Cognitive Dissonance

Judith Mawson, ex-wife of infamous serial killer, Gary Ridgeway Photo from article at

Judith Mawson, ex-wife of infamous serial killer, Gary Ridgeway
Photo from article at

This is not a happy post, so *TRIGGER ALERT*

Various things are on my mind tonight, and hope that they will merge into something coherent.  When we are in an abusive relationship, involved with someone with psychopathic tendencies, if not an outright psychopath (“pick your favorite label.” as I say), we really don’t know how far they will go.   The ones who have suffered the worst — the loss of their lives — they can’t come back to tell us what the red flags were.  This is why it is a very serious topic, and important to get some idea of what we are dealing with.

Random news story…

Billingshurst Double-Death in West Sussex Photo from article at

Billingshurst Double-Death in West Sussex
Photo from article at

Billingshurst double death husband found hanging:

A post-mortem examination on a man found dead at his home in West Sussex on Christmas Day found he died from hanging, police have said.

The body of Jan Tshabalala, 33, was found at the house in Groomsland Drive, Billingshurst, at about 09:00 GMT.

The cause of death of his wife, Julia, 30, whose body was also found at the property, is still being investigated.

I do not know the outcome of this investigation, or whether psychopathy was involved, but it does show the tragic consequences that can happen when relationships go wrong.

A Man Shows Us A Day In The Life Of An Abusive Relationship:

It might be surprising to some of you to see who the victim is at the end of this video, but unfortunately, too many out there will find it familiar.

The above link includes a short video clip (under 1 minute), and yeah, the victim was male.  So yes, domestic violence happens to cisgendered women, cisgendered men, gay people, and transgendered women and men.  There is never an excuse for violence, ever.  Period, full stop.

Again, my own segue:

Paula admits hitting me...

Paula admits hitting me…

These are the words of my wife, in her own words, admitting that she hit me.  Did her “resentment” justify hitting me?  I don’t think so.  Would you believe her promises not to do it again?  I didn’t, and anyone involved with her shouldn’t believe her either.  And as she herself readily admits, I never raised a hand to her…

Then this…

Ryan and Gail Brink

Ryan Wyngarden was convicted of killing Rick and Gail Brink in 1987:

Due to incriminating testimony given by the defendant’s wife of 25 years, Pam Wyngarden, Ryan Wyngarden was convicted on March 28, 2014 of killing his sister and her husband in 1987. This 27- year old cold case divided families and provoked heated courtroom outbursts during the 12-day trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven, MI. Wyngarden, 51, of Zeeland, was charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder for the deaths of his sister Gail and her husband, Rick Brink, on Nov. 21, 1987. After sentencing at 11:30 a.m. April 21, he will spend the rest of his life in prison. The prosecution, led by Prosecutor Attorney Lee Fisher, said Wyngarden killed the couple because he was jealous of the newlyweds and their success and didn’t want his sister to tell Rick, 28, about Wyngarden’s sexual molestation of Gail, 22, when they were younger.  [Emphasis mine.]

One can deduce that incest perpetrated against a younger sibling in childhood is a predictor that that the outcome will not be favorable.  Note that this is a 27-year old cold-case, but the truth finally saw the light of day in 2014.  Serious matters, serious topic…

So who was Gary Ridgeway, and who was Judith Mawson (pictured at top)?

‘I had the perfect husband… but he was the perfect murderer’: Wife reveals moment she found out she was married to Green River Serial Killer who murdered up to 70 women

But it turned out that Judith Mawson’s husband was far from perfect as, after 13 years of marriage,  she discovered he was the Green River Serial Killer with the blood of up to 70 women on his hands.
When Judith, 67, met Gary Ridgway at a bar in Seattle in 1985, she recalled he seemed like the perfect suitor – he was handsome, polite, had a good job, and treated her like a lady.


She told People Magazine that she believed him when he told her his carpet was destroyed by kids and removed and that his ex-girlfriend had taken her bed back. She trusted him when he said he was late because of a union meeting.


‘I was crying, no it cant be him. Then I found out that he’d had the carpets removed because he’d killed women on them  and there were bloodstains.

‘He’d had sex with some of them on the bed and killed them. I look back and think, “Was my life real with him or did he just use me?”.’


When he was first arrested, Judith said she believed her husband when he told her they had the wrong man.

When she visited the former truck painter in jail she said: ‘We were trying to touch each other through the glass. I would cry.’

When he confessed she cut all contact with him and spent the next two years hiding at home in virtual isolation, drowning her sorrows in wine and pain pills.

She told People: ‘I was scared, in hiding, ashamed. I dreamed about him all the time. he kept reaching out to me.’


‘Telling my story, getting all the poison out of me helped me to heal. But how do you forgive someone who is suspected of killing 70 women?’

Judith has not dated since her husband’s arrest, believing she may never trust another man again but spends her time with friends and at her local church.

So what I wanted to get around to is cognitive dissonance.  Google it, you’ll find plenty of links.  In a nutshell, it’s when you hold in your mind two conflicting realities.  It’s part and parcel of a relationship with a psychopath.  In the beginning, they love-bomb you, tell you are wonderful, put you on a pedestal, declare that you are “soul mates,” and like Judith Mawson, you believe you’ve found the perfect partner.  But sooner or later, you notice the lies, the red flags, that they are late “because of a union meeting.”  Their mask falls, and while you may not end up being hit upon like my wife hit me, and you may not find out they are a notorious, prolific serial killer like Gary Ridgeway, you will find out you’ve been cheated on and betrayed.

