If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know all about the obsession I had with HC. This fixation was the catalyst that drove me to join SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), but it was by no means the first time I’d became hung-up on a lover. Also, my obsession with HC was kind of obsession-lite, compared to the ones that had come before it.
A few years prior, I’d been involved in a Dom/sub relationship with Anthony, a man 21 years my senior. Although, we were never monogamous (at the time Anthony described himself as “poly”), it was a fairly significant relationship… for me, at least. We dated for about six-months, and it was more than just a sex. Anthony was there when I needed a friend, something I wasn’t used to from the men I usually slept with. After I got in a car accident on the freeway and totaled my car, he showed up on the scene to make sure I was ok. He told me later that he’d been on a date when I texted him and left early. Anthony helped me when I needed help, and got involved in all areas of my life — even meeting some of my friends. Maybe he did all of this because he was really into me, maybe it was because he liked the drama, or maybe it was a combination of both.
Anthony also had a high tolerance for crazy. I brought the crazy harder than I had ever brought it before, or since. I set up fake accounts on the dating site we were on and pretended to be other people in order to extract information from him. Then I would confront him with the information I’d found. I would insult the other women he was dating. I would throw tantrums. Now, I realize what I was doing — testing how much I could get away with, how much he really cared; and at the same time subconsciously pushing him away, acting out the pattern that started with my father leaving me (through his death) in my childhood. For whatever reason, Anthony was willing to put up with a lot so my craziness progressed to full-on bat-shit insanity. Eventually he reached his limit and suggested we take a break.
Around this time I’d gotten it into my head that I wanted to visit a psychic. I was feeling kind of lost. I didn’t have a full time job and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I was even debating going back to grad school. I wanted someone to guide me and tell me what I was supposed to be doing with my life. What I really needed was to turn the reigns over to my Higher Power and let him guide me, but I hadn’t realized that yet.
I wanted to go to a legit psychic, someone who had a real gift and would give me the answers I needed. I went online and tried to find reviews of psychics in my area. I found a lot of information on a psychic named Lillian. She had positive reviews on City Search, and yellowpages.com (this was before Yelp was big). She also had a website rife with grammar and spelling errors (everything on her website is “copy write of Lillian the Psychic,” for example). But, I figured, I was going to her for psychic guidance, not editing services so it didn’t matter. She also had a lot of bullshit on there like “Voted #1 Psychic in the State” and “Licensed, bonded, and certified,” without saying whom it was voting, licensing, bonding and certifying her. By the way, did I ever tell you that I was voted “Number #1 Blogger on WordPress”? It’s true.* This stuff should have given me pause, but Lillian had a coupon on her site. I’m a sucker for a bargain so I dragged my friend Marie over and we each got a reading.
My reading didn’t exactly blow me away, at first. She said a lot of vague things that she could probably tell just by talking with me for a few minutes — that I’m creative, intuitive, good with people, etc. She said a few other things I’ve forgotten. The only specific thing she told me was that I would die at 86, and it’s not like that one can be proven anytime soon. Then she said I had just ended a relationship, but would eventually get back together with that person, because that person was my “one, true soulmate”. Now, that caught my attention. Almost as an aside, she mentioned that she could help me speed things along, if I wanted.
Marie went next and I remember her reading being more specific than mine. Lillian said that Marie would have a fatty tumor removed in a year and a half. Marie was about to start a new job, and Lillian told her that her soulmate would be someone she would meet not at this new job, but at the job she would get after this one. Marie, who is a healthy skeptic wasn’t impressed by her reading. She had mainly gone along to keep me company. I, on the other hand, was totally buzzed by the thought that I would soon be getting back with Anthony.
A few days later, I took my friend Allison to see Lillian. Allison and I had a lot in common when it came to sex and love issues. At the time Allison was obsessing over some dude and whether or not she should move for school, which would put her closer to this guy. I don’t remember exactly what Lillian told Allison, but she was convinced Lillian was legit.
That one vote of confidence was all I needed. So I told Lillian I wanted to “speed things along” with Anthony. The way it worked is that she would get this special candle, imprint Anthony’s and my names and our dates of birth on it, and meditate every night on it until we were together. Then she gave me a candle and anointed it with special oil. She said that I was to light the candle every night, meditate, and visualize Anthony and I being together. Then at the end of each visualization session, I should leave a message on her voice mail to let her know I’d done it. Lillian said she would do all of this for free, because she believed in true love, but she needed money to buy this special candle, which cost $200. She said that Anthony and I would be back together in a few weeks.
