Cleaning my life of narcissists!

Quote from the TV show Ted Lasso (Apple TV) Season 1; Episode 8

Ted Lasso is in a bar dealing with his boss’s Ex husband, who is berating his position, making fun of him and making a laughing stock of his Ex Wife.  Ted challenges him to a dart match where the winner gets either banned from the Owner’s Box (for the Ex Husband if Ted wins) or is allowed to make the starting roster for the last two games (if Ted loses). 

“You know, Rupert (ex husband), guys have underestimated me my entire life, and for years I never understood why; it used to really bother me. But then, one day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this quite by Walt Whitman, it ws painted on the wall there. It said, “Be Curious, not judgmental.”  I like that.

So, I get back in my car and I’m driving to work and all of a sudden it hits me: All them fellas that used to belittle me not a single one of them were curious. You know they thought they had everything all figured out and so they judged everything and they judged everyone, and I realized that their underestimating me, who I was had nothing to do with it. Because if they were curious, they would have asked questions, you know?  Questions like have you played a lot of darts, Ted? Which I would have answered, “yes, Sir.  Every Sunday afternoon at the sports bar with my father from age ten til I was 16 when he passed away.”  Barbeque Sauce (a word he just randomly says before he hits a bullseye with the dart).” 

I have recently been dealing with a narcissist with part of my job. He thinks that he can make me feel badly about the office building he was renting by saying nasty things and making empty threats.  He has been a tenant for the better part of four years. He has continuously made off remarks, or direct complaints about the condition of the building I manage, but not broken things, just digs about the fact that he doesn’t like the condition of things. A few examples:  The toilets don’t flush well.  The building is “not professional” because we allowed a squirrel to chew its way into the 2nd floor cornice. Our keys don’t always unlock our doors. Our handicap ramp can not be up to code because a handicapped individual accidentally drove off of it and hurt himself. This person, who was continually complaining about non-issues, or perceived issues, and who was “embarrassed” when his franchise leadership came to observe his office, I just had to laugh.  He had dressed up and made his employees dress up (office casual) the day the franchise corporation visited his offices because had they secretly shown up, he would have been caught with his pants down. His normal attire consisted of the following:  Wrinkled cargo shorts, a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the tails untucked, ragged penny-loafers without socks.  His office workers wore sweat pants, cargo shorts and/or yoga pants daily.  His office manager has been seen multiple times with a pink t-shirt with a glittery purple unicorn on the front.  It appeared that it came from the little girls’ department at Walmart as it was extremely small and tight and not at all appropriate for office apparel.  All the while, he complains about how unprofessional the building is. 

Now, I will be the first to admit that the building needs help. It was built in 1987 and has the original entry hall parquet wood flooring, the same stick-on vinyl tyles in the common areas and has only been repainted one time since the building was built. The cabinetry in the kitchenettes and bathroom is well worn, but due to the fact that everything works, albeit the toilets do flush slowly compared to modern toilets most of us have in our homes today, they all still work. We have a janitor who cleans weekly, but there isn’t much she can do to stained and scared walls and floors where people have abused the building in the past. The owner of the building simply refuses to fix anything unless it is actually broken. Then he repairs things, as opposed to replacing them. But, that is his prerogative, and I can’t do anything about it other than make requests.

You must keep in mind that this particular narcissistic tenant did view the building prior to moving into his suite four years ago.  He came multiple times to look, measure and observe the conditions. He brought his whole staff to see the potential new office, well, the staff he had at the time. (He has since had a 100% turnover of staff.)  He chose this building knowing what it looked like, and accepting it AS IS, WHERE IS.  We had just placed brand new carpet in the suite he selected, but the walls hadn’t been painted. He accepted the office as is because he had employees who wanted to pick their own paint colors, so we allowed him to paint the rooms whatever color they wanted. Then, corporate came in and noticed a pink room, a purple room, a blue room, etc., and made him repaint the entire office to be in line with corporate colors. Then one day he asked me to write him a letter telling him that we denied him permission to have any signage on the property due to the fact that we are a PUD office complex that does not allow for signage, therefore, no one can have a sign.  He needed this to prove to his corporation that signs were not allowed. Apparently this is something he failed to do prior to selecting this location, again, he is not flawless, yet he believes himself to be.

