There are some things only a handful of people know simply because I have not shared them. To me, they became sacred after my friend was tragically taken from us a few years ago. But today I think his truth needs to be told and in a way that he would want it to be told. I don’t think he would mind one bit.
Some people choose you and some are just a part of your life by default, but when a hive involving many, many folks from all walks of life comes to you equipped with people ready to attack you, that’s when life can get very disturbing. That’s what happened to me and the roller coaster ride I was about to take, along with the strange, unusual twists and turns I would experience trying to understand exactly how any of this happened, would take years for me to unravel. But I finally did unravel them and I removed myself from the grasp of the few folks that make every community they are a member of, quite miserable.
I sat there re-reading the email this woman just sent to me, trying to decipher exactly what she was saying to me. I was perplexed that someone with her stature and clout would feel the need to belittle and insult someone like me. I didn’t understand where her hostility was coming from. I hadn’t done anything to her. In fact, wasn’t it just a few months before that she had sent a beautiful flower arrangement to me while I was in the hospital?
It was the card she enclosed and the followup phone call to thank her for the flowers that should have clued me in. She said she had done this nice gesture more for my husband than for me. She wanted to repay his kindness to her. But I still didn’t truly zero in on the problem until my friend Charles came to stay with us for a few months. The emails he showed me that she had written to him were enough to singe the hair from my arms they were so incredibly acerbic and filled with hatred.
This woman was a Monster.
Charles showed up at our house one Spring with his car packed to the hilt with as many of his belongings as he could cram into it. At the time I was a bit reticent to let him come to stay with us because I wasn’t too keen on his girlfriend. She had sent me some scathing email messages and had disparaged me to even more people about something that was really nothing.
I had attended one of her events and I got the flu. While my friends tried to tend to me in the hotel, she called and demanded I show up for work. I was too ill to even leave my room and I apologized profusely. I was embarrassed and remorseful, but also thankful that I had paid my own airfare and paid my own hotel stay when I checked out to go home early. It was months later when the rumors finally started hitting my doorstep and Charles was the person that started letting me know what she was telling people. She was saying that she had gotten stuck with the bills for my stay and that I was a worthless candidate for any event and not to be invited to anything she was a part of in the future. I confronted her.
Rule Number One when you’re dealing with a sociopath; Never confront them.
At the time, I had no idea she was a sociopath. I didn’t even know what a sociopath was!
That was the beginning of a ride that eventually brought Charles to our home, running for his life, trying to get away from this woman. The first 4 weeks he was here we sat together on the deck after my husband went to the office and I listened while Charles purged and I hugged him when he cried. He was utterly defeated and worn down. He had gone against every single value he ever had and he regretted the last few years of his life with a vengeance. He wanted out and he wanted it badly. After the first few days of hearing his stories, I didn’t blame him.
He had been at our house for just a few days when I received an email from her. Naturally I was hesitant to open any more electronic messages from this woman after being verbally assaulted numerous times over the years. She wasn’t the least bit remorseful about the transmissions and the toxic messages she sent out over the airways either. She had even bragged to me about one of them.
“He wanted to bring his damn girlfriend to the event and I told him NO! I told him that if he did bring her and he let her stay in the hotel room that I PAID FOR that I would make sure the hotel charged him for double occupancy. I told him it sure sucked to be him, but that’s the way things are.”
That was another clue about who she was deep down and I just never made the connection. Over the next few weeks Charles would show me the connection by sharing her emails she wrote to him and what I would read was stuff from a soap opera, if soap operas were all about deluded psychopaths. And they usually are.
As for her famous event? She was fired a year later. I guess it takes less time for some folks to catch on than it took me.
I opened the message from her, which I saw was copied to my husband. That wasn’t the first time she was compelled to copy my husband and wouldn’t be the last time either. She liked stirring up as much drama as possible with wives and husbands. This email was a bit of a surprise though. It was semi-nice and civilized.
“Thank you so much for providing our Charles with a safe place to land.”
