Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Betty Chronicles (Part 2)

I lived with Betty from February of 2008 to February of 2009. Shortly before our lease was going to end, Betty was off vacationing somewhere exotic with her family for a week and I decided to finish packing up my stuff and hand in my keys a week early. Prior to leaving, Betty had cleared out most of her belongings from the apartment, although there were still a few things hanging around here and there that she had intended to take when she came back from her vacation to turn in her keys. Also prior to leaving, she asked that we both sit down to pay each other the remainder of what we owed upon her arrival home. I agreed to meet with her.

As it turns out though, she didn't like my conditions. As I had known she would, Betty never paid her half of the last month's rent and it was taken out of my security deposit. A few weeks after her vacation, she emailed me. I don't have the emails anymore, but a couple of phrases stand out clearly in my mind. In her correspondence to me, she asked me, "How the hell our electric bill was over $800???!!?" and also that I took her vacuum cleaner. Funny story about the vacuum cleaner: we had split the cost when we'd bought it, with the verbal agreement that whoever ended up taking it would pay the other the difference. But, after the bitch skipped out on the rent that month AND had clearly been cheating me out of money each month, I had decided to keep the damn thing. In my response to her, I never responded to her accusations about the vacuum cleaner or her claim that the electric bill was over eight hundred dollars. Then, came this email: 

From: Betty
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Subject: [None]
To: Jonsi 

I'm fine with us not being friends, but I'm not fine with you bailing out on your financial obligations to our final bills. I contacted you from [vacation] in the beginning of february in regards to us paying each other what we owe each other, and you agreed to meet me when I came back.  If you continue to ignore me about this, we do plan on taking legal action. Its pathetic that after [Jonsi's ex-boyfriend] screwed  you like this, that you'd turn around and do it to someone else. 

Beautiful right? She sure does come off sounding like the injured party in all of it, doesn't she, what with her claims that I was the one "bailing out" of our financial obligations? And one of the first things I honed in on in her communication was this: "If you continue to ignore me about this, WE do plan on taking legal action." Why was that interesting to me? Because it was nothing more than a tactic of intimidation. She was trying to make it sound like she had an entire ARMY out there backing her, who would use all their authority to "put me in my place" for daring to "bail out" of my financial obligations to her. In reality, she had no legal leg to stand on because she had made one major mistake in her game that saved me from having to pay even more money to someone who had already cheated me out of thousands: We never put my name on any of our utility accounts, so I was not legally responsible for any of the bills. Clearly, she hadn't thought that one through to the end in all of her scheming (though I don't doubt she will in all her future schemes) and what probably started out as either a play for complete control of the finances, or else a simple slip-up on her part, amounted to an escape clause for me. Legally speaking, she was responsible for all of those bills and so the only thing she had left to try and get me to pay for HER debts was the intimidation factor. She figured that if she called me a rat, I might just feel bad enough to cave and blindly give her more money to cover her ass. And the logistics of the situation look like this: Let's say that every month (to make it easy), our total bills amounted to $200.00 And, let's assume that Betty was actually ONLY taking half of that amount from me (I don't know for sure because I didn't see all of the monthly bills and never actually knew what the total was at any given time), she would have collected $100.00. Well, often times she was only applying the minimum amount towards what we owed, say $25.00. And sometimes, she failed to pay at all and our account would accrue late fees. That means that over the course of one year, she would have embezzled roughly $900.00 of my money. And that's not including late fees that were being added to our account. And of course, that's a ridiculously low estimate. So, at the end of this year, say we still owed $500.00 on our accounts. Even though she had only been applying a small amount of my money to our bills and was not, in fact, paying her own half on time (or at all), she still wanted me to foot half of the bill that was left.

And the part she tacks on at the end, concerning my ex-boyfriend? Low. Really low. I had shared with her some information about how my ex had treated me and what types of things had occurred during our relationship. The guy was nothing but a loser, a narcissist, and a fraud. And the really funny thing is that, though I had lost some money in the relationship, it was nothing in comparison to the hit I had taken during my time living with Betty, since cash-swindling wasn't really the ex's MO. Betty calling me "pathetic" and claiming that I was no better than my nasty ex was hitting below the belt, not that I was surprised by that sort of tactic. It had projection written all over it.

So, in my response to her email, which I no longer have but can remember pretty clearly I wrote something like this, "Betty, unlike you, I am an honest person and have every intention to fulfill my debts. If you will send me a copy of the year's worth of bills, I will look them over at my convenience and pay you what I owe." To that, she responded, "You are not worth the cost of a stamp to send them to you."