When the Squirrel dug a hole in our cornice at the second floor level, I noticed it almost immediately, although I had been working from home due to the fact that my Mother-in-law currently lives with me and it is just easier if I can stay at home as much as possible, though in my office working, I’m here in the event anything happens. I’m able to feed her lunch and do other things as needed, but otherwise, I’m able to work. My management of this office building is strictly voluntary. My father owns the building and he is getting up in years as well, therefore, when the squirrel hole appeared, I knew that meant I would have a squirrel problem in the attic and I needed to take care of that as there are wires and heating ducts that squirrels love to chew on and uncover so as to make things a mess up there. So, I began making calls to handymen to see if I could get someone to come and fix this cornice and block up the space to keep the squirrel out. It took seven bids (each would take at least a week, as they would tell me on a Monday that they would come look on Wednesday or Friday, etc, then come the next Monday when I hadn’t heard from them, I would call them again to find out what was up.  I had excuse after excuse from I forgot, or I couldn’t get out, to it was raining, etc. so when I finally found a man who could do the work (for $750.00 to fix about 24” of board and repaint it to match the building), I jumped on it.  It just took about six weeks to actually find someone who would 1) give me an actual bid and 2) promise to do the work.  He fixed it in good order and was paid and all was well. 

The next week, the narcissist calls me to tell me that the squirrel has mad his way down into the walls of his office and has died there, the stench is outrageously bad!  He apparently doesn’t understand how two-story buildings are constructed!  There are not one but 3 plates that run around the entire exterior wall system that runs from roof to ground, and there is no way a squirrel could have come down from the attic to stink up his office.  A mouse or rat or some other small vermin could have come through a crack in the wall, but this squirrel could not have come down the walls.  Also, we had extremely dense insulation in the exterior walls and the walls dividing each suite from the common areas.  It is so dense in fact that when you try to drive a long nail into it in order to hang a picture, it tends to bounce out of the wall and go no further once it penetrates the sheetrock.  A squirrel is not getting through that either. So, this guy is just a nut-job!

The stench he was experiencing was soon discovered by another tenant in the office.  It seems the lady across the hall noticed what had happened early in the week and when I called her to ask if she smelled anything amiss, she told me what had happened.  We had given permission to this narcissist to have a refrigerator out in an alcove in the common areas near the restrooms on the first floor. He had promised to bring in a brand new stainless steel refrigerator, but instead, he kept that for himself, moved his old fridge into his garage and brought the older garage fridge to the office.  It had remnants of duct tape on the outside and it truly looked like a piece of trash.  Apparently one of his sweat-house workers (he crammed 14 employees into a place only meant to hold 6 maximum) didn’t like the nasty things that were spoiled in the fridge. So on a Monday morning, when she arrived and started to put her food into the fridge, she was overwhelmed with disgust at the other items in the fridge, so she cleaned it out.  She threw all the bad foods out into a trash bin right beside the fridge.  She spent considerable time cleaning out the bad things and wiping up spills for the benefit of all who used the fridge, then she went on about her work.  By Friday, the food in the trash can was extremely ripe. This is the day he complained about the dead animal in the office.  When I told him they couldn’t do that any more and that if they cleaned out the fridge, they had to take the trash to the curb and place it into the dumpster there, they started doing that, but not replacing the trash can liner, therefore, that week’s trash they produced all went into the trash can without a liner. He was called to task many times over this problem as he doesn’t care, this is beneath him! 

