/*amazon_ad_exclude = "christian"*/ The Skin I Am In: Fatal Obsession

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fatal Obsession

In the four years since moving 1,000 miles east of where I spent my first 28 years, I have lived more freaking drama than Teri Hatcher in an entire season of “Desparate Housewives.” For whatever reason, I have been afflicted by several manipulative and narcisistic people. To my misfortune, two of them are my next-door neighbors. It makes for a very uncomfortable sandwich, indeed, sitting between two pieces of cold, white bread. If you have read my Neighbor from Hell post, you've already been introduced to Mad Cow. The other one, Nutcake, possesses severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Since our husbands work together, we moved here at the same time from the same city. We began as friends. At times, I would even say great friends. We went to dinner frequently, hung out with the same people, and spoke almost daily (of course, the conversation always revolved around her). Being so far away from our extended families, we even celebrated many holidays together with the rest of our “circle.” Those were the good times.

Her OCD isn't about compulsively cleaning or engaging in repeated hand-washing. That I could easily deal with. She is consumed with control. In essence, her narcisism is what drives her obsessive-compulsive behavior and vice-versa. Sadly, her devotion to her husband and son is more fixation than love. To her, they are nothing more than extensions of herself, and she treats them as her personal property. She has been to psychologists, but quickly abandons them. She has taken medication but quits, because it alters her sense of control over her tightly-woven universe. She hates her condition, yet is not willing to change.

If you can imagine the drama and instability in a 'friendship' with someone like this, it does not paint a pretty picture.

There was no argument or falling out between us. The excuse she manifested to quit talking to me perfectly portrays the severity of her delusions of grandeur. Since world revolves around obsession, she absurdly claimed that I was consumed with her.This is quite ironic since she was calling me 80% of the time. She told people I was spying on her from my house and was trying to keep tabs on her at all times. Since I was allegedly stalking her, she reported to a friend that she didn't want to be friends with me anymore, but we could maintain a 'neighborly' relationship. She gave the specific example that if I were to come over because I need to borrow a cup of sugar, she would gladly give me one. Such an asinine statement only reminded me how crazy she is! One night, shortly after she made that ridiculous 'neighborly' comment, she was having some of our mutual friends over for a small get-together. Lisa, who had reported the aforementioned sentiment to me in the first place, was included in the festivities, therefore providing an opportune moment. That night at about 9:00, I sent my daughter to her back door toting a measuring cup to borrow that proverbial cup of sugar. We laughed so hard when my little girl returned with the goods in hand. I thought this would make Nutcake feel extremely stupid in front of all of our friends and would be the end to the ridiculous saga. Instead, she used the incident to confirm her theory. She said that I sent my child over there to spy! Wow. I wonder if she gave my daughter the old pat-down before allowing her to enter. She is even crazier than I had thought.

At my wits end, I decided it was time to end her neurotic hysteria. A couple of days later, I called and left her a less-than-sugary message. You can imagine my surprise when she came over that evening with fresh-baked cookies as a peace offering. After she left, my husband said, “you should have let her have it months ago!” Considering I am now reporting these events, she must not have laced them with anything very toxic. Yet, as expected with an unstable person, the kindness was short-lived.

Nutcake must always be the center of attention, making sure to be the loudest and the crudest at the table. If someone pays me a compliment, you can bet she will implement some strategy to focus the attention back to her. She is equally notorious for her lack of tact as for her distortion of fact. I know she resents me because I occasionally bring conversations back to earth after she broadcasts some piece of information that is 1 part truth to 4 parts B.S. In other words, I was ruining her show.

Nutcake has dominated her son's every move since birth. For 18 years, she dreaded the day he would graduate high school, because that signified his going off to college where she couldn't control his every breath. The fearful day arrived in June, and in August Andy went off to school an hour and a half away. Many of us speculated how he would adjust, never having freedom of any kind. Nutcake had already rationalized the possibilities. She knows he wouldn't take oral drugs, because he doesn't take a stinking Tylenol capsule. He is afraid of needles, allergic to smoke, and drinking won't be anything special because she let him have a beer on their family trip to Mexico. She forced him to spend the first six consecutive weekends of this, his freshman year, with her. Really jacked is that one of the weekends she stayed in his dorm room with him!