Um, “our Charles”? I called my husband and we both decided not to respond to her. We even discussed not telling Charles she had written to us because we kind of knew what she was up to. After receiving nothing but unbridled hatred from her over the last few years, why suddenly were we worthy of such a nice message and a thank you? When we were the place he ran to in order to get away from her, why suddenly was she wanting to play the Friendly Card? It was suspect and just scratching the surface of her deceit.
A week after listening to his stories about her, we decided to tell him about the email she sent to us. He begged us not to respond to her. “She’s just looking for a way in! She wants an ally over here so she can spy on me. Please, please don’t respond to her. Believe me when I tell you that she can’t stand you guys, but she will do anything and say anything in order to try to control what I’m doing here.” We assured him that we knew what she was doing and would not respond to her, and we didn’t.
Rule Number Two; Never respond to their emails!! Even when you think they’re being nice.
I was perplexed though. What kind of hold could she possibly still have over him that he would be so afraid of. So I asked him. He held up his cell phone. “Well, this belongs to her. I pay the bill, but the phone is hers. I haven’t worked in a long time and I’m broke, so she let me use it.” Then he pointed to his laptop computer. “That’s hers. Mine went belly up and she loaned me that one so I could check my email and look for work. When I told her I was coming here to visit you guys, she let me take it with me so she could keep in touch with me.” But the one thing he loved most in the world was the reason she had a hold on him and it was outside packed safely away in his car.
His passion, his one true love, were the large Peter Lynn kites he unfurled daily on the beach right before jumping on his kite board to sail away into a world he felt completely at home and safe within. And they belonged to her too.
For days I sat with my friend on our deck and listened to him talk about what he had been through. The tears were always just below the surface and as soon as they fell, the snot would run and he would have to stop talking to compose himself. I started keeping a box of tissues on the deck for him. Occasionally he would pause and ask me “is this TMI?” and I would smile and shake my head no.
He started by showing me emails between her and her husband that she had secretly copied him on. He said he never wanted to be a part of her divorce and told her numerous times that he was not her boyfriend, but she used him as a weapon against her husband. The man finally divorced her and that’s when Charles’s relationship with her took a downward turn. That’s when Charles finally understood who had been financing their globe trotting tours across the continents too because the funding dried up, just like her marriage did.
And that’s also when she made it very clear that now that she was free of the husband, she was his responsibility. One he never signed up for, and did not want.
He said he did try to fill that role, not because of passion, but because of promises she kept making. She painted these grandiose scenes of him being able to travel the world and get paid for it under the guise of a nonprofit. She would fill out all of the paperwork and get the ball rolling and then it would be smooth sailing for both of them for the rest of their lives. So he had moved to Florida with her after her divorce and waited tables, while waiting for the dream to come true. The problem was that papers weren’t being filled out at all and she had dozens of excuses for not following through.
But the main reason was that she knew that once she created the nonprofit, making it work the way she promised was going to be virtually impossible. Charles didn’t know that though.
“Okay, wait a minute and back up here Charles. What about all of those trips abroad? You guys went to Italy, New Zealand and numerous other really expensive trips while she was still married. Are you telling me that you two were just friends all that time?”
He hung his head. “No, I slept with her.” Then his face contorted into an expression I was becoming very familiar with. He was starting to cry again. He got up and went inside. A few minutes later he sat back down on the deck with me and handed me the laptop. It was opened to an email exchange between the two of them that sent chills down my spine. I almost didn’t want to read it after I got started, but I did.
In the email she was trying to convince him that he could not catch genital herpes from her. She explained that her husband had sex with her for many years and he never caught it. They would just have to be careful. Charles continued to protest in his responses to her asking why they couldn’t just be friends. That was when I saw the first bone chilling manipulative way that she controlled him for so long. She told him that if this was the way he really felt, then it wasn’t too late for her to cancel his trip to Italy. She would have no problem going without him. He protested again telling her that trip was booked under the condition they were going as friends and and that she was the one that had insisted on paying his way there. But she persisted and he finally relented.
