melissa needed only point the way. She was in charge of the “tiller”. Success requires some patience. Best of all, we wanted the same things. Melissa herself continually marveled at our perfect compatability. Of course there were problems at times, but there is no way on Earth we would be apart today if they hadn’t have got us seperated…we were like magnets (the trip to Europe was intended to be very brief) and of course if there hadn’t have been such a thing as the loathsome “Jessica and Diego” and their cruel and rediculous scam. If its not evident by now, Melissa came first in my life always.  I’ll talk more about this in the book.

    There are an immense amount of myths, false narratives, lies, manipulations, misunderstandings ad infinitum that surround our story. Melissa and I had an enormous opportunity a few weeks ago to begin to unravel this complex enigma with hours of phone conversations but we only scratched the surface. This was very important to both our healing. I am a problem solver, truth teller, and resilient optimist and I of course see very clearly a number of very positive “exit strategies”….the same dirty word that led to the first real test of our relationship over 4 years ago…and unfortunately opened the floodgates that allowed Jessica back into our lives. Unfortunately she brought along a friend by the name Diego Fontanive. We all know how that turned out.
     We hardly have any true relationship today. That is very easy for me to comprehend, but for some reason she doesn’t quite get the concept of this and I try to be understanding about it. (It’s not to say that SHE thinks we are in a relationship either. It’s very complicated but entirely unfair that she doesn’t recognize that WE have a very BIG problem to resolve) I recommended that she watch “The Big Sick” as a model for why I understand and empathize what she been through.  There are no “secret” motives. I was always an open book throughout this time. I expressed to her many times that I just want this nightmare to be over.
      She is very sensitive to controlling people who would rather see the complete destruction of my life than threaten her dreams (which they exploit to string her along) than allowing us the freedom to close this ugly chapter of our lives. This is more than selfish, it is despicable. Not only is this a scratching of this very open wound, it is potentially extremely dangerous to every aspect of my life. If you are aware our history and her cold side (she was warm, shy and vulnerable in our time together), she already knows just how easy it is to fabricate a “crime” and how thirsty others have been for revenge for me being the unconquerable “good guy” in this story. Through practice, the EOF has learned that “fear” is probably their number one “export” aside from bullshit and smear campaigns. It is utterly terrifying to be in their unscrupulous crosshairs. Yeah, um… I did not over react. I PANICKED. I have been traumatized for years by this. This goes to the root of our story. Her manipulation always results in very serious threats to every aspect of my life as well as her own ongoing exploitation. It is a very serious and complex issue.
     My takeaway: “Don’t involve yourself in the politics of this story or the so-called  “anti-cult” movement*. This story is for the VICTIMS…get back to the basics…your instincts haven’t let you down…keep up the fight. Write the book.” (The book project was conceived as a last ditch effort to restore the truth without bringing a lawsuit)  Melissa has of course been invited to tell her side of the story with no holds barred. I am not convinced she understands how her exploitation is very significant in terms of its very destructive wake.  This social “experiment” is like no other.** I also don’t even know if she understands how important this could be for her career. She has been offered a significant royalty to simply tell the truth, her truth which may be completely different from the truth I experienced. It provides immunity from defamation lawsuits between us. It is a complete no-brainer….but she is still clearly manipulated. Of course to quote her infamous words, “people will want us to fail.” No, failure is not an option at this point. People will want HER to fail. This is where critical thinking begs the question, “specifically who and why?”
      Melissa and I have agreed to the basic need for mutual reparations but people never understand just how sensitive she is in her perception of truth. I relied on my ability to make her laugh and look at the bright side nearly every day of our “relationship”. I remember one very clear example of successfully defusing a very explosive night in 2013 with laughter. The event concluded at a local clothing store and left us laughing hysterically. She is one of a kind. I remember also it taking days to break down the wall that was built between us intentionally by Jessica and Diego. They litterally sucked the life out of her. She became very depressed when we were apart. I ended up keeping her company for a few long nights via Skype. I was a very devoted bf and she loved that I continually doted on her. I always knew the very sound of my voice would energize her…and I was of course correct. It took 4 years to prove it.
In 2018, we were again laughing and smiling over the phone. We were inseperable in 2013 and our chemistry didn’t change very much in 5 years. It was the longest phone conversation I have ever had in my life. That is a very threatening reality to many people including her and myself. The book is a work in progress, but people will never get enough of interfering. It is the perfect platform to tell our story because the grim reality is our stories are also inseperable if they are to be told truthfully without lies of omission or obvious smear campaigns. I will end this chapter of my life with or without her help, but I do want my blistering condemnation of Steve Andrews, Diego Fontanive, and Jessica Schab to be tempered with her defense and telling of her own story. Her personal truth does not change my own and vice versa.
My fear is that I will stop defending Melissa in our story if I am forced to try to make sense of this on my own in order to bring some semblance of closure. The reality would become my abandonment of her like others have always done. The very thought of this is practically unimaginable. That would be a bitter pill to swallow  after what we have survived in 5 years, but I am not willing to suffer this extreme emotional abuse much longer. I am not out for revenge but understanding. Character is defined by our actions…character is story. Story is conflict. Every conflict deserves an eventual resolution and the truth to be told. Ha Na Ga.
The originally proposed project:

Royalty agreement basics:

$500 cash advance.

5-50% royalty based on level of participation.

5% royalty participation requires no writing. Legally binding NDA to cover mutual privacy during the pre-publication period.

Advance access and approval of draft pre-publication with opportunity to object to content.

OPTION upon reading the advance draft to increase royalty participation up to the 50% level.

Anticipated lifetime value of intellectual property asset: $100k – $250k.

stevensohlstrom@gmail.com

Elisabeth Feytit, eof project, eofproject.org, jessica schab, Melissa g houghton, Melissa Houghton, steve andrews, steven sohlstrom,
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