TOXIC ATTENTION: THE JEALOUS BFF

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol' side-eye.

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol’ side-eye.

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

My girlfriend Josie used to be sooooo cool.  But in the last three months though she has  became the biggest bitch going. We were best friends.  Truly, I love the girl. I helped her get a job in my office and we even live together.  I’m not saying she has to be slavishly thankful. But ever since Todd (the football player she likes) gave her the old razzmatazz and blew her off she’s a different woman.  Now she is so two-faced, making comments implying I’m some sort of slut just because guys like me, especially my actual boyfriend Scott.  Sorry Todd’s just not into you.  Josie’s now the biggest attention seeker going. Always lectures me on how I’m eating the wrong thing and how I am sure to get fat. She flirts with every guy with her vapid baby talk. Then storms off when she doesn’t get attention.  She stalks me and inserts herself into all my conversations, interrupting to say how she likes the colors we’re wearing and taking pictures of me and whomever I’m with (!!!). She gets wasted at parties, breaking lights off the walls, taking her top off and running around in her bra. Now she’s trying to split me and my boyfriend Scott up because she “wants me to keep my options open.” Gee, thanks for your concern. I am running out of patience.  When will my old BFF come back?

-Petrissa Q. 

Hatin'.

Hatin’.

You know that movie Single White Female?  Well, meet Single Black Female.  My boss and I are the same type — Black women in our 20s.  Except I’m a size 4 and pretty (you better be if you want a decent guy in Manhattan). My boss is a big girl, with a big nose, droopy breasts from yo-yo dieting and a bigger ego.  Because of her job title and salary she really thinks she ought to have the best of everything, especially guys.  But the only way she can is to pay for a guy — give a broke musician a place to stay, give a bar guy in Jamaica or Dominican Republic spending money or marry an ex-con mechanic.  Not. My. Fault. But I’m tired of her insisting on tagging along when I go out for drinks or clubbing.  We’re not actually friends and she’s just using me to meet men.

-Alexa K. 

WARNING SIGNS

liono

This person is a little self-hating stalker.  She is no longer a genuine friend.  Don’t be fooled — she’s a little bit in love with you and even wants your attention.  Maybe even all your attention. But right now, she hates you more than she loves you.  And she is actively seeking to hurt you

Will it rise to the level of physical violence? Time will tell.  But the undermining, gossip and innuendo will cost you at work and in your personal life.  Whether on the cheerleading squad, in the sorority, in your neighborhood, yoga class or job.

The aggression is real.  The hater hopes you are weak and will believe her negative comments.  She dreams that you will internalize her hateful bullshit.  From nasty gossip to throwing shade, eye-rolling and sucking teeth, you can’t ignore these assaults.  They are meant to trouble, hurt and intimidate you.

It’s not a surprise when, despite her criticisms she starts talking, acting and dressing like you.  Your haircut, handbag, cut of jeans.  It’ll get much weirder before it gets done.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

As much as you can, cut this hater off.  Cut down on the information she knows about you.  Supply preposterous misinformation to make the shit she talks about you baseless and non-sensical. Tell her your arms and legs are prosthetic, you found out your family is really from Russia, tell her you’re an alien, tell her you’re wearing a wig/ weave, tell her this is not your real name, etc.

As long as the bad behavior persists, make clear to others that she is no longer your bestie and that you do not accept or co-sign her behavior.  Stop socializing with her as an automatic part of your clique.

Every time your hater says something bitchy, say “That’s not a very nice thing to say. Would you like it if I did or said something like that to you?”

Alternately, when your hater seeks attention, completely ignore her, walk away, talk to someone else – don’t even comment. And keep it moving.

Attention seekers love being the focus of attention. When they don’t get any attention, they get bored. Sooner or later they find a new target. Trust me, they don’t see you as a human being, they just see you as a tool to gratify them with attention. You’ll get rid of her sooner or later.

TO TYLER CLEMENTI WITH LOVE

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

My name is Katya and I am loving living away at college in Chicago.  But let me tell you: there’s a lot of pressure and the strange on-campus crimes would blow your mind.  There’s one woman in my dorm — a thick, angry bruiser who acts all super-militant and righteous.  Okay.  She’s not very attractive inside or outside but whatever.  Then I  don’t see her again after winter semester break.  Then I hear she’s been busted and institutionalized for raping a smaller, fellow male student.  Male.  Student.  She raped a male?!  What craziness is in studying our midst?

-Katya W.