I was disappointed in this. “Why did you agree to go under those circumstances? Men have been doing this kind of shit to women for centuries and here you were falling into the same trap with her? Why didn’t you just let her go without you?” He couldn’t look at me now. I had hit a nerve and he knew the only thing he could do now was to confess what he had done, or stop talking to me about her. So he confessed, and I know it hurt him to his bone marrow to do it too.
“Ya know, I never would have been able to travel to all of those places on my own. I didn’t have that kind of money. Probably never going to have that kind of money. It was just too tempting to tell her I’d do what she wanted me to do just so I could go. I figured once I got there, she couldn’t make me do anything and she couldn’t. But she made sure I had a miserable time. We fought the whole trip because I refused to sleep with her.”
And there ya have it. I guess he wasn’t all that caught up in her web after all. He knew what he wanted and he had to gumption to use her to get it, so he did. It was kind of like those Peter Lynn kites. He loved them and he knew as long as he was nice to her, he could fly them. The distance he put between them when he came to our house, knowing it was a one way trip for him because he had no plans to return to her like he promised he would, and knowing she was too broke since her divorce to follow him here, was the same as agreeing to have sex with her in Italy.
And the hits just kept coming.
“You know she has a bag, right?” and he waved his hand in the general direction of his hip. I shook my head and asked him what he meant by that. I knew she carried a fanny pack everywhere she went, but I wasn’t making the connection about the bag. “She’s had a colostomy bag since she was fifteen years old.” Oh. Oh!! Oh dear, did I really need to know that? But of course, I had to know that in order to understand the rest of what he would tell me.
The problem was that now I felt a primal need to protect her.
Now I wanted to defend her.
How silly that thought would feel to me later.
“She claims to be in a lot of pain all the time, and I’m sure she is, but she takes a lot of pills. She gets a generic version of Oxycontin from her doctor. She orders jars of it at a time. I’m not kidding either. It was shipped to her in Florida and it’s the size of a Mason jar. She takes about 15 to 20 of those pills a day and she started sharing them with me. At first I didn’t want to take them, but after a while I got so depressed with how crappy my life was becoming that I just wanted to check out and get numb.”
His first wife left him because he was doing drugs, so I knew admitting this was also something he wasn’t enjoying. He was still deeply in love with his first wife. All of us that knew her were. She was the kindest and most beautiful person I had met in a very long time and I thought they were the perfect couple. None of us could believe it when they split up and all of us kept hoping they could work it out.
Then he showed me another creepy email that was written to do nothing more than manipulate.
“I’ve learned to trust my gut. I don’t have much gut left though.”
Just when you think she’s played every card, she pulls out the I-Can-Use-My-Disability-To-Get-My-Way Card. And it worked, because he did feel sorry for her, and now so did I.
He told me that he had not taken any more of her pills since he arrived at our house and he had no plans to take any. I was proud of him, but I also knew that the raw emotions he was feeling on a daily basis since he got here would make that a hard promise to keep. He did keep it though.
The one thing that surprised me most about my deckside chats with Charles was that he could prove everything he was saying, not by anything he had ever personally written in an email, but by sharing her emails. She was extremely verbose in her emails and would write small chapters, rather than the short and to the point emails that most people write. She would put everything in writing and this was the one thing she never considered could be her undoing. His email responses back to her were usually one or two sentences and written days later after she had emailed him again and again and again. The timbre and tone of the constant emails would shift from loving and smitten, to red hot anger and disgust that he wasn’t waxing poetic back to her. He said he never felt romantic about her, so why in the world would he write romantic emails to her?
I told my friend that I was quickly reaching the conclusion that he was an asshole and he laughed. I reminded him that he took her on a cruise with his family and he told me that he did that as kind of a way to repay her for all of the trips she had financed. When she took him on those trips (actually financed by the man she was married to at the time) she paid for everything, including any souvenirs he wanted to bring home.