Of course, I gave her the money. I mean, $200 for “happily ever after” is nothing. To start, I went back to her office the next day, where she turned off the lights, lit some candles and incense, had me lay back and close my eyes, and anointed my forehead with oil. She stood over me and prayed, or something… maybe went through my purse, who knows. Right when I closed my eyes I had a moment of What the fuck are you doing, girl? You need to get out of here fast! (bitch was right about me being intuitive), but I dismissed this warning voice, and let this woman do her thing.
I should probably mention that Lillian’s office was decorated with a lot of Catholic imagery — statues of the Virgin Mary, saint candles, crucifixes, etc. She sprinkled her psychic bullshit with a lot of religious talk. She spoke about her church and acted the part of the pious Catholic. While I am not a pious Catholic, I do come from a Catholic background. Believing Lillian to be a devoted follower of the church I had grown up in, I trusted her.
Every night I would light my candle, and sit and meditate, visualizing Anthony and me together. I honestly think if it wasn’t for this nightly exercise, I probably would have been okay. I would have been obsessed with Anthony for a month or so, then I would have met some other dude and gotten over it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Not saying that would have been right, but it would have been okay. Telling a love addict to participate in a nightly ritual visualizing her and her ex back together is a recipe for some bad, bad shit.
After a couple of weeks of this practice, Lillian told me she wanted to hold another session with me. It would be free, of course (bitch knew how to work the long con). Again, when I closed my eyes, that warning voice came back. Get out of here, right now! Again, I dismissed it as paranoia. After this “prayer session” Lillian told me that things were going well. In fact, Anthony had had a dream about me the other night. Her meditations were working, and I was on his mind. There was a problem, though. For whatever reason, there was some dark energy that was blocking us. At this time, it had been more than a month since I had last seen Anthony. I’d heard that Anthony was now seeing one woman exclusively. I was sick with jealousy and desperate to remove this block Lillian spoke of. She said in order to do it, she need to purchase these two specially charged crystals that cost $1,500 each, for a grand total of $3,000. I told her there was no way I could afford $3,000. She said that it was the only way we could ever be together and she would try to work something out.
A few days later, Lillian called me and said that she had gotten the price down from her supplier. The price was still more than I could afford. Then she said that she believed in this relationship so much, that she would dip into her own money to help me buy the crystals. I’m ashamed to say that I wrote Lillian a check for $1,500 to buy the two crystals. This was more than my rent money.
We went through the whole process again — the nightly meditations, checking in with her, one-on-one sessions, etc. for maybe another week or two. Can you guess what happened next? Lillian said that the block was stronger than she had initially thought, and she needed another outrageous sum of money to buy some more shit to remove the block. I was so sick with my addiction to Anthony that I briefly considered trying to raise the funds, but I also started looking into her claims. I went to a Wiccan shop and talked to the woman that worked there. The woman told me that I had been the victim of a common scam. According to her, the city was full of these fake psychics shops. Many of these “psychics” would come to her shop, she claimed, to get their auras cleansed after conning people out of thousands of dollars. I also did some research online. If you’re interested, google “psychic gypsy scams.” I found account, after account that told my story with Lillian, almost verbatim.
Lillian is still in business. Her shop is on a main street, and I have to drive by it often. Every time I do, I fantasize about throwing a brick through her big picture window, something I would never actually do. I googled Lillian’s real name — I give everyone I mention on this blog pseudonyms — which I’m sure is a fake name (wrap your head around that one), and the name of her business. She now has a Facebook page and tons of positive reviews on google, yahoo, and other sites. On Yelp, she has 1 star and all bad reviews, but when you google her, six other links come up before her Yelp listing. I really wish that I could give out Lillian’s real info on here to warn people about her, but that’s not the way this blog works. If you do want to visit a psychic, the best advice I can give you is to stay away from shops and small houses you drive advertising psychic, palm, or tarot readings — businesses that only do readings. A safer bet is to visit a new age or metaphysical bookshop. Most of those places will have a few readers on staff. I guess they could be scam artists too, but from what I’ve heard the storefront psychics are almost exclusively fraudsters.
I debated about telling this story for awhile. I consider myself a shrewd, logical person. The fact that I was conned out of a huge (to me, at least) sum of money due to my love addiction is something I’m extremely ashamed of. But telling these stories is healing for me, and I know there are a lot of other women and men out there who can relate. I still stumble in my recovery, but now I have a relationship with my Higher Power. I used to spend my time obsessing over and trying to change things that were beyond my control. Now I accept the things I cannot change, pray for the courage to change the things I can, and know that God will take care of the rest.
* Voted by members of the Imperfect household: Imperfect and Charlie the Cat.**
Image via Flickr, by user “Gunshots”