In early 2015, I was singled out by a seemingly harmless eccentric woman in her early 60’s. At first, she appeared to be very friendly and commented right away that I was a very polite young man.
Frequenting the same café where I’d typically roost for a few hours each morning—sipping on coffee and writing, we would end up chatting for a while.
Being able to share intellectual, philosophical and spiritual conversation was pleasant and welcomed due to very few people in my life of which these page turners could be discussed.
It’s not been uncommon for me to befriend older and wiser people for as long as I recall so this felt perfectly natural. Over time, I began noticing traits that were a bit…off about this person. Not the least likely surprised however at this old hippie’s character-traits, I simply brushed it off—ignoring the early signs that my intuition was warning me of.
I picked up on her narcissism right away…
For me personally, it’s taken a long time to trust my inner knowing and that despite what’s occurring on the superficial level, energy never lies.
Last year was a particularly challenging space in time for me and to have that comfort nearly every day to take a break from reality for cheer and laughter was very welcoming.
Over the course of a few months, a growing discomfort began to dwell within although I was unable to pinpoint or recognize its source—or so my rational mind continued insisting on. She would continually inform me that I’m an attractive or handsome man, which I took for face-value coming from someone 30 years my senior.
After a while, her behaviors became reminiscent of a child’s, which is fine—we should all let our inner child out to play no matter what age we’ve arrived at. Nonetheless, it was an early sign of what I’ve since discovered to be a predominant trait that histrionics possess.
Now I’m no angel nor is my name Jesus but I do consider myself very tolerant, patient and accepting. Although, I can only tolerate so much before I feel like I’m being put on public display at the behest of my company’s increasingly strange behavioral patterns.
As usual, I’d let it go, after all I considered this woman to be a friend. I should also note right away that I walked away from this experience with some valuable wisdom, some of which she had imparted and I’m ever grateful for that.
My tolerance extending only so far, I informed her of my plans one day to wander downtown and she immediately invited herself along. “Hmm…” I thought. “This should be interesting.”—moving beyond the coffee shop and into the outside environs of our beautiful garden city.
So we wandered downtown to the farmer’s market and to another coffee shop where she proceeded to behave….histrionically. At this point, I was simply feeling embarrassed and like a spectacle.
I don’t like being made to feel like a spectacle.
Her contrived behavior at this point was simply growing on my typically steadfast nerves and while she complained about the poor air quality (fire season), I finally blurted out quite unconsciously; “You’re making it sound worse than it is.” Well this just sent her through the roof of her victimhood mentality and for weeks following she insisted on prodding me with why I said such a hurtful, insensitive thing.
“So be it.”, was my ultimate egoic response (being quite fed up with this crazy old lady by that point) before finally confessing that I’d done it unconsciously as a brazen act—exactly what she wanted to hear; now swept into her vice-like grip and officially claiming me as her prey.
By this time, we had now shown our true colors—a new echelon of frienemyship (friend/enemy). She began insulting me, threatening to run me out of town in a humorous tone as if she was kidding but serious, so on and so forth.
Intimidation, assault, coercion and public humiliation were now tactics she had pulled out of her arsenal (she slapped me in the face on two separate occasions). She also insisted on us developing a conscious psychological relationship which I interpreted as two intellectuals who could carry about honest and open communication where essentially anything could be spoken about without judgement or ridicule.
I spoke of my boundaries at one point and her immediate reply was, “I don’t believe in boundaries!”—Huge red flag.
The stalking also began by this point after mistakenly letting her know of my new dwelling I had recently moved into. [My landlord’s wife confirmed that she sat across the street from where I lived for two hours one day while I was away.] All of this in a cute, innocent neurotic way that she thought was endearing.
These types, they prey on people while playing the victim to get you to empathize with their pitiful circumstances…
As the growing unease and uncertainty of what she might say or do next progressed, coincidentally showing up while I was sitting down to write at this same café in the afternoons following my work day, I began revealing the strange nature of this so-called friendship to my landlord.
She always insisted that I drop what I was doing to entertain her despite it being obvious I was busy—working…
As a musician in his younger years, he pointed out right away that she was setting herself up to be my sugar momma (his words) based around the experience he had with neurotic fans both young and old while he experienced his fame in earlier years. He also noted that it sounded like she has Asperger’s and read off a list of traits—every one of which nailed her personality to a T. Personally, I do not wish to associate this disorder with her particular phenomenon but I’ve noted it for reference as an educational marker for those who are learning about the variety of personality disorders that do exist.
One day she brought up all of the good people she knew and how she could blackmail them…
Another tactic she began manipulating me with—questioning my own sanity and empathy with role-reversal. She began projecting onto me—accusing me of being schizophrenic and lacking empathy. As my landlord informed me, people like this desperately want to have these feelings they simply do not possess and so they behave like energy vampires, warily picking out victims of whom they can siphon energy from—in any way, shape or form they quite intelligently entertain.
I noticed she projected unique personas around different people, ensuring she was being held in high esteem by others…
Predators form a bond, subtly and insidiously begin their manipulation tactics and eventually turn their hapless victim against themselves—no longer able to distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined; a duality or battle between one’s own mind and their intuition.
She related to me that she had begun telling her friends that I was her greatest experiment…
She had quite famously bottle-fed me into a very self-conscious person, convincing me I was all kinds of f*cked up psychologically. Well the day arrived when she invited me out to dinner and I politely agreed. She had the specific day picked out and everything.
Naively believing still that this was an odd, yet harmless friendship, I shared this with my landlord and he then retold the stories of his own experience as though he’d been watching mine the entire time—I even began to rationalize and he stopped me in my tracks.
Suddenly overwhelmed and feeling as though I had just been awakened from a trance-state, the intensity of this nagging discomfort swept over me—one of the creepiest feelings I’ve ever had.
Now I know how all of you women feel when you’re being creeped on by creepy guys—I’m so sorry.
He insisted that I nip this all in the bud and cancel the engagement immediately. He suggested that I go so far as to stop visiting any place she was aware that I frequented as well—which I took heed, all of it. I called and left her a message that I could not make the appointment (dinner) and she soon followed up with three creepy-ass voicemails that I saved for my own records, protection and to use against her if necessary.
To make myself fully clear how I felt, I emailed her a cease-and-desist letter, citing each offense that I had transcribed and was willing to press charges against her for if she persisted. Fortunately to this day, there’s not been another incident between her and I and I’m very thankful that my landlord served as a guiding light—steering me clear of what could have become a very nasty experience.
Phew, lesson learned!
My advice, if you’re willing to receive it is to be weary of people who begin persecuting or humiliating you in public in addition to any of the above mentioned experiences that I went through so naively.
I understand, despite all of this that she is incredibly damaged psychologically—knowing first-hand that it stems from her childhood. She cannot help her behavior and I believe is largely clueless as to its severity. This kind of damage requires immense healing and although I really don’t have any desire to help her, I can at least forgive her and myself for this experience.
It’s not something I ought to hold onto, gossip with ill intent of or persecute her for any further. This article is to inform others that despite so many of us who inherently see the good in others, we can be easily taken advantage of explicitly because of this.
It’s best to seek compassion for those who are so mentally disturbed and who literally thrive on attention-seeking and over-excessive drama. Please, guard yourself first before deciding that loyalty to someone else is warranted over our own self-care and health.
I’d urge others to pay attention to any rising discomfort that comes about in the presence of questionable individuals—friends don’t deteriorate the well-being of the people they care about. People incapable of truly loving themselves cannot truly love and care for others without becoming parasitic in nature and this is an unfortunate, yet harsh truth.