His family paid for the cruise and told him he could bring her along. He confessed that he was a little worried about exposing his family to her. She was not the most polite person and could be quite offensive and insensitive at times. She was not the most gracious guest you’d ever want to have either.
In Tasmania his friend’s wife was very keen on environmental issues and recycling. She made a point of letting them know that plastic bottles and the plastic ring holders were a tremendous hardship on them way out in the bush since they managed their own garbage. She asked that they keep this in mind during their visit when they shopped for food at the market.
Charles said this all went in one ear and out the other for this woman. As soon as they got to the market she picked out two 24 packs of Pepsi in plastic bottles with plastic ring holders. Other than a never ending supply of Sweethearts candies, sodapop was the only other thing she ever consumed for calories. She rarely ate any kind of real food. He said he was so embarrassed to bring that purchase into this woman’s home and the look of disappointment on her face was palpable. He knew they would never get invited back.
The other thing about that trip was the romantic love nook their hosts had set up for them in the guest room. It was absolutely beautiful, and not something he planned to utilize for anything other than sleep. He knew that this room was based on what she told their hosts about their relationship and it was all based on her fantasy of what she wanted it to be, but nothing at all like it really was.
Besides, he had plans to leave her there while he visited with another friend in New Zealand for a week, sufficiently cutting down on the amount of time he would have to spend with her, in this room. She was not welcome at his other friend’s home because his friend’s wife had suffered from a massive Narcissistic Smear Campaign at her hands just a couple of years before.
That’s when he showed me the Wive’s Email, where she explained to him why it was she had failed to anchor herself successfully in the business at hand. It was always the wives that got in the way. “You were one of the wives too. Did you know that? She never wanted you to attend her events with your husband because she knew you’d never agree to any business venture she’d propose to him. That’s also why she felt it was no problem to send you mean emails. You got in her way.”
Um, no. I did not know that. So she had designs on my husband? Really?
Rule Number Three: Never doubt the veracity of need of a sociopath to control and take over anything they feel is rightfully theirs. They do not respect any boundaries of any kind. Not even marriage.
She figured she was respected enough that making a few small threats about losing business, or being seen as weak because he had a “crazy wife” would be enough to send any husband packing in order to get away from the wife. When it didn’t work with us, we both became fodder for her gristmill.
The Wives Email detailed not one, but two incidents where she slaved her fingers to the bone making this man successful, only to have the wife tell the husband that she was persona non grata after a while. She just knew that they were in love with her, but they never had the stones to tell their stupid, sniveling wives to just fuck off.
If I hadn’t read it with my own two eyes, if I didn’t know without a single doubt that she had written this email, I might have called Charles a liar. But I knew she wrote it. I also knew the gentlemen she referenced in her sad tale of woes, so I was quick to set the record straight with Charles about them. “They were never in love with her. They were her friends. I don’t know about any business venture with the first guy, but I do know about the second one and I know he loves his wife and never had any inclination to have an affair with her. Where does all of this come from? Is she really that confused about relationships and love?”
Rule Number Four: A sociopath does not love anyone, or anything. They have no idea what the emotion feels like because they have no love to give back of their own. If they were to describe love to you it would involve being worshiped and maintaining control of whomever they set their sites on. Or something like that.
It was three months later that she planned a trip to see Charles. He did not want her to come and even though she insisted that she be able to come to our house when we weren’t home so she could see where he was living, he flat out refused to let her. She had finally ran out of cash in Florida and had moved back home. So she was driving down here on the pretense of seeing other friends (what friends?) and bringing him the rest of his belongings from Florida. He wrestled back and forth via email with her about where she was staying and she insisted he stay with her at her friend’s house while she was here, or she would be taking the Peter Lynn kites back home with her when she left. It was the only weapon she had left to use against him and it worked.