Well, Little Miss Control-Freak just got a very harsh reality-check. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a mutual friend of ours got an unexpected and frantic phone call from her. Nutcake was actually back in our hometown, a thousand miles away. She and her husband had flown back because she had been subpoenaed to testify in a court case. Just before calling Lisa, Nutcake had received a call that Andy was in the emergency room with a lethal blood alchohol level and was non-responsive. His friends had taken him in because he was unconscience and vomiting blood. They had been pumping his stomach and were trying to revive him. I can't help but think that the timing was not a coincidence. This was the first time that any real distance separated his mother from him—the first weekend in his life that he knew she couldn't just decide to drop by unannounced. For the only time in his entire life--for these few days at least--she couldn't breathe down his neck.

Thankfully, they eventually stabilized him. However, the doctors reported that he would have died had his friends delayed in seeking medical help. The scary element to this equation is that many kids don't understand the seriousness of alcohol poisoning, and aren't able to recognize the signs when someone is in real danger and needs immediate medical attention. Not to mention, the fear of getting into trouble often overrides the intention to seek help.

If poor Andy thought his mother was over-bearing before....wow. I can not even imagine what he is in for now. She said she is withdrawing him from school. Although that is very unfortunate, it is not the least bit surprising. She would rather sabatoge his future, then to allow him the opportunity to learn from his mistake, as all people must eventually do. Now he's back on track to be a 40-year old virgin in the making. Maybe things will work out the way she wanted them to after all. Her obsession, indirectly, had near-fatal consequences. Her need to control his life is figuratively killing him, and nearly killed him literally, as well. But she is too blind to see or care that controlling him further by forcing him to quit school and move back home, will only make matters worse.

If nothing else, I deeply hope she has the wisdom to set her anger aside and thank those boys for saving his life. If not for them, she would be wearing some very different shoes now.


Lori said...

Of course Nutcake had to launch the preemptive strike, saying SHE was ending your friendship because there was something wrong with YOU. That kind of person always does. Anyone who believes it is an idiot, so I don't think you lost or stand to lose any real friends. BTW, we live 1000 miles from our nearest families, too... and I LOVE it! In the near-divorce, though, I had nobody to go to. My older sister, while I love her, would be a bit too much like Nutcake. Control, then she expects eternal groveling gratitude. Younger sister I told you about. Six kids. Ain't goin' there~! But POOR ANDY. Yes, you saw that one coming. Undoubtedly Nutcake will blame it on "bad influences" and "peer pressure," and use that as an excuse to isolate him further. If he doesn't take steps to find a job and a roommate and move out (preferably to France), she'll get her way. Tragic.

Frank said...

All I can say right now is... ROFL.

Keala said...

Wow. You actully have to see nutcake everyday?

I thought my neighbors were bad.

The Blogger Exposed said...

Well, I only see her EVERY day when I spend the day by my window with binoculars. But worse than her being my neighbor, is that the only close friends I've had in the years since I've moved here have all been intertwined...her being one of them. There is actually one who is even crazier than her, well, maybe not "crazier", but very mean and vindictive (and bipolar). I had to put up with both of them just to remain friends with the only other normal one. But it FINALLY paid off. People can only put on their shows for so long, and eventually their true colors come out.

doug said...

Wow that was a good one! maybe it's time to move? Also I love your nicknames for people.

Frank said...

Quote: ''Well, I only see her EVERY day when I spend the day by my window with binoculars. ''


but you are not stalking her huh? :)

The Blogger Exposed said...

Um, yeah. That was a joke. Besides, she lives next door, it's not like I'd need binoculars.

FerdC ~ Crazy Medical Cases said...

That was crazy wonderful analytical psychobabble! I was sorry the post had to come to an end! I hope there is another installment of this drama. Please keep us posted. (I think you could send your daughter for more information with the sugar thing. AND, your husband might get more cookies out of it.)
I related to your post on a personal level, having been married for nearly 25 years to a person unwilling or unable to see the damage caused by her need to control. I felt like a total extension of her. I know exactly what you meant. And I don't blame her for my part, but the stress of living like that only encouraged the worst in me.
Great post! Are you a closet Psychologist?!?

The Blogger Exposed said...

Well, FerdC,

In some ways I must be, because when I went to a psychologist a couple of months ago desperate to receive validation for my personal rights against the toxic out-laws, she told me that I would make a great psychologist. Of course, I've been "closet-analyzing" the in-laws for 11 years! When I said, "yeah, a little late now." She told me I should seriously consider going back to get a degree in psychology. I felt very complimented, coming from a psychologist!

But you just wait, you think Nutcake is bad....there's more where that came from! I told you, I have literally been through more drama than a season of Desperate Housewives. I have put up with waaayy too much in the past!