During my first year at Fordham, my clothes kept disappearing. From my room, from the washer and dryer in the basement.  Then I hear from other students on my floor that there’s been a rash of clothing thefts from the laundry room and dorm rooms.  Our Residence Advisor called us together to say the clothing stealer had finally been caught. Come to find out my meth-using pre-med roommate Danika had been the stealer the whole time.  She had been stealing clothes and hoarding and slashing the clothing in her room.  Her girlfriend Sarah gave her up to the campus police cuz she thought Danika was out of control. What the?!! Give me my clothing back, you lunatic!!!  Your parents better pay me back at least!!

-Merry J.

WARNING SIGNALS

Oh, college ain’t just for the sane.  Psychopaths come in all flavors.  What’s dreadful about being young is you have very little personal experience with dealing with these nutjobs one usually only sees on repeats of “Law & Order.”  And they are 100% dangerous.  Like any psychopath, the loose screws one encounters in the undergraduate dormitory.

Like Tyler Clementi, we all go to school to live our lives and further our educations and careers.  Exploring our sexuality and relationships is part of that.  How sick is it that your roommate would film, watch, clown and broadcast your private encounters?

Now no coed college student is a forensic or psychological expert.  But amplify your own sense of modesty, isolation, and shame and confronting a bully becomes the hardest thing in the world. Especially when their actions become absolutely criminal.

It is well recognized that a person who has suffered abuse will tend in life to either become a perpetrator of further abuse or become self-destructive.  So maybe there is some grain of “why” inside the perpetrator in these perilous college situations.  Or maybe that’s just wishful psychobabble thinking.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

The greatest sin of the tragedy is that Tyler Clementi’s roommate’s malice took him by surprise.  An unfortunate part of adult life is learning to expect the worst from people.

And also understanding that the rot has nothing to do with you, Tyler.  It’s inside them.

By drawing lines of acceptable behavior, finding safety in like-minded numbers and being aggressive about complaining to authorities when we are wronged, we can start to protect our psyches and lives from psychopaths.

FINANCIAL ABORTION

Gallery

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION My name is Mathilde and I come from the Phillipines.  After I barely made it out of high school there, I saw many American soldiers and tourists visit Manila. How rich they all were!  I yearned for … Continue reading

MINIMIZING: HOW HE DOWNPLAYS THE PROBLEM HE CREATED

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

I’m a Virginia native.  Third generation to graduate from the University of Virginia.  I try to be a solid friend and sorority sister.  I met my boyfriend Ethan at Homecoming.  We’ve been dating six months. I’ve tried to be sweet and attentive and pamper him every way I know how. In that time, we’ve gone to dinner and I’ve made him dinners. We’ve become intimate and it has been great.  We’ve spent nights over and weeks at home together.  I’ve given him some small thoughtful gifts — a Kindle, a humidor, sneakers. But he’s never given me not one gift. Ever.  No gifts, not a single card, no flowers.  We’ve never gone away for the weekend together.  We do argue and he won’t apologize ever.  He just explains his position and experience of the conflict issue and then acts like it’s over. He goes to weddings without me.  Now he’s gone to Rome over Thanksgiving weekend and excused it saying all he did was save money by sleeping over at his ex-girlfriend’s home and going sightseeing “by himself.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. Ethan wasn’t secretive about his special jaunt across the pond — no, he’s been quite upfront. I believe he’s asked for his freedom so I’ve given it to him.  Of course, he downplays all this.  Acts like and talks like any problem is all mine in my head.  Of course, he has put his hand on my neck to shake me and make sure I’m listening as he trivializes this catalog of offenses I’ve “imagined in my head.” Really, Ethan? Really, buddy?

-Jimena L.

My fiance Michael is a bit of an egomaniac but I love him.  He’s really busy as a real estate broker.  It is not easy to be involved with him since he forgot my birthday and still feels it’s okay to attend formal balls without me but with “platonic” girlfriends from college. Michael wants to waste hours of my time hanging out and calling me to talk about himself.  He wants to go out by himself, to the opera without me, to business dinners without me. He says “No big deal.” But I think he wants all the goodies of having a girlfriend but without delivering on any but the minimum of the responsibilities.  Clearly I’m just part of his rotation.  His attitude is why am I wanting anything more than what little he’s willing to give.  He discounts my concerns that he is being disloyal and disrespectful.  His “why are you bugging me” attitude is a big reason I can’t see a future for us anymore. I just wanted to find someone to love me. And who I could love. And trust. But this is all I got.  If Michael’s love was weed, it wouldn’t be enough to get high on.

-Maggie R.

WARNING SIGNALS

Wow.  Just wow.  The things we accept are mostly things we’ll regret.  And there are a couple of big red flags just a-flapping in the wind with Jimena’s and Maggie’s relationship dynamics.