His people were really inconsiderate most days. At one point they rented a second suite so that they could spread out a little and the traffic between the two suites was incredible. I could see on the cameras he begged me to install his employees leaving dirty dishes on the counters, cups in the sink, coming to the fridge and looking inside and looking at everyone else’s food, but not placing any food inside the fridge themselves.  I saw them dancing and singing and milling about doing nothing but wasting time. Yet he was oblivious that his employees could be anything but angels. They talked so loud everyone in the building could hear their conversations. They would walk outside for smoke breaks and talk together or talk on their phones so loudly that from the second floor I could hear their conversations.  They accused me of eaves dropping, however, it was impossible NOT to hear their conversations. I asked him on many occasions to have them not congregate near the building as we could hear their conversations and this could possibly divulge his client’s private information, yet he accused me yet again of eaves dropping.

For four years I endured this crap from him and his inconsiderate employees.  When I finally decided to charge him for damages to a suite that I had originally thought was clean, then discovered later it was not, I confronted him about it. He said he had cleaned the carpets. He lied. He did not clean the carpets. He said he had repaired the walls, they looked like a kid with the chicken pox wearing a smattering of calamine lotion, all splotched over their body.  He had left part of his security system in the office, so every time anyone came to look at the suite or the janitor tried to clean it, or I dropped off paper goods for the restrooms, it set off the alarm. He must have been in constant peril due to the sheer number of false alarms.

One other thing he balked about was the utility bills he was being assessed.  He had begged me to average the bills so that his rent could be the exact same each month, therefore, I did. The average from the year before, however, was based on 4 people in his suite, each person with a computer and a desk.  They were mainly ladies, who ran cool, therefore, the HV/AC was not placed on high demand as a rule except in the hottest of days in the summer. However, when you cram 14 people into 1000 sq. ft. with 2 monitors each, plus desk and floor lamps, each desk having their own coffee pots and humidifiers, and fish tanks, etc., you tend to use up a lot of extra power. One of the offices used so much power that they kept blowing fuses in the electrical panel.  They had several power strips at each desk with every plug used.  Don’t get me wrong I also have power strips, but they have things like pencil sharpeners, label makers, phone chargers, etc., plugged into them.  I plug things that are used only occasionally into these strips, they were using each of the plugs full time, this was blowing the fuses.  He wanted this problem fixed, but refused to remove the extra items, so I called an electrician to fix the problem.  Because he couldn’t come immediately, the narcissist said he had a friend who did this for a living, and he could come today, now in fact.  It was a HUGE mistake that I allowed this to happen because I don’t know if he was a licensed electrician or not and I could have placed the building and the owner into a bad situation, but worse than that, I was now forever “beholding” to this narcissist because he had helped ME out with a problem.  He didn’t help ME out. He caused the problem and he had it fixed as probably it should have been without me even being in the middle of the situation, but nonetheless, his narcissism made me feel small that I had allowed such a problem to exist.

When I finally realized he was using me to fuel his narcissistic needs, I stopped. I stopped bowing to his every whiny whim. I started ignoring the comments he would make that had nothing to do with me, or the upkeep of the building that was beyond my control.  He finally quit sending his complaints and this made him mad that he was not getting his narcissistic supply from me. When I finally mentioned that he was going to have to pay for the damages he did to the suite he had vacated (due to Covid), he told me “if we can’t work this out, consider this my notice to move out as of March 31, 2021.”  Hallelujah!  I was thrilled.  I wrote back, “I accept your March 31, 2021 date as your official move-out date, though it is not exactly 90-day’s notice as is stated in your lease, however, to make it even more palatable for you, you can select any date between January 31st – March 31st as your move out date without any penalties, just let me know what your final date will be.” I wanted him to be gone so badly. I couldn’t stand his abuse any longer. I had caught him in several lies which is when I realized I was dealing with a narcissist.  I just wanted him gone, so the thought of putting up with him for an additional month, had I pushed the 90-day’s notice business, would have been unbearable.