He spent two nights with her under duress and put up a friendly front for the benefit of her friends and when she left he was able to breath once again. He told me that the night he took her to the bar and I showed up with my husband, he felt her go completely rigid. I was one of the only women that had stood toe to toe with her and had never backed down.
She hated me and much later she would show me and everyone that would listen to her gossip just how much she hated, and feared the person I am. I never saw it coming and how could I see it coming? What she perpetrated is not something I would ever think of in a million years to do to someone and it was all borne from a fevered, drug addled mind.
After Charles had lived with us for over four months I finally put my foot down with him. He needed to stand on his own two feet and we needed to have our privacy back in this small cottage that really isn’t big enough for two people on some days. I pointed to a date on the calendar and said “Do you see this date? That’s the day you are moving out of here. You already have a place to move to and I know it’s comfortable here, it’s easy to live here and you feel at home, but Charles, you need your independence and I need to have loud sex with my husband.”
And he gave me the face. The contorted face that meant tears were just a few seconds away and that pissed me off more. “Don’t you dare start crying! Don’t you do it!” But he did and he took himself out to the deck where he and I had so many heart to heart talks and he cried and I felt like a total shit for making him cry.
He quietly moved out over the next two weeks and he avoided me like I had the plague and I let him. Charles had been one of our closest friends for a very long time and I knew this rift would blow over. I also knew that to allow him to continue to coast under our roof was to watch him continue in this horrific tug of war he still had with that woman and I was tired of watching it and hearing about it. Right before he moved out she had sent him another email about the kites. He wasn’t taking her calls by then or writing her back, so she had no way to know what he was up to. She was furious and sent him an email that would curdle the toughest man’s blood. I’m sure he just added it to the pile of others.
I guess once he did move out he called her. He probably told her that he was mad at me and how I had pushed him out of the nest. I guess that was all she needed in the way of permission because the month he moved out I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what the fuck kind of wrench she was throwing in my direction and putting out fires and managing the havoc she was spinning out. I had never seen anything like it and had no idea where, or how, or even why she was doing it. Wasn’t she happy that Charles no longer lived with her sworn enemies?
Rule Number Five: A sociopath doesn’t need a reason to attack you.
I received yet another email from this woman. Once again I hesitated to open it, but I did. She had also sent an email to my husband that was along the same lines. The problem was that neither one of us were ever clear what lines those were, or what we were being accused of doing. It read like a bad soap opera novella and seemed to be created out of some imaginary place crammed full of nothing but fantastical bullshit. I believe my good friend Morine calls that place Liar Land. LOL!!
She wrote to my husband, “Shame on you for enabling your wife to be so crazy! You are an enabler! Your wife is crazy! I have sat down with Charles and Sally (that name is changed to protect the innocent) and all of us had a great big laugh at your expense. We all feel so sorry for you!” These are not direct quotes, but close enough. There was mention of some email she had allegedly received, though I never saw it and knew nothing about it. It was the best example of gaslighting I had ever seen though! She is quite the Master of that.
Now she had dragged another person into the fray. Someone I liked and respected. What in the world was she doing?! And why was she doing it?! Her reasoning and her accusations were so far out in left field that they made absolutely no sense to either of us. Much later we would find out that they didn’t make sense to Charles either.
And Sally? Sally never sat down and had a laugh with this woman about anything to do with us, or with Charles. Sally had no idea what she was even talking about!
We had learned our lesson with this woman a long time ago though, so responding to this nightmare was not something we had any intention of doing. That’s when she started signing her emails with a quote about how being silent was the same as an admission of guilt. Or something to that effect. I don’t care enough to actually go and hunt for it and I have long ago deleted anything I have ever received from her. She might have thought this was a great way to get us to respond to her, but I know a few quotes about silence too. Most of them have to do with silence being golden and the best response to someone you consider toxic.
Rule Number Six: Never let a sociopath get under your skin. If you aren’t careful, they might have to be surgically removed.