Now sit back and try to imagine the cognitive dissonance that Judith Mawson must have felt.  Seriously, give it a thought.  If she had trouble understanding that Ridgeway was as wicked as he was, what about the rest of us?  Surely we can be forgiven for our lapses back into cognitive dissonance?  “Maybe I was wrong, maybe s/he really was at a union meeting?”

This is exactly why I continue to tell my story.  I survived, but Rick and Gail Brink did not.  I survived, but the wife in Billingshurst did not.  One life saved is worth 10,000,000 blog posts.  If your stomach is in knots, and you’re not sure what to believe, get out!!!  Honor your gut instincts and your intuition.  Do not accept lies and abuse.  Love yourself!  Take heed, gentle reader.  These are not idle ruminations.  They make the headlines every day.

No songs this time.  I’ll try to have something funny or light-hearted for my next post.

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Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
This entry was posted in Billingshust, cheating, cognitive dissonance, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Gail Brink, Gary Ridgeway, incest, infidelity, Judith Mawson, liars, lies, lying, male victim, psychopath, psychopathy, Rick Brink, Ryan Wyngarden, West Sussex and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Cognitive Dissonance

  1. safirefalcon says:

    Wow. I can only imagine (or not) the cognitive dissonance Judith Mawson must’ve endured and still probably does. One question that I thought of was, why did he allow her to live? And that question leads to another even for me. So with all the emotion wrapped up in it for her, OMG, I don’t even want to think about it.

    I don’t know if this sort of thing is happening more often now (I know the one you included happened back in the 80’s but still) or if it’s just that the world is so much smaller now due to all the ways we are able to get the news now. Either way, it’s all very sad and very alarming.


    • DogDharma says:

      safirefalcon, having listened to her interview, she struck me as incredibly sweet and empathic. If I had to wager a guess as to why she didn’t become one of his victims, it would be a) because she was his cover story to throw investigators off his trail, and b) she was so malleable that she continued to satisfy his “narcissistic supply.” If she had questioned him about the “union meetings” and the replacement of the rug, she might have seen the other side of him.

      I don’t know if this is going on (serial killers, extreme abuse that ends in death) these days, or if it is a phenomenon of the world being smaller. I suspect it has always been going on. If one delves into such stories (dismal reading), one can find stuff going on back since the beginning of recorded time. I see signs of hope and signs of despair. I am choosing to focus on signs of hope while continuing to tell my own story.

      As always, thanks for reading and commenting. I know it was a heavy-duty post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • safirefalcon says:

        Yes, good points you’ve made. I didn’t watch the interview of her. I suppose I need to do that. In fact, I thought the pic you posted was a vid at first glance. lol

        I was referring to all this violent abuse in general really as far as wondering about the frequency of occurrence whether it ends in death or not. I don’t know, I think for me it’s where my consciousness has been these past few years (learning what I can to help me recover. from my own personal stuff.


  2. Jamie Ray says:

    One of my ex-bosses is a pedophile (teenage boys) – he was convinced that his “straight good ole boy” persona was sufficient cover (it was in the midwest but not in NYC) and I had to tell him that he had to watch it in the office because my staff was suspicious of his interest in some of the student interns he was “mentoring”. He denied it completely until a complaint was lodged against him by the parents of one of the interns. He was a smooth operator. One day I’ll write about him, but he was very uncomfortable with me because I was out and had working gaydar.


    • DogDharma says:

      Yikes, Jamie! Sometimes it seems these creeps are slithering everywhere. I had a vaguely similar story. I once met a woman who was married with two children in Danbury, CT. She was doing the, “I think I might be a lesbian” thing later in life. Well, we all know how that stereotypically turns out. A little experimentation, and often, back to the husband. I befriended her, and stopped by for a visit on my way to New York where I met my second partner. She only had one gay friend, and she was keen to take me to the bar to introduce me. Turned out, he was also a pedophile. Her son was about ~9yo, and she said to him something like, “I guess I’ll start to keeping tabs on your time with my son.” !!! I hate to even post this reply because being a pedophile is NOT the same as being gay. Being gay is about *consensual* adult relationships based on love, not preying on children. Takes me back to the old, old days, when NAMBLA had to be excluded from gay pride events. 😦 This woman also seemed to be deluded that a little “experimentation” with women was not breaking her marriage vows. Believe me, I ran for the hills and I haven’t heard from her since.


  3. DogDharma says:

    safirefalcon, I don’t think the Daily Mail link includes Judith’s whole interview in video. I watched it on the Investigation Discover channel. The series is called “Who the {Bleep} Did I Marry?” If you don’t subscribe to it by cable, you can see at least the promo video here:

    Re: violent abuse in general, I think what is happening is that we’ve reached a tipping point where more and more people are talking about it and the science and experience of psychopathy. Used to be, I couldn’t comprehend this until I experienced it first hand. And the likes of Ridgeway and Bundy were phantoms almost. How could some man put his arm in a sling and use his “pity story” to tap the empathy of his victims? Well, he was REAL, and so was Ridgeway and many more. And so are the “garden variety” abusers, and the ones who deceive and wreak havoc in innocent lives, even if they are not that extreme.

    Recovery is very difficult, because normal people don’t expect outright lies and deception. So learning and educating and reading the stories stories of others has been what has helped me most of all. Yes, they exist, and they do it on PURPOSE, and no, you’re not crazy. Gentle healing.


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