As the day approached, his last day, I received an email stating that he needed more time (he had scheduled movers – i.e. his employees for the weekend of Easter.  They all balked, I’m sure, so he wanted to get one more week to move out).  I told him that I had already scheduled workers for the next week as I had already scheduled the carpets to be cleaned on the Tuesday following Easter. Speaking of which, I had told him NOT to schedule carpet cleaning due to the fact that he didn’t use competent carpet cleaners as proven by the condition he left the formerly vacated suite, of which he lied saying they had cleaned, but turns out it was his cousin who both tried to clean the carpets and who attempted to patch the walls, making a mess of both, and failing to even vacuum the carpets, much less actually clean them.  But anyway, I asked him not once, but twice to NOT clean the carpets that I would take the cleaning out of his security deposit. BUT, because he asked, and because I am nice, I provided the name of my carpet cleaning company for his FUTURE use. Yet, even though I told him twice in writing not to clean the carpets, he called my guy anyway, lied to him about where he had gotten his name from, and scheduled the cleaning on the last Friday of his tenancy (April 9th). He wasn’t all the way moved out on the 9th. Luckily I had also scheduled my carpet guy to clean a different suite across the hall at the same time, so he started with her suite so that the narcissist could finish getting all his desks out of the office and vacuum it. He was still moving stuff when my guy started spraying the stain lifting solution on the carpets and baseboards. He left a bunch of double-stick tape on the carpet in one of the offices that was used to try to keep a vinyl chair pad from creeping (listen to me people, carpet has a nap. It creeps. Tape will not keep it from creeping in the direction of the carpet nap.  Just fix it from time to time. Life is hard, be and adult)!  So, we will attempt to get the tape out of the carpet, but we will have to use a razor blade to do so, which hopefully will not show too much.  This was new carpet when he moved in and I’d hate to replace it now.

But, after all of this, his damages were over $600 more than his security deposit. So I sent him a bill as his lease states that your damages are the ACTUAL damages and are not limited to the deposit you place as security.  He cried so I acquiesced a little bit by cutting one of the fees in half, saving him $455, but he still balked.  He demanded that I release him with his entire security deposit being used, but release him from the balance of the damages.  He wanted it in writing TODAY so that he could go on with his life and business without this hanging over his head.

Am I going to release him of his final $145.00?  Absolutely not!  I will NOT give him the satisfaction of having won.  I have bowed more than enough and after all, he damaged all the items on the list I provided to him. He actually owes for 100% of the damages, and I didn’t have to reduce the painting by 50%, but to try to play nice, I did. He refuses to budge one inch, therefore, I will NOT release him in writing.  I may even send him a bunch of “past due” invoices for his debt.  I doubt seriously I will ever receive it, but I could be nasty about it.  For now, I’ll just not respond so that I will have no reason to ever talk to him again for the rest of my life.

This is the problem with narcissists. They are lonely cusses (I would like to use a much stronger word here, but I don’t want to have my words shunned by the community).  He has caused me such anguish over the past four years, I consider it to be mental abuse.  It hurts as much as if he were punching me, though he never laid a hand on me. The mental anguish I took home, generally on a Friday when he would bother to send me his rants via email or text (or worse yet over the weekend), so that my entire weekend I would ruminate over his comments not wanting to respond outside of office hours as this gives him even more power the next time he wants to torture me. I am so tired of his narcissist abuse that I cut him off.  I literally pushed him out of the building and I am thrilled that he is finally all the way out. The bad news is that he is in the building next door, but he has been told not to park in my lot, nor place signage on the building or his former office door as to his new location. I do not want anything to do with his new location.  He has the power to place his new address on his website and with his corporation so that people can find him and nowhere in our contract did it give him permission to place a forwarding address sign on the building, so each one will be removed.

I have had the locks changed, so he no longer has access to the building unless the front door is unlocked. I’ve encouraged the lady who works across the hall from his former office to leave the exterior door locked as much as possible when she is there on the first floor alone for her own peace of mind. I have also locked his former suite with new locks so that he can not enter there either. I would not put it past him to send one of his employees to come do something stupid. I may stop ruminating about this narcissist eventually, it will take some time and if anything will help, having this entire story out of my head and out there for anyone to read will help me heal from his abuse. No one should have to put up with a narcissist!  It is very hard to recognize them up front, they are all smiles and charming.  Beware lest you fall into their trap, it is like quicksand!  It is difficult to get out, but so rewarding when you do. It would be better, however, if you were never trapped in the first place!  Good luck with that!