Months later it finally happened for Charles. He was finally on his own two feet. He had a great apartment, a good job doing what he loved most, his own cell phone, finally, and his own laptop computer. He was even ready to let go of those beloved Peter Lynn kites that had kept him unwillingly attached to a woman that had proven long ago that she was indeed, a monster.
When she drove down to pick up the kites she brought her cousins dogs with her and he said he thought he might never be able to get the bad smell of dog or her out of his apartment again. He said he had a hard time getting her to leave and she kept insisting once again that they could be roommates if he would only let her stay. But he was done and he wanted out.
He told me that he figured at the rate she was abusing herself, she might live another five years. He said he could remain nice to her for at least that long, but all rumors of a romantic relationship between them were going to quickly come to an end. He was finally flush enough to actually date someone.
I was so proud of him and I knew he was finally HOME and home free.
That next September Charles died in an accident.
While we were all reeling from the loss of him, she had stepped back into the picture masquerading as the bereaved lover. She wasted no time ingratiating herself with his family with boldfaced lies that they had spoken on the phone the day before he died about how they “would always be together”. Am I the only person that found that timing a bit suspicious? It would appear that even in death, Charles would not escape this woman!
Rule Number Seven: Never allow a sociopath to tell your story!
His family had no way of knowing the truth about her at the time, but months later when the memorial his family allowed her to help plan for Charles took place, his brother finally wised up.
His family had paid for her and one of her friends to travel back here for the memorial. When she arrived, no one could have predicted the bizarre way she handled herself and everyone was embarrassed for her and for her friend. She was grabby with Charles’s belongings and wanted to take everything for herself, but the final nail in her coffin was her attitude.
She wasn’t grieving like a normal person would. In fact, nothing she was doing even resembled grief. She was terrorizing people there that had reached out to Charles’s family. She was yelling at others. She was loud, abrasive and disrespectful. It was not the memorial he had envisioned for his sibling and when he made the decision not to give Charles’s car to her, she marched right out to the parking lot and in front of everyone, she smashed a rock on the hood of it.
After that display everyone there turned their backs on her and she was left to load up all of the other booty she was able to get her greedy hands on by herself and she was asked to leave.
I was relieved that we had opted not to attend. Charles knew how much we loved him and we were with him always. We did not need to attend a memorial executed and then ruined, by a monster.
What do I think about her last attempt to discredit me personally? I’ll tell you. I think that if there ever was an email, she sent it to herself. It’s the best explanation I can give because in order to claim that she received something, I know Charles would have made her prove it. Why she threw Sally into the mix is still a mystery, or is it? Charles had seriously dated Sally a while back and he liked her a lot. Perhaps this was her way of destroying that connection for him too. I was left with the very deep impression that her actions were nothing more than a way to drive a huge wedge between Charles and us and this way he would lose his support system here. A support system that knew she was toxic.
But it didn’t work out like she planned.
The morning Charles was officially declared missing, they started calling his Emergency Contacts to alert them that he was in dire straits. Who do you suppose those Emergency Contacts were? That’s right. They were me and my husband. My husband was working in California and when his phone started ringing at 4am, he let it go to voicemail. They started calling me when he didn’t answer. I was working in Virginia. I called my husband and told him to get out of bed and start returning calls. I was heading home.
I was crossing the Kitty Hawk bridge when I got the call that they had stopped looking for him and the mission was now a Recovery Mission and no longer a rescue mission. My friend had died.
She was, and is, a monster and unlike my gracious and loving friend Charles, I do not have it in my heart to be nice to her until the day she dies. She never had it in her heart to do the same for him either.
Why couldn’t she just leave him alone? Why couldn’t she just let him have the rest of his life to live in peace and on his own terms and not under the constant and watchful controlling eye that belonged to her, a sociopath? We will never know, but now you know the truth about how hard he struggled to be released from a situation that brought him more misery than love and how much he regretted the time he spent being controlled, lied to and manipulated by a sociopath.
Rule Number Eight: If you’re a sociopath you better hope you never cross my path because I will tell your story and it will be the truth.