After that, I didn't hear from her again for one whole month: 

From: Betty
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Subject: Hey...
To: Jonsi


I know things aren't exactly good between us but I just wanted to say hi and see how you were doing. I've been watching a lot of old videos and really miss all the good times we had. After [her ex-boyfriend] and I broke up I found out he had been cheating on me, and I got rapidly progressing HPV which quickly turned into stage 2 cervical cancer. I had surgery on Monday and they removed a huge area of my cervix, hopefully they got it all. Other then that, nothing new here. Hope all is well with you. I'm sorry things turned badly between us and I just wanted to tell you that. 

My analysis: The very first thing I thought to myself was that there was a possibility she was lying. Then I jumped back and forth between feeling badly for her situation and wondering if it were even true. But here are a couple of things of note: The email for me came at an unfortunate time because I myself had just found out that I had HPV and it was triggering to read about someone (possibly) getting cancer as a result of that. But, having been dealing with HPV myself and doing lots of research about it, I thought it was pretty interesting that Betty was blaming her ex-boyfriend for giving her the virus, when there is no way (unless you've only ever had one partner) to trace the source of the virus because it can stay dormant in the body for years before it's ever discovered or causes health complications and because there is currently no test for men that shows whether they carry the virus or not. So my best guess was that Betty had thrown in all the nonsense about her "cheating" ex-boyfriend because she was attempting to gain sympathy points from an "old friend" she had fucked over six ways to Sunday. And the email in it's entirety reads like one big pity party: "I have HPV because my ex cheated on me and then I got stage-2 cancer and had to have an operation and I'm only twenty five years old...but other than that, like, you know, there's nothing real big going on here." And the non-apology at the end? Yeah, I caught that. "I'm sorry things turned badly between us" is not "I'm sorry I was the biggest fucking douchebag of all time and that I swindled you out of thousands of dollars, on top of being a callous, cold-hearted bitch. And by the way, here's the money that I owe you." Yeah. Not the same.

With the help of my mom, I came up with a response to the above email, because I really did feel badly about her (supposed) situation. But not badly enough to open up the door any more than was necessary to shove out my condolences and then slam it shut and tightly lock it again. 

From: Jonsi
Date: Friday, April 24, 2009
Subject: Re: Hey...
To: Betty

Hi Betty,

This is terrible news and I'm both shocked and sad to hear it. I hope that you are feeling better now and I'm glad that they at least caught it now before anything got worse.  Stay strong, and I'm sure everything will work out. 

My mother had suggested the "I'm sure everything will work out" part because I was looking for a phrase to seal the deal without making it seem that I was open for more discussion. I didn't hear from her again for another few months, likely because I didn't give her the attention she was apparently desperate for. In another email a few months later, she wrote that she'd heard from a third party that I was pregnant and that she was "So happy for me because she knew that's what I had always wanted." I didn't respond. Since then, I have also cut off contact with the person who informed her about my life. And from the time I moved out of the apartment in February, I had already cut off contact with any mutual friends the two of us had.

On August 25, 2012, Betty sent the following message to my brother through Facebook. 

hey [Jonsi's brother]. I was just wondering if you had Jonsi’s email address. I tried to send her an email but the one I had (old email address) seems to be no longer working. Hope all is well with you. [smiley face] 

My brother, who has never been known for his common sense (but who's wisdom has been growing in leaps and bounds the past few years) called me a few days later to tell me about it, assured me that he didn't respond, asked me if I wanted him to respond (I didn't) and then took my suggestion that he cleanse his Facebook self of her, since she was nothing but toxic. The really fantastic part is that he knew very little about the year I lived with Betty, was not a friend of hers in person (except that they were barely acquaintances in high school) and was mostly unaware that she and I had had a falling out, and he STILL got the self-described "creeps" when she asked him for my contact information. His exact words, I believe, was that there was something "off" about her asking him for my email address. I told him he was right on the money, briefly explained what had happened between her and I, and again reiterated that he should probably stop being her friend on Facebook. At the very least, because she'd probably just corner him again to pump him for information about me later. And, may I also add, my brother found it very strange that Betty, who recently got married (I know, don't you just want to go out there, wave that poor guy down, and tell him, "You have no idea what you're getting into! Get the fuck out of there man, HURRY!"), had like twenty bridesmaids in her wedding party. She would have even given Exhibit A a run for her money in THAT competition.

