The Consequences of a Derailed Narrative, Inspired by Jeremy Cheezum

Posted on November 25, 2019


The author of this blog invested many years in daily responding to people trying to come to grips with casual accusations, which they typically alleged were false and which the writer had no difficulty believing were false. Hearings in civil court, which may form the basis of years or decades of conflict, are never exercises in fact-finding, not really; they’re games of dodge ball played between two main opponents, one of whom always has his or her hands tied.

One of the gravest psychological consequences of accusation is that it upsets a part of us that’s critical to our ability to thrive: a positive self-narrative, which is the subject of this post.

A speech injunction was imposed upon me in 2013 following what was supposed to be a trial—only there was no trial. That speech injunction, which prohibited me on pain of incarceration from talking about my own case of false accusation even by “word of mouth,” was dissolved last year. (The lies weren’t dissolved, of course, nor were any apologies made or any compensation for damages ordered; the liar was just denied an audience.) After 30 months in court responding to four separate legal attacks, I wasn’t much in the mood to revisit the 2013 case, which there had been no point in doing prior to the dismissal of the illegal injunction, because I couldn’t talk about it.

What will be unsurprising to anyone who’s found him- or herself in the same crosshairs is a 12-year case began with some casual “protective order” allegations (all of them false representations).

Jeremy Cheezum, Pastor Jeremy Cheezum, Rev. Jeremy Cheezum

Jeremy Cheezum, a seemingly nice guy

In recent months, I have looked back, and one of the things I noted is the role of a person I had asked to help me gain relief from serial false accusations made against me by his sister-in-law. His name is Jeremy Cheezum, and I’ve published several posts critical of the instrumental part he played in the 2013 case (one of many brought or motivated by the same person).

And I believe he has seen the posts and that I know how they’ve made him feel. No, I don’t know if they’ve made him feel remorseful, nor do I know if they’ve even inspired him to acknowledge the truth let alone care about what his family members’ lies have cost me and my family over the past 14 years. But I’ve been publicly accused, and I know how that feels. I imagine that Jeremy Cheezum has wondered if he has legal grounds to retaliate. Have I been defamed?” I suspect he has wanted to know. “What can I do?” (other than the right thing, which would be self-compromising).

It’s how our minds work; they’re self-protective. Here’s a Presbyterian preacher who has set up shop in a new town (Montrose, Colorado) and cemented relationships, including I think I read with the city council. He has built up a congregation and invested time in gaining his followers’ confidence and enriching his children’s education.

He’s sown the seeds of success and security, and here some phantom from the past comes haunting the edges of his idyllic self-narrative. It sucks.

But it doesn’t just suck for easy-living Presbyterian preachers whose job is reciting a half-hour speech once a week and organizing “coffee klatches” and group hikes. When I was accused, I’d daily invested years toward realizing a career as a writer of humor, years that were effectively rendered worthless. By lies.

It sucks for anyone to be denied the opportunity to approach life confident, composed, and forward-facing.

When that gnawing specter of accusation and denunciation haunts us daily not for weeks and months but for years, it sucks the marrow out of life.

Copyright © 2019

*The author of this post knows people who have been driven to destitution by courthouse frauds that become all-consuming. Money is exhausted, social and professional credibility is destroyed, sanity is taxed, material comforts disappear, and relationships crumble and blow away while they await the next of what may be an interminable series of hearings or rulings or even fresh prosecutions. They cling to a forlorn hope that they can simply reset the clock to zero, which is almost always the best they can hope for.