Reduction words are tip-offs that try to minimize unethical behavior: “Almost never” “sort of” “barely” “no big deal” “not more than” “only a little” “all I did was” “kind of” “but” “once” “just” “merely.”

But why minimize?  Some guys do it because you’re upset and they don’t think you should be.  Some guys wanna do the deed and skip out on the blame. Techniques range. Denying that he intended to hurt you by cheating is big. Claiming “it just happened” as if the action came from the sky and the mists above.

Minimizing lets you know dude believes he’s more important than you. Like when he insists a teasing, hurtful remark was only a joke.  And then adds he rarely jokes like that when he often does.

The most crazy-making minimizing technique comes down to manipulation.  You didn’t hear what you heard.  You couldn’t have seen him do it because it never happened. Therefore he neither has to acknowledge what you imagined nor deal with the hurtful impact of his actions.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

You are a grown-up and you don’t require anybody’s help to think any more than you need help to breathe.  By minimizing his transgressions, the person in your life is warning you and telling you he has an abusive nature.

Insults, belittling comments, ignoring you, or acting sulky or angry when you initiate a discussion — these behaviors have no place in a healthy, loving relationship.
And if he does not view you as an equal because he’s older or sees himself as smarter or socially superior, you need to give him his walking papers. It’s not gonna get better.

THE SEXUAL ELITE

Gallery

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION So let  me tell you about some trouble I’ve been having at work.  Please note that I work on the seventh floor of the Biscayne Building off Times Square.   A week ago, our marketing firm Dunn-Mahoney … Continue reading

DATE RAPIST WANNABES

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

I’ve worked at DelRay Media for four years with Carlton.  Carlton is 10 years married with two children  — his eldest boy was born with Cerebral Palsy and his youngest through a harrowing breach birth.  Carlton’s very smart and we’ve lunched often.  No big deal.  Recently, Carlton and his wife have gone through a rough patch and they have separated.  Suddenly, Carlton has been very needy about our lunches and talks.  He’s been a good friend and work buddy. But it’s not fair for him to try to force me to be his next woman just cuz his life is a mess.  I’ve been really busy moving into the condo I bought off Gramercy Park.  Last Thursday Carlton begged me to have dinner with him.  So I took time out of my life and met him at a Thai place five blocks from my new condo.  Well, he’s bitching the whole time about how I never make time for him and how things are going to have to change.  He says with a queer tone in his voice, “You’re going to start doing things my way.”  I’m like, buddy, your wife had enough of this boss-man crap — why you think it’s gonna cast a spell over me?  Half-way through dinner I was completely out of it and couldn’t even hold my head up.  I didn’t black-out so much as white-out — everything went bright, blurry and psychedelic. So Carlton plays the concerned gallant and half-carries me out of the restaurant.  I remember crossing Third Avenue in his clutches.  He was trying to get me to his car.  It’s Manhattan and I’m three blocks from my home.  I don’t need him or his bloody car. I don’t know where I found the strength and will but I broke away from Carlton’s hold.  On an animal level, I knew getting in his car (or his trunk) would have been a disaster for me.  I have almost no memory of the dinner itself or how I got home. I went from being fine to having to be carried into my building from a taxi by my doorman. Once inside my place, I was tripping on the Berber carpet and furniture like I was blind drunk. God knows what Carlton had in store for me.  Now I realize I made a mistake not going to the hospital and getting bloodtests.  I know Carlton drugged me with a mickey, Rufi or GHB in my Thai Iced Tea. I suppose he intended to blast through my refusals and defenses with his weak rapist game and “make” me have sex with him.  Needless to say I’m polite but keep my distance at the office.

-Tamra E.

It’s embarassing but I’m one of those “stupid girls” who made a really dumb decision and paid the price. I belong to a health club in Murray Hill where there was an open bar by the reception desk one evening.  I had worked out but  hadn’t eaten in hours.  Like a fool, I tossed back a couple.  They were free and it had been a long week.  I was drunk by the time the gym closed and I let an investment banker Evan I vaguely knew from a law class at New York University take me home. He gave me a screwdriver as we watched the CNBC financial news.  The last thing I remember before blacking out was Evan wrestling my yoga pants off and just ignoring me and smirking when I told him to stop. My limbs were like noodles so I couldn’t fight back or get away. Then I have fuzzy memories of wandering around near Macy’s at Herald Square and finding a liquor store and asking to use someone’s phone for help. And I tried dailing numbers but I couldn’t manage to press any buttons. Next I was sitting in the back of a police car.  The policeman asked me if “the sex was consensual.” Then the cop whisked me over to Bellevue for a rape kit. That whole night seems like a bad dream and I’m a perfect example of what never ever to do.  Even with a “normal guy” you think you know.

-Kimber D.

WARNING SIGNALS

No matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s or beyond, predators abound in the jungle of New York City.  These men hang around women and may play the friendly good guy for days, months or even years.  In their sexual desperation, these wanna-be rapists often get women drunk, offer them powerful drugs, screw them, and then congratulate themselves for being such a stud.  Sexual violence and exploitation remain a sad reality of dating life.

Even Dame Helen Mirren told GQ she had herself been date-raped several times in her late teens and early 20s. “I was (date-raped), yes. A couple of times.” But she did not report the assaults because “you couldn’t do that in those days.”

There are two kinds of date rapists: the ones who spike the drinks when a woman isn’t looking, as well as the sickos who believe they are just partying with women they overwhelm physically or with drugs and liquor.  Both kinds will rape women after they are either “made willing,” or passed out and might not even remember it happening.  Some guys will even take advantage of a woman covered in her own vomit or urine, and pat themselves on the back for being some kind of pimp with extraordinary sexual prowess.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

  1. Never let go of your drink. Never let it out of your sight.
  2. If a guy brings you a drink, take it slow.  Sip every 10 minutes to give yourself a fighting chance to note symptoms or shifts in the way you feel.
  3. Order drinks in bottles so if you’re distracted the opening is so small it’s hard for someone to spike it.
  4. If your drink is the same color or variety as his, distract him, swap drinks, pretend you had enough and let him drink his.
  5. If you are feeling woozy, do not leave a bar, club or restaurant by yourself.  Do not walk or drive home since you don’t know who might be waiting at your car or front door.  Wait until symptoms pass or go to a hospital immediately.  If several hours pass, they might not be able to trace drugs in your system. And you’ll want to know what you have been given.
  6. If you are already walking, driving or otherwise on the way home, call a friend to check in. Or arrange to switch your destination and stay with a friend.  I’ve seen far too many women tottering home, weaving, barefoot, giggling to themselves, alone.  It’s not just the predator from the bar; you have to worry about each taxi driver, cop on duty, fruit seller, delivery man, regular Joe etc. who can tell you are impaired.
  7. If you experience any memory loss go to a hospital immediately and get tested for a battery of possible drugs.
  8. Contact the last people you remember seeing to help you piece the incident together.
  9. Report the entire drugging and assault incident to the police.

Be safe!  And take all steps to protect yourself and your rights.

FIRED WRONGLY

WORK SCENE INVESTIGATION

My name is Emilia I’ve been working as the Executive Assistant for the President of the American Quilt Museum for four years.  I know everything and everybody. My boss — he always praises me for working hard.  He says the Museum couldn’t run nearly so smoothly without my diligent, consistent efforts. I’m not bragging but one time the Board of Directors sent me a note with a bouquet of pink roses.  It said the Board members consider me “a treasure, part of the institutional wealth of the Museum.”  This is my dream job.  But six months ago, I got a new boss Matilda Campbell.  The wife of a wealthy donor who got a patronage job as my middle manager.  Matilda does nothing every day except put on an outfit, go in her office around 11am and turn everything on, call her friends and family  then she goes to lunch, comes back and leaves by 4pm.  She “manages” to give me all her work since I was doing it before she arrived anyway.  After three months, Matilda gave me a horrible performance review.  I changed nothing about how I work.  And she warns me that if I don’t improve, “there will need to be change to staffing.”  So I have three kinds I am raising as a single Mom — I can’t afford to lose my job.  I go to lunch with one of my Board Members Todd Sorenstein. When he asks how things are going, I give him the lowdown. He swears me to secrecy but he tells me I’m being railroaded out of there.  Everyone knows Matilda doesn’t want to work — she’s a do-nothing political hire.  He says she doesn’t like how well-liked I am so is cooking up bad performance reviews to put her boot on my a**.  After 4 years? I ask Todd, how much time I have left.  He says, “Matilda’s going to fire you after lunch on Friday.”

-Emilia C.

I am Larry Tsang and I got a bad problem.  I got out of UConn in three years and landed my first job for a children’s television Division President Anna Rogers.  You know, the one who invented “Platypus Dance Team,” “Lions Story Time” and “Ring Around the Rainbow.” I know Hollywood types can be a little crazy and I figured I’d do my time and earn my bump up. But four years and no bump — no better job, no better salary, nothing.  When I suggest shows I could go work on or next-level jobs I could take, Anna jokes, “But who would take care of me then?  I couldn’t find anyone better than my Larry.”  And she’s always hugging me which I can’t stand. But the final straw has come in the form of Anna’s beloved dachshund Twinkle.  Anna flies often and likes to take Twinkle with her.  The woman makes millions but insists that I magically get a free seat for Twinkle in first class. I don’t know what regulations changed but nowadays this free seat is impossible.  I just told Anna and she just told me I’m fired.  No recommendation, no bump, no job, no gratitude. Now I know what her ex-husbands felt like – a used tissue, a disposable razor, an emptied packet of low-sodium soy sauce. Done.  Just like that.  Now what?

-Larry T.

WARNING SIGNALS

Anyone who works has to deal with some amount of hierarchy.  And, for managers, it’s a delicate balance to firmly tell your direct reports what to do while remaining respectful and kind. It’s one thing to be the boss and quite a different thing to intend to hide behind the title of boss to demean, exploit and harm with impunity.  Firing someone unfairly is a war cry — it is declaring you and your employee as enemies.  It happens so often because bosses plain ol’ get away with it.

But know this: it is a soul-clawing catastrophe to have to answer to a Psychopath Boss. Today’s miserable job market has made jobs scarce and worth holding onto despite harrowing abuse in the workplace.  The most outrageous part is that while you’re finding out about your Psychopath Boss for the first time, their behavior has been like this for a long time.  You are not their first victim.  You’re not discovering fire, the wheel or America. Rest assured that their peers, managers, ex-employees and Human Resources know about it but continue to turn a blind eye.  

Why does your Psychopath Boss hate you and hurt you? Unfortunately, miserable people will not be satisfied until you are as miserable as they are.  Take heart in also knowing that haters don’t really hate you — they hate themselves because you’re a reflection of that they wish to be.  Workplace bullying is the result. Refer to http://antibullyingcrusador.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/tactics-of-a-workplace-serial-bully-boss/

Since empathy, moral decency and human kindness play no role in any Psychopath’s decision-making process, it’s no surprise that your Psychopath Boss relishes her ability to use, con, deceive, manipulate, betray and ultimately destroy their employees. That’s what psychopaths do. They feed like ticks & tapeworms upon our lives. They live for the sick thrill of damaging happy, younger, attractive, productive and caring people.  You’ll want to vomit your guts up when you stare into their crazy eyes & phony mask of concern as they twist the knife of insult and betrayal into your heart.

But also know, you are far from alone.  Roughly 4% of the populace are psychopaths.  A fraction of those are criminal — violent robbers, rapers and serial killers.  Many of them are able to operate within the law so statistically speaking, there are decent chances that you have a psychopath in your family, school, social circle or work.  And if your Psychopath Boss  who makes work unbearable for her employees is the only one you encounter, count yourself lucky.

But when wrongful termination happens at the hands of a Psychopath Boss, you have three choices: you can let it define your career, you can let it destroy you or you can let it strenghthen your resolve to succeed.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

For now, you need to defend yourself emotionally and psychologically from this Psychopath Boss who is undermining your wellbeing and work reputation.

  • 1. Learn all you can about Psychopaths.

A basic knowledge of psychopathy can save you years of heartache at the hands of a boss you can never please, who never stops lying and cheating  you and who keeps you dangling on the hook. It can give you the strength to move on from a job where your boss keeps everyone in terror by constantly promising the world but only giving you her a** to kiss.

  • 2.  Gather information.

You will discover you are neither imagining things nor alone.  You may even find comrades. You may luck up and uncover information potentially damaging to your manager (cocaine addiction, exploiting illegal domestic workers, cheating on her husband, etc.)  This could be helpful in negotiating a proper exit from the work relationship.

  • 3.  Develop rapport with those who understand your Boss is a Psychopath.

At the very least, you’ll need a job reference from someone who doesn’t hate you to pieces.

  • 4.  Try to get help from Human Resources.

Meh – you can try.  But honestly, don’t be surprised if that department is a useless dead end that only brands you as a troublemaker.  Especially if you litigate.  There is no justice in their bland, corporate hallways.  Their job is to get people out the door and save the company money.  They don’t wanna know and they don’t wanna get involved.  So spare your breath and effort.

Please read this juicy article about how HR investigations exonerate bully bosses: http://dorightatwork.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/why-internal-investigations-exonerate-bully-boss/

  • 5. Get away from your Psychopathic Boss as soon as you safely can.

Move on.  Trust me — it’s not going to get better.  This Psychopath Boss is a disaster on two legs.  And she will try to strip you of your dignity and mobility until she succeeds.