I've gotten off on a tangent. Here are my thoughts about this most recent contact from the Dark Side:

Damn it! Does the drama never end? I'm betting that, once you've been manipulated by a narcissist, they never really give up on you as a possibility for NS. It's almost like they figure that if they had you once, they can have you again. Which all fucking sucks when you up the stakes: what about people who have long-standing ties to their narcissists? Like all my friends in the ACoN community or my poor DH? After I found out that Betty had tried to contact me again and that she was hunting for Jonsis to mount on her wall even after all this time has passed and we left on such bad terms, I didn't hold out much hope that NMIL would ever really leave us alone. Thus, the reason why I wouldn't be upset if she suddenly dropped off the face of the earth; because then she would be unable to contact DH; and because the source of all of his drama would disappear.

Beyond that, I find her language in this most recent contact to be deceitfully cheerful, though I'm only mildly interested in what it is she apparently wants to talk to me about. And I have absolutely zero interest in opening up a line of communication with her, befriending her, or giving her very much more space in my head than she's already taken up. Really, I'm not all that torn up about any of this and I don't feel stressed about it. Mostly now, I just laugh. Well, I do feel bad for her latest victim. And any future children she might have. Oh. And for the poor dog she just adopted. Yeah, I do feel badly for them.

One other thing: with just a few clicks on the internet, I discovered that she is a VERY high-profile narcissist. She is all over the internet, has started multiple businesses, and seems to be making her way to the top of what appears to be a very lucrative and successful career. You want to know something truly ironic? She has an almost identical career to NMIL. One wonders if someday, they might even connect and become friends or colleagues. God help us all. 


  1. "Betty, unlike you, I am an honest person and have every intention to fulfill my debts. If you will send me a copy of the year's worth of bills, I will look them over at my convenience and pay you what I owe."

    That's perfect!! Yes! Yes! Yes! That's great! I love it! This brightens my day, heck, it brightens my life. --quartz

    1. I must agree, that was a pretty good moment for me. :)

    2. I love it how Jonsi offered a perfectly rational and legal option to Betty and then... silence. When my mom threatened to take me to court to sever my legal guardianship of my autistic sister, I said, "Go ahead. Go ahead. No really, go ahead!" Then it was weeks of dead silence, of course mom never carried out her threat.

    3. There was no way she could have swindled me out of more money at that point, not legally or emotionally. I had decided to take back my own power and control. Also, I really do consider myself an honorable person and if it had turned out that I really did owe her money, I would have paid her.

      That bitch knew I didn't owe her any money, and in fact knew that she would have owed me. A lot. So, naturally, she wasn't going to send me the evidence that proved she'd been swindling me for a year. And I had already accepted that I'd be taking the financial hit and moved on. Cut my losses and all that.

      Narcs seem to be full of empty threats.

  2. Hey Jonsi,

    I'm sorry to read about Betty. What a complete piss-off that must have been for you. It was saintly of you to take care of that cat - I didn't even like reading about its suffering! :-(

    Urgh, I sincerely hope Betty finds the concept of motherhood incompatible with her illustrious career...

    I had a very similar BFF/roommate situation (minus the cat, minus the embezzlement, plus going after any guy interested in me (or my friends), and various other crap). I cut her out of my life permanently. She keeps trying to get me back (why, I don't know).

    So your thoughts on "Once a Source of NS, Always a Source!" seemed eerily accurate to me! Maybe they just 'do the circuit' of suckers again and again 'til they find someone who provides again. Yuck.

    1. Quercus,

      I do think that they always figure you might become a source of supply for them again, and that's why they reach out from time-to-time. I mean, I don't think they COUNT on us, which is why their efforts to get us back slow down and show less effort, but the possibility for them is still there.

      Isn't if funny how we're always hoping the narcs will change, and they're always hoping their victims won't?

  3. Ugh, Betty sounds just like one of my cousins, who I've since realized is probably a full-on sociopath. She's left a trail of debts, broken hearts and people howling for blood in every town she's had to skip after pulling stunts like Betty pulled on you.

    In my experience, they do come back for more - when it's convenient for them. Best to bar the door and not even open it a crack.

    1. The door is barred, my friend. And we've got guards at every entrance.

  4. They are just one confounding moment after another. There has to be some sort of recognition from these guys about how one-sided their interactions are with the world. Even if they choose not to show it.
    Every now and again...rarely, but sometimes I find something written about one of these bastards finally seeing the light like some latter day Scrooge.
    Even if they do it's always too late and long after every one has moved on to saner shores.
    It would be sad. Except for knowing that they would gut you where you stand if they could.

    1. Yeah, I have no sadness in my heart for Betty. Only for the people's lives she will ultimately destroy, and for all the people she hurts and will hurt in her lifetime.

      Any examples of the ones who "see the light?" I do believe in miracles, we just can't bank on ANY of the narcs we've ever